to begin again… again

changeAh, hell. I’ve been thinking about this forever. If not now, then when? There’s only me stopping me now.

I haven’t written in a while. “A while” is an understatement. It’s been over a year — 16 months, to be exact. Some of you probably thought me dead. You certainly thought my blog dead. For all intents and purposes, I guess it was.

But I was not dead — far from it. The irony of my last post does not escape me. I really had hoped to start blogging again, but truthfully, I knew I wasn’t ready. I was on a roller coaster and the end was far from sight.

But things have settled down now — some. I’m in a new town in a new home with new things in front of me. I’ve just started graduate school at the University of Tennessee (UTK) in Knoxville. I’m working on my masters in Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics (RWL) so that someday I can teach and write again — for real. I’m also continuing to work for my job in California. I wasn’t meant to be a tech writer, but the Water Agency is an important organization powered by amazing people. I learned so much there, and I’m blessed to be able to work remotely among them.

Why Tennessee? you might ask, to which I’d reply, “Have you been to Tennessee?” UTK has a great English program and, when I visited the campus, I was overcome by the teachers’ enthusiasm for their profession and field, as well as by their interest in their students. I haven’t known how I want to tailor my degree (RWL is vast, to put it lightly), but they were eager to talk with me and hear about my passions and experiences, and to guide me along my way.

So what does this mean for my blog? Well, first, it means I aim to start writing again. I’ve never been good at writing on schedule, but I’m hoping “beginning again . . . again” will serve as a catalyst for future posts. I’m also hoping blogging still has the power for impact. In today’s day and age, where everything requires sound and video and mobile accessibility to be of interest, it’s hard to imagine how one girl’s words could make much of a difference. A few of you have reached out to me in my silence, though, and shown me that, actually, they can. It is for you (and because of you) that I am in graduate school and writing this post today.

Thank you.

31 thoughts

    • Hi Sreejit, thank you. Yes, in a better place now. I still get notifications for your blog. Graduate school is going to be busy, but I hope to do a better job about keeping up with my friends’ blogs now, too!

  1. Wow – what a nice surprise seeing this in my inbox :-)

    Welcome back. I hope your new adventure works well. I look forward to future posts, but I understand it’s hard to predict.

    Good writing will always have impact! I love reading and I look forward to reading what you have to say.

  2. Welcome back! Some say the roller coasters are meant to be enjoyed for the thrill of their ride, not as a means of transportation. So if the ride seems to take us away from where we expected to be, perhaps it wasn’t about ending up according to some plan.
    On another note, I caught myself asking why English language linguists would be from Tennessee. I’d lived there as a child and considered them to be steeped in that Southern drawl. I came to discover they have excellent programs and studies in the nuanced expression of the English language.
    Enjoy the ride!

    • Lol, you’re not the first to bring up the location in relation to the course of study, Vincent. The interesting thing I’ve found is that I hear far less of the Southern drawl on campus than elsewhere. Even at UTK, most of the teachers originate in the English department originate outside of the South. (And actually, if you think about it. what better place to study linguisitics than in a place where the evolution of language can be so clearly seen?)

  3. I have always enjoyed your posts and am glad that you may be back. I look forward to seeing what you contribute to the blogosphere and the on-going human debate in the months ahead. Congrats on the Masters program. Enjoy the opportunities it provides you.

    • Yeahhh, on-going human debate is right. Thank you for the well-wishes. As tough as the last few years have been, the next few now pose new challenges. But what’s life without challenge, right? Hope you’ve been well!

  4. Thank you Jess, for sharing what’s going on. We all have our experiences… Not all of us have the courage to share our experiences.
    I have enjoyed what I’ve read so far and look forward to what you will share in the future. May God bless you on this path beginning again.

    • Thank you, Rosemary! I have really enjoyed reconnecting with you on facebook. You’re right — we all have our own experiences, and, if we’re brave enough to share them, we find we have more in common with others than we know. This is true across religious, cultural, and geographical borders. That’s the real reason I started “shift” so long ago… Anyway, I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Thank you for reading!

  5. Good for you Jessica. My brother and I just went out to dinner and he asked “who’s Jessica”? I asked him how he knew Jessica and he told me how you “liked” some of our family photos. He really “liked” how you responded.
    I told him you and our family went way back. Anyway, I thought you’d be interested. You are such a good writer Jessica. Keep at it sweet girl!

    • Thank you, Terri! You have always been such an encouragement! And yes, please tell your brother I say hello. I love seeing your old photos on facebook. Where does time go?

  6. Welcome back, Jess. Funny how life turns out. Where it takes us, it’s always hard to truly guess. It sounds like a new adventure for you up ahead, juggling work remotely and grad school. I remember when I did grad school it seemed daunting but after a while, you just learn to roll along with it – with a lot of planning. Good luck, and keep writing. Your words were always amazing to read, and I am sure they still are :)

    • Thanks, Mabel. I appreciate your well wishes. It feels SO weird to be back in school, and I know I’ve got a lot more adjusting to do before things start to feel “normal.” I look forward to catching back up with your blog, too. You still inspire me with all that you’re up to!

  7. Jessica, I’m so happy to hear from your again, I have missed your consistency and the interesting comments you always had. I’m so glad to hear you are beginning something that you are truly interested in and wish you well. It sounds to me as if it will be perfect for you. I look forward to your next offering amid one word of advise. If you want to be a writer start now and write some everyday. You don’t have to have a subject and it doesn’t have to be perfect and no one has to see it, but write. I write because I have to ,,, it is more important to me than eating or sleep or water. It is what keeps me going. I understand that may not be your reason for writing, but think it through and put it on paper then place it somewhere you can see it every day and soon the motivation will be revealed and you’ll go places.You have tons of talent and besides you are a sweet caring person. Take care and stay in touch.

    • Thank you so much, Marie. Yours is very good advice… I am trying to do that more. I keep thinking I need to start a journal again. Grad school is keeping me busy, but yes, I feel most alive when I write (and exercise)! I will try to do a better job of staying in touch! <3

  8. Hey Jess, so great to see you back to writing ~ and also back to school and chasing down yet another adventure :-) You’ve got such a great spirit, and very much look forward to hearing about all that lies ahead for you. Nothing quite like change, as it brings opportunities to take on new challenges, and also rediscover yourself in the process. Wishing you the best and the perfect ending to a great summer ~ and onto the adventure of the fall.

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