My trip to Madison was very productive and good. I'm glad I drove because it gave me a vehicle to scoot around that crazy isthmus at will. I met with four of my five advisers for the Diss, have a schedule, received the necessary inspiration-vibes necesary to complete this huge task, and reconnected with a place I once called "home." Nice.
I've said before (and often) that moving back to Buffalo would be an easier relocation instead of the alternative--find a place with a steady job, move there, and complete the Diss. And, in MANY ways, it was been easier. More importantly, it's been more satisfying, I think, than if I had just thrown my resume/CV into the national employment pot. It's a full life here built on many different aspects of living. Grad school was sooooo isolated and sooooooo insanely focused on school, which I guess it had to be at the time. Monochrome instead of tie-dyed, if you will. I told many people over the weekend, "I'm stayin.'" In Buffalo, that is. I have more opportunities here than anywhere else I could have gone, contrary to popular opinion. I'll make it work here somehow. I'm diggin' it.
The Diss defense is "scheduled" for sometime in April 2010. And holy fucking pumpkins do I have a lot to do. But, the good thing is that all my advisers are on board for my topic--music in Buffalo during the Great Depression, in a nutshell--and through all of my own worries and self-doubts, THEY have confidence in me to get it done. This is huge. It adds some momentum.
I also realized, while in Madison, that I have A LOT of support around The Buff as well, and maybe I don't always know it, feel it, acknowledge it as much as I should. As one of my piano student's moms said to me yesterday after telling her about the reason for the trip, "You have an interesting life!" And she meant it.
I do? I've had her words rattling around the ol' noggin for over 12 hours now (which turned into a dream of some sort, but that's already vague and fading fast). I do, me thinks. It's oddball as far as scheduling, unpredictable as far as income, and always in need of an explanation ("What is musicology"? is usually question numero uno). And, now I will be spending days careening my vehicle around this city to explore various archive files, historical societies, lost tales, hidden gems followed by countless hours trying to scrap a book out of this hearty collection of histories. *Gulp*
What will keep me sane (relatively speaking, of course!) is the fact that I'm here in Buffalo. I won't be able to do this without the people, places and things that inform my life here. No way. While it was fun to be in Dairyland (Wisconsin) again and to feel the energy of being on campus and whatnot, my energy has definitely shifted back to Buffalo, to this community and to the potential HERE. For all of us and for everything.
So, I still scan the nation's musicology job vacancies posted by the American Musicological Society, and I still have to work hard to push away thoughts of "Screw it! Get a real job!" that rear their cranky heads when I'm tired and overwhelmed by my own self. But I'm more confident that I have made the right choices. So, here I am, home again. And I'm staying put.
And, I love chicken wings, sports, and beer. I think that about clinches it.