Monday, June 30, 2014

because i'm egocentric

A couple brief updates:

I’ve been working on putting together a party for Day 365, an outdoor screening that may mix together three different pools of people I know—grad school folk, speech team folk, and relatives. Should be interesting.

My Woodstock Willie cookie from Jaci’s Cookies—my prize for getting the opening question right in the trivia contest back at the Official Groundhog Day Breakfast in Woodstock, February 2nd—has been eaten, so it no longer sits on either of my Groundhog Day shelves. I suppose it wasn’t made to last forever, and get moved around occasionally. Parts of the icing started falling off. Two days ago, I opened the plastic to try to re-place them, and inadvertently made it much worse. So, then I bit the bullet (figuratively) and bit the cookie (literally), then broke off pieces for my kids, and in no time the cookie was gone. Flavor-wise, it held up well nearly five months after being made.

I recently acquired a LEGO tree stump, so my second LEGO project for the summer break may just be a Gobbler’s Knob model with crowd.

(My first LEGO project for the summer break, much of the work for which was actually completed before the spring quarter finished, involves David Lynch’s Rabbits, and that is all I will say about that one for now.)

My kids and I have been playing a lot of new tabletop games lately and today I had some ideas for a Groundhog Day game. Currently, it involves a board, a deck of cards, and possibly some dice. Still working out the details, then I shall probably have to share.

In other news, I would like to admit that I am probably as egocentric as Phil Connors. Actually, scratch that “probably.” If you need evidence, look no further than this blog. I established way back on Day 52 that this blog is an exploration of my self as much as it is an exploration of the movie Groundhog Day; I haven’t only been placing Groundhog Day in time and space, exploring all of its themes and details from as many angles as I can come up with, I have also been placing myself in time and space, exploring different sides of myself, different angles on my life. The prospectus I put together in the spring quarter for a possible thesis topic toward my Master’s degree next year was even all about how producing this blog has… let me doublecheck some phrasing. My specific research question is this:

How does the act of blogging through a life crisis contribute to personal sensemaking and the socioemotional re-creation of one’s place in the world?

In context, the life crisis (or possibly I may end up using Weick’s notion of the interruption when I rewrite this prospectus in the fall) is pending divorce; particularly, if you’ve been following this blog all along, you would know that when I began it I was living alone, seeing my kids occasionally, spending a lot of time by myself, and keeping myself busy helped keep me sane. Figuratively speaking, of course; I would not suggest that my sanity was necessarily on the verge of being lost, but depression was a possibility, I suppose. This blog was and has been a way for me to segment my day, order my life and collect my thoughts on many a subject over the past 11 months. And, I like it.

That last detail is the one I want to stress today. Because this blog gets linked through Twitter (twice), Facebook (also twice), Google + and Flipboard and the Blogger page views do not often seem to match when comparing individual page’s views and the changes in total counts, I cannot be sure just how many people necessarily read this blog from day to day. I know it’s not as many as I would like, so far. But, it is nice to just have any audience, really. I like the attention. As I said above, I am egocentric, just like Phil Connors. He is just a bit more smooth and charming than I am. But, while he may seem to have his life together pre-loop, one of the points to the story of Groundhog Day, obviously, is that he doesn’t have his life together at all. He has been clambering to create a life he doesn’t even really want; he just thinks he should want it. I’ve been there. I went to college right out of high school because I was expected to and thought I should. As it turned out, I was not prepared for college back then. I’ve excelled at it since returning to college far more recently, but that was after many years of dead end or temp jobs and a lot of aimlessness. Give me the precise, repetitive details of a time loop and I think I could do well, at least for a while, because there is no particular sense of a future. When I saw a psychiatrist regularly after my wife and I first separated, one of the things discussed in those sessions was how I grew up without a particular sense that I’d even have a future—grow up in a Christian church that stresses end-of-the-world prophecy at the tail-end of the Cold War, and you are bound to have some problem or another; mine was that I had to learn as an adult (and I’m still not entirely sure that I have managed it) to really plan ahead for the future. I moved across the country to be with a girl, I let another girl move across the country to be with me. And, I never really had a sense beyond the now. Like pre- and early-loop Phil…

I’ve made the distinction before between Phil’s sense of living in the moment pre-loop and Phil’s sense of living in the moment post-loop. The former is ill-prepared and unfulfilling, the latter is thoughtfully-conceived and productive. I’ve wondering more than once if my starting this very blog was not exactly the former—as Dennis Hopper says in Speed, “the whim of a madman.” I truly don’t know if 11 months ago I imagined that I would be where I am right now, that this blog would consistently be as wordy and serious as tends to be, and my life would feel like it was going pretty much as it should be going. I think I just needed something new to latch onto.

But, like Phil learned a different way to deal with now, I have learned a different way to deal with this blog, with my day-to-day existence, with my self.

I am egocentric because I have to be to be sure I have a handle on my life. There have been far too many days in my life in which everything seemed so very much out of my control, and that is a distressing way to live. Today, it all seems very much under control. I accept that there are forces outside of myself that can affect the way my life goes day-to-day, but I also accept that I am fully equipped to deal with them. A year ago, I am not sure I could say the same.

Today’s reason to repeat a day forever: to stretch the muscles that produce those madman whims, to do all of the craziest things I can imagine doing, and then do them all again just for good measure.

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