Never the Same Dave Twice

It’s been almost nine years since I finished my dissertation; a little more than six since I finished getting my teaching certification. I spent most of my 20s as a grad student and yet that part of my life is rapidly moving into my proverbial rear-view mirror. I talk about it with my students sometimes, often in the context of encouraging them to avoid student debt. But that life, with its intense focus on academic reading and writing, feel disconnected with who I am now.

I started thinking about this when I thought about how long it’s been since I wrote on this blog. I started it as a website in 2000, and it was meant to be a forum to talk about all the things I cared about at the time. Now I think about those sections and wonder if they still apply to my life in 2015. Am I still a philosopher if I haven’t read a journal article or written a philosophical essay in years? My reading and thinking about Dewey still influences the way I try to teach. Is that being a philosopher, or an educator, or both? I’m not sure.

I don’t know how much I can call myself a comics fan these days; I have a small pile of trade paperbacks to read, but since I stopped buying monthly comics and both major superhero companies did assorted revamps to their lines and continuity, I can’t say I’m heavily invested in the medium. I know a couple of creators whose work I like have independent projects, but even there I don’t race to the store (or to an e-commerce site) to grab copies. I still follow some of the news, go to a convention once in a while, and wear plenty of superhero shirts. Am I still a fan? I don’t know.

And then I come to the big question: Am I still a writer? I write material for my classes. I write short anecdotes to share with my friends and family on Facebook, and one-liners to share with folks on Twitter. But essays? Interviews? Deeper exploration of a topic? Putting one sentence in front of another until you have a paragraph, and then doing it again and again until you have a completed piece? I feel so rusty there, and so often I feel too tired to do the work of organizing my thoughts. There are things I want to write, and plenty of things I want to have written. But am I a writer?

I’m not sure. I think it’s time to find out.

One Comment

  1. Comment by Jenny:

    I’m fascinated by the idea of how we define ourselves. I consider myself a musician but haven’t done a paying gig in a couple of years and don’t sit down to play very often. Do I consider myself a musician because it’s important to me to be? Or because I truly am?

    The label of writer? That’s one that always gets me! Even after three summers with the Northern Virginia Writing Project and writing pretty regularly, I have trouble claiming that label. Why is that? Is it about the label or about how I define myself?

    Seriously, so much to think about.