Friday, December 23, 2011

Last day of “work” in 2011

John L. Sullivan
This post needed some random manliness.
I’m sitting at my desk on a Friday afternoon. But not just any Friday; it’s the one before Christmas. And I literally have nothing to do. Most of the people here are taking an extended weekend for the Holiday. I’m taking all of next week off, so I am here today. My boss is here too. But, since he has no meetings scheduled, he is spending his day getting caught up on a lot of stuff. Stuff that I can’t help with, really.

So, what do I do with myself as I watch the clock slowly tick towards quitting time? Well, a lot of Facebook, some emails, internet researching, etc. I even started some homework. In fact, homework is probably what I should be doing. But I just can’t bring myself to concentrate on that.

On a related note, I am pondering the idea of changing the focus of my major from Ancient and Classical Cultures to American History. I’m not really sure why. I love ancient cultures, but there is so much about them that I don’t know. Now, conventional wisdom says that that is precisely why I am in school, right? To learn more? But sometimes I feel like I don’t even know as much as I should. I blame that on the circumstances surrounding me getting my degree (as in taking 14 years to do it), but there you have it. I have not retained nearly enough historical knowledge.

So, why American History? Well, whenever I read about it, I am drawn in. From the Native Americans (a slightly misleading term, by the way), to the Revolutionary War, to the Civil War and the subsequent “Wild West” period. I like reading about it all. It’s more personal. I love Sparta and Athens, but I can’t personally relate to any of those cultures. Yet, I can relate to the plight of the Irish immigrants in Boston in the 1880’s. To the founding fathers, who, despite their relative faults compared to modern sensibilities, were brilliant men with vision that dwarfs anything any of our own political leadership can conjure.

In short, American History is my history. It’s the history of who I am as an American. Fortunately, I’m in my first term, and I’m pretty sure that the two classes I am currently in will carry over to the new focus. So, it won’t be such a leap. But it will be into an area that I am already more familiar with, will probably be more comfortable studying, and will be able to garner at lease some passion about.

In the meantime, I’m still writing. I have decided to write two more sequels to the Orc Space Pirate story I wrote, Blackskull’s Captive! My goal is to flesh out Captive to about 15k words (right now it’s a trim 9k), and then write two more stories of about 15-20k each. Then I will package them all together as a book. Whether I try to go with a traditional publisher, or self-publish an e-book, I don’t know. But, with a final length of around 45-50k, I’m thinking an e-book would be better. Too short for today’s publishers. Anyways, the second story got a full plot outline, and some thumbnails of the main characters, so that’s moving along nicely. And I know where and how the whole saga ends, so it shouldn’t be but a matter of writing from here on out.

And then here comes Christmas. My daughter comes to visit all next week, and I am very excited to see her again. I miss her when she is gone. But, thanks to the internet and texting, I dare say we have a closer father-daughter relationship these days than most men who live with their daughters have. Certainly it’s better now than it has been for us. But, a large part of that is the fact that she is 16, and can see through the screens of BS her mother puts up to the real truths. In the end she knows I love her, and I only want what’s good for her. And she appreciates that. As a dad, that means a lot.

So, there you go. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, etc. Happy New Year to all, and I hope 2012 is a better year for everyone involved. I may post something during my vacation, but don’t hold your breath. Between spending time with my kids and family, doing some homework, and playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ll most likely be swamped.


Keith said...

Sounds like you've thought out your reasons for switching your focus to American history quite well. I'm not a historian, but I was thinking earlier today while driving to visit family if I were, what areas would I focus on? Or to put it another way, what were my interests in history and why? Ancient, classical, and medieval as well as Russian were high on the list, but so was American history for pretty much the same reasons you've given. Great minds think alike.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck with it; I wish you the best. Also, may you and your family have a very Merry Christmas.

Kainja said...

I was really interested in history when I was young, particularly military history, and mostly of World War II. For some reason, other than the western period, American history has not been a great interest, although at times I've become fascinated with the Civil war.