Goodbye to All That

Cynthia Heider | 25 July, 2018
Image: Frank Hurley / Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.

This entry comes as I face the end of graduate school. This entry is about mourning the passing of old things and embracing the things that will take their place. One of my very first blog posts dealt with this topic. Nearly two years ago I wrote about how my hometown in Ohio memorialized and reconciled its history of industrial loss. In comparison to the sandstone grindstones of Berea, my own monument to the passing of an important time in my life is far less tangible.

Pequod, a virtual succulent from the game Viridi

Meet Pequod, a digital succulent garden that I’ve cultivated since August 2016 using the video game Viridi. Viridi bills itself as “a safe haven, a place you can return to for a moment of peace and quiet whenever you need it,” and while it feels hokey, I have to agree. Keeping this little fake garden “alive” has been a soothing and satisfying experience for me throughout an otherwise challenging and transformative time. Pequod, like its literary namesake, has been a pretty great companion through some choppy waters.

Of course, I write for myself now, and not everything has to be an analogy. So, to get to the point: this is a weird time. I’ve done it! I’ve earned my degree, and I guess I can call myself a public historian now. I’m mildly stunned at the sheer weight of the accomplishment. But I stand at a crossroads- like all those recent writers of “quit lit,” I’m grappling with leaving academia. I’m lamenting what feels like a loss of intellectual community. I’m missing a dedicated sense of purpose and network of peers to share it with. This is a weird time.

It’s been six months since I updated this blog. They’ve been some of the most eventful of my entire life, and yet I find that I don’t have much to say about them for now. They were largely dominated by writing guilt, stress, and exhaustion. It’s ridiculous that the rosy glow of hindsight could make them seem tolerable, even desirable. But here I am, journaling like a teenager! I mean to write more here, and more regularly, and less earnestly. For now I suppose this will suffice.