Wow. It’s been a while since I updated the website, so here goes. As some of you know, I returned to school a while ago. I’m now in the fourth year of my PhD in the Communication & Culture program at Ryerson-York Universities in Toronto. I’ve completed the necessary course work with solid grades and I made it through Comprehensive Exams in one piece (barely). The formal proposal for my Dissertation has been approved by my committee and I’m about to enter into the Dissertation writing process. Additionally, I’ve been TA-ing courses, presenting conference papers and have two peer-reviewed academic book chapters pending publication. Now do you understand why it’s been a little difficult to get around to updating the website? Doing a PhD tends to take over one’s life. I’ve been working hard, but I’m also really enjoying the mental stimulation.
It’s been a challenging, and by times exhausting, few years, but I finally feel like I’m getting some balance back in my life. I experienced a major shift last spring. Although I had consciously realized the previous year that I was keeping myself far too busy, that I was in workaholic mode to ease the movement through some parts of my grief process, it was another year before I could really slow down and peel back the layers of what I’ve been doing. By last spring, I didn’t need to keep myself quite so busy and I started to re-engage with the rest of my life. It’s been quite an amazing process and has involved changes in many areas.
For starters, I’ve been working on my living-working space. I’ve discarded layers of paper, clothes and stuff. Not only does that feel good, it’s also allowed me to open the door to new things, things that are more relevant to who I am now. I’ve been repainting the entire apartment too. I now have a sunny yellow living room, a fresh green kitchen and bathroom and a light mauve office; soon I’ll have a light mauve bedroom to match. As someone commented, I painted my apartment Easter egg colours, a pleasant and refreshing contrast to the beat-up eggshell (light grey) I’ve been living in for the last fifteen years.
The changes have extended far beyond my physical space though. I’ve created the time and found the energy to re-engage with parts of my life that had lain neglected for years when other responsibilities beckoned or I was just making myself too busy. I’ve been working my way back into music through a number of routes; I’ve done some painting and photography; I’ve even found time for leisure reading. Once I emerged from my cave and started breathing more deeply again, I also re-discovered how many amazing people I am fortunate enough to have in my life. I’ve reconnected with a number of old friends thanks to new technologies (and Mark Zuckerberg), but I’m also feeling more connected to everyone in my life and finding opportunities for face-time.
I’ve also re-engaged with my own writing. I’m well into re-drafts of Pairs & Artichoke Hearts, the gender-bender romantic comedy I’ve been playing around with for a very long time but keep coming back to. It feels so good to be actively writing again! I’ve gone back to writing Sundays, cordoning off that one day each week to fully engage without distractions. I have other projects in process, so I expect to create a steady flow of new books over the next several years. If you’re reading this, thanks for keeping the faith! I’ll post occasional updates as things continue to progress.
© Catherine Jenkins 2011