I am an amalgam, as are we all. I have a great deal of graduate education. Yet I have a hard time finding how it defines me. Since I am not a permanent part of academia (such as holding a faculty position), I came up with the concept of myself as “rural scholar.”
During the Bush years of 2000-2008, I worked on a Ph.D. My research was on communication in urban high schools. My doctoral program was in a communication studies department which had begun with progressive premises. I will not dwell on why I never ended up defending my completed dissertation. Suffice it to say that I did not find an environment among the faculty that allowed the culmination of the project. It might be that those who were sufficiently progressive in their views (the social force and cultural studies branches of the department) did not feel comfortable touching education research. That has been a gatekeeping factor for time immemorial.
Be that as it may, I grew in intense ways during those nearly eight years, partly because of the hardships and terror raised by trying to accomplish, with soul-anchored determination, caught between a sense of inadequacy and a real discordance with those in charge of my progress.
In the last months before I left the program undefended, I wrote a fiction story that won an international contest based in Belgium. [See blog post, Why I Write.]
I left the program in 2008, feeling defeated and incomplete. After several years in which I started my fiction writing, I entered a depth psychology program.
By that time, I had spent about ten years teaching college and university courses, leading workshops on use of technologies in education, and doing research in classrooms, schools and after-school programs. I continue to work in education in various capacities, and continue to write and hone my writing skills.
Like Kay Halefin, in my novel Braided Dimensions, I ran from the conflicts at a university rather than stay and fight to change the institution. Sometimes we need to retreat, or at least divert. My path has led to deep inner work and the adoption of spiritual paths that are not at all divorced from the fantasy in my fiction. I will write more about that as time goes on.
See Lausanne 2006