Good for Them, Not for Me

I've been told by several people throughout my schooling that excellence, be it studying for the SATs, performance on a musical instrument, or musicological research and writing, only comes at the expense of normal life. Should an academic make that mistake to get married, it shouldn't effect their study or career. Same goes with parenting. To be the Man of Steel (read: PhD) one needs a Fortress of Solitude (read: Ivory Tower) and nothing should impede your labor. There have been times when I've attempted to live this out. But I'm not very good at it. I won't give up on spending time (or even wasting time) with my wife or my daughter or other loved ones.

Don't misunderstand me! I've gone to school for 23 years. I've worked extremely hard. I'm proud of what I've accomplished and I'm excited by what's coming. But to some, I have not gone about this right. I haven't suffered enough. Or fretted enough. Or regretted enough. Or picked a boring enough dissertation topic. To them I will quote the great Amy Poehler: "Good for them, not for me."

To this end, I am letting go of my grand vision, The Mumford & Sons Project (for now). You may have noted a slight half-year hiatus in the this blog's writing, and the reason is that the M&S Project was meant to be a chill, low-stress sideshow that would give me relief from dissertating and parenting. Yet, in fitting Matthew Roy fashion, what it became was something that I found inspiring, interesting, complex, subtle, and deserving of intense thought, consideration, nuance, and footnotes. Not exactly a side project. And I have a toddler whom I love. And the dissertation sometimes feels like a toddler, whom I also love.

This blog also began to feel like it was another place to prove that I am an academic. (People, serious, scholarly people, may see my unpolished writing!) But it's not. It's a side project. In the future I will inevitably talk about scholarly things, because I truly enjoy investigating the world that way. I will also likely betray my penchant for jocularity and nerdiness. (If you doubt the scholarly as well as soulful importance of laughter, take a look at Mikhail Bakhtin's introduction to his study on Rabelais.) First and foremost, it will be an outlet. And I will perhaps begin to enjoy it once again.

Perhaps you will to!