|canoes on the Charles River lagoons, 2008|
- I've been getting back into some personal (not-for-work) history research in the cracks between my other obligations. I'm on what we call in the business a "fishing expedition" looking for a project that will yield something interesting and original on the crossroads of gender, sexuality, and religion within the Christian left during the 1950s-1980s (focusing on the early 1970s). My starting point is the Methodist Student Movement publication motive magazine (1941-1972), outspoken on issues such as poverty, civil rights, and cold war politics, the staff of motive experienced a decline in denominational support when they published an issue on women's liberation in 1969 through to the final two issues, published independent of the church, on gay men's liberation and lesbian/feminism. My current line of questioning circles around why Christian theology provided a robust vocabulary for speaking about some leftist issues -- but seems to have failed its young activists on feminist and queer issues. I'm keeping busy reading motive, some personal papers of its editors, and surveying the secondary literature ... a few hours a week, stolen when I can.
- Against my better (or perhaps simply more self-centered) judgement, I've been Getting Involved at work with some advocacy issues related to organizational transparency and employee benefits restructuring. As a small non-profit cultural institution (we employ a staff of about fifty) we're facing some post-2008 financial fallout that requires reduction in benefits. Questions about how decisions have been (and will be) made, and how employees will (or will not) be involved in the process are a live concern. I've been tapped to be part of a staff advisory group, and volunteered to be on a retirement planning committee. If any of you have reading suggestions for good books or articles about worker advocacy in the non-profit, non-unionized workplace I'm happily taking suggestions!
- General workplace busyness during the summer season, which is when many of our fellowship recipients make time to visit the library to conduct their research, and casual visitors in Boston on holiday make an appearance.
- For the past two months, Hanna has been working her way through an allergy identification diet which has demanded particular attention to cooking and a lot of learning-on-the-fly about alternate ingredients. So far, the likely suspect is gluten intolerance, which will require a reorganization of the kitchen, our shopping & cooking patterns, and all that jazz. Do you know how hard it is to find non-preachy gluten-free cookery books?
- I've been trying to spend more time reading offline and doing other non-internet activities, particularly on the weekend. Some of those things I've blogged about in my book review posts. I'm also enjoying such things as The London Review of Books, The Lesbian Connection, Bitch magazine, and back issues of our various professional journal subscriptions (The American Historical Review and Library Journal and Oral History Review and so forth).
- Biking means less time to read offline while commuting. As whingey as this sounds, biking more to and from work reduces my leisure reading time by as much as five hours per week -- a not insubstantial amount!
- I've been seeing a wonderful uptick in personal emails over the past few months, as long-distance friendships have evolved from blog-based to email-based exchanges. This is a positive development, in my personal opinion, but also means that much of my writing and discretionary intellectual energy gets pulled in the direction of one-to-one conversations rather than blog posts sent out into the aether.
- And yep, I'm still fiction (and fan-fiction writing)! For example, the piece of erotica I submitted last weekend, and the series I'm adding to on a weekly basis over at AO3.
In the meantime -- hope y'all are doing well and have kick-ass summer plans. I'm sure we'll see one another around!