A blog about life, language, writing, and other trivia.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Beginning

My wife, Lee, and I will be moving this summer. In 2003, she accepted a tenure-track position in the English Department (Professional Writing and Rhetoric concentration) at Elon University, where I then worked as an adjunct while finishing my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. I deposited last September and promptly began searching for a tenure-track position. So did Lee, mainly because we wanted to maximize our chances of getting positions within driving distance of each other. That there were essentially no positions available near our home in central NC--an easy drive from UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Greensboro, and Duke, and a not too unreasonable drive from NC State and Wake Forest, among many other, smaller schools--isn't simply odd; it practically defies the laws of physics. So, while hopeful, we tried to be realistic: what were the odds, really, that we would both get decent-or-better jobs that were reasonably close to each other?

Pretty good, it turns out.

Somehow, unbelievably, we were both offered tenure-track assistant professorships in Bowling Green SU's Rhetoric and Writing Ph.D. program. When I say "unbelievably," I don't mean to be self-deprecating. I know both Lee and I were strong job candidates. But, jeez, we could have been rhet/comp's answer to the Curies and not have hoped for tenure-track jobs in the same department, much less in a really strong, well-respected Ph.D. program with a 2/2 load and a full nine hours closer to family in Chicago than we are now. (We'll only be 3 - 4 hours closer to my family in SW Missouri, but even that's the difference between an excruciatingly long day's drive or simply a day's drive.)

So, come the end of May, Lee and I will load up the PODS (Portable On-Demand Storage) unit, pile into the family truckster (ok, the Jetta) with our baby Olivia, and transfer our stuff and our lives to northwest Ohio.

We've moved before, so we know the drill, and we're more than excited about our new jobs. But, still, I just can't be as sanguine about moving as Michael Bérubé apparently is:

I actually kind of like moving, in some ways. . . . I like the physicality of it, the sheer clarity: you pick up furniture and put it in trucks, you sort through books and dishes and toys, you tally up all your longings and belongings and worries and debts. You are compelled to account for your every possession, however hideous or forgotten it may be.

First of all, if I want physicality, I can mow the lawn, go to the gym, or walk 18 holes. And the great thing is, it doesn't take 6 months and a posture-wrecking mix of hard labor and tedium to get back to normal after a round of golf. Second--clarity? I never figured Michael for the ducks-in-a-row type, but if what feels to me little more than cramming a houseful of Junk and Other Ebay Purchases into a zillion scavenged fruit and booze boxes feels to him like "[accounting] for every possession," then he must be. Who knew?

Still, I can't help being excited about the possibility that comes with moving, and with beginnings in general--the adventure, the challenge, the unvarnished newness of it all.


At 11:11 AM, Blogger Doc Mara said...


Congrats to you both. As someone who was a small part of the process for you and Lee, I can only say that your future looks bright and BGSU is happy to share some of the glow. Good luck with the PODS, and see if you can find some Berube zen in the process.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Lance said...

Thanks, Andrew. And best of luck to you and Miriam in your upcoming move. Here's hoping you'll be able to find some Bérubé zen, but I'm afraid I'll have to settle for some ruby zin instead.

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, congrats! That's major news. I have to settle for a six-hour drive relationship. :)


At 11:01 AM, Blogger Lance said...

Thanks, Jenny. My wife (then girlfriend) and I did the six-hour drive in grad school for a year. You have my sympathy. On the other hand, I currently work in NC with a woman whose husband is in Ohio, so I guess it could always be worse. (Not much consolation, I know.)


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