It’s a day to hug the woodstove, chop wood, grade papers, read, write, and take a nap. Minus 20 degrees - too cold to snowboard. I want to comment briefly on the response I’ve gotten since I decided to narrow Borderland’s focus to literacy-specific topics. It’s been encouraging to see a significant jump in readership, and so I’ll stay the course. I hope it doesn’t get tedious.

Speaking publicly with an authoritative voice about literacy is a little harder than just sitting down and freewheeling about the latest stray thought to cross my mind. I’ve gone back to some of the books I have on my shelf. I’m reading and re-reading things that I’d forgotten about. Neural processing activity has taken a jump along with the blog stats. It’s also going to take me a little bit longer to put a post together because of the research and the deliberation necessary to think things through a little bit more.

I’ve thought more than a couple of times that I wish I’d had this forum available when I started graduate school. That was way back in 2000. I know. Not that long ago. But I bought my first computer in the fall of ‘99. If I’d had a blog and a wiki to use back then, I’d have a database full of my research and writing. It’s on a disk. But to move it all into a database and publish it will take me way too long. I could go back and rip stuff from the papers I wrote…that has possibilities. We used Blackboard in the program, and for me it was the first time I’d ever written for a group of people. After I got over the initial discomfort, I started to like it. When I finished the program, I missed the intellectual discourse. So blogging is a natural outlet for me now.

Since I got the degree, I’ve been on the prowl for coursework that I could apply to the masters for advancement on the school district’s salary schedule. I’m set to reach the M+36 goal at the end of this semester, and that’s the end of my road. From here I plan to back away from formal coursework and workshops for a while. I spoke up at a staff meeting recently and announced that I was getting a divorce from the university soon. I’m weary of being “professionally developed.” I think I may be the intellectual victim of too much of a good thing.

But honestly, I need to feed the idea factory. I like to read research and to think about abstractions. The blog is going to give me a chance to follow the muse. I did something yesterday to facilitate this slight change of direction. I paid for electronic access to all of the International Reading Association’s publications and archives. I’d recommend it to anyone in graduate school doing research in literacy. The entire collection is searchable. I entered the word ‘inquiry’ into the search field and got 270 references from journals and book chapters. People might wonder why anyone would want to follow such a pointless pursuit. There won’t be any money in it for me. It’s going to take up a lot of time. All I can say is that it seems like something I need to to do. I’m trying to make sense of my career choice, and writing publicly about it is more meaningful than thrashing around on my own. I hope you find some value in it.