I hear the drums

One man's poison is another man's food. Is that how the saying goes? One man's trash another man's treasure? Something like that.

I had an appointment with my academic advisor this week. I wanted to get a better handle on where I might be headed from here. Going after a degree in Human Studies is a pretty wide open proposal - what does that look like really? That's what I wanted to know. There is not one single course in the Human Sciences department that I don't want to take, but obviously I can't take them all. Can I? Can I take them all? Should I?

My advisor is a knowing woman. She watched the way I talked about the courses. She saw what really touches off the bonfires inside my head. She said things like, "You would love Psychology of Transformational Narrative. It will be offered this year in Winter Quarter." I kept suggesting the things I least wanted ... should I take this one? Would this other course be a good idea? She wrinkled her nose a bit ... furrowed her brow - just a little ... didn't take me seriously while I was talking about all the things I thought I "should" do.

Then she started to sing to me in the language of the angels themselves. She described a very specific approach - the narrative approach. It isn't a discipline - it's an approach. It works across the disciplines. It's a sort of psychological multi-tool.

I cried. Literally. Wept. She keeps a box of kleenex handy. (Probably a good idea if your students are middle aged women who are beginning at last to use all the parts of themselves on purpose, and who no longer have the pride (or the hormones!) of youth to keep them stoic.) I couldn't quite stop my tears on Thursday this week. Or my mind's crazy happy dance. There are people - real people - university people - who study and theorize and experiment and use this? This is my native tongue. This is the language I speak when I am not translating. There are others? I have a tribe? I have a tribe! Ohmyword! Shh. Don't breathe. Don't talk. Listen. Hear that? Drum beats. I hear them. I have a tribe!

I said, "You have just described the inside of my head. That's the way I think - the way I see the world - the way I talk to people." (Were my eyes as large as they felt?)

She smiled. "Register for Tranformational Narrative," she said. "Just a minute," she said. "I'll call and find out when it's scheduled. It's a weekend course."

"A weekend course?"

"Yes," she said. "All day Friday, Saturday, Sunday. One weekend. Just a minute. I'll check the dates."

She called her assistant. I did some very rapid thinking. One weekend this winter. One weekend to be utterly immersed in the theory of narratives. Three whole days. My word, it would be like a silent retreat for my brain!

There are people who would rather be nibbled to death by a duck than study narrative theory for a solid three days in a row. But me? I'm taking that class next quarter. I have to now. I bought the books for it on the way home.

1 comment:

Marchi Wierson said...

Sometimes being nibbled on is not so bad, it depends on the context. Immersion is such an exciting way to study. Bathing in it, diving in, hoping to understand enough to swim. I love school, classes, exploring. Your class sounds great.