I showed up today. I did the morning routine. Got a day in front of me with no scheduled distractions, and protecting against the impromptu interruptions. I made a pot of tea. Cleaned off my computer desktop. Minimized all windows of email news sources and decorating ideas for a nursery. I put my phone on silent. I opened up the document called “Justice on the Periphery.” And now I’m staring at it. I start stringing words together hoping that my mind will take a cue from the movement of my fingers on the keyboard and realize it’s time to think insightful articulate orderly thoughts, but it’s not working yet--clearly, since I’m writing this blog instead of an article that MUST be drafted by the end of the month! (my own deadline, not my supervisor’s. Does anyone else have difficulty taking their own deadlines seriously?) If I were at LSE I’d probably grab a couple of fellow PhDers and head across the street for an espresso, a breath of fresh air and share a few ideas—hoping that one would trigger thought flow that lends itself better to prolificness (is that a word?) but I’m in Gulu. Yesterday, I had this fleeting moment of Londonsickness. Since I only lived there one year I’m not sure I’m entitled to call it homesickness, but it was a nostalgic twinge of longing for an upcoming autumn, academic colleagues, a beloved housemate, my parents and sister a train ride away, warm drinks and chilly weather—I even imagined riding on public transportation with no little affection. I comforted myself by appreciating my ability to walk or bodaboda most places I need to go within minutes and how relaxed my spine is when my shoulders are never forced to migrate north to my ears for the winter. I have different sources of inspiration here. I live with some great minds, have friends and colleagues that are willing to let me spew half-baked ideas off of them and of course, I can spend time with the women that are the subjects of my inquiries. Truly, the ability to sit and talk about observations with them is an excellent privilege and, I hope, enlightening to all of us involved in the conversation. This is the part where I should write some sort of resolution, how I overcame my mental hurdles. But I’m at a loss for words, so instead, I promise to keep showing up, to get back to writing after I post this and I invite your suggestions.
I know, I’ve blogged twice about difficulty writing, and I promise I’ll move on to more interesting topics—as soon as I can get myself writing instead of writing about writing (which I realize is kind of taboo, but I figure it’s not all bad since the creative process is something that most of us struggle with to some extent in our life’s work—so hopefully you can resonate and maybe even help me). I do have a few blogs brewing, like “how to get girls at Makerere University” (don’t worry, it won’t be based on my own experience or Ben’s) and how Nido (powdered milk) could spell the tragic downfall of our commune, or my rookie thoughts on mommy blogging (did you notice that I now follow a blog called “rage against the minivan” hah. the transformation is occurring…) and sensitive ethical questions about adoption. In other news: there was an election in Rwanda yesterday, there have been several notable developments in international law, Kenya voted on a new constitution, and Uganda is taking a public holiday tomorrow in honour of a former president who died last week. I won’t be taking a holiday. I will write. I will.
(an update: I wrote this earlier today, and did actually get some decent writing done between then and now, but when I was really getting into the groove I had an interruption. A good friend was in a car accident. Kind of puts life in perspective. I didn't have details for the first hour or so and that was a prayer-filled very long hour. But a visit to the hospital and assurance that a lot of sleep-inducing silly-making pain killers for the next few days and then the patience to let a few broken ribs heal is what the doctor's ordered was a big relief. He's going to be Ok.)