Status: Living Boldly 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

~Theodore Roosevelt

Status: Taking chances

I have found music invaluable in my process of daily “butt in chair” meditation. When I sit down to write, I aim for flow. Thelonious Monk’s compositions give me a path for flow and inspire me to take improvisational chances in my writing. He is my companion in those long hours alone and his level of genius is my aim (in life…as an academic…in research). 

  
Graphic from http://foolishfire.com/2012/12/24/quote-from-the-right-reverend-thelonious-monk/thelonious-monk/

Status: Steadfast 

The hardest thing about meeting any challenging goal is the day to day drudgery. Showing up at my desk, each day, unwavering. Sometimes I’m distracted and write total crap. Sometimes I get flow. Always it feels like “I’m digging all the way to China with a silver spoon” (Tom Waits). And yet, I don’t stop. Like in love, it is commitment that makes me steadfast. This dissertation may be breaking my bones, but I’m still laughing.