Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Late Bloomer

I was invited to my college class's 50th reunion, and I realized I had no nostalgia at all.

I am grateful for my education at Columbia College in Columbia University, and my graduate education at Columbia (and for my education at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn). I live off of it. I really did not know how to study or be sophisticated. Still, I was able to explore, discover, taste, and I did learn how to think like a physicist.

In my subsequent years at Berkeley, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Minnesota, the National Humanities Center, and MIT, I learned lots, published, etc., But I was still in a career fog. I am probably in that fog still.

When I took my son home from the hospital where he was born, I became a writer--while he slept I worked. All the stuff I had learned since I was in high school and college and university and as a faculty member and researcher and fellow, coalesced into about one book every 3.5 years. I am still in that mode, even now living alone. I like my work.

Columbia gave me a peek into the world of learning and scholarship, and my teachers set my standards--however close I came to meeting them. I suspect that I remember things more generously than they were, but that is of no matter.

I have always wandered, guided by my nose-navigation regularly telling me which way I might turn. I've been rereading some of my earlier work, as I try to revise a book for a second edition. In retrospect, it all adds up, comments and themes in one book adumbrate where I would go subsequently. There are two main streams, and they feed each other.

Being a university professor, going back to college does not quite make sense. But it is interesting to think how much I was lost, in that fog, yet somehow I found my way, and that way does make some sense.

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