Chris Uggen's Blog: feeling it

Sunday, June 10, 2012

feeling it

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Whenever this site goes quiet for a time, perceptive friends like Brother Shadd reach out to say, "We worry when you go on walkabout, you know." Since they often reflect the author's particular sensibility, personal blogs and columns tend to be emotion-sensitive, if not emotion-driven. When something heavy comes along in their lives, authors either fake it (All is well!), embrace it (posting Reflections from That Sad Guy), ignore it (Damn the Torpedoes!), or bag it (take a hiatus).

I generally favor the latter approach when I'm not feeling it for a spell or there's just too much other work to do. Though I appreciate a good wallow as much as the next person, I do my wallowin' on the running trails or in the basement, amidst dusty books and tube amplifiers.*

Things are actually going quite well for me, but someone close to me has really been struggling. This means, of course, that things aren't going well for me at all. When the pain of another becomes your pain, I suppose, love's terrible gob-smacking power is revealed and made manifest. For an emotionally constipated Scandinavian-American like me, it is actually bracing to feel love and empathy so strongly -- in the same way, I suppose, that being dangled by the ankles from a 50-story building might sharpen one's appreciation for life.

All of this is to say that I'm fine (at least in the Minnesota sense of that word), that I'm still writing at TSP and pubcrim, and that my personal posts here may continue to be bit spotty this summer. That said, along with my usual half-baked thoughts on running, music, and social science, I'm planning a few quarter-baked transition pieces -- about the empty-nester experience as Esperanza leaves for college, about reentry to civilian life after two terms as department chair, about shifting from Contexts editor to TSP publisher, and, perhaps, about some new research directions forthcoming in American Journal of Sociology and American Sociological Review this summer. So, thanks for reaching out. As long as folks keep visiting, I'll keep writing.

*Dusty tube amplifiers make for warm companions. When you switch on a long-neglected amp, the hot tubes cook the dust and glow purple, filling the room with the scent of hot glass and Bakelite and a low hum that crackles like popcorn.


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