ethics are not one size fits all

In a brief moment of vertigo-free lucidity, I thought I’d procrastinate the homework I’m behind on and blog about the things I’ve been thinking while my brain has been too fried to read or function normally.

The other night I participated in a telephone interview for a doctoral student studying Jewish women and social justice. We had a great conversation, and I think it did as much for me as it did for the woman interviewing me, because it gave me the chance to a) talk about myself, which I love, and b) rethink my identity and my commitment to my field and social justice, which I also enjoy.

Earlier this year, I posted about The Life You Can Save and made a pledge to donate a portion of my income to a philanthropic organization that is dedicated to eradicating global poverty. I couldn’t make as large a donation as I would like, but I plan to keep giving what I can while I’m in school, and once I make more than $60 a week, I’ll go with the real pledge. In the meantime, I’m making up the difference with my time. I’ve gotten involved with some other students and young people who are working with Peter Singer, the author of the book, to turn The Life You Can Save into a full-on movement, not just a website supporting a book about a great idea. Our first group meeting the other day really got me thinking again about ethics, and how I approach them, and how I should look into living a more ethical life. I think it’s important that ethics are not one size fits all, but there are some parts of ethics that I think are more or less nonnegotiable. Continue reading

bloggish resolutions

This year I made myself some non-specific, qualitative-rather-than-quantitative resolutions that will probably become clear as I continue blogging. But as far as this blog is concerned, I plan to focus it more and have more consistent “columns” and themes. I’ll continue doing my informal research updates on biracial literature, but I’ll also be using that reading for actual academic research that I hope to present at a conference or two and then turn into a paper. I’ll write here more consistently, but not at the expense of the stuff I should be writing–namely school stuff and the novel(s). Finally, I’ll keep better track of my reading not just numerically but qualitatively, writing more, privately and publicly, about what I’m reading, why I chose to read it, what it’s meaning to me, and how it relates to my schooling, my creative projects, my intellectual pursuits, or just my general enjoyment/interest. Like Nick Hornby did in The Believer, I also want to keep track monthly of books I buy, books I borrow/check out from the library, and books I read, as well as magazines and journal articles that I read, and do a beginning and end of month roundup of those things.

Also, more extra media stuff. I’m trying to remember how to have a vocabulary for discussing music, another important part of my life, in the same way I discuss literature. Should be interesting, not to mention relevant to one of my novel(s).

BUT, since it’s always fun to be a little quantitative when you can rub your awesomeness in other people’s faces, I did decide to make an infographic of what I read this year. Continue reading

how i know i’m headed in the right direction

One of my favorite jobs is the one where I get to co-facilitate prevention workshops for youth. At the same time, their parents go to a parent workshop on prevention, and their younger siblings go to a play group. I was hired as a youth facilitator, but I volunteered to do babysitting when needed, because I could use the money. Tonight, instead of doing the babysitting job that I got saddled with because I’m quitting (not that I don’t like children, but I prefer youth), I got to bust out my inner Viola Swamp tonight at work and go back to teaching, so that I could help my colleagues out. Apparently I have a talent for being authoritative and yet still be an effective teacher/mentor/worker. It’s now been more than a year since I quit my campus job where I did that, so it’s nice to know it wasn’t a fluke.

In addition to being a scary person who gets the job done, I also got to read my press release today, though it was published on Tuesday, and in reading it and doing all the interviews and things for YALSA, the fact that I am already devising research proposals and library programming and I’m already bookmarking journals that I want to subscribe to and finding essays I want to read makes me sure that I have chosen the right career. Even if I still want to audition for “The Voice” and star in a movie or two and travel and go to law school and write a novel.

I love it when these three things align: 1. I am good at something. 2. I like doing that something. 3. Other people see that I am good at that thing and encourage or help me with it. This does not happen very often. Usually you have to pick two out of three. Being lucky enough to have all three of these things make it easier to stomach the fact that I am leaving my hometown, my family, and my friends behind in eight days. Off I go. Soon.