I think there probably comes a time in most graduate students' lives when the isolation becomes too much. When the pressure of writing an extensive project like a dissertation overwhelms and discourages the soul. And so, like the many other imbalanced scholars before us, we begin new projects, we seek new means of producing, and we engage ourselves with the kind of tasks that will bring more immediate satisfaction than the next chapter of our 200+ page beautifully and insightfully written scholarship.
One of my own blogsperations, Brantley L. Bryant wrote of his work on "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog" that when "faced with doubts about career prospects, I found it comforting to lead a secret life as "The Chaucer Blogger." (17-18) Bryant found that writing a blog "both complemented and relieved me from work on my heavily historicist dissertation on parliament, economics, and a variety of late-medieval poets (including Chaucer)." (18)
I think it is a similar sense of compliment and relief that I am seeking in this blog. I imagine that I will use this space to write about a variety of issues that matter to me, most of which are summed up in the title. As a Dykademic in Deseret, I hope to write about life in academia, life as a lesbian, and life in the "mormon belt." Most importantly, I hope to write about my experience and about what I read, feel, see and hear in the world around me. Here at Dykademic in Deseret I hope to give voice to what, up until now, has been my silent, or at least very quiet, experience.
In a speech at the 11th Annual Women's Event in the New York LGBT Community Center, Jennifer Beals said:
"And I believe that there is a seismic change coming. I believe that people want to turn from fear towards hope, from divisiveness towards unity, from intolerance to an understanding that we all belong to one great community. Within all the chaos, within the despair, the not knowing, the anger, the anxiety, there is always the possibility for change. There is a seed of hope. And I'm not talking about a pie-in-the-sky kind of hope, but a kind of hope that calls on each and every one of us to stand up and be counted -- a kind of hope that calls on each and every one of us to give the very best of ourselves -- not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all of us, collectively. And there may be times when we ask ourselves, 'What is my very best? What is it that I have to give?' And so often our best is within our personal narrative. It is often one's own story, one's own truth, which then becomes everyone's story; it becomes a part of everyone's truth. It is the beginning of community. I've seen how storytelling can help shift the paradigm. And with the advent of The L Word, I've come to understand that telling the stories of LGBT people is a radical and transformative act for all of us. And if history is written by the victors, then we have made ourselves victorious by writing our own history." (http://www.jennifer-beals.com/media/speeches/womens11.html)
When I heard this speech, courtesy of one of the bonus features at the end of my L Word Final Season DVD, I was inspired to seek out a medium in which I could share my own stories and begin to join in a community that I was just beginning to realize existed. I'll explain a little more about my first brushes with this community in my next blog where, in true academic fashion, I'll define my terms, a process that promises to bring both Bonnie J. Morris and Brigham Young into the same blog entry. You won't want to miss it!
Bryant, Brantley L. Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog: Medieval Studies and New Media. New York: Palgrave, 2010.