Memory, Change, and Goodbye

I remember the day I decided to leave grad school. This was 1996. After charging my tuition on a set of high-interest credit cards, I suddenly had $10,000 of debt. A recruiter had matched me with a tech job, traveling the country and teaching Microsoft Windows to corporate IT admins. That job paid $25,000 a year, and at 27, that was the most money anyone had ever offered me to do anything. I remember telling my dad that I would do the job for a year or two, pay down my debt, and after that, I would — absolutely — return and finish my Ph.D.

I have no idea if my memory of that conversation with my father is real, or if it’s something I invented, but I hold on to it. That memory is a key to a set of other memories. Memories of me as a student. Of my friends. Of what I wanted my life to become. Of me, when I was clean and hopeful and full of possibility.

If I start with that memory, I tell a story about my life that is very different than if I start somewhere else. If I start with an accident, or a trip, or an acceptance letter, or an insult, or a promise, then the story changes radically. My story changes. I change. Continue reading “Memory, Change, and Goodbye”

Cosmos and Parables: A visit with Carl Sagan and Octavia Butler

Earth, from Cassini
Earth, as seen from Saturn. Courtesy of the Cassini spacecraft.

Looking around, it’s as if the world is coming back to life as it greens around the edges, and the air is finally warm enough that I can hang up that winter jacket. Yes, it looks like it finally happened — spring has arrived. Ahhh, Spring. That time of year when we remember how everything we see, and feel, taste, smell, and hear is billions of years old.

What. You don’t do that? How do you do it? Continue reading “Cosmos and Parables: A visit with Carl Sagan and Octavia Butler”