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  • Writer's pictureAlastair Thompson

Rabbit, rabbit.

I like customs — it's perhaps a bit pejorative to call them superstitions, since in my case, they're inspired more by my "personal engagement with culture" (or something like that) instead of any supernatural belief — I like throwing salt over my shoulder, talking to bees, avoiding walking under ladders, aaaand, to get to the point at last, saying "rabbit, rabbit" when I wake up on the first of the month. I struggle with the passage of time, honestly. It's very easy for me to lose track of where I am, so these little nods to the cyclical boundaries that are years, months, weeks are very orientating.

This January (new year, new me, new visions) has only impressed on me how far I am from a lot of my personal & professional goals, many of which can be described as getting myself back to at least the position I was in before the COVID pandemic took the wind out of my sails, by establishing some sort of momentum.

I wasn't particularly idle over December, but it's an easy month to while away in little pleasures & social obligations. I baked a lot. I wrote most of a chorale prelude in the sort-of Pachelbel vein on the famous Lutheran Christmas chorale “Frosty the Snow-Man”. The melody is repetitious, which is a challenge, but it does have some structural features (that descending minor third, for example) that make for good dramatic contrasts.

I'm back on the job hunt. It was hard to motivate myself after the middle of December, when it feels like hiring slows down until people can get back to their desks in the new year. Even the fact that this is ostensibly a job-seeker’s market doesn’t extinguish my anxieties about finding a calling I can stick with. Yesterday, I looked into substitute teaching — you would not believe how many people have told me over the years that I should be a teacher. It was impossible for decades, since I couldn't rely on myself to function mentally in the mornings. That has changed, due to a number of factors, & I see daylight each & every day, or at least as much as my latitude will permit.

Another long-time potential calling I've wrestled with is library work. When I finished my BA in 1999, my boss at the music library gave me the very sound advice to do an MLS & go into library work. I didn't take his advice, alas. By the time I realized the wisdom of it, the MLS market had become considerably more saturated, & I was discouraged about following that dream. Now, of course, I realize that it absolutely wasn't too late then, & that it is not too late now, but I am hesitating because it's only one of the options before me, is a slow & expensive road to eligibility in a job market still of fearsome aspect.

I have traditionally been spoilt for choice in terms of how I might wish to employ my abilities. I wish I'd chosen better paths, or, to put it bluntly, any path instead of trying to cut my own with a dull machete, but here I am, within view of a number of pleasant destinations, &, like Buridan's ass, a little bemused by the pros & cons of each. My experiences in each thing I've done are generally not much, but they do add up to something — Fox-wise, not Hedgehog- (Archilochus & al.)

And so, nulla dies sine linea, I'm starting to write a little journal entry every day about what I might conceive comes next. This entry is the first one in that vein on this blog, but I think I will continue the effort as a way to try to bring myself back into the world I feel I have, on some level abjured.

Buckle up, kids!

So, at the end of what I have seen described on tw*tt*r as “the free trial month” of 2023, not to mention the beginning of the year of the Rabbit, I say: bon jour, bon mois, bon an, & bonne estreine to all my readers out there, & especially to me.

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