Saturday, February 09, 2013

A Bus of One's Own

Greyhound, Black and White
Greyhound, (Photo credit: djupp)
My personal learning network (PLE) includes blogs, twitter, Facebook, journals, co-workers, classes and other communities. My PLE now includes Redwood Transit. I sometimes complain that I do not have enough time to read (physical books) and write (in a physical notebook). It is important for me because that is where I am inspired and it is a source of my own creativity. I obviously do a lot of writing on computers but it is too easy to just focus on "work related" reading and research. The printed word has not been at the fore-front of this learning network in a long time. I still read books and a couple of paper journals, but not on the scale that I used to in my pre-network literacy years. The primary reason is time. This is now changing. My new job at Humboldt State has me commuting. I was at first hesitant at the thought of taking the bus - I have spent a good deal of my early life on busses - school busses, Greyhound busses, the Green Tortoise, county and city busses. I have spent days on busses traveling to jobs, going to school, or visiting family. I never considered them luxurious by any means: they usually had no air conditioning or heat, you are stuck with others who are traveling for days. Their cleanliness was highly variable. I once rode a bus from Portland to Los Angeles with another passenger who was pregnant and had the flu. There has to be special circle in hell like that. I have also spent a day traveling with newly released prisoners they were traveling from San Luis to Los Angeles and some didn't make it as far as Nipomo.

It seems busses have changed some. People can no longer smoke on the bus. The Redwoods Transit busses are clean, well-lit, heated and have wifi. I realized that I have a great opportunity here. I can start reading novels again on a regular basis. I am forced to spend time on the bus and now I have that luxury that is missing from so many of our lives right now - time. Time to read, write, and process. This is only my first week and I am half-way through Machado de Asis' "Epitaph of a Small Winner." I have had a stack of books on my night stand that I have not been able to get to and now I finally have the time and space.

I have a novel that I have been chipping away at for the last few years - my 3rd or 4th one depending on how you want to define the novel. It is a glacially slow process because of work. This is not the artistic medium for the bus! Short stories and poetry lend themselves well to the short bursts of reverie and 15 to 20 minutes periods of focus that the bus may allow. Despite all of my work in online learning last year, I managed to get a short story published and the editors of the journal, Border Crossing, nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. I was thrilled about all of this - I understand that being nominated is a modest acknowledgement, but I am still thrilled. It also has me thinking about writing more short stories, "flash fiction" even because, with apologies to Woolf, I actually have the time and space to do that; a bus of my own.

A chart of Geoff Cain's PLE (personal learning network).
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