Sometimes It Snows in April

It’s been a tempestuous month. There’s been some highs and lows, but the pendulum is sweeping in a positive direction.

For starters, I landed a job at the University of Connecticut. I’ll be doing a variety of publicity and marketing for the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. I’m excited to regularly be writing and learning more about, well, everything under the sun. I’m very thankful to have a job where I’ll get to promote education by speaking with different individuals conducting research, studying a variety of subjects, and sharing it through a number of outlets. I’ve always felt most comfortable in a college setting with that constant hum of expanding knowledge and curiosity. People often talk about cities having a pulse to them and I think it’s true of many places, but college campuses in particular.

Working as a team and meeting people are going to be two of the best parts about the job. As a teacher, the labor is largely solitary. The actual act of teaching is only one visible part of tasks that go largely unseen. There are opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of ideas, but the basic responsibilities are lesson planning and grading, which fall squarely on you alone (unless you have grad students to do it). Coordinating with others and accomplishing common goals are not only ideal for getting things done but also complementary to a feeling of satisfaction in employment, or anything in general. It’s fulfilling to be a part of a larger entity and share a sense of community. After this stretch of quietly writing and filling out applications, I am looking forward to communication and human interaction.

With this position I’ll also be able to return to teaching in the Fall semester. I’ll still be an adjunct, but the UConn position makes it possible to return with more support in a financial and motivational sense. I’m very pleased with how new directions are forming and old ones are aligning on paths previously traveled.

This is a nice shift from how the month started with catching the flu and making my existence rather unpleasant. I always forgo getting a preventative shot, I guess feeling generally healthy and never having previously been affected, but I won’t make that mistake again in the future.

I did manage to get out to see Duran Duran perform while I was on the mend. I love me some well-crafted pop songs and they’ve consistently put out quality records. Their latest, PAPER GODS, is particularly good and I think superior to their previous effort, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW, though there were many excellent songs on that one including the title track and “Girl Panic!“. The show was loud (I sound so old) and the vocals were mixed strangely, seemingly distorted most of the night. Despite these complaints, it was a great show with a lot of energy, a solid setlist, and a great opener in the form of Chic with Nile Rodgers.

And of course I have to address the sad news about the death of Prince. DIAMONDS AND PEARLS and THE RAINBOW CHILDREN are the two albums that I’ve found to be my favorites of his numerous LPs, and they have two very different styles (and many genres present within those). His releases were so incredibly diverse it’s difficult looking back to truly fathom the expansive sonic terrain he explored. I could go on and on about his superior abilities as a musician, songwriter, and performer; he was immensely talented. However, one of his most important contributions was the respect he demanded as an artist in reminding us that it’s a tough profession. Music has value as an art as well as a commodity, and Prince had no qualms about pointing out how record labels, and even fans, can disrespect a working musician by infringing on their property. Despite whatever your feelings may be on the stances he took in regards to ownership of music or artistry (they are divisive), he raised important points and brought on serious discussion about the music industry. He also made us confront our perceptions of gender, sexuality, and countless other topics. I think in saying our collective goodbye to Prince, we’d have to say thanks for making us think about far more than just the music itself.

All in all it’s been an unusual month with notable sea changes.

Sometimes It Snows in April

A reminder that things could always be worse. ASSETS (detail) by Alec Thibodeau, 2012.

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