Sunday, April 5, 2009

Take a Journey and Discover

Hello everybody. I'm Dave and this will be my first post.

What to write about?

I teach Speech Communication courses at the community college level and I currently live in Ellensburg Washington. And if you are connecting the dots with Patrick's post you might have guessed that we know each other. In fact, he's in my writing group.

Suppose that--connections--could be a bit of a theme for this post. I've been traveling around the region, and the blogosphere now, getting connected.

Most recently, as in yesterday, I just came back home from a Communication convention in Idaho. What strikes me is that such a real life trip mirror's the heroe's journey. There's a call for adventure (the call for papers), mentors advising about the journey ahead, the obstacles, the boon, and the return home to rejoin with the community. So, what can I share out with all of you? I'd say the most important thing is to leave home and go on a journey because it changes you and makes you see where you live differently. Also, it gives you a sense of what the rest of the world is like, even if it is just passing through. I'm glad for the cool people I meet. There's really something quite unique about a gathering of like-minded people. People who are interested in the same thing, in this case intellectual ideas, communicate on a much deeper level than I typically experience.

With that said, there are some strange but true things that happened. I meet a Starbucks barista on the journey home who's last name is hurlbut. Kid you not. She was hilarious talking about her name. People call her flingfanny and tossass. Turns out that she hated her name when she was an eleven year old girl, but her dad gave her a talk that convinced her to have pride in it. Turns out that as a newly married woman she decided to keep her name rather than take her husbands. What would you do if you had a name like flingfanny? If you are a woman, would you take your husband's and be glad to avoid the jokes? If you are a guy, would you expect your wife to take a name that would be the cause for jokes? Can you imagine a humorous name like this that would be fun for a fictional character?

I love how journeys provide strange but true experiences like that. Luckily the girl was quite the character. I loved how she made a stand up comedy routine around her name. Comedy aside, I could tell that back in those vulnerable middle school days it was a source of pain.

Here's one more strange but true thing to recount and then I'm going to sign off. I meet an udergraduate at the conference who's favorite session was on a Tibetan death ritual. Now honestly I don't know if this is true, but the guy told me how excited he was to see a presentation on this funeral ritual, which involves chopping up the dead person and feeding them to vultures. This is somehow done in honor of the sky gods. What was my response to that? Wow! That's different! Sounds like something you might read in a fantasy book. Thought about the possibility of using it, but then I remembered the scene in my fantasy novel where two dead people are ... (well I can't tell you that) but let's just say it's different. A bit shocking, but not nearly so gory. I like hearing about different worldviews and rituals, whether it is in the real world or the imagined.

Speaking of journeys, the Write on the River Conference is coming up. Is anyone out there planning on going? It was good last year and I plan on going again.


  1. It's nice to meet you Dave! Interesting about the Tibetan death ritual! I like hearing about different worldviews, too. :)

  2. Dave, I'd love to invite you to my novel blog for Monarch, since you expressed interest, but I need your email address. You can email me at my address in my profile. Thanks!

  3. Connections are an integral part of web life, aren't they? Real life, too. I'm a total "No fate but what you make" and "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul" kind of person, but sometimes the connections are too bizarre to chalk up to coincidence.

    Some are even simple: my room number at my first teaching job was 202. When I moved to a new school, five hours away, my room number was also 202. Then I changed classrooms and ended up in room 106, where I taught for six years. This last summer I accepted a job in another district...and you guessed it, my new room number is 106!! It may be silly to anyone else, but in my head/heart, I couldn't help but think, "This is just a little sign that, yes, I'm supposed to be here," and whisper a prayer of thanks :P


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