‘Til human voices wake us: an introduction

The title for this blog is, obviously enough, “‘Til human voices wake us.” It’s a line that I pulled from the last stanza of T. S. Eliot’s epic poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock You can read the full poem here (or hear the poet himself recite it here), but these are the closing lines:

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

I wrote a nondescript essay on the poem for one of my literature classes at the University of Memphis. There’s no need to dredge up the contents of that paper, but, for now, it will do to note that I’ve always felt a certain semblance to Mr. Prufrock. Eliot characterized his narrator as one frustrated with incompetency, who knows himself well enough to recognize that there is “time yet for a hundred indecisions / and for a hundred visions and revisions, / before the taking of a toast and tea.” I’ve started countless projects, research, hobbies — to not pick them up again for weeks or months.

Yet, the poem culminates with Prufrock awakening in the sea, drowning. Having drifted to dreams of mermaids and other fantasies, he disregards his passions, his duties, etc., and he finds himself on the losing side of a fight between his lungs and seawater. I don’t want to wake up one day and find myself floating listlessly, doing stuff. I have aspirations, and I intend to fulfill them. But I have intermediate steps to take, which I often neglect.

Blogging is one of those areas of neglect. I choose not to devote time to the art of reading and writing, and for that reason both of them suffer for me. The blogosphere is one place that I can pen and think out loud without much interference, and I intend to do just that. Have no misgivings that what you will find on this page will be life-changing. My goals are much more modest: reflect and write on a consistent basis.

I’ve entered a sort of transitional state in my life. I’m (fairly) recently married — this summer. I’m a year out from graduating with an M.Div. degree, and now is the time where I have to begin considering where I want to get a Ph.D. — if that’s even what I want to do. I’m well convinced that it is, but, you know, thoughts. Where do we go from here? What am I supposed to be doing? What are we supposed to be doing? What do the next five years look like? These are the kinds of questions I’m asking, but it’s a time in my life where the answers actually have some longterm ramifications. Whether a material transition occurs or not, my wife and I will set on a specific course, and we would do well to come onto it with some kind of thought. This site is a fruit of that reality in our lives: a time to think, which means, for me, a time to write. I hope I’ve not rambled too much here.

I’m not sure what to tell you to expect. My interests vary with the tides.

All the best,

J

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