Radio Silence

I know the blog has been remarkably quiet lately.

There are many reasons for this, including the children being off of preschool and school for about three weeks, the swirl of holiday engagements, and a pile-up of writing assignments (which is a good problem to have). Add to all of these a serious funk about what I’m doing with my life that seems to happen about every January.

I needed a break. I needed time and space away from social media, blogging, and the internet more generally to figure some things out.

I have now had that time, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of blogging alongside my other writing. I cannot guarantee that I’ll blog regularly because I never really manage to do that anyway. In 2015, I will try to post something once or twice a week to keep y’all updated on what I’m doing. This is not a resolution but rather a goal.

I will be adding a new feature to the blog, essays that I love, in which I direct you to essays that I adore for reasons both varying and wide. Look forward to my first post soon. Additionally, I hope to be better at pointing out what I’ve written that’s recently published. Hope is the operative word. In the next few weeks, I’ll highlight my favorite essays that I wrote in 2014.

Keep in mind that you can see what I’m up to on Twitter (@kelly_j_baker) and on my new Facebook author’s page.

Sophie

Sophie the dog died last week.  She had surgery to fix her bladder. The surgery had complications. Sophie had to be put to sleep. These are the facts, but as is often the case, the facts leave so much unsaid.

My mother-in-law called my husband to let us know, and he told me. I cried (and I still cry when I think of Sophie). She was not my dog, but she used to be. She was my pet, and then, I had to give her up. She’s lived with my in-laws most of her life. Yet, I raised Sophie from a puppy. I struggle to mourn her loss.  I already gave her up. What right do I have to mourn? How can I not mourn her? What do I say about a dog who used to be a part of my family? What do I owe her memory? I have no good answers (I rarely do).

Instead, I’ll tell you Sophie’s story, the parts that I know. It is the least that I can do.

Sophie as a puppy.
Sophie as a puppy.

Chris and I already had one dog, Hannah, and a mean cat, Belle. We bought a new house with a large backyard, and we worried that Hannah might be lonely. We were both graduate students. We spent many hours at the university away from home.  We thought maybe another dog would be a good companion.

My mom happened to have a new litter of hound-mix puppies, so we decided to pick a puppy for Hannah. I was drawn to an off-white puppy with spots running through her fur. She had  big brown splotch over one eye, which made her look a bit like the Pokey Little Puppy. This puppy was also nervous, which amounted to much pee to be removed from carpet, and rambunctious. We named her, Sophie. The name was my choice because it sounded sweet, and she was.

When we brought her into our home, she promptly peed on the tile.

Continue reading Sophie

Revising, revising, revising

Ominous, isn’t it?

Revisions are keeping me very busy these days, so the posting has been few and far between. My sincere apologies for my dastardly neglect. I could promise to be more faithful to this little blog, but why make promises that I know will fall apart when the fall semester starts anyway.

I sent off one lovingly revised article on evidence and the study of American religions, and now, all of my attention is on a survey of the scholarship of apocalypticism. Survey pieces, how incredibly time consuming and maybe just a bit fun. The fascination with doomsday still fascinates me, which is not really surprising at all, as does the constant psychologizing that accompanies news media accounts and some scholarship. So, while I revise, enjoy a musical number inspired by my current revisions:

Please note that the date on screen at the beginning of the video is December 21, 2012, the supposed (and debunked) time that the Mayans will end us all. Remember Ms. Spears’ wisdom: “Keep on dancing till the world ends.”

Religion and American Culture 2nd Biennial Conference Coverage

Religion in American History posted some coverage of the Religion and American Culture 2nd Biennial Conference (June 2-5, 2011), including some of my own thoughts. It is worth a look for those of you who missed the lovely conference.

Here are the posts in chronological order:

Elesha Coffman, guest blogger, “Do Religion Scholars Read the Bible?”

Janine Giodrano Drake, “Deconstructing the Tension in the Room”

Me, “The Best Part of ‘Believe’ is the ‘Lie'”

Paul Harvey, “Simple Things You See Are All Complicated”

Additionally, I promise I will back to blogging more regularly now that my summer respite is over, and I must get back to work. Look for more coverage of the conference, an addition of Gender and the American Religious Historian from the Berks, and my comments on posters for humanities folks.