Things are pretty serious in my life right now. My time is generally spent on teaching related tasks or on campaigning for this year’s presidential election (and my state’s senate election). Right now, my students, at work, are finishing up a tough unit on Reconstruction, or the time after the Civil War. We discuss some tough issues, including lynching, segregation, and sharecropping. On top of that, we connect the past to the present with issues surrounding the criminal justice system. The unit is heavy with its seriousness and emotionality. When my teaching day is done, I turn to politics, filled with issues surrounding democracy, sexual assault, etc.
I generally embrace intensity. As many have pointed out to me, I’m a pretty serious person. Sometimes, I’m so serious that people can’t ever imagine me having fun or being silly. Yet, as I point out to my students, there are times for both. Now is the time to be focused on big issues. That said, this doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to fun times ahead. I always do. This week, though, reminds me of fun times in the past. I need those reminders. They boost my energy, my will to see things through.
What fun memories popped up this week? The first one surrounds a little convention that was held in Chicago three years ago now. I can’t believe that Durandemonium was three years ago. It certainly doesn’t feel that long ago. Where the heck is time going? Is it on fast forward??? For those not in the know, Durandemonium was a convention that Rhonda and I planned with some friends. The event went from Friday to Sunday and featured various activities, including watching A Diamond in the Mind at a movie theater, a banquet/dance, Duran games, dancing at an 80s club, author panel and more. Want to know more? You can find out about it on our convention page here!
Maybe the convention memories make me smile because the event marked something that we spent a lot of time planning and organizing that went off without any major problems. It was a success, in our eyes. I appreciate those moments when you plan and plan and plan for something and then it works out. It is one of the things that I treasure about political campaigns. All the work comes down to one day and one result. When it goes well and your side wins, there is no greater feeling. The goal is obvious with campaigning and the result is clear. This is the opposite of what teaching is like. There I have no real end goal besides all of the little steps of progress, which happen at different times for different kids. Teaching requires a lot of work over ten months instead of just a few with most campaigns.
Plus, there is the obvious. Durandemonium like other Duran conventions was filled with Duranies and non-stop focusing on Duran Duran. Being at a convention means that my laser focus becomes about the band. I don’t have to multi-task. I can push aside the rest of the world. The same is true with Duran shows and tours. Five years ago today, Rhonda and I saw the band play in Chicago. The weekend went by way too quickly and the show was a little strange for us because we weren’t sitting together but it provided us that escape from our regular day-to-day existence. If you want to read our review of that show, you can go here.
In thinking about my current life along with Duran tours and conventions, I realize that I do truly live with intensity. I like having events that suck up all of my thoughts, time and effort. Perhaps, this gives some insight to why touring really works for me. Yes, I do need significant breaks from my real life in order to continue to do my job and fight in the political arena and touring does provide those breaks. In reality, though, it gives me something else just as intense, something all consuming. When I’m on tour, I don’t pay as much attention to education issues or to politics or even to other popular culture I like. It becomes all day, everyday Duran.
My conclusion is pretty simple then. I have a few more weeks of serious, real life, big issues. After that, I could use some intensity of the other sort. You know something surrounding Duran Duran and fun…