currently on what i'm calling "day two" of my sabbatical. not knowing when the starting line was (last day of spring term? end of fiscal year? first day of fall term?), i decided it would be when lori and murphy started back to school – aug 15.
it had been my goal to get ahead somewhat by researching over the summer, meeting people, and, while i've done that, it wasn't the whirlwind of productivity imagined it would be. but it never is, is it? nonetheless, reflecting on what i've done so far makes me excited to move forward. revelations come slowly for me, sometimes days or weeks after a conversation, but things are coming together.
a few things i'll share as small examples of progress:
i've realized that, because my work is about bicycle advocacy, simply being out riding my bike is a form of research and creative thinking. i've had several project ideas while on my bike, seen biking bumper stickers, and generally had time to experience the city by bike and think about things.
after speaking to my friend/former student & collaborator, jumper, i've realized that i'm a designer and not a "start a non-profit" person. see, a lot of "design for social change" seems to currently involve the development of some sort of project, system or program that ultimately needs to be implemented and maintained. i've struggled with how to approach this special "me" time – should i develop a social change project on my own, should i develop a body of more fine-art-esque works that comment on cycling in some way, or should i collaborate with existing groups to amplify what they are doing? right now i'm leaning toward the latter while remaining open to the other two options for sure.
related to the above, i've realized that being in community in most any form is incredibly useful and that conversations move my ideas forward. i've met great people at critical mass, at the "hen house" ride on saturday mornings, helping out at the 816 bicycle collective's shop, and at 816's fundraising kickoff. i've been able to make connections and map out who's doing what, which is propelling me forward bit by bit.
while i don't have much visual to show for it yet, outside of a couple of traditional promotional campaigns, i'm currently excited about where this can go and very thankful for the gift of this time. to have it is one of the most _____ things in my professional life. i can't summon the proper words right now.