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Still pondering focus….

February 21, 2013
View of the Mountain


Random musings this morning.  January and February slipped past me like ice on a grill (and there is ice on my grill, by the way).  These first two months of 2013 have been less about new beginnings and more about tying up loose ends, getting plans in place for the rest of the year, and writing endless letters of recommendation for graduate students headed to fascinating programs as they begin their careers.

As I wrote in my last post a comment made by a colleague in a letter of recommendation for me was (and apparently still is) stuck in my craw. “A first glance at her resume might suggest that it lacks a clear focus…”

Thus I’ve been in kind of downward spiral for the past few weeeks.

(Tones of anguish begin)  MY RESUME LACKS A CLEAR FOCUS!    Why oh why didn’t someone tell me that the rectilinear path was the best option.

  • Step 1 – Get your Ph.D. in Art History
  • Step 2 –  Choose an academic or curatorial path
  • Step 3 – Become a curator
  • Step 4 – Become a chief curator
  • Step 5 – Become a museum director
  • Step 6 – Receive accolades (if I’ve done a great job)
  • Step 7 – Retire

I was on the right path and then somewhere after accomplishing Step 3 I veered off the path.  Now I’ll never make it to the top of the mountain. (Tones of anguish end)

I’ll never get to the top of the mountain primarily because my goal was not the top of the mountain.  This morning I started drafting my actual curriculum vitae (translation: the course of my life).  The focus of this document is the life lessons I’ve learned working with smart, funny, engaging individuals on interesting projects with lots of moving parts.  I’ve curated exhibitions, taught classes, written books and articles,  project-managed the creation of interactive galleries, databases, and websites.  I’ve been a wife and mother, a daughter and friend, a frenemie and possibly even a nemesis.   In short I’ve had a helluva good time.

Even so, my colleague is probably correct.  My current resume lacks a clear focus and, as a result, I may never make it to the top of THE mountain, or to the top of ANY mountain.   But I’m enjoying the journey, the views are fantastic, and I could not have wished for a finer group of traveling companions.


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  1. You’ve been a pioneer, charting new territories in museum studies! The mountains you’ve climbed in new media were only hints on the horizon when we started out as art historians. You’re standing smack dab on top of Mt. Witchey and don’t even notice it – but the view of it from the other side of the Atlantic is impressive.

  2. Trish Alarei permalink

    Holly, this is a voice from your distant past. A few weeks back I landed on this blog — I can’t even remember what sort of search got me here. But I’d like you to know that you are now one of TWO bloggers I follow (sporadically but with great enjoyment). I like your attitude and your writing “voice,” as they say. Thank you for sharing your marvelous brain — it is every bit as vibrant and occasionally unpredictable as I remember from Kalamazoo College days. Take care – Trish Alarie PS The other blogger is Heather Lende, of Haines, Alaska, in case you were wondering.

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