I’ve been planning to write a post about leaks in the pipeline – specifically, what it’s like to be a leak in the pipeline. I’ve been thinking about this post in my head for a long time, and have even talked about it with a few people via email and face-to-face, but I’m finding it extraordinarily difficult to write it. It’s the same with posts that I would like to write about the two most recent X-Gals columns (here and here).

And everything else that I might want to blog about seems locked up behind these things that I want – need – to write about. I wrote a bit yesterday about gender issues and brain research but I have to say I don’t consider that some of my best work. And it wasn’t what I really wanted to talk about.
I consider this post to be an elliptical approach to my desired topic. I have at least started composing my post on “being a leak”. Once I have that one up – hopefully tomorrow? – I think I’ll be able to write about the X-Gals, because what I want to say is connected to the “leak” post. And then, I hope, everything else will flow more easily thereafter.
Why is this post such a problem, why is it causing me anxiety and a sort of blogjam? It touches on issues that are so very close to the bone for me. I want to discuss issues of identity formation for women scientists inside and outside academia, how it is that we come to understand who we are in the context of what we do. It’s difficult intellectual and emotional labor, this kind of writing. And it’s often depressing.
It’s not always a lot of fun to work on this blog, you know. It’s a labor of love, and sometimes it’s really a labor. I often think of my fellow Sciblings with envy. They are writing about all sorts of nifty things going on in science, and their writing seems to me positive and sunny. The things I write often do not leave me feeling positive and sunny, and yet they need to be said.
I think I will have to give up searching for the perfect way to say what I want to about pipeline leaks and identity formation, and just say something, so that I can move past this point. Okay, that sounds like a goal!
In the meantime, let’s end with something positive and sunny. Hee! There is a really wonderful video of some extraordinary “ordinary” engineering, found courtesy of this post on Pharyngula. Imagine building your own Stonehenge in your backyard – without modern technology. Follow the link and watch the video, it’s really some beautiful engineering in action. That’s the kind of play we’d all be indulging in a lot more if some of us didn’t have to waste so much time dealing with sexism, racism, and homophobia…..ah, oops, there goes my positive sunny ending!

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