Today was a big day for the Edwards boys.
David finally had his parole hearing in front of the hearing examiner this afternoon, who will report to the parole commissioner, who will put his findings before the parole board. I was naïve in thinking there’d be some news today — no such luck. Still, it sounds as if the parole commissioner has taken an active interest, and that’s a good sign.
So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him. He began his time in prison about when I began my time in grad school, and I hope he’s close to finishing it.
Which brings me to my other news.
I was totally nervous at first, in giving that introductory 10-minute statement, and I know it showed. It didn’t help that it was hot in the room, and that I was in suit and tie: if you’re going to do it, I figured, might as well do it right. Cuff links, even, for the reason that they were the ones that my dad’s father, M. R., wore at his college graduation. He was the first one in his family to go to college, and Aunt Ida, the only one in his family to come and see him graduate, gave him those cuff links.
And I bet M. R. wasn’t ever as flushed or shaky as I was.
But I got through that 10-minute intro, and — in what I felt was a moment of glory — managed to work in a reference to Gilligan’s Island. After that, the rhythm took some getting used to, me finding my footing with my outside reader first, who was a generous questioner, and who at the same time made me question some vital connections I hadn’t considered. Her questions weren’t easy, but in the way she both made me re-state some of the arguments I was making and made me extend them, she got me to pin down, out loud, concrete points of reference for the defense, and in so doing opened up directions of investigation.
After that initial moment, I felt like I found my rhythm, made the connections, followed through on trains of thought. And felt secure enough, in several instances, to say, “I don’t know how I would do that,” or, “I don’t know how I might predict that.” Because I do know this stuff — this topic of my dissertation — better than anybody else, which also means that I know the bounds and limits of my knowledge. And I had those bounds and limits pressed at and tested today.
And I passed.
And to everybody who showed up or offered their support, at the defense or in the halls or on the blog or elsewhere, thank you. Y’all so rock.
The Doctor, as they say, Is In.