Good news! My paper proposal did ultimately write itself. Why? Because I am a total bad ass.
The funny thing is that a year ago, I couldn't have brought myself to even think about doing such a thing. I had absolutely no confidence in my ability to lend any critical voice to much of anything. Yes, I had passed my preliminary exams, but even then, I wasn't entirely sure that the process had been rigged. Why did I pass with distinction while my more studious (and highly competitive) colleagues had to wait six months and take them again? I had no idea what made me "distinct".
In other news, the birthday was a SUCCESS. A big one. I'm officially 30...and..it...is... fantastic. Aside from the usual barrage of wonderful phone calls from friends and family all over the country, one particular call made my day. The story remains officially untold, I know, but what is official is that the Universe somehow managed to carry me to this moment. I'm not sure how many days of karmic goodness I had to pay forward for all of this to happen, but it has happened in a most...serendipitous...way.
I have some more travel essays in my head to write. Per the suggestion of one fabulous reader, I am starting to look for a venue to publish some of my travel experiences. As always, I am most open to suggestions...