Professing * Reflecting

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Mad Proliferation of Bassists (and t minus 3 to deadline)*

Is it normal to make out with more than one bassist in a four-day span?

Sadly that is the question I am most concerned with this morning.

What I should be most concerned with is that I only have three days to finish the article. But I have absolutely NOTHING else scheduled or demanding my attention for the next few days (unless of course another bassist shows up in the garret, which I am going to do my very best to prevent). I have, in a way, been writing this article since February. Gave a conference presentation on the primary texts, introducing and half-answering the major questions for this publication. Was well-received, and feedback generated new ideas. Have read extensively and taken exhaustive notes on the topic. Have some good pages, including introduction that only needs a bit of tweaking and sections that only need a bit of beefing up. And, as I have to keep reminding myself, this is only the initial draft deadline. Yes--this is definitely doable.

Isn't it?

*Note to New Kid: Notice that "balls out" is present as an anagram in the title.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Cure or Blank Computer Screen?

I am mostly just writing so that I can get the phrase "balls out" off the top of my page. As I commented to Goose, I am confused by my own use of the motivational language of a high-school football coach and by its effectiveness. It was working, but then I had to take advantage of free last-minute front-row seats at a Wilco show and then I had to take advantage of a bassist (not Wilco's, mind you), and . . . well, the writing, it has stalled.

Now I am contemplating taking my friend, Paloma, up on her invitation to hang out at her shore retreat today and tomorrow. It's bloody hot, and I could use "the cure."* My birthday is coming up very soon, and this would be my birthday treat/celebration.

The problem? The article is due very very soon. I only have a few good pages and have lost sight of what it is I actually want to say. I have done all of the research, have close readings (albeit in conference-delivery written form) of most of the primary texts, and an excellent grasp of the theoretical material, including how I want to apply it. I do NOT have and can not find a way to organize the damn thing. My prose--for whatever reason--is absolutely tortured, and my final point is non-existent (in mental or written form). I am blocked, blocked, BLOCKED and seem to spend most of my "writing" time staring at a blank computer screen. I occasionally write a sentence that takes no less than 10 minutes to construct. This has not happened since the dissertation block, which lasted nearly a year.

So do I stay here and face the blank screen, risking the possibility that I will not make any progress at all? Or do I pack a bag and head for the cure? I could take my laptop and spend the evening writing. Would the cure unclog my brain? Would the change of scenery help with the writing? Should I just throw my laptop and possibly myself into the ocean instead?

Urghh. What to do?

*What I call the cold ocean on this particular part of the shore, which I am convinced has magical healing properties.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Project Balls-Out (or Just Finish the Damn Thing Already)

Forget the boots. Forget the straps. Forget the emotional drama. Just writing, balls-out writing until this thing is finished. Will return when balls are in and manuscript is sent.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Are you sure these boots come with straps?

Project Bootstrap, Day Two

EBP (Emotional Barometric Pressure): I am more cranky than sad today, as I had a terrible night's sleep. Since The Grand Breakup, I have fallen into a crazy (non)sleep pattern. Last night I went to bed reasonably early, determined to get good rest so that I could get in a full day's work today. I slept peacefully until 5 a.m. when I was awakened by the distinct feeling that my mouth might be on fire. The cause? Crest White Strips, which I have used before but which have somehow become Crest Poison Strips, oral bane of Medusa. (Yes, I have been pressured by celebrity trends into thinking that nearly day-glo white teeth are Things of Beauty.) I of course then had to take a Percocet. (What? That's what narcotics are for--people who suffer for beauty.) Of course then slept until noon. I think I had dream conversations with The Grand He, head counsel for Fuckwit, Wanker, and Sons. I woke up thinking of him with her and feeling bitter that they are undoubtedly having a beautiful and romantic weekend, running through fields, hand-in-hand, the tune of Peaches and Herb's "Reunited" wafting on the breeze. Then I realized that their time together probably is just that cheesy and remembered that he is somewhat cheesy, not to mention a real motherfucker. Briefly imagined them at a bed-and-breakfast, dead ringers for the "WE ARE LUV-AHHHHS" couple on SNL, annoying all of the other guests. Satisfied, I got to work.

PP (Professional Plan): I actually did work for 5 hours yesterday! Realized that long version of conference paper was not a good model for this article. Decided to model it on very thorough proposal. Realized how much I have to read/research in order to do so. Briefly panicked. Read. I have only worked for 2 hours today, reading and taking notes. I am getting some good ideas and some clarity on various problems with the argument. I should work for another 2-3 hours tonight, but I really really could use a glass of wine. I also should try to get to bed early, and I usually get very keyed up while working. Hmmmmm . . . what to do?


Friday, June 17, 2005

Project Bootstrap

Even though I have never been able to provide a workable visual within the realm of physical reality for my father's favorite bit of metaphorical wisdom--"It's time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, Med"--I am going to try to actualize it. I have been torturing my father about this advice since I was about ten, when I (always needing the literal picture) first asked, "How is that even possible? What exactly would that look like?".

I am going to try to track what it looks like, at least figuratively, by posting what is going on professionally (i.e. progress on the article) and emotionally (i.e. progress on The Grand Breakup) at various points. I think this will help me, and I hope it doesn't make for boring posts. Maybe I can even finally crack the code of how to be that person who weathers the emotional storms caused by the (apparently ever-present) firm of Fuckwit, Wanker, and Sons (protecting the interests of the Death Grip of Super Masculinity into the 21st century) by doing her work.

Emotional barometric pressure: Woke up with following Aimee Mann lyric in my head, "At least you know you were taken by a pro." Briefly felt stupid for being taken at all. Then congratulated myself for not having reached the bitter state that would have made it impossible for me to be taken. Imagined creating minor novel character with his odd physical characteristics and off-putting personality traits. Imagined good review of novel in TLS, praising its savviness as a roman a clef.

Professional plan for the day: 4-5 hours writing/reading. Cull material from long version of conference paper. Start writing theoretical section. Read relevant material for theory section as necessary. Try to work at home but head to coffee shop or office if work stalls.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Quote of the Summer

"Everything is more fun when balls are involved."

I have decided to stay home, drink whiskey, and chat with Coco Crazy on the phone. The above quotation, which made me laugh my pathetically maudlin ass off, is hers. Yeah--she was talking about her cat and his cat toys, but I think we can see the far-reaching implications.

Ok, wait . . . new one's in the running:

"Hold on! You've got to play with your little balls, so that I can take a picture!"


Can't take it

I feel like hell. As much as I know he is a complete wanker, a total fuckwit, and a real motherfucker (more on my theory of "the real motherfucker" later), I miss him. Even though he was not in my life for very long (a little over a year, if we count first meeting and correspondence), he occupied a huge amount of emotional and mental space, especially in the last few months. I feel physically ill from the sadness and anger.

Each morning I wake up with a little more clarity and I feel encouraged, knowing that I am strong. Given the shit I have been through, this is a drop in the bucket. I am more than equipped to deal with it. This morning I even felt like I had snapped back to my old self. I recognized that I had never felt sure about this relationship anyway. I realized that I would have ultimately been unhappy. I felt a little bit of relief, a little thrill of freedom.

By afternoon I was crying in traffic, crushed beneath this enormous feeling of loss. I know that I have only lost what was actually an illusion--the illusion that this was an amazing relationship, more amazing than I had ever imagined a relationship could be. (Yes--I fully realize that I sound like a fifteen-year-old girl, but there it is.) I cannot seem to let go of that feeling, because it was there. It was real. Then there is the horrible suspicion that I am the one who fucked this up, that I am the one who did not do enough to hold on to that original and amazing connection, that I am the one who let doubt and fear destroy it.

I can't stand feeling like this, and I do not know what to do. I know the therapeutic line: "You just have to feel it. Stay with it. Go through it and come out on the other side." I don't feel like I can or should stay with these feelings. In fact, I want to run away from them as fast as I can.

To make matters worse, I have not written a word of the article that is due in two weeks. This is an important article for me. I have never been one who can throw myself into my work to get through a painful time. I do not eat. I do not sleep well. I have trouble concentrating.

Some pulling up of myself by the bootstraps (as my father would say) is in order here, I know. How does one pull oneself up by the bootstraps, by the way? Are the boots on the feet? Where are the straps? Are you lying down? Sitting up? Okay, made myself smile.

I am supposed to go see a show with One True Love tonight. Do not know if this is a good idea. Must get in the shower now if this is going to happen. Some drinks, some music, some friends? Maybe some flirting? Am I up for this or will it make me more depressed? I was more than a little scene sick long before the grand romance with The Grand He began.

Will I end up in bed with OTL? Some stranger? Would that be so bad? Ummm . . I think I at least know the answer to that one.

I don't know what to do with myself.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More good news

The Grand He is back with the ex-lovah. You see, I drove him to it, by making him feel insecure. He did have the kindness to assure me that he did not get back together with her until he had told me that we would not work out. So when did they reconcile? On the same day.

I know I escaped a bullet. I still feel completely, completely, completely devastated.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bloody Fucking Narcissists

Note new sidebar item, a mood indicator set (permanently, judging by the way I feel right now) to "angry."

So much for predicting less gloomy, less angry, more full-of-summer-joy posts. Not going to happen until I get this out my system. The bitch is back and furious as all-hell.

He-Who-Did-Not-Stick-Around-Long-Enough-To-Get-a-Pseudonym, a.k.a. The Grand He, he who wields the Death Grip of Super Masculinity in a way inimitable by wannabes Cruise et. al., has just explained to me in grand condescending detail why he has decided we can never be together. It basically amounts to, "I never expected you to withdraw your attention from me for one second for any reason, even if the reason involved the emotional consequences of my actions, such as deceiving you about obsessively calling my ex-lover and arranging a meeting with her to resolve our differences (on a platonic level, of course). Even though you went to great lengths to understand your reactions and ultimately blamed them on yourself and on your own feelings of being overwhelmed by the suddenness and intensity of the relationship and your own commitment fears, you made me feel bad about myself. I can cope with nothing less than your total and unswervingly devoted attention, and I realize that this is a flaw. I cannot risk that this will ever happen again. This is a fault in me, not in you. I am sorry that this fault in me has caused you such tremendous pain. The Grand He has spoken."

Sorry, Medusa. Whack!


Monday, June 13, 2005

A meme in lieu of gloomy Medusa fare

Instead of thinking or writing about He-Who-Did-Not-Stick-Around-Long-Enough-To-Get-a-Pseudonym, I will do a meme (and then do some to work, before my noon appointment, really . . .)via New Kid and a whole bunch of others.

My uncle once: taught me that if I went off by myself, still within eyesight of my cousins who would not let me play the game they were playing, and became very interested in a new game I was playing alone that my cousins would lose interest in their exclusive game and beg to play with me. It worked. I think I still use this strategy is all kinds of strange ways.
Never in my life: did I expect to be an "expert" on the topic I am currently writing about.
When I was five: I made up a song called "That Crazy Number, Five" (which was about how five was much cooler than any other number I had been, because it had curves and angles) and sang it all day on my birthday.
High school was: boring, fun, exciting, angst-filled, happy, sad, and normal.
I will never forget: everything but that thing I cannot recall at the moment.
I once met: those famous people that I brag about so much (yes, I am that obnoxious person) that I cannot blog about them without identifying myself.
Once at a bar: Oh Jesus, worthy of an entire blog in itself.
By noon I'm usually: coming down from my coffee and nicotine high.
Last night: I returned from the brief shore retreat, slathered lotion on my sunburn, put hydrocortisone of my mosquito bites, had a glass of wine (okay, three), and went to bed.
If only I had: common sense.
Next time I go to church: I will be arguing with my sister about how we are not Methodists, how we have never been Methodists, and how her attempt to rewrite our family history by making us Methodists is merely an attempt to pass class boundaries in order to fool her children. Merry Christmas everyone!
I have a confession to make: I think I just did.
When I turn my head left: I see a pile of work I should be doing.
When I turn my head right: I see I need a coffee refill.
You know when I'm lying when: I accuse you of doing the thing that I am doing/being but lying about doing/being.
Every day I think about: work . . . and sex.
By this time next year: I will have quit smoking, will have x more publications, and will have figured out that I need to take my summer vacations in late May/early June.
I have a hard time understanding: right-wing wankers and left-lane assholes.
If I ever go back to school I'll: study physics.
You know I like you when: I laugh, really laugh, at something you've said.
If I won an award the first person I'd thank is: the Academy.
My ideal breakfast is: coffee, fresh fruit, yogurt.
A song I love, but do not have is: [To those few of you who have not contracted the disease that is this song in your head, do not--DO NOT--click on the link] "Everyone Loves Magical Trevor."
If you visit my hometown, I suggest: you tell me where it is, since we moved around too much for me to know.
Why won't anyone: bring me my drink already?
If you spend the night at my house: you will get to sleep on the title character in Futon: An American Tragedy (screenplay in development)
I'd stop my wedding for: Wait . . .I'M GETTING MARRIED?!?!
The world could do without: right-wing wankers and left-lane assholes.
I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: watch televised footage of other people licking the bellies of cockroaches in the name of mindless competition.
Paper clips are more useful than: those odd triangular clippy things.
If I do anything well: I will deny it until you tell me over and over again and then I will bashfully agree.
And [Strange to think] by the way: Whatever there is to know, / That shall we know one day.
The last time I was drunk: I curled up with a large dog in a cabin by the sea, passed out, and woke up wondering why the loudest crow and the loudest seagull who had ever crowed or shrieked needed to fight over whatever it was they were fighting over just outside of my window . . . and just how do they distill vodka from the potato?


Friday, June 10, 2005

A short romance indeed

Not too hard (from the outside) to see that coming. Done. I feel like shit.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

A short series indeed

I have decided to ditch the short posts on relationships. I feel like I, in an effort not to reveal too much about the relationship, began to reveal its most intimate details. Suffice it to say that my new romance is fucked up, I am fucked up, or both. I am desperately trying to figure out if my anxieties are normal, given the whirlwind intensity and instant seriousness of this relationship, or if I am destined to die alone, trapped in my neuroses. I thought we were on the same page (i.e. I was right there with him in the intensity and seriousness), but then I somehow fell off the page. Was I never quite there? In other words, was I mirroring? Hard to say.

All of this is going on somewhere in my head as I work on the article due in a few weeks. I am being methodical about reading all that I need to read (and then some) before I actually write the full version. I have some vague idea that this is a procrastination technique--that I actually need to lay the thing out, begin expanding it in the directions I indicated in the proposal, find its gaps, and THEN read what I have missed. But for now, I am telling myself that I am "grounding" myself in the theory and criticism.

Hmmmm . . .I am starting to see a connection between the writing process and the relationship process, as I have stalled the relationship in order to "ground" or center myself. I am refusing to commit to plans (plans to DO actual things) until I figure out how I am feeling. This seems incredibly self-indulgent, and it has to be frustrating and painful for him. I have been there myself, and it ALWAYS ALWAYS feels like a rejection. "Let me just take a step back and see if I really want to be with you." That is not what I have said, but it is how it must read on some level. Jesus. Who can possibly tolerate that?

I feel like an adolescent, as a scholar and as a partner.

I hope I will be less gloomy and negative in future posts. It's summer! Where's the joy? The gorgon's head is too full of venomous thoughts.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The problem of desire

Part 2 on relationships

When I feel overwhelmed or pushed or rushed, my desire wanes. What does this mean? Was my desire that strong in the first place or was I ambivalent all along? At the end of the day, isn't desire supposed to be there, basically and solidly there, in spite of anger, in spite of pushed boundaries?


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Part one of a series of short posts on relationships, how I feel about them in general, and how this one (which I do not feel comfortable writing about in detail) is making me feel.

I have been swept off my feet. Problem is I need my feet. Or rather I need to feel, after a while, that my feet are planted firmly on the ground--my ground. Any attempt I make to try to center myself, to try to catch my breath, to try to take it just a bit slower is read as rejection. Any attempt I make to throw myself into it--in spite of my feelings of being overwhelmed--results in me shutting down, getting angry, and being irritated and annoyed by his very presence in the world.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Summer of work

I am looking around on other folks' blogs and seeing some pretty sensible summer things going on: traveling to exotic locales (even if it involves some work), philosophical suntanning, laying down the rules for becoming the kissing bandit of the Midwest, and carousing with sailors.

And here I am planning a summer of work, and--worse yet--calling it a "summer of work." I am sure that everyone else has work to do this summer, but I am seeing my summer as primarily being about work. Yes, realistically, I do have three accepted papers to research (really, no more faking it) and to write, a new class to prep, and a p & t book to pull together. But should I be seeing this as a summer of work? I am planning (albeit anxiously) some trips. I am in (again, albeit anxiously) the middle of a new love affair. The work is not making me anxious. I am sure it will when I actually begin (currently in the planning/I-have-plenty-of-time stage of the first project), but for now the "summer of work" feels comfortable. Anything that might take me away from it is making me anxious.

Either I am a workaholic (doesn't seem right, as I have always felt I am too inherently and happily lazy to be classified as such) or . . .I am actually looking forward to the research and writing. Gasp. This feels true. I have been craving long uninterrupted periods of time to work on my own stuff all year. What have I become? Again, what happened to the rockstar? [Note: The rockstar is still apt to drink whiskey all night and end up quite irresponsibly naked, so do not think this signifies some moral repositioning of a younger self by an older self.]

I will be happy about the good summertime feelings toward the summer of work as long as they last. It will be great. I will leisurely read and think about all of the critical material I did not have time to read and think about this year. I will take long walks and long naps (and still have time to read and think). I will have time to write thoughtfully and revise carefully. I will meet my friends at the pub each night after producing x number of excellent pages each day. I will be delighted. My editors will be delighted. I will have time leftover to plan/revamp classes, order books, read all new material, and devise strategies for a fall semester of ease. My p & t book will come together flawlessly, and it will be impressive to all . . . Hmmmmm, I think we can all see where this is going. Let a girl dream.