Archive for the ‘Pride’ Category

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Blue Monday

April 20, 2009

Today is a grey, crappy, rainy, blustery day.  As if my internal life were reflected in the atmosphere, you might say.

Had myself a blustery chat with Ye Olde Therapiste, wherein I talked about:

1.  Robot Boy’s grandmother, who has taken quite a decline recently, prompting him to schedule a quick trip to visit with her this coming weekend,

2.  Which has also put any vacation plans–to Costa Rica or anywhere else–on hold until we know what’s up with Grandma.

3.  My post today at Harpyness on not being sorry, and yet how I’m completely consumed with guilt and remorse and constantly feel sorry both for and about what seem like my unending failures, and

4.  Needing to meet both with my dissertation director, so as to more-or-less “come clean;” and the placement officer/career counselor dude, so as to be assured that the best I will be able to do for the fall is tape together a number of adjunct positions and thus earn a subsistence wage; and not feeling confident that I could do either of those things without having a humiliating meltdown.

It was not pleasant.

Afterwards, I went up to school for a quick errand, and saw that my diss director was in his office, and although 49% of me was thinking “Fly, you fool! Flyyyyyyyy!”, 51% said “Good god, woman, get in there and get it over with!”  So I went in there and said really all I trusted myself to say: “Well, the long and short of it is I’m burned out, and I don’t know how to get un-burned out.” I didn’t get into details of how long I’ve been struggling, how little I’ve produced in recent months, or the therapy and meds, but the cat was out of the bag.

I think I kind of shocked him (to the extent that he can be shocked), although I can’t be sure.  He paused, expressed sympathy (“I’m sorry,” and “it happens to all writers”) and then advised me to:

1.  Keep a scheduled, dedicated writing time (just an hour), even if I don’t write a thing, just to sit and think is necessary;

2. Try a different angle–a new section or chapter, a new and weird idea, just to see what happens;

3. Take a break–but not too long, as not-writing tends to breed more not-writing (and my life is a testament to that bit of wisdom); and

4. Take care not to strangle it (which is what I’m doing when I’m not ignoring its ensuing gasps for breath).

Nothing revolutionary, but true all the same.  He encouraged me to keep with it, that struggle is part of the process, that even if you’re not cranking out pages, or only cranking out shite, if you sit with it, work is happening in your brain, and if you can get out of its way, so to speak, it will come.  We talked about the undeniable crapulence of the job market, and he said that “slowing down a bit” (HA!  HA HA HAHAHHHHHAAAAAA!) wasn’t a terrible idea.  He assured me of my ability (or rather, he tried to, I can’t say I’m sold on that) and the worthiness of my subject matter, and asked me to set a time to meet with him next month and see how things are going.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

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Helpful/Not Helpful

April 15, 2009

Helpful:  Getting a lot of kind words and wishes on my birthday.

Not Helpful:  Realizing I’m 34 and still have no career to speak of.

Helpful:  Rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin.  I’m feeling closer to “normal” than I have in at least a month.

Not Helpful:  Orange Cat’s many medicines.  His eye doesn’t seem to be healing.

Helpful:  Looking over my CV and thinking:  this is okay.

Not Helpful:  Learning that a co-worker of mine (in a different discipline) just landed a job here in the city, even though she’s barely half-done with her rather pedestrian formalist diss, and her contract at our job lasted another year.

Helpful:  I’ve started doing a workout DVD, since that’s sposeda help with mental as well as physical health.

Not Helpful:  Realizing that while my weight is fine, I’m puny and weak and embarrassingly out of shape.  Also:  sore all over.

Helpful:  Blogging at Harpyness.  It’s nice to be able to write something, even if it’s not professionally useful.

Not Helpful:  Blogging at Harpyness.  It’s frustrating to be putting all my writing energy into something that’s not professionally useful.

Harumph.

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What I Want for My Birthday

April 13, 2009

So today is my 34th birthday.

Hoopty-freakin’-doo.

Usually I’m a big old birthday-slut.  I want you to be nice to me, and wish me well, and maybe surprise me with something thoughtful, even though I feel kinda stupid announcing it.  This year, however, is different.

33 was not an especially good year for me, and while I am in some ways glad to put it behind me, I’m not terribly looking forward to what 34 seems to be offering:  more of the same.

Of course, one can never know what the future holds (as Benjamin notes, the Angel of History always faces the past), but what it appears to hold is unemployment, debt, and facing up my failure, which I’ve been holding at arm’s-length for the last four-to-six months.

I’m hoping the rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin will help me with that facing-up.  The first day was a total emotional trainwreck (which happened to coincide with my blowing off a deadline that will simply make getting back on track–should I decide to do so–even more of a slog, but subsequently has improved to mere whippiness.

Once I level out (I’m hoping I level out), as hard as it will be, I must plan a have-it-out meeting with my chair, and let him know where I am vis-a-vis the process both intellectually and emotionally (which is:  resentful, burnt-out, and with little hope for change–in the market, in my attitude and prospects), and listen, as I have so many times in the last few years, to his advice.  I can’t believe that I would be the first flame-out he’s seen in his at-least-45-year career, and I ‘m hoping that he can offer some hint of clarity that I’ve been so in need of.

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I never thought I’d see the day, times two.

February 26, 2009

1.  Robot Boy wondered aloud last night about starting a Netflix subscription.  I boggled silently and thought it was merely a moment of weakness after watching the Oscars and thinking about all the films we couldn’t afford–both in terms of time and money– to see in theatres.

Then he emailed me today about giving him a subscription for his birthday, which is just a bit more than a week away.  I am seriously, seriously shocked.  Long has RB railed against Netflix (see his details on “The Cast” page) for their Wal-Mart-itization of the movie rental market, but as our favorite places (Reel Life, TLA, Kim’s) have folded one by one, he’s realizing that it ain’t even about the convenience of movies-in-the-mail–it’s about access to a catalog that is a skrazillion times larger than even the best, artsy-fartsiest independent shop (that would have been TLA, but they got chased out by rent hikes).

So, we’ll be having that discussion tonight, and I hope to soon get my mitts on any number of titles that have been languishing in the dusty drawer in my brain labelled “To See.”

2.  In other news, I had a meeting?  session?  with my therapist today, and I don’t feel like it was the worst thing I could have possibly done to myself.  It wasn’t a barrel of monkeys, mind you, but I also didn’t have to lurk in the back stairway of her building until my cry-reddened face regained some of its usual pallor before I could leave.  Thank god for big sunglasses, though.

Small victories.

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Perhaps I will get a badge* now.

February 16, 2009

My therapist , who seems kind enough (even if I don’t have the slightest idea how crying in her office will help me to feel better or write) said to me this afternoon:  “well, I’m not a big one for diagnoses or medications, but it seems clear that you’re depressed, and if you’re interested in a prescription, we could look into that.”

Well, it only took a month for her to suss out what I’ve known for three or four.  Progress!  I demurred on the dope; I already feel like I’m watching my life happen through a thick pane of glass. Adding another one, no matter what color it might be tinted, doesn’t appeal.

*I don’t know if the badge will be for “Amateur Psychology” or “Certifiably Nuts.”

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Now, with more Feminism!

January 28, 2009

Some smart lady-friends and I have started a group blog.  While I can only take credit or blame for my own work, I do think the thing as a whole is worth checking out.

www.harpyness.com

What else are you going to do, work?

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Another sign that I won the Dude Lottery.

January 17, 2009

RB brought home the entire HBO series John Adams to get us through a long, cold, life-hatin’ weekend.  Suck it, Oprah.