n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

derailed: yes or no?

Yes and no.

First off, I admit to being derailed for approximately 1 week by the crappy rejection. There. Admitted. Thanks, by the way, to my sister, who left a message for me this weekend (I was up, not sleeping, but not by my phone, ahem) encouraging me to not write for the fuckers. "You don't write for those jerks," she said in the best most cheerleadery message I could imagine from the cynic, my sister. And if that isn't more food for thought, really. No, awesome sister, I don't write for the assholes. But I'm not sure I write for anyone just yet, or right now.

Dog and CatI watched The Secret Garden a couple nights back, as I am sick with a cold and that is tradition. It made me remember the book, how mysterious, how unusual, and how normal it was. About how writing sometimes is about capturing the exotic you know most mundanely.

In that vein, Herald and the cat Mizzen have been cuddling lately. It seems the most perfect thing ever. Just the two quiet elements in the morning, twitching and stretching and reconfiguring as I awake. I mean, just look at them and their parallel pose...

It might be honest to say that my protagonists and characters for the last x years have been bitter, unreliable, wily disingenuous creatures interested in causing philosophical breakdowns and mediating conversations with limbo. Not hell, but limbo. I've been looking at my writing, trying to figure it out. I've got four book projects of various lengths and intricacy in progress and I've vacillated between these without making any genuine progress for at least a year now. In the meantime, last spring I set up a deadline to figure out my shit or get busy with a regular (money-making) job... like getting a law degree or becoming a librarian... and then I passed the deadline. Decision-ville.

Sometimes I feel like I'm choosing between being a failure nothing living on my mother's property with no savings, lasting relationships, children, success or satisfaction... or becoming a capitalist success story. Art or Nearly Everything.

I then got sick.
With a regular cold.
So, no, my absence from the frontier is not motivated by the destructive qualities of one assholish editor who at least was cruelly honest with me. Making me think that maybe my arrogance is responsible for my failure. Not my pride, which is nil; nor my persistence, which is inexplicable; nor my dedication, hope, or desire to be remembered into posterity (naah); not my laziness (not exactly); or loneliness (the remedy); exhaustion, lack of motivation, self-esteem (only partially); but my stalky-walking arrogance -- not so much belief but helium-belief in my own abilities. Mostly though I feel my current failure is a lack of discipline with the time I have available, which is scant. Time will never be handed me, so "in-between" and "down" time is as much of a joke for me as it is for a parent of a baby or toddler. Maybe less is handed actual parents, but that's the gist.

So... I've been having a hard time juggling the time between teaching, prepping, commenting, visiting with friends, walking my dog, being a good daughter, dating someone I care about and negotiating the new territory of adult affection, maintaining healthy distance and boundaries I never knew existed, catching a cold, being a good friend, trying to exercise and physically become the hot me I know I can be, and doing my own important-to-me work. It feels pretty weird to be already planning for next summer and how to isolate myself from everyone, including my own downfalls, just so that I can finish one of the 4 (four, for, Four, FR, FOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR!!!!) projects I've been working on for the past six or so years. Fucking ridiculous.

1) Is the spider story. I'm reading about spiders. Did you know that a bunch of spiderwebs in the grass on a dewy morning is supposed to be good luck? Or that spiders have occupied every role - from demon to angel - depending on the culture? I am writing about spiders as angels, as my only concept of angels... and trying to make a book both collection of X (contemplation?) and image. The images come more naturally to me right now, but the text is hard for me to figure out. Nonfiction? Fiction? Short stories? Chats about philosophical crap? I've written but not found the voice to cohere the book. The idea is present, the words dissipated, loose like internet news comments or minor explosions.

This and That work2) Is the prosthetic-animals story, which I envision as a children's book with a long poem about NeverNoMore-Land and the animals that adopt other creatures' physical strengths in order to survive. It's mainly for my god-daughter, though lord knows whether I will pull it together before she reaches adulthood. I recently re-started on it, thinking that it's what I've been working on, and it's simple and sweet and very much myself, but then got a little panicky when I started to think about how much work it's going to take before I've made the book I want to make (two more bigger creatures plus a whole pantheon of fish-prosthetic creatures). To slow my panic, I started working on the last image, which is of a kid-o -- eventually donning the garb of the creatures she admires... still stumped on what those are, though I've been trying to limit myself to endangered species.

3) the theft manual. I was working on one story, and then got frustrated by the shift in my voice over the years... not from worse to better, but from jabby to chatty, or unreliable to dramatic. sigh. I wish short stories weren't so moderated by journals. I wish I knew how to revise.

4) the stupid novel. grrr. It feels like a drama-fest at this point. Worthwhile to write for the sake of writing though?

What does it mean to have so many projects over so many years, and to lose energy in them all rather than follow anything through? Maybe I should invest in a real job. I've been thinking about research-oriented jobs alot lately. Like which ones would pay. I'm a damn good reader and researcher, and I'm tired of working below the poverty line to not achieve much of anything. It's one thing to rationalize your dreams, but it's another to work without due recompense for little reason at all. Hard to tell. I mean, I like my students, but...

Other things. Hmmm. It's been an up-down road with N again. Not like before, like talking to a wall, but now it's like talking to different versions of the past while trying to connect with the unique situation of the present.

That is, N calls quite a bit looking for advice, or support, or maybe just understanding. And giving advice to anyone is a bit like dodging a minefield while carrying a pomegranate between your little toes. I don't know why anyone would want to do this, certainly not me, except perhaps to help prevent a friend from damaging themselves further in the universe of Reality Eats Present and Chews It Up Thoroughly. I have no more delusions of saving N from her nightmares or problems, but still when she calls I want to help protect her, to tell her that "No, this is not okay" or "Yes, you're doing just fine. You are A-okay."

She's kinda hitting the break-up wall and it's so hard to watch, as if it's in ultimate slow-motion for me and ultimate Nascar for her. For her, it's like she was the Rip Van Winkle of PTSD tramatic breakdown, and for her (ex-)girlfriend like some kind of Fatal Attraction non-vengeful kamikaze fuck-up. A whirlwind everything/nothing and a bunch of bogus fuck-it crap meaningfulness.

I just watched a mouse run across the hallway floor. So. Fucking. Cute. How is one supposed to poison or trap that, I ask you? Grrrr.

Anyhow. It's a long drawn out story that just seems like a great big pile of theatrical bullcrap to me. Strange how noticeable this stuff is from the outside and how inevitable it is from its fecal innards. Whatever it is, it's bloody frustrating to witness, and I pray to god that I have the patience. Okay, not to god, but I pray that I don't tell NM to shut the hell up, considering how long I have tried the ears of whom and whomever over a very brief obsessional tryst with my own bad (lovish) luck.

Tomorrow: more damn papers to grade, then private tutoring, then hopefully I feel well enough to meet with S and have a nice, quiet cuddly evening.

More thoughts and so forth. Herald welcomes any of you taking him on a walk, as I am obviously sucking in said domain lately.
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