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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm writing this from a new mac laptop that will revolutionize my world and make me a success

no pressure, McLaptop, no pressure.

I've named her Vociferous. Mainly because I like saying Vociferous.


I caught myself thinking this morning as I drove to work that if only I could write like a combination of Thomas Wolfe, Faulkner, Virginia Wolfe and Marquez, I would be satisfied. Then when I realized what I was thinking, I snorted coffee up my nose, thinking... that's all it's going to take? Why didn't I realize that before? Ah, coffee up the nose... how cleansing to the spirit.


New quarter is up, old quarter is gone. And what did I think about teaching creative writing, now that it is done? I'm not really sure... overall, I think it's less satisfying than finishing one of my own projects would be. On the other hand, it is satisfying to encourage writers to achieve new feats, to challenge themselves, to find inspiration in every corner, and so forth. I like giving the kinds of encouragement that I would have liked, or have received well from teachers in my past. However, every now and then, I'd end up saying the wrong thing for the wrong person... giving a long list of suggestions because a piece had real merit, only to squash the writer's fragile self-esteem by making it seem like there was so faaaaaar to go, and so little achieved, for instance.

For the most part though, it really didn't seem all that different from teaching any other writing course, composition included. It involved a lot of prep, a lot of reading, a lot of commenting, plenty of nagging and cajoling, weedling and shaking my head. The end products were sometimes amazing, sometimes not so amazing, also much like other classes... the only difference being the sheer variety of genres turned in. However, at the beginning level, there really wasn't so much spread in talent... a small handful of passionates who were progressing well, and a larger handful of less-passionates who progressed not-at-all. Maybe one or two remarkable voices that made me happy.

And so I now find myself in a new quarter, ever so quickly, with no creative writing students... about 45 students in an upper-level comp class, which means I'm going to be reading reading reading this quarter, and I'm already feeling myself slip into the spring lazies. Hmmm.


I've banned myself off Facebook for a bit. I've decided I can only handle it once a week... for three very good reasons:
  • Social Networking is pretty convolute, and there's very little way to get away from people you want to get away from. They're always there, connected somehow, lurking in the shadows. Sometimes they're even your friends.

  • I've had quite a few friends with significant writing and publication success lately. I'm happy for them, and rush out and buy their books right away, and store them proudly on my mantle and think good thoughts for them. I even take the books to my classes and try to sell my students on them.

    However, lately - especially as I "friend" journals I like - it seems like I'm always facing other people's success. It seems like reviews, reviews of reviews, re-shared reviews, comments on reviews, new announcements, reading tours, tours that involve reading, reviews of reading tours, re-shared reviews of reading tours that involve reviews of recently published reviews on recently published colleagues, and so forth, are always scrolling through my feed.

    And this, I have to admit, has two deleterious effects on me, one of which is to encourage me to feel jealous. That slow sneaking irritation at other's achievements - achievements that I'd much rather be happy about! - is such a nasty, slimy feeling... guilty and hair-tossing at once. It's easier to be generous and not jealous when other people's books are not something I'm constantly reminded of, I have to admit. The second effect is the slow erasure of what little self-confidence I have right now regarding writing, since my writing has been ever so slow for awhile. I feel pretty well paralyzed by the utter success of others, like there'll never be a way to catch up, to jumpstart my inspiration again, to get disciplined and believe in myself after three years of sloooooow progress.

  • I don't like the way Facebook fills in my thoughts, the way it scatters my thinking, encourages me to look for micro-bridges between the various moments in the day, rather than finding continuity in living and moving from one action to another action... one interaction to another... one idea to another. I feel like my mind hops all over the place even after five minutes on Facebook, and it's rarely five minutes on Facebook; it's more often 30 minutes on Facebook, about 5 times a day.
Yes, so three very good reasons, and now that I've been off Facebook for almost a week (I plan on logging back on Fridays only because I do actually want to keep up with my friends and the events that are posted there), it feels very strange. It's not called 'unplugged' for random reasons.

I keep finding myself irritated during the off moments at work that I can't turn to my computer really, except for news... and I keep wondering what is happening. My mother has asked me several times what my sister is doing, and in the past I was able to keep her relatively happy with updates on my sister's status, but no more. And at one point in the week, I almost logged back on because I needed to organize a gathering, and couldn't figure how to get everyone together!

But I also feel relieved. Like I finally turned off my phone after fifty phone calls from anonymous stalkers in the middle of the night. And outside the night is quiet, and the frogs are flirting, and occasionally a wind will come in to blow around the chimes in a gentle tinkling that somehow sounds distant and comfortable.


I think the writing group has finally found its location and zone, but I also think I'm going to need to add people in order to get just the right mixture of vim and vinegar. After following the suggestions several times of someone who has only shown up once over the past four months, I finally decided to go with what I want... which will likely mean inviting more people from the cc since I don't really know any other serious creative writers in this town other than my father (who would inevitably drive me to impale myself on my writing utensil), EC (who I doubt would join for rather obvious reasons), and my former local professors (who I never knew well enough to ask such an impertinent question). So... I've tentatively started inviting a couple of other folks... it's a nerve-wracking thing because there are a couple of people who I really don't want to be in a writing group with - either I don't like them, or I don't like their work, or they are too loud and controlling. But I also don't want to hurt anybody's feelings either.

What a snob I am.

Anyhow, MH and I finally settled on a local pub, on their cheap beer night, at an hour that is before the music gets rollicking. There're peanut shells on the floor, and dogs lurking in the corners, and guitars hanging on the wall, plus 'cheap' means $3 for a damn good beer and none of that Budweiser's crap. I think the zen and mojo is just waiting to happen, and I got all these shivers at the idea of having a reading there too.


My garden has started... here are the first little troopers in the greenhouse (these are cabbages, but I also have broccoli sneaking up too):

garden shot
And out in the garden proper, I have a few baby chards and a few baby spinaches, and a few baby snow peas sneaking up. Here's what the freshified, ready for planting first garden looks like at the beginning of April:

garden shot
garden shot
Also, I decided to basically double my garden size, creating a whole new garden for the beans, squashes, and pumpkins. Here's where it's going to be, in a picture taken just after I got started on the endeavor:

garden shot
Here it is now, two weeks after getting started:

garden shot
garden shot
The 'interesting' part of the project has actually been negotiating with CR over where to set it up, as he is convinced that the new garden place is going to result in the death of thousands of happy little garter snakeses. My new garden is right next to their spot, so we've negotiated a five-foot snake border, about which we are debating back and forth the ideal conditions. Basically it is going to look like this, which I guess I can deal with... there were some pretty big fights for awhile about said ideal conditions, not the less complicated by the fact that it's CR's property and he and mom are only letting me garden because I feed them veggies from it:

garden shot
And more to come! I'm excited and have some very sneakily geometrical plans to maximize sunlight hours in the new garden. We'll see how it goes.


Let's see what else? In summary: wedding of NM's friend, it sucked except dancing, nearly got into fisticuffs with NM who apologized but still owes me big and needs to stop being quite so self-centered where I am concerned and also stop talking about her ex who by now I despise, and she took a two-week trip back in to the south that left her weeping and freaking me out with new phone calls, man am I not cut out for this stuff; SP and I are doing okay... missing each other, I think, but making sure to work in time for hot tubbing and getting drinks and holding her new niece and so forth... we've managed to talk through some things and though I don't always feel peaceful about it all, I'm feel okay with where we are right now; and I've decided to stop drinking hard alcohol for awhile... I'm too irresponsible about it and realized I spend too much money on it... and the difficult tells me it was the right choice; and I'm working to keep working out... I've hit an all new high in bigness, and feeling pretty sick of it, but trying to accept myself as I am even as I struggle to find a better way to stay healthy (who'd a thought that hiking every other day, and working out on the elliptical on the in-between days plus gardening wouldn't get me to at least a reasonable medium?); and roller derby is on Saturday, Herald is happy and fat, and I need to go now because it's late and I need to get up early and grade tomorrow because I was supposed to do it tonight and instead played on my new computer.

And my faith in myself is experiencing an upswing. I don't know why, but it is. Maybe it's the sunlight.

Also, I like this laptop's keyboard. I do. I need a mouse for it, but other than that, I like it.
Hope it grows well.
Thanks! Personally, I think it's gonna be a canning summer...
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