Rolling donut

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Okay. I am nowhere, nowhere near finished with the book. If I write nonstop during all of my spare time between now and then end of May, I…. well, honestly, even at that rate I probably don’t have a prayer of meeting my first deadline, but let’s be optimistic: If I write nonstop between now and the end of May, I will just barely meet my first deadline.

As I have never missed a deadline in my life and I don’t intend to start doing so now, I suppose I had just better stick to this nonstop writing gig. (Ignore, for the moment, that I am using precious spare time to compose this blog post.)

This weekend I have been dutifully writing nonstop, though I confess I have made time for a few essential interruptions. I had to. That is what “essential interruption” means. I had no choice in the matter

In completely unrelated news, my definition of “essential” has expanded recently. Let’s take this as a sign of personal and emotional growth, shall we? My ability to redefine concepts is a sign of maturity. I am embracing change, doncha know.

This weekend’s essential interruptions have included the preparation of my taxes (the state will be sending me a refund of six cents, count’em one two three four five six cents), the vacuuming of my floor, the emptying of the litter boxes, the stretching of my inner groin muscles (sounds naughty, but wasn’t; I was working on a yoga move that I can’t achieve yet), and the taking of a nap on Saturday afternoon. I am VERY well-rested this weekend. There’s nothing like a specter of writing a book to keep me in bed. Actually, I’ll use just about any excuse to stay in bed. I love being asleep. But this is getting absurd.

At any rate, I’ve had it up to here with Women’s Nonfiction. I can now safely say that I despise it. At this point I am craving fiction that has nothing, whatsoever, to do with women. I want to read made-up stories about men pumped up on testosterone, men blowing things up, men beating the shit out of each other. I mean I am to the point where I would read Tom Clancy.

Well—okay, I’m kidding about that, but I swear I’ll scream the next time I see the words “emotional journey” or “reflections on womanhood” or “spiritual discovery.” I will scream, I will scream loudly, and you want to know the worst part? I’ll probably be typing those words myself. The only thing worse than reading a book of women’s nonfiction is annotating it, and that’s all I do with my time anymore.

Speaking of which, if anyone has any useful synonyms for the following list, I will offer to be your personal slave for the rest of your natural life. Ahem:

  • engrossing
  • captivating
  • fascinating
  • illuminating
  • delightful
  • compelling
  • excellent
  • remarkable

Like zombies whose brains haven’t been destroyed, these eight adjectives keep recurring in the annotations I write. They won’t go away. They won’t die. They are ever-present and eternal, slowly but surely sucking away my will to live.

So at the library the other day, a patron wandered up and asked, completely deadpan, if I could answer the question of evil. Deadpanning right back at him, I said I might need a little time on that.

The next day, and I bet you anything he wasn’t expecting this, the next day I saw the same patron, so I marched right on up with four texts in my hand: some essays by Michel de Montaigne, some religious reflections by Nazi victim Dietich Bonhoeffer, the first part of Sigrid Undset’s fantastic trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter, and—are you anticipating me here?—The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

“Sorry about the Western bias,” I said, “but these books go a long way toward explaining the problem of evil.”

“Is there anything about you,” the patron asked shortly thereafter, “that isn’t adorable?”

The revolution has started. Soon all of my patrons will recognize that, yes, I am completely adorable. Now if only I can get my coworkers to follow suit.

Last night after yoga I did an unusual thing. I went to the drugstore to pick up more hair dye. That in itself isn’t unusual, of course; I need to be prepared for the day in the not-very-distant future when my roots start making pests of themselves.

Trips to the drugstore and the grocery store, for those of you who were wondering, constitute essential interruptions to book writing.

I picked that day to go to the drugstore because I had a 20% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. Maybe it was the influence of the coupon that led me to do the unprecedented: I spent $8.43 on a tube of lipstick.

(Well– $8.43 less twenty percent, whatever that is.)

Understand that I frequently go without makeup. I eschewed it entirely during my teen years. While all the other girls were figuring out how to make themselves pretty, I was determinedly going about in oversize t-shirts and unflattering shorts, with never a hint of makeup. I guess it was some sort of early feminist reaction, with logic something like this:

Given that A) I don’t want to be like those other girls, and given that B) those other girls wear makeup, it logically follows that C) I won’t wear makeup.

I’m still as feminist as I was back then, moreso actually, but now I have the benefit of a Women’s Studies degree under my belt. My opinions on makeup have evolved to the point where I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.

I think makeup, or clothing, or any other superficial accoutrement, is a bad, bad idea when it’s done for somebody else. Don’t wear makeup because you think you’re ugly without it. Don’t wear pink fishnets because you want to impress your boyfriend. Those are the wrong reasons.

But if wearing makeup or fishnets or whatever makes you happy, then by all means go for it. If you get to the point where you feel obligated to don accessories, you’ve lost touch with your own aesthetic sense. That’s bad. But if you like to doll yourself up because you enjoy your own reaction to it, then go right ahead.

Not sure if I’m explaining this well, but let me summarize: Makeup, etc., should never be mandatory. Society can’t tell you what to do. Go tell society to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut…. That’s right, tell em, sister!

If you want to wear makeup because you like it, bully for you. The only person you are obliged to please is yourself.

End feminist rant.

Anyway, I’ve progressed to the point now where I don’t see makeup as a symbol of patriarchal oppression. On a lot of other women it is, but on me? I wear makeup because I jolly well want to. Or I don’t wear it. Or whatever. Rolling donut, etc.

But, considering my limited life experience with makeup, and my inherent frugality, I’ve always been the sort to buy lipstick from the dollar bin. I think three dollars is the most I’d ever spent on any cosmetic, till the fateful trip after yoga the other night. With my dashing new hairdo, I figured a new cosmetic approach would be in order.

Oh, before I forget, here’s a recent picture. It’s not great, but it will give you a glimpse of my new look until such point as I take a better photo:

So that’s me these days. Except now imagine that with a deep vampy red eight-dollar lipstick shade. It looks awesome. I mean it. Really.

When Persepolis saw it, she nodded emphatically. Persepolis is one of the two most stylish women I know. If she approves, I
’m doing something right.

The Englishlady told me it looked sexy. The Englishlady is the other most stylish woman I know.

If those two like my lipstick, it was worth every penny of the eight dollars and forty-three cents less twenty percent plus tax.

Except now there’s one other problem.

“If I stay single for the rest of my life, at least we know it’s not because I’m dreadfully ugly!” I said brightly to the Englishlady. She agreed.

And then I realized the enormity of that conclusion.

“That means that… er… if I stay single for the rest of my life it’s…”

“Yes?” asked the Englishlady.

“…it’s because of some horrible personality flaw, and it’s gonna cost a hell of a lot more than eight dollars to fix it.”

I betcha Tom Clancy never gets all fussy over lipstick and relationships and shit. Maybe I should check him out, after all.


9 responses »

  1. You wrote…I swear I’ll scream the next time I see the words “emotional journey” or “reflections on womanhood” or “spiritual discovery.”Does this mean that you are not covering "coming of age" in your book? Or that you like "coming of age" but hate the other expressions?

  2. Mack,I’ll be tossing about "coming of age" in due time, don’t worry. It’s just that the topics I covered this weekend (women in science and math, women doctors and lawyers, women in the military) didn’t lend themselves to the phrase.I wonder if my editors will let me get away with using "bildungsoman"? Now that’s a classy word. I’d happily overuse it.

  3. Hi Fussy Lipsticker!Well, I’d finish your sentence "If I’m single for the rest of my life it’s because…I’m smarter than the rest of you," but that’s just me. Don’t tell the mister, whom I honestly like, it’s just that sometimes the house isn’t big enough for me and the cat and him. He refuses to stay in a hotel during those instances, too, the bastard. I would imagine that right when you’re thinking you won’t get married, boom, you’ll get married, and then you’ll wonder, wait, why did I want to get married? In the meantime, good luck on the book, great picture, and enjoy your vampy lipstick. Sometimes I wear chapstick, which is not real vampy, but is pink and tastes good and makes my lips smacky, so to each their own. Now be on your compelling way. I have no synonyms for you. Intriguing? I realized the other day how much I overuse "enjoyable romp" in my annotations–dear God. Why does anyone hire me?

  4. "Enjoyable romp"– thanks, Nonanon! Great idea! May I have permission to start overusing it, too?I dunno, maybe you and Mr. Nonanon can compromise during instances of marital claustrophobia. Rather than staying in a hotel, he can sleep on the couch. Seems like a win-win situation to me. Compromise, that’s what marriage is all about, compromise.I recommend Burt’s Bees chapstick. Not very vampy, tastes good, and makes your lips tingle. Does your present chapstick do that? I doubt it. You haven’t experienced chapstick till you’ve had tingly lips.

  5. eleemosenary archivist

    Yr piquantly provocative,intellectually stimulating, spine-tingling,suavely superior,delightfully didactic,{though non-hyphenated}updates & reviews may be seen to provide piquant alternatives to more traditional dust-redolent literary phenomenae{pl?}…ah,yes, even for those of us with noses in books, vermillion-lipped accents are fine on Librarians…works well w/ black eyeglass frames…out-4-now & back to vetting Manga contents for League of Portuguese Teens {does that win me an extension on an ILL?}

  6. eleemosenary archivist

    Talk about promoting "essential interruptions".If I see Tom Clancy wearing yr shade of "lippenstift" ,ya’all’ll be the first to hear about it. "Bildungsroman"…word hadn’t come to mind recently, but yeah, an historically correct novel of the educational persuation is a fine German term..use it!

  7. E. archivist: I am going to take that list of descriptions, collectively, as longhand for "adorable."

  8. the queen of claremount

    Love the hair! I told you that you were cute underneath all the self doubt! Yoga AND lipstick – what a difference a year makes!Don’t you agree that all those adjectives apply to BRL?LOL!

  9. Queen,Don’t worry, the self doubt is still there, in spades. Last night I started composing the next blog entry. You’re going to get a mention! Hooray!


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