Monthly Archives: May 2008

How I Spent My Spring Vacation

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“Ooh, how was your vacation?” asked one coworker.

“Yeah, did you finish your book?” asked another.

I decided the best course of action was to mumble incoherently and leave the room, which was probably very rude, but it was better than breaking down into sobbing hysterics.

The answers to those questions, for those of you who were wondering, are, respectively,

1. Miserable


2. No.

Spent all nine days working on the manuscript but came nowhere near to finishing. It’s looking less and less likely that I’ll finish it on time but, well, I kind of have to.

I should be working on it right now but I’m exhausted, probably because I spent the whole day sniffling and feeling stressed. I am ready to crawl into bed, but it’s only 5:54 p.m. I am going to wait until at least 6. That gives me six minutes to kill.

And I shall kill them by offering an apology. I won’t be posting anything here for a few weeks. You wouldn’t want to read what I’d have to say, anyway. These days I’m in a weepy, cranky, thoroughly unpleasant mood, and besides, I’ve turned into a one-trick pony. There’s only one topic on my mind, and you’re sick to death of hearing about it and I’m sick to death of thinking about it.

See? See how dull and un-funny this post is? I mean I have my off days occasionally, some of my posts are better than others, but this one really takes the boring cake. I’ll just do us all a favor and refrain from blogging for the next few weeks. Check back in early June, when I will presumably be restored to good spirits.

Oh hooray, it’s 6:11, I can definitely go to bed now. See you in June.


Narrative of the Captivity of Jessica Kennedy-Rockefeller

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Day 290

The days blur together. Each morning I rise, I toil, I stumble to bed for a few hours’ sleep, then I rise again. I have forgotten what it is like to be outside, though I am grateful for the window next to my computer. Through it I can glimpse the sun and feel the breeze. There are no bars on the window, giving me the illusion of freedom; the drop to the ground, alas, would kill me.

Day 291

I am treated with a distant respect by my captors—or “editors,” as they style themselves. At present, they hardly interfere with my day-to-day activities, but I fear it is only a temporary condition. Once the initial fruits of my labor see completion, the psychological terror will begin. Criticisms, rewrites, entire passages axed—I worry that my sanity will not endure.

Day 292

Three local creatures, all of the same species, share my prison. They are small mammals, furry, with long tails and small wet noses. They yowl piteously when hungry and emit a curious rumbling noise when happy. The black one is friendliest; the three-colored one is alternately aloof and demanding; the fat one does nothing all day, though he is willing enough to huddle for body warmth at night. Peculiar creatures, they are, though oddly comforting; they are my only companions.

Day 293

My creative powers are at a nadir. My treasured vocabulary, once expansive and enviable, has dwindled to a… to a… The word escapes me.

“Compelling. Engaging. Engrossing. Fascinating.” I knew synonyms for these words, once. No longer. Will my captors notice the horrible repetition? I try to cycle through them, but surely the pattern will be obvious. I am doomed.

Day 294

I read for pleasure once upon a time, did you know? Oh cruelest of ironies: In days past I would while away the time with fiction novels, with made-up tales of fairies and elves, murderers and heroes. Now I am condemned to write about their cruel cousins, the so-called “non-fiction” books. Nothing here is made up, nothing. The books I annotate are all based on horrible, stinking reality.

Day 295

My deadline looms. What a graphic word, “deadline,” and how descriptive: If I do not finish on time, I will be dead, murdered by my unforgiving jailors. Who will mourn me? The furry denizens of my prison?

Day 296

It is too much to bear. Books about queen consorts, books about women’s spirituality, books about the Amazons; books about shoes, books about weight loss, books about transgendered husbands. I am losing my mind.

To think I chose this lot for myself! I have no-one but myself to blame. Had I but known what I was agreeing to… but it is too late to think on what might have been. My only hope is that someone else will find this record and take it for the cautionary tale it is meant to be. Tread not down the path of the annotated bibliography, for your very soul is at stake. Beware!

Go with the flow

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I think it’s perfectly dreadful when people talk about their sports and athletic hobbies. There is nothing duller than listening to people talk about their running times or their golf handicaps or their batting averages. I mean I simply cannot find it in myself to care.

So let me tell you about my yoga classes this week!

I am a beaten woman. I mean I am exhausted. I am aching in muscles that I had only ever seen in diagrams. I mean, I’ve seen pictures of the psoas muscle before, but I’d always assumed it was a sort of artistic rendition thingy, not an actual working piece of flesh.

Monday night was the first class of Introduction to Flow. Flow yoga is just what it sounds like: you flow gracefully from one pose to the next. Or it’s supposed to be graceful, at any rate. I had naively suspected that it might be easier than my regular Iyengar yoga, in which you hold each pose for a really long time. Even if it doesn’t hurt at first, it will by the time a few minutes have passed.

So, okay, with this flow stuff, we didn’t hold the poses for any significant duration, but here’s the catch: We did them repeatedly, in rapid succession, for an hour. It turned into a high-energy aerobic type thing.

By the time Monday night’s class was finished, I was dripping sweat and aching all over.

Thursday night’s Iyengar class would be a relief after that flow stuff, I figured. But when I limped into class this evening (still tender from Monday’s tortures, mind you), it turned out that Yoga Instructor Jennifer had prepared an exceptionally vicious class for us. Now, if you associate words such as “calming” and “restorative” with yoga, rather than “vicious” and “grueling,” that’s probably because you’ve never tried to balance on your head for three minutes.

By the time this evening’s class was finished, I was dripping sweat and aching all over.

In very short order I will be sinking into a hot bath, and then I will be collapsing into bed. First, though, I wanted to get this post out of the way, because I won’t be writing here again for a while. (Well—maybe there will be one little entry next week. I’ve already got a germ of an idea for my mid-vacation blog post, and it’s gonna be a doozie.) Mainly, though, I’ll be focusing on the thingymadoo. Once I get off work tomorrow, I will be sequestered in my apartment for nine days. It will be a week of reckoning, the chance to see if I really will be able to finish the you-know-what on time. Deadline the first is June 2. (There is another deadline, in August, for the final draft, but that will just be a matter of revisions. It is this first draft deadline that’s the killer.)

Of late I have been fantasizing about June the second. What a… what a glorious sound it has. June second. June the second. The second of June. It is more beautiful than December 25th, or my birthday, or Talk Like a Pirate Day. I am appalled that, in prior years, I have neglected this all-important date as being a day much like any other.

What, oh what, shall I do with myself, come June second?

For starters, I’ll take a nice long nap. I’m thinking three or so consecutive days asleep might do the trick.

Then probably my next order of business will be to restore my apartment to habitable conditions. With any luck I will be so very euphoric about having turned in the ook-bay that I won’t notice my usual displeasure at running the vacuum.

Then… oh, what then? I could get stinking drunk. That sounds like a nice idea. But probably I’ll want to put that off till a weekend. Not sure I could be my usual charming self toward the library patrons if I’m nursing a hangover.

Then I might do something really indulgent. This is a very big step for me, but I might– I hope you’re sitting down, because this is really very remarkable– I might watch a movie.

If your jaw is not dropping, it should be. I do not watch movies. I just don’t. But my need for escapism will be so very great that I might just do it, provided I can figure out how to hook up my PS2 properly, which is no sure thing.

Hey! My PS2! I could play video games! Maybe kill a few zombies or save a few worlds, something like that!

And the books! I’ll be able to read for pleasure again! I’ll be looking for something with absolutely no redeeming value. (Any suggestions?) I do not want, and I cannot emphasize this strongly enough, I do not want to read something that broadens my horizons. I do not want to learn about people’s lives in other cultures. I do not want contemplative thought-pieces on politics or society or the economy. I do not want my beloved Dostoevsky, I do not want reflective philosophical musings, and for the love of everything holy I do not want Women’s Nonfiction.

I will be wanting fiction—fluffy, escapist, mind-numbing fiction. I will want action and stock characters and a fast pace and simple, easily-processed sentences that follow your basic subject-verb-object structure, nothing too fancy, thanks anyway.

Now because I do have some shred of dignity deep within my soul I forbid any of you to suggest James Patterson to me. I realize that, essentially, I have just described the typical James Patterson book, but even in the depths of my anticipated drunken stupor, I will not condescend to that level. I have my pride.

Other than that, I’m wide open. Ideas, anyone?

Going to go crawl toward my bath now. I’d walk, but I’m not sure I have it in me.