Thursday, December 15, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Further, accentuating all these difficulties [those that attend the creation of a work of genius] and making them harder to bear is the world's notorious indifference. It does not ask people to write poems and novels and histories; it does not need them. It does not care whether Flaubert finds the right word or whether Carlyle scrupulously verifies this or that fact. Naturally, it will not pay for what it does not want.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
"But k," she said, "you hate shrinks."
"Not true—I never knew any."
Relying upon others is very difficult. Be that as it may, even Captain Ahab could not avoid it. At the end of Moby-Dick, the Pequod chases the white whale for three days before meeting its final doom. The whale has chewed through another ship and has destroyed Ahab's leg for a second time. Ahab, finding it difficult to stand on his splintered ivory leg, relies upon Starbuck, first mate, moral hero, and only member of the crew willing to question Ahab's judgment.
But when he was helped to the deck, all eyes were fastened upon him; as instead of standing by himself he still half-hung upon the shoulder of Starbuck, who had thus far been the foremost to assist him. His ivory leg had been snapped off, leaving but one short sharp splinter.
"Aye, aye, Starbuck, 'tis sweet to lean sometimes, be the leaner who he will; and would old Ahab had leaned oftener than he has."
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold psychology?
Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I have just begun to think that perhaps my ten year old self had a clue. Lately my ideal employment arrangement includes freelance work, adjunct or part time teaching, writing, and possibly some additional part time employment. Some have asked, "What about health insurance?" I'm not too concerned. So I'll have to buy some sort of health insurance or just pay out of pocket for my health care. I'm okay with that. Next they ask about retirement. Yeah, eventually I'll set something up (after I'm out of school; it's out of the question now).
When I think of my future in this way, it stops feeling so oppressive. When I think of my future employment plan as a patchwork of several things I enjoy, the things I am doing now feel like preparation for my future. For the first time since I was about ten, I sense a feeling that might be the beginning of excitement about my life as a grownup. This is encouraging. This might help me to write the dissertation.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
When one exercises one's muscles with heavy weights, one learns to work to failure to test how far the body can go to learn how to become stronger. Failure is the inability to do even one more repetition, even if offered a million dollars as a reward. When you know where failure is, you have a sense of where to begin and where your goals lie—how progress can and should be measured.
I hate failing. I avoid failure. I avoid doing anything I cannot do extremely well. I avoid anything that I know makes me look imperfect (and I worry over all the things that make me look imperfect that I do not see).
Still, I know that avoiding failure is itself failure. I avoid doing things I do not do well so that other people will think more highly of me. By avoiding these things, I make it impossible for other people to connect with me in any but the most superficial ways and so I fail in worse ways than I had feared.
So I am going to hunt down failure. I am going to learn to delight in failure. I already hate failure. I will develop a taste for it, as though it were a particularly fine cheese, or a strongly flavored liquor. I will become drunk with the success of failure. And then it will take more failure and more failure before I can fail. And I will grow stronger, and failure will become strength.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
coding for poetry: how to make clear for typesetter
in the eg: code for poem same whether in spanish or english:
leave notes for the typesetter about facing pages, line numbering, coding conventions
work on grammar etc.
diagram sentences. maybe 1-2 hours/week? [if i get virgin: 35/mo and then I can maybe get voice lessons, too...; structure week; make new syllabi]
go through logic book. Perhaps: spend 2-3 hrs/week on logic and sentence diagramming.
can I get my chalkboard hung on the wall? would sam hang it for me?
get rid of couch?
pay sprint bill
start taking editing tests
make a checklist of all the tasks I have to do for each conferral period
find and save my thank you emails from students. build a portfolio so that I can make a case for making my assistantship a staff position; outline the advantages of making my position long-term staff (half-3/4 time)
--do this 1 hr each day in office until finished; metropolis with iced tea for an afternoon.
look into starting in magazines. [still, how/where?]
book production--easier to find a job in a publishing house; good for someone who is organized
work on foreign languages; also, consider reading lists as job prep for editing (not just catch-up reading for my own edification): the more culturally informed I am, the better editor I can be (consider my responses to MUW)
study parts of book, stages of book production; vocab, names
teach: editing and teaching are very similar. teaching adjunct will help with editing; editing might help me to get teaching gigs
talk to erich about building a website
get heavier weights. just do it.
build a new blog: offer to edit, index, and advise on all and sundry matters; link to facebook
offer samples of work. try to find lady's webpage (the woman to whom I sent editing assignments in class) janine/jeanine
see if I can really get a job at ben's company: freelance or part time edit from home.
resume: simple. no bells and whistles. too fancy: looks like they have lots of money and time; looks like all fluff, no substance. should look sleek and professional but not fancy (how would mine look?). No typo anywhere. Majority have them. Majority have at least one. Recheck mine. Change typeface. When applying for editing jobs: sense of proportion. Don't make it look like editing is my fallback from academia.
write to Real Simple about their etiquette person. I should have an advice column.
learn how to use spreadsheets (does maria know? maybe she can help?)
Formatting presentations: tell students to google their questions. Remind them that what they need to do is doable and easy to find.
one must not wait to be inspired to work (at office; freelancing; on dissertation; working out--everything)
just get a watch. go to fossil store today?
can email instructor for whole ms: how long does it take me to complete a whole manuscript? do this. goal: 100k word book in 75–100 hours.
definitely do voice lessons for well-being. so go with
these classes are very stimulating. should consider taking (cheap!) classes frequently just for the change of pace, new thoughts, increased drive, creative thoughts re: whole life.
do I really need a kitchen table?
If I am going to freelance/ adjunct/ part-time--must stay very healthy so I can work for a very long time: I don't have any retirement funds! More reasons to exercise very regularly, get heavier weights, exercycle, stretch, do pushups, and walk.
nov 17–19: editing electronically. then I'll be done.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
- no contractions
- .3 inch tab
- indent first lines of footnotes
- level 1 subheads: bold type, centered, sentence-style caps
- ragged right margin
- dictionary: Merriam Webster 11th ed.
- check punctuation for correct usage (en and em dashes and colons); serial comma.
- check footnotes: terminal period? full citations at the beginnings of chapters?
- call out promises and recollections: do I fulfill the promise to come back to item A? Do my vide supras match up?
- check verb tenses. All match?
- no sugar before noon or after five
- may not skip exercising for two consecutive days
- may not use cell phone if I have consumed more than 1.5 alcoholic drinks
- may not eat barley for more than three consecutive days
- may not eat beans for more than two consecutive days
- clothing must cover knees
- monthly clothing budget may not exceed half of monthly rent amount
- must pay bills before they are due
- must be out of bed before 8 am
- must eat vegetables every day
Friday, May 6, 2011
I moved the oven away from the wall and swept first, discovering charred kale, a burnt mushroom, layers of borax, and a wooden spoon. Then I vacuumed, and then I scrubbed.
I've been avoiding just these tasks for some years. I've been afraid of them, worried that what I would find around the oven and behind the refrigerator would be disgusting, possibly even frightening. It wasn't. It was only mildly embarrassing--I waited so long, and for what?
Now my kitchen is wonderfully clean. It is a pleasure to stand in front of the stove. I have not dreaded getting out of bed so much these past mornings. I feel more relaxed at home, even in other rooms.
The relief I feel in having a clean kitchen has had an effect elsewhere. I am prepared to overhaul my outline for chapter three, for example. I am prepared to let go of Northanger Abbey and, just maybe, to take up Antony and Cleopatra instead. I'm sailing the Pequod to Egypt. I don't think I could have done so if my kitchen hadn't been clean.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
There is one quiz I keep taking, hoping for a different result. The result is always the same. The quiz is "do you make other people unhappy?" and my result is always "yes."
I've given Sara Maitland's memoir about silence a lot of credit for my increased solitude this year. That book did indeed help me to acknowledge my own need for solitude, silence, and reflection. However, I should credit Rubin's quiz for this solitude as well.
It isn't that I don't enjoy being around people. I do. And things are much more comfortable when I spend time with people one at a time, or in very small groups--I come much closer to earning a negative answer (a positive result) when I spend time with people in that way. This quiz has given me a way to interpret something I had sensed but had a difficult time understanding or discussing, and this increased awareness makes me more reluctant to spend time with others. I may be able to see that I have a negative effect on group dynamics but I don't know what to do about it. If I can't provide the antidote to my own poison (a somewhat harsh metaphor, but work with me), then it seems that the kindest action is to withhold the poison in the first place.
I think this realization still smarts a little. I know in my head that any one person cannot be everything or have every good attribute. Eventually I might be able to accept the necessity of this solitude and perhaps even to enjoy it.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I would like myself better if I were the kind of person to be happy that his part-time staff position has been upgraded to full-time. I am not that kind of person.
But what about me? He is very relieved to be able to give up his other part-time job, to have health benefits and tuition benefits (after a period of time).
But what about me? I have no security in the world. I have no job. I have nothing waiting for me and nothing to fall back upon.
(yes, of course this is my own doing. I should have remained satisfied with my assistant manager position at Discount Retail Store X and not reached out for things beyond my station. I understand this.)
I am not a part of this office. No one asks if I'd like to join them in lunch or on walks. No one says "hey, we're ordering X--want in?" Mostly I don't mind. I am not unhappy to be left alone. And certainly it doesn't make sense to befriend a mere graduate student who will be gone in another year.
On the other hand, not fitting in doesn't help me professionally. No one here would go out of their way to help me out in future endeavors. Not many (if any) would help if it were "in their way."
This would be fine if I were otherwise secure--I'd learn to freelance and (somehow) to write so that I could work alone and on my own time. I prefer that anyway (and that is one of the best thing about my current position--I am a solitary worker, no one checks up on me, and I have a lot of freedom in the way I structure my time.)
But I am not secure. I have no reason to believe that I will ever have a job once I graduate. I have no reason to believe that I will not be homeless within three years.
Usually I can shove such thoughts aside. Today my envy overwhelms me.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
(no, you don't need a lumberjack to pour your milk, either.)
suggesting that overweight women/women struggling with weight issues might consider switching from "regular" microwave popcorn to "reduced fat" microwave popcorn is just sneaky marketing.
telling fellow readers that just such a switch helped to turn you into a weight-loss success story is revealing and sad: giving up one food product for another is not a success.
How to Make Popcorn:
Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil (grapeseed, corn, safflower, or peanut would be good; olive works but you'll have more unpopped seeds) into a 2-4 qt saucepan. Make sure this pan has a lid. Add 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernals. I like white, blue, or red ones. Yellow ones are tasteless and less crispy.
Place pan on a burner on the stove and turn the burner on. Medium heat.
Keep the pan on the burner until the popping slows down considerably. Shake popcorn into a bowl. Salt. Eat.
Homemade Microwave Popcorn (if the thought of popping on the stove is too terrifying for words):
Place popcorn kernels into a paper bag. Fold the bag shut (tiny folds: you want as much space as possible). Microwave 2-5 minutes.
Cheap. No "butter flavor." No added coloring. No preservatives. No artificial sweeteners. No TBHQ or partially hydrogenated anything. Less packaging. Less waste. More flavor.
If popcorn is the one thing standing between you and your skinny jeans, you might want to rethink things in general though.
I, on the other hand, am the one so irritated by the magazine copy that I have devoted an entire blog post to it. So I might need to rethink some things too...
Friday, April 15, 2011
Exceptions to be paid by check: rent; electric bill.
Exception to be paid by credit card: phone bill.
Everything else will be paid for in cash. Not with a debit card even. Only cash.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The Secret Garden
The Kind Diet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Gifts of Imperfection
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
A Study in Scarlet
The Hound of the Baskervilles
A Book of Silence
Listening Below the Noise
In Pursuit of Silence
Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
The Month of No Complaining was horrible. I did learn a lot. I learned that I complain a lot. I learned I complain most to those I love the most. So not cool.
In exchange for not complaining, I offered myself treats--lots of cookies! Very bad idea.
For the past three weeks or so, I've felt very off balance. After I turned in the first draft of dissertation chapter two (March 16, not that I noticed) I read several memoirs about silence and the search for silence. One of these books (A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland) was wonderful. I look forward to reading it again and I am worried to read it again--what if it doesn't live up to the feeling I currently have for it? I digress. Reading Maitland's book, I had a two-pronged "aha" moment--first, I require a lot of alone time and second, I don't like to multitask when it comes to sound.
I enjoy my time with others much more when I have had enough quality solitary time. I knew already that I am and can be quite satisfied with my own company. I hadn't quite realized that I need solitary time of a certain kind (or of certain kinds) in order to relax and behave around others. Wasting/wasted time is not quality alone time. Sitting on the couch wondering what to do next, wandering from kitchen to office putting off chores, lying in bed when I am no longer sleepy are not restorative for me. Time spent reading fashion magazines or trashy novels is not restorative. Watching movies can be mildly restorative or neutral.
Following a routine with my chores and keeping up on them is restorative. I vacuum on the weekends. I do dishes morning and evening. I do laundry once every week. I sweep every other day. When I am not overwhelmed by mess, maintaining my space is relaxing.
Time spent reading lovely books is restorative. Time spent walking along the lake is restorative. Time spent exercycling--as long as I make it at least 20 minutes--is restorative. Time spent in the Art Institute and reading certain blogs is restorative.
I seem to require an aesthetically positive and/or productive element in order to feel whole, balanced, and prepared to engage with others.
I don't like music when I take care of housework or when I read or when I write. I find it very distracting. I would rather do nothing else if I am listening to music. When I perform chores, I would rather focus upon them as chores.
Learning this was and continues to be very helpful.
Perhaps the fact of new or heightened awareness about my needs has left me a little sensitive, and perhaps this contributes to my sense of imbalance. Certainly learning how frequently I complain, feel sorry for myself, and make excuses for myself has been a disappointment.
I'm sure things will right themselves soon. But I am sensitive and then I am critical and snappish and then I am aware of my criticism and snappishness and become even more sensitive and even more disappointed. I need to sit down before I tumble into despair.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
The question was whether it is better to have unrealistically high expectations or to have lowered expectations. I think the question is unclear and asked whether the question was whether it was better to have unrealistically high expectations or unrealistically low expectations, or whether the question was whether it was better to have unrealistically high expectations or lower, more realistic expecations. That clarifying question was not answered.
The next question, which I didn’t ask, is whether we are talking about a natural predisposition, or whether we are debating which kind of expecting one should cultivate. Is it better to tend toward having unrealistically high expectations or is it better to cultivate unrealistically high expectations are two different questions, both leading to very different discussions.
Given the original poster’s response, that unrealistically high expectations might be a useful coping tool, I am going to assume that we are debating the cultivation of expectations.
There is one woman who feels very strongly that lower expectations (whether lower than high and therefore more realistic, or lower than realistic was not made clear) are preferable. She claims that the person with lowered expectations will be pleasantly surprised when something better happens, but that the person with high expectations will never be satisfied.
It may be that she is thinking of her own life when she makes this claim, even as I am thinking of my own life when I take the opposite position, and so I hope to be kind and gentle. To both of us.
This woman further stipulated that one should have high expectations for oneself and low expectations of others. I don’t recall if she mentioned events or situations.
That sounds like a lot of work to think meanly of others and highly of myself. It sounds, I’ll say it, elitist: others simply cannot live up to my standards and quality and I shouldn’t expect it of them.
When I expect my colleagues to say racist things, to be unprofessional, to be petty and uncharitable, I usually find that these expectations turn out to have been very realistic. When I expect them to be interesting, well-informed, creative, and kind, I am sometimes surprised to find that these expectations were also realistic. Sometimes, at least, the expectations I cultivate reveal much more about the things to which I am paying attention, and about my attitudes and judgments about others, than they do about ‘the real nature of things.’ This isn’t to say that the racism isn’t there to be seen, but that the racism and the pettiness are not the whole story. The ways in which I frame my expectations of others can determine the kinds of story I tell about the world. They make the world more manageable by eliminating (or ameliorating) surprise: though I may be surprised when my racist colleague says something enlightened, by calling him or her (in my head) The Racist, I learn to forget to look for other parts in his or her personality. I make the world smaller instead of letting my idea of the world grow larger.
When I expect very little from my boyfriend by the way of conversation, time spent together, the desire to communicate with me and not just the me in his head, I find that I am even less satisfied with what I get. Instead of enjoying the time we have together and delighting in his company and conversation, I realize that I have been consumed with measuring that time and company and conversation. Measuring is not delightful. Lowering and lowering my expectations in this case requires constant measuring: are my expectations lower than they were yesterday? Good. Measuring and perhaps a little air of martyrdom.
When I expect very little from myself or from my life, I find that I push people away, I fall back upon rehearsed performances of anxiety, I grow envious and self pitying. No, I will never get a job. I’ll have to go into Exile. How many times have I said this? Worse, how many times have I said this when others have congratulated me for having made progress on my dissertation? How many times have I so responded when others, who have more faith in me than I do with myself, have tried very gently to remind me that the future I picture may not be accurate?
These are three things: framing the world, measurement and evaluation, and faithfulness. The expectations I have or choose to have tell a story about how I interpret and move through the world. They reveal the ways in which and the extent to which I thrust measurement and evaluation between myself and the people and situations that make up my world. They are themselves a measure of the faith or faithlessness—better, unfaithfulness—that makes up my attitude toward people and events and situations—the world.
When I expect little from others and from myself, I tell a story about all of us that turns us into the kind of people from whom little (or little good, anyway) can be expected. I tell a story about essences and about worth.
When I measure my interactions with others and when I try to scrupulously measure my own responses and beliefs, I substitute my measurements for people and events and situations and even, sometimes for myself. I don’t respond to a friend as my friend, but as a quantity of experiences which I then judge. I become my friends’ and lover’s judge and set myself up as arbitor of reality and of goodness.
I am unfaithful to my colleagues, acquaintances, family and friends when I expect very little out of them. I am unfaithful to my boyfriend when I expect very little from him. I am unfaithful to myself when I expect very little from myself now or in the future.
Given this, I am lead to believe that I must carefully craft my expectations based upon the love I wish to bear. Not even upon the love I do currently bear, because that love is tainted with the ghosts of previous determinations and judgments and infidelities and despair. The love I wish to bear is free from these things. It is upon this love that I will build my expectations.