Saturday, February 28, 2009


Life is listy. That's all there is to it. No matter what happens, I really only have snippets. I think it's like film--everything has its own frame and then we move onto the next. There really is no time for narrative or transition. There's only time for complaining. Sadly, I don't expect my index to be pithy or insightful like Harper's, but at least it's a different kind of list.
So this week, by the numbers:
Number of presentations and readings for graduate student conference: 2.
Number of panels attendended at grad school conference: 2.5.
Number of hours at the grad student reading fest: 3.
Number of classes taught: 3--2 regular, one independent study.
Number of colds Z almost recovered from: 1.
Number of new cold Z seems to have come down with: 1.
Number of times home after 7:00 this week: 4.
Number of preschooler performances: 2.
Cost, in dollars, of echocardiogram in Mountain Town: 3440. (Nothing is wrong--just an expensive test that revealed overall good health. I do not like, however, to be on the side of feeling sorry for an insurance company).
Cost, in dollars of echocardiogram at Harvard: 1400.
Number of needle sticks: 3 (again, more tests to confirm overall good health).
Number of movies working on with Egg: 2 (one about poetry another about our sister school in Italy).
Meetings about said movies: 2 (and one more next week).
Emails sent about said movie to student-poets and fellow professors: 15.
Number of visitors from an MFA program down in the valley, wanting to talk to me about the future: 1 (the future of what? I'm still not entirely clear).
Number of courses I'll be teaching next year: 3-3.
Number of courses I was going to be teaching, until last week: 2-2.
Number of would-be adjuncts bringing me their CV's even though I told them that we're not hiring adjuncts because faculty loads just changed: 3.
Number of emails from Provost threatening to let first year TT faculty go: 1.
Number of phone calls from Chair saying not to worry: 1.
Number of meetings with Chair over area recommitments: 2.
Number of finalists for a certain big prize: 4.
Percentage of those finalists of which I was one: 25.
Number of winners of said award: 0.
Letters written because of lack of awarding of award: 1.
Number of letters written from me & Z to relatives: 5.
Number of summer grants awarded to me: 0.
Number of essays sent out on my behalf from my agent: 1.
Number of hats found: 0.
Number of people who made me happy, commenting about said hat: 21.
Number of poetry contests submitted to: 6.
Number of glasses of wine to survive week: 6 (teen?)
Number of Burn Notices on DVR to watch: 1.
Number of spoilers about Top Chef read about on blogs: 1.
Number of proposals written to agent: 4.
Number of chances to write one more perfect proposal: 1.
Number of proposals I should be writing right now: 1.
Number of naps I think I'll take instead: 1.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Have you seen my hat?

I lost my hat on the second day of AWP. I recommend all of ye bookfair wanderers, panel-goers, anxiety sufferers and ennui-filled writers to lose your hat at AWP. Did I have to search for agents, publishers, magazines, books, professors who forgot me, friends who look at me bewilderingly? Did I have to worry about my talk at the panel? No, I did not. Because I had lost my hat and spent the next 2.5 days looking for it. A little OCD is good for the wandering soul.

Overall, the AWP was great success. I saw nearly everyone I meant to and had at least one drink with each of them meaning I had too many drinks but got to see all the good people. The panel was great even though at 9 in the morning on a Saturday. It was jam-packed with people sitting even in the aisles. The readings I went to were all pretty good and the buzz overall positive. Professors talked to me. No one turned their heads. The magazines and publishers shook my hand.

I always get home expecting something major to happen, but I do that after every trip. I need to focus on the one thing. That is the getting back of the hat. Which is somewhere, lost in Chicago. But I miss it. And maybe it will return to me. It was gray wool with tassles and one yellow and one orange stripe across the top. It was lined with black flannel so the wooly outsides did not make my head itch.

I would like my hat back but if that is impossible, I would like it to please be spring so I have no need for a hat.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh Wait,. We're still here.

OK. Welcome to AWP's dumb planning for the 2nd year in a row. Last year, my flight from GR to NYC, which left at 6:00 a.m. and included one snowplow buried Jetta, four frozen doors on the 4 Runner that I couldn't open, a slide into a Lexus SUV and a canceled flight. The flight was canceled not from snowy GR but into snowy Laguardia.

Today, I am in sunny Phoenix, again awaiting a delayed and possibly canceled flight.

F**k AWP and their winterly conferences.

I'm on the verge of canceling all my Chicago plans and hanging out in the Phoenix, which though an evil and unneccsary town, is 80 degrees and full of good food and wine. Just like Chicago without the OHare and the wind. I'll give my panel to the cacti. They'll probably be more interested anyway.

Edited to add I had to write f**k because Sky Harbor has rules. Stark and Draconian and Mormony rules.

Did I mention f**k? I think so. Perhaps I'll go find the Tequilaria. Again.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Snow Afternoon

Erik says my blog is getting list-rutty. It's been a listy semester so far, and I mean that in terms of bullet points and tilt. Today, I chaired my first thesis prospectus meeting. And then I hung out in my office and revised and revised and emailed and emailed students until the news came the campus was closed.

It snows a lot here, when it snows. And then it gets sunny and the snow melts. And then it gets snowy again.

I'm making mushroom soup tonight.

See why I write bullet points? I have nothing particularly coherent to say.

I leave for Chicago on Wednesday, should the snow stop and the planes fly.

Perhaps then I'll have something to say after AWP???

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Fun fun fun

I wanted to write a post about how I'm trying to learn to have fun but it's complicated and I don't think I'm very good at it--having fun or writing about fun. It's much easier to write about work. It just takes lists!

Z started full time school this week. Very stressful. Also, the university's budget was cut by 13%. Egg or I may or may not have a job next week. And I have agent troubles. So maybe work is fun. At least it distracts from the anxiety.

Work has included yesterday and today:
  • Take Z to first day of all day school.
  • Meet teachers and find out where to put her lunchbox, blanket, pillow and water bottle.
  • Worry she'll cry when I leave. Just a nervous glance and then she turned to ask her teacher what to play.
  • Meeting about budget. 2 hours. Really?
  • Talk with Mary Anne about Food Book. (thanks Mary Anne!)
  • Make a plan to implement Mary Anne's suggestions.
  • Pace a little about book. Ask Egg to read a section.
  • Make BLT's for me and Egg.
  • Read Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror (3 hours) and Thomas and Beulah (1 hour) for Independent Study I'm teaching.
  • Find criticism to support both books as allegory. A stretch? Possibly.
  • Rememorize Pound's Erat Hora as it applies to Convex Mirror
  • Write chapter synopses for food book.
  • Pick Z up from her all day school.
  • Much cuddling with Z required.
  • Leave to meet with Independent Study Grad Students.
  • Eat fondue with said students while discussing Self-portrait and backwards falling language, modernism, post-modernism, margins and seams with students.
  • Come home, play dogs with Z.
  • Watch old The Closer to keep up with Lisa B.
  • Change bedsheets because I love new sheets and the news was impossible to watch because apparently we can't watch one channel and record another on our DVR (I thought that was the point of our DVR).
  • Read Shouts and Murmurs (mice and wine) and begin Atul Gawande's plan for National Healthcare (New Yorker Jan 26).
  • Sleep on clean bedsheets.
  • Wake up at 7:45 because Z now has to be to school by 9 which is early for we people. She sleeps until 8:30 usually.
  • Take Z to all day school.
  • Come home--run through snowy forest.
  • Work on Teach-In Day presentation for Thursday.
  • Make lunch of smoked turkey leg, sliced fennel, and spring mix.
  • Talk to long-lost friend for 1.5 hours. Yay!
  • End up late for advising hours in advising center.
  • Forget book for teaching. Panic. Call Egg to see if he'll bring me book. He will but....
  • Student from upcoming class comes in to advising center.
  • Get student to lend me book so I can make copies for class.
  • Talk to said student for 1 hour about creative writing versus rhet comp, the 7 points of physical fitness--strength, flexibility (and 5 other points I didn't quite catch), robots, linguistics and epigenetics.
  • Talk to student who is late to apply for graduation but I do highly powerful advising by signing off on science credits and dropping her 2nd major and 2 minors.
  • Talk to new grad student about degree progress and course distribution.
  • Get another email about budget. Freak out on phone with Egg.
  • Write a prompt for class that starts in 15 minutes.
  • Discuss two poems in class. Accidentally give a lesson on semiotics and the gnostic gospels (I do apologize, fine students).
  • Get in an heated discussion with one student about why she shouldn't use so many abstractions as love, beauty, loss, hurt, miss, forever in a poem. I may have lost the fight but will win the war. I told her to write a poem against me/my arguments. I presume it will turn out particularly concrete and specific.
  • Run Top Chef--this time, whichever group argued best for the poem won.
  • Talk with another student about abstractions.
  • Help Z peel potatoes for dinner.
  • Fry up said potatoes which will underpin Egg's all-day cooked green chile sauce.
  • Play puzzle with Z.
  • Wonder why I have so few emails today.
  • Read books with Z.
  • Sing her to sleep.
  • Check email again.
  • Blog.
  • Watch, in perfect synchronicity with yesterday, The Closer--though this one is new.
See. Lists. Fun and worky.