Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Every Year

When I go back to school, every year it seems, someone asks me, did I get any writing done? I stare at them. What? Writing? What is it? Is summer over? Did I tell you I was going to write? I am writing right now!
As you can imagine, they don't get a very straightforward answer and they probably only cared politely anyway but still it makes me wonder, what did I do? If summer is marked by the number of cherries eaten, it is abundant but unverifiable. If it is marked by a bunch of words, well, at least it happened. I have it right here in my word doc.
I took a screen shot of the files I'd made over the summer. Sadly, "Thrift Store no China" and "Moocs" had no actual words written in the file but a file name is writing nonetheless. The rest of them have something in them. Some more than others.

So, in case you run into me in the hall and I strike a face of complete battiness and look like i'm trying to catch mosquitoes with my mouth, here is a list of filenames I wrote including the filename "Written so far this summer"
Written so far this summer
Fiction Nonfiction
Thriftstores no china
Birthday Party Superfund
I Should write about small things
FGP Final Report
IV Bags
Tiny Pieces
NaU Quarterpage Ad
Nonfictio Bestseller SPD
Who is going to protect us now
Nonfiction authors
Utah and autism
Hard rain
There are only two inches left in
CV 3
Global warming blog
Walker, Nicole bio new
You can choose what you remember
Sabbatical grants
The problem with abortion
Pen application
Writing projects
Sexa dn Castros and Elizabeth Smart
Newspaper blog contacts
New york times drinking in the 80’s
I met Michael Martone
Max’s Lunch
Metaphors about Food
Hypocrisy and Kindness
Wine dreams
Micro folder
Micropreemies with essays on the inside
My gallery is showing the cool kids
Micro query
Tiny Houses
Where Animals Folder
There are only trains and washing machines
Categorically 2
Where are the elephants
It does not matter who you marry
Don’t Look like you’re looking

Lemon and Limes

Some of these I only futzed with--like Where Elephants and Neutrinos. I completely rewrote Microwine for a magazine. I also fully edited Micropreemies with such a comb of fine teeth that many of the words got stuck on the netherside of the comb. I just finished an essay. Should I send it?
I have already been rejected by The Believer for Fiction is Just Nonfiction that Hasn't Happened Yet. Why do they always write, "Thank you for your unwavering patience." My patience only wavers because they didn't take the magazine--not because I had to wait so long (not long) for the rejection. 
Some tiny essays got picked up and the big long Micropreemies did too. I tried to be really opinionated for the Huff Post but I am nothing if not conflicted about everything. 
I wrote a sabbatical proposal. Sometimes writing is a tool to wedge upon a future where someone will ask, did you get any writing done and you'll say, duh, I had to. I was on sabbatical.
It will be two years before anyone asks me that. 
May I look them more solidly in the eye--or at least take a screen shot of file names to pass around at that faraway faculty meeting. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Got Nothin'

In early June, Zoe's grandma took her shopping for summer clothes. Shirts and running shorts and a new skirt, new shoes. Max, who had been napping at her house with grandpa, woke up to find all her clothes on the dining room table. He turned to his grandma and said, "I got nothin'."  Ever since, she has been sure to bring him something home from her shopping trips but the phrase "I got nothin'" has been repeated often, with feeling, all summer long.

But here I am at the end of summer and feeling the I got nothins pretty hard. Where are my cherries? Where is my energy to finish this essay/sabbatical request (2015 seems pretty far away)/Faculty Activity Report/other essay/book edits/website/advisor list/syllabi? Where are my raspberries? My figs? My English peas in a pod? Sometimes scarcity begets abundance--e.g. if I can't get my raspberries at least I have my seventy-five varietals of apples but I cannot even get excited about apples.

I fear it's called the pre-school doldrums. I had a four hour meeting on Tuesday, convocation yesterday, back-to-school-night for Z. I am as bored as a boring blog post, empty as a plastic-green strawberry basket, evacuated as a blueberry clam shell, hanging by pea strings and a pot of flowering basil soon to go to seed.

Perhaps the sight of actual students will restore me! Perhaps the lack of time to write will make me write. Perhaps I will drive from store to store, asking if they have just one batch of cherries in the back left for me.