I haven’t had much of anything to say to anybody lately – blog-wise or otherwise – because my summer has been The Summer of Writing. Oh, sure, there has been some great hanging out with friends, VERY limited dating (for I have no energy to correspond with new potential suitors what with all of the legitimate writing I’m doing), some workplace shenanigans (though also very limited because IT IS SUMMER AND I AM WRITING GODDAMMIT AND STOP BOTHERING ME), and some drama with Mr. Stripey (URINARY TRACT DISEASE :( But I caught it early, it seems, and he should be just fine now that he is eating $5,000,000 cat food, which of course the Man-Kitty is eating, too, because there is no way to easily separate them, and it’s not like the fancy food will hurt the Man-Kitty).
But anyway, writing. What am I writing?
1. Motherfucking narratives for promotion. Which let’s note, are NOT AT ALL PLEASANT TO WRITE. I mean, sure, I am just writing about how awesome I am, but the whole genre of “really sell yourself because you need to convince people except don’t be a braggart!” is not an easy genre.
2. My book manuscript, which is coming along slowly but surely, though I wish that I had more time. I am at that point where I see the whole thing in my head and it’s just a matter of getting it down and giving myself time to refine it. I am fairly confident that I can have the book proposal with two totally polished chapters sent out no later than July 15. I’d be able to have at least that part of it done sooner than that, but….
3. I have had to interrupt work on the book for a conference paper I am giving about a work by a Notoriously Misogynistic Author (whom I love, even though it’s wrong to love dead people who hate you because you have lady-parts). I am very excited about this conference paper, which also connects to the MLA paper that I will give in January. And which I think will probably be my next book project if I can ever get the current one motherfucking finished.
4. And then I had to do some revisions on an article for a collection that finally is under contract and that will appear in 2015.
So I have been super stressed out, actually, in spite of the fact that it’s summertime and the livin’s easy. More stressed out than I have been during the summer since before tenure for sure. And so, like, my mom or friends from afar will call, and they want to “catch up” and I’m all, “I’m just writing” because I really have nothing else to report, and then, because they think it’s the right thing to do, they are like, “so how is it going?” and then I get all, “FUCK YOU AND HOW DARE YOU ASK ME THAT AND DO YOU WANT ME NEVER TO WRITE ANYTHING AGAIN?!?! DON’T YOU KNOW YOU CAN’T ASK ME THAT?!?!” and then they are all, “you shouldn’t be so stressed out, it’s not good for you,” and I’m like, “OH REALLY?!?!?! HOW EXACTLY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE MOTIVATE THEMSELVES TO DO WORK THAT NOBODY CARES ABOUT? THAT DOESN’T HAVE ACTUAL DEADLINES AND THAT MATTERS TO ABSOLUTELY NOBODY?!?! DO YOU THINK I AM WHERE I AM BECAUSE I JUST RELAXED AND TOOK IT EASY?!?! DO YOU THINK THAT IS HOW PEOPLE GET BOOKS WRITTEN AND BECOME FULL PROFESSORS AND PRESENT AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!”
Sorry for all the shouty capital letters. I never have actually said all of those things in so many words or in shouty capital letters – or, well, maybe to my mom – but those are all the things I feel when I respond, “Oh, writing is slow but it’s fine, and I’m just a little stressed out,” or, “Yeah, I know I need to take some time for myself and make sure I relax,” or “Sure, I know I can really get everything done.”
The fact of the matter is, while I intellectually believe that I can do all of the things, that doesn’t make the process feel any less fraught. I just feel pulled in a lot of different directions. And no, I can’t just shut all humans out of my life (as my mom suggested might help, and for which suggestion I yelled at her) for the summer because I actually get more nuts if I don’t regularly engage with humans, and getting more nuts stops me from producing anything (as I learned when I tried that approach during the initial phase of my dissertation writing). So, I’m just trying very hard to keep everything in some sort of happy equilibrium, and I’m for the most part succeeding.
One thing that has helped is I’m regularly going to my local (non-$bucks) coffee shop to do writing stuff. Now, this is a VERY yuppified coffee shop, and since I go in the morning, what I typically encounter there are very slim, very tan housewives who do fitness walking together every day and then stop by for coffee and then talk about dieting. Given my research, it’s PROFOUNDLY WEIRD. Oh, and men who are clearly on their way to a business meeting rush in and get coffee, too. But a coffee shop is a coffee shop, and the music is very Tracy Chapman meets Bon Iver meets the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack, so it’s all very soothing. And the space is very light and bright, and I always get to work at a big table, and because of the acoustics of the place it is both noisy AND not distracting. (I know not everybody could work under those conditions, but I am a person who has more trouble in silence and who also has trouble writing in my own home unless I start the writing elsewhere, so this is perfect for me.)
So anyway, that’s the dealio. You will next hear from me after June 30. I hope you all are having less stressful summers than mine! Tell me what you’re doing!