Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Eat Like A College Student, Write Like...

A Moveable Feast, indeed!

Every once in awhile I'm overcome with regret that I'm not an angry, chain-smoking ex-pat living in Paris during the 1920s. Tonight is one of those nights, and I blame it on the Hemingway lecture I'm preparing to give my students tomorrow. Why oh why couldn't I be a Great American Author, hanging out with other Greats as I pickle my liver in absinthe?

I suppose we all have our own form of greatness, just as we have our own Great Flaw. Hemingway wrote what are, in my opinion, the greatest American short stories of all time while he drank and wenched his way through life. My greatness? I'm still working on that one. The flaw, however, is over-committing myself to projects and people and then agonizing when I can't give every facet of my life the full attention it deserves.

Hence this evening. After a long bubble bath, I decided to forego the pleasures of finishing up my essay-grading. I should feel ashamed, I know, but I'm suffering a bad case of burn-out and it's only first quarter. So instead, I'm drinking red wine and eating my first tin of Danish butter cookies since the Great Butter Cookie Overdose of 2000. (Oh, the thrills of finals period my junior year of college... but that's a tale for another time...)

I'm also thinking about why I teach, and why I seem to be ignoring my teaching philosophies on a day-to-day basis. I'm thinking about the books I want to write, but never finish, and the vacations I want to take, but never do. I'm thinking about the relationships that are important to me, and the way I tell myself, "I'll let them know how much I love them tomorrow."

Perhaps this all sounds incredibly depressing and I suppose, objectively, it is. But hey, at least if I died tomorrow none of my friends would portray me horribly in their autobiographies, as Ernest Hemingway did to F. Scott Fitzgerald (basically calling him “a drunk, a weakling, a hypochondriac, a fool, an irresponsible writer, a nuisance, sexually insecure and wife-dominated…”

Ouch! With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Tonight, I'm wondering what I'm really doing with my life. When will I stop putting off my own ambitions? How can I be the writer, sister, daughter, girlfriend, friend, teacher and "wild woman" I feel that I was born to be?

When do we stop waiting for our dreams and actually take a step towards achieving them?
Deep thoughts, I know, and not the usual norm for the public side of DSW. But hey, when I'm avoiding grading it makes me philosophical!

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[1] Matthew J. Bruccoli, Fitzgerald and Hemingway: A Dangerous Friendship (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995) 1.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Auntie Kate

Big Hand: the Brother
Baby Hand: a Nephew (Alex)

Just thought I'd let you all know that I'm now a proud aunt to triplet boys. Benjamin Thomas, Ryan Anthony, and Alexander Michael joined this rainy world on Thursday, October 18th. They made it to 33 weeks before demanding a birthday... which is pretty good for triplets, from what I hear.

Last weekend, I got to visit them for the first time. The family spent a marvelous hour or two tickling Alex's feet and laughing at Ben while he smacked Alex in the face (they share an incubator). The coup de gras: I got to actually hold Ryan. He was so darn adorable and wiggly.

Just a few weeks old and they're already proving what I suspected: they have my brother's energy, so we won't be able to turn our backs on them for a second!

My brother and his wife are doing well. They're back home in Olympia, but one or both of them drives to Seattle every other day to visit the boys. Ben's already hit his four-pound mark, and all three babies have begun to spend part of their day in an open-air crib before being returned to the incubator.

I am going to be That Disgusting Aunt. You know, the one who spends her entire paycheck on fabulous baby books and ridiculously cute baby socks? I think this is a lovely trait to add to my resume.

But what with nephews to spoil and parent conferences to survive, I haven't worked on my novel or--truth to tell--even thought much about the blog. Life's been a blur of Other Stuff. But today I have the day off from school... so, after I go into school for about three hours of grading and planning (see how that "off time" works?) I'm going to come home, clean my apartment, do a little shopping and then WRITE bef0re The Boyfriend gets here for our weekend.

Exciting, no?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Creature From the Black Lagoon

Would be me. If by "Black Lagoon" one means "Library." Thanks to Kate D for single-handedly keeping hope alive.

Don't get me wrong, graduate school is fantastic, and I'm so happy to be reading and thinking and analyzing literature again in a more professional setting than online (not that talking romance here hasn't been great, too). But the utter neglect of my completed-the-week-I-started-school final draft of Then Comes Marriage had me low and it had me down.

Until this morning when, perhaps still under the effects of Halloween cocktails from last night, I grit my teeth and took the step I've been contemplating for weeks.

That's right, I entered Then Comes Marriage in RWA's Golden Heart contest.

So, let's see, what's left to tackle by the submission deadline of December 4? Reformat entire ms, write exciting and interesting synopsis, and cull first five chapters of ms into a gripping and cohesive partial.

And write three 20 page papers while keeping up the normal reading course load.

I'm sure I'll regret this imminently, but I think it's time I force myself to get back to work on my other potential career, and there's nothing like a deadline to get me moving.

Bonus! By entering the contest, I'll have my synopsis completed, and with trimming and revising, should be able to begin submitting to agents next month! Wish me luck!