Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Not at My Fighting Weight

In Starting from Scratch, a book on writing, Rita Mae Brown says that whenever she begins a long project, she loses five pounds, getting down to what she calls her fighting weight. I understood this only theoretically. After all, she's getting up in the morning to plunk her ass on a chair and get working. When I think of writers suffering for their art, I think of staying up in late-night cafes, wreaking havoc on their bodies because of wonderfully dissipated and indulgent lifestyles, sleeping odd hours, eating bad food, and being underemployed.

But wait. Doesn't that sound like a graduate student? (Except for the dissipation and indulgence, of course.) Worse yet, doesn't that sound like a dissertating graduate candidate?

I'm here to tell -- or remind -- you of the various health problems of dissertating. There are the obvious things like inevitable ass-spread (I ran into a delightful professor on too-early Sunday morning -- okay, afternoon -- and we decided to diagnose the problem as Dr. Fat Ass) and resulting "fat-girl problems" (as Hate-Filled Dissertator and Blog-Goddess called them last night). Then there are the inevitable antidepressants so that you can avoid all the pesky questions (such as why, why, and why the mother fuck???) that people like Scrivener have had to deal with. But there are other problems. Like the fact that added weight hurts your lower back and makes it impossible to sleep. Like your digestion being all screwed up. Like your sudden compulsion to drink every day. Like the fact that you have terrible dreams, such as the one about having to sign up for more classes at a new school and the one where your mother is trying to terrorize you instead of let you sleep. Like the fact that for no reason, you find yourself awake at 7am and no reasonable or unreasonable people seem to be around. None of the early birds like Witty Sardonic Friend or SO seem to be up. Have I mentioned the perpetual grumps that make vicious barking PMS seem demure and withdrawn?

Let's just bullet the day, shall we?

  • Must post something for Cool Class on the class website. Now, really I should have a piece of writing that I hypothetically have been working on alongside all the students (and that damn Senior Scholar!) all semester. I have a couple drafts. But really, what I've worked on all semester is a draft of my dissertation. Can I just want to post that and say kiss my ass?
  • Must register for Cool Institute. How can it be that Expedia, who has always worked so diligently, suddenly sends me an email saying that the airline hasn't confirmed my flight? What's going on and why do I have to deal with it?
  • Must make up total crackpot conference proposal for Small but Perfect for Me Conference and send it in today.
  • Must meet with Maude and not be bitchy and not distract her.
  • Must go to last celebratory class tonight and not be a pain in the ass, counting the minutes under my breath. Similarly, must not get drunk and maudlin.

Poor readers. I just foist all my bitchiness on you. (Blogging the bitchiness. Discuss.) Do you deserve it? No! You come all the way over to Absurdist Paradise and all you expect is a little nourishment, a little levity, a teensy insight. Sorry kids. I'm out. Sarcasm vol au vents anyone?


gwoertendyke said...

oh my god did i laugh....what worse is that even when done, the habits continue. in short: it takes an effort not unlike finishing the damn dissertation to get healthy and balanced again.

i obviously relate here: fighting weight??? if you call an extra 10-15lbs fighting.

k8 said...

Hmmmm...is it possible to get down to a fighting weight when you like to bake? Not in my experience, but I'd have a long way to go to get there anyway. Dissertating is bad for my health:-(