Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Morning Pre-Writing Existential Attack

(Okay, it is not, strictly speaking, morning, but I haven't yet taken a shower or had a conversation, therefore, it is morning to me.)

It is Monday morning and all of my favorite bloggers are doing something crazy -- like working. Many of you are in your offices, all aflurry because you have to teach soon, while others of you are likely doing the impossible and grading in your offices. I always shared an office. It was impossible to get anything done except when no one was around. And the outward and social aspects of teaching made it hard to shut the door and launch into reading student writing. Often on days I taught two classes before 11am, I didn't even want to go back to my office. I was spent after two and a half hours of straight teaching, saying the same things again to my second class, realizing all I had forgotten to say to my 8am. I would go to a coffeehouse or restaurant and sit and be silent. I loved that. Being in public, but being quiet. I've gotten a lot of work done like that over the years. During the dissertation phase, it was great to get myself out of the house. I couldn't just wander over to the fridge or the TV if I were in public. Nor could I scream or cry. These were good things. I had to maintain somewhat in public.

Now I wake up and try to write in my house/camper. Before I even sit down, I do something (sweep, clean the cat box, feed the cat, arrange the bed as neatly as possible since making it is impossible); just in case I get into writing I want to have something to show Absurdist Lover (he says he likes that one now, go figure) that I haven't just been lying on the bed twitching. Also if I end up on the bed twitching then at least the bed is nice and neat, ready to be twitched on. Of course, it's much harder to become totally inspired by recent blog posts if they are not there. Manufacturing inspiration is exhausting.

Last night I was thinking about how today is the day I should get serious. I've been looking at these community college jobs. I need to actually apply for them. Sure, it might be run-of-the-mill procrastination, but I fear my reluctance to apply for them is that I don't really want that kind of job. This is terrible, because applying for those jobs is the easiest thing I can do. Familiar. Even if most of the processes are completely mystified, it is a mystery hell that I know. Then there are all these other possibilities, some of which I've explored and don't like. What I'd really like is something flexible (which maybe community college jobs are, but I doubt it. Where's the flexibility if you're teaching five classes? Am I insane?). I used to not mind that my life was all about work (okay, I did, but mainly I was complaining about needing more time and headspace to write). Now I mind. Of course I have no real idea what's going to happen with Absurdist Lover and me, but I'm hoping that we'll have a family, so I want to line up something that is more flexible. Also, I just don't want to have to be nice anymore. I'm not good at being nice on a longterm basis, as people in offices need to do. I'm just way too moody. (Did this come up a lot at Adventure U, I wonder?) Really, if I'm totally honest, the thing is I want to write. I've written encyclopedia articles and edited dissertations -- I like that work. I especially like that I don't have to show up. I don't feel very presentable lately. (I know I'm totally neurotic about this presentable thing, but if you knew my family and how I grew up, you'd understand that being presentable in the professional world is not something that comes easily to many of us. Except for universities, I've only ever worked in small businesses. I'm not a corporate type, even though I can definitely get into a business-y mode for a while, usually with the help of Working Girl.) Right now, I'd like my work to speak for itself. I'd like to be able to hunker down, preferably in my own space, and do my work, which probably has to be writing because it's the only thing I know how to do -- and only come out when it's done. Anyone have any ideas for a job like this? Teaching ain't it. I think about how much I love the administrative work I've gotten to do, but I think that most of those jobs are 9-5 jobs. If anyone has a great idea about how to, I don't know, become a freelance writer, let me know.

All of this big self-reflective stuff is swirling in my head when really I just need to settle down into the article I'm writing. I only need to go through the last nine pages and rework them. That's not bad. And I want to focus, if possible, on another of my (alas unpaid) projects. I'd really like to send some work out actually. I'd really like to get that done. But of course in order to get to sending work out, first I'd have to actually stop ruminating about where money's going to come from in the future and just be happy that I have what I need now, work through several pages of the article, move on to some work on Project 2, then print out work to send out. You know what? Even if Absurdist Lover won't be back in a couple hours and want to go to the store and pick up a dozen and five things (we would've done this yesterday, but it rained all day) and then hang out and watch movies/play games/eat, I still wouldn't get all that stuff done in one day. It just doesn't happen. Also I have to call the doctor and make sure she's not going to order an MRI. Can't I do that tomorrow? Earnest, focus. What's this article about again? Isn't this collection one you're very excited to be a part of? Didn't you wait on pins and needles for the editor to get back to you? What are you waiting for?

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