Saturday, May 27, 2006

Like a Writer

Last week, I promised myself I would start writing fiction again this week. But I couldn't dredge up any interest in writing. My new job has me working from 3-11 most nights, and my ideal writing time usually happens between about 4:00 and 9:00 in the evening. But even when I had time set aside for writing, I couldn't make myself do it. I don't even want to make myself write. Not at the beginning of a project, anyway. And right now I'm at the beginning of any number of possible projects. I don't want to write with an attending feeling of dread or fatigue, which is how I felt when I thought about sitting down to write.

I didn't even want to blog.

But today I felt something in my brain opening up. I considered writing something here, and felt like pursuing the thought further. I even wanted to express it in language. I didn't, but just the presence of the desire excited me. And now, even though I'm exhausted from a too-short night last night and a too-long day of work and a too-hot night tonight, I can hear the writer in me whispering. Inspiration suddenly lives everywhere. (Tonight, my brain is testing the idea of a series of short stories inspired by my job. If working the front desk at a hotel inspires me, I must be a writer.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Happy World Turtle Day!

Thanks for the heads-up, Mom!

(This is a flower box turtle, and the photo is from Yahoo! News.)

The Dark

Tonight we walked, just around three blocks because of the sloshing in my stomach. But it was worth it, if only to smell air full of lilacs we couldn't see.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Beware the Evil Stomach Flu

I've called in sick to work once in my life. Since my very first job, I've so hated having to cover for other people's illnesses (especially when they're fake, but even when they're real) that I've been known to go to work even when I really should stay home. The one time I've called in was a few years ago when I worked at a pet store. I was so stuffed up with a head cold that my speech was practically unintelligible, and since most of my job involved explaining things to people, I figured I wouldn't be much good there.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to work feeling slightly dizzy and a little crampy. It was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. At first. Two hours into my shift, I was so cramped up that I was only comfortable lying on my stomach on the floor in the general manager's office. Every time I talked to someone, my voice came out in a crackly squeak and I was afraid I would either belch or puke. As soon as I actually threw up, I called the manager to see if he could come in, but he had a friend over, and had had about seven beers by the time I got ahold of him. So I kept calling: Julie was on her way to a band practice, Jessica wasn't home, Sherry had people coming over for dinner, and the phone number we have for Louis isn't actually his phone number. I didn't think to call Gwen, who usually only works 7-3 on weekdays, but when I talked to her this afternoon, she said she could've come in. Damn.

So I stuck it out for another six hours, but I was miserable. I refused to eat the Lean Cuisine I'd brought for dinner, since my beloved marionberry yogurt had set off the first round of cramps, and by the time I went home I was not only nauseous but weak and shaky. I ate a little chicken broth and a couple of crackers, but even that upset my stomach. For breakfast this morning, I had more broth, and I've been slowly munching on the same piece of dry toast for about three hours.

I'm feeling a little better, but not well enough to do what I've been looking forward to all week: spend the only day Eric and I both have off outside, doing something fun. Being sick sucks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

5 Things

(Because Jessie asked.)

5 Items in My Fridge:
1. marionberry yogurt (It makes me homesick for Oregon, where marionberries are literally weeds.)
2. leftovers, most of which are due to be thrown away
3. nightcrawlers in a styrofoam box
4. lots of alcohol, including Hornsby's Crisp Apple Cider, a bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Stout, and half a shelf of expired (read: free) light beer.
5. a big bag of oranges, to share with the orioles

5 Items in My Closet:
1. duffel bags
2. a collection of beautiful and unique purses that I almost never use
3. a broken dehumidifier
4. my graduation gown, hood, and tassle
5. Nina

5 Items in My Purse:
1. Chap-Stick (Hi. My name is Amber, and I'm an addict.)
2. half a bag of M&M's
3. a hair brush
4. juniper breeze lotion
5. a bottle opener

5 Items in My Car:
1. a box of non-perishables to take to the food shelf
2. a blanket
3. about 100 pounds of books in one box (I'm pretty sure I'm not exaggerating.)
4. empty beverage containers
5. extra motor oil

Your Turn:
1. Emily
2. Tiffany
3. Jes
4. Loralee
5. Aspen

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Getting Used to 8-Hour Shifts Again


Sunday, May 14, 2006

You are Betty Grable

The ultimate girl next door
You're the perfect girl for most guys
Pretty yet approachable. Beautiful yet real.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Party All the Time

To commemorate my supposed mastery of English literature, we too will be throwing a graduation party. Not to fear, though--ours will be on Friday, not Saturday. There will be food: burgers (beef and veggie), hot dogs, chicken, and snapping turtle (no, I'm not kidding). There will be beverages: soda/pop, kool-aid, and cheap American beer. If you want to eat or drink anything special, please feel free to bring it. Just so you know, some of our family members will be there, including my mom and grandma, but they're cool.

What the hell; I'll just copy Natasha's invitation format.

Friday, May 12
6:00 p.m.
Our house*

*If you don't know where we live, leave me a comment and I'll email you the address and a phone number.

The Evening Ahead

What's in those envelopes, you ask? Why, three copies of my thesis to hole-punch and bind, of course. (I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl. None of these fancy print shops for me.)

(The truth is, I've just waited too long to do this, and I don't feel like waiting another day or two for Ink Spot Press to get around to drilling holes for me.)

Not Sure I Agree With Some of This

...or maybe I'm just not satisfied with some of it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

How Do I Know Things Are Bad?

I'm craving McDonald's breakfast. Usually, that only happens if I'm hung over or going on an early-morning road trip. But today I'll be subjecting myself to two or three more pages of slow torture. I'd like to be done by noon. I will be done by 5:00.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Four Polished Pages

Update (10:54 p.m.): I have six pages of draft, three of which are nearly polished. And even though two of those pages are excerpted from my thesis, and I just have to adjust them to the context of this essay, I'm satisfied with what I did today. Time to watch CSI.


Update (5:30 p.m.): The bulldozing thing was overly optimistic, and I only have about two and a half pages of rough (really rough) draft. But now I at least feel convinced that I'm in the process of writing a paper. While I was writing two of my comp exams, I never actually felt involved in what was happening.
(An aside to my brain: Thanks for coming.)


That's my goal for today's writing. So far, I have the title written. But as soon as I can break through the paralysis caused by my inability to find what even N. called "a needle in a haystack" when she suggested I look for it--statements from Henry James and Louise Erdrich that directly connect their views of American life (which James didn't usually give two shits about anyway)--I feel like I'll be able to bulldoze my way through a draft, no problem. I'm in that kind of mood.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Almost Stormy

The sky is a dark blue-grey and the wind is whipping the branches of the trees outside my window. I've always liked this weather, but tonight it especially suits my mood. I love my job, except for the small print: it is my responsibility to make judgments on other people's hard work, and sometimes when I hand those judgments out, people say, "What?" in voices so sodden with disappointment-anger-worry-sadness that I get a lump in my throat. Also, for the first time, a student cried in my office this afternoon.

So much for the customary levity of the end of the semester. I've rarely felt so heavy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I Heart the English Department

My thesis defense was a little nervewracking (especially when W. asked me if I thought I was a better critic or fiction writer), but really pretty easy. It was a conversation with people I like anyway, who "deliberated" for maybe five minutes before deciding that I'd passed. Life is good. Especially since I have beer now.

I Think I'm Broken

I defend my thesis in roughly five and a half hours. Shouldn't I be nervous?

Monday, May 01, 2006

The End is Nigh

But in that warm, fuzzy way. I love it that finishing a task now means something more than making room for the next one. It means that too, but with each thing I finish, I get tangibly closer to done. One week from today, I will tie up the semester's loose ends. In the meantime:
  • Write five discussion questions about Jacques Derrida
  • Talk to three two students about plagiarism and its consequences
  • Finish grading presentations
  • Finish grading essays (five more)
  • Defend thesis
  • Edit thesis
  • Print thesis on very expensive paper, and bind it
  • Revise curriculum vita
  • Read Edward Said (26 pages)
  • Laundry
  • Write lit crit paper (9-15 pages)
  • Renew health insurance
  • Write my account of one case of plagiarism (for the file)
  • Calculate final grades
  • Read course evaluations