Monday, October 27, 2014

Currently: Hamlet Time

Well. This morning from 4:30-6:00 AM, everything was Hamlet, anyway.

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I was up working on my Ploughshares blog series that will start in November. I am equal parts terrified and excited that I get to write about something that I love so much for a publication that is so... I can't even describe it. My nerd heart is about to burst: I get to write about old stories told in new ways, hence the above reference to everyone's favorite emo-king. But excitement needs backing up with some hours of hard work, which is why I've been up at ungoldly hours making lists and falling down internet research rabbit holes. As ever, I am so nervous/anxious/excited to try to do my best with it.

Lately I haven't wanted to write here much--even when I've had time, which isn't often--because I worry about waxing too poetic about my newfound pre-dawn routine. But suffice it to say that it's still working for me. And I am a firm believer in the idea that anything can happen if you schedule it on your calendar and set ten reminders. So, that.

Life is good right now. Life is busy as hell, but one year out from the MFA I am just in a place of acceptance about it. Busy means people are asking me to do things and sending me books, and not falling apart means this book critic gig is something I can do. Am doing. The fact that I am just as excited about reviewing books (maybe more?) a year and 30-some-odd reviews later is craze amaze.

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I dig this quote in Our Secret Life in the Movies, out soon from A Strange Object.

It is so painfully apparent to me that when work (either one) gets busy, I pacify myself with mundane, familiar, and predictable TV. This explains why last year as I finished my thesis, I swathed myself in the soothing, vanilla-bland voice of Rick Steves.  It is why this fall I've taken up LOST again like it's my job.

I know. There's no helping me.

I am such a wimp. Exhibit A: the above picture I took just after freaking myself out with the stupid episode where the freighter blows up and ye olde Losties start skipping through time. Only I already knew what was going to happen, so...?

It feels like fall. Lots of LOST and lots of coffee (I eased myself off into decaf for a whole month and then gave it up in one day--all for no good reason) and lots of movie scores on Pandora. Tights and boots. Extra quilts. Teaching continues to be much more manageable since I am not sacrificing myself weekly on an altar of 100ish AP English 12 essays. What I have now is a much more even arrangement of time/bang for buck. My job is crazy hard, but it's not crazy impossibly hard in a time-management way anymore.

Improvement.

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In Literary Things With Other People News, a few weeks ago I attended the 3rd anniversary reading for Under The Gum Tree in Sacramento. After that I was in Oakland to see Tod Goldberg in conversation with Josh Mohr, and then the following weekend I stayed in San Francisco with friends so I could attend LitCrawl, and so I could attend breakfast at the Ferry Building and eat my weight in bread. God, San Francisco. I'm so glad that to you, twee toast is a thing. You get me.

Anyway, America. You should buy Tod's book.

After that, you should read this piece, SUBMITATHON! by Jill McDonough, a poet I discovered at the Threepenny Review reading in SF, thanks to my friend Lizi. Oh, and this poem that McDonough read, too.

In a little over a month I'm going back to Palm Springs to MFA residency--this time to TA and to see my mentee, Eileen, graduate. And to try as hard as I can not to feel weird about hanging around like some weirdo who used to go there. But at the moment, my excitement about being in a) a hotbed of literary geekdom and b) Palm Springs outweigh whatever awkward feelings I'm having about it. Also, this is me we're talking about. Awkward is my mileu. Anyway, that's in December and I can't wait.

For now I'm just biding my time, trying to type with one hand so the other hand can cat.

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