Another one bites the dust

Weekend that is.

Today was a hermit day. It’s been raining and raining, and I haven’t wanted to go outside. I definitely didn’t want to take mass transit, and I didn’t want to walk in the rain just to get soaked. Plus I may have a tiny cold.

The vibe in my writing class is very good. Maybe because the teacher is a good combination of mellow and assertive – and he knows what he’s talking about – and everyone gets along so well. Well, almost everyone. But it’s not like she’s mean, just annoying. And she wasn’t in class on Thursday. Woohoo!

This week’s nugget: literary voice is biological. Some French philosopher said it. Don’t fight your strenghts but play them up. My literary voice is spare and clean. I’ve wished it were richer, like Michael Chabon’s, but I just can’t do it. So I don’t try anymore. I go with what I know.

Friday I took the day off to hit the Small Press Center’s fourth annual New York writers’ conference. I went to almost all nonfiction panels, except during the agent one I left because the focus seemed to be on commercial nonfiction rather than memoir, which is more like a novel. So I popped into the fiction agents panel.

Nuggets from the conference:

  • An author on writers’ group feedback: “If one person says it, grain of salt. But if two people say it, it’s something to consider.”
  • A great title is important. Duh, right? Examples of great titles: The Year of Magical Thinking, Angela’s Ashes, The Lucifer Effect.
  • Something important to agents is to show that you’re really a writer, not someone for whom writing is a hobby or a whim. Show that you’ve tried to get published in the right places, even if you haven’t actually gotten published.

Yesterday was a quiet yet productive day. Spent the morning updating my checkbook and organizing my files. Hung out with SB and Ellie for a few hours in the afternoon. Ellie insisted on walking most of the way to the farmer’s market so that took a year and a half.

She also insisted I come inside afterwards to play. What’s hilarious is that one of her stuffed toys, a hedgehog, somehow got named after one of my friends, Aki, who visited a couple of weeks ago. So all afternoon we’re calling this stuffed hedgehog Aki. “Where’s Aki, Ellie? Go get Aki!”

When it was time for Ellie’s nap (although of course she insisted it wasn’t), I booked, hitting a few stores for provisions. Late in the afternoon I actually felt inspired enough to run. Four miles, woohoo! though my left leg is sore today, from my hamstring through the arch of my foot, which always seems to happen when I run hills outside. I probably overextend.

Today, like I said, was extremely lazy. I’m not dreading work this week, for a change. Last week I finally tackled some stuff I’d been putting off for a long time. I bought this book on how to stop worrying, and I’m beginning to understand my procrastination and worry go hand in hand, that they’re like this vicious cycle that I can break out of by assigning to each “worry” simple steps that have immediate action.

That’s productive worry. Then there’s the unproductive kind, like that I’ll never remarry. But there’s only so much control I have over that and also I should look at the reasons behind this worry. Right now? I just came out of something that seemed promising so I’m bummed and lonely. Am I afraid of being alone? No. Do I feel like I have nothing else in my life? No.

An uncertain future doesn’t necessarily equal a bad future.

Usually I peruse the marriage announcements in the Times to see if there’s anyone I know, but today I looked for people my age or older. There were quite a few actually.

Today I was struck with the idea of saving up to a buy a little house by the water. By what water, who knows. I got a tax refund this year for a change so I feel encouraged in the financial area. I’ve been resistant to looking for something to buy, maybe because I thought I had to live in the city, but I like the idea of a little spinster house, all my own. That would be my dream, to write in my little house and come to the city for long visits, and other friends’ cities for visits, and travel everywhere.


  1. If you can write a post that long, I am not sure the day counts as being lazy. I like the point about literary voice being biological. I’ve never heard that before, but I really identify with it.

  2. How big was your tax refund if you are thinking of buying a house?

  3. zf: rambling mindlessly never feels like work to me. :)

    r42k: oh the return wasn’t that big, but i felt for sure i’d have to pay up the wazoo like i did last year. now i feel like i’ll actually be able to save some money so that a year or two down the line, i might be able to get something.