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Archive for September, 2012

I’m supposed to be doing a lot of things this afternoon — finishing up some work for an October first deadline, vacuuming the twins’ room while they’re out visiting their grandparents, at the very least cleaning off my desk and emptying the dishwasher …  But with the house empty and quiet I started feeling very lazy.  Maybe I was fighting off a cold.  Certainly I was exhausted from last night’s fussy sleeping due to a restless twin who wailed pretty much every even hour.  So instead of going to my desk I went to the kitchen and heated a pot of chicken noodle soup.  I ladled it into a bowl-sized mug and took it to bed and there I slouched on a stack of pillows and started to read The Queen’s Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray (very enjoyable), sipping broth and occasionally pausing for a spoonful of noodles.

After about 50 pages I went again to the kitchen and this time (more…)

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If you read my last post — I quit — you probably knew I didn’t really mean it.  Or that I meant it at the time but I was  more on strike than actually quitting.  As someone posted on my Facebook page, “Good luck darlin’. You can’t escape what you are.”  And of course he was right.

Last night I went to the Cathedral Crossroads program at The National Cathedral.  There is a labyrinth to walk, a Celtic harp to listen to, and an hour-long program that might be about spiritual writing, dance, meditation or nature.  I didn’t want to do much.  Just sit quietly, watch from a distance and let the harp gently pluck away my feelings of rejection, rebellion, and vague embarrassment at having thrown a tantrum on my blog.

Labyrinth at the National Cathedral. From http://www.nationalcathedral.org.

Then, for the first time ever, (more…)

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I quit

Last night I quit.  No more writing.  No more draining myself — exsanguinating myself — to take care of the twins five days a week and then try to wring out writing on nights and weekends.

What prompted this resolution?  A rejection.  Sent by e-mail.  At 9:30.  On a Sunday night.

During regular business hours I’m steeled for rejection.  It’s a (sadly large) part of (pretty much) every writer’s life.  But when I thought I’d check e-mail one last time before heading to bed I was not prepared for the ambush in my in-box.  I actually wasn’t prepared for this rejection at all.  I had a good feeling — a great feeling — about sending this particular piece to that particular place.  But I was wrong.  Form-letter-rejection wrong.  So I quit.

I lay in bed for a good three hours wide awake and (more…)

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The summer before I got married I found myself reading a lot of children’s books — Little Women and the Little House books in particular.

I think I was reading them because I knew that my life was about to change, that I was moving deeper and deeper into the territory of adulthood and I wanted one last summer to be a girl reading girl books (appropriately enough, Laura and Jo both wind up marrying in the end).

These days I find myself doing the same thing.  I have two October first deadlines but instead of writing, all I want to do is lie around reading fun books – young books.

When I was in graduate school at NYU one of my students told me about a book called Youth in Revolt.  I read it while (more…)

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How can I keep up with this blog — and write essays and read books and, at some point, sleep — with 19-month-old twins?

It seems as if we’ve exchanged the morning nap for the onset of the terrible twos.  The afternoon nap eventually lengthens to accommodate the loss of the morning nap but so far we’re waking up too soon and then throwing fits and having tantrums.

Sigh.

I’ve been thinking about how to rearrange my day and there aren’t many good options for squeezing writing in, except (more…)

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Today is the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the Civil War battle that caused 23,000 Americans casualties.  It has been called the bloodiest day in American history.

“Lone Grave” by Alexander Gardner. From http://www.nps.gov.

Today I am on a writing retreat with a friend in her Virginia cabin.

This combination of events makes me think about “retreat” in a whole new way.

Sometimes it’s best to retreat.  “He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day” is a cliché, yes, but rather a valuable one if yours is the life in question.  In this case (more…)

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There should be a long German word that means “hungover from staying up late watching Wagner’s Ring Cycle on PBS.”  Like, Ringnachtfernsehenüberbleibselaus or something.  That’s definitely my word of the day.

Wotan and Brunnhilde. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera. From PBS.org.

I’m not a fan of opera — not in the least.  But for some (masochistic?) reason I’ve always wanted to see Wagner’s Ring Cycle — the whole thing, preferably back-to-back-to-back-to-back.  When I found out last year that the Met was going to offer just that, I was both thrilled and crushed — at the time I was either massively pregnant with twins or completely exhausted with twin newborns and there was no way I was going to find the time or stamina for four nights of opera in New York City.

But then PBS offered just what I wanted: four nights of the Ring Cycle, viewable from the comfort of my own living room.  I realize that this is in no way comparable to seeing The Ring live, but I think I’m rather glad.  It turns out that it’s quite a lovely thing to lie on a couch eating lowbrow Cheetos watching Bryn Terfel sings his lungs out for hours and hours.

You can find all kinds of information and video clips at PBS’s Great Performance’s website but here are a few highlights: (more…)

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