Anxiety and Nostalgia and Writing Avoidance


Yesterday I read. I did not work out (I got dressed to and was all ready to go and was suddenly overcome with a wash of physical weakness that I showered instead and then kept reading). I did no writing. I am having a hard trouble writing, especially since the conference is in, oh, two days. It seems counterintuitive that since I’m worried about it sucking and about embarrassing myself, one would think that I’d be working around the clock on this thing to make it not suck. No. Instead, I have all but shut down here. I just don’t have much to say about the topic at this point, yet, or still. It’s not as interesting to me as the paper I gave last year, and I really just don’t know where to go with this. This is, without a doubt, directly related to my lack of exercise in the last three weeks, the weight gain, the stress of the end of the semester, this trip, money, the dread of having to go back to Fancy Town in a few weeks, the radio silence regarding the thing I had been waiting to hear back about, the J’s lack of firm summer employment and the uncertainty of the big summer job we were both hoping he’d get. Granted, he’ll make some money for his three week AT which should be enough to keep us out of the hole, but our savings are almost gone. I’m a little disappointed, too, because given the current financial situation, the boot camp and other things I was hoping to do this summer might be out. I’m not sure I can justify spending that money on that. I mean, I have the P90X; I have the Insanity. It’s summer, so I can run out doors. But, as discipline is obviously a problem for me at this moment, well, maybe once the conference is over I can get back into a routine. It doesn’t look like there are any other travel plans in the works for me other than going back to Fancy Town in between now and the time the semester starts.

And it’s times like this that make me long for grad school days, when I’d be sitting in my diss writing office in the library commiserating with Earnest English while I lie in the fetal position on the floor and we’d plan a rendezvous at Fancy Pants bar and drink until our dissertations were mere memories. Do I wish I were still writing my diss rather than working on a conference paper? No, not at all. Do I now have a romanticized memory of grad school? Yes. Do I remember how miserable I was toward the end in Grad City dying to get out of there? Yes. And would I trade this for that? Right now, not sure. In my head, things seemed so much simpler then, by necessity. For starters, I didn’t have a massive student loan payment. I could bike to work and just about anywhere I wanted to go. I was close to campus and there was cool ass shit to do there in the summer evenings that didn’t require me driving across a bridge, paying a toll and paying $4.33/gal of gas to get there. And when it comes to gas prices, I’m totally like Tommy Corn  in this. It’s true. I even bought Twizzlers on the drives down to prove the point to myself about it. And the first time I saw the movie, I looked at ex-b and I said, “Dude, that’s totally me in about 20 years. I guarantee that I will be Tommy Corn. Overalls and everything.”

You know what’d be cool, too? If Super Awesome Fabulous Colleague and his wife lived here, like next door. Because then we could walk to the bars, SAFC and I could whine and stress out about our writing and our work, and then his wife and my husband could make fun of us for being anxiety ridden stress cases, and then all would be right as rain. (Okay, SAFC, I hope you don’t find that creepy that I want to make you and your wife my next door neighbors in Home City. Even the J has said, “I wonder if we could convince them to move to Home City?” because you know how much the J loves you SAFC, if you’re reading).

Anyway, so what’s the point of all of this whining? To make me feel better. And if I recall correctly, I whined a lot on my blog during the writing of my dissertation, and then I’d go and have a decent writing day after doing so, so since I’m stuck for things to say about this paper, I’m going to try something that worked in the past. Whine about my writing and my living situation on my blog, at which point I usually get so angry that I scream “fuck it!” and I start writing.

Okay, and for the remainder of the week, and even whilst out of town at the conference, I think, as far as exercise goes, I need to forget about the weights and such and focus on the cardio. There’s what looks like an incredible workout facility at the hotel in Beantown, including a lap pool. That actually has me feeling a little bit better.

And now that it’s time to refill the coffee, I should perhaps consider walking the dogs, and I will make this in to do form:

  • write for 30 minutes
  • run--well, I got 15 minutes in. I was about 12 minutes out when this giant scary peal of thunder sounded and it began to drizzle, and given the storms in this area of late, I came back. Maybe I might be able to get another 15 in later. But I have to tell myself that 15 is better than nothing. It’s a shame, too. I was feeling great!
  • shower, breakfast
  • write for another 30 minutes
  • read for about an hour (try to finish last of the primary texts just so I can not embarrass myself Thursday morning)
  • write for 30 minutes–with this last set of writing I’ve gotten to about 1850 words. A little more than halfway done. I think two more half hour sessions for the day and I might be able to get this finished before bed. It’s not great, but I don’t feel like I’ll embarrass myself with this paper. And while I thought last year’s paper was “juicier,” I think this one might be better. Unless some evolutionary biologist shows up and slams me for that part of the paper. Hey I put in a disclaimer, “I’m not a scientist. I don’t pretend to be,” so we’ll see. I think the chances of an evolutionary biologist showing up at a panel on American lit might be far fetched, but hey, stranger things have happened.
  • run some errands–nope, because of the off and on storms, so I’ll do some chores instead.

Perhaps that might be a doable plan for this day. And less scary than thinking about writing all day. wish me luck! with any luck, I’ll have something to report back later.

ETA: 30 minutes of writing. 602 not crappy words. Turns out I may well, at least right now, have something interesting to say on this topic and may not embarrass myself, and that I am now looking forward to my run in about 10 minutes and to writing again for 30 more minutes.

ETA 2.0: Finished the paper! Wrote for another hour. I think it’s not bad for a one shot wonder. Probably heavier on the quote side than it should be, but I’d say about 90% of it is necessary. It needs to be proofread though. I’ll save that for the morning when I’m rested. I managed to get about 2750 words in 2.5 hours, broken up into 30 minute segments. So much better than staring at the computer for 8 hours straight. Now, I finish laundry, make dinner, have a beer, and relax.


3 responses »

  1. You WILL get the conference paper done! And it will be fine! And we will be in Boston together! It will be fun! Now I have to go and do stuff around my house because I totally wasted yesterday….

  2. Yay for writing progress!!! Funny how I was just doing the same exact thing! 8:30 am panels are great for allowing for a little roughness in the draft. 😉

    We are forecasted to have thunderstorms all week and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to take walks or do exercise without being hit by lightening. How do people get around this when they are not in California?

  3. Crazy, I’m trying. And you’re right, I will for the simple reason that I have to get it done.

    Sis, I might have an additional advantage to the panel being early, not just in the morning, but early in the conference. The second panel of the conference. I can’t imagine that anyone other than the hardcore naturalists will be there. Avoiding lightening during exercise–come up with an exercise loop near your place that way, if you do get caught in a summer storm, you are never too far from home. And run like hell.

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