Inspired by an exchange with a forensic psychologist who was kind enough to email me with his unsolicited advice on how I should change my writing style...
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The awful news came just as I began a week's substitute dog-walking for a friend. After working out the kinks in the schedule to my pace, I've been walking from 7.30 or 8 until 4 or 5 with a one-hour break, with a couple of evening walks to finish out the day. It will save my ass for a minute when I had counted on it to act as a bridge until I started teaching near the end of the month.
And then my courses were canceled.
I had to make the Call.
You know the one. "Hi -- [snivel] -- Dad...."
Is there a more humiliating call to make?
Yes. The next time I have to do it.
This week has, until the break of Saturday, saved me from worrying too much about it. There is always a sudden dog to go board with, I reasoned as Daisy & I packed off to do so. I found 43 cents on the sidewalks yesterday. At least I've caught up with other things that had dropped to new lows: doggie bags, dishes. At least I'll have a good three weeks to write five chapters.
I have to say that I am tired of having a bad year. 2009 was a bad year. My mother died. 2010 was a bad year. Two months in a cast, my book bombed, Zoloft went funky on me. 2011 has been a hard year. A difficult student during winter quarter, three quarters in a row in which I haven't taught, always countingcountingcounting (Blitzen is six walks this week and four next...150 dollars...can I pay off that Visa yet?).
But this piece of bad news is the worst because I have absolutely no savings. I was planning to pay a lot of bills this fall. I was looking forward to the occasional movie or Chinatown back-rub. I was finally going to be able to relax
well, once I got my book turned in.
I still have that little chore.
Ever have a good idea for a book & then see it? That happened to me yesterday via Twitter.
And I have so few ideas for new books.
Still. I am holding myself very tightly to focus on what's going right. I can actually (with the help of a few drugs) DO the walking. One of the dogs did not hide in the fireplace when I picked him up today. Beanie, a shy Lab, comes quite briskly to me, her owner says. I'm ten days abstinent and the weather went from warm and clammy to cool and dry which means I had to put on my favorite salmon pink corduroy jacket. The sleeves are roomier than the last time I had it on. I have to be out & about in a way I haven't been in years, visible & accountable. I'm enjoying my iPod at last & feel intimate with the music. The world is full of strange things -- loose change, fragile Christmas ornaments in the gutter, overheard comments like, "Urdu, Urdu, Urdu -- shit, man."
I need to get back into the Rooms but this time I want to change the emphasis in the Serenity Prayer from "accept the things I cannot change" to "courage to change the things I can". That prayer fucked me up with the initial emphasis on acceptance. Give me a test for post-traumatic stress disorder and I pass with flying colors from the women I worked for a decade and more ago. I survived by clinging to acceptance. I was even graciously accepting of having my courses canceled ("This must be so stressful for you," I wrote my department head). Several times a week I dream about those women, about begging for my job back at no pay or other scenarios.
I want to close out 2011 by being able to say it was a hard rather than a bad year. I want to change things. I want to have normal nightmares about werewolves and falling and fire. I want to be the first to have a good book idea.