I guess that settles it

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(via Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/what-career-should-you-have?bffb)

I’ve taken a bunch of these lately, and found out with surprise that I should have attended MIT (SO wrong), or that I am some character on Game of Thrones (which I don’t watch), or another on Downton Abbey (which I also don’t watch–shoot me). My confirmation bias made me pick this one to share, of course. I will revel in the fact that I actually applied the pomodoro technique and wrote for 25 minutes today. I actually worked on my chapter on grant proposals yet again (370 words accomplished, about half of those revising previous material). It was a small, very small victory–and I vowed to do it for the next 2 weeks, no matter what. We’ll see what happens–for now I was happy I could find the time to buckle up and do it. I have no idea where time goes, frankly. I’m starting to think it IS my biggest enemy. I think quite a lot about how to make time my friend. Perhaps I should stop thinking and invite him out for a date, huh?


Writing is hard

Roses are red
Violets are blue

Writing is hard
Writing is true. 

The best writing I read  came from a place of total honesty–any pretense that there was a person to protect underneath the words, that there was someone else who would wither and die if the truth were to be revealed. Good writing reveals more things in 3 words than bad writing can in 3,000. Good writing appears effortless, a natural and graceful extension of the author and reader combined.

Will good writing ever reveal itself to me?

Information Overload


What we have here is a failure to…adjust the load to the capabilities of the load bearer

Sometimes I wonder why I arrive to that witching hour at night (11:21pm in this case) and feel like I’m so completely overwhelmed that writing is the very last thing I want to do. This happened immediately after I read an article on the supposed evils of vegetarianism on Huffington Post UK, whose tone infuriated me to no end (although I partially agreed with some of the premises–it’s just that much of it was ignorant). While debating whether to post a comment on it, it dawned on me how many intellectual leaps I made during the course of the day and how many topics I ended up thinking and/or reading about, many without good reasons. So, here’s a recap (I’m skipping mundane conversation with the plumber/neighbor/au pair/co-workers, and most of the work/activities intervening in between):

  • Morning started with a discussion about the merits of diagnosing mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia) in severely intellectually disabled people (e.g. IQ under 60 or so). Stories were swapped, sweeping arguments made.
  • Before class, I re-read the article I was supposed to discuss with the class, plus a few others on conspiracy theories – a New York Times Magazine piece, a Scientific American one, and two scholarly articles on the issue (which my students will never read, but still, I felt I had to be ahead of the game – this and this). Oh, and blog posts from two sites devoted to conspiracy theories.
  • In-between, I am of course attracted (distracted?) by stories that pop up in my news feed. Two–no, three Salon stories in particular draw my attention: My personal Fox News nightmare: Inside a month of self-induced torture (it is what you think it is), My son is not the poster child for the Right to Life movement – which was absolutely heart-wrenching, and An orgasm almost killed me! – which of course I had to read because it was so sensational and also because I first mistakenly thought it was written by a woman (still a good read, though).
  • After class, we have our Wednesday reading group in which we discussed 3 theoretical articles on composition (J. Williams, The Phenomenology of Error, R. Fulkerson, Four Philosophies of Composition, and Maxine Hairston, Paradigm Change in the Teaching of Composition – or something like that).
  • I devoted a good part of the afternoon to completing a mandatory training module on workplace harassment. It took 1 hr on the dot; I started the module on preventing child abuse but realized I had no time to finish it and make it home on time.
  • I caught up on my Facebook feed: I read about Bristol Palin’s appalling comments on Wendy Davis, I read Wendy Davis’s daughters’ letters in support of their mother. Blood boiled.
  • I also caught up with doings of the atheist community
  • For some reason I read this Jezebel story, which I found misguided. And a little sad.
  • I read this site on Keratosis Pilaris, which I’m now convinced my daughter has. I’m trying to figure out if I should take action, how, when, etc.
  • I watch some episodes of The Daily Show, which discuss the usual suspects: politics, corruption, Sochi Olympics, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, SOTU, homophobia, minimum wage, etc. I browse idly a bunch of other news and stories for the day, too many/small-ish too mention (from Justin Bieber’s arrest to “back fat” store mannequins).
  • Finally I read that HuffPo UK post on vegetarianism that infuriated me.
  • And…scene.

So. No wonder my head is spinning and I have the attention span of an amoeba about to reproduce. Is this because I have too much time on my hands? Um, that would be a NO. I think this is happening precisely because I have too little time so I decide to fill the little left in between assignments, teaching, commute, meetings, and taking care of baby with what I can and gives me pleasure and makes me feel on top of the news cycle (why do I feel that need? Hard to tell.) But I know I have to sit down and concentrate on a SINGLE issue for more than 5 minutes at a time, or at least for more 5-minute cycles at a time than I am doing now so I can get the writing that I need done.

Will you look at that…it’s practically midnight. I’ll go dream about Biden and Beyonce’s Drunk in Love and Hoboken’s Mayor and Tom Perkins and chicken skin aka keratosis pilaris and my tenure clock and aaaaarrrrrghhhh! I might have a problem. I am addicted to news and stories and I can’t manage my time appropriately. It might be time to sacrifice SOMETHING. Ok, I’ll leave that project for tomorrow.


For I must post lest I should die–
–Not starve for air and drift away,
But, metaphorically, cry,
And mourn my moral fiber’s fray-

Or is it fraying? Who cares? why?
My droopy eyes are sinking holes
And sleep invites me to comply
So I won’t break mom natures’ laws.

Good night, everybody


I didn’t post for day. I was dead tired, brain mushy. Could not bring myself to form a single intelligible sentence. Sorry. I’ll make up for it by posting twice…some day.

Since my mom left, I’ve been doing double time on everything, it seems. Which is ok, except I have to adjust MAJORLY on all points – and especially re: my writing time commitment, which has dwindled to naught.

Ironically, I’m also starting an academic writing support group … first meeting is this Thursday. I’m leading it. Try not to laugh. Ok, go ahead and laugh. I can’t even hold it in myself. “Those who can’t do, teach,” isn’t that right?

But…but… I can! Today I wrote a minimum of 2000 words on various other items–online classroom instruction, for example. And a few notes on an upcoming article. Does that count for anything? (I know. Not much. But between that, gym, taking care of my baby, walking and feeding dogs, cooking meals for the entire week, conference call with co-author, planning 3 different classes and tomorrow’s adjunct workshop… I…am…drained.) (And no, gym is not a luxury for me, it’s a necessity. Neither is cooking healthy meals. See Diabetes, Type II. Exercise and eat right OR DIE.)

Tomorrow! Is a new day! Onwards!

But first, sleep.