The rest of the story

Apropos of the “what is the story?” question, and Dame Eleanor’s comment, this passage bubbled to the surface of my memory the other day.  I might even have quoted it here before:

I believe you have to reach a certain age before you understand how much life really is like a novel, with patterns and leitmotifs and turning points, and guns that must go off and people who must return before the ending.

–Sigrid Nuñez, The Last of Her Kind

It’s quite true–and the minor characters and the major characters and the tiny images and passing incidents that reflect the larger issues–and so much more.  Even if you can’t really perceive it while it’s happening.

Whenever I read back over the five-plus years of this blog, I see the “Too much work!”-“I can’t work”-“Here is the list of the work”-“Now I am doing the work” pattern recurring.  I can’t imagine that it’s of much interest to most people, but it sure as hell helps me.  Particularly at a moment like this–midafternoon, about two hours to go until it’s time to actively cook dinner, some things accomplished (writing, working out, mailing a manuscript) but others (today’s quota of exams to grade, the last part of the week’s writing goals) woefully unattended to.  So!

  1. Make a cup of coffee.
  2. Work on cover letter to editor: 15 minutes.
  3. Prep work for dinner (10 minutes to scrub the sweet potatoes and put the swordfish in the marinade).
  4. Grade three exams: 36 minutes.  (I think I’m to the point where 12 minutes per exam is reasonable.)
  5. As a reward, update submissions plan for 15 minutes.
  6. Grade two more exams: 24 minutes.  (In between the two, preheat the oven.)
  7. Return to cover letter: 10 minutes.
  8. Goof off online until it’s time to cook.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that I have decided not to go to AWP.  The sense of relief on deciding to stay home is much stronger than the sense of regret at missing it.  The catalyst for the decision was actually my last post–it tripped the realization that I was clinging to the idea of going in part because I was also clinging to the idea that I am still an important university person who has to go!  Ha!  Well, I’m not important, and soon not a university person, and most definitely do not have to go.  So screw that.  There are really just two things I genuinely regret: getting to spend time with MW and filling my pockets with all kinds of silly giveaway buttons and pencils to give to my students.  Seriously, those are the big things.  So no Boston this time.  (Weirdly, just as I was deciding, the Snork Maiden became all excited about a summer program she found on a college campus in the greater Boston area, so it may be that I’ll get to visit friends there anyway.  I will take this as an affirmation of my sense that if I push away the things I don’t really want–NLNRU–other things will have room to come in.)

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One response to this post.

  1. […] I got a very nice email from an editor I sent the ms. to back in January (here).  It’s a big press, one I didn’t expect to pick up the book, and they […]

    Reply

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