Chimera Song Mosaic
Friday, May 21, 2004
120 Days of Solitude

This post will not be deserving of its title; I feel that intimately. However, I just got off the phone with Colleen Colby, who had a fabulous birthday yesterday (turned 29!), sent her a few links, browsed--nay, predated--some websites, didn't quite find what I was looking for, so decided to write my own. Isn't it always that way? But y'all are so quiet on the weekends. Out having fabulous lives, I suspect. Me, I have a freaky job and can mostly blog on the weekends, whereas others of you I know are blogging during mornings and post-lunch lags in the day-to-day weekday.

But who am I kidding? I officially stopped working as of last Saturday. Well, not stopped--I have been running around like a chicken (I guess) sans head (post geek) getting all sorts of things done that I had neglected during the course of the insane semester, primarily doctors' appointments (4 different ones!) and also this crazy Russian visa thing which is giving me a headache. Well, we shouldn't complain; Marisa and I are going to the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, this June. Of course that's dreamy.

Cut to me sitting in front of the computer in a dark room (library) in the darkening atmosphere (sun setting thickly at my back). Since the semester is over and I can't cry wolf anymore about my students swallowing my free time live & whole, I have had to find yet another excuse to avoid writing a poem. Here's a good one: Anna Karenina. Some of you might remember I started the novel this time last year (optimistically referred to as "The Summer of the Russian Novelists." I don't even have to go back to my archives to remember this, the shame is so salient).

Anyway, needless to say, I didn't finish Anna Karenina. But I did get to several other novels in a year--perhaps tomorrow I shall list them and then feel better about myself. I seem to have very high expectations and tons of confidence in my abilities but not, leider, much tangible ambition, will power, or follow through. Ai!

I did read Eugene Onegin (better, since I'm going to Petersburg and not Moscow), and I'm on page 105 of 840 of Anna Karenina. Next is Crime and Punishment, Notes from the Underground, and lots of poetry (not necessarily Russian). Maybe I'll mix it up with Pale Fire.

But the point is that I am delaying writing a poem with yet more projects. The good news is that I have the same to do/read list I had last year, and from this observation I could perhaps conclude that I will keep this short list for years to come, progressing ever so minutely, and that eventually I will cross off every bit of it.

Which is why I can't have a baby right now! (Imagine the new to dos invloved with that!)

Other people seem to think it is a great idea!

Should I read Anna Karenina or bake cookies?

Why can't I do both?

It's so hard being a feminist!

The reality is that I can't do both, not well, at least. Other people need to realize this and perhaps stop lying to young women. Young men are moving further over into that gap, prioritizing parenthood when tradition dictates they choose job.

I can't stand it when people romanticize and simplify the past by saying, "Things were so much easier when . . ." But some things were--no? Some things were. I could get sucked back into the nostalgia pit, which explains the title, partially, and the rest of it . . .

Lance said: "You just need to be by yourself. Really bad. You need 120 days of solitude. Or whatever,"

And he's so right. I desperately want to be left alone. I could get so much done if only I were left alone. So my solution? I make plans to travel: one week in Houston, one week in New York City, one more in Houston, two in St. Petersburg, one week back at home in Mission, Texas, one & 1/2 weeks driving through the interior to Mexico City (which is what I did last summer, if you remember, but never wrote about it; it's so typical of me to drop the ball). So I won't be alone until mid-July. Then I will have a little more than a month before--yikes--fall semester. It seems so obvious that I really don't know what's good for me.

So should I bake cookies or read Anna Karenina? They are really good cookies (peanut butter blossoms), but she hasn't had the affair yet. What to do.

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