Here’s what the fall semester looks like for me:
About a post a week, a lot of different ideas, space to think and write about my thinking, and none of this counts all the time I have to watch Hallmark Christmas Movies and post about them.
Here’s what the spring semester looks like for me:
I hate the spring semester. The spring semester, every year, can go to hell.
It’s unfair to blame this term, which is busy because I teach an actual class while directing the program, as opposed to teaching the directed study theses courses I do with 5 students over the course of the fall, itself the same amount of work-hours as an actual class of 10 students, but far more blissful and easygoing and pleasurable in the one-on-one format. Plus the long list of directing duties that for boring reasons fall on this semester to do, and I won’t bore you with it all, because, like I said, it’s not all this semester’s fault. I should also blame my writing.
I wrote a lot last year, nearly 50,000 words of the second half of my memoir, and it was chiefly capturing work. I had to put memories and old feelings into words, often for the first time, and while it had its challenges—I’m not yet convinced this book is even readable, much less publishable—they were challenges of persistence. I had to just keep going.
Since January I’ve been writing an essay about something I’ve only told my therapist about, and my partner, and on top of the same persistence against shame and self-loathing, it’s taken a lot of attention-work. I’ve had to think really hard about what all of this means, and how to write about it in a way that doesn’t make people hate me, and knowing how little time I’m able to put to my writing, and how scant the energy I can give it after all the shitwork of spring, I haven’t thought a lick about this blog.
It paid off. I finished the draft this morning. I think it’s going to be good, but I always think that of a new thing. Then the publishing process comes….
The other day, my phone did something such that Instagram stopped working. I forced quit it, nothing. I restarted my phone, nothing. So I uninstalled it, and then realized I didn’t have to reinstall it. Months ago, I logged out of Twitter on my phone’s web browser, and as I use strong, cryptic passwords through LastPass, and now that LastPass only works on my laptop, I don’t know how to log back in again on my phone.
Old habits die hard. Today in the library I walked past this book, and I took this photo:
I realized my caption would be, “Sure, Alva,” but I had nowhere to post it.
Except here. Would anyone see anything I put up here without social media directing them over here? Is that a gift for what I might do with this space?
Before the spring semester burst like a water main in the basement of my pandemic life, I’d had the idea of writing a newsletter, delivering this blog to people’s inboxes, but then I stopped being able to see what pleasure would lie in that. 2021 has so far been about a drop in my satisfaction when writing things that don’t matter.
But also, two wonderful things happened to me this year. One is that I discovered 70’s/80’s San Francisco synthpunk band the Units. They aren’t well known, but if they’re known they’re known for this perfect song:
I’ve written about this before, how some bands match the ongoing sounds that run in your head all the time, and how mine seem to be the asynchronous chewings of a hive full of bees. Constant busyness. That’s this song. I feel grateful to get to spend the second half of my life with it buzzing in me.
The other wonderful thing is that Neal and I have signed a lease on a 3-story townhome that will provide us with a laundry room, a second toilet, a guest bedroom, and a dining room where I can actually sit and write in a room that’s not The One Room We Always Sit In Every Day. For seven years we’ve been convinced that we’d never be able to live in what I still think of as an adult home, and then rents dropped because enough people think this city’s top selling point is its proximity to Silicon Valley. So not every part of this pandemic has been a dank basement.
See you in 4 months, then?