On the range.

It’s odd being in Flagstaff.  I’m here but not here.  The social scene hasn’t much changed (although it’s about to, what with Rich, Laura and Matt all taking off), and I fall right back into old patterns, some positive, some negative.  I’m drinking again but I’ve cut way back; no more weekend hangovers (not since I’ve been home, anyway).  Bits of wine here and there, the occasional whiskey with grandma, Matt’s homebrew.  The novel moves painfully slowly, which is infuriating, frustrating and predictable.  I took an excellent workshop with Dinty Moore and produced a Brevity-style 500 word nonfic, and I’m revising up a play for this year’s Playwriting Showcase, so it’s not like I’m not writing.  It’s just not what I thought I’d be writing.

In other news, editing is editing is editing.  The Comma Wars are a go-go, of course, but they’ve been less vicious than usual, which I’m grateful for.  I hope the truce continues.  And I hope I get a book soon, because I’ll get a lot more novel-ing done if my boss will let me go outhouse on the walk-in book.

I scarcely see Sacha at all, which I feel guilty about.  Matt’s moving out of his apartment in a week (to save money for Chicago), so I’ve been completely focused on making that happen, at the expense of the novel, and pretty much everyone else friend-wise.  And Laura leaves in nine days for Kansas City, so I feel an extra-bad friend on all counts.

Blogpost devolve.  But I’m happy and hunkered down, and so long as I can manage to not spend money and keep tapping away at the novel, I’ll be pleased with the summer’s fruits.

Strawberries!

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One down.

As of 1:15 last night, I am done my first year of PhD school.  With the exception of a rough first month of homesickness, I’ve loved every second of it. A small record:

I’ve produced some fifty pages of criticism that I hope to revise into an exam paper; I’m very pleased with the ideas and actually want to return to them.  I had no idea how much I would love theory when I began this program.

The writing tally is a bit more grim: thirty new pages of fiction, thirty of nonfiction, and with a substantive revision done on sixty pages.  Oh, and I culled the good bits into one kick-ass essay I probably need to send out this summer.

Not a bad year, all told, and I’m hoping that I can speed up my process when I’m a little happier in my day-to-day.  I spent much of this year painfully lonely (although Sacha, Andy and a fantastic cohort helped), and the prospect of living with Matt fills me with butterflies.  I do not thrive alone.

The cohort gets the opportunity to bring in a creative writer and a literary critic next year (how cool is that?!).  We’ve talked about Anne Carson for creative work, and either Imre Szeman or Alan Kaufman for criticism.  The goal is to bring in someone who’s early in his/her career.  Suggestions welcome!

Also, big news (for me, anyway).  Today is day five of no booze.  I’m dreaming again, and sleeping better, and my brain is a well-oiled machine; that last paper burst out of my forehead in two freakin’ days like an early-bird Athena.  I do wonder if there’s a correlation.  It’s been a long while since I’ve gone more than a day without alcohol (and those days are only because I’m hungover).  It’s been even longer since I wrote something, prose or criticism, without a glass of whiskey at hand.  So we’ll see how long I can last.  I’m trying for two weeks without; if it goes well, I’ll shoot for a month.