Aftermath.

I am finally on the mend.  Throat still swollen, jaw still achy, but I can actually DO things again.  What am I doing?  Why, moving to Chicago with the Significant Other in a vanishingly small amount of time.  Thirteen days to do what should have been spread out over a month.  The SO’s mum is gifting us with some gorgeous antique furnishings that have been gathering spiderwebs in her garage for a year.  We spent most of the weekend cleaning and polishing, but there’s still plenty to be done there.  Need to repack some boxes (kitchen stuff; dishes and glassware mostly), figure out a safe way to  pack up a mirror, clean up a free office chair my boss gave me, beat some giant rugs to death, pick up my poor broken computer from the shop…the list is endless.  And I’m trying to finish a book for work before I leave; I already have over forty hours this week.  Plus the SO has a million going-away shindigs, and the family would like to see me before I fly away, and we’re still house-sitting until Monday, which has been lovely but I’m ready to not make the drive out to that side of town anymore.  Is insanity.

Also, I am not drinking again, because my immune system needs all the help it can get.  It’ll be two weeks this Friday with no booze…AND no caffeine.  I don’t even recognize myself.

Soon it will all be over.  And then the semester will start, and I’ll be right back in the hamster wheel.  None of this is by way of complaint.  I’m shockingly happy.  Spending too much of the summer down sick makes me appreciate the simple fact that I’m well enough to keep doing things.

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.