Wednesday, December 05, 2012


At 6:03 the alarm goes off, every weekday morning.

It's dark these days at 6:03.  Still feels like night, and I'm still sleeping, usually.  Not like summer, when I wake up on my own.

So it goes off, I get up, go downstairs, make coffee, and until that kicks in, generally hate everything and everyone.  I'm a grumpy guy in the morning, but only for 20 minutes or so.

If it lasts longer than that, I'm hungry, even (especially) if I don't feel it.

Almost fifty, moods like a baby!


It took a couple of days, but I changed the strings on my Sweet Pea mandolin--the first time since I got it, back in '07 or '08.  The tailpiece mechanism baffled me for the longest time, and made me nervous about changing them; in the end, it turned out to be quite simple, albeit an oddly intimate process, with lots of peering over the tops of my glasses to get the focus right.  (I'm always a little nervous, as I change mandolin strings, that one will snap and hit me in the eye when it reaches higher tension.  Hasn't happened yet, but ouch!  The thought of that!)

Last night, with the strings settled in, I started working on a chord change I've been wanting to learn:  F, F#dim7, Gm7.  It's the opening sequence to the song "Chicago," and has a fun, jazzy feel.  It'll be quite fun to play, once I get it down.


I buckled own yesterday and worked on the Leave Grant application.  Wrote about 4 pages; 5's the limit.  Finished it this morning, sending it off to my department chair for review.  The rest of the day was mostly taken up with schlepping my son here and there, waiting for him in doctors' waiting rooms, and thinking who to put in my new, streamlined Twitter feed.  Oh!  I also fixed the backyard fence.  That was a highlight, actually.  We had unseasonably warm weather, so I headed out in a t-shirt with my hammer and nails to straighten the sagging posts and reattach things that had blown over in a big windstorm a couple of weeks ago.  Not as good a job as my grandfather the carpenter would have done, but good enough to keep the storms at bay, with winter coming on.


Laura Vivanco said...

What's a "Leave Grant"? Is it like a sabbatical? Or does it give you money to go and do something during one of the breaks between semesters?

Laura Vivanco said...

According to my computer, we've currently got sunrise at 8:25 am and sunset at 3:40 pm.

E. M. Selinger said...

Hi, Laura! Yes, a leave is like a sabbatical, with this difference: it's a competitive program, so you have to submit a project proposal and you might not get the funding. I'm asking for a quarter off at full pay, which puts the least strain on my department in terms of covering my classes. I got one, once, right when I started working on romance, and it was both refreshing and transformative, in terms of my research!

Laura Vivanco said...

Good luck! I hope you're successful.

Jessica said...

Dear Eric,

Apologies for contacting you in this roundabout way, but I’m writing on behalf of the Australian Women Writers Challenge team and would like to thank you for your participation in the AWW challenge this year. I was also wondering if you’ve seen our feedback survey?

It's very quick (10 questions, mostly check boxes, takes 2 minutes), and will provide useful feedback to Bookseller & Publisher.

Even if you didn't reach your goal this year, your feedback is valued, and I hope you'll join us again for AWW Challenge 2013.

Kind regards,