Monday, December 24, 2012

Update and Baseline (1)

Whew!  What month--well, a good three weeks--it's been.

First there was a book manuscript to review for a press.

Then, really quickly, there was that paid leave grant application to write and turn in.

To do that, I had to think through and write up an overview, chapter by chapter, of my romance fiction monograph.  Which isn't written yet.  Which I've avoided thinking through and writing up, because whenever I do, I see all the holes had problems with it.  But which I had to do, so I did it, and it felt good, looked good, sounded good.  Well, good enough.

Then I had to get a bunch of ducks in a row for PCA, and send a lot of overdue emails and things for JPRS.

Then I had to report for jury duty, which meant that I had to have a day cleared out, to spend at the courthouse, with the rest of the week cleared out, too, just in case I got called to serve.

Then I spent the day at the courthouse, and wasn't called.  Huzzah!  Free for another year, at least, and I got to read some fun P. G. Wodehouse novels on the Kindle while I waited.  Not a bad day.

Which was a good thing, too, because it turned out there was a bunch of work still to do for PCA.

Which I did, and started writing up lyrics for this year's Purim songs.

Which has turned out to be harder than I remembered, but I'm plugging away at it.

(So far, the only one that's come easily is the Paul Simon parody, "(You must read) Fifty Shades to be a  Lover.")

Then there was, what?  Well, the schedule cleared, and I did some holiday shopping, some birthday shopping, some fun.  Put some smooth-wound strings on my guitar, and signed up for jazz guitar lessons at the local cultural center, which will start in January.  Calmed down, and as I did, seemed to get happier and happier, as the days progressed.  Yay!

A lesson there, somewhere.


In the Jewish calendar, there's a 10-day period of soul-searching, etc., between Rosh Hashanah, the new year, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.  I don't really celebrate either of those, but I do find that the 10 days between the Winter Solstice and the secular New Year pretty much do the same thing for me.

Psychologically, I find that having the days start to get longer really boosts my mood, even if that's more a fact I know than a turn I perceive on my daily walks, at first.  Also, I tend to set the 21st as the target day for me to finish work and start my holiday, since that's when my kids get off from school.  It feels like a turning point, or rather the start of a slow curve into something new.

Then comes my birthday--49, this year!--more on which in a moment.

Then there's Christmas, which always gets me thinking about time's passage.  (I used to be very uncomfortable with the family celebration, and now I'm not; in fact, I quite enjoy it.  Noticing how much I do, and thinking back to my old aversion, always gets me musing about how things change.)

Then there's the big one:  the 28th, my late father's birthday.  I think about him a lot, at this time of year, partly because I miss him keenly, partly because I think about what he'd say about things that I'm up to, and partly because I always compare who I am now, and what I'm up to, to what I remember of him at my age.  A lot of soul-searching stirred up by all that, and sometimes resolutions, too.

After which--perfectly timed!--comes the new year.  There was a time, 7 or 8 years ago, when I felt so cocky at the end of the year that when someone asked me my New Year's resolution, it was "Keep Up the Good Work!"  Not quite at that point now, but I feel pretty good about where things stand on many fronts.

Next post will be about that, and where I want to go from here.


Laura Vivanco said...

I'm really glad you've had such a productive yet calm time recently and I'm looking forward to hearing more about the plan, particularly the romance monograph.

Happy Holidays!

Laura Vivanco said...

Nothing much to add, but I think in my eagerness to send good wishes I forgot to click the box for reply notifications so I'm doing that now.

E. M. Selinger said...

Hi, Laura! It has been a productive time--although the calm came after the productivity, to be honest. I was pretty stressed out for a couple of weeks there, but everything's settled down nicely.

The romance monograph plan isn't entirely polished yet: it's more the "good enough" version, one that fits the parameters of the grant proposal, than it is the Platonic ideal of the project. I'll post it here soon, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!