Un-Still Life With Kleenex

I caught a cold over the weekend, and stayed home from work on Monday. It’s not bad as these things go, so I went to the IPRC for class in the evening. I was scheduled to talk for five minutes about a zine I like. Hmm. I had hoped to dig up an exquisite mini-size fiction zine like the late lamented Lunch Hour Stories, one story per issue, since we’re focusing on fiction and that’s the sort of thing I’d love to put out. But in the time-and-germ crunch I ended up going through my shelves and pulling down Beer Frame. Every writer needs to consider the origins and strangeness of everyday objects like the Brannock device, right? And think about marketing campaigns and slogans like “America’s Favorite Banana Milk”?

It was received politely. I have no idea what other people will bring in when it’s their turn. Fun! When I was scanning my shelves, I realized how many of my zines, even the big names, are now defunct and getting onto a decade or more old. Dishwasher. Zuzu and the Baby Catcher. Beer Frame, too– there were ten issues. (Now the author writes Uni Watch, a blog about sports uniforms. Go look if you want to know what comprehensive means.) Zines are supposedly ephemeral, but once they make it to someone’s collection, they stick around– because if you let them go, you may never see them again, Amazon/eBay or no.

I think I need to lay off the Nyquil. It used to make me delightfully sleepy when I had a cold and took it before bedtime TV, but this week I found myself playing Plants vs. Zombies on Sanguinity’s computer until one a.m. Then I slept on the couch until my alarm went off so I could catch a bus at 8:20. It’s been a long time since I was that groggy. It was REALLY HARD to make myself sit up, make coffee, find clothes. And yet, of course, I did it.

It made me wish I could bring that kind of will and discipline to writing. And kind of mad at myself that there’s just no way. I’ll do that to keep a job, I’ll do it if someone is counting on me. But if it were just for myself and writing, I’d have been sleeping. Could be rebellion, could be a short-term/long-term glitch in my brain…whatever. That’s how it is. SO, I need to make getting up for the job do double-duty, and sneak writing in on top of my workday. I’ve decided to make a habit of staying on campus until it’s time to catch the 5:10 bus, which will still get me home by six p.m. I’ll feel more free to do home stuff when I’m home, and when I’m working well I can do that thing I love of writing three times a day, with sessions before work, after work, and in the evening.

I tried it out today. It’s the first week of classes. I had done my usual thing of skimping on lunch because I was busy, so I went to get a bowl of glorified rice and beans by the MAX stop. I quickly realized two things: students order and pay one at a time, not in groups, and they all do it with credit cards. It’s like no one under 21 knows what cash is. It took forever. But then I got some good work done.

Also, last night while Sang was teaching I let myself play as much Plants vs. Zombies as I wanted (hours! set off my first cob cannons!), and then I deleted my account. Its thrall was starting to fade anyway, and it doesn’t fit with the writing. And now I have told you all and cannot go back.

My new diligence comes from this: KFC meeting next Wednesday, and I need to hand out my story to the IPRC class the following Monday, in zine form. So really, I need to write the story by the end of the weekend. Right now, it is a handful of tentative fragments.

And, my IPRC teacher emailed yesterday to say I’ve been assigned a mentor, and it’s Moe Bowstern, who writes a zine about working in commercial fishing in Alaska, and looks so incredibly cool. I so hope I have something worth working over with her by the time we meet in November! It is not that far away.

I am baffled about where running will fit into all this. I feel like I’ll have to adopt one of those “eight minutes a day” exercise plans. But I’ll let the germs clear out before I worry about it.

Happy October, everyone!

4 Comments

  1. leboyfriend October 1, 2010

    Even though we talk, I so enjoy coming here and catching up on what you have been doing :)

  2. admin October 1, 2010

    Yay! You know I have to restrain myself from calling or emailing you to say, “I posted to my blog! All the stuff I already told you! Go read it!” :D

  3. Lindsey October 1, 2010

    I’m sorry you got a cold! However, it sounds like it’s not the one I got, which is definitely a good thing.

    I think the game-playing uses completely different parts of your brain than the writing. And there’s a built-in reward system (victory over zombies! more plants!) that keeps you coming back for more; the rewards of writing, though greater in sum, are not measured out in a manner conducive to addiction-forming.

  4. admin October 3, 2010

    I know, the reinforcement schedule is so calculating! I suppose reading fiction has the same sort of mechanism, through the pacing, suspense, and details. Too bad writing it doesn’t! (For me. I think for some people it does, and they write copious amounts of fanfic and other stuff for fun. Lucky ducks!)

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