Measured Extravagance

21 November 2001 - 11:38 p.m.

*snuffle* *sneeze* *whimper* *grump*

As far as colds go, this isn't even that bad - my head doesn't ache and The Boulevard Bolt will be completely doable with a wad of tissues stuffed into my pocket. On the other hand, snuffling over my belle-mere's linen and silver is a different matter - if the drainage doesn't dry up by tomorrow afternoon, I think it may be another evening of tea and bouillon chez moi.

I've bowed out of NaNoWriMo, because I didn't want to take the story I'd written any further and writing 50K over the course of the next week wouldn't have been fun even for an insomniac nutter like me. I don't feel especially bad about being a non-finisher - it would have been fun to have spent more time on it, but it just didn't matter as much as the other things I've been working on this month. Perhaps next year.

Last night's Buffy episode ("Smashed"): Wow. Hit rewind and hand me a fan, please. And the MBTV forums have been amusing me no end.

Though, speaking of pairings that (will probably) go nowhere (good) (IMO), I took an unexpected sandbag in the stomach this afternoon: I was getting tired of the cassettes in the car, so this morning I'd grabbed an old tape labelled "Tallis/Graceland" that I'd made in back in college that I hadn't played in years. Listening to Vaughn-Williams' variations on Tallis is a mixed pleasure for me as it is - it's a gorgeous piece, but it's also closely associated with several exes who are no longer speaking to me. So I knew that it might grey out my mood even more... but what I'd completely forgotten was the other side of the tape. Namely, how often I'd sung along to Paul Simon's "Crazy Love Vol. II" to myself during those years in Chicago and Ann Arbor:

...well I don't claim to be happy about this, boys
And I don't seem to be happy about that

I don't want no part of this crazy love
I don't want no part of your love
I don't want no part of this crazy love
I don't want no part of your love...

Funny how a musical memory can suddenly sock you in the gut.

And now here I am missing Peking Duck and pastries in Chinatown, and raucous Thursday night euchre at various friends' apartments, and university library privileges, and being twenty pounds lighter. I don't miss being student-broke and carless and hormonally crazed. I still suffer from insecurity and lack of discipline and thin skin and foot-in-mouth-itis, but I also know that there are things I'm doing right - that even though I am sometimes stupid or unkind or utterly clueless, people do still enjoy my company (an invitation to a hike and a movie on my answering machine; a "when are you coming back to A2?" note in my in-box) and the BYM still kisses me every morning and evening. That I haven't yet finished the ms. for Strad or become fluent in any of my languages (some days I feel lacking even in English - I must make more time for the grammar books next year!), but neither did I expect to join a choir and adopt a puppy, among other diversions.

For these things I give thanks: being 31 1/2 instead of 21 1/2, cold skim milk and sizzling rare steak, La Phelps and the other members of the Senior Common Room, exes who do stay in touch (hi D!), decaffeinated chai, humor with teeth, knowing enough about the BCS to have an opinion about it (Frank, that's a sideways shout-out to you [grin]), milled soap, mellow merlots, fleece vests, easy embraces and tough poetry:

If in this dark now I less often know
That spiral staircase where the haunted will
Hunts for its stolen luggage, who should know
Better than you, beloved, how I know
What gives security to any world,
Or in whose mirror I begin to know
The chaos of the heart as merchants know
Their coins and cities, genius its own day?
For through our lively traffic all the day,
In my own person I am forced to know
How much must be forgotten out of love,
How much must be forgiven, even love.
    - W. H. Auden

One year ago, I became determined to beat " a perambulating eight-foot tall ear of corn." Tomorrow I think I'll just aim to show up and finish.

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