There’s going to be a distinct break in tone and content between the entry dated January 6, 2019, titled, optimistically, “Optimism,” and this entry.
I wish we could have clean breaks, fresh starts, but maybe it’s a good thing that we’re a little tethered to our past selves. Those selves knew things that we might have forgotten in the present. Keeping up a dialogue with them, then, no matter how excruciatingly mortified we are by what looks like egregious naivete from the confidence of retrospection, seems wise.
So I’m not going to delete those 85 entries that emerged in this blog’s original run. Their purpose is clear. I was having some kind of major spiritual awakening. I don’t have a better term for it. I wish I did. That one is laden with a lot of weird internet personalities, pretty women with too-white teeth. But the fact of it is that I did wake up from a long sleep, a numbing sleep, and it is still the best and most sacred thing that has ever happened to me. Let the evidence remain.
I’m resurrecting this blog because I need an outlet. Most of what I do in my time outside the workday is write. I write fiction. I write literary analysis. Sometimes I write in a journal. But I miss having a space where I can ramble into the void. For someone as deeply introverted as me, talking doesn’t do it. Conversation is wildly unsatisfying. But writing always does the trick.
So the noise in my head is getting to be too much. When that happens, like a saturation point, the noise begins to solidify, calcify into hardened, discreet thoughts. And then I need to offload them because they take up too much space and block other things from coming out.
We’re two weeks into being at home, flattening the curve. It has been a strange experience for me. Because most of my paycheck every month goes straight to student loan payments, I don’t really have disposable income. So the only places I ever went to begin with were work, the grocery store, and my barre studio. Now I work from home and work out in my living room using the same barre workouts as always, and I still make one weekly trip to the Food Lion down the road.
Two things that have changed are: 1) now I have time and energy to read The New Yorker cover to cover when it arrives in my mailbox every Tuesday. That gives me great pleasure, though Jerrod says I am “bouge” (not bougie, but bouge) and he is right. Also, 2) I had been wanting to switch to natural deodorant for a long time but was afraid of subjecting my hapless coworkers to incidental unpleasantness. Now I have switched and no one has to suffer for it. That might change if we resume public life in the dead of a North Carolina summer.
I am craving new reading material but having been writing fiction every day for the last few years, I am too critical of most novels to finish them. This is a problem. I want to lose myself in a story but so much writing sounds like writing and I can’t enjoy it. I also have insane swaths of unscheduled time now but every time I decide to open the Google Doc that houses the first chapter of my dissertation that I’ve been poking at for a year now, I can’t make myself work on it. This is also a problem.
But right now, I am not in the mood to solve problems. I feel lazy and loose and a little feral.
I’m listening to Brandon Taylor’s novel, Real Life. His descriptions of what it’s like to be a grad student–the infantilization, the weird blend of camaraderie and competition, the sense that your life is on hold–are all apt. But sometimes I get distracted by too many similes and dialogue that reads more like a pronouncement of all the things his characters might be thinking but in real life (sorry) would never say out loud. Still, I am enjoying it more than other books I have started lately.
I’m also putting off doing my taxes when they would take less than an hour to do and have stopped eating regular meals at regular mealtimes. I fear gaining weight if I keep eating waffles in the middle of the afternoon and then chastise myself for being 34 and still tiptoeing along that balance beam. Sometimes it feels like the only thing I can control.
I’m uncomfortable with how many words I dedicated here to describing how the pandemic is affecting the ever-solipsistic me. It’s neither very interesting nor important in the grand scheme of what is happening to so many other people.
(I plan to publish entries as soon as I write them, with little editing and little polish.)