A Simpler Time

I just read an article about farmhouse kitchens. It was high on pictures (fun) and low on prose (thank god). “Modern farmhouse kitchens hark back to a simpler time,” the article gushed. This is one of my editorial pet peeves.

Have you read Laura Ingalls Wilder? Raising children in a  dugout in the ground is not simple. Have you ever churned butter, butchered a hog, or washed your clothes in a river? Me neither. It does not sound easy.

The only way you can live a comfortable life as a woman is to marry well. Will you find a man that respects you? Do you even like men? And people say online dating is difficult. On OKCupid, or whatever people use these days (I’m a Craigslist find, myself), you can click on boxes that say whether you want or don’t want children, among a million other options.

Let’s keep a little history in mind when we write or read cliches. Now let me go back to my editorial work. Books don’t publish themselves, although we no longer have to set type. Thank god.

What’s your pet peeve?


Gratitude List

I’m fucking grateful that my editing job has decided that “standard misusage” of the English language doesn’t need to be corrected. Because using “which” and “that” interchangeably has never changed the meaning of a sentence.

I’m fucking grateful that I quit Second Job, because who needs to go to awkward work parties with people you love very much and will no longer see on a weekly basis in less awkward situations.

I’m fucking grateful that my spouse is mad at me for legitimate reasons because as Tolstoy said happy families are boring. Lord knows one wouldn’t want to be boring.

I’m fucking grateful that half my facebook acquaintance is summering in Spain and the other half are having wild publishing success. They deserve to be happy.

I’m additionally grateful that acquaintance can be considered “is” and “are” in the same sentence. This is why all people need fucking copyeditors.

I’m fucking grateful that I had lunch with a friend where we talked about awkward work situations, which I made more awkward by not holding my tongue. At least I didn’t lie. (I don’t really know how to lie. This is why I’m a terrible employee.)

I’m fucking grateful that this blog is slightly anonymous so I don’t have to work on self-promotion to get jobs that I want because although I’m a pretty great editor/writing coach, I am a terrible fucking employee.

What are you grateful for?

Some Links Because I’m Too Lazy to Write a Post

I’ve been listening to the Decemberists. They satisfy the same part of me that listened to REM obsessively as a teenager.

Use the serial comma or pay the price.

I have a friend who told me a story about an early boyfriend who cut himself and started bar fights to show how much he loved her. She was young and from an unhealthy family, and she thought this was love rather than abuse. Here is an article about how no one believes Sylvia Plath’s story of her own abusive marriage. Biting another person’s cheek without consent may not be a sign of love. (Unless you’re my small half-blind dog, in which case, little dog, I forgive you, although it hurt like an SOB at the time.)

On the power of keeping a notebook and an example of a traveler notebook, which is one of my current stationery obsessions. Don’t laugh. The inspiration of other people’s pages send me rushing to my own.

What are you currently obsessed with?

July Notes

When I was dreading my wedding for all sorts of non-Spouse-related issues, my therapist told me to concentrate on the parts I was looking forward to. I think that’s when I started thinking about food and it being over.

Well, our offer on a country house next to greener pastures has been accepted. We are moving to a greener state, if nothing catastrophic happens between now and then (which I am not discounting). So I am focusing on what I am looking forward to.

I am going to sift through this fucking office and create order. I’m getting a long desk (possibly a hand-selected, pressure-treated board to go over two artisanally curated filing cabinets). (Note to self: learn how to spell artisanal before I move.) I went online for some inspiration and found this. It turns out workspaces routinely consist of three vases and two color-coordinated books. Feh.

I’m going to have a chair for company and a chair for solitude, a bookcase for science books, a shelf of reference books ON MY DESK, and a bulletin board somewhere.

Meanwhile crazy has been normal in politics. I need to denormalize it again and get to work. I am not looking forward to this, but I’m posting it here as a reminder.

What are you looking forward to?


It’s Quiet Around Here, Too Quiet

I would have posted, but I’m too busy trying to edit my friend’s book on artist’s colonies.

I would have posted, but I just edited chapter 4 of my own book. Note: Try not to write/edit/think critically about your father’s death on his birthday in the vicinity of father’s day.

I would have posted, but I didn’t.

I would have posted, but we’re getting pretty serious about a move to greener pastures, or at least woods.

I would have posted, but I had to contain my secret glee and my spouse’s overwhelming sadness at having our first deal fall through.

I would have posted, but we made an offer on a house yesterday that we like better.

I would post now, but I have to go home and pack and try not to die of anxiety. One can’t die of low-level anxiety, right?

I would post now, but wait I did.

What’s your excuse?

Big Talk

I would like to finish my book this summer. (Yes I know I said that last summer. Carry on.) My residency taught me that I can cobble together a shitty chapter in a week and I can revise after that.

Twelve chapters, twelve weeks, three months. Two chapters are already revised. This might actually work if I started now. Today. Pedal to the medal. This is why I’ve gone from a weekly calendar to a monthly calendar. I can see the big picture and notice that June is ticking away and the chapters are still unwritten.

What’s your plan?

Mocking the Dogs

It’s freaking hot in my neck of the woods. My dogs have been lying around trying to move as little as possible. And because I’m mean, I make fun of them for being lazy.

“Is the poor Sophie uncomfortable?” I asked. “Does she have to raise her head to look at me? Oh her life is hard.” For some reason I like to mock my dog in the third person.

Meanwhile I haven’t moved from the couch in hours to do anything other than stare blankly at the interior of my fridge and ignore the stack of dishes in the sink. Maybe my dog (on her side, directly in the path of the window air conditioning) knows how much I have to do to get this damn book written.

When I was at a residency, I learned I can draft a chapter in a week. I am still working on those first two chapters. When I begin to despair (like I did about 15 minutes ago), I have to remind myself that I am working on later drafts, not vomit drafts.

My dogs are probably making fun of me now. “Look at her, staring at the glowing screen. What does she think about all day? Why doesn’t she sleep all the time like us? What good is writing? Get a real job, like at a butcher shop, where you can bring home leftovers.”

And speaking of real jobs, tonight is my first time adjuncting since the fall. I have reached a point, dear readers, where I am no longer nervous standing in front of people. If you told me that would be the case ten years ago, I would have fallen over with surprise.

Who is mocking you today?