Monday, July 7, 2014


In keeping with the post-4th of July spirit, I thought I'd devote this blog post to various declarations I've decided to make.  (None of them require dumping tea in a harbor.)

I've become a teetotaler.  Again.  It was just getting too troublesome trying to manage the histamine imbalance issues and figure out what was causing what, and it was increasingly clear that if I was ever going to get things back on an even keel, the booze would have to go.

Some days it bothered me, some days it didn't.  On the days when it did, I'd have to be on antihistamines.  Those dehydrate you.  So then I'd end up having problems stemming from that.  And on and on.  It just isn't worth it.

All that, just to have a single cocktail in the evening?  No thanks.  

It's not a radical change for me, really.  Once I gave up wine last January, it was pretty much on its way out anyway.  For the first 30 years of my life, I didn't drink, so it's just back to that again.  It's healthier anyhow--even for people who aren't allergic to food the way I am.

I've also decided that I'm going to try to write an article in the next three weeks--before August 1st.  I think I can do it.  I've been rereading Zola's Therese Raquin, which, if you haven't read it, is definitely a novel you should read if you want to read something that's pretty damn weird.

It's a trip.  Seriously.  Zola tried to argue that there was no such thing as "psychology," that all human responses are purely "biological."  (Don't ask me to defend it, I'm just telling you what he tried to argue.)

So this novel is about two people who have an affair.  It's quite racy in spots, once that biology stuff gets cookin'.

But it is also beyond weird.  At times, you just start to laugh.  It's like... a gothic novel on laughing gas.

There's a lot of staring that goes on in this novel: people who stare off into space, people who stare at each other, people who stare at dead bodies, people who just sit and stare because they're bored.  I'm thinking I can find something to write about the role that staring plays in this odd novel, based on the work of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson that I blogged about last week.

Basically, I'm giving myself a paper topic and telling myself that this is my assignment.  I do this every now and then: treat myself like a student, so I remember what it feels like to have a specific assignment and a given deadline.

Because, given our druthers, most lit. professors would really just prefer to wander aimlessly from book to book, talking about the day when we'll sit down and pull it all together in a truly marvelous tome of literary criticism that will somehow manage to sell like hotcakes.

But I've spent a fair amount of time reading journalism and hanging around with journalists, and I must say, they have a focus that is really quite helpful.  You need to write the thing.  Now.  It's due.  Get it done.

And when faced with that, I must say, it typically gets done.  The dithering dries right up.

So that's the plan, and I've started on it today, so we'll see how it goes.  I've already promised myself that if I do a solid afternoon's worth of work, I can bike to the beach for a sit-and-knit session, followed by a sunset swim.

Off I go!

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."