Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Out of the past: Peggy Sue Got Married and high school reunions

Figure 1: Time travel would make a reunion worth it.
Have you ever gone to a high school reunion? 

 I did, once. It wasn't bad, but Peggy Sue Got Married it was not. If there's no magical time travel, what's the point?

But then I got a message from a person I went to high school with, since this is one of the big zero-ending years.  They're planning a reunion, and apparently they had a hard time finding me.

They told me to sign in to this place on Facebook, and it was like a portal to another realm. It really did feel like falling physically into a blue spiral to another time.

This space is filled with all these people I have not seen and mostly have not thought of in decades. It was as though they were all living in an alternate world where high school was still going on, even though they all seem to be perfectly nice adults with jobs and kids and everything.

The people were all talking with each other and remembering things that I had no recollection of, like teachers and classes.

And the people who ran the high school are running this space, too. The same people who were on lists of most popular, or athletes, or cheerleaders, or honor society: they're all there. The "most likely to succeed" lists and things like that: they're posted there, too. That's what I mean by time standing still.

It was just weird to me. It's as though they've been carrying on their own lives in real life and also their high school lives in this alternate space all this time, and I have only now discovered it. 

I'm not trying to criticize this, truly, but it's made me think. Although I belonged to organizations back then, the high school wasn't especially interested in me. Thanks to my mother's insistence that only stupid people bothered to do homework or study, I didn't get the academic trophies, although I did really well on state tests.

Figure 2. Undine in high school
The short version: I wasn't Peggy Sue back then, and I'm still not. I've seen pictures of me in those organizations in high school from old newspapers, and my expression is like the one on the Peleton woman.

I felt somewhat on the periphery then. But in my life as it is now, in the work I do, I don't feel on the periphery.

I think I'm going to let that alternate world go on by itself and skip its festivities.

What about you? Do you go to high school reunions?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Update to changes post

Did the changes work? Well, yes and no.
  • I turned in Project B, going short on sleep and forgetting to eat lunch. (I never forget to eat lunch.) I submitted it at 2 p.m. and checked my mail to discover a message from noon saying "never mind about submitting it today; take a few months if you want to. We'll put this in the next issue if it's accepted rather than this one." Am I irrationally angry with the journal? Sort of, even though it's absolutely not their fault. Am I angry at myself for not getting it done in time? Absolutely. 
  • Stopping the advice columns? Yes.
  • Staying off FB? Mostly yes. 
  • Keeping Christine Tully's article on my browser for inspiration? Yes.
  • I revisited Project A with the following results:
    • Pages 1-3: "Hey, not bad at all. Nobody's said this, and it sounds interesting."
    • Pages 4-12: "Stop hiding the main ideas. Move a few sentences around and it's okay, pretty much."
    • Pages 13+: "The horror. The horror."
  •  Make TV a special rather than regular occasion--done. 
  • Answering email in batches & copying and pasting previous emails as answers to repeated questions when the already-sent answer has been ignored: working well.
  • Not reading emails on Saturday:
    • Pretty much working, although if I mistakenly leave Outlook open and see them come in, I'm irritated. 
    • I want to put on an autoreply that goes like this: "It's Saturday. Is this an emergency? Is someone bleeding? If so, call 911. If not, it can wait until Monday." 
Now back to the horror part of Project A. 

Saturday, February 08, 2020

There'll be some changes made

This time of year, while not exactly hibernation, is the February slump. But as Sophie Tucker sings, there'll be some changes made today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw2bZFEztjc
  • I've been working on the same endless project (Project A) daily--daily--for 6 weeks and it isn't done, all while fending off an editor on a far more interesting and closer-to-done project, Project B. I just didn't want to give up. This stance made no sense: Project A doesn't even have a publisher (it's in a collection), and Project B is accepted. Well, this weekend I'm getting the final edits on Project B done because the issue is going to press. Does this mean I'm a quitter? Maybe, but I have to shake something up.
  • Because I was so bored with avoiding Project A, I had gone back to reading distraction stuff--advice columns, FB, etc. Am now stopping that, too, including less Twitter. All FB and Twitter do is make you angry or leave you feeling like a failure, not to mention calling attention to the death of democracy.
  • Much as I love hanging out with Spouse, if we watch a TV show together, he gets up after it's done and does something else. I sit there and look desperately for other distractions. I told Spouse that until I break the pattern, we need to change it up.
  • As gwinne has done, I'm making a few policies:
    • Truly not looking at email on weekends.
    • Answering email in batches. Letting my collaborators' emails, which can easily reach 15-20 a day, pile up and answering them in a batch. 
    • Walking every morning. I have too much energy to go to my desk right away, which is what I have been trying to do, and all I do is get anxious and fidgety. A walk calms me down. 
    • Beginning by reading, as gwinne is doing. 
Back to work!