April 2008


As you may have guessed by the dwindling posts, the tone of recent belly-gazing utterances, the random bursts of attempts to discuss topics that are non-self-absorbed, this has been a blog suffering from an existential crisis (assuming I know what that means).

I spent 13 hours in a car last weekend (to and from a 40th bday party) which gave me ample time for reflection: on my goals, my writing, and why the twain have not yet met.  I have often been inspired by NaNoWriMo where people feverishly write novels, of at least 50,000 words or 175 pages in the space of one month.  I’ve often thought them insane for picking November, which is not only a short month at 30 days, but has a major holiday stuck at the end which often entails family obligations.

Starting in the last week of April, I have about 12 weeks of summer in which I will be afforded a writing night – about four hours, after work – before mr. jolt’s crazy fall schedule prevents it once again.  My goal: to do at least the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words in that 12 weeks.  Obviously, I’ll need more than the four hours a week to get there, but I’m hoping the time-pressure will push me to write, even on those nights where I can’t sit down to write until after 9:30. 

I plan to spend the next few weeks fleshing out some stuff in anticipation of the writing bonanza.  So, I will bid you adieu, with hopes of rejoining the world as a blogger in mid-August, full of tales of my writing conquests.    I will be popping in around y’all’s sites, so I won’t be totally absent.  I hope all y’all have a wonderful summer.

Cheers! j0lt

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I started this blog a little over a year ago after deciding that the mystery novel I was writing was the worst piece of crap I had ever read (trust me, it was).  Blogging was a good way to try and get more comfortable of putting more of me into my writing, which I knew was holding me back in my attempts to write fiction.  I figured it would be a good way to keep the writing muscles moving until I could figure out what to do next. 

Then, mr. jolt decided to take a visiting professor position.  Part of the point of this, besides plumping up the resume, was to take advantage of synergies of location between his teaching locale and his learning locale (he is working on his PhD).  Unfortunately, due to the scheduling of the two places, these synergies have not fully materialized.

What has materialized is the fact that last semester he was gone two nights a week – one night over night, returning for dinner the next; another night getting home around ten.  This semester he gets home around 10 one night a week; stays over another night; and the third gets home, depending on traffic, between 7:30-8.  Which means, in effect that I am it 3 nights a week.  Which in and of itself is not dire, now that the boys are older it is easier to play zone-parenting with them.  But it does mean that I have lost my writing night, my one night a week where I got a nice big chunk of time to work on my novel, then my blog, or whatever. 

One four hour chunk of time may not seem like much, I still find time to squeeze in the occasional post.  But I know the quality has gone down.  I haven’t been able to maintain some of the series I optimistically created early on.

And now, although he is returning to his normal academic environs for teaching, mr. jolt has decided to get a light teaching schedule and take 3 classes for his degree.*  Plus: he should be able to finish coursework by the end of next school year. Cons: yet another semester where is he is unavailable 3 nights a week and thus another 9 months before I get a consistent writing night.  I’ll get a few over the summer, but while I hope to squeeze out some short stories, I’m not sure I’ll have time for much more.

You read about these authors, usually women, who worked full-time or raised multiple kids and spent their time writing every day  between 12-2am or 4-6 am.  I don’t know how they did it.  Is my inability to commit to that a sign of lack of commitment to writing?

*To be fair, he discussed it with me and I agreed to it (but that doesn’t revoke my right to complain anyway!).  In many ways it makes sense to do this push.  I worry, however, that he is pushing his goodwill with his school too far and that as soon as his coursework eases up, he’ll be tasked to take on a heavier teaching load or night classes, which will just continue the current cycle.

Update: Saved by a more generous spirit than I might have been!  Got an email today from the gentlemen in question: short, friendly.  I will reply & work some type of apology into my answer.   So Kudos to W for being nice (and bonus points for taking a hyphen to share a name with his wife!).

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My 20th high school reunion is coming up this year and the organizers have set up this nifty site where you can post your stats (career, marital status, kids – seems a little mainstream to me, not to mention heteronormative, although they do have  “committed relationship” option which could I suppose work for gay couples outside of Mass.) and pictures, etc.

 Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to see (because there was no word of him at the 10th reunion) a picture and info about a guy I briefly dated in high school.  He seems to be happy, have an interesting career (he added some explanatory comments) and has a family.

Here’s the background to the bleg.   I dated this guy briefly and broke up with him on senior prom night.  I should have broken up with him a few weeks before prom & given him the option to go with someone else, or I should have sucked it up and waited a few weeks after, if for no other reason than kindness, politeness, or something.  I quite simply never should have dated him, not because he was a jerk or anything, just that I did not have any real interest in him.  In other words, I behaved like a total asshole as there was no reason to break up with him on that particular evening, which holds undue significance in general American culture.

So, here’s the question – based on his current location (he’s abroad & doing work that while interesting is probably not highly paid), I’m guessing that it is highly unlikely he will actually come to the reunion even though he’s posted info so that people can contact him.  I’ve felt guilty about this for about 20 years – do I email him and apologize for something that I dearly hope he barely remembers, but may possibly still be bitter about to the extent he’s given any thought to it?  Or by apologizing do I come across as a bigger asshole by assuming that my need for forgiveness (or need to apologize and thus atone, regardless of what his reaction is) is important enough to contact someone I haven’t spoken to in 20 years?

Any advice (and suggested approaches) would be greatly appreciated!

I had a conference call this morning intended to deal with an incipient crisis – a category of vendors had bonds that were insufficient to protect the client in the event of vendor non-performance- how could we get the vendor to agree to provide better protection.  I hadn’t gotten a copy of the contract until the conference call.  Flipping through, I spotted the bond requirements.  The vendor was not meeting these requirements.  Thus, the only thing required is to enforce the damn contract provisions, not talk the vendor into some amendment to the contract that it has no interest in doing (raising bond requirements makes it more expensive for the vendor so it has no reason to want to amend the contract to do so).

The upside: the call was only 15 minutes long.  The downside: had they read the conference call the whole thing could have been resovled in an exchange of emails.  Sigh.

Sorry for the light posting – I’ve had relatives in town.