Thursday, April 7, 2011

How I'm dealing with it

Just so you know, it has been about a month since Will nursed, so I guess we are done with that.  We made it almost to 19 months.

He was having a really rough couple of days during that time, when 2 of his canines were coming in.  Normally when he is in that kind of frantic mode, he nurses and then he feels better.  He was kneeling on my lap, screaming and pummeling me with his fists, so I offered to let him nurse.  He looked at me, kind of perplexed, covered me over with my shirt and patted me very nicely.  Then he climbed off my lap and got a book and came tearing back over to me so that I could read it to him.  And that was that.  He hasn't nursed since.

In some ways it's nice, I guess.  I have more time to clean up the kitchen after dinner now that he's not nursing.  And Rob can put him to bed while I'm folding laundry or something.  Now that I think about it, I just want to curl up and bawl my eyes out.

So the way that I am dealing with it is to not think about it most of the time.  I have thrown myself into the writing of The Novel.  It is so intense; i did not really realize how difficult it would be not only to write this thing, but also to write it while working full time, caring for a small child, and still attempting to run.  It is crazy.  I work on it from about 8:30pm until about midnight or 1am.  Then I'm up by 7 and at work by 8:30 so I can squeeze in another half hour (usually editing what I wrote the previous night) before work.  I do my job until "lunch" and then I close my door for an hour and write.  It is weird.  I worked there for like 6 months without so much as ever taking a 5 minute lunch break.  Rationally I know that I am not paid to work over "lunch," but for some reason it still just didn't seem right for me to take a real actual lunch break.  I am making up for that with gusto.  When I finish the work day, I come home and deal with dinner, childcare, etc, and start working on it again, and thus the whole cycle repeats.

The whole household is mobilized regarding The Novel as well.  Rob got me some really amazing software called Scrivener that is quite possibly the best thing ever.  Seriously.  I wish I had used it while writing my dissertation.  Without Rob, I would have been writing this thing in a Word document like some sort of chump.  He said he did it not just to help me, but also for self preservation.  He assumes that "we" will publish it as an e-book, and Scrivener software allows you do to this with a touch of a button (I keep hoping I don't actually touch that button before it is ready, which bear in mind could be years from now), whereas it would apparently be an infinitely more difficult process to format a Word document for the same thing.  The only drawback to Scrivener is that it doesn't autocorrect typos/spelling errors, but oh well.  The rest of it's wonderfulness more than makes up for that.

Rob also has been a superb source of information for me on many and varied topics.  Well, in Part 1 of The Novel, one of the main characters is a high school boy, so Rob has been giving me a lot of insight into what that is like.  At times this has been quite hilarious. Though I must point out that the guy in the book is nothing like Rob ever was (and I assure you, is nothing like any high school boy I ever knew or had a crush on.  This is fiction).

Last weekend, Rob also took me to go meet with Cousin Don (no relation), who happened to be in town.  Cousin Don is another information source for me; wouldn't you like to know what I asked him.  At any rate, this was a completely altruistic act on Rob's part: he knew that if he did not arrange for the meeting between me and Don, then drive me over there (I would never have found it on my own, plus I am still terrified to drive anywhere in Saint Louis besides the grocery store), and entertain Will while Don and I talked, it never would have happened.  I told him thanks for doing that, and he smiled and nodded, but I don't think he is aware of how much I appreciate it and how much it means to me.  He must really believe in me, and in The Novel, to go to so much trouble.

So I am beginning to feel like the stakes are high.  I am putting in an extraordinary amount of effort on this.  I have told people I am writing it, mainly so that I can get information from them.  And the people I have told about it want to read it.  Are you kidding me? No way.  No one who knows me or is related to me is ever allowed to read it.  The subject matter is a little bit... how can I put this?  I don't even know.  I'm not sure if it is even suitable for Rob to read.

Since it is doubtful that I would ever actually publish it or allow anyone to read it, I sometimes wonder why on earth I am doing this.  But ask Amy or Jolyne or anybody I was friends with while growing up and they will tell you, this is how I deal with things.  I write.  I just couldn't do this the whole time that grad school was sucking the life out of me.  But now that I am not clamped by the iron fist of grad school, It is easier in many ways to pour myself into The Novel rather than deal with the reality of the financial crisis we recently suffered, or the fact that I have weaned my only child, or that I still sometimes wonder if I should have fought harder for Eduardo, or that I occasionally question the wisdom of irrevocably taking myself off the tenure track.

I promise to go to bed before 1am tonight.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

OK __ we're all behind you (some of us PUSHING <:)~ to get that NOVEL written!!! and SINCE you plan to USE 'some ?? fictitious name , you will just have to SMILE when I tell you I just read this amazing book by someone with a really 'interesting' name!!! so keep on keeping on!!! you have to be doing about 5 projects at the same time-- that's just you!!! with the support of your great husband, and "tiny mite", keep at it, and FINISH it and PUSH that BUTTON!! WHISH-- STORY done!!!! Can't wait, luv you, mama

Alena said...

Melissa, it's so great to have family that believes in you! I know the Novel will see the light of the day, and I hope to read it when it does. :)

Rachael said...

Just so you know, your description of Will being ready to wean nearly made me cry too.

I'm fairly close to leaving academia. It is a scary prospect, to give up something that was so dear to me... but then I think about how dear my child is to me, and, well, that seems to make the choice easier. Tenure track just isn't what it used to be. It's cut throat and competitive and... just not worth losing the rest of my life over.