Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Failure of the Day: A Lot of Things but Mostly Croutons

I am pretty pleased these days with my teeny little corner of life on the Earth. At great personal risk of the JINX, which I believe in utterly and reflexively, I can say that I am spending a fair amount of time just hanging out in the company of my pleasure, and anticipating my own ghastly doom is more of a hobby than an emotional necessity anymore.

Partly it’s because my novel, while still being far from done, is congealing and becoming a solid, actual thing to me. There’s a little bead of something I can feel, somewhere in proximity of my sternum, that I have recently realized is pride, a new and lovely feeling. I’m not sure I’ve ever been proud of anything I’ve done before—I thought it was swell to have graduated college, to have quit smoking, and to have done so spectacularly well at choosing a partner, but those things struck me more as acts that one, rightly or wrongly, gets a sideways glance for NOT doing rather than something one is proud of having done. Writing a novel is different than that; no one thinks it’s odd if you haven’t written one.

Partly it’s because I have finally quit the fucking low-carb diet and am now all about high fiber. This is a silly thing but the realization that I could make my own croutons out of low-fat whole grain English muffins was a revelation to me. I am almost giddy about that, no lie. They’re delicious, by the way.

Partly it’s because my cool co-worker turned me on to The Mountain Goats by loaning me their new CD, The Sunset Tree. Holy moley, this is an outstanding record. It made me cry on the 22 Fillmore, where I am usually a cauldron of impatient, boiling rage at the screaming teenagers on their way to school.

Partly it’s because I’m enjoying my job. (Hellmouth has been on vacation or otherwise out of the office for most of the last 2 weeks.) I am shuffling between two departments, one of which gives me work that I love but that is frantic and must be done immediately, and the other of which gives me work that is mindless and so laid back as to be nearly non-existent, and each is the perfect complement to the other.

Partly it’s because between my novel, the new Eli book, and this crazy anthology with a bunch of my poems in it (that just came out despite that I sent the editor my poems 12 years ago), there are lots of things going on that help me get off my arse and out into the world of people and social interactions.

There’s more, too, but you get the picture. And have I mentioned the croutons?


Post a Comment

<< Home