Sunday, September 24, 2006

Testing, testing, 1...2...300.

There is this challenge:

I have eighteen minutes before I have to be somewhere, and thus an hour and eighteen minutes before I have to start writing a major piece of autobiographical prose that I must finish this week for professional reasons. Which means that, as is too often the case, even a milestone post is going to get squeezed. But here's how it's going to get squeezed: I decided earlier that I would write something tonight about dreams and hopes, in keeping with the revelatory effect this practice of daily writing has had on my life. Lately, I've been listening semi-obsessively to Erin McKeown's song "Air," among whose strangest lyrics are the lines "Hope / it's the one thing science will prove / what you don't have hope for you lose / evolution is what you choose." Now, I know that that's a scientifically bankrupt set of lines. Evolution is absolutely not what we choose; that's the point of evolution. But putting the bad science aside, I think she has a point about not-hoping and losing. So I wanted to write you thirty words each about ten of my hopes. And this truck in the Kroger parking lot this evening encouraged me in my plan:

However, now (especially since I'm wasting all this time telling you what I'm going to do, instead of doing it) I don't have the requisite time to count my words and make sure that there are 300 when I'm all done. So instead, I'm just going to give you ten high-level hopes I'm holding for myself. I'm not wishing for these things. I'm just expressing them in the hopes that having said them aloud will help some of them come to fruition. Some of these are for the next year or so; some are longer-term. I should also note that lots of things in my life are such rock-solid baselines that I have not mentioned them here: I always want to spend more time with my family. I always want to be a better, more reliable friend. These are constants.

One. I want to publish something creative. I have a maelstrom of a book in me; it's coming out in ekes and starts, little by little; I want so much for it to be something attractive to other people once I've crafted it. I want other people to read it and then just want to keep on reading whatever they can get to next.

Two. I want to fall in love with someone excellent who will love me. No more one-sided, unrequited crap; I've had enough of that for a lifetime, I think. I want someone who wants to be in a mutual admiration society with me. I want something ferociously wonderful.

Three. I want to start taking piano lessons again. I quit when I was 13. It was my teenage rebellion. I regret it.

Four. I want to finish my critical book. About this I have little else to say.

I want to start cooking on a regular basis again. I made a start tonight with a huge vat of pasta for the week.

Six. I want to spend some good, long time beside an ocean. Preferably in a building with a sea-facing window and a window-facing desk.

Seven. I want to see a glacier and some mountains. (I am in need of a sublimity recharge.)

Eight. I want to become a homeowner. (This one is a longer-term goal, though not if my neighbor has anything to say about it: he's started pushing Knox County real estate on me this week.)

Nine. I want to read everything. I'll settle for Romola and Proust for next semester, though. Well, no, I won't. But I'll start there and see where else I can get.

Ten. I want to go dancing. This desire is tied up with my second one.

Lo and behold, I've got 300 words after all, according to my word processor. So: that's our somewhat attenuated celebration.

And I'm only five minutes late.


Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

This post seems dangerously close to my horrifying annual "Christmas Card Predictions" of the early 2000s. For those of you not in the know (which is a strange expression if ever I heard one), I would write Dr. S. a forecast of where life would have taken us by the following Christmas. They went something like this: "By this time next year, I'm sure you'll have an amazing tenure-track job and Oxford and Cambridge University Presses will be engaged in a furious bidding war over the right to publish my just-completed dissertation."

I stopped writing these predictions after being consistently, horribly wrong for two or three years running.

Or so it seemed. It wasn't so much that my predictions were wrong; rather, I simply botched the timing. Dr. S. has her amazing tenure-track job -- and even though Oxford & Cambridge haven't come sniffing around (yet!), I did finish that dissertation, something which seemed so unlikely so many times.
And that's why I feel I can respond to these hopes and wishes and dreams by saying simply, "I predict good things for you."

Happy 300th post -- may we lucky admirers of the Cabinet see 300 (or even 3000) more.

1:17 AM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Haha! I didn't think of them as predictions--I don't feel certain that any of these things will happen. But I thought I'd try saying them aloud, in the presence of friends, to see whether that would kick any of them into higher gear. I'm being careful what I wish for, too, lest it come true in ways I don't expect.

8:23 AM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger Emma said...

Hey. You have one snazzy blog. Loving it.

10:25 AM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger KYlitprof said...

I'm feeling like a living testament to the fact that one's hopes don't always come on demand or on schedule, but sometimes, one's fondest hopes are realized. I will add my hopes for your happiness behind all of your hopes. (I happen to share several, including the glacier, the ocean, and the publishing. I'd settle for one of three!)

12:18 PM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger findfinishfreedom said...

will your creative book also contain your photography....your picture become more and more breathtaking... dr. s. you're so gifted at mixing media/genres... musings, poetry, and your color composition (the gold and red leaves for example...) dazzles. i can just see the black and white gossimer images of the spider's web on a postcard.

and last but not least, "where's dragon?" the pants of waldo.

p.s. no more unrequited crap is right! mazel tov (tis the jewish year, no?)

5:33 PM, September 29, 2006  

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