OK, I got enough crapola from the Teeming Millions about falling down on the blog that I’m going to try — try, people — to reinstate the Big Long Daily Entry. I can’t promise 5 times a week, but I will do what I can. I need to keep a journal.
The problem is, some of the most interesting stuff that happens in the course of my day happens at Wallace House, where everything said is off the record. (Actually, officially it “never happened.”) This is to encourage honesty, of course, and what does that say about our business, I ask you? That when people are quoted in the news media, they’re not being honest? You draw your own conclusions.
I will say this: The twice-weekly seminars we’ve had, particularly recently, have been eye-opening in every good sense of the phrase. Thursday’s speaker talked about the iconography and etymology of judicial language, a subject that, on paper, could induce sleep in a meth abuser. And yet, we laughed with him for a full hour, had another 30 minutes of lively questioning and went home hungry for more. I’ve spent twice that long in comedy clubs and not had such a good time.
An e-mail acquaintance is doing a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard this year, and put me on her e-mail list to receive regular long, chatty updates on how things are going. I got one long, chatty update in September. The next one arrived around Christmas. She apologized, saying she’s been, uh, too stupefied: At the end of the day my mind is scattershot from the
ideas I’ve listened to or the classes I’ve sat through, she wrote, and I know exactly what she means. I feel more than scattershot, just…punchdrunk, maybe. Dull-witted. In any event, mostly what I want to do is sit and think, not sit and write.
Dr. Frank came for a mid-week visit the one before last, and left in a similar state of mental exhilaration/stupefaction. Regular readers might recall that he’s now unemployed, so he’s quote evaluating his options unquote. I think, after the week, that his first option is, “Figure out how to become a journalism fellow.” He was a KWF guest for one seminar and two dinner parties, and just the random small talk made him think he’d died and sped heavenward. “More oxygen in that room than any I’ve been in in a long time,” was his assessment.
Now, Dr. Frank is a smart person, and his joy at finding such bright company only reminds me of how dull regular life will seem after this gravy train pulls into the station. One former Fellow pulled me aside after a seminar and said, “Start the Prozac four weeks before graduation. It takes a while to kick in.”
Well, there’s a cheery thought. He also described the Fellowship in the stock line, “Best year of my life.” He follows his with, “Followed by the worst nine months of my life.” Hmm.
OK, then. Another weekend, another six inches of snow. Kate and Alan went sledding while I took care of the grocery accumulation for the week. I bought: Meat. Meeeeaaat. Yes, it’s Atkins, or at least Low Carb Days, around our little household these days. I hate it. I can’t do Atkins pure; it makes me hallucinate about potatoes. I can make a stab at Atkins modified, in which I try to keep my carbs around 30 grams a day or so (a pittance, really), and see what happens. Mostly what happens is, I feel really, really crabby. Then I hallucinate about potatoes.
Oh, well. For now my fat is serving to keep me nice and warm. It hasn’t been above 20 degrees in days, so it’s good for something.
Now, friends, I must go write “coverage.” Coverage, for the uninitiated, is a two- or three-page summary of a screenplay and the reader’s assessment of its relative qualities. It’s hard to forget that “cover” is also the verb horse breeders use to describe what the stallion does to the mare. I’m trying to be gentle, as I will be covered, too, and I’m hoping that what goes around comes around.