chickarina: the melissa kirsch blog

Archive for the 'careers & work' Category

Reviving the Lit Fest Where Ray Met Tess

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

L to R: Melissa Kirsch, Michael Narducci, April Wilder, student moderator Josh Duke

“It’s what occupies the space of a literary life outside of New York,” wrote a wistful Richard Ford in the New Yorker in 1998, remembering neither Yaddo nor Shakespeare & Co., but the 1977 Southern Methodist University Literary Festival in Dallas. This was the glittering annual colloquium where Ford first met Raymond Carver—and where Carver first met his second wife, Tess Gallagher—where Cheever, Styron and Bellow headlined readings and their liquor-soaked afterparties. Alas, due to lack of funds and other bureaucratic hurdles, the Fest has lain dormant for over a decade.

Read the rest of the story at Galleycat.

Dear Springtime, You Matter

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

The work is coming very slowly, refracted, refractory. I hear my name like it’s coming through water. I left the blank page and went uptown.

I looked up “refractory” after I typed it because I didn’t want to confuse it with “refectory.” OS X’s Oxford American Dictionary offers the example his refractory pony. I love this.

I hadn’t been to the Cloisters before. Almost one year ago Ben & I rode bikes over the George Washington Bridge and back and then went to Fort Tryon Park. It’s one of those memories that’s still very present, I see the day crisply, it felt like leaving New York. I wanted to get away from this and go to that.

Really I wanted my own cloister. The Cloisters themselves are lovely, but they’re a museum, and filled with people, babies, shovers. The atrophy of experience: digital cameras trained on pietas, dry fountains, unicorn tapestries. There is a terrace that wraps around the building from which you can see the Hudson and I guess New Jersey. I was looking for quiet. I found it in the Heather Garden of the park outside.

In the grass on the hill I read the The Last Life by Claire Messud, and the gears slowed. I didn’t have any expectations for clarity. Vague hopes that The Project (there’s always a project, but this time it’s a large looming one) would crystallize or stand down or make a tenuous promise to stop confounding, but I read and looked at the river and thought some about my block, where I would have been had I not caught the train.

Something broke. I had one of the tiny Field Notes books with me and things started to make sense. I diagrammed ideas, wrote myself notes for later concerning the manageability of the work in case I was seized by anything resembling doubt masquerading as procrastination.

Oh! The last time I scribbled about museum-going, Lynn & I went to the Dia:Beacon in the Hudson Valley. I took these pictures on our trip, which I’m honored to report are featured in the latest issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review, accompanying Lawrence Wechsler’s (one of my favorite writers) article on Robert Irwin. You can’t see the photos on the VQR site, but you should consider checking out the hard copy for Wechsler’s always riveting prose. Here are the photos:

Now I’ve got spring fever. I’m a mess of allergies and sunlight and already mourning summer’s passing. This winter was kind of the pits. Better things are drawn to summer, they want to happen then. When I finished a perfect 70-degree run last weekend, Lance Armstrong’s voice came eerily on via my Nike+ iPod thingy and congratulated me on my longest run to date. Which is not true, since I’ve only had this gadget for about a year or so and I just recently allowed it to talk to me. Am I inclined to run farther to win Lance’s love again? Yes. Yes I am. Why am I so easily seduced?

I think it’s spring. The construction has abated, the days are long and therefore manageable. There is enough space in them for coffee on the corner and walking to the cleaners in Gramercy and getting A Moveable Feast from the library and seeing a movie about people who won’t feel whole until they’re paralyzed. Yeah, I saw that movie, Quid Pro Quo, tonight. Nick Stahl is aging strangely but attractively. Vera Farmiga is several varieties of troubling. The movie’s got some moments. But then it’s got some moments and you’re just like who greenlit that.

Days wide and warm, in which I wander listening to back episodes of the Fresh Air podcast. Springtime, you count. I will wear a daisy in my hair.

The Week in Review: The Nombriliste’s Version

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

What’s the point of the blog if it has not a theme, is sporadically updated, acts coy and withholding when it comes to intimate details?

I don’t know either. But you care, so I persevere, with vague promises of posting more, and my evident discomfort with really revealing everything is maddening even to me. But I think that anyone who really wants to get to the kernel of what is what with me should read/study/commit to memory the following mundane facts about my week.

1. I have yet another ingrown toenail. I’m suspecting it’s genetic. This one can’t be attributed to running shoes because I haven’t been running because either I’ve been working too much, it’s getting cold, or whenever I’m not working I think “Oh it’s too cold I’d rather crawl under the covers and think about work.” Suspicion: combination of the three.

2. I tore through Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett, Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, and now I’m slowly making my way through Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates and pretending it’s the book version of Mad Men because I’m sad that the Mad Men season is over.

3. I remain enthralled by the Larry King video podcast and I don’t care who knows it. I watched Kid Rock. I watched Eric Clapton. I watched Jenny McCarthy for chrissakes. I don’t care who it is, if it’s Larry King and it’s on a 2×2″ screen, I am rapt.

4. I started watching The Wire. I never like to admit anything is too hard, but I am having a hard time understanding what the hell.

5. I went to a spelling bee. I felt I could have outspelled the pants off everyone there but that’s an ego thing. I pride myself on being a really good speller. I make typos sometimes and this is painful for me because I kind of think of myself as also a really good typist. And a show-off. I’m braggy.

6. I can’t dress for this shit. I mean, I know: LAYERS. But I hate any season that’s not summer.

7. I felt overwhelmed by malignant envy maybe 2 times this week. This is average for me.

8. I felt sorry for myself maybe 4 times this week. This is a lot for me.

9. I got a new gear shift on my 15-year-old bike that is a non-stop target for neighborhood vandals and man, gear-shift technology has really come a long way since I bought my twice-used Specialized Hard Rock Sport in 1992.

10. My new bike basket is not working out. It’s not attaching properly to the handlebars and it slowly or sometimes quickly starts to dump all my stuff into the street while I’m riding. I get a lot of compliments on it, however, so I’m thinking: who needs stuff? The surly guy at the bike shop even complimented me! Thanks, Jean!

11. I almost missed Halloween because I was holed up at Paragraph and then emerged at 2am and nearly got trampled on 14th Street by drunk revelers and I realized eh, Halloween, not my holiday. My holiday, for those who keep track of these things, is Bastille Day because it’s French and it’s in the summer. And it involves heads on poles. No, not for that reason.

12. I stood behind the so so so pregnant Drea DeMatteo at my pharmacy (or should I say “our pharmacy,” since it’s mine and Drea’s) and eavesdropped on her conversation but held myself back from chuckling along or making a calculatedly clever comment because in spite of the fact that we share a pharmacy and I found her black suede hobo bag with tassels that TOUCHED THE FLOOR remarkable, she is not my friend and I am not a starfucker.

13. Two friends’ bands are playing tonight and I want to go to both. I don’t like going to see bands but I happen to have a minimum of three friends who are in legitimately good bands.

14. I have connected with more random people from my past on Facebook than is healthy or seemingly necessary and it makes me nervous that my policy of being apparently personal but not divulging anything truly personal is going to start getting dicey.

15. I realized that when you interview someone for a story, they Google you. Sometimes you interview like 20 people and you see in your site logs that they all Googled you. I find this creepy and I think this is me just being ridiculous because I mean, everyone GoogleS everyone, and of course I’d Google a reporter who called me. I think Google etiquette involves not admitting you Googled someone, as one of my sources did and I got very “this call is coming from inside the house” scared.

16. I am nursing a very cautious crush.

17. Julie brought me a big bottle of 100% aloe vera and I drank the whole thing as the directions advised me, 2oz. twice a day, and I don’t know what it’s supposed to do but it hasn’t done it yet.

18. Don’t not return an email, especially a business email. Don’t not return a call unless you never want to hear from someone again. Never forget to thank people whom you ask for advice. Don’t take the advice and run. People are busy being important/famous/having ingrown toenails and they took the time to give you, a total stranger, advice via email. Say thanks.

Can I pause here and just say that about 9 months ago, in the throes of doing publicity for my book, a stranger emailed me for advice. I feel no compunction in revealing the details of the scenario because I think she acted abominably. She was trying to decide between the MFA programs at Columbia and NYU, both of which had accepted her, and an old professor of mine suggested she contact me. I gave her a whole boatload of advice, a thorough compare/contrast of NYU/Columbia, based on my experience at NYU and friends’ experiences teaching at/attending Columbia–even though I found her sort of supercilious and full of herself. I was in primo advice-giving mode at the time as I was touring-slash-doing a lot of interviews where I was being asked for my opinion a lot. But I tried to abide by my “all unsolicited advice is self-serving” motto and really help her. We should all be so lucky to have such “problems,” but anyone who ever really wanted to get into one of those programs knows that. Anyway, I never heard from her. And I’m kind of pissed about it. Because if there’s one thing I hate it’s people who don’t express gratitude. I’m old-fashioned: I like to send cards. I like to send gifts. I don’t want to appear entitled, even if I feel entitled. I’m showing off again. Anyway. It’s shitty not to thank someone.

It is also shitty to not RSVP to a party; it is shitty to work very, very closely with someone on their book and then not acknowledge its publication (more common than you’d think!), it’s a good idea to kiss someone’s ass just a tiny bit when you ask them for a big favor, but in a genuine way that shows that you respect them and their time. I’m getting ranty now. I forgive you all. But come on people. Be human. Be nice to each other. Acknowledge people. It’s not a zero-sum game. Even if I am totally winning.

19. I think I should turn this more positive. I like my new shoes. Even if they look a little Wednesday-Addams-ish.

20. I worked hard this week and think I will reward myself this weekend. This means I will go running for pleasure and not beat myself up for only doing half my normal distance because I’ve not been running in weeks. This sounds like a dumb reward but I tend to be extraordinarily hard on myself and I think I will try to give myself this gift. Oh who am I kidding. I’m going to get that Cole Haan bag.

Nine Ways to Get the Most Out of Your First Job

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

A fellow after my own heart, Carl Alvani, dispenses some — well — indispensable wisdom about your first job. His first piece of advice is one of my longtime favorites and harder than you think to master.

1. Be humble.

You’ll get the most out of your job by adhering to Socratic adage: “The beginning of true knowledge comes from accepting that we know nothing.”

And on it goes, really wisely, with some stuff I cover in the Girl’s Guide and other stuff that will definitely go in the next edition.

[via Core 77]

What Has Been Going On

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Things got a little bananas. That’s all. There were a lot of birthdays, there is a lot of work to do, there are a lot of people around and it’s been consuming. Sometimes I have to prioritize.

It’s always the paying work that emerges as first priority. I’d be a damn fool to let blogging detract from the time I spend researching and writing about obscure topics to earn my keep. Then there’s people. As in people should come before non-person things. Like blogging about whatever. Some truly magical person-related stuff, and then there’s just me, a person who needs about 48 hours of solitude without interruption a week.

I’ve heard that blog posts about why you haven’t been blogging are annoying.

My computer is also losing its mind. It’s really giving me the creeps.

How boring can I make it? I’m eating spelt bread. It’s surprisingly good. I cut my hair. I’ve been having intriguing neighborhood collisions. I got a new bike basket. My bike was vandalized. My phone has no dial tone and I’m using it as an excuse to threaten Verizon. Because I, like you, enjoy the delusion that threatening to change phone companies scares international conglomerates. That I am in some way capable of instilling fear.

People who actually believe that they can instill fear and/or do on any regular basis. I don’t want anything to do with you.

Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It Etiquette Lesson

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

“A recent Yahoo study indicates that the days in which emoticons were considered as unacceptably casual as flip-flops at work are over.”

From the NYT. Let me be clear here. Flip-flops are still not acceptable in an office. They are even less acceptable now that they are either all jangly-jangly trussed up with rhinestones, or as slappity-slap-slap loud as Havaianas. Beach shoes. Shower shoes. Leave them in Negril.

Just because Havaianas are the “cool” brand of rubber flip-flops now does not make them haute couture or acceptable at work. It also does not make it acceptable for them to cost over $10.

Furthermore, those flip-flops with the inner contour footbed situation are not acceptable either. They’re probably more comfortable than your basic rubber flop, but they are still too devil-may-care for the workplace. Unless the workplace is the pool at the Y.

Confidential to Lisa Belkin: Why wasn’t I interviewed for this article?

[T]his is the first time in history that four generations — those who lived through World War II, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y — are together in the workplace.

Managers tell stories of summer associates who come to meetings with midriffs exposed, baring a belly ring; of interns who walk through the halls engaged with iPods; of new hires who explain they need Fridays off because their boyfriends get Fridays off and they have a share in a beach house. Then there is the tale of the summer hire who sent a text message to a senior partner asking “Are bras required as part of the dress code?”

I’m all over that shit, yo. Just kidding. Kind of.

Which brings me to emoticons. It’s possible I’m coming around. I have long lamented the lack of tone on email, mostly because no one gets my deadpan humor and I’m terrified of insulting people. I don’t know if I could bring myself to “wink” at you after I make some comment, but I do appreciate people smiling to let me know they still like me after they send me something I might construe as mean and/or disappointing.

I have been watching a lot of Kathy Griffin. Who was ROBBED of her rightful seat on The View, PS. (I haven’t dignified yesterday’s announcement of Whoopi and Sherri Who-the-Hell-Are-You-Again-Besides-A-Little-Conservative? as Rosie’s “replacement” because I am now giving The View one year. Those two people are not interesting to me. Nor are they funny. Or provcocative. Or good-looking.)

Anyway, Kathy. I think she’s funny. I saw her on my Larry King Video Podcast (Yes, this is what it has come down to) and found her hilarious. So, inspired by KG, my new excuse for anything I say that is or is not funny is “That’s something I’m working on for my act.” I have decided to have a fictional “act” that I’m working on, as if I were a stand-up comedian. This is not unlike One Woman’s Opinion, the fictional book of everything I think. It is fun to say “Oh, sorry I hurt your feelings, that’s just a bit I’m working on for my act.” Or when someone laughs, “Oh good, I’m thinking about using that in my act.” Or if something falls flat, “I guess I’m going to have to refine that bit before I put it in my act.”

The foundation of my act is a one-liner I came up with at dinner with Leigh & Stefanie the other night. It’s a little dirty and I don’t think I can repeat it here. I think it’s a stellar bit, really a very good joke, but too racy for this family website. Because I don’t want my six-year-old fans, or my sizeable senior citizen readership reading a joke about roofies. ;) Email me if you want to hear it.

Oh dear god that emoticon looks LiveJournal-idiotic up there. It hurts me to leave it. Like I am getting acid stomach just looking at it. I won’t look at it.

PS I have been posting more frequently to my Tumblr blog recently. It’s good for quick inspirations. Also I find myself curiously drawn to Facebook. Who am I to spurn LiveJournal. I’ll be blogging there soon, just watch me. Next stop, Webkins.

  • Previous Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It Etiquette Lessons
  • Bonus: When My View obsession was at its dorkiest, I went to see Joy Behar live.
  • Best Way to Greet the New Day: Carbon Monoxide Alarm!

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

    Darling “Kidde” brand Carbon Monoxide Detector, I’d totally forgotten you were there. What a surprise, then, to awaken to your deafening screech! What a treat to actually sleep through an hour of your shrieking while integrating it into a dream in which I’m trapped in a cave with about 500 different smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, radon measuring devices from 1961, and am trying to figure out which one is making that noise. Silly me, it was just you, Carbon Monoxide Alarm!

    What does this mean? Of course it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the batteries are low and I’m not dying a slow death from poisonous gases. But something tells me that the Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm exists for a reason. And I can only rashly jump to the conclusion that that reason is that the demolition site I like to call my country estate is emitting some sort of hazardous situation that is killing me softly with its toxic fumes.

    What is going on: BookExpo happened, where I autographed trillions of books, Jewish Book Council Author Two-Minutes-In-Heaven Talent Night happened, some parties, some Seattle friends, a strange urge to write fiction (indulged yesterday when I also woke early, not to an alarm but possibly from the emerging onset of carbon monoxide poisoning that caused me to bolt upright at 4am). Radio interviews. Jackhammering outside. Nerves.

    workman bea party rock center

    My publisher, Workman, threw a fairly magical party on the roof of Rockefeller Center. There’s a reflecting pool up there. I may never see the city so regally again.

    Give Your Daughters Betty Friedan Instead

    Saturday, May 5th, 2007

    A compassionate but finally blistering review of The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts in Sunday’s NYT Book Review.

    I have been curious about these “Mommy Wars,” if exhausted by the prospect of reading all the disciplinary tomes that have emerged on the topic of stay-at-home vs. go-back-to-work mothers. The issue seems to be coming to the fore as baby boomers approach retirement, look back on their lives, and feel they have something urgent to teach their daughters. Or this is the supposed rationalization for writing these “I did it my way, and my way is the only way” books about working/mothering.

    I think most of these books are truly written as a means to shame women who made different choices from the books’ authors. It’s really all so tedious. If we got good, solid education on the women’s movement in school (which, if you’re me, you didn’t), if we were actually shown what our mothers’ generations worked for and fought for and what we stand to lose by not acknowledging and celebrating it and working to further it, we wouldn’t need such excoriating reminders from people like Leslie Bennetts and Linda Hirshman or the Dread Pirate Caitlin Flanagan. Why isn’t Betty Friedan required reading in high school history classes? Why do we learn about the civil rights movement but not the women’s movement? The issues of both “movements” are still on the table, they’re still present in our everyday conversations, in Supreme Court decisions, in our selection of presidential candidates, in our payscales and secret and not-so-secret prejudices. Why are we so grossly undereducated?

    I recommend the book Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women’s Liberation Movement, whose font is way too small but whose content is a necessary and entertaining Women’s Lib 101.

    Also Jennifer Baumgardner & Amy Richards’ Manifesta: Young Women Feminism and the Future and, of course, the Friedan classic.

    From the final paragraph of Eugenie Allen’s review of The Feminine Mistake:

    Bennetts is right to dread an exodus of accomplished women from the work force. But this book is so unwieldy, and so polarizing, that it is unlikely to convince many stay-at-home mothers to return to work — or to develop that backup plan. Friedan wrote with elegance, authority and empathy for the readers whose lives she hoped to change. Bennetts seems to have little but disdain for the women she is trying to reach. When I finished the book, I didn’t feel the need to give it to my daughters, as Tina Brown’s back-cover blurb urges. Instead, I dug up an old copy of “The Feminine Mystique.” I hear it’s really great for teenage girls.

    Philadelphia: If You Build It, They Might Come

    Friday, February 16th, 2007

    Some things I learned about myself and the world in Philadelphia.

    1. I need a bottle of water on me at all times. Because I get thirsty, because I often need to take Advil or some other panacea immediately, because when I open my mouth to speak, sometimes I’m all froggy and sound like Joan Rivers.

    2. It is easy to mistake hunger for nerves. Meaning I have to eat, especially when I’m nervous, because hunger makes the nerves worse and if I only have caffeine in me, I’m going to feel so anxious and possibly have a tiny coronary.

    3. One thing Terry Gross and I don’t have in common is she makes speaking on the radio seem very easy. I thought having listened to every single episode of Fresh Air, This American Life, Studio 360, The Next Big Thing, not to mention countless Selected Shorts, Car Talks and even Tavis Smiley Shows would make public radio easy. I’d just sit down and put on my dulcet, soothing NPR voice and read from my book and I’d be recognized for the natural I always expected to be. I learned that loving NPR doesn’t mean you get your own show on NPR, that they do several takes, that radio shows have directors who tell you how to be funny, and they’re right. God, I love public radio even more now that I know a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes.

    4. In Philadelphia, there’s an ordinance that says you can’t erect a building taller than William Penn’s head on top of the city hall. This ordinance is sometimes violated. Also, all the streets are numbered going in one direction and named after trees going in the other direction. Ah, sylvania!

    5. New Yorkers need to take more advantage of Philadelphia. I theoretically knew about Philly’s role in the lives Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, but I didn’t know there was a museum an hour away that was housing Teddy Roosevelt’s leg braces. This is a city that’s really proud of its heritage.

    So on the night of the biggest blizzard we’ve had this year, I went to Philadelphia on the Acela Express, where I like to sit in the Quiet Car, because it’s the one place on earth outside of the library where a stern ssssh from a stranger is acceptable. Not that I’m the one shushing, I just like being on the side of the righteous who is observing the rules of the Quiet Car to a tee. I also like being a “business traveler” because this means I have business to tend to, which makes me feel important.

    philadelphia train station

    Philadelphia Train Station, Night.

    It was very, very cold in Philadelphia. Like deep-freeze cold and I waited for 45 minutes in a taxi line. This is odd to me, because I come from Taxiland. It was Valentine’s Day, which may have accounted for the limited coaches, but my very wonderful media escort, Art, later told me there’s a taxi shortage in the City of Brotherly Love. So, more cold, but I’m getting used to it. I adored arriving at my hotel and telling the women at the desk it was my first time in Philadelphia, at which point one of them straightened her suit and said very officially, “Well! Welcome to the Birthplace of Independence!” to the shock and delight of her colleagues.

    Yesterday was bananas. I was on a live morning show on the Comcast cable network, then I had tea with the brilliant and innovative Jeri Johnson of Philly’s Intercultural Family Services who’s putting together an extremely cool program for at-risk girls in their Adolescent Violence Reduction Program. Then I had my NPR experience, which was very fun and exciting (I was in a studio with headphones with producers on the other side of the glass, which felt very Alan Partridge.)

    alan partridge


    I did a taped interview at the local CBS station, which included footage of me walking down the hall holding my book. This, I love. I think it’s called “B-Roll,” if I remember anything from my time at Oxygen. You know those shots on Primetime where the anchor does a voiceover “Louise Jones lost her job because of a clerical error. Now she’s fighting back.” And you see Louise walking sort of weirdly down the street in the wind. I did that in the hallway of CBS, loving every minute of it, because it’s hilarious to walk nowhere for footage’s sake. I went from there to Drexel University, where I gave a reading and did a Q&A with a group of very cool women who were all so sweet and smart and asked questions about what to do when friendships fade and how to defriend people you don’t want in your life anymore, which is a sad but common situation we all encounter and that I address in my book. Halfway through the reading, the funny CBS camerawoman arrived so we had an intermission so she could get footage of me signing books, which was strange but heck why not it was fun like walking down the hall was fun and I’m very good at signing books and also fake-signing books, or like to think I am.


    The charming girls at Drexel.

    On from there to the University of Pennsylvania bookstore, which is one gorgeous college bookstore. It was, by now, about 1 degree but I was very cheered that a hardy group came out to chat. When I asked the audience what they know now that they wish they’d known earlier, one woman said she wished she’d known that what her parents want for her and what she wants weren’t necessarily the same thing, and she needed to make her own decisions about her life. Amen, girl. We also talked about Tyra Banks and Paris Hilton and other starlets-as-role models. I think our unending access to gossip, the confusion of celebrity gossip with actual news, makes it confusing to determine who our role models should be. I also defended all of our rights not to feel guilty about reading In Touch magazine. It is entertaining. But just because she lost a person in weight and I like to look at pictures of it doesn’t mean Kirstie Alley is a role model. Nor is Justin Timberlake, just because I find him (secretly) beyond sexy and talented (stop it! come on! JT! he’s like Michael Jackson, without the scandal or surgery!) – he’s not a role model. Nor is Tyra Banks, even though I am fascinated by her and think she does some fascinating things, even good things, with her celebrity. I’m still thinking of who, besides Oprah of course Oprah, would make a good role model for young women.

    By the time I got back to my hotel to collapse and watch Grey’s Anatomy (why on earth would they try to tease us into thinking Meredith is going to die?? I mean, the show is basically called The Meredith Show — even though we can all agree it should be called The Izzy Show because she’s still the most fascinating character they’ve got in rotation. Killing off Meredith, or pretending it could happen, would be like trying to convince the audience that Raymond could die on Everybody Loves Raymond. Which, incidentally, they don’t. I mean I don’t.) I was exhausted, exhausted. I felt a little un-myself. This morning, wandering around the Philadelphia train station, admiring the slogan of Buck’s County Coffee – “Life should be this simple” — I kept thinking of the title of the Bill Bryson book I’m a Stranger Here Myself, which may or may not be the one in which he has an essay about going on a book tour. I just love that title and it seems sort of apt right now. I feel like a stranger in my own life. It’s all very exciting, but it’s also a lot of anticipation and fear and being “on,” which is challenging and strange all at once.

    The Roof Is On Fire: An Update

    Thursday, January 18th, 2007

    My wise friend Peter H. advised me recently that the way you structure your morning is crucial to how good a day you are going to have. More to the point, he instructed me to “flee the house like it’s on fire” in the morning in order to get the day started productively.

    Peter is familiar with my little problem as well as my coffee ritual, which is ritualistic only insofar as I make a pot of coffee as soon as I wake up, spend most of the morning drinking it while answering emails and lollygagging about on the Web with the vague plan to go running as soon as I’ve finished my first cup and frequently, well, you know what comes on at 11am, and my day doesn’t productively begin until noon. Which is just plain awful. When your work day starts at the same time as “Guiding Light,” you’ve got to admit you have a problem.

    I’ve tried to limit my Internet usage in order to have more interaction with live human beings, and I’m here to report that it’s been a total failure. Like someone on a diet who raids the fridge when everyone’s asleep, I came home at around 1 the other night and was moved to update my tour schedule, which I did — and then read (Sabbath’s Theater, tremendous) until 5am. The construction starts at 7. The world came crashing in on me. The Internet diet is a total bust.

    So the sun is shining and Brian isn’t on yet so it might be a good time to go run, to flee the house like it’s on fire. I know this and yet, and yet.