An Ending

I'm sorry to announce that I will no longer post on this weblog.

With my travels over, and my updates rare, I feel that it has run its course.

If you'd like to read more current writing, I contribute to the feminist/pop culture blog Fishnet Bluestockings. I post on Mondays under the name Arcadian.

Thank you for reading!


This is What Contentment Looks Like

Today is Valentine's Day. I really don't want to be the sort of person who writes about Valentine's Day, on Valentine's Day, for any reason. There are loads of people who do that. There are newspaper articles about romantic restaurants, and romantic movies, and which books are secretly lovers. There are feminist rants about how Valentine's Day is a sick joke. There are all the advertisements about flowers and candy that helped spark the feminist rants in the first place. There are reviews of the movie Valentine's Day, which is universally hailed as horrible. Everything to be say has already been said.

Except that I haven't found any articles about treating Valentine's Day like just a normal day, and I've found only one article about loving yourself on Valentine's Day. And those are the two things that led to this year's epiphany.

Oh, I've been a good feminist for years and I know I'm supposed to love myself and also be angry about how the world wants me to pair up all the time. But I've been single long enough that I'm pretty used to all that stuff as an everyday thing, not a once-a-year thing. And it's true that some days I feel lonely, and some days I feel frustrated, and some days I feel angry. Some days I feel so damn relieved to be single it isn't even funny. But what I didn't articulate to myself until just now is that loving myself and valuing myself as a single entity doesn't mean I have to be angry about that stuff. I know it seems obvious, but sometimes things like that are, and sometimes they aren't. And I just got back from London, finally slept in my own bed, among my own books and music and keepsakes, and just did not have the energy to whip myself into a polemic. So I loved myself peacefully instead.

Certain days of the year (notably my birthday) I designate as love-me days, which means I get to do whatever I want, and am not allowed to guilt-trip myself for a full twenty-four hours. And because I am single (but I think I am going to continue this tradition next year regardless) Valentine's Day is now another day like that. Except a quieter, and in a way more relaxing one, because the one thing I do sort of force myself to do on my birthday is treat myself to something, and today, I didn't even bother to do that.

Today, I started the day by doing warm-up staging exercises. Then I brushed my teeth and went to the library. I got five books that basically have nothing in common with one another. I dipped a bit into the fantasy, and read some of the angry feminist polemic (the latter means I fit the stereotype of a man-hating forever-lonely feminist bitch). Then I read a romance story (which means I fit the stereotype of the overly-romantic wishful lonely girl). I had a bowl of soup and took a nap (the stereotype of a couldn't-care-less feminist free spirit hippie?), and managed to watch six episodes of Criminal Minds on DVD (I have no idea what that makes me). I called two female friends and told them that I love them (chick flick best friend stereotype) but I would have talked to both of them anyway, given the option. I cooked pasta for one (lonely, pathetic and weepy, except I wasn't) and drank some juice because I'm off booze at the moment.

And all day I didn't feel guilty about any of those things. What I mostly felt was slightly bemused by all the single-girl stereotypes I was fulfilling, without actually having any of the feelings associated with those stereotypes. The romance story makes me feel happy and imaginative, and the angry feminist polemic appeals to my intellect and said some really fascinating things. The only sacrifice I can really think of to the holiday (besides the aforementioned guilt-free-ness) is that I got a book I wanted to read from the library instead of from my friend Poppasmart, who would have loaned it to me, because I wanted to give her time with her boy. But I probably would have done that anyway, since they haven't seen each other for a couple weeks and I've been sharing a room with her in London.

I like this way of celebrating. So often if I take an extra guilt-free day, I just feel stagnant, because I use the time to nap. But crap on that - I'm going to have one me-day a month, and sooner or later I will train myself not to nap them all away. Anyway, I did nice things today besides nap, so I have decided it's all right.

And now no more personal life ramblings; I keep meaning to write a post about why I refuse to go see Avatar.


Quick Rec

Sometimes I have time and inclination to ponder deep thoughts in writing. This is not one of those times.

This is just to let you know that this blog:


will creep you the hell out if you were born between 1980 and 1995. I don't remember every single thing they post about, but I remember more than enough to shake my head in bemusement and shame.

Check it out.


There's Got to be a Way

Does anyone know how to read multiple books at the same time? Or to read and knit simultaneously? Or to read (properly, not listen) while washing dishes? Or how to motivate myself to do any of these things more individually?

You know, I just read an article about the "Quarterlife Crisis" about how people my age have so much potential and they've been told they can do whatever they want and then they all feel like failures when they just go to an office job every day and they're paralyzed with indecision about whether to travel or have babies or buy a house or jump off a cliff. And in the larger sense that the article is talking about, my basic response is like, "cry me a river, you whiny bitches," because you do the best you can at a given time and if it sucks you do something else that sucks less, etc., etc. Not to say I don't know what they're talking about, but if you want to do something like travel, do it, don't dither about it, because once you're actually travelling, dithering gets you precisely nowhere.

But in the smaller things I admit I kinda see their point. I have four or five books I'm reading right now, and I can think of at least four or five more that I've been meaning to start (or in some cases finish) since forever ago. It's the feeling I used to get on Christmas morning when I was a kid when I couldn't decide which toy to play with first. (Actually, even when I was a kid, it was quite often which book I would read first.) So right now, I want to be reading all these books, and I also want to watch the movie I got from the library, and a movie I got for Christmas that I haven't seen yet, and I'm working on a new knitting project that's very exciting (if you're really bored or really addicted to yarn) and what I ought to be doing is washing my damn dishes so I can cook some dinner, but on the other hand it's raining outside and nothing makes me happy like hearing rain outside when I'm cuddled up in bed, but will I enjoy it as much with my room the mess that it is, and also I've got some good music playing, so where does that fit in?

I know, I know. Cry me a river.

The article mentioned that back in the day, when career options were more fixed (housewivery or secretary school for girls, professions determined on aptitude, class, and parental background for boys), twentysomethings didn't have this problem, blah blah blah. Then maybe people got midlife crises when they realized they weren't doing what they wanted to be doing. I don't know about the mid-life crisis part of the analogy, but I'll tell you when I never have trouble deciding what to read or watch or listen to: when I've got a paper due.

I read a quotation in high school that struck me as brilliant. I had to do a search for who said it (that part clearly didn't stick with me: it's attributed to Mary Wilson Little), but I reproduce it for you now:

"There is no fun in having nothing to do. The fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."


Words Dribbling out my Ears...

So, you know, some of them might as well end up on my blog.

Today I had an essay due. It was a pretty big one, 5000 words (14 pages, approximately) and a solid part of my grade in one of my modules from last term.

Last night, I started it.

Okay, check it, don't tell my mom this. (My mom herself does not read this blog; she says it's to protect my privacy. Because sharing my rambling thoughts with various family members, friends, and complete strangers is fine, but if my mom reads them, well, that crosses a line.) I wrote that whole thing in about six hours, maybe six and a half. Seriously, I went from scratch to 5,040 words in six hours counting an hour and a half to two hours break time.

Now, I know this is not actually ideal, but I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with myself. It wasn't a half bad paper, either. I mean, not up for the Pulitzer or anything, but a couple of valid insights, some analysis, some jokes, lots of British spelling. It was certainly hand-in-able. (Facebook reveals that while I may have been the last person to start, I was certainly not the last person to finish this particular essay.) Jet lag may actually have helped; I ate much less than my usual amount of caffeine and sugar.

Anyway, that is what's been on my mind lately; it was the second paper due within only two days, so my life since I got back has passed in a jet-lag-and-paper-induced daze. I am glad to report that the snow left on the ground melted following an onslaught of pelting rain and sleet last night. I like snow okay and all, but coming from California seeing it just made me want to cry. And curl up. And get under the covers and sip hot cocoa.

Hey, hot cocoa! That's a brilliant idea!