Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Professional Crisis Numero Dos

Lately, my professional life has been on my mind. In calling it a "professional" life, I make it sound as though I do, in fact, feel like a "pro" at what I do. But even in my sixth year of teaching, I find that I am ever the student, and that I am ever searching for new ways of learning and new ways of doing my work.

Somehow, having a professional "crisis" feels exactly like the right thing to do once one is a year past thirty, a year past married, and months away from buying a new home. Everything else is rolling merrily right on along, what can one have a crisis about then (okay, besides living in a hurricane-ravaged city!): why, one's "professional life."

Here's the issue: in 2004, I got my M.F.A. in Creative Writing. I did well. Wrote a collection of short stories. Got distinction. Was praised by my peers and professors. Became a finalist for a fancy new-writers award that all in the fiction writerly-know have heard of. Attended the prestigious Breadloaf Writers' Conference. I was on my way to becoming a Real Writer, and I was okay with it.

Enter professional crisis Number One.

After I earned my MFA (and in fact while I was in the process of seeking it), I began to have this gnawing feeling that I didn't really want to be A Writer in the sense of the word. I don't do well with unstructured time. I don't like being alone for hours on end. I hate criticism. I hate self-promotion and the idea of marketing my art.

Plus, while at Breadloaf, I witnessed a professional community at "work," and I hated it: most of the "real writers" wanted nothing to do with their students. (I mean, there were cocktail parties paid for with my dollars, but I--a mere paying student--was not welcome.) Also, many of the Real Writers seemed both self-consciously insecure and unabashedly self-important: a bad combination. I was at a conference that was meant to inspire me, but it had quite the opposite effect. In spite of my having a few inspiring moments, I felt mostly like I didn't belong--and like I didn't want to. And then, on the last day of the conference (where my workshopped story was about a hurricane that misses New Orleans)--well, Katrina hit.

Since then, writing fiction has seemed ridiculous to me. It's possible I am making this declaration as some kind of avoidance technique. I'm good at that. So, I'll say instead that I don't believe that it writing fiction (post-K) is ridiculous--it's just that it no longer feels "right" to me.

Now, add to that first professional crisis the fact that I had begun to do what was, to me, previously unthinkable: I'd begun teaching.

Coming from a long line of English teachers (Mom--how many generations are we?), and being an adolescent well into my early twenties, I'd always said (to myself and out loud): "I'll never teach." I mean, the idea of it! It would be, like, becoming my mother! The horror!

But then, I stepped into the classroom for the first time in the Fall of 2001. And I. fell. in. love.

I'm talking, it was some epiphany-type sh*t. I felt "at home" as a teacher in a way I'd never felt before. I have felt the same ever since.

In fact, this professional crisis of mine (crisis Number Two) has nothing to do with my not liking what I do. I love what I do. It has to do with wanting to do what I do, better. It has to do with what I want to do not being particularly valued by my Ph.D-having colleagues (and by lit-teachers, in general). And it has to do with discovering the field of Composition and Rhetoric.

Comp-Rhet is essentially a field that supports the study of writing and communication (composition and rhetoric). I like how Andrea Lunsford defines rhetoric: "Rhetoric is the art, practice, and study of human communication." Composition, then, has to do with the creation of those texts. I'm into learning more about how we create the texts that we use to communicate--and particularly in how the political and social influence of assessment (or grading) influences students' ability to learn how to more effectively compose texts.

I know: it sounds boring. It's not.

So I have been thinking about going to get my PhD in comp-rhet. This would be a no-brainer were it not for one major hitch: I am stuck on New Orleans.

I mean, my loyalty to this city (as you, Mom, and my other three readers know well) is DOg-Ged! And from what I've learned about the hiring process, one who has earned her PhD locally does not get hired in said city. So one needs to leave in order to come back. And I ain't leavin'!

Speaking of leaving... I've just realized that I am running late for a meeting on recruitment for the UNO English Department. Will finish this post when I return... (Insert Jeopardy music or other Muzak here)...


Well that was depressing. Evidently the enrollment numbers aren't good, and that's making our Chair nervous. So we spent an hour discussing recruitment activities: site visits. Department parties with readings. An essay contest. A raffle. Perhaps this means that it's an even better time for me to go pursue a PhD?

Okay, so say I decide that it is time to get the PhD. The issue is that I should probably be pursuing research and study based on the best programs available, and not based on geographical location. Additionally, if I actually get this degree, there are probably only limited opportunities for its use here in New Orleans. And, for whatever reason, institutions really do like to hire graduates that come from far afield. (I'm not sure why that is. Clancy Ratcliff writes about this on her blog, and what she has to say makes a lot of sense to me. She also happens to be a new member of the ULL comp-rhet faculty; and she's rad).

Anyways, the tentative plan is to apply to ULL for PhD in comp-rhet. Problem: I want to be candid about owning a house and having a husband in New Orleans, which will mean I will need to be candid about needing a teaching and coursework schedule that will allow me to finish my onsite study as quickly as possible. This will likely not make me attractive to them. Problem two: going to ULL may not make me an attractive candidate for hiring committees in New Orleans once I am done.

So what is a girl who wants to change career-gears, but who is, as I've said Dog-Ged-Dly attached to her city to do? And why do academic hiring committees--and particularly those in the comparatively low-paying field of English--make geographic location into such a taboo subject? What's with the need to hire from afar? Also, will my being frank about my needs mean that ULL will not want me to study there?

I certainly hope not. Because I will tell you one place that I DO NOT want to spend even two years of coursework (even if I am commuting): Baton Rouge (at LSU). Lafayette is charming and funky. Baton Rouge is a big ol' suburb with a terrible frat boy problem. Yuck!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hey, Jealousy, or, What DOES this Storm have to Teach Me?

I've been regularly checking my new favorite blog, http://www.helpholycross.org/. I've promised its manager that I'll do some on-the-ground reporting, since he (Dave Macaulay) lives in Kansas City.

Anyways, he has lately been covering the progress of Rashida's shotgun-renovation. Rashida is a member of the HCNA. She's an artist and an activist. She has roots in the Ninth Ward. Oh--and she's beautiful. So it's not hard to see why the folks at This Old House would have chosen Rashida to cover on their show.

But oh, dear Gawd, am I jealous!

Would you just look at the size of the house they're building! I mean! When I compare it to our tee-tiny shoebox, I find myself wanting to throw a tantrum. (I feel as though I've been wanting to throw a lot of tantrums, lately.) I want to pout and whine and say, "Why can't y'all hook us up, too?!" Either that, or I want to go back in time and re-tell our story. We'd wax poetic about our children running up the stairs. (Stairs!!) We would tell a more compelling story than the one that is ours.

I need to stop with the devaluing of our own story, though. Forreal.

Anyways, I really am happy for Rashida (she is wonderful and deserving--and she's been working to support the alternatve school that many in the neighborhood have been vocal about wanting to get rid of). But I'm finding it hard to be the person I'd like to be right now: the one who graciously accepts loss. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I have ever been very good at accepting loss.

Maybe that's what this storm has to teach me. (Had I had more significant losses, maybe I would have a better attitude now.) Maybe I need to listen to what this almost-but-not-quite-getting-help-from-This Old House-experience is telling me: Quit whining! Carry on! And look at your damn self with all that you have! Whining!!! Why, you oughtta be ashamed.

I am ashamed.

It's just that trying to find home we can afford has been really hard. We've found ourself only minutely "too wealthy" for low-income housing help (I'm talking within hundreds of dollars of the cutoff.) We didn't lose our home, so we've been unable to take out a low-interest SBA-loan (the kind that has allowed my in-laws to purchase a more expensive and gracious home in Gentilly of the sort that we'll never be able to afford.) Add to those facts that no one wants to hear about this kind of lower-middle-class whining, and, well--can you see why I'd be jealous?

No, Mom, I am not jealous of all of the loss that those who are getting help experienced. I am grateful that we did not lose everything, that we are, after this storm, together and by all accounts, intact. I am jealous of a big house and pretty appliances, is all.

(Did I mention, by the way, that the staff of This Old House told us that we were "in the top four"? Shoot: they even said that they would provide appliances [which we have to purchase] to the tune of $10K! Appliances... [said a la Homer Simpson and "Dooonuutts."])

It's just jealousy.

Anyways, in spite of my committing to submitting my reports to my new-favorite website, www.helpholycross.org (where there's now a link to my blog, Mom!) I am going to have to skip over the coverage of Rashida's project if I want to avoid going c-c-crazy with jealousy.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a good dose of simply being content with what I have.

Now, who can hook me up with some of that?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Watching the Tropics (Again)

Yes, I am watching that blob to the west of Florida. Especially because we have a roofer working on the house right now, so there's a veritable arsenal of objects ready to be hurled by the wind. Depending on what happens with the wind speed, we may have to call him to come collect the roofing materials.

Folks will hate me for this, but I would kind of like the storm to give our levee system a little test. I'd alos like our soon-to-be new house to be given a test, as well. That way we can avoid the pain of actually buying it if we know it is in jeopardy in even a tropical storm.

In all of my ten years (in just a few weeks) of living here, I can't recall there being a topical system in the Gulf this late in the season. Maybe I'm wrong, but it does seem as though weather patterns have been changing in the past couple of years. Or perhaps it's the ppost-K 'tude that has me more wary of what happens out there.

I've had to tell a few of my students to shut it in conferences this week. They are already so stressed out by all of their work that they seem to be wishing something serious on us so they can get out of writing their essays. Don't. Even. Go. There, I say.

But in the meantime, I ask it to go there, too.

It's just that if the agony of the levees breaking is to happen again, I want it to happen sooner rather than later. At first, I couldn't undersdtand why T and B, who bought a house in Gentilly after their former one flooded, would buy a house there again. I mean, I know we are buying in Holy Cross, but HC is not in a floodplain, and Gentilly is. T said, "If what happens after Katrina happens again, this city is finished, no matter where you live." He had a point.

So, if the storm could just give us a tiny kick--a little brush. Enough that our homes and the levees could survive and inspire confidence. Oh--and enough that the insurance rates could come down, too...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What the heck is a "Gumbo Party"?

Simon and I were on the verge of watching what we hear is a quality movie, The Constant Gardener, last night, when we remembered that the series premiere of "K-Ville" was airing on Fox.

First, you must understand that no one here calls New Orleans K-Ville, in spite of what the spray painted graffiti may have implied. That is one of many errors on the show--including what was referred to as a "gumbo party."

A gumbo party?

Simon and I died laughing when Marlon Boulet, the main character, cried out, "I need some gumbo, man! It's what I do when I think!" as though gumbo were some "fix."

(I remember getting really agitated after the storm by how casually the phrase toxic gumbo" was thrown around. That ain't cute!)


No one makes fried shrimp po-boys at home. They're sold on nearly every corner, so there's no need to mess up the kitchen with all that messy frying for one dern sandwich.

The Upper Ninth Ward looks nothing like the Uptown-looking block that houses Marlon Boulet's two story, balconied house on an oak-lined street. HA!

Also noteworthy:

A chase that begins in "the Upper Nine" is, within seconds, along the neutral ground on the Westbank side of the Mississippi Bridge. Anyone who's driven here knows it takes ages to cross the river, especially now with all the trailers hauled by trucks clogging up traffic.

The singer who is shot in the show is local singer and actress Fahlonhee Harris, who, incidentally, was in the musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" with me back in my dinner theater days. HA, again!

The general mental stress portrayed in the main character is real and, I think, largely accurate. He goes from crying to pulling a gun in mere seconds, and anything will set him off. This is how it goes when you'd been through something like the cops here went through, and like the rest of us continue to go through in seeing the city flounder.

I loved the graffiti, "FEMA: Fix Everything My Ass."

The for sale signs everywhere: accurate.

But "gumbo party"? Never heard of it.

Anyways, we'll probably watch the show because it's fun to recognize landmarks on TV, and because it's FOX, so it's classic bad TV with terrible dialogue and glorification of stereotypes. In other words, irresistible like a train wreck. Many on nola.com seem to worry that the show will hurt the city and it's recovery, but I think their fears are unfounded. Shoot, TV shows draw tourists even when they portray settings as violent, right? And anyway, can we be hurt any worse that we already are? I find it amusing, and it was nice, for a moment, to laugh at how the writers got so much right--and so much wrong.

If anyone is having a gumbo party, though, let me know!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Too Many Choices, or: Oh, the F-ing Money!!!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a terrible time choosing. I always feel as though the thing/path/whatever I choose will leave me eventually regretting not having made some other choice, and so there I am, paralyzed. This happens with everything.
In fact, I just called to Simon (who's in the other room) and asked, "Simon, what are some of the things I have difficulty choosing--as in, deciding between?"

He had no problem rattling off a list: "What to eat, what to wear, where to live, what house to buy, whether or not to go out--on a Monday night or a Thursday night--interior decor, what career path to take--"

"Okay, got it."

I have several choices on my plate right now.

First, do we want to buy the house we've been planning to buy--for nearly a year now--or do we want to buy the house that has gone up for sale three doors down from said house.

The house that has gone up for sale is a heckuva deal, and it's a double (which, for those not familiar with shotgun houses, means that it is twice as wide as a "single"--28 feet instead of 14). It has a sound roof, sound windows, new vinyl "wood-style" siding, two beautiful Eastlake (historically accurate) doors, lovely "lace" trim, and a live oak tree in the back yard. It's also on a corner lot that affords a view of both the Mississippi River levee and the Industrial Canal levee. And, it's cheap. (I feel confident that there are no aggressive real estate investors reading my blog, otherwise I wouldn't even write about it, so steal-y is this steal.) Depending on other condition-factors, it could even mean that we'd be able to do fancy interior things--like a walk-in shower and the custom concrete counter tops we want but can't afford to have in the single.


Doubles are a dime a dozen in New Orleans. Singles are much less common. I like less common.

Doubles are typically darker because they are split in two with an interior wall (so they have windows on just one side) We would knock down the center wall, "converting" the double to a large single, but it will still not be as light as our single will be.

There's no porch on the front, and no place, therefore, to sit and watch the sunset (and the sunsets in Holy Cross are remarkable. Re-mark-a-ble.) Our single has a porch. But the double has a better view, even without a porch.

The live oak in the back yard of the double is short and heavy and makes the back yard feel dark and contained. Our yard in the single is bald, and will require a lot of landscaping.

The double sits at a dead end that ends at the Holy Cross campus. That dead end could potentially be used for a future entry, or for construction-access during what will likely be a long and messy renovation of the very large campus.

The double, however, will not require any adding on. It will be big enough for us to have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and an office. And it will cost us probably the same as the single, which is smaller and will require adding on in the long run.

This, my dear readers (whom I have now utterly bored) is what happens in my head. With everything. Sometimes I feel like my head is a giant swirling mess of pro-con, pro-con, pro-con--and what's frustrating is that all the pro/con-ning never seems to lead me to any confident ends. I still feel worried when I finally choose one or the other.

What is this about? I mean really, is it some American culture thing, or genes--or a combination?

Anyways, if you want to weigh in on my house pro-conning, go ahead. Simon and I have finally decided that the single--the house we've been thinking about for a year--is the one we feel connected to and the one that "feels" like home. The double would likely be a better investment.

We, however, see a home as home, not as an investment.

Speaking of homes, tonight's Holy Cross Neighborhood Association meeting was informative. I learned that there is, in fact, a good deal of discomfort surrounding the building of the Global Green ("Brad Pitt") houses. Evidently, when representatives from Global Green were initially meeting with the neighborhood association, the priority was on being able to build homes that were both energy-efficient "green" homes, and homes whose material and building-processes could be replicated in other parts of the neighborhood.

The prototype home that has been built, however, is "stick-built," which I guess means made of lumber and built entirely on site (I think initially the hope was the that homes could be made into environmentally-sound modulars, or could at least be replicated in a more economically-feasible way.) Not only is there building process not an easily-replicable one--or their materials easily attained--but they are expensive. I believe the estimated building cost of the initial prototype home is over $200K. It will be sold for between $150 and $200K.

Now, I realize that this may sound like a steal to the rest of the country, but this is a lot of money here--particularly because the cost of insuring a $150K home is around $3K/year, which breaks down to just under $300. The note, itself, would run around $800 (with mortgage insurance, because no one here has the money to put 20% down. That rainy-day/house fund was spent on--guess what?--an evacuation and return to a much more expensive city.) Add it up and you have a monthly note of $1,100. Add to that utilities, expenses, and all the other accouterments associated with home ownership, and you're up there.

Plus, we live in a city that pays a pittance to just about everyone. Simon and I, as I have mentioned many times, are having a hard time sorting out how we are going to pay for our own home (which will be around $150K). Why? Because we are both teachers who are payed below the national average, but we're living in a city whose cost of living has increased by 40%.

Linda Novak, the recording secretary of the HCNA, asked John Williams, the Global Green designer, to explain why Global Green had not communicated with the community about all of the changes to the project they had made. Another resident wondered about cost. When I offered the cost I'd read in the paper, it was backed up by John, and in the room, heads shook slowly and tongues clicked.

The thing is, too: say they pay a lot to build these houses, and then they get soft-second mortgages and maybe even some serious buy-downs for the owners--well what then? How will they afford adequate insurance? How will Global Green ensure that the owners won't simply sell? How will it work?

I don't know. I was all high on my almost meeting Brad Pitt that I don't think I really even thought about what was actually happening, and how it will change the nature of the neighborhood.

Oh--what I loved: how John said that he really didn't have adequate answers (he did promise to have Global Green come to next week's meeting to communicate fully with the community), but that he did know that there would be a safe haven from storms for us. So even if we can't afford the homes, we can use their safe have to huddle in come storm season. Hmm...

The problem appears to be that Global Green said one thing to the HCNA and then--surprise, surprise (especially when it comes to PR and big money--even if it does have a worthy cause behind it)--they did another. In their case, they don't feel paralyzed by too many choices or potential regret. Dudes got the money, so they're going to spend it and worry later.

Reminds me of many-a-botched investment. Is this what we're doing with our little house? Buying because we love it and worrying later?

Oh, the f-ing money!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am a bona-fide PRO!

Oh, how I needed some good news!

I've been invited, along with several of my UNO colleagues, to present a paper at the 2008 Conference on College Communication and Composition!

This is, like, big-time in the comp-rhet world, so I couldn't be more thrilled, particularly because I have just begun looking into a Ph.D. program in comp-rhet at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Yes, that's right: I've decided that I may need to get another dern degree.

For a while I'd been content to just go on about my merry way with my MFA in fiction, teaching hard and earning a pittance for it. I was perfectly fine, even, with knowing that I was viewed as a mere grunt worker (being an instructor, and all--relegated to freshman and sophomore-level teaching, heavy course-loads, and meagre raises).

But what I can't take is that even though I do a LOT of research in the field of rhetoric and composition, and even though I think long and hard about my teaching--changing it to adopt new findings in pedagogy and scholarship--my "word" means little to nothing my colleagues unless I've got the clout (read: a Ph.D.) to back it up. (Sometimes it even feels as though the "real faculty" think I may as well have spent three years making friendship bracelets, so undervalued is my degree and my expertise.)

Realistically, I think one reason why my enthusiasm for the subject of teaching writing may be met by so much--what is it?: incredulity? on the part of my colleagues is that they simply see me as young. If I had a nickel for the number of times I'd excitedly brought up the subject of teaching writing only to have a colleague (jokingly) comment on my being too young (or too fresh) to be jaded.

Well, I've been teaching for almost six years--including summers--and in that admittedly short time I've taught some of the more challenging and difficult groups of students and in some of the more difficult circumstances. I've taught basic writing classes, volunteered teaching ESL classes, and taught nighttime sections (whose nontraditional students haven't been back to school in years and years.) I've taught from 8am until 10pm. I've filled in for teachers who have quit in the middle of the summer, while also working full-time on my degree. I've served on committees and panels, and darnit, I'm still excited!

But I digress.

My CCCC paper is tentatively titled "When Assessment Breaks Your Heart: Assessing Writing Ethically and Empathetically After Katrina." I presented a scaled-down version of what will become my paper at the College English Association's convention in New Orleans last Spring, and my talk was very well received.

Most of what I addressed concerns the difficulty of maintaining our writing and performance assessment standards when both teachers and students are faced with the aftermath of a collective trauma. I also addressed institutional pressures to retain students, and the way that pressure impacts our ability to assess student writing and performance ethically. It may sound like dry stuff, but I've been working on research for months, and I think it's an interesting subject that illustrates a number of complexities surrounding teaching after a collective trauma--although what it doesn't do is offer many answers.

So now, I've got to actually write the paper!

Also, I've been asked to participate in a basic writing workshop that runs concurrent to the CCCC convention. In that workshop, I'll present my methods of using student-teacher conferences, student-authored letters of reflection, and student self-evaluations in the basic-writing classroom (techniques that work at any level, really, but I need to gear my content toward the specific concerns of basic-writing teachers).

And yes, now I've actually got to get to work on that material, too! Phew!

But, OH, how affirmed I feel! I mean, shoot: I feel like a new woman!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I have battled with the vaguest and most tepid of depressions for as long as I can remember. My version is more run-of-the-mill moodiness than mania and melancholy, more avoidance than a lack of desire.

I think the avoidance-part is called "harm avoidance." I don't want to get hurt, or scared, or whatever, and so I avoid putting myself out there, thereby avoiding any pain. Of course, then I spiral into an even worse place because there I am, having done nothing and therefore being disappointed in myself.

I've been in one of these spirals for a while now. I've avoided my blog, avoided my writing, avoided sorting through my stuff, avoided readying myself for our move. And, predictably, my blog-avoidance makes me feel bad about my half-assed maintenance of this sloppy blog; my writing-avoidance makes me feel worse about having a writing degree (and being a writing teacher) and not actively and regularly practicing what I preach; my sorting-avoidance means that piles-upon-piles continue to accumulate in every corner of my house, making the eventual inevitable sort-fest an even more daunting prospect; and my move-avoidance means that when moving-time really does come around, it'll likely result in a series of fights with my organized and task-attacking husband. None of this is good.

I realize that these are the kinds of feelings everyone has.

It's like the not-going-to-the-gym bit. Of course, for every day you put off that workout, your return to the gym grows ever-more unlikely.

But it's difficult to get out of that rut, isn't it? And in some ways, the best intentions of our friends and loved ones make it even more difficult to get out of the rut. Husband reminding you that once you work out, you'll feel better makes you want to punch husband in gut while he's sit-upping away. Parent telling you that you are talented and highly capable makes you want to tell parent that you know that, thank you very much, but how does that knowledge really help?

Strangely, I found the most tangible inspiration from watching Anthony Bourdain's travel and eating show, No Reservations. Bourdain gets excited about eating like I do. When he eats a roasted Balinese pig (stuffed with herbs and coated in a coconut-water candied glaze), he can barely speak. I got this one time when I had a crabmeat beignet with a tri-pepper salad with a Balsamic vinaigrette at Herbsaint. When I tried to describe the concoction, I couldn't; instead, I broke out in goosebumps.

Simon always makes fun of my sensory memory--I can recall what everyone ate at whichever restaurant and what was good and bad for years after the meal has passed. I can remember phone numbers with ease--I think because I associate the pattern with a tangible connection with a person. But I can't remember historical dates--and important one. In fact, in order to remember the dates of the Civil War, I have had to devise a mind-trick (I "call" Abraham Lincoln using the dates of the war). Next up: a phone call to Nixon based on the dates of the Vietnam War. This is how my mind works. Is that bad?

Anyways, the Travel Channel ran an all-day marathon of Bourdain's show yesterday, and I watched probably seven hours of the show. At one point, I felt as though his lively writing and sardonic voice were readying me for a bout at the computer, but when I turned on my laptop, I found myself ranting about my job and feeling smothered by life again, so I turned it off. Then, I felt worse.

I tried to do this vowing-thing: I vowed that tomorrow (today) I would be productive--like, forreal. I vowed to turn off the TV. I vowed to start writing my essay about Global Green in Holy Cross.

Here's how that went:

Today, I overslept, had breakfast with Regis and Kelly, pet the cats, deposited a check, tailgated a student who'd cut me off on my way to UNO (all the while thinking die, die, die frat-boy scum!), read blogs and felt bad about my lousy one, ate two handfuls of parmesan Goldfish crackers, emailed students that no, I would not type up the exercises that they had missed until they had exhausted any other options, emailed my tutor, emailed some more, read http://www.helpholycross.org/, wondered why the webmaster hadn't replied to my email, felt bad about how good his blog was, graded a few fiction-writing exercises, ate some more Goldfish, read http://www.dangerblond.org/ and felt bad about my blog some more, and then decided, finally, to write.

In short, I have accomplished almost none of what I set out to accomplish today, and writing about that fact is now making me feel even worse. I am deeper in my funk, and now it will be even more difficult to climb my way out. I know that my depression is unimpressive and self-pitying, but that doesn't change its feeling really bad.

So I am thinking that I may need to resort to drastic measures. Next up: reading a Self-Help book. Yes, it's come to that. Any recommendations?

Until I can climb out of this funk, I'm not sure I want to make myself feel any worse by angst-ing over this blog. There are better bloggers out there. I've named two. Enjoy them for a while. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better--or at least it will be a bad day that will inspire a productive visit to the page.