Saturday, May 05, 2007

Reasons I want to cry

I'm feeling insanely overly emotional today (Poor Brian!). So I thought I'd make a list of reasons I want to cry. Maybe it will help:

1. I went to a baby shower. I hate baby showers. As much as I truly want to be able to celebrate my wonderful friends who decide to have babies, I leave showers feeling like shit. Probably because I have yet to be at one where someone (most often a stranger) doesn't ask, "So when are you going to have a baby?" Now I know this is logical talk for the occasion. But can't anyone see why this might be a tad personal? This time, oddly enough, the question was directed at my husband by another man. And he was pushy! He asked if we had kids, and B said no. Then he said, "Well, you will eventually right?" B said, "Um, probably." Luckily for him he could leave it at that and transition to another conversation. I, on the other hand, am still reeling: do I want to have kids? When? Why? What if I hate him/her/parenting?

2. I've had a cold for a week now. It's a low grade cold, but it's made me exhausted.

3. I am so far behind on my shitty, shitty story it's not even funny. And while I truly admire my mentor and her advice, I think this is her fault. Giving a compliment every now and then wouldn't be a bad thing! And, in fact, it might make the thought of you reading my next story not so scary as to make me not want to write it.

4. Work sucked this week SO badly. For reasons I can't go into on a blog. But let's just say that the tissues atop my desk? I went through a few boxes this week.

5. I have to spend my Saturday night writing a crappy story I don't want to write.

In typical Bug fashion, I can't post such a negative post without some balance. So, some things I'm happy about:

1. I decided to buy a Mac for my new laptop (the PC I'm typing on is slowly dying.) This is a big relief because I hate buying computers, but I'm psyched on the idea of a Mac for all the reasons given in their very cute TV ads.

2. I made my pregnant friend a beautiful hat for her baby.

3. I was able to verbalize the fact I was feeling shitty before I acted out on it. (Yes, I realize that "accomplishment" is something you might praise a 3 year old for)

4. My garden is coming up.

5. As of next week, I CAN READ A BOOK OF MY CHOOSING!!!! You have no idea how excited I am to do this.

6. In two weeks, I'll be in Paris.

7. A small part of me knows I am very proud of the work I've gotten done this semester (though really, some outside praise would be nice!). Best Blogger Tips


FatCharlatan said...

Oh, Bug. Virtual hugs for you! I agree that our mentors, while pushing us to do better, need to offer some praise every now and then. We're human, and we need it. The most effective teachers, IMHO, recognize the need for this balance.

I can say from having read some of your essays and your blog posts that you ARE a gifted writer. The most gifted artists are often the ones who doubt their own talent. You got talent, my friend.

But it does suck when everything rains down at once (cold, sucky work, tough writing periods, and those damn Doubt Monkeys). Hang in there.

What are you going to read??? (I feel the same way--I can't wait to read something I want to read!)


FatCharlatan said...

PS--Showers make me feel shitty, too, including bridal showers these days, although people are slowly giving up on me since I'm 34, single, and have a cat. People now assume I'm either gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) or a spinster (including some of my brothers). I kid you not.

Funny story: At my best friend's rehearsal dinner three years ago, I was seated next to the high-maintenance girlfriend of one of the groomsmen (it was fairly well-known that she was crazy). This was the second time I had ever spoken to this woman in my life.

Anyhow, we're chatting, and she asks me if I have a boyfriend. I say no. She then asks how old I am, and I tell her that I'm 31. And THEN she says, "Wow! Aren't you worried that your clock is ticking???"

WTF? HOW does one answer THAT? "Why, yes! It's ticking so effing loud it keeps me up at night. Thanks for reminding me about it, girlfriend."

TI said...

Hi Bug. Some people! It's annoying and I can see why you would feel like crying. The kid questions pretty much stop after 40. My feminist book group is reading an essay collection for this month's meeting called _Nobody's Mother: Life without Kids_. It's OKAY to choose not to have kids (not that there is anything wrong with having them, of course). I did. I think that you'll find Tony a little more encouraging -- he points out the strong parts while also making constructive criticism. You're a really good writer, dedicated and talented, and it's too bad that you aren't finding enough encouragement from your mentor.

KnitLit said...

Hi Christine,

I met you and TI at the January residency...I'm the knitting designer. We went to the North End for Italian food in a big group. I need to give you and TI some free patterns in June!

I just wanted to empathize with you on the "no praise" effect. When I first started working with my mentor (poetry) this semester, I felt the same way. Basically, I said, tell me what IS working along with what isn't--otherwise, it can really feel like the ENTIRE piece is bad and worthless.

It's not even a matter of wanting to be praised--I really think that a mentor should point out not only what is strong, but WHY it's strong, so that the writer can start to glean a sense of the areas in which he/she already excels. Otherwise, we will waste time continuing to make the same mistakes, and in many cases, trying to fix what is NOT broken along with what is.

The worst, worst thing is to get only negative comments, because then you make an assumption that nothing at all was good--and imho, that can be completely counterproductive and can cost the writer AND mentor unnecessary time and anguish.

In my case, I talked to my mentor about it after the first submission response, after which he consistently responded with well-balanced impressions. The whole semester got better! I am so glad I spoke up. I figure, I'm paying through the nose for this (or will be in two years) so I might as well speak my mind. Good luck to you with next semester's mentor--I am sure things will get better! It was nice meeting you in January too. Hang in there!

Oh, and as for the kids, stick to your guns. It's your decision--and people will always find nosey, rude things to say. If you do have kids someday, the same people will be telling you what is wrong with your parenting at every opportunity. There's always something. Just know yourself and act accordingly and you'll be fine.

Hang in there!

TI said...

I like what you say, knitlit (I do remember how impressed I was that you write knitting patterns AND poetry!). Good for you for approaching your mentor and expressing what you need. I've learned a lot through this process about how to comment on my own students' work (I supervise some PhD students who are working on their disserations) so that they don't get demoralized. It's easy to forget.

bostonerin said...

Oh, Bug, you've hit the quint-fecta of crap this weekend!

1. Baby showers DO suck. I'm struggling with the same issues right now, and having other people's pro-creative questions thrown at you don't help.

2. Colds blow.

3. Shitty mentors can take the love out of writing. What would happen if you DIDN'T turn it in? Or if, instead, you wrote to your mentor and explained that you need some space for it to work--can you get an extension? Forcing yourself to write it will mean that it won't turn out the way you want it, making you even more frustrated.

4. Boo on work! It's amazing how it creeps into your life and ruins everything. Have you been able to meditate lately?

5. I hope you had a cosmo or margarita last night; cold or not.

we're pulling for you!

Bug said...

Thank you all so much. You amazing women make my life so much better!

first, let me welcome Knitlit to the conversation! (I love your name!) What a great idea to actually say something to my mentor. Duh. I can't believe I didn't think of it before. But part of me wanted to "tough it out" and "be strong" for some stupid reason. But I will use similiar language to what you used. And thanks for the patterns (in advance)! Can't wait to hear how your first semester went.

FC, Your kind words are so sweet and welcomed! I started a book called Suite Francais, which I'm excited about. I can't recall the author, but the book was published after she died in a concentration camp, and it's about Paris during the time of the Nazi invasion. I've heard it's wonderful, and it is really engagine right now. I also have Dave Eggar's What is the What and On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Those are my plane-to-Paris books. And I'm listening to Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses on tape, which is very addictive.

TI, I think the main problem with the babyshower thing is that I get so f'n sucked into the whole thing. If I was confident in any sort of decision, I'd be fine syaing f you (in a more polite way) but because I'm just so not sure, I get all mind fucked with the whole thing. That's why, I think, B is able to let go of the question and not even think the person who asked it rude. Meanwhile I'm reeling. Ugh. Maybe we can all chat about this over coffee/drinks in June. I find the whole thing so overwhelming.

And FC, that wedding shower comment is RIDICULOUS! (or, as B would say, Redonkulous). Why would anyone think that an OK thing to ask? Jesus.

And Erin, we too need to chat and walk the dogs (and drink?). And yes, I have had a few martinis this weekend. I'm starting to wonder if all this drinking isn't such a good thing. But I won't worry about that just yet.

Anyway, thanks, from the longest commenter in the history of blogger.

TI said...

It's funny because in an unposted comment I said that I was about to read Suite Francaise (Nemerovsky) but then I deleted it because I didn't want to make the comment all about me. I heard it's amazing too. Yes, we'll have that coffee or drink (or those drinks) and talk about it. I read some author who said, you can work and write, write and have a family, or work and have a family, but if you try to do all three you'll go crazy! No doubt sane people HAVE done it. I guess the trick is to make writing our only work -- then we're free to do other things.

January said...

So, when are you, me, and Erin going out for Cosmos?

Baby showers do suck, so do colds. Funny you mention both because they've been a topic in our office for the last few days.

As you know, you're on your own biological schedule. There are too many people who have kids way too early. It will happen, or not happen, on your own terms. I admire you for being able to recognize that fact.

Now, back to my original question, when are we having Cosmos?

DJPare said...

What could be better after a post about wanting to cry, than get a comment from a MAN? :)

Does sound like you've had a rough week. From what I know of other friends, everyone who doesn't have kids gets the same treatment at baby showers.
Fuck em! You'll have kids when and if you're ready. And please, don't even bother with one of those ridiculous questions, Christine - I know you. You won't hate him, her, or parenting. You'll be a great parent if you end up deciding that's what you want.

Okay, enough, time to sound like an emotionless man (even though I'm not)
CJ!! Cheer up! You're going to Paris soon, you goof!!

P.S. You're a great writer, who is too hard on herself and it often gets away from creating even better ideas. You don't need your mentor to tell you that you are a good - you are good and you know it.

Tori said...

I hope that you are feeling a bit better by the time this comment reaches you. I feel for you with the baby shower thing. My baby thoughts just won't quit and I am so confused. As far as your writing goes, breathe, and know that you are an amazing writer and very hardworking. Look at your growing flowers and find strength in their persistance.

p.s. My husband deals with all of my emotionals messes. They are saints-aren't they?

TI said...

If you want something cute to cheer you up (and it won't make you want a new computer), go check out the otters holding hands on YouTube: