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Mar. 19th, 2014


Books Read 2014

So, I realized that it's nearly April and I haven't actually made a single "books read" post? The odd shifts between social media platforms--using more Facebook, whether I like it or not, and less LJ--seem to leave me forgetting things that I'd like to keep track of. (Like posting workout logs, which now that I'm on a close-to-6-day schedule, has started to seem like a hassle.)

So, without further ado.

Books Read 2014

1. “Cry Murder! In a Small Voice” by Greer Gilman [review at]
2. “Red Delicious” by Kathleen Tierney (Caitlin Kiernan) [review at]
3. “Red Caps” by Steve Berman [review at]
4. “The Undead Pool” by Kim Harrison [review at]
5. “Handsome Devil” edited by Steve Berman [review at]
6. “The Constant Gardener” by John Le Carre
7. "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie
8. "The Red Tree" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
9. "The Drowning Girl: A Memoir" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
10. "In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction" by Sarah Lefanu
11. "Scruffians!" by Hal Duncan [review at]
12. "Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions" by Hal Duncan [review at]
13. "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith [confession: there was skimming involved]
14. "The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro
15. "Narcissistic Narrative: The Paradox of Metafiction" by Linda Hutcheon
16. "Queer Theories" by Donald Hall
17. "Paratexts" by Gerard Genette
18. "Succeeding Postmodernism: Language & Humanism in Contemporary American Literature" by Mary K. Holland

Mar. 15th, 2014


(no subject)

The to-do list that preceded thesis work has been vanquished: essays and talks written, books reviewed, magazine work tackled. So, this week has signaled the start of the thesis-specific to-do list: lots more research reading, plus writing at least the introduction and an outline in the next week or week and a half.

I've been keeping up the close-to-book-a-day pace on the research this week; I've also gotten about 1,000 words drafted (though admittedly like 350 of those are just part of a later chapter that I got down in rough when an structural idea occurred to me). The introduction, if I work a bit per day while also finishing the research, should be done on schedule. Then there are four reasonably sized chapters to complete. Though the requirement is a minimum of 15k, I suspect this one will clock in around 20k, which is a range I work well at. (The Russ thesis was 21k.)

There has been... some panic, yes. Some rough days. But as of yesterday, there are only eight weeks left. Plenty to do during those eight weeks, but spring is approaching, and with it, home.


Regular CrossFit classes have been, by the way, a delight. I've been tackling fresh skills left and right, testing endurance and conditioning in more varied and intense ways, et cetera. It's a good group, too--the folks are friendly, open, and encouraging.

I regret not testing in sooner. If I'd had my mental game together over the fall semester, and been training properly, I would have been up to where I needed to be around, oh, December. Hindsight. In fact, if there's one thing I'll miss, it'll be this gym and the group there. Good coaching, solid companionship, fun work.

Mar. 13th, 2014


(no subject)

So, since the listing has been posted on their website, I'll go ahead and announce it here: on March 27th, I'll be giving a talk ("He, She, They, Per: Language in the Liminal Spaces") at the University of Connecticut as part of their "Out to Lunch" lecture series.

And yeah, that means I'll be flying in the day before, crash-sleeping for a night, doing the talk and some further conversation with the campus community, crash-sleeping one more night, and flying out the next day. (In short, ouch, travel.)

Further details are available at UConn's Rainbow Center website, here.

Feb. 24th, 2014


(no subject)

Over the past eight or so days, I have:

(a) read three books, two of which were critical nonfiction
(b) written a 3000 word essay on one
(c) written reviews of the other two, between 1000-1500 words each
(d) read for and then wrote the next short fiction column for, another 1000 words or so
(e) done editorial work

--and also the usual shit like "attend seminars" and "be at the gym for long periods of time" and "eat food."

Now I just have to keep up this kind of volume for the next two months.

Feb. 22nd, 2014


Log Week 2/16-2/22

Managed to have both of my feet cramp at once after standing up a squat wrong/awkwardly on Tuesday--so, that was unpleasant, and cut the day off short. Otherwise, a fairly straightforward work week: went a little heavier on bench, did some 5x5 deadlifts at 80%, etc.

The first two warmish days have been this week; I think it's no coincidence that I've started to feel like my volume is low and my body could do more-more-more. Slogging through the winter hibernation is tough, but with the onset of spring also comes a certain animal drive to be doing stuff all the time. I welcome it.

Also, I think I'll be retaking the CF assessment next weekend.

Log Week 2/16-2/22Collapse )
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Feb. 16th, 2014


Log Week 2/9-2/15

Hit new squat and deadlift PRs this week; since there's no CF this weekend, I decided I could go a little heavier for fun and not have to worry about being too beat up at the end of the week's cycle. (I also failed a heavy squat and had to do the roll of shame out from under the bar, but so it goes.)

Trying to stay on track to retake the CF assessment at the end of the month. I need to shave a minute off of my conditioning time, and also get my endurance up on strict pushups.

Log Week 2/9-2/15Collapse )
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Feb. 8th, 2014


Log Week 2/2-2/8

A decent-to-mediocre week; work getting done, but none of it exciting or fancy. I kept to last week's squat weight and tried to work on form--I did manage to mostly cull the lean to the left I was noticing, though I think there's a mild imbalance in strength between those two legs that only comes out when the weight's heavy. The answer: more single-leg work.

Oh, and I got in some time on the heavy bag. I was agitated as all fuck, and the room was empty, and--well. I didn't wear gloves. It was more important that I get in the time, trust me. Should have seen the bruises that blossomed out over my knuckles by that night! The pain was pleasant and appropriate--that dull ache with a raw overtone at the skin level--while I was hitting the bag, so it's no problem. My hands just aren't particularly tough. The bruises have shaded into a sort of pale tan-yellow now, but they were very visible for a couple of days.

I did ask, though, yesterday, about borrowing the gym's gloves next time. The staff member was amused. So was I.

Log Week 2/2-2/8Collapse )

(no subject)

90 days.

I swear I'm not going to do a countdown too regularly, but--90 days is a sort of landmark.

After I finish reading this Rushdie novel for the seminar next week, I'll be starting thesis reading in earnest: re-reading the novels I want to discuss, brushing up on the theoretical framework and also adding to it, ranging out for some research material, etc. According to the schedule I have developed for getting the damn thing done, I have until approximately March 20th to research and annotate and think.

Then from March 20th to March 30th, I'll be putting together the official proposal and a full outline--like, a *really* full outline. With bracket notes for each section. (I also have A Thing I have to do on March 26th-28th that I'll be announcing soonish, so that'll knock out a few days.) From April 1-21st--which covers some of spring break--I'll be drafting. By that third week of April, I need a full draft of the thesis to be finished so I can meet with my advisor about revisions and be clear to come home on time.

I also have three essays for seminars to write: 1x5,000 words and 2x4,000 words. Theoretically I could write that last 4k one from home if I can arrange to turn it in digitally. If I have to turn it in early--well, so be it. I don't think there's ever been a *better* motivation to get things done than coming home?

Oh, and also a few book reviews, a commissioned essay, and The Thing I can't announce yet. And editorial work. Because I like life to be, I don't know, exciting. Or crushing. Whichever.

Feb. 3rd, 2014


Log Week 1/25-1/31

This was a positive week, namely because the workout of the day in CF last Saturday was a repeat of the "conditioning test" I failed when I initially took the assessment for the regular CF classes. And I shaved 2:30 off of my time between those two performances, so--yeah. 2:30. I often feel like I'm going nowhere fast with regards to my competence at CrossFit, but that's quite a drastic improvement.

Otherwise, had some minor squatting issues last week? So I'll likely stick to that weight this week, and pay extra special attention to standing up symmetrically; I favor the left side a bit sometimes when things get heavy, which makes my leg ache and cramp. No fun.

Week 1/25-1/31Collapse )

Jan. 23rd, 2014


(no subject)

At some point I should write a well-thought-out analysis of the forms of self care I have been using over the past year or so, though often I perceive them to be forms of "failure" or just fall into them out of a sheer inability to keep trucking with what I've been doing. And a lot of them have certainly taken me off of the radar with regards to criticism, the genre world, etc.

A few, in particular:

(1) The relationship I have developed to training, fitness, and the body that I live in. Yeah, this has sort of turned into a workout blog half of the time. So has my social media presence more generally. But it's because this is something physical, fulfilling, and emotionally enriching; it makes me feel more whole and grounded. It is important. Frankly, it is one of the singular pleasures in my life--it keeps me going.

(2) As I tweeted to Alex MacFarlane the other evening, I realized something: I haven't been writing editorial-style essays for almost a year and a half now. The majority of my writing for is just fiction criticism. And it's because I'm tired. Existentially fucking tired. I do not have the energy to wallow in those comment threads, to keep pushing the boulder up the hill. I can't do it. And I haven't been doing it.

(3) When at home, I have spent less time online and more time doing things that are fun. I spend time with my partner and my best friend, I visit and have meals with my mother, I try to get out and go to events or gatherings with friends. I relax. I imbibe. I attempt to have some measure of comfort in being alive.

And this stuff? It means I don't do as much work. I don't blog as much, I don't write as much, I don't write activist-oriented material much at all, et cetera. But there has to be some kind of balance, and I'm still trying to find it: a balance where I can enjoy what I do again, instead of resenting it.

Consider it a work in progress. I know I've said this before, or some variation of it, but--hey, you know, it's slow going and I'm not sure where the next while will lead.

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March 2014



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