Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fear of Heights.

Thank you all of you who ordered CDs. I sold a handful, and it'll help with the bills. One curious thing happened, though. Every time a CD is ordered, CDBaby sends me an email with the name and email address of who bought it so I can put it on my mailing list (if I had a mailing list), unless the customer blocks his or her personal info. Even if it's an anonymous order, I still get the city and state that it's being shipped to. One of the CDs that was ordered this week went to the same suburb of Indianapolis where my sister and her family live. Now, I've never told my family that I have a blog.

Not that it's such a big secret -- it's on the Internet -- but I feel some freedom in what I write about if it's not in the back on my mind that this forum is my family's first source of news about me. I'm close to my family, and I share more and more of my life with them as I get older, and I share more with my brother and sister than I do with my parents, but there are things I censor, mostly things having to do with sex or having to do with the general precariousness of my life.

In a way, I like these "getting caught" moments. When we were on the road, J and I were blogging weekly about our experiences, alternating weeks. The way I created my blog entries, since I was keeping a pretty detailed personal journal at the time, was to start with my personal journal and edit out the arguments and the sex and anything else I didn't want to share with our fans, and then I'd post it on our web site.

Well, once I had to go back and replace an archived blog page, I don't remember why, and when I went to repost the edited page on the web site, I accidentally posted my personal journal page instead. That particular diary entry happened to contain some juicy stuff: lots of relationship strife and a meditation on Internet sex and taking naked pictures of myself. Since we seldom had occasion to read old blog entries, the page stayed there for months. We found out while we were Scotland and in the middle of the most difficult time in a very difficult patch in our lives -- and the way we found out is another harrowing story which I won't go into here. But curiously, after it blew over, I felt relieved and even exhilarated.

I'm very afraid of heights, but lately I'll make myself walk right up to a railing on a high balcony or the edge of a cliff, because I learn that just because it's terrifying doesn't mean it's going to hurt me. It's one less thing to be afraid of when the world doesn't end because somebody caught you masturbating or whatever, and that's reassuring.

It could be a coincidence that someone in my sister's town ordered a CD. It may not be her. But how do I find out? If I ask her, "Do you read my blog?" and she says, "What blog?" what do I say then? It'll seem like it's a big secret.

Friday, October 26, 2007


The second flurry of exams is past now. (By chance, all my courses are on an irregular exam schedule, with either 3 or 4 tests, instead of the traditional midterm and final. For most students, the upcoming week is midterms.)

I got a 98 on my American Government exam. I missed a question about executive agreements. It was a multiple choice question, and there were only two possible answers given what I knew about executive agreements, which are agreements made by the president with governments of other countries, which are like treaties but don't have to be ratified by the Senate. I knew that. The distinction between the two answers was that one said executive agreements have to be within U.S. law and the other said they could be outside of U.S. law. I finished the rest of the test and then pondered that question for about 10 minutes. It was silly to fret about it, because I had no idea which was correct. That particular piece of information wasn't in my notes, it wasn't in the textbook. It must have been something the professor said in lecture and I hadn't written it down. I just took a guess, and I could have done that ten minutes earlier.

So, a 98 is pretty good, but I still wanted to know the answer, just to know. I approached the professor after class yesterday and asked her. She said, "Well, if you read the question carefully, there was only one possible answer," which struck me at first as an odd response. She must have thought I was questioning the fairness of the question. I can understand why she might be defensive, because students question everything, trying to get an extra point here or there. It's incredible how much bargaining with professors goes on. I don't remember that we did that when I was young. Maybe I was just too timid to bargain.

Anyway, I wanted to say, "I read the question carefully about 25 times. That's not the problem. The problem is that I still don't know the answer." I didn't say that. She told me that executive agreements have to be within U.S. law because the president is acting as a U.S. citizen when he makes these agreements, whereas a treaty is outside of U.S. because it is an agreement between or among governments. That's what I wanted to know. (My slogan -- "Academia: it's not just about learning.")

I got a 92 on my Biology exam last week. Adding my 10 points of extra credit, my score is 102! I also got an A on that English paper I blogged about recently. In Spanish I'm hovering somewhere between an A and B, I think, and I'm working as hard as I possibly can, so I just have to be happy with that.

I had a dream last night that I was being chased by a giant cat. It looked like a house cat but as big as a house. (Like in the Japanese horror films, where they'd film a fly or something and project it really huge so it looked like a monster.) After I escaped from the cat, I was on a ledge somewhere miles up in the sky, and there were tiny babies and kittens crawling around, some of them falling off the edge, while a veterinarian was explaining to me an elaborate medical procedure -- like an autopsy performed while they were still alive -- which was done on the babies and kittens after they fell. And somebody was eating French fries, which I could smell but not see.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dear Mom & Dad: School is great. Please send money.

I was planning to get a part-time job once I got settled into my classes. I even applied for a cooking job at a neighborhood cafe in July and they told me they'd probably need someone in September. Then school started, and it was immediately overwhelming, so I put it off, and I put it off. Every once in a while the thought would pop into my head that my financial aid is going to run out some time around November, and I would think I need to get a job soon!, and then I'd have a Biology test or a panic attack about Spanish or a paper due, and suddenly I'm not thinking about money any more. Anything that gets me to stop thinking about money is fine by me, believe me, but now it's almost November and I don't have the rent. Every day I wonder, why am I incapable of managing all the parts of my life at the same time?

On that note, I thought I would mention to my readers, some of whom are friends but many of whom I don't know from Adam, that, if you have been curious about my work, now would be the time to buy a CD. (It's the soundtrack to the documentary called Life in a Box, which I made 2 years ago and which is very good but cost a lot of money we never made back, which is a big part of why I'm so broke now.) It played in lots of festivals in 2005; people liked it, and they liked the music.

I had 1000 CDs made because I was sure the film would be shown on TV and theaters and I'd sell enough CDs to pay the credit card debt I racked up finishing the editing. (Lack of pride and foolhardy optimism are the foundation of all art.)

I get $11 every time someone buys a CD. That means, if 30 people buy one each (or if 1 person buys 30), I can pay the rent next week. If I sell 60, I can pay the rent in December, too. Wow.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I did find out today in my advising session that I will not, after all, be able to finish my B.A. by next spring, but nothing could come close to spoiling my great mood because it's finally, really fall. I went to sleep last night with my door and all my windows wide open, and I woke up at 4:30 to a huge racket outside, wind and rain in the trees, and the temperature had dropped about 30 degrees. I shut the windows and pulled up my blankets and went back to sleep for an hour. All morning, on my way to the bus and to and from classes, it poured and the wind tried to rip my umbrella right out of my hands, my feet got soaked because (this is the other thing I found out today) the soles of my shoes are cracked, and I was smiling bigger than I've smiled in months.

Now the rain has stopped, but it's still windy and the air is dry, and I want a t-shirt that says I survived.