I realized it while I was daydreaming in Italian class, trying to impress into my mind that hunger is a noun in Italian, much like in Spanish. You have hunger (ho fame). You possess it. You don’t become it (sono fame). Or, I mean, you might if you’re a character from a Neil Gaiman novel. Good Omens was a fun read.
In English, it’s an adjective most of the time. Though I guess that you can say that you own hunger the way you own the shoes you’re wearing (hopefully) or the way you own some other aspect of your being. I don’t know. The color of your eyes, maybe. People will just look at you weird.
But in Greek it’s a full-on verb with a conjugation and everything. Hunger is a thing that you do. I hunger. You hunger. He and she and it hunger.
I wonder what that says about culture. That the same concept, something as universal as fulfilling a basic human need, is expressed so differently even among cultures that share so much in common. That maybe the way we relate some intangible universality to ourselves says something about the way we place ourselves in the universe—at the center or off to the side or just accidentally sort of there with hunger just happening to you.
Or maybe they all just come from different roots and I’m just making a big deal out of nothing. I don’t know. I’m not a linguist (who could’ve guessed it?).
Still. Something kind of cool to think about before the professor moves on to the next phase of the lesson.
I’m in a bit of a reading slump. I can’t get into a story, no matter how much I try or want to. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book or a movie or a show–my attention span can’t seem to take more than Frasier reruns lately (don’t ask).
My mind’s picked an inconvenient time to go off wandering. It’s NaNo season, and even though I’ve pretty much already failed the official WriMo wordcount without any hope of catching up, the very least I want to do is hang in there and try. I’ve got schoolwork and internship work and career planning and a whole lot of daydreaming to get up to, and for whatever reason I can’t focus on stories anymore.
I hope it’s not contagious. I teach pre-school on Sundays, and the last thing I want to do is to infect the four year-olds with a made-up disease, though I figure they have imagination enough to spare.
This morning I tried to get into a novel I’ve been reading on-and-off for the last month, but after thirty pages I gave up. It was good stuff, too. Uncomfortable stuff. The kind of writing that makes me squirm in my chair, that I usually refuse to put down. It was perfect reading weather, too–intermittent showers all morning long, and I curled up with a hot drink and my novel all by myself in a room made of all windows so I could enjoy to the fullest extent this littlest slice of perfection. It didn’t last long.
New rule: you’ve got to run through the seas of unraked leaves on the sidewalk—you can’t just stroll through. You’ve got to kick your feet up and sprint as fast as you can and try not to think too hard about what might be waiting there underneath (crickets, slime mold, the abominable snow man…). And then, just as you get to the other side, when you can start to see the flecks of gray of the cement peering out in between the leaves, you stop and casually go about your day as if nothing ever happened.
There’s something exhilarating about running through the leaves, like I’m revisiting the part of myself that used to believe that catching a crisp yellow one right as it fell off the branch meant that I got to close my eyes and make a wish (I’d seen it in an episode of Frog and Toad), and I didn’t even care whether or not it would come true.
There are some eternal truths that stay with you no matter what new strange phase in life you might find yourself in. That are about as true for you when you were seven as they are now. Running has to be one of them. Running downhill as fast as you can with your eyes closed. Running up the stairs to your childhood bedroom. Running from the rain… in the rain. Running over the cracks in the sidewalk.
I have exactly nineteen minutes to post and no original ideas. Go!
See, this is the worse part about NaNo. My procrastination runs deep. I was procrastinating from my finishing my homework as a five year-old. And, honestly, what kind of homework do five year-olds get anyway? Coloring? I’d trade with my five year-old self any day.
So please don’t take it personally when I say I’ve left this post to the last possible minute, have been drafting ugly icky posts that will never see the light of day (and trust me, you don’t want them to), and will quite possibly fall asleep head slumped over the keyboard without every submitting this post.
The bright side? I work great with deadlines.
NaNoWriMo is also off to something of a slow start. I’ve written like 500 new words total in the last two days, but NaNo keeps sending me all these inspirational messages, which rile me up during the break in class when I’m doing anything other than reviewing my notes for the short five minutes before the lecture resumes. But then I go home and I forget all about how inspired I felt to write in class because my thought process isn’t much more complicated than: “Food!” “Bed!”
Clearly, it’s the little things in life that help me find fulfillment.
In any case, tomorrow is a new day. Or today. In precisely eleven minutes. Good luck NaNo-ing, everyone. I hope yours are more productive than mine.
Enter the Blonde Avenger. Blonde (who would have guessed it), self-righteous, and otherwise wholly unremarkable aside from the silver BMW she is obviously inordinately proud of as she bolts down the side streets of my town. After all, there is no point in having a silver BMW if you can’t bolt down quiet local neighborhoods like somebody out of a Roadrunner cartoon, so imagine her indignation when she encounters three pedestrians with flashlights (the sun has begun to set and it’s better to be safe than sorry) who dare walk in the middle of a street she might as well own (it comes with the deed to the car, you see).
Of course there are no sidewalks and there are cars double-parked on both sides of the road, but rather than let them pass the parked cars she decides to really hammer down on the klaxon. She startles a squirrel up a tree. Frightened locals peer out from behind their curtains. I think I see a tumbleweed blow past. It’s like a scene out of a cheesy western, and the tension is palpable.
Because Lady Avenger is about to have a grown-up person tantrum.
It involves pulling over her car and cursing out the pedestrians. When they calmly explain to her that there are no sidewalks and that she can’t just run people over, she replies in her delightfully delirious way, “You have two choices. You can either get run over or get yelled at.” Well, I suppose it’s nice to know my rights. When my father tells her that the law does not give cars the right to run over pedestrians under any circumstances she shoots back, “The laws were made for people from this country.”
Her son, sitting shotgun, sinks a whole six inches into his seat during the exchange. I almost feel bad for him.
Because it doesn’t matter my dad moved here in the ‘70s, was educated in this country, is a naturalized citizen, has a PhD from one of the most competitive universities in the world, and has been the chairperson of his department for twenty-plus years. As long as he has an accent, she has what? The right to run him over? Apparently. All for avenging her right to turn sharply at corners going twenty or so miles above the speed limit (which was 15 mph, by the way).
Why does registering for a gym membership seem a little bit like you’re signing your life away?
Most mornings I can’t commit to a brand of toothpaste (though Sensodyne has been a steady contender), and they want me to commit the next twelve months of my life (and a base fee of like $50, plus $10 installments over the course of 12 months) to this place. I’m a college student, man. Money doesn’t grow on trees. And even if it did, it wouldn’t just magically fall off the branches and land on my lap.
I’ve always been a strictly run-around-the-park kind of exercise-er. To be perfectly honest, I’ve mostly been a lounge-in-front-of-the-laptop kind of exercise-er, but humor me for a minute. There was something that felt weirdly public about going to the gym. Like, here you are doing this incredibly personal thing, and there are a hundred eyes focused on you doing it, judging you, watching you do whatever it is you do when you go to the gym wrong.
This month I was about to give in. I was going to register for a membership after getting barked at/growled at/chased by local dogs (and, once, a politician) one too many times. And, to be perfectly honest, you can only run around the same park so many times before you start going out of your mind. I was going to slink in through the back door of the neighborhood gym at some weird hour so nobody else would be there, do what I had to do, and slink back out before anybody knew I was there. Then I saw the membership fees.
Tomorrow I’m going to go back to running in circles around the local park. Clockwise—it gives the illusion that I have some sense of direction in life.
I’m in the mood for some NaNo light. If there’s zero-calorie soda and reduced-fat potato chips, I figure NaNoBloMo can come in the light variety, too—it’s going to have to this year.
By some miracle I’ve managed to survive my most difficult bout of midterms yet (my accounting class and I have decided that we’re never going to be friends), but I’m not exactly in the clear yet. I’ve got a couple of other major school projects floating around the month of November, and I’ll (hopefully) have the not-so-minor creative project of getting 50,000 words into my story or bust. So to celebrate the NaNo season I’m going to try to write a new badpoetree post Monday through Friday throughout the month of November.
Anyway, I’m not gonna lie—I’ve already started cheating on NaNoWriMo. I’m going in with a tidy 10,000 word sum already done, and I haven’t even started adding to the word-count. Anybody else giving any of the NaNo’s a try this year? I’d love to follow along.