time (what’s real work?)

it’s difficult to justify my time blogging when I’m behind on work. Tomorrow I want to go and help form a human chain in solidarity with Muslim Day (I live in TX now, so while you won’t hear about this kind of thing in the evening news–it’s not national stage worthy & doesn’t directly address the ban–it matters because people here are scarily open about their love of our demagogue–and the hate he stands for.

So there’s my actual work, the screws I’ve made that I need to address, as well as projects that I’m (perpetually, it seems) behind on, and all the initiatives that I can see would be helpful. There’s what I owe the country, my country, which out of privilege I’ve ignored till now (you know, now, when they are changing the doomsday clock).

And sick kids. The infant I just stopped this post to nurse and put down again, and the toddler, who should be down for a nap, but seems to be rearranging the furniture.

So I have these posts that I want to write, on structure in short stories, an inquiry into why certain stories compel me to keep reading and others I’m happy to never glance at again. There Yiyun Li’s story, which totally disappointed me, and I’d like to analyze what elements worked and didn’t work. And then there’s the stories, the nonfiction essays that I’ve begun but need time and energy to grow from the seedlings they are now.

My mom, the same mom I’m somewhat estranged from, would and has argued that our *real* work is art, so in my case, my real duty is first and foremost to the words. But she is so saturated in martinis and snobby, self-indulgent magical thinking, that it’s hard to accept any of her principles anymore. And ah f*ck. Let me not start talking about mom. When I’m up in the middle of the night, when I stalk around the house grouchy, it’s her voice I hear pronouncing all the criticisms. Just better to step away now.

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