Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wolfgang Pauli

So, there's this character in my novel who is a scientist. A physicist, to be exact, though she is in love with her organic chemistry professor...but I digress. She's still in college, but she's a true scholar of physics...which is so, so, so not me that it can be hard to make her sound legit. I took Physics for Poets at Vandy and barely got a B.

She's reading up about Wolfgang Pauli's exclusion principle. I would prefer to have her reading Pauli directly, but since I'm not sure that the man ever actually wrote a book about his Nobel-winning principle, I figure it's safer to have her reading about him. Because that someone has to have covered.

I picked Pauli and his exclusion principle out of a web-page full of scientists and their discoveries because I think his could tie thematically in with my book. (Remember? There are no accidents?)

So I've read the exclusion principle definition about five times, ignoring those scary equations, and this is what I understand: he explained why things don't sink into things, but light and radiation can pass through. Like, we can stand on the ground and not be squished together, because we are separate because of the quantum way all those protons/neutrons/electrons move, but light and radiation can pass through because they're different. I don't know why, exactly, but something to do with atomic structure, perhaps. But anyway, that's what he did.

I could have referred to my bookmarked wilkipedia definition, but that right up there is honestly what I retained after five re-reads.

She had to be a physicist.

And what do physicists do, precisely? Things in labs? Because she wants to go to graduate school for physics and bless my little humanities heart, but I have no idea what she might do there--besides wear a lab coat and hold test tubes.

Monday, October 30, 2006

just so you know


The novel cometh along. I'm planning to be done with a good solid complete draft by February.

I'm getting an article published in the local paper-- it's an interview I did with a mad crazy woman who's written a memoir and now wants to be best friends with me. I am getting paid.

The features department at the local paper might be offloading articles during their busy/supplement times onto me. They say they will, but the proof is in the assignment, so we'll see. I'm also in talks about profiling local and upcoming artists for the local paper's entertainment paper on a regular basis, which would be most fab. Again, we'll see.

On my way back through Nashville on Monday, I'm meeting with my uber-cool friend Danielle and this communications whiz she's working with, because they might possibly want me to profile this woman, which I could do from Oxford. Keep your fingers crossed.

And I have writing samples winging their way to Memphis, where if all stars align and the clouds part, an editor will let me be one of her freelancing pool, to write real magazine articles! That's kind of a long shot, but I'm hoping.

So that's me.

K's all disappointed because we showed up for volleyball yesterday, on a gorgeous Indian summer afternoon, and it was canceled. Then, tonight, the guys who were going to start playing basketball in a league are now displaced b/c of all the churches needing their gyms for Halloween activities. But hopefully he'll come home bearing news of a reschedule.

But still, we persevere.

We had a real writer and his super-cool wife to dinner on Friday. If any of y'all like thrillers, check Ace Atkins out at Amazon.

And lastly, speaking of Amazon, many thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, who bestowed such generous bounty from that marvelous site-- I picked myself out "The Silver Spoon", which is THE Bible of Italian cooking, just in English for the 1st time, and "Laundry", so I will never shrink/permanently stain anything again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ramblings of a wannabe writer

Every day I try to annoy someone. I'm doing it for professional reasons-- namely, pestering people to publish me. Not the novel-- it has to be done for that-- but article ideas. It's a wee bit humiliating, but I'm ok, because you know what?Eventually I'll break them :) Although yesterday the editor of Vanderbilt's alumni magazine blatantly lied to me, but hey, with a last name like doll and a nasty accent, I'd be a pissant too.

(No I wouldn't. She said that the Vanderbilt magazine only writes about issues in Nashville, which is a PATENT lie, and only uses seasoned Nashvillian writers, which is just stupid. She stinks.)

I think much of succeeding must be not listening to other people, namely the naysayers and the I'm-too-importants. But as I'm not successful yet, we'll see if that theory holds up :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

stress meditations

Today two Italian doctors with hearing problems told me to take an antiviral suppressant for the next year. The younger one paused on his way out of the door. "And stop worrying about it," he said ("it" being the disfiguring cold sores I get way too frequently). "Treat the pill like a vitamin, take it once a day, and never think about it."

The power of the mind over the body can demonstrate itself in pretty nutso ways. People having panic attacks really believe their heart is imploding. Women can summon the strength to raise cars off of their children. And when I was trapped in a stressful situation two years ago, I immediately got a cold sore...as in, one minute I'm stressed, the next I have the beginnings of a fever blister.

While doctors to admit a relationship between cold sore outbreaks and stress, I'm convinced that a host of physical ailments get medically treated while their root causes go undiagnosed. Not to sound too hippy-dip on you, but if you're consistently breaking down in some area (stomach, sinus, bowels), and you're not abnormally physically made, then perhaps that particular area is where your body manifests stress. So perhaps incorporate less caffeine, more sleep, and some yoga or a walk outside into your life.

I've done the proactive healthy things, and now I'll be trying another round of pills. Covering both bases seems like the best way to go.

Make sure you're covering yours.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

bright and shiny dreams

It's hard to have a husband who makes...well, if he makes a lot, let's say, and I make zero, how many times is that?

The not-earning is getting to me. But on the other hand, when I look at my peers, they are in graduate school and have yet to make a dime, or are quitting jobs right and left (for darn good reasons), or are working jobs that they fully intend to quit as soon as possible.

Plus I came with a dowry, which is my little nugget of marital financial equality, and I hold on to that justifucation very tightly indeed.

But still. The not-earning is really tough.

It's not if I'm just sitting on my ass, people (can you taste the defensiveness? I can). I'm streaming ahead with my novel-- the new time has probably quadrupled my rate of speed, I'm interviewing people in town (a whole other story), I'm awaiting proofreading jobs from the journal where I used to work. But as always, I want to be there, which involves many, many uncertain months ahead, because THERE means a successful author.

So there. Life isn't just cake.

So far, I've interviewed two people in this town of Oxford-- no mean feat when you consider that I know no one.

My idea is to assemble a veritable dossier of mini-autobiographies of people in this town. I think it's a good idea, and hey, it's a great way to meet people. So far, I've interviewed a thrice-divorced English professor who is mad, mad, mad, and the CEO of K's company. (At 4.30 in the morning. And let me tell you, he is one tough nut, who came to the flourescently lit table with a whole wall of something that I just could not get through, even though I'm a pretty young thing who came bearing homemade bread, even though I was on time AT FOUR-THIRTY IN THE MORNING, even though I did the canine equivalent of rolling on my back, baring my belly, and smiling to show how much more important than me he indeed is.)

So I'll let you know how the whole following-the-dream thing goes. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

in the throes

Things I'm missing about DC:

Cheap organic milk
Whole Foods coffee
Brown Cown plain creamtop yogurt

Things I'm LOVING about Oxford

-the weather
-the friendliness of just about everyone
-the historic downtown
-the fact i'll be paying about 3 bucks for every pilates and yoga class at the ridiculously cheap gym
-Square Books (the bookstore)
-the weekly volleyball game where you park on the side of a country road, take a trail up over a ridge, and emerge into a near canyon that happens to contain a volleyball court and many passionate old men
- my very first DSL and landline

Move south, my friends, move south.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Apparently, intending to write a guest blog means that someday, writing from the K. might grace this website, but not any time soon.

So it's just me.

Today is Wednesday, the official start of our Mississippian life. We're ensconscned in a three-month-leased townhouse, complete with hardwood floors downstairs only, a gas fireplace, and for the first time in my life, a garbage disposal. K. keeps clucking over the shoddy workmanship of these new homes, but it's clean, high ceiling, bright, and airy. Kind of like a luxury hotel except with our stuff.

I keep clucking over the fact that this development is very akin to a dollhouse, with the faux-Victorian fronts, complete with dolls, in the form of lissome young collegiate things who surround us on every side.

K. told a colleague about my dollhouse/dolls comment.

The man's response: "Yes, that is hard on the older women here. How old's your wife?"

K." "Twenty-four," with a look of disbeleif.

The man: "Two years out? Yeah, I can see that."

See what, precisely? Apparently, I am over the hill at my fresh new age of twenty-four. I want to stomp my foot and protest that indeed, I am a child bride.

So K.'s at his first day of work. I have gone to yoga, put in a good two hours on the novel, and now I'm taking a lunch-clean myself break before I go try to get myself a job.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

the sum-up: One month, many tears, and 1400 miles later

We're in Oxford. More on that later. My husband K. is planning a guest blog, so stay tuned.

But since I'm finally sitting on my own couch, in our own space, here's the sum-up. Start at the bottom.

And p.s.: tomorrow is my birthday!