a few words from the other jessamyn

I hate to hear myself. I never listen to an interview. I don’t sound like the person I think I am.”
– Jessamyn West interviewed for the Paris Review, 1977

Totally forgot one of the things I wanted to add last time I typed in this box. WNYC has an Archives and Preservation department. They got a grant. They are putting their old stuff on the air and online. I think I’ve mentioned in the past how I like Jessamyn West’s writing and how I’ve always imagines she would have been a neat person to know. She liked writing in bed, she didn’t suffer fools gladly, her books had compelling and interesting female (and male) characters and she always looked snappy in photographs. I’ve read a lot by her–she sent me a few cards as part of a “write a letter to someone famous” assignment I had in elementary school–but never heard her voice. Here is a speech she gave at a Book and Authors Luncheon in 1960: Jessamyn West on an Author’s Responsibility to Her Readers . Ignore the photo of her, it’s from fifteen years earlier.

taking the time


Last years resolutions, such as they were, went pretty okay. I lost the weight I’d wanted to lose, I cooked at home like crazy, I spent more time home and with my family, friends, and boyfriend, and felt like things went okay. Now I’m chipping away at some other things I’d like to do better on. Most importantly: not rushing through things in the name of “efficiency” when I don’t really need that extra few minutes for anything else more important. If I rush through doing the dishes I often break them. If I rush through errands I often forget something. If I rush through a meal I often don’t appreciate it. If I rush out the door I don’t feed the birds and where did I have to be in such a hurry anyhow?

So, I’ve been getting into the habit of not being late exactly but not trying to be so punctual that I am painfully early. And not being such a taskmaster about things. I have the capacity for great productivity, but that’s not the only axis along which I should be measuring my value, to others as well as to myself. I get to work at the school more or less on time, not thirty minutes early. I start working at MetaFilter when my shift starts and not whenever I sit down at the computer. I cook meals that take hours sometimes.

It’s tough because I get the fidgets when I’m not crossing things off of a checklist, but for me that sort of thinking was a bit of a trap. Or, rather, maybe I didn’t have the right things on the checklist. Things like go stand in the woods, have a cup of tea, call a friend, lie down and read for an hour or more.

So far, okay.

Hello New Year

me & the bonfire

So I’ve been writing up new book and library oriented New Year’s posts over at librarian.net and you can read them there. Short form: I read a book a week and visited a library a week, more or less. This blog is usually where I report where I’ve slept and what I’ve been doing exercise-wise. I’m working on the sleeping list but it’s gotten sidelined because I’ve been doing so much actual sleeping.

While Kate and Ned and Jim all got full-blown versions of The Crud, I seem to have a version that is 30% of the strength but lasts three times as long. Nothing bad, just mild achiness, sleepiness and always feeling a little muzzyheaded/dizzy. So I’ve been taking it easy. I changed the Justice of the Peace blog from daily to “irregular” which seems like an okay move. I’ve been drinking lots of tea and getting to bed early. I’ve been eating healthily but haven’t gotten back to the gym yet.

my fitness plan graph of minutes exercised

The good news is that thanks to keeping track of food and exercise on MyFitnessPal (and some concerted effort on my part) I lost the 20 pounds I was aiming for by the end of last year. For people who haven’t seen me in a few years, I look the same as I used to, just not the same as I did last year, if that makes sense. Additionally, thanks to to soap opera lure of Downton Abbey and my routine of only watching it while on the treadmill, I’ve got a pretty good exercise routine down (though looking for good one hour series to watch, suggestions?). The days are getting longer. I did not get demoted in my online trivia league, for once. There’s snow on the ground and it looks like real winter here. I got to see a lot of friends and family over holidaytime but without it feeling like a forced march. I finished a few long books that I really enjoyed.

I had a really long list of Shit To Do at the beginning of last year and I’m pretty certain I have done all the things on that list that were doable by me (as opposed to, say, by a team of lawyers and accountants) so I’m forgiving if I haven’t started 2013 in a blaze of energy. I’ve got to find some time to think out some new goals, new plans.