Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One of My Quirks

I just realized that one of my quirks is my obsessive need to begin at the beginning. For instance, when I find a new blog that I really, really like, I like to go to the beginning of the archives (if they don't go too far back, by which I mean more than a few years) and "catch up." I do this with writers as well. For instance, when I discovered M.F.K. Fisher, I was compelled to buy all of her books and read them from the beginning. I needed to see her thoughts and writing unfold in the correct order. For the same reason, after reading the first page of David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim I refused to go one word further and rushed to buy his earlier work to read his stories from the beginning. Totally unnecessary, because a good story is a good story, I'm not going to miss anything by starting with more recent stuff. But it would bug me.

The blessing and curse that is DVR technology has made it possible for me to carry this obsession over into my television viewing (which was already excessive before having the ability to record entire seasons at will). So now I not only have a backlog of books to read (we're talking at least 25 on the shelf here behind me, and that's just the fun reading, it doesn't even include the backlog of academic stuff in my office closet), I also have a DVR full of stuff to watch.

Then last spring while finishing my dissertation (or, I should say, while procrastinating on said job) I discovered blogs (yes, as with Sedaris above, I'm regularly the last to join in the party, but better late than never). The pressures of dissertation (which was finally completed at the end of the summer) and of teaching a very full load of new courses pulled me away from the blogs for 9 months, so I've now also got blogs to catch up on (which always brings new ones to my attention, thus adding to the list).

Which brings me to my current situation. I am taking the first week or two of summer break off to recharge and replenish myself. It is a much-needed break after the last 3 1/2 years, which were rather intense with lots of life changes and absolutely no substantial time off. I will also take regular days off after that point, though I'll spend the majority of my time revising papers for publication and all of the other work that falls by the wayside during the teaching year. I'm enjoying this time off immensely already, even with sick child at home, and look forward to the rest of it. But how do I spend this time, this sudden wealth of time for me after so long without much of it? How do I choose between the books I miss so much, the shows and movies I enjoy so much, and the blog reading, for which I'm rapidly developing a fierce passion? I feel like a kid in a candy store, overwhelmed by all of the pretty colors and shapes and flavors.

It's a fucking great problem to have!


Belinda said...

Oh, you poor thing--and poor baby girl, too! Bless your hearts.

(Southern living tip--learn how to use the phrase "bless his/her heart" with proper inflection, because it's a beautiful linguistic tool. Spoken one way, as above, it's a sincere expression of sympathy. Seasoned with a subtle difference in tone, it ranks right up there with "Lord love him" or "God bless her" as a delightfully subversive way of expressing scorn *without ever having said a harsh word*. Because that's the way we do it down here. ;-))

I like you. Will spread the word!

catnip said...

We share the same quirk :) and that is a great problem to have. Did you know ninjapoodles twittered about you? Prepare yourself.