i've caught a cold. by this point i assume my neighbors are like holy god, woman, GO TO THE DOCTOR. as i hear them when they cough so surely they haven't been spared me.
in early december, after completion of The Fortnight of Doom, N and i joked that the day-to-day condition of our health was not unlike the feeling you have after just having donated blood. which, we realized wasn't the greatest though now, after nearly two months where the condition of my health has resembled that of a 19th century consumptive, it seems almost ideal.
this is all we talk about now. the question why are we always sick? recurs with such frequency that it is no longer accompanied by the acknowledgment that we talk about nothing but our health and this makes us feel 95.
is it the germs at the library? the dust from the books? that one sign by the men's lavatory on the 4th floor at senate house with the warning of asbestos seems ominous. are we being poisoned by the library or by our PhDs?
yesterday, despite the entrance of a disconcerting rattle into my cough over the weekend, i felt almost well and, for the briefest of shining moments, i also felt THISCLOSE to being able to articulate the dynamic between jackie and camelot and america, circa 1975.
SOCLOSE. and no cigar. the moment dimmed. i left the library and came home and immediately descended into an abyss of uncontrollable coughing and snot.
my cough drop consumption is reaching epic proportions. nearly pack a day.
last friday, in our lone attempt at leading social lives and in celebration of a grant we've won to organize a conference (the organization of which will probably kill us), N and i went out to drinks with the grant-givers. it was some consolation to hear tell of his PhD experience. of how he felt ragged for the whole final year and his mother- a physician- diagnosed him with low blood pressure. then he hauled himself to the doctor and said i'm doing a PhD and they said ooooooooooh, you don't have low blood pressure. this is just who you are now.
i am slowly resigning myself to the notion that maybe this is just who i am now, for there is nothing left to adjust. i am eating meat again. i am taking vitamins in addition to the vitamins i've been taking all along. i'm drinking water and eating vegetables and doing yoga and sleeping more and better than i've slept in my life.
the only thing that could possibly go is the writing and it is the one thing that cannot. and, along with the coughing, it is the only constant.
the tension here is both obvious and amusing. can writing really be that draining, make you that vulnerable physically? i mean, i sense that it is dangerous, what i'm doing. making my mind jump all these tracks to write at different registers. mentally, it feels like a physical exertion, and already i feel that there will be an ending and, when that ending comes, i will need to sit in a dark room for about a month, reading deeply trashy romance novels about which i will not need to think critically while someone else takes total responsibility for ensuring that i am fed and watered. like a delicate plant.
perhaps this is what photosynthesis feels like? or an exorcism?
N keeps comparing it to being underwater. the idea that usually you walk through the puddles and get your feet wet but there is space between the puddles and so eventually the feet dry off.
there is, currently, no space between our puddles. because they aren't puddles but an ocean.
this is an argument to made against long-term projects of any kind. but then, i no longer know what i would do with myself without this always at the back of my mind, churning away in concert with the long-term projects i'm mulling for after. this and those have become integral to who i am.
i'm addicted to the stories, to the finding and telling, and the coming together. and the adrenaline rush that comes after reading biographical writing in public.
we are jugglers in an ocean. i have simultaneously never felt better nor worse. this is both ridiculously melodramatic and entirely truthful.