Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

17 February 2007

Worth waking up to.../Happy New Year

What they call a "deep dark secret": sometimes, I get discouraged. Yes, despite my wild love for my work, it sometimes happens, after days of solid work, when I haven't showered; grocery-shopped; nor even sometimes left the flat for more than a few minutes at a time, and then only to run outside to pick up the food I've ordered in (the delivery boys at Viceroy of India down the street know me by now); when I've gone cross-eyed reading (I literally lost the ability to focus last night for nearly twenty minutes); after I finally set it all aside for a moment before falling into fitful sleep and realize that these hours upon hours have made little or no dent in what I have left to do - sometimes, I get discouraged. And then, guilt follows: how, how do I justify letting myself get discouraged when I am living that long-worked-for goal? And then shame... And then, if I'm lucky, after tossing and turning, then sleep. Last night was one of these particularly hard nights - after days of meetings, relentless (if thoroughly, deeply satisfying) reading (from Woolf to Kristeva to Joyce), and of course, writing...all incredibly invigorating, but then last night - I realized that regardless of how much I've done in the last 5 days, I only had 2 days to get through twice as much more before my classes on Monday. Finally too tired to keep reading, I spent some quality time with Jess & Efua, playing patience on the floor of Efua's room, waiting for my body to unwind before I put it to bed (if not my mind)...this was our Friday night. Early in the a.m., a seizure woke me up (incredibly disheartening after the optimism of a 3-day streak seizure-free, a relief from the daily or twice-daily spells I've been suffering from since shortly before visiting the States in December); I ended up sleeping right up until my alarm went off at 9:30 (usually I wake up naturally by 8ish, which, with a sufficient side of coffee, is far more conducive to Kristeva; Woolf I like after lunch, reading her at the time of day when she wrote her letters...). Even with that extra bit of sleep, the seizure had left me shaky; I was slow getting out of bed, unsure if I could do it without another attack. But of course, we can't spend our days in bed, so I got up to check my email, of which there were 70 to sift through (Penn call for papers...) of which:

My first grad acceptance has come. Univ. of CA at Irvine. And they're willing to fight for me; they'd like to know what my other offers are (hopefully more will come) so that they can "negotiate" with me. More, they've offered to reimburse my travel expenses & put me in a hotel if I'd like to visit in March (which I will only do if they'll let me push up the date; otherwise, I'll be missing part of Rasheed's visit). Wow. This comes as such a relief - I have a place somewhere this fall - and is so humbling at the same time - have I done this? And after all of the work...what a reward.

To celebrate (and to get me out of the flat), Jess took me out for breakfast - specifically to the same table at the same Starbucks for the same drink as when I had my first moment of "waiting for grad acceptances" panic just a week ago. And what a beautiful morning: the sun was beaming on calm waves; the air, mild - warm, even; my latte & cinnamon roll, deliciously decadent (there are not enough "l's" within my momentarily limited reach (caffeine slump) to describe it, to make my tongue as happy pronouncing it as it was tasting it...); the people, easy and laughing - I saw a man playing the tuba on stilts in the Lanes, and this made me exorbitantly giddy - certainly worth the 20p I threw in the upturned hat lying at his "feet." We stopped in Jess's favorite chemist's (Boots) & then her favorite home store, where we drooled over the kitchen supplies (tea pots! coffee machines!) we can't afford to put in our non-existant houses. And finally, the Body Shop, where I treated myself to some hand cream (it's made out of hemp!), though in my defense, I had run out, and I have little cuts all over my knuckles where the skin dries and cracks...

And now, though I have come home to get back to work (and much invigorated!), I've realized, it's not over - far from. Tonight is the Eve of the Chinese New Year, the year of the pig. And I'm the pig. Already, it's my year (and a few of my flatmates & friends! In the words of Jess: "The rut is over!"). Tonight we go out to dinner for more celebration, both of the new year, and now, in my heart, of my first acceptance. Worth waking up to what? Life (the present in general, and Virginia Woolf's and Roger Fry's, whose I'm currently working through), the Lanes (and a man on stilts playing the tuba), a New Year!


At 3:26 PM, Blogger o.a.k. said...

hi honey. i'm so proud of you! congrats on getting into uc irvine. i hope you get into all of them!!! discouraging days are tough, but they pale in comparison to the happy ones. at least i keep telling myself that.

wow, i am so so proud of you. you deserve it. :)

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Holly said...

Hi Tessa! Please send me another e-mail. I just got a new computer and lost all my email contacts! I did get your last mail and am now standing on one foot whenever I can. :-)


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