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It is very heartening

February 16, 2011

to write a blog post after the absolute silence of my study. I love hearing right back from everyone. The book is particularly lonely these days as I have been getting up at 4 to write before any of my 10 million students can ping onto my computer or knock on my door. I love them, but it is hard to write once they wake up because the moment they swing their legs out of bed, they realize they have questions for me, and none of these questions are existential (What is the meaning of life? Or why is Kafka Kafka? And which do you like better Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights?). Instead they want to know: When is the quiz? What will be on it? How long should the paper be? Is it ok if i miss class on Friday? Sorry to miss class today (and on and on). This is why my students will go on to great things; they are really on top of pragmatics.

I used to go for a walk or go to the gym first thing in the morning which makes it hard to choose sitting still in front of a computer. I miss the endorphins. But I am consoled by the memory of talking to a friend, an old student, who has two young sons. She is very familiar with this choice: to exercise or write (right, Kate?). We agreed it is hard not to get both. Still, I feel a little ashamed to want to exercise so much. I can’t imagine the modernists, for example, fussing about exercise: Hemingway’s brain was not cluttered up by heart rate, weight, and blood pressure. I am trying to push all this wellness-stuff aside because I am in a stage of the book where missing a day of writing, makes me feel sad, sick, anxious. Of course, a day of writing also makes me feel sad, sick, anxious. But I have done a great job, if I do say so myself, of immersing myself in the Marys. Their world feels real, just as real, and more real, than this one.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne Marshall permalink
    February 17, 2011 12:09 am

    Hi Charlotte 🙂 I’m fascinated by your musings and enjoy reading, to exercise or not that is rhr question. And the self imposed both physiological and mental manipulations we find ourselves constantly seeking some balance. Someone wise said of you find balance, you won’t fall off. And clearly there are times one aspect of our lives is more needy than another.

    I hope you the very best for your book. And perhaps I have missed what it is about; just the writing of a book is daunting to me whether it be about heady stuff or not. You are supremely brilliant and I know you’ll do well. I enjoy reading your words.

    Take care,


  2. February 17, 2011 4:41 am

    Anne Marshall — how nice to hear from you! Thank you for the wise words. Balance is the key —

  3. Kate Schultz permalink
    February 17, 2011 10:38 am

    Right, Charlotte. I remember that conversation clearly. Sometimes it feels like “either/or”…And at the same time, I agree with Anne. Balance is important. But if you are immersed in the Marys, go with it. That’s a gift. You can get some exercise after the deadline, when spring is here.

  4. Wendy permalink
    February 17, 2011 5:36 pm

    Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights!!! Which is your favorite?

  5. February 17, 2011 9:22 pm

    Which one do you like?? how is that baby? xo

  6. Wendy permalink
    February 18, 2011 9:42 am

    I think that is an impossible question. It really depends on the season. I like reading Jane Eyre in the winter and Wuthering Heights in the fall or spring. The baby is wonderful in all ways. She is now pointing to books and say ba ba- which makes me think her first word is book! But then again she also says ba ba for the lamp, broccoli and her stuffed duckie, so maybe not. BTW- I LOVE reading your blog so much. I check it every single day.

  7. Dorothy Lamb Crawford permalink
    March 6, 2011 3:10 pm

    Charlotte, I have been asked by Amelia LeClair, conductor of the early music group, Cappella Clausura, whether you might be available to come to one or both of their Boston premiere performances (Apr. 2, 3) of my solo cantata, “Portrait of Anne Bradstreet,” and take part in a “TalkBack” with members of the audience? I understand you are now working toward a deadline, but the concerts are not far from Gloucester, and your book on Mistress Bradstreet will be of particular interest at those occasions. I hope you will e-mail me at the above address to let me know your inclination?
    Thank you, sincerely,
    Dorothy Lamb Crawford

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