Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Friday, December 21, 2007

academic bellyache

Because I have a poor sense of pattern recognition, I am applying to PhD programs. Because I am a masochist, I am actually looking forward to going back to school. I love taking classes. The Idea of comprehensive exams is actually appealing -- I test well and obviously love to read. The idea of writing a dissertation is enough send me into a panic attack, but it's the furthest mental hurdle to overcome and therefore the easiest to manage.

I remember feeling nebulous and unsure when applying for my MA. I had not settled completely on a city and a school, so deciding where to go was a slow and agonizing process. Now, there really is only one choice. And while I am giving myself options, playing there field, there is definitely something specific that I want.

Being certain does not give me peace. There is something that I want, and therefore something to be nervous about.

It makes me sound naive and unaware of myself, but only recently have I realized that I have a serious anxiety problem. It's robbed me of sleep for years, caused a slew of stomach problems, made me less than the person and partner I want to be. Then last night I was a tense, hysterical, nauseated mess, because I realized a package I mailed might not get to Ontario in time. Not an application, not a necessary document, an ordinary package to someone who would completely understand if it showed up a day or two late. I was in tears. I still have a headache from the tightness in my jaw and neck.

This is not just silly. This is something I genuinely need to take care of. Maybe before I start a PhD and my head actually explodes.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 10:40 a.m.!! 0 comments

Friday, December 14, 2007

post-extravaganza update

There are two kinds of events. Both types can be wildly successful or complete disasters or anywhere in between, but no matter where they fall on the success-o-meter they will inevitably reveal themselves to be one of these two event types.

First, you have those events that you carry every inch of the way. In order for the event to actually happen, the planner my fight, claw, threaten, and cajole everything and everyone in to place. Nothing comes easily, and if the planner isn't there every step of the way coaxing or flogging it along, the event will collapse in on itself and not happen.

Then there are events that develop their own momentum. Somewhere along the line, these events take over, and even if you tried you couldn't stop them from happening. Like the Grindery in Lunar Knights, they become these huge things thundering across the landscape, and you couldn't stop them happening event if you threw yourself in their path.

The Calgary Extravaganza fell squarely into the latter category. Somewhere around the time that the Herald approached Neil and I for an interview (arranged by the indomitable Tiffany Regaudie over at NeWest) about the tour and the upcoming event, I lost control of the momentum completely. If I did nothing else, if I even tried to stop it, I am fairly certain the event would have happened anyway.

As it was, I couldn't be more pleased with the way it went. We had well over a hundred people in attendance -- even some out-of-towners, like rob mclennan, who loaded up a van and came down from Edmonton for the event. All the performers were excellent. We sold a decent amount of alcohol and a truly obscene amount of books. Ian Kinney bartended and wore a gold bow-tie. Tara and Ed manned the merch table. The space was great and everyone at Lunchbox Theatre was a complete dream to work with. It was also over too quickly.

Afterwards, Prof X, Tara, Ed, Shelley and I ended up at Singapore Sam's (look, I know. Soba 10 was closed.) for some late-night ginger beef. Prof. X and Ed got into a very involved conversation about poetry and programming. I wanted to listen more closely than I could, but around the periphery of my brain a cold grey creep was starting, exhaustion's fog closing in, and before 1am I was dead to the world with a pillow wrapped around my head while most of the attendees continued to drink at the Bear & Kilt.

I'm applying to PhD programs now. Calgary is my first choice, but not my only option. I might have to leave. The more events I do, the less I want to go, and the more I wonder if extravaganzas and blow-outs can really happen any place else.


Natalie Zed updated @ 11:08 a.m.!! 0 comments