Today, I am sick with what everyone else on the planet has. Part of me wants to just rest, and I would definitely be home sick if I had a job that paid me anyway. But I have a freelance assignment to do, and a packed schedule the rest of the week, which means I am propping myself up at my desk to do interviews. I also had to be a Mom to my dwarf hamsters this morning; one of them, Gloria, seems to be chewing her tail off, so we had to take her to the vet. We also learned that she weighs 33 grams and has a normal heartbeat and can climb out of any container they put her in at the animal clinic. But she has some antibiotics now, so hopefully that’ll help, and she’ll stop chewing her own tail (there isn’t much left). And hopefully I’ll lie down later and get over the flu before I spend three days this week teaching and an evening singing and playing guitar.
I didn’t sleep very well last night — my mind has been reeling lately about planning book events, making it hard to wind down. I got up as usual at 7:30, but napped a bit this afternoon post-lunch. I’m feeling refreshed, but I always wonder whether it’s a good or bad idea to nap in the middle of the work day. Being able to do so is one of freelancing’s major benefits, which perhaps is why it feels so decadent. Years of office training make it seem impossible, and thus lazy. But sometimes you need to do what the body wants. I’ve been reading this great old, out-of-print “diet” book called Eating Awareness Training, and it is remarkable for the fact that all it does is teach you to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It has an elaborate system to do this, with point values for hunger and a mandate that you write down everything you eat. This is necessary because humanity has done such a good job distancing itself from its natural wisdom. If we all ate only when hungry and stopped when full (not stuffed), most of us would not have weight problems. And yet this book was necessary, and furthermore it went out of print, because it was so revolutionary. If everyone did this, the diet industry would die.
How does this relate to naps? I suspect they’re the same. We’ve taught ourselves a million shoulds and shouldn’ts, when our bodies know everything they need. And freelancers are lucky enough to be on their own schedules, so we can take more advantage of our natural rhythms (that is, if we don’t have kids). It’s our little reward for never quite knowing if we’ll have enough money this month.
Some other thoughts on naps from throughout the web:
* It’s good for some people, not for others. (Like, you know, everything.)
* It relieves stress. (Yep, I do feel better.)
Past Me thought it was a fine idea to schedule the following for the last two days: Teaching a three-hour book proposal writing class Monday night, teaching a three-hour article writing class Tuesday morning, teaching a three-hour article pitching class Tuesday night, and writing a recap of The Mindy Project when I returned home from Tuesday night class. Also, then, an eye doctor appointment this morning (Wednesday). Here is the problem with those handy computer calendars we all use now, with the slots for each half-hour and the bars that show you that you’re occupied then: Technically, of course, according to the space-time continuum and Google Calendar, all of these things were possible. So every time someone asked Past Me, say, three months or so ago, “Are you available to teach a book proposal class from 7 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26?”, I would then look at my calendar for that day on my iPhone and see that the slots from 7 to 10 p.m. on that day were free. I would then say, “Why, yes, I am,” and enter it into my calendar. It is only as I scanned my calendar a few weeks ago for upcoming exciting events that I realized I had said, “Why, yes, I am,” to a lot of things. I prepared the best I could, but the thing about teaching and recapping is there is only so much you can do to “prepare.” They are tasks done mostly in real time.
In any case, I lived, despite the conniving Past Me, with an assist from Fate and Luck and Life to make it a tiny bit more difficult: Yesterday’s events included a broken perfume bottle flinging shards of glass all over the bathroom in the morning, a comically difficult delivery of a box full of wines we ordered ages ago, a snow/rain storm, a lady who needed to borrow my cell phone because she was locked out of her apartment and also the buzzer was broken and also her cell battery died, and a DVR that just up and refused to record The Mindy Project so that I could recap it when I got home. (Sometimes the Time Warner DVR just quits for no apparent reason, and I usually have to unplug it and reset it to get it going again. But last night, that isn’t what happened; it recorded Go On at 9 p.m., nothing at 9:30 p.m. — when it should have gotten Mindy — and then kicked right back on at 11 p.m. for The Daily Show without any meddling. It is difficult for me not to take this slight personally.) Luckily Fox’s publicity department happened to have posted the whole episode on its password-protected media site, and luckily I happened to have signed up for a sign-in on said publicity site. Otherwise, there would have been a meltdown that may have included me drinking a large portion of that wine shipment.
Today is nice: I finally got to an eye doctor so I can stop wearing years-old glasses and went to the grocery store so we can eat.
But this is what you do when you depend on piecemeal work from disparate sources to continue feeding your bank account. I taught the How to Freelance class last night in the middle of all of this. The answer to How to Freelance is: This.
As originally posted on SexyFeminist.com:
In case you haven’t noticed, things are going relatively well in the feminist-TV realm. No longer are we forced to call a show “feminist” just because it has a lady crimesolver at its center! Nor because there is a lady who is funny in it, or even because there is a lady who runs the whole damn show! Here’s to hoping “peak vagina,” as one disgruntled male producer called the trend, lasts forever. Because, really, we’re more like at normal vagina, which is to say, close to 50 percent. Huge progress, yes, but also known as closer to equality.
Now. Onto our favorite shows for this fall (so far), new and old:
The Good Wife: This show is so damn good, isn’t it?
Homeland: This homeland-security drama is poised for a breakout season on the Downton Abbey level. It stars Claire Danes as, essentially, Kiefer Sutherland in 24. Yep, that’s pretty much all you need to know.
The Mindy Project: You knew this would be here. Creator/star Mindy Kaling, formerly Kelly of The Office, is a revelation here as an OB/GYN who’s got her career act together but is still working on her personal life. She combines killing it at work while still being super-girly (her character worships romantic comedies) while still making fun of all of the above (she knows romantic comedies are silly, but still). Yeah, hers is the latest in a string of female-driven comedies being compared to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The fact that hers is created by and starring a woman of color shows we’ve made at least a little progress since the ’70s.
You can now pre-order my book about The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Amazon by clicking here. I also happen to think the cover looks spectacular, thanks to the efforts of the Simon & Schuster art department. (And plenty of inspiration from the show itself, of course.)