Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 December 2013

Summing Up 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
Watched Florida State with the ACC championship. Taught a class of PhD students. Insanity.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I actually did. I had resolved to write two chapters of my book, but instead I decided to send a chapter out for publication and work on another article. These things have worked out, so now I will turn back to the book in 2014. I did resolve to get much better at French, and I have definitely done that. Resolution for 2014, though, is to get back into shape. I have let myself gain some winter weight at the end of 2013.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My friends Danny & Ashley had a beautiful baby girl named Arlene Gail. She is gorgeous. And my friends Jill & Mike had a son just a couple days ago named Emerson Allen. I get to meet him in March.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My dear friend Irma lost her canine companion Texas. We also lost one of the most important people in Queer Theory this year: José Esteban Muñoz. Both deaths were truly heartbreaking.

5. What countries did you visit?
None this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I need a place I can call home. Moving around like a nomad is fine, and the schools where I have been working have been fun, helpful, educational, and exciting. But I'd like to start dwelling somewhere.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Bill & Meghan's wedding, of course! It was August 31st and it was a weekend of splendiforous events.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Insanity!

9. What was your biggest failure?
My failure to find a tenure-track position for 2013-2014. It all is working out, of course, but it felt awful at the time. The job market is no fun, y'all.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing too horrible.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A ticket to the ACC championship game in Charlotte, NC on December 7th. Go Noles!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I have been so proud of my sons Dayne and Jordan this year. They are doing their thing: working hard and making lives and careers for themselves in new cities.
Edward Snowden and anyone else who fights the multiple apparatuses of the State.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The U.S. Congress, as usual. What a bunch of idiots.
The State of Florida.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying off my car, which I finally did last month.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Visiting California. Seeing Arlene for the first time. Hanging out with Cruz and Sofia. Meghan and Bill's wedding. The annual meeting of the American Society for Theatre Research in Dallas (so many good friends!).

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell's "Blurred Lines".  
I feel so lucky
You wanna hug me
What rhymes with "hug me"?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter.
c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Okay, this is crazy, but my favorite things to do are read and watch movies. I wish I could manage to do those things way more than I do. I am becoming more of an introvert as I get older, and reading and seeing films feed me in a particular way that I find comforting and exciting. At this stage in my career, I am not allowed to read as much as I'd like: I am supposed to be publishing, which means I have to write more and read less.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Evaluating myself based upon the often arbitrary demands of the current job market. I also wish I spent less time in meetings run by people who do not value other people's time.
I also wish I'd done less complaining about the demands of the current job market. And less complaining in general. (Except for all the complaining I've done about people who don't value the time of others. Those complaints are merited.)

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
In California! I'm here right now, in fact. It is warm and I am comfortable and happy, baking cookies, hanging out with my parents, visiting with my friends, playing with my sobrinos, and going to the cinema with my sister.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Nope.

22. How many one-night stands?
Four. Three were awesome; the other one wasn't bad per se, but I only did it because I knew it would be a fun story to tell later.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Orange Is the New Black.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
A couple of truly heinous students. Yes.

25. What was the best book you read?
The first two volumes of Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Swann's Way and Within a Budding Grove. I'm almost finished with the third, The Guermantes Way. I'm listening to this epically long novel on audiobook in the translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, and it is enriching my life considerably.
I would also recommend Boccaccio's Decameron from the fourteenth century, which I finally read. It reads very swiftly and is endlessly entertaining.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I know nothing about music, but I spent my year listening to Justin Timberlake and James Blake.

27. What was the best piece of theatre you saw?
Back to Back Theatre's Ganesh versus the Third Reich
John Tiffany's production of The Glass Menagerie with Cherry Jones and Brian J. Smith is a close runner-up. I saw it at the the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge.
(But honestly I didn't go to the theatre very much this year.)

28. What did you want and get?
To be published in a top-tier journal. The article isn't out yet, but it will be soon. And I am finished with all of my edits, including extensive conversations with the copy-editor.
 
29. What did you want and not get?
I really was hoping for a job last year, and I did not get one. The 2014 season is a whole different ballgame, though. Things look great.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Great Beauty followed by Blue Is the Warmest Color

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My friends Katie, Viktor, and Yasser took me out to a restaurant in White River Junction, and then we had beers at an underground dive bar there afterward. It was very very nice.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A nicer kitchen.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Dress up. Always dress up. A pair of great shoes has the power to separate you from the city you might be consigned to live in.

34. What kept you sane?
Rounds of Say the Same Thing with Deborah and Jordan.
Chats with Patrick McKelvey, Kate Bredeson, and Joe Cermatori.
After-work drinks with my colleagues at Florida State.
Shopping trips with my mother.
Hikes in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Vermont with Caleb.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Messina

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Politics in the U.S. is broken. I have been yelling about it for what feels like at least ten years, but the Congress just gets worse. The thing I paid attention to the most this year was the trial of George Zimmerman. It felt like a kind of Floridian Dreyfus Case: I would rather cross the street than speak  to someone who thought George Zimmerman ought to go free.

37. Whom did you miss?
This year was another year of missing everyone. I divided my time between Florida, Virginia, and New Hampshire, and traveled all over. So I missed my friends in Los Angeles, missed my friends in New York, my friends in Seattle, my friends in Tallahassee, and my friends in Lynchburg.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Katie Bland

39. Tell us a valuable life-lesson you learned in 2013:
A couple of really important things:
1) I thought by switching careers from performance to something else I was moving into a less cutthroat career path. Not true. Finding a job is difficult no matter what you're doing. So if you want to be a performer, work hard and keep doing it. I wasn't cut out to be a performer, and my new career path is a much better one for my sensibilities, but trying to get a good job is exactly like auditioning and constantly facing rejection.

2) Friendships are great. Focus as much as you can on the ones who are around you every day. The ones from earlier in your life won't go away completely, they will just change in level of importance. I learned this year that for extroverts, being around people is energizing, but for introverts, being around people saps energy from us and being alone rebuilds our stores of energy. I have a lot of great friends, and I am very very grateful for them, but I have started to become closer and closer to friends around whom I feel more energized, relaxed, and encouraged.

3) Say yes to challenges or things that might seem a little difficult. Some of my favorite experiences this year (the ACC game, the Capitol Truffle Collection, traveling to Virginia for Sonnets and Chocolates) have been from deciding to do something whole-hog that actually was kinda inconvenient.

40. Share an important quote from 2013:
How dreary a monotony must pervade those people's lives who, from indolence or timidity, drive in their carriages straight to the doors of friends whom they have got to know without having first dreamt of knowing them, without ever daring on the way to stop and examine what arouses their desire.
À la Recherche, volume 2