Sunday, August 16, 2015

#bloglife

I've done so many themed posts lately; I think it's time for a general "what's going on with Becky's life" post, n'est-ce pas?

Overall, things are good. It was a bit of a rocky adjustment when I first got back to Vegas. One day I was jetlagged, the next I was in enormous pain after having my wisdom teeth removed. Staying inside for a week and resting was almost certainly good for my teeth, but not so great for my mental health. Some days I felt really sad, other days I felt really anxious. But then I healed up (for the most part), and my mood improved significantly. Had a raucous night out for Shaun's birthday--Champagne's and then The Golden Tiki, a brand new tiki bar in China town, which appeals very much to my 1960's kitsch sensibilities. Had dinner with Olivia. Resumed climbing with LeeAnn--my muscles are so pathetic after two months off! Helped welcome Shaun's friend Conor to Las Vegas life with a game of trivia at Atomic Liquors--we won, obviously--and a (far too late) night out on Fremont Street along with Danielle, Jesse, and others. Yesterday a bunch of us went swimming.

I started a new blog because I don't have enough of those already. Actually, it's a project with two goals. The first goal of The Backlog is contained within the title; I have a shameful backlog of books that I have purchased and have not yet read, so I'm cutting myself off from buying books (with a few reasonable exceptions) until I have finished them all. I suspect this will take years. In order to motivate myself to read the books, I'll be reviewing them on the blog when I finish them. This will also help me practice reviewing books in general--not such a bad skill to have in the literary world. The second, less obvious goal is to familiarize myself with WordPress. Until now I've always used Google Blogger as my blogging platform. It's straightforward and easy to use, and it lends itself to lengthy writing, which is more useful to me than sites like Tumblr, which lend themselves to photo/gif/video blogging. However, WordPress is clearly the standard these days for blogging platforms, to the extent that many business use it to create their websites. Almost every job listing I've seen in the past few years has cited WordPress familiarity as a desired skill. I worked with it a little when I was interning at Les Figues last summer, but other than that, my WordPress skills are fairly weak. My experience so far is that WordPress gives you microcontrol over every aspect of your site, which I imagine is extremely useful for business websites, but not as useful for basic blogs. For instance, when I use Blogger, images will autopopulate in the links I share on Facebook--either the blog logo, or the first picture in the post if I've included pictures. But with WordPress, I have to make sure I select an image that I want to use with the link when I share it online. I find it a bit irritating--but then, I can see where such small adjustments could be useful under certain circumstances.

Writing has been up and down lately. I tried to write when I was healing from my wisdom teeth surgery, but I'm sure I'll have to rewrite all of that--my head was foggy and in pain, and I just couldn't put the words on paper correctly. It's as though the thoughts I wanted were all there, but they came out in entirely the wrong order. Since then I have been writing, but not quite as much as I'd like. For some reason I'm finding it difficult to write in my house. But coffee shops are loud, as is the Student Union. The upstairs couches in Greenspun seem to work well. Today I might try the library. Normally I find libraries too quiet to get anything done, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm nervous about my thesis. I'm possibly even more nervous about thesis/life balance. On the one hand, my creative thesis is what I came here to do, and I've arranged my schedule in such a way that this is definitely the year to get it nice and polished; I have no literature classes, no essays to write. I still have to teach comp and grade essays, but I have literally no way of escaping that timesuck, as my stipend depends on it. This year is my own personal writer's retreat, or as close as I can make it to that. Unless I'm very lucky, it's probably the only time in my life I'll be able to solely dedicate to writing. On the other hand, I don't want to ignore my friends. But I think I have to ignore them, to a certain extent, in order to finish everything. Hopefully they will also be ignoring me, as they have their own theses to write. Hopefully. Note to friends: it's not that I don't love you, it's just that thesis.

Time to exercise. Then time to write. Then time to read. Let's get productive.

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