Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer SAD, Novel Update, and the Joys of Iceberg Lettuce

I recently came across an article on Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I felt vindicated. I always suspected I had SAD in reverse, so it was satisfying to discover it’s actually a thing. Once the summer sun settles in for a long stay, I get irritable, depressed and moody. I feel constantly assaulted by heat and light, and I have a hard time going to sleep and waking up in the morning. I’m generally jittery and on edge. I get fed up with the tourists, the noise, the damned festivals, the stench of the neighbor’s barbeques, and the constant extortion to “get out and have fun!” I don’t want to get out. It’s hot and smelly and loud. I don’t want to have fun just because there’s a big annoying ball of yellow light blaring down from the sky. And I want to punch people who tell me to cheer up because “it’s a beautiful day!” That has nothing to do with whether or not I should feel good, and besides, a beautiful day to me is overcast, slightly drizzly, and not a degree over 65. One of the main reasons I didn’t move to LA after college is that I couldn’t stand the idea of living somewhere with year-round sunshine. I can’t explain it, but I believe it would have killed my soul somehow. As it is, I miss living in a place with four distinct seasons. At least here we get a long stretch of cool, gray skies, which is just fine by me. Summer and its attendant enforced merriment can shove it.

On a cheerier note, I only have 10,000 words to go before I have an actual, whole, completed first draft of a novel! When I first started writing it, getting to 80,000 words felt like an incomprehensibly difficult feat similar to summiting Everest, but now that I’m nearing the end, I’m panicking that I won’t be able tie everything up in so few words. Also, weirdly, I’m a bit sad about it ending. I know I still have tons of editing and polishing to do before it’s anywhere near submission-ready, but the story will have ended, and I’ll miss the characters, especially my “main”, Harley. I’ve lived in her head for almost two years, and she feels like a close friend to me now.

After years of buying leaf lettuce for salads and totally snubbing iceberg lettuce on the grounds that it’s declasse, I grabbed a big head of it the grocery store the other day just for the sake of variety. And damn if I don’t like it better! It’s chewy and crispy and snappy and crunchy and can hold up under a healthy dose of dressing. Sure, it lacks a bit in the color department, but it’s so much more fun to eat than the supposedly healthier leafy greens, which now seem limp, bitter and mushy in comparison. I can’t believe I have ignored iceberg lettuce all of these years in some misguided attempt at gustatorial sophistication. From now on, it’s all iceberg, all the time in the Typist household. That tremor you feel is me crunching away shamelessly on a big cold heart of pale green goodness. It turns out I’m not the only poet who has turned on this issue. Gerald Locklin knows the score, and he wrote a poem about it.

Finally, in the spirit of good verbal hygiene and Gen X nostalgia, here is a grammar lesson from Weird Al Yankovich. God, I love that guy.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

John Socrates said...

Outstanding blog, my dear. Just outstanding. If I've said it once, I'll say it again: you should be writing for The New Yorker or Cosmopolitan. Or whatever is the No. 1 blog on the Internet.


P.S. I'm going out to the supermarket later today and I'm definitely getting some iceberg lettuce!