Paul M said to me the other day that he rather wants one of those shirts that says, Please Do Not Ask Me About My Thesis because when they do he tends to start twitching and gibbering. Which I sympathise with. I remember with crystal clarity having my supervisor introduce me to a prominent theorist in my field and tell her I was awfully clever and writing in her area and she asked me what my thesis was about and I just stared at her for a moment and then said, “You know, I’m in my final year, I should really be able to answer that by now.”
I’m not all that much better two years later. I went completely blank the other day when someone just asked me to tell them what it was called. But despite the ensuing blithering, I always liked when people asked. Like I love it when people ask about my writing. Because I get the chance to talk about it. I don’t really bring it up unless someone asks because I have this inbuilt flinch that says nobody will be interested.
Apparently I am wrong about that. In the last couple of months I’ve had more conversations about my work with a greater variety of people than I have in my entire life. Which is kind of brilliant. And I try not be quite so surprised each and every time someone indicates interest in my work.
Of course it has certain… side effects. Like a much larger percentage of people now know about things like my vague-desire-to-be-shot thing, which somewhat undermines any attempt to present a reasonable and sane facade. And the fact that I’ve been talking about drinking on and off seems to have led some people to the conclusion that I’ve developed full blown alcoholism in the last couple of months. I honestly get asked if I’m drunk a couple of times a week. When I’m acting exactly like I always do. Really, guys. I might work my way through the entire liquor cabinet of an evening but it’s not every evening. And it’s not like I just sit around drinking in the middle of the day.*
But I’ve found I have to keep saying to concerned people: “I’m fine. I’m just melodramatic and insane sometimes. But that’s totally normal…” It’s strange. I’m not used to people… well, noticing the madness, I guess. Or worrying. It’s nice. But odd.
So. Not sick (right now). Not mad (right n— well, for certain values of — never mind). How are you?
* Except I suppose that time when my stomach decided it couldn’t face lunch, or food of any kind, but it would be fine with a Smirnoff Double Black…. Of course this is the same peculiar piece of equipment that when I was ill as a child demanded only orange juice, and then as a teenager only french cream cheesecake. Neither of which screams, “I will make you feel better”. Also not sure I should start using alcohol of any kind to make me feel better… That leads to the dark side.