In lieu of discussing why I appear to accomplish so much in a given day, I've decided to provide you with a log of my activities so that you might see the illusion for what it is:
7:05 Awake to cats wrestling on head. Throw cats off bed. Return to sleep.
7:06 Awake to cats wrestling on head. Throw cats off bed. Throw self off bed. Stumble into kitchen. Prepare mug of green tea.
7:15 Grab magazine from pile near chair. Read articles and note which are 1) of general interest and 2) of pedagogical value.
7:55 Shower. Rebel against rinse repeat.
8:00 Greet wife. Eat breakfast while watching Tivo of previous evening's Daily Show. Laugh. Feel powerless to alter the course of history. Laugh again.
8:25 Inform wife it is "time to get to work." Walk into bedroom/study. Make bed while computer boots. Douse room in lavender-scented Febreze fabric refresher.
8:26 Read email. Answer urgent missives.
8:27 Curse dearth of urgent missives. Question own self-importance.
8:28 Open 192 windows in Mozilla. Read news of Mets' latest late-inning collapse. Observe that 412 strangers read blog while I slept. Begin rebuilding sense of self-importance.
8:35 Decide today will not be the day every newspaper in America will be read. Close 191 windows. Leave "stats" page of blog open in case sense of self-importance flags.
8:36 Time to dissertate! Stare at piles of books. Read through last four or five pages written yesterday. Despair at own stupidity. Stare at piles of books.
9:41 Work up nerve to select books from piles. Choose this one and, um, that one. Open selected books. Attempt to decipher own marginalia. Curse self for poor penmanship.
10:14 Retype final four paragraphs written day before in failed attempt to remind self what self had in mind when self spent 12 hours writing gibberish. Begin to compose this entry. Wonder why "gibberish" spelled with "g" instead of "j" when "jibber-jabber" spelled with "j." Feel annoyed at trivial turn of mind. Return to retyping final four paragraphs written previous day.
10:37 Finish "the retype." Understand what was written. Understand what was written to be stupid. Despair!
10:39 Cease hyperventilation. Open new window in Mozilla. Read the Valve.
10:40 Read response to recent article mentioning Y.T. Consider potential post about being known by full name. Think of mother yelling "Scott Eric Kaufman" to alter deviant behavior. Wonder if people who read this entry will be reminded of Ben Marcus. Wonder if readers familiar with work of Ben Marcus. Decide to inform readers that excerpt from The Age of Wire and String available below fold.
10:59 Return to dissertation. Remember general bearings of train-of-thought. Ride the rails.
1:13 Eat lunch. Converse with wife. Commiserate with wife about current conditions in sinuses. Remind wife of recent bout of cancer in order to diminish wife's suffering. Evoke pity from the ill. Feel like horrible person.
1:21 Finish lunch. Apologize for 19,482 time for lording cancer over wife. Acknowledge that past suffering does not diminish present suffering. Feel like horrible person. Return to dissertation.
1:41 Bang head on desk with manly vigor. Experience wooziness and anger at both cause of pain and pain itself. Declare moritorium on head-banging.
1:42 Bang head on desk in defiance of moritorium. Abandon dissertation for Literary Wittgenstein.
1:49 Curse God for own intellectual shortcomings. Cannot fathom point of essay in Literary Wittgenstein. Read New Yorker article by Noah Baumbach. Think fond thoughts of Baumbach's masterpiece Kicking and Screaming. Recall with fondness best line. Wonder why Internet Movie Database's "memorable quotations" fails to include best line. Decide not to reveal best line. Decide it best for readers to watch movie and hear best line in original context.
1:54 Finish Noah Baumbach article. Consider it impressive but mourn fish killed in barrel. Return to dissertation.
1:55 Realize "problem" of 11:41 not real problem. Awash in invigoration.
2:15 Mourn loss of "steam." Wonder as to avenues of reacquisition. In vain! Pick up Literary Wittgenstein again.
2:16 Curse own stupidity! Toss aside Literary Wittgenstein. Pick up Iron Council. Feel cover. Recognize that Del Ray/Ballantine paperbacks possess same sublimely textured covers and floppy pages as Vintage and Vintage International paperbacks.
3:45 Realize entire day cannot be devoted to China Mieville. Return to dissertation.
3:46 Realize entire life cannot be devoted to dissertation. Return to China Mieville.
5:31 Try to express brilliance of China Mieville to wife. Fail. Return to dissertation.
7:01 Recognize that past two hours will without question constitute best work of the day. Throw hands in air. Yell "Blessed be holy Resignation!" Explain outburst to wife. Surf web. Begin to compose blog entry on Pannapacker essay.
8:01 Edit entry on Pannapacker essay. Compile final thoughts on current entry. Inform reader that post is concluded. Inform reader that day's intellectual activity is concluded. That vodka tonic awaits. That wife and author are currently under thrall of intellectually stimulating but in some respects (i.e. the acting, the dialogue, the special effects) too-embarassing-to-admit-thralldom-to science-fiction series of recent vintage. Deny urge to reveal title of said series to readers, but decide it acceptable to inform readers that Neil Gaiman and Harlan Ellison served as creative consultants on it.
8:12 Finish editing current post. Feel happy with content. Depart bedroom/office for den and prepare to watch Bruce Box...very foreign French film about important subjects such as the nature of being and the existence of God.
From Ben Marcus' The Age of Wire and String:
"Intercourse with Resuscitated Wife"
Intercourse with resuscitated wife for particular number of days, superstitious act designed to insure safe operation of household machinery. Electricity mourns the absence of the energy form (wife) within the household’s walls by stalling its flow to the outlets. As such, an improvised friction needs to take the place of electricity, to goad the natural currents back to their proper levels. This is achieved with the dead wife. She must be found, revived, and then penetrated until heat fills the room, until the toaster is shooting bread onto the floor, until she is smiling beneath you with black teeth and grabbing your bottom. Then the vacuum rides by and no one is pushing it, it is on full steam. Days flip past in chunks of fake light, and the intercourse is placed in the back of the mind. But it is always there, that moving into a static-ridden corpse that once spoke familiar messages in the morning when the sun was new.
"Snoring, Accidental Speech"
language disturbance caused by accidental sleeping, in which a person
speaks in compressed syllables and
bulleted syntax, often stacking several words over one another in a
distemporal deliverance of a sentence. The snoring person can be
stuffed with cool air to slow the delivery of
its language, but perspiration froths at key points on the hips and
back when artificial air is introduced, and thus the sleep becomes
sketchy and riddled with noise. It is often best to cull the sleeper forth with apneic barks-
sounds produced without air. The effect of the barks is to isolate each aspect of the snore sound by slowing down the delivery-riding the sleeper until the snore breaks into separate words. Decoders should sit on the bed and
jostle the sleeper’s stomach. This further dispatches the clusters that
often form when the sleeper speaks all at once (snores). The decoder is
then better able to decipher the word blocks. When analyzed, the
messages are often simple. Pull me out, they say, the water has risen
to the base of my neck.