I got up and did a bit more work on Kathryn, but I can't finish this draft quite yet -- we're waiting to hear from Gotham (the imprint at Penguin/Putnam) whether we can go long or not. Ideally, I'd like the book to be about 60,000. It's around 55,000 now, and there are a few scenes I'd like to expand; they're basically summaries now, and I think they'd be more satisfying if dramatized a bit more. Of course, originally they wanted 45,000. If we need to cut it that much...well, I'll be mopey. Can't really do anything else on the book until we hear from them. Trying to be patient, not so successfully.
I've pretty much decided to take on this other project. I'll probably be able to tell y'all about it soon. It'll mean working nutty hard for the next six weeks, but a) I'll be able to afford actual Christmas presents for people, and b) I may even manage to clear all my normal debt (as opposed to student loan debt, which is happily in abeyance until I graduate). I can't tell you how relieved the thought makes me. It's kind of astonishing, to think of not being in terrible financial straits -- I mostly have been for the last two years, mostly ignoring it and living reasonably comfortably anyway, figuring that things'd work out eventually. No, this isn't the most sound financial strategy in the world.
Living rent-free with Kevin the last six months has helped a lot, doing Kathryn has helped, getting the fellowship has helped...all of that moved finances from dire to merely unpleasant. But this might actually push me through to the clear. You know the last time I was debt free? 1996. I remember how happy I was, having worked steadily at boring grown-up jobs for two years and cleared off all the credit card debt from college and the time post-college when I couldn't find a job. Oh, that was icky. There was a time when I was literally dodging my landlord in the street for a while -- I'd spot him coming and duck down an alley because I was three months behind on rent. Not having sufficient money is just...undignified. And panic-making. Having sufficient money will be a really good thing. Remind me of that in three weeks when I'm hating the new project, completely stuck, down with a severe cold, etc. and so on. Okay?
That said, I rewarded myself (slightly early) for getting this gig. (Who loves counting the chickens before they hatch? That'd be me.) After working a bit this morning, I went downtown. I looked at lamps; our old living room lamp broke, and we need to replace it. Found a few possibilities to show Kevin when he has a chance. But then I indulged -- we haven't had matching sheets and duvet since I moved in; we've had nice grey sheets and this white and grey quilt that you'd think would match but it just doesn't, it looks utterly wrong, and it's bugged me. It's bugged me for the last six months. So I finally just went for it -- found some lovely grey-navy sheets and a duvet cover on sale (they not only look great, but the duvet cover looks decent with the old sheets), opened a Marshall Field's account to get another 15% off, and went nuts. Two sets of pillowcases, sheets, duvet cover...even a bedskirt (a nice, clean-lined one. I hate the ruffled kind). Oh, our bed looks so pretty. Normally, Kevin would pay for household stuff, but this is really a pure indulgence on my part -- we didn't *need* a prettier bed. Maybe I'll get him to chip in a little, but mostly this really ought to be all me. Is it sad, that I get so much pleasure out of sheets? Maybe I should just be grateful that I'm so easy to please.
I also stopped by the Body Shop and got some little indulgences -- bath scrub and a new loofah and a back scrubber and a fizzy bath thingie. Pleasures of the bed and bath -- and soon, pleasures of the table. I put some cornbread in the oven before I started this entry -- it'll be ready soon, full of whole corn and chopped chili goodness. When I had brunch with Jennifer and Nalo, Jennifer served her cornbread with honey butter -- it was such a yummy combination. So I'm off to whip up some honey butter, and then I'm going to get at least a little exam reading in -- I'm working on Byatt's Angels and Insects, which is oh, so apropos to post-colonialist concerns. Fascinating.