I’m feeling paralyzed. …

I'm feeling paralyzed. Most of the problem is the Kriti Festival, which is driving me right around a friggin' bend. I made a bad choice in January, to try to find a Guest of Honor before finalizing the festival dates. Found said Guest, who then cancelled, found back-up Guests, thought all was well, but by then it was February, and as it turns out, the spaces at UIC that we could get for free are now all booked up.

And while we're happy to have the festival in May or June instead, the spaces aren't free to student groups over the summer, so this has become an expensive error, taking $1500 of our budget, which is basically what we had budgeted for publicity and/or food. And maybe we'd make up that money on ticket sales, but we can't know for certain until we finalize the date and the Guests of Honor and all and start publicizing.

And I suspect what we should really do is push it to the fall, when we can have the free space again, plus more time for planning, etc., but my fall is expected to be unusually busy, so that's not ideal for me, and it's tough on the students too, who understandably would like to do something fun soon, not wait eight months, especially since some of them are graduating and aren't sure what they'll be doing in the fall -- I'll lose my interns in May, as well, so there goes some of our free labor. I'm afraid we'll lose momentum and energy, but it's hard to weigh that properly against $1500 (out of a $10,000 overall budget, that's really a lot). Plus, Minal has a book coming out in March, and April/May would have been perfect for her, and that's not really a factor, but it makes me frustrated about pushing to fall.

Argh argh argh.

Any thoughts are welcome. Also, I need to do a DesiLit fund drive to raise money for the magazine. And my e-mail, which had gotten down to 50, is now back over 100, after only a week of too busy/sick to attend to it, which makes me want to scream. And I haven't written in weeks, which I think may be the real problem. How will I ever be as rich and famous as I secretly believe I deserve to be if I never write or publish anything again ever???

One of my students asked me after class yesterday, somewhat bewildered, whether between DesiLit and teaching and writing and having a small child at home, whether I wasn't awfully busy. And I said yes, yes I was. But that I loved everything I did, which made it okay. Which is true, in large part. But right now, I'm feeling like I'm spinning my wheels a lot, expending a lot of effort and stress (I woke up thinking about Kriti plannning, I dreamed about Kriti planning), to no good effect. It makes my head hurt. And the stress is so counter-productive -- it makes me not want to open my e-mail, or open a writing file, which of course means that less and less gets actually done. Which means...argh.

I don't even want to knit or crochet right now. That's how sad it is.

Folks, if I've written/done something you enjoyed in the last year or so, now would be a good time to tell me. Because right now, I'm feeling particularly useless.

9 thoughts on “I’m feeling paralyzed. …”

  1. Can’t speak for others, but I think you’ve started or catalyzed some great things – Strange Horizons, now one of the best Spec Fic magazines out there with staying power many others lack; desilit, and the lively desilit writing forum in San Francisco (of which I’m a happy participant); and Kriti, which I’ve never attended but about which I’ve heard positive things.

    I hope this is one of those darkest before dawn things.

  2. *hug*

    MaryAnne, you amaze me with all you do. Honestly. You have a fabulous job, a gorgeous daughter….you are an amazing writer, and are having an influence on the next generation of writers.

    You sound like you need some fresh air. Go out for a walk, bundle up, and get out. When I feel the way you sound is when I need to punch clay or do something physical. Something active and constructive. I know I start feeling a little stir-crazy after I’ve been sick, and particularly in winter.

  3. Oh, sweetie. Big hugs. I very much agree with Catherine. You do a huge amount of great work… and I’m not amazed that every once in awhile you really feel the strain. (I’m just amazed you don’t more often.) I would suggest a good physical workout, something that gets all your limbs going and gets you nice and sweaty, to some great, energetic music. I know you’re swamped and that’s the most impossible time to feel like you have that hour to spare. But I know that on those days when I’m overwhelmed going from one urgent thing to the next (and I have had a lot of those this year, too!), that release is exactly what I need, and helps me come back to it and keep going…. Love you!

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Keyan, but what have I done for you *lately*???

    I know, I’m being ridiculous, but I think part of this is feeling like I haven’t accomplished much since having Kavi. I’m pretty happy about everything I did pre-baby — Clean Sheets and Strange Horizons and Bodies in Motion. DesiLit and the SLF too, although I think they’ve both been badly neglected since Kavi, and I keep fretting that without me pushing at them, both orgs will go moribund.

    And a lot of what I do these days, teaching and parenting mostly, aren’t really the kind of thing that you can point to with a start-end date and a big COMPLETED tag. They’re much more about the ongoing process, indefinitely. I’m goal-oriented, I am — I like my projects to be done and signed off on!

    But I undoubtedly do need more exercise. I’ve mostly been too sick to exercise at all, the last week, and it’s making me feel miserable and lethargic. And it was so brutally cold in Chicago yesterday that I didn’t even want to be outside, even while really wanting to be outside, if that makes sense. But I got good sleep last night, and I’m feeling better today, so maybe I can exercise a little at least.

  5. Maryanne, you have raised a daughter since you had Kavi. It’s got to be a freaking hard job. Cut yourself some slack.

    I have an idea for Kriti. Talk to you when I get there, OK? I’m bringing some crochet. Get your stuff out. Impromptu stitch n bitch.

  6. Isn’t it true that there are only 24 hours in a day? I am always overwhelmed and amazed by how much you accomplish. I wish I could do a third as much as you manage. And, I think Kavya does have to come first, so something else somewhere will have to wait!

  7. Mary Anne, you are an inspiration to me in so many ways. You live life to the fullest and give so much of yourself to the world. You write, you teach, you create, you nurture. You love your job(s) and your life and, believe me, that’s no small thing. You are amazing, but you are human and sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. Give yourself a little break and hang in there, it WILL get better.

    (And one day, Kavi is going to tell you just how proud she is to have you for her mother.)

  8. Raising a kid is big. As someone said above, cut yourself some slack. Give yourself the time to enjoy Kavi. (Really. Really Really Really.)
    Almost everything else can wait or be delegated. But kids – they grow up lightning fast.

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