It’s not a lot of fun when you’re conscientiously spending no money to do anything for the next four months. Not a lot of fun at all. First because you have to explain to people that you can’t have fun, and then you get to explain to them why you can’t have fun, and then you have to deflect all of the reasons why they insist that you should have fun, anyway. I mean, I get it, okay? I would also love to go out and do whatever I want all the time because I technically have the money and I should definitely be a better friend to people I haven’t spoken to in, um, a month (I am sorry to and sincerely miss all Steitzeseses, Puglisiseses, Gemouleseses, Eyreseses, Porterseses and Crossleyseses included in this statement). But I check rental listings every week, and every week I’m reminded that it doesn’t hurt to have more scratch in the bank.
If anything, at least I don’t really feel like going out right now, anyway. It’s yet another time of year when my brain is stuck in a not-actually-endless-but-not-with-an-end-that-is-foreseeable-anytime-soon loop of self-loathing, anxiety, and just plain LEAVE ME ALONE, which means I don’t really feel like leaving the house and anytime I force myself to do so requires an enormous amount of effort. It’s difficult to explain even to the people who know exactly what I mean, because I can write it okay, but hearing my voice say it induces this full-body cringe and THANKS, but I do enough of that when I’m trying to go to sleep every night.
So what’s there to do when you can’t go out? Well, for starters, you can go out. Not a lot and only that once, but you can go see a Shelby Earl acoustic set in a church basement and be utterly charmed by yet another Cincinnati poet (who doesn’t know the other Cincinnati poets you know but does recite a poem that includes the phrase “she was a hot cup of soup, if you catch my baseball”).
You can shower regularly, and finally start shaving your legs in the shower again since it’s not like you’re pressed for time anymore.
You can develop a deep and meaningful relationship with your Crockpot and realize that if prepping everything the night before gives you a sense of accomplishment then you’d better grab it tight because you never know when you’ll feel that again.
You can pay the bills on time. And not like “within a week” on time, either. I mean actually pay the goddamn bills on goddamn time, you’re a fucking adult and that’s the way it should be.
You can organize. You can clean. Because moving might be another super boring four months away, but if you can get it clean now then it’s easier to keep it clean in the future, and a clean house is much easier to move.
You can start writing again, or at least think about writing, and by that I mean you can finally connect all of those disjointed little nothings you’ve been typing out for the past year like some lazy asshole who can’t finish one fucking story. You could foster this attitude by going to the AWP tomorrow, because apparently it’s free for the book fair even though you’re not supposed to buy any books.
(Even though you totally bought that poet’s books, not out of money-spending rebellion but out of supporting an art that you can’t do and also putting money directly into that artist’s pocket. Go read some poems or something, idiots.)