Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hey, don't be a girlie-man!

This weekend is the final push. One way or another, the novel ends tomorrow. I wrote 3400 words today (not a record, but close), and wept, or at least sniffled, through most of it. But I cry easily, especially when I have a cold (and I do). As a kid, I remember weeping over a rerun of All in the Family, one of the episodes where Archie and the Meathead have some sort of rapprochement. That I can understand; crying over commercials still baffles me. There came a time towards the end of my grad student days when my boss, Larry Kedes, insisted I do one last S1-mapping experiment before he'd let me defend my thesis. Hey, here he is right now!
Doesn't he look like a nice man? Well, I didn't think so at the time. Larry had just left Stanford for USC, so I had to spend winter break down in Los Angeles to get one stinking experiment done. That was the longest Karen and I had ever been apart -- oh, boo-hoo-hoo, enough already. Point is, I got the work done, and when I developed the autoradiograph and saw that pretty black smear right where it was supposed to be, I called Karen and cried over the phone. To me, it made perfect sense to cry. This little black band meant that the last seven years were drawing to a successful close. I'd get the damned PhD, for whatever that was worth (not much, as it turned out). I could say to myself: You didn't give up. You stuck with it. You made it work. For someone with self image problems, this was a big deal. As the title of this piece suggests, Karen's reaction was -- well, let me be polite and use the word 'incredulous'. I think the comments, "What's the matter with you?" and "You're crying over that?" came up a few times. Growing up, my wife emulated Mr. Spock. What else is there to say? None of this bothers me anymore. The way I look at it, I have two good reasons to cry over this novel. One, it has taken me over two years to write it, and I feel like I've accomplished something. Two, the ending is sad, and I feel like a total heel doing this to my characters. Okay. Think I'll go bawl my eyes out over a Britney Spears video. D.

7 Comments:

Blogger the Berkeley girl said...

Hi!
I read the comment you left over at mine. That's so cool! Go Bears! What were you studying then?

More for sake of convenience although my last year, I had really wanted to find another place but just ended up spending the nights randomly at friends, my Berkeley home was an apartment at Durant and Fulton. I miss Berkeley. Whenever I'm passing by, I try to stop as well. My little sister has just got in so I'll be able to visit it frequently again. :)

I hope your novel is a wonderful success and a beautiful memory of all that you put into it. :)

P.S. It's nice when males are touched by events or thoughts.

7/24/2005 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hi BG,

The wife & I studied chemistry. I also took a bit of history, English, anthropology, biology -- the pre-med thing.

Welcome to the New Sensitive Male. I don't watch football (or any sport, except tennis occasionally, or olympic skating) on TV.

But I do scratch my crotch like a Real Man ;o)

7/24/2005 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Jona said...

If it's any consolation I’m not looking forward to receiving the final instalment. I want to read it, I just don’t want the story to end :o(

(Good job you’ve got Karakoram to re-do next! He-he, no rest for the wicked ;o) I’ll be pestering)

7/24/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Demented M said...

Congrats on finishing or almost beign done--don't cry too much your eyes will swell shut (mine do anyway).

Don't forget to celebrate with your family.

I think even Spock appreciated ice cream and chocolate :)

M

7/24/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

To make up for your girly tastes, I like to watch Formula 1. *grin*

But there's nothing wrong with men crying. During culture, it often was more common that it is today. In the Middle Ages men seemed to have bawled a lot, if literature and historical documents are any indicator. Or look at some cultures like southern Europe or the funerals in Iraq, Israel and other such places. Lots of crying men.

My father sometimes cries when reading sad scenes, or about the sheer beauty of a poem. And as a kid he never read Winnetou 3 because Winnetou dies, and book 6 of the Kara ben Nemsi cycle because the MC's favourite horse dies. So there. Well, I read those books and I did cry about the horse. :)

7/24/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks, everyone!

Debi: yup, I'm sorry to see it end, too. If it's any consolation, the characters who live are well set up for a sequel. Will I get back to Karakoram? Maybe. The writing is so poor on that one, I'd have to write it from scratch. Still, it's an interesting story -- very Phillip K. Dick (I always hated 'Dickian').

DM: yup, I could cry over it if I wanted to, but I'd rather not focus on it. It's a jarring sensation.

Gabriele: interesting. Now I don't feel like a wussie. I feel -- oh, I don't know; Germanic?

7/24/2005 01:59:00 PM  
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