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.