Thursday, June 30, 2005

Clear, Bright and Famous

Originally uploaded by xtaforster.

What's In a Name?

Here's the short list of names we had for Clara while she was still in utero: Alice, Helen, Ysidora, Clara and Ruby.

My husband and everyone else I know called her Ruby before she was born. Consequently, I ruled Ruby out of the running. I don't believe in naming babies before they're born. In another life, I lived with some nomadic tribe or another, and we firmly believed that if a baby were named before it's birth, the evil spirits could find it and harm it while it was still in the womb.

Nonetheless, people kept calling her Ruby, despite my protests.

I wanted her to have the chance to announce her name when we met her that first day, provided that she chose one from our short list.

After the nurses cleaned her and wrapped her, they set her swaddled body on my breast. I asked David, who was right there with us, her name. He said, "I think it's Clara." I looked at her. "Clara," said her soul. Without a doubt.

The middle name was harder to assign. I wanted it to be "Forster," my last name. Not a bad name in general and kind of cool for a non-surname name, too. David argued against it because, he said, he didn't want the baby to have two last names.

"But it wouldn't be her last name, it would be her MIDDLE name," I insisted.

"Doesn't matter," said David. "It's still a last name."

"But not if we make it a middle name."

"I don't want my baby to have two last names," he said. Obviously we weren't understanding each other's logic on this one.

I decided to go a different route.

"How about Ysidora?" David hadn't liked this name previously, but it was a Forster family name, and I loved it.


"Why not?" I knew I could get him to cave on this because of his secret guilt about not giving me Forster.

"Too exotic."

"Come on, sweetie. Please?" I had the upper hand here anyway, as I was lying on the gurney in the recovery room after being cut open (My husband, previously a chef, used the verb "filleted") during Clara's delivery. Also, I was being super sweet, due to the excellent anesthetic cruising my veins.

Clara Ysidora Brown was born Februray 21, 2005 -- a little fish girl with a lion rising and a lion moon.

Clara is a form of the Latinate CLARE, meaning "clear, bright, famous." Ruby is the name of a gemstone, or it's a derivative of the Hebrew REUBEN, which means "behold a son."

As it turns out, Ruby was a good foil. Even if the spirits had come looking, they would have been looking for a boy.

Way to go Clara!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tomorrow Is Another Day...Without Sleep

Cumulative Sleep Loss:Early Parenthood::Compounding Interest:Investment Funds

Probably that analogy doesn't really work, because the effects of compounding interest on investment funds are awesome, whereas the effects of cumulative sleep loss on a new parent are awful.

My fatigue has cracked my foundation, allowing my depression to surge into consciousness like sewage backing up into the bathroom.

On regular days, when the cumulative sleep loss hasn't yet hit its tipping point, when I feel like I'm just able to keep my shit together, I can deal.

I celebrate the end of such days by sitting on the porch with David, smoking my ONE cigarette and drinking my ONE beer with ice. And please don't give me any crap about THAT.

But days like yesterday, when every word someone says to me serrates my soul, when the grey in my hair signals how washed up I am, when I spy my four rolls of back fat in the mirror, when I realize I have no friends who REALLY care about me (except one, who is as depressed as I am), and when I am SO poor I'm one step away from sitting under the freeway with a cardboard sign that says, "Hongry and Homless"....Those, those are the days that are difficult to deal with.

On those days, I can't even console myself with the idea that "tomorrow is another day," and get on with it. Rather, I remember that "tomorrow is another day....WITHOUT SLEEP," which only makes matters worse.

* * *
Currently, I'm teaching a summer writing workshop that prepares high school kids for the new SAT essay section. The Educational Testing Service has rid the test of Analogies (Don't tell me how much you liked that section, nor how good you were at doing analogies, okay?), and they have added a 25 minute essay and some multiple choice questions about grammar in the analogies' place. My job is to help these kids internalize the formula of the "academic essay," i.e., the five-paragraph essay, well enough that they can write an outstanding one in 25 minutes or less.

Writing a great essay in 25 minutes or less is really hard to do, by the way.

Yesterday, I was the worst teacher in the world. Brandon, whose warm-up writing was about how much he hated people misspelling and misprounouncing his name, became "Bronitor" when I called on him during the grammar review. Carter's question -- "what is a gerund and when do I use one?" -- I answered with a swift kick to my own teeth. "A Gerund is a noun that acts as a verb," I said without blinking.

"A verb that acts as a noun, you mean," said Brandon with a smug little laugh.

"Yes, that's right Bronitor. Thank you for correcting me," I said.

When I couldn't explain how to fix the grammar errors on the quiz I gave them, I had to send them out for break so that I could get my head together.

As they left the classroom, I could hear their thoughts: "THIS is our TEACHER?"

I drove home from the workshop, repeating in my head that speech from Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth:

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.

And the cardboard sign in my mind said:

I am that sweater with the fraying sleeves
I am the woman who longs to die
I'm the mind oozing like an open sore
And I'm so so HONGRY

Any sleep will help.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Madam I'm, Adam

Yesterday morning, I walked Clara in the Bugaboo to Randall's Supermarket to get some half and half. I can't drink coffee without it now, since Clara was born. Must be some evolutionary thing going on there -- the half and half shielding her from the violence of full-on caffeinated breastmilk. I'm hungry as I'm walking to the store, so when I get there, I'm looking for something to appease my hunger. The Apple Fritter will do. I pick one out, along with two croissants, and head to the check out line with my breakfast items.

One thing I hate about the Randall's near my house is there are NEVER enough checkers. The store has 11 checkout ailes, but no more than one or two are ever open -- the same one or two, too. It's like the other checkout aisles are ghost ailses. And they don't have a DIY U-Scan machine either, so one has to wait and wait and wait, no matter how many items one has in her basket.

Yesterday morning -- Sunday morning -- I had to wait and wait while two young ladies checked out with a mountain of stuff ahead of me -- Crest toothpaste, boxed Waffles, a log of Jimmy Dean sausage, a case of Diet Coke, packages of cheese, Jello pudding cups, Lucky Charms, Lean Cuisines, bobby pins, hairspray, etc. The young ladies looked like they might have just gotten off work from a gentleman's club. One of them had long, long blond hair that smacked of Barbie. She wore black wide-leg pants, a chiffon variety, with a big rhinestone belt buckle, a black plunging halter top, black stiletto sandals with three rhinestone circles adorning the top part of the shoe. She weighed not more than 97 pounds. The other girl was a brunette, wearing short pink shorts, a baseball tee that had ambercrombie in cursive across her tiny little breasts (perky, no bra) and pink slippers. She had nice muscle tone in her legs. I wondered if they looked as skinny when they were on stage. Like maybe the stripper stage adds 10 pounds, like the t.v.

They appeared to be on their way home, this Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m.

The young ladies discussed the Blue Laws in Texas as they waited for the checker to finish her work. "Not all states are like Texas about alcohol, are they?" the brunette asked the checker.

"No alcohol before noon on Sundays," the checker answered.

I might have piped up and added, "In California, you can buy Sky Vodka and Johnnie Walker at the supermarket 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," but I didn't feel like talking.

After they were gone, the checker gave me a "knowing" look, as in "did you see those ladies? We know what's going on there, don't we?"

I felt guilty letting this checker think that I held the same disapproving attitude toward the young ladies that she did. I might have told her that I've no real problem with strip clubs except that the owners are mostly sleazy men who have no real respect for women. I might have told her that one of my fantasies is to own a strip club and be the best owner/madam in Houston, TX, the sex-industry capital of the U.S.A. I'd treat my women so well, making sure that they were respected and honored as the sacred goddesses they are. (Somebody has to do this work!) I would provide them with excellent health benefits, including mental health coverage, should they want or need it. And I would provide child-care services at a facility next door to my club, which would have one qualified and loving caretaker for every two children.

But I didn't feel like talking. It was too early in the morning, and I hadn't had my coffee yet.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Paranoia, Self Destroyer

Today my therapist left a message on my cell phone because Unicare has asked her to release my records. She has NEVER been asked for anyone's records before, she says, and she just doesn't like it. Call her back, she says.

Actually, she has had records summoned before...mine. That was the first time David and I applied for insurance with Unicare, before we were pregnant.

(I can't even THINK about the insurance industry without going feral. Did you know that pregnancy is a pre-existing condition in Texas? and if you don't have insurance you WON'T get it if you're pregnant. There's just no way. Don't even try, Missy, as the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance rep told me. "And you know why?" he asked. "It's all Hillary Clinton's fault.")

I call my therapist back and she answers. I remind her that when the insurance asked for my records before, she called them and refused on principle to release my records. The principle being, I think, that my pyschological state is not necessarily linked to my physiological state. Ahem.

"They can't summon records!" she says indignantly. "Not unless they're subpoenaed."

What the fuck does she have in there?

I ask her to please refuse to release my records, and she adds, "Yes. You don't want your records out there, especially in times like these."

Am I a revolutionary? Or, what.

* * *

News Flash: The 10 o'clock Channel 13 News is reporting on Mad Cow Disease. The only craving I consistently indulged while pregnant with Clara was BEEF.

The reporter just read the laundry list of symptoms; top of the list: Paranoia.

This is happening in real time, people.

May we have Health; may we have Safety; may we have Love; may we have Joy; may we have Peace.

Please. Seriously.
* * *

These are sinful times.

Just now, I am watching 20/20, typing, too. I have an open word document up on the screen, to check spellings and definitions as I type these blogwords. When I tile to the open doc to type what I'm hearing, I see the word S I N F U L blazing solo on the white page.

My breasts had opened up with open sores about this wide in width." – "Tammy" from 20/20, imitating the width of a quarter with her fingers.

Tammy has a history of infection after surgery, even at home. -- voice over of black lady reporter on 20/20.

One question, Tammy: Why you having surgery at home? Oh! Maybe it's because you don't have I N S U R A N C E.

I don't think that's what the lady announcer means -- the part about Tammy having surgery at home -- but the modifier is misplaced.

I'm an English teacher, too.

"Young people out there, enjoy your youth. Because beauty, sadly with age, fades….But not vanity." -- Jon Stossel, 20/20 reporter.

20/20 is running a series about "The Seven Deadly Sins." Tonight's Clown: Vanity.

"From Medieval Times, Vanity was a sin..."

I hope y'all have read Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe and The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, especially if you're watching things like ABC's 20/20.

Now my favorite part of t.v.: the drug commercial. "Do not use sleep medicines for an extended period of time without talking to your doctor” -- ad for Unesta

Isn't that sort of saying, do not commit suicide without talking to your doctor?

Oh, I see why my records shouldn't be out there.

* * *

News Flash: "The baby born in the parkinglot is doing fine." -- Channel 13 News.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"The Sleep [Non]Sense Program" V. The I Ching

Yesterday Night

11:43 p.m.: Wake up next to Clara, who's sleeping peacefully in my bed with me. David is out at a fundraiser for his non-profit at Dean's Credit Clothing. Dean's is a bar, and the fundraiser features a fashion show where models strut down a makeshift runway, wearing stylish and skimpy fashions from Erotic Cabaret Boutique. The suggested donation for the evening is $10.00 at the door, meaning it's not exactly a fundraiser. It's a party where some funds might be raised.

11:45 p.m.: Get up and go to kitchen for a drink of water. Spy plastic baggie containing chocolate brownie cookies purchased last Saturday at the Farmer's Market. Decide I HAVE to get rid of these cookies so that I stop consuming them. Solve problem by eating what remains of them. Wash them down with two glasses of really cold Vanilla soymilk. The Dessert Lady, who homemakes these wicked-good cookies among others, sticks computer lables with the printed ingredients on her $5 baggies. The surprising ingredient in the chocolate brownie cookies is coffee. Remember this when I'm back in bed, tossing and turning and tossing and turning, trying not to roll over onto Clara.

3:23 a.m.: Curse the chocolate brownie cookies. Look at Clara, who's sleeping but waving her arms up and down in a "Danger, danger Will Robinson" way. Wonder what she's dreaming about. Consider the I Ching and praise Confucious for leaving the human race with such a wise, useful book.

* * *

The other night, I decided that it was time for Clara to "learn how to fall asleep on her own," which is what the blasted "Sleep Sense Program" promised would happen, or else I'd get my money back. David agreed to go ahead with the plan: we would put her in her crib -- awake! this is important (?) -- and wait a predetermined amount of time before entering her room to help her 1) stop crying and 2) get back to work on putting herself to sleep. And cry she would, no doubt about it. We were just gonna have to deal with that.

David and I determined that we'd leave her alone for no more than three minutes at a time before returning to try and calm Clara. Clara cried for 2 hours: inconsolable, hyperventilating, and choking on her own saliva. Finally, I stopped leaving the room and just lay down on the floor next to her crib, praying to the BVM to help me stay strong.

The next night when I went to put Clara in her bed after her "bedtime routine," where I repeated the "key phrase" night-night time often while bathing, massaging, dressing, singing to and nursing her, she started wailing immediately, freaking out about being anywhere near her crib.

That was the end of that. "The Sleep [Non]Sense Program" was damaging my baby. I picked Clara up (a big NO NO in the "Sleep [Non]Sense Program") and held her and danced with her, nursed her, played her some Bob Dylan -- "To Make You Feel My Love" -- and then put her in the swing, where she slept soundly from 7:45 until 12:30 a.m.

The next day, I felt as if I were the worst mother in the world: not only had I failed to teach my four month old to soothe herself and fall asleep on her own, but also I had traumatized her and made her afraid of her crib and the world in general.

My own mother tried to console me by telling me that, yes, it was hard, but that once Clara learned to fall asleep on her own, it would be better for both of us. Then she told me that the child she let cry the longest in the crib was Marco, my brother who seven years ago nearly died at dawn on a lawn in Oxnard, CA from a speedball injection.

Her consolation was no prize, let's just say.

I know Rome wasn't built in a day and all that. I know that if I want Clara to learn to sleep on her own, I have to be CONSISTENT. Consistency is the mother of all intervention. I have to put her down the next night in her crib and let her cry and cry until she realizes that going to bed without Mommy is not so bad and she starts cooing to her stuffed animal and giggling herself to sleep.

But, we don't live in Rome; we live in Houston, TX, which requires an enormous amount of effort to weather, and therefore an enormous amount of comfort to compensate for the horribleness that is a Houston Summer. Clara is a baby, and I'm going to baby my baby. She can learn to fall asleep on her own later.

Which brings me to the I Ching. The I Ching, otherwise known as the Book of Changes, has saved my ass in the past 15 years. This book has the ability to connect me with that subconsicous part of myself that refuses to come out of hiding unless I'm asleep or drunk.

The way the I Ching works: Ask a question -- an open ended question -- while tossing three pennies six times. Each toss results in a static or changing line in the hexagram you're building. Keep your question in mind the whole time you're tossing the coins and building the hexagram. After you have your hexagram (mine for this question was #52 -- Keeping Still), consult the oracle inside the book for the answer to your question.

So I did. I asked the question: "How can I be the best mother to Clara in the wake of the trauma I may have caused her with the Sleep [Non]Sense Program?" The answer, as you will see, could not have been more specific:

"If you feel any hesitation as you are just beginning something [the sleep [non]sense program], trust in your doubts and change your direction. Trust any feelings of your first judgements as a kind of reverse beginner's luck. Careful: your reaction to second thoughts should be a shift in direction, not a reversal, not a pulling back. The impetus for your direction remains valid and you do not fulfill an impetus by quelling it" (The I Ching: A New Interpretation for Modern Times, by Sam Reifler).


I DO understand that learning how to fall asleep on one's own is important. My impetus to help Clara do that is valiant (says the sleep-deprived-insomniac mother). However, the Sleep [Non]Sense Program is not the way. I want my money back.

For now, the "shift in direction" is to let Clara have more room in the king-size bed I share with David and her. That way, her flailing arms won't wake me as often. I hope that this will work while I figure out how to get her to love her crib and giggle herself to sleep.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day

My dad's motto is "Everyone loves the smell of his own farts."

He has hotboxed his children in a moving vehicle more times than I can count. The worst offences take place in cars with automatic window locks. He locks the windows to make sure we can't roll them down to dissipate the smelly fart. He doesn't lock the windows to humor us; he honestly does it to make sure he can smell his own fart before we try to save ourselves from the fumes. He is serious about his farts. Not one shall go unsmelt if he can help it.

My father praises my three month old daughter, Clara, for being a "man-farter." The first time he heard her fart, he wasn't even in the room. Clara's fart was so loud and resonant that he could hear it while he was brushing his teeth. "Alright, Clara!" he shouted from the bathroom, his speech garbled by toothpaste. He came to the doorway of the bedroom where Clara and I were rocking, looked me in the eye and announced, in a hushed, proud tone: "Clara is a man-farter!" Now every time my daughter farts, I think of my dad. It's sweet, really. I call him to tell him this. He laughs and repeats proudly: "Clara is a man-farter!" I'm sure that after my dad's gone, a fart will make me sentimental for him. It will have the power to move me to tears -- and not because of the smell.

Used to be, when I called my dad, his greeting was "Why are you calling me? Are you drunk?" Truth was, most of the time when I called him at that point in my life, I was drunk. It was the only way I could stand to talk to him. Our conversations would inevitably deteriorate during a discussion about money, where I would shame him by reminding him how he welched on his promise to help me pay for college, and he would retort by yelling, "Go FUCK yourself!" Then he'd hang up on me. He always wanted to be the one to hang up first.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that he was my only father, and that I had a choice to accept him or to keep hoping he would change. I realized that he wasn't gonna change (surprise!), and I decided that I was lucky to have such a warped character as my dad. I grew to see him as Falstaff, that larger than life Shakespeare character. Seeing him this way helped me accept his fallibility, helped me understand that he just wanted love and adulation, like we all do.

Now I call him in the morning, when I'm sure he's home, when he's just waking up. Sometimes he's already out of the house when I call. Last time I called him, he was at a garden show at the mission San Juan Capistrano. I said, "I just called to say hi, Dad. Tell you I love you."

"That's good," he said. "Do you have anything else to say to me, because I want to stop talking now so I can get my free habanero plant."

"No dad," I said. "That's it."

"Okay," he says. "Call me on Father's Day."

So I did.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Don't Shake the Baby"

My brother Carlos and his wife Celine recently had a baby, too. A boy named Lou. Not Louis, Luis, or Louisiana; just plain Lou. My brother and his wife call each other Woozer, or Woosy. I don't know why, but they do. My sister and I have talked about the importance of not accidentally nicknaming Lou "Loser."

Carlos called me every day after Clara was born. As he was waiting for Lou to show up, I could tell his anxiety was mounting.

"Hey Christa, it's Carlos."

"Los! What's up?"

"How's it going? Do you like motherhood? Do you love Clara? Is it fun?"

Do I love my daughter?

Yes, I love her, I say.

Is it fun?

A newborn is not exactly "fun." A newborn is hard work. Scary and challenging, especially if you've never had your very own newborn before. They are like fragile inklings of what is to come. And you hope that they make it with your help.

"Yeah, it's fun."

"Really?" he says. "you don't sound sure."

"Well, it's hard, too."

"What's hard about it?"

"I don't know Carlos, it just is. Sometimes it's frustrating."

"Don't shake the baby!" he warns, as if it might be my next move.

"I'm not gonna shake the baby, Los."

"Good," he says, "or she could go blind."

The day Lou is born, I call to congratulate Carlos and Celine. Carlos answers.

"Congratulations, Loski. How's it going?"

"It's great," he drawls. "Greeeeat. I already love him."

"That's great, Los."

"Yeah," he says. "'s pretty fun...So far....It's hard, too. Isn't it?"

"Yeah. It's hard," I say, "but it gets easier every day."

For some reason, all the cliches about having a baby are true. Why is that?

"Mom says he's cuter than Clara was when she was born," Carlos says.

That's so not true, but whatever.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Here's what I hate about blogs: They pull you in quickly with the voice of the writer, the POV, the je ne sais quoi -- maybe the graphics (where ARE all those cooler looking blog templates? Where can I get one?) -- and then...THEY AREN'T UPDATED! At least not regularly, as in daily.

Come on, people, if you're gonna blog, the blog being an instantaneous publication genre, then you're gonna have to blog daily. Daily updates are, in fact, the nature of a blog. By definition, you see. Otherwise, it's just too easy.

And if blogging is going to enter the fray as an aspiring artform (as the novel did in the 17th century), then it needs to be difficult because, as Donald Barthelme said, "Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult. Art is difficult because it wishes to be art."

I have high hopes for the blog. Or else, I have high hopes for my blog. I have this dream of blogging becoming an internationally recognized legitimate genre, complete with big advances and "blog" deals (instead of book deals), movie options, speaking engagements, cushy university teaching posts. Nobel Prizes. The best bloggers will be banded together by superstar networks. When, from these blogstars' sites, you click onto other blogs, you are riveted and fascinated by the company they keep.

I used to be in a band -- called Shag (before Austin Powers movies). I was in this band for 7 years, but I never harbored dreams of becoming a rockstar because of it. A few of my friends and several fans told me that if I wanted to be a rockstar, I could be. I just needed a good manager. The effort it would take to become a rockstar seemed like a lot of trouble to me. If I were gonna become a rockstar, it was gonna have to be accidental -- like backing my car into a ditch. I never wanted to be a rockstar that much anyway.

But I do want to be a BLOGSTAR. Blaaaaghstar!!

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Novel Pursuit, or Who is the Cervantes of Blogging?

At the cafe today, I ran into my friend the writer Greg Oaks. I asked him what he thought of blogs. He said he hadn't thought about them too much; he'd only read a couple of them in the past. He mentioned a blog,, that he'd read -- a woman's chronicle of her failed relationships. "I was amazed," he said, "She was pretty brutally honest." (Disclaimer: when I googled that site so I could post a link, the quoted title -- -- led me to an erotica sight, which is great! and all, but maybe not what Greg meant?)

The brutal and naked honesty of the blog is what makes it appealing. The tone of a good blog reminds me of the "I'm just saying..." attitude. The girlfriend chat. The roll one is on when one is rolling.

Greg and I talked about how blogs with angles were better than blogs without -- say a blog about music, cake decorating, or teaching retards. I told him about the secret blog site: Post Secret. Then Greg said, "The blog will be like the novel in the 17th century. Back then, nobody knew what it was they were dealing with." As we spoke, I noticed the novel sitting on Greg's table, Light in August by William Faulkner.

Where Faulkner is concerned, a lot of people still don't know what they're dealing with.

My high school students introduced me to blogs. In 2001, they were keeping online diaries and sharing them with one another. "Check out my blog, Ms. Forster," they'd say and write the address on the black board. One day when I was surfing the net when I should have been grading their papers, I looked up at the board and typed the address of a girl's blog into the computer's address bar.

At that point, the idea of a "public diary" was still an oxymoron to me. A diary was a private thing: what you wrote for yourself, to yourself. I myself kept "notebooks," which, in truth, are basically the same thing. Calling my private writing a notebook, however, dignified it more than calling it a diary, which I imagined as small, pink, equipped with a flimsy lock, a miniature key, and stealthily stuffed under a twin mattress for safe-keeping.

This girl whose blog I looked up was fairly popular, which explained, I guessed, why people might want access to her online diary. Otherwise, I couldn't imagine what would make someone want to read someone else's diary, especially a 17 year old's random thoughts about "LIFE." Really, I thought, who cares?

Soon enough, I found myself riveted to the mamby-pamby ramblings of this girl. I took the quizzes she posted. I went to the links of other schoolgirl blogs. Clearly, they were putting a lot more energy into their blogs than they were their homework, judging by the color and verve of their postings versus the blandness and incoherence of their academic essays -- the ones that sat collecting dust in one of the precarious piles of papers on my desk.

Years later, I am riveted to blogs kept by people my own age, writers I know and non-writers (or people who don't consider themselves "writers"), alike . Blogs like The Other Mother, written by my friend Robin who runs Writers In The Schools here in Houston, or It's Perfectly Legal to Have This Much Fun and Little Miss Messycovers by my girlfriends Jennifer and Cathy. From these sites, I navigate to other people's blogs, people I don't know, like this one: The Tard Blog. And I can't help myself. I can't look away. I check back every day, and when there aren't new posts, I get mad.

The blogging genre has already hit the bigtime, as many of you know. A lot was made of blogging during the 2004 Presidential election. And have you heard about the BlogHer conference? I just found out about it on someone else's blog (of course). Sounds a lot like an AWP or MLA conference, for all you elitists out there who still believe blogging is puerile and narcissistic.

Q: Who would the Cervantes of blogging be? Is there even a possible answer to that question? Is the very idea of a Cervantes blotted out by the blogging genre? Some academic out there: help me out here.

CONFESSION: This morning, I loathed the idea of becoming a blogger, but I had no idea how satisfying it could be. I think it'll serve my quixotic nature very well.

Uh oh ho ho.

Clara Ys-adorable

Here is the reason I started this blog

Clara Ys-adorable
Originally uploaded by xtaforster.

-- the girl I want to be near night and day.

I'm hoping to freelance write and teach so that I can make my own hours and raise my own daughter (as opposed to raising other people's kids, or other people raising my kid). When I told a friend of mine that that's what I was gonna do to make money, she said, "Do you have a blog?" I told her I hated blogs. She told me to get over it, that a blog would be a good way for potential employers to see my work.


But maybe she's right. Maybe blogs are more than just the ramblings of self-involved gadflies. In any case, I'm going to give it a try.

And anyway, I'm an Aries. We're known for being self-involved.