Sometimes Things on My Laptop Just Go “Whoosh”…

OK, despite the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to apply for an NEA grant electronically; despite the fact that NEA grants application page says: “Competition for fellowships is extremely rigorous. Potential applicants should consider carefully whether their work will be competitive at the national level.”; despite the fact that I knew the process would take hours and hours and hours of my precious time, time I should be spending:

    grading papers
    preparing flyer for Spring classes, as requested by Dean

despite, I repeat, all of the above, I did make one more pathetic attempt to complete application process.

Perhaps it was the sight of the piles of student papers on the dining room table. Too depressing to think that I would be spending whole morning grading abysmal stuff from little darlings at xxxxx community college, when I could be doing something that just conceivably *might* benefit my career.

I have discovered this interesting tendency of my MacBook to go “whoosh” and “pffft” and “click” when dragging items here and there, items which subsequently disappear (as witness how I lost my whole Safari application when niece thoughtfully tried to clear my desktop the other night by dragging Safari icon to menu bar at bottom of screen).

Yesterday it RAINED. No, POURED. And I had two three-hour classes. When I arrived at xxxx community college for my first class, it was not raining. Looked hopefully up at the sky, and the sky seemed clear. So determined would not need an umbrella. Naturally, heavens opened up just after I got to classroom, rained cats and dogs the rest of the day, had to walk a mile to the parking lot in pouring rain.

Got home, took a quick shower, then headed off to my next three-hour class, the one that involves shlepping up four flights of stairs. Nothing more depressing than dragging a wheelie cart up narrow wooden steps in the rain. Must admit, felt very sorry for myself.

By the time I got home (hubby made delicious grilled chicken dinner, at least, that was my salvation), had determined that I would NOT be hoodwinked into spending my one free day, today, wasting my time over silly grant application. Went to bed. Woke up this morning and what’s the first thing I do? Open up my computer and go into Isn’t that the height of silliness?

Not only that, I download Firefox FIRST, as niece assures me it is way better than Safari. Then, when opening with Firefox, read this message: Download applications will not run on Firefox.


So, naturally, I have to back out and begin all over again with Safari, which I first have to locate because God knows what happened when niece dragged icon from desktop to menu bar, and when I do finally find it and use it to get on to page, I find that I can’t view application unless I have Citrix. After downloading Citrix, happen to read that Citrix will not work for Mac users. To do that, I need Puredge. So I start downloading Puredge but there are four different things I have to download FIRST, such as: license agreement; registration; instruction package, etc. etc.

And then I start to develop a splitting headache.

Desktop is cluttered with I-don’t-know-what-all, decide to clean it up a little because programs might interfere with each other, so start dragging duplicates to Trash. The Trash makes all kinds of weird sounds when accepting items: sometimes I hear a “pffft” (very disconcerting, as reminds me that things do actually vanish into thin air, as witness Safari application), sometimes I hear a “tch-ch”, and sometimes I just hear a “donk.”


If you ever doubted that writers are masochists, here is the proof. First of all, writers have no money, so dangling the promise of grant money in front of them brings on Pavlovian response.

Now, machine warning light goes on, tells me my laptop is almost out of juice. Which should be my Hallelujah moment because now I have an excuse NOT to work on this grant application and I can begin checking papers.

But no, I have been seized with manic desire to FINISH. So drag laptop to nearest power source (down the hallway), accidentally trip over line to Speedstream modem (WHEN am I ever going to go wireless? Maybe when I have time to do important things, which time is NOT NOW.), make tremendous racket, it’s only 5:30 AM and I hear my husband yelling, WHAT IS GOING ON?? WHAT IS THAT RACKET??

Tell him: Hubby, if you want me to apply for this $25,000 grant, you’ll just go back to sleep and LET ME WORK.

Right now I am exhausted, thoroughly exhausted, dear reader, as I’m sure you are, too.

Determine that no, once and for all, it is really too humiliating to go through all these permutations only to find out, nine months from now, that I have been bested by the likes of xxxxx

Oh well, never mind who I’ve been bested by. The point is, I know I will have been bested. Remember, you can only apply if your work can compete on the NATIONAL level. That is, if you can compete with the likes of David Eggers, David Foster Wallace, Gish Jen, Susan Choi, Lan Samantha Chang, Bharati Mukherjee, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

And I am a woman who can’t even get my work accepted into LOCAL lit journals.

So, no, dear blog reader, after much travail and a headache that’s as big as a house; after having gained five lbs. over the past two days by indulging in anxiety snacking (consuming, for instance, ONE WHOLE PEACH PIE from Draeger’s in one day), I have determined that THIS is not worth even the promise of (a one in a million) chance of winning $25,000.


  1. kathleen said,

    February 27, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    You are so good, you don’t need the lit journals to validate your wonderfulness. Why not publish your stuff via


  2. February 27, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you, Kathleen, I really appreciate your kind comments.

    OK, am off to investigate right now!


  3. A said,

    February 28, 2007 at 3:47 am

    Oi. Mom, you shouldn’t just give up. Giving up is just like admitting defeat without even reaching for the goal!

  4. February 28, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Ah ha ha ha, son, let me keep that thought in mind today. I like it, I like it! (But, ah, I have tons of papers to grade today and no more time to work on this application, and as it’s due TOMORROW, I think I’ll have to wait for next round …)

  5. Luisa said,

    February 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    all I can say is. You have a MacBook???? So you must have found a MacBook benefactor. Auuuggggh!!!! I want one too! 😛 🙂

  6. February 28, 2007 at 9:28 pm


    I took out a LOAN! Get your school to buy one for you!


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