Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I turned in my 3500-word* Travel Literature essay on Friday night at 11:59pm. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I wrote about Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight cycle of films… have you heard of them?

I know it looks like I turned the paper in at the last second, but that was editing and shaping of the argument (always the hardest part for me). I’ve been researching and writing this thing for weeks (months?), so I was pretty happy with it.

Still, writing is a recursive process and it is tough to turn in off, even after you’ve met your deadline. All weekend, I’ve been having those little attacks of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas. They’ve mostly been mild, though there was one moment when I panicked that I might have left some snarky “I’ll come back and smooth over this” placeholder text in the middle, but that turned out to be a false alarm.

About 10 minutes ago, it occurred to me that I omitted something fairly obvious. See, my whole premise had to do with the space-time continuum; how these movies are travel narratives with temporal limits (the titles). And I have a very fitting literary quote about that sitting right here in the About Me section of my blog:

“The past is a foreign country:
they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

It’s fine. It is. I really don’t know what I would have done with that. But I think I’m picking up on a larger theme here – not a literary theme, but a life theme.

*I had originally posted that it was a 5,000-word essay. Actually, it was two essays: the Before Sunrise/Sunset academic paper and a 3,000-word creative piece.

The Mad Ones


This bastard and I are having ourselves a little stare-down.

It technically began on Saturday, when I picked him up from the city library; but really, this antagonism has been going on for years.

I don’t like the Beats. There, I said it. Of all the literary generational cliques, this is the one that gets my eyes rolling.

Maybe it’s because I came to the Beats too late; I was already in college by the time I read The Dharma Bums (after a smokin’ hot alum gave me his copy during my semester abroad). I know I read On the Road at some point after that, if for no other reason than I knew I was supposed to, but I wasn’t impressed with any of it and found these guys to be just a little misogynistic.

So we’re reading On the Road for Travel Lit, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. This two-books-a-week nonsense has been going on for a month now, and this is the first one I’m not going to read. NotGonnaDoIt.

The thing is, I’ve already read it once, so this would kind of be a re-read, although the library only had this copy of the original scroll, which leaves the names unchanged and apparently has some gay sex scenes. And I do owe the Beats another chance, seeing how I was kind of a little snot as an undergrad, but I really don’t wanna…

I even poked around online and at the video store for the Kristen Stewart movie (which came out earlier here, for some reason), but it’s not available for another 10 days. Plus, it looks like it bombed in the States.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll flip through it, or if I can find an Irish supplier of whatever drug Kerouac was on when he wrote it, I’ll take some of that and pull another all-nighter (kidding).

Right now, though, I’m more concerned with cleaning out my fridge and pantry. See, I’ve decided to give up dairy for Lent, so I’m spending my Fat Tuesday* eating all the dairy products in my kitchen, which is more difficult than one might imagine, especially considering I just bought myself a Cadbury’s Milk Tray. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

*Fat Tuesday is called Pancake Tuesday here. It is endearing to see all of Ireland and the UK obsessing over pancakes, but I find their final fling before Lent a bit lacking in ambition.