November 30th, 2009


So you don't have to.

Finding a really awesome restaurant in an outer-ring suburb is a great joy, but you don't expect it. The outer ring people are farther from everybody else, so quite often the restaurants out there are shooting for displeasing as few people as possible, while still remaining a step above well-known chain restaurants in their genre. What you don't want is for people in Lakeville to say, "There's a Red Lobster up in Burnsville; we might as well go to that if we want seafood and don't want to drive all the way into the city."

We tried Molly Cool's down on Cedar and Dodd tonight, and I expect that that is exactly what the people in Lakeville are saying of it. We decided to share appetizers around the table as the main meal, because the entrees they had were so completely standard that it didn't even seem worth bothering with them--we feel perfectly competent to broil a fresh piece of common fish and dump lemon butter on it all by ourselves, and do not feel that having a restaurant chef perform this service is worth the price.

Not one of the things we had was interesting or good. Not one. Calamari was boring and grainy, walleye was boring, crab-stuffed portobello was boring (and the mushroom was tough), oysters were boring, chowder was boring, beet salad was boring. I am all for mild beets. These beets were so mild that I kept poking at them to try to determine whether they had dyed potatoes red. The texture was wrong for that. But the flavor was right. Hint: people who go to the trouble of ordering beet salad in a restaurant are often familiar with the concept that beets have a flavor, and are offering to exchange money for something with that flavor.

The up sides are twofold: 1) now none of you will be obliged to do this unless you like really, really boring seafood, and 2) I have returned from what was meant to be a fairly large dinner out with plenty of room for ice cream.

writing everywhere

deep breaths for everybody

I am trying not to over-interpret/over-ascribe. But.

Yesterday I simply did not have the time or the physical energy to have a workout. It was a day with a steady bit in it, and I became hungry like a normal person when dinnertime rolled around, without spending an hour and a half on the bike to cut through the nausea. (Because no vertigo for six hours meant no nausea.) And the peasants rejoiced etc.

Today has been so much easier in so many ways. I slept better. I had an hour and a half workout, and that was much easier. This is not surprising. Bodies need rest from time to time. This is known. I haven't been working out for 1.5-2 hours daily because I think it's the best thing for a person, I've been doing it because it's how I can eat, and I am firmly of the opinion that people need to eat. (Even if they don't need to eat where we had dinner. But that's the previous entry.)

I also have two new stories coming along, and I am switching from frame to frame trying to keep up with idea notes on both of them. (Edited to add: Um. Three.) I have been a bit short on new stories for awhile now. I know the shape of both of these. I don't want to say that it has to be connected. But...minds are not separable from bodies, either. Both need rest. Being really physically exhausted and feeling like I'm fighting for just the normal things in life may not, it turns out, be the most conducive thing ever to creative work.

I'm not committing that I will always use my steady days to skip workouts; clearly that's the wrong solution for the long-term outcome for which we devoutly hope, that is, that all my days will become steady days. But it seemed worth reminding myself, and possibly some of you could use the reminder as well: taking a rest does not make you lazy or bad. It does not mean you lack dedication or commitment or passion or artistic/intellectual rigor. It means you are a human, and humans need rest as well as work, down as well as up, dark as well as light. And there is nothing wrong with that, and something valuable in remembering it.

(The only thing is, I wrote seagrit "The Witch's Second Daughter," and I hope it's not too confusing that I'm now writing "The Witch's Second." I don't intend to also write "The Witch's" and "The." I'd say you never know, but that's wrong, sometimes you know. At least I do.)