I think–I hope–I learned a thing or two from my unexpected illness, which was all too clearly the result of my having fallen off the workaholism wagon in mid-May. My body thereupon informed me that it was time to take a week off, like it or not, so I did. Now I feel more or less myself again, minus much of my normal stamina but at least capable of doing a reasonable amount of work. A good thing, too! I wrote a piece yesterday and have three more due this week, all deferred from last week. Once they’re done, June should prove more reasonable (two of my regular writing commitments are to monthly magazines that don’t publish in August). I mean to make it so.
What did I do all week? Mostly I watched movies, ranging in specific gravity from Dazed and Confused to Joseph Mankiewicz’s excellent 1953 screen version of Julius Caesar, the latter in honor of Sir John Gielgud (he plays Cassius), whose collected letters were rarely far from my nightstand. In addition, I bid successfully via e-mail on a new piece for the Teachout Museum, about which I’ll be rhapsodizing in this space when it arrives on Thursday. I listened to the rough mix of Paul Moravec’s new CD, out later this year from Arabesque, which will contain Tempest Fantasy, the piece that won him this year’s Pulitzer Prize for music. I saw a couple of foolhardy friends who stopped by to see how I was doing. And that’s pretty much it. Except for my inescapable Wall Street Journal drama column, I didn’t write, didn’t blog, didn’t talk on the phone (I couldn’t–I lost my voice for three days), didn’t go out to see anything or anyone. Instead, I slept as much as I could, ate a lot of soup, and sat on the couch, looking longingly at the spring sunshine through my window.
Toward week’s end I felt tempted to throw caution to the winds and go back to work. I felt it all the more strongly when the postman brought me the copyedited manuscript of All in the Dances, my Balanchine book, at which I hadn’t taken a single peek since I sent it off to Harcourt two months ago. I’m pleased to say, though, that I left the MS. in its package for two full days. No sooner did I open it up than I sat down and read the book through from end to end, an interesting and scary experience. It’s unsettling to read your own writing after it’s had time to cool down, and I found an embarrassing factual error in the very first chapter (yikes!), but for the most part I was quite happy with the way it turned out.
Did I learn anything from being out of the loop for six whole days? We’ll see. I can’t honestly say it was fun–I felt crappy, after all–but there were moments when I caught a glimpse of how it might feel to put down the reins and really take some time off. I’m no good at that, but I’m trying to become so.
Did I miss you? Very much. I didn’t dare to peek at my blogmail until the weekend, but when I did I was heartened and comforted by your get-well messages. It’s nice to know that “About Last Night” is an important part of so many people’s lives. It’ll be a few more days before I’m back up to speed, but I’m eager to start posting regularly. I may not have done much last week, but I thought about a lot of things, and I look forward to sharing some of them with you.
In the meantime, I’ve updated the right-hand column with fresh links and Top Fives, and I also exhumed an old piece of mine that recent events have made newly relevant (see below). I’ll post as much as I can in between writing those three pieces. Well, maybe not as much as I can–that’s part of what got me in trouble, after all! But “About Last Night” is also an important part of my own life, and I can’t wait to get it up and running once more.
Incidentally, Our Girl in Chicago wants me to assure you that she’s not dead, either, and you can expect her to be back at the same old blogstand as soon as she cleans up her accumulated holiday mess. In the meantime, we both thank you for your patience and forbearance. You mean a lot to us.