A Weighty Matter

I was a chubby kid.  When we lived in town, a couple of boys in my school used to stand on the sidewalk and chant a rude verse at me on the way home (“Fatty,” it began.  I sometimes worry that as my brain disintegrates with age, that verse will be the last thing I retain.)  I was almost thirty when I lost weight, going to Weight WAtchers.  I don’t know what WW is like now, but back then, you’d get on the scale, and, if you’d lost anything, the group would applaud; if you’d gained, they offer warm support for the struggle. I lost 60 pounds, I’ve more or less kept them off for 30 years, but I still have days like today, where I cleared out all the ice cream in the freezer.  Ten years ago, I finally got rid of my size 18 clothes, but I’m thinking I should have kept an outfit, just in case.

At the same time I was struggling with my doctoral dissertation, which I did, ultimately, finish, but that was a long battle, too.  I had a friend who was doing her own dissertation, and going with me to Weight Watchers meetings, and we thought we should start “Dissertation WAtchers,” where you weighed you output each week.  “Two more ounces, well done, Eileen.  Ooh, threw out six ounces, too bad Sara, but you’ll do better next time.”

I think about DW often because writers seem obsessed with how many words they’ve written.  I belong to another blog, the Chicago OUtfit Collective, and people talk about doing their weekly stint of 7500 words, or brag about producing 5000 words a day.  I know the feeling, counting the words, as if it had something to do with the quality of the story.  I do it myself, and yet, when the writing is flowing, the number of words is irrelevant, and when it’s ground to a halt, as it has for me this week, the lack of words on the page feels like a summary of all my inadequacies.

Okay, enough whining.  Here’s something real to worry about: death threats against President Obama are 400 percent higher than against previous presidents.  And cute kids on the religious right are using a Bible verse as a cloak for, asking God to kill the President.  And they’re getting support from Fox media. Surprise.

Rachel Maddow on Psalm 109

  • genny from jersey

    First I have to say that when we met you in Bethesda my husband commented on how tiny you were.

    A question from a non-writer—do you actually count each word or is the a formula based on type size? Just wondering.

    I’ve seen the story about the religious right and Psalm 109. There are no depths so low that they won’t sink. Save us from their version of “Christianity”.

  • Penny Thornton

    Death threats in a country where an awful lot of people have, or have access to, a gun must be a huge concern.

    Such celebrations when he was elected, such a huge collective hope across the world and then, when he’s trying to introduce a national healthcare programme to better American lives, out come the hate mongers to whip up fear and prejudice.

    I do hope that people will see through all the misinformation and the bill gets passed – even with the Stupak amendment. Possibly those issues will be amended once the bill is law.

  • Shirley Harrison

    I well remember when JFK, coincidentally on this date in 1963, was killed. For months, rabid segregationists, such as the White Citizens Council, stirred racial hatred in my hometown in Southwest Arkansas. Fox media is doing the same thing now. I fear the same thing could happen to our current President. Of course, these hatemongers would claim they had nothing to do with it. We would know better.

  • I find it hard to believe that you once carried that much weight! (Which means there might be hope for me, too….sigh)

    I had no idea about the religious right asking God to kill the President! What a dreadful misuse of biblical passages. I suppose it just goes to show that, sadly, society really has not progressed beyond the hatred and fear portrayed in the Bible.

    Hope your writing starts to flow again soon! (I do feel for you – I’ve been in a slump for…. oh, nigh on to 30 years now. sigh)

  • OK, Bag Lady, race you to a size..? What shall we aim for?

  • Oh, goodness, bookwitch…. I’d be happy to go down ….ummm ….2 sizes? How does that suit you?
    (And does Sara get to be the moderator/cheerleader?)

  • Oh, boy–I get to be the Oprah of this blog! I’ll pipe inspirational music to you, show you how to be your own true selves, get that inner angel up whispering good vibes into your ears, and, uh, well, you get the picture. Go, Bag Lady, Go, Bookwitch–enjoy being the fabulous women you already are!

    PS, Baglady, re Canadians–I married one (albeit from the West Coast,) which may explain why I continue to cast eyes north of the Border. I was supposed to go to Montreal on November 11 but came down with one of the ickyitises cruising around, and was especially blue at canceling because I did fantasize that someone in the audience would know Paul Gross, and facilitate an introduction–Susan Coyne could write the script, Martha Burns could play V I, Paul could entertain me while they worked…Why not?

  • Oh, Sara, that really sucks that you came down with an ickyitis and failed to fulfill your fantasy!

    Really wish I could help you with an introduction, but the most famous person I know personally (other than Alex Zahara, who was the actor who shot Kevin Costner in “Open Range”, and currently has a role in 2012 – he and I used to do amateur theatre together back when he was still called Sandy!)is ol’ Injun Joe, who hangs around down at the old General Store and claims to be famous for his….. oh, wait, err… this is a family blog, isn’t it?


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