As an educator, the word "accountability" is word that I'm quite familiar with- at some level, districts, administrators, teachers, students and parents all need to be held accountable. This is a concept I accept professionally and in personal endeavors as well. I hold myself accountable in terms of workouts, calories/nutrition, housework, maintaining relationships, and raising my dogs to be upstanding, successful citizens of the global community (Chomsky and Cordie are very excited to vote in November).

And now I'm done patting myself on the back. 

This sense of responsibility isn't something that shines through in every aspect of my life. I have not held myself accountable when it comes to writing the supposed novel I have semi-dreamed up in my head. This will be the sixth (seventh? eighth?) summer that I've forecasted at least a draft come September. Let's not go there, though. Let's go to Delillo. Mother effing Don Delillo and his doorstop Underworld

I first became enraptured with Underworld my first year in college, back as a UCLA undergrad in 2001-2002. I was taking a writing class and one of the assignments revolved around reading the lengthy prologue to Underworld, which Delillo has actually published as the novella Pafko at the Wall. I should have stopped there! 56 pages of solid, quality fiction that told the exciting story of the Giants beating the Dodgers during the 1951 playoff series while they were both back in New York. But no, I had to ask for the book for Christmas... back in 2002. 

It's 2012. 

I've started and restarted the book several times, but the furthest I've seemed to have gotten is halfway. Apparently last time I took it pretty seriously and busted out the colored tabs. I think this was four years ago. 

I have no clue what the damn markers are for now.

I honestly have no idea why I haven't been able to finish the novel. It's dense and long (over 800 pages), but from what I've read (and remember) it's good. Delillo's descriptions are spot-on, his characters are interesting, and I can't wait until the connections between the sections really show themselves. I'm intrigued, really, I am. 

But isn't that the way? How many things in life do we put off because we fear the anticipation is actually better than the outcome? How many times are we let down by something we've looked forward to for so, so long? Vacations, red velvet frozen yogurt, parenthood (kidding... maybe...), a spa day, road trips, a movie? Or is it the idea of something being actually over that is more disturbing? 

Look what this book is doing to me! I'm attempting to be far too metaphorical and am completely  over-using rhetorical questions. Disgraceful. Dramatics aside, this book is a mountain that I haven't been able to climb and it pisses me the hell off. And so it's time for some accountability.

Last week I started reading Underworld and told myself that all I needed to do was read 25 pages a night (for some reason this takes me 45-60 minutes, depending on the distractions). I made a chart telling myself what page I should be on each day and even started taking notes as I read. Last Monday I got serious. And I did really, really well for four days.

And then I went out Friday night and got off track. And then Saturday was rough and then busy, so I increased the deficit up to 50. On Sunday I had to make up for doing jack crap on Saturday, leaving me up to minus 75 pages. This is not accountability, this is negligence. This is like doing a really good job of feeding your puppy for four days and then forgetting about him for the weekend because you like your friends too much (I have never done this, by the way- pinky swear).

So, in order to hold myself responsible I publicly declaring that I will have Underworld done by July 16th. 

If not I'll read Twilight. Not really.  


  1. I've never read this but I see it on a lot of lists. I'll be interested to hear what you think.