The last week of March was fierce. I picked Tycho the rabbit up from the vet, where he had boarded while we were in London, and discovered that he was partially paralyzed. Then his digestive system began melting down and he became more paralyzed. I had a job interview. The vet told me that Tycho was unlikely to recover and I knew he had to be put to sleep. I passed my ex-boyfriend from high school while I walked down the street. (He looked at me, I looked at him, and the spark of recognition flew. Then he looked away and walked faster and I continued my conversation with Husband on my cell phone.) I said good-bye to Tycho for a final time, petting him as he passed on. I edited six articles I wrote for an almanac on haunted America. I went to my writing group. I did additional research on two places in the Bronx for a walking tour I am leading next Saturday so I would have some good pictures to pass around the group. I was emotionally exhausted. Thus March did not change the opinion I formed in February that 2011 was shaping up to be an extremely shitty year. (April started with a rejection letter for a story I submitted to a writing contest in January and two of my friends moved to bumblefuck Missouri.) Yet. I am really excited for the novel-memoir I am writing. Every second I spend working on it is hard, but rewarding. Characters and scenes are slowly taking shape. I am close to finishing a first draft of a full first chapter. The research I am doing is depressing at times, but engaging. I'm mapping out a life - literally. I put together a map of Warsaw's main Jewish area from some print outs someone gave me when I was there last June. It's exciting to think about where the character of my grandfather worked and how he got there from home. It's amazing reading Isaac Bashevis Singer and making notes about the sounds, smells, and sites my grandfather/the character would have encountered. In short, I love the process.

For once, I don't feel like an unemployed policy person/nonprofit manager. I don't entirely feel like a writer, either, but I feel like I'm accomplishing something, and it is a great feeling. Now I just hope I can make it good. Hope springs eternal.