Many thanks to Madeleine Sumption for carving the pumpkin that Matthew “Fish” McFeeley photographed to create this year’s October theme-change here at StoreyTelling. For four years now, the annual October theme picture has been of pumpkins carved at the prior year’s carving party. This year, I can’t imagine there will be a carving party.

For one thing, it would have to stop raining.

I awoke this morning to learn that the Daily Targum, Rutgers’ school newspaper, had finally made good on its promise to feature the debate team in its pages. I went to campus today to pick up some print copies for posterity, as well as to hand off a lost cell phone of one of our debaters. Ended up walking three miles, all told, as part of a burgeoning effort to walk at least two miles a day. It’s not like I need to lose weight, having regained only about two or three of the fifteen-plus pounds I lost in the late crisis. But I like my mindset and my approach to life more when I walk. There’s something about putting one’s feet on the ground, of observing the world from the ground level, that creates a more moment-to-moment reality. This is how people saw the world when they appreciated it more. This is how I intend to try living again.

For all the details on the past weekend, you can head on over to the debate blog. Suffice it to say that we keep doing quite well, especially among the novices. Debate gets even more interesting this weekend when NOTY tracking starts and a small tournament primarily for “dinos” is held in Boston on Sunday. I’ll be debating with a recent BU grad, Jake Campbell, who has a similar taste for crazy opp-choice cases. Should be a lot of fun to get back into something vaguely competitive, as though I weren’t competitive enough for my team already.

People keep asking me to take pictures of my new place and post them here, but the place isn’t ready. It’s still a mess, a big pile of boxes occupying the living room like a displaced ethnic group in search of sustenance. I got my bed and computer set up on move-in day, along with a little food and the coffee-maker, toaster, and microwave. I’ve sadly realized that I could probably live like this for months without too much trouble, ducking around the cardboard metropolis as I traverse between the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and office. The place is palatial, much larger than I realized when seeing how the prior couple had filled it during my only pre-commitment trip to the apartment. The neighborhood is lovely, full of stately homes with healthy lawns, sprawling trees, and coyly inviting lampposts and lanterns in the evening. But my residence still feels transient, uninvited, a wealth of memories and stuff crammed high, peeking out of the shadows to remind me that I am not here on my own terms.

If something has gone well lately, outside of the debate framework, it’s my miraculous ability to fight off a cold. I was getting pretty sick over this past weekend, unaided by the effort to fit fourteen debaters and judges into two small hotel rooms during the first significant decline in temperatures this season. But an obsessive effort with vitamin C and Sudafed have combined with sleeping most of yesterday to return me to good health, even after walking three miles with wet hair in drizzly conditions today. If only I could apply this energy to tackling the corrugated refugee camp in the next room.

Baby steps, I guess. I’ve long thought of each day as borrowed time or bonus material, but never has it been more true than right now. My days are long and languid and even the most basic tasks seem to draw on deep reserves of energy. And yet the e-mails, calls, and even cards continue to pour in, most imploring me to take the time I need to let myself try to heal. I don’t know what healing looks like. I can imagine hurting less than I do now. I can even imagine trying to be with someone else, I guess, though signing up for online dating has hardly seemed like an encouraging process. I want to apply for jobs, but I’m not sure I’m up to them yet. I want to volunteer, but my own house is out of order. I want to write, but I have nothing left to say.