Monday, December 13, 2010

my kind of drama

I was supposed to send off my first application of the season this morning. It's due on Wednesday. There's just one problem--I still don't have a statement of purpose.

I wrote one. It was pretty good, or at least good enough that my friend who reads essays for a living gave it the thumbs up to send to professors writing my letters. I knew it needed revision, but one professor wrote back. My statement was (is) too long, too wordy, and doesn't say enough about what I can offer--specifically. He actually said part of it was very strong--so I'll hang on to that paragraph and a few sentences.

You need a hook for these things, right? So I began with April, with sitting around a table or in my front room talking about poetry. The secret is that as much I liked April, that wasn't the switch that made me jump ship and call myself a writer.

I still don't call myself a writer. Who does that?

There was Gideon telling me in London that I had to decide what I wanted to do: creative writing or literature. And there was Susan introducing me as the poetry student trying to make up her mind between creative writing and literature. And there was me saying I could do both, but not really wanting to do both.

That's where I want this essay to go: that I said I could do both, and I have done both, and I've realized that there are ways to put creative writing and literature in conversation with each other. (That's the paragraph that I get to keep.) But how do I lead the readers to this conclusion?

Did I just answer my own question?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

hi(gh) again

This is just to say*

Thanksgiving was wonderful. The flights to and from Thanksgiving were not. I have decided I love traveling, hate flying. New plan: the train. No sudden change in cabin pressure.

I found an email in my inbox today from one of my letter writers for PhD apps asking for two or three of the poems I wrote for letter writer's course. The problem is that as much as I enjoyed letter writer's workshop, I had to spend the next quarter learning to write like me again. Which is to say that only one (revision) of the poems from that workshop had survived into my portfolio. So I just spent two hours revising a second poem to send letter writer.

The Dean I work for sat me down again to say that I should be considering my career trajectory, if I don't get into a PhD program. Or if I choose not to go. We're going to have a longer conversation in the next week to discuss this in depth.

I am sick and cold and my PhD applications are starting to feel like not-fun hallucinations. (I'm going to pretend that I've experienced fun hallucinations.)

Reg sat me down yesterday to discuss creating depth in my poetry. This was round two. I think he and I find depth in different places/ways. But he did have some interesting suggestions, which I will ponder like a good student, and then modify to suit my poetics. I did put two poems in direct conversation with each other with promising results. Promising results that will require at least two new poems--two poems that I'm excited by and have started in the midst of my agonizing revisions.

Work Holiday Parties begin this week. First up is the staff lunch on Friday. A nice/edible spread, and then we are "surprised" with the afternoon off to get Christmas shopping done. Too bad all of my Christmas shopping is already done. Too bad I'm going to go shopping anyway. I am an obedient employee.

*with apologies to William Carlos Williams

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a friend for eg

I really don't like the movie Must Love Dogs. Except for the parts with John Cusack and the parts with Diane Lane. But not the parts when they're together. It never makes sense to me. Except the scene when she runs out of the beauty parlor in the middle of a manicure/pedicure to talk to him and he's with another woman.

There is a point to all this. Early on in the movie, Diane Lane's character Sarah is told by her family that it's time that she stop being alone. One of her sisters says something like "Don't you have a friend for Sarah?" And Sarah's response is "A friend for Sarah. I sound like an episode of Little House on the Prairie."

I steal this line every once in a while. I wouldn't have to if people would just believe I have friends and a social life. Tonight I had a dinner with lots of friends. Or at least a few friends and a few acquaintences. But I think one could be a new friend, so. . . what was the point of all this? Mostly to say that sometimes I steal a line from a movie that no one else will ever recognize. It's not like it's Say Anything.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

it's all about the disclaimer

Disclaimer: This post is again about poetry and the PhD process. This is not about the events of Sunday, November 7. Those deserve a post all their own.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I don’t like writing about myself. Maybe that’s why I chose poetry over creative non-fiction, although when I started writing, I didn’t know what creative non-fiction was. I was nine, maybe ten. I couldn’t tell you why I was writing, just that I was. After a (short) lifetime spent reading, it seemed like a natural next step. As for poetry. . . who knows how that happened.

First collection: "I'm Friends with the Birds. Imagine That!" Illustrated. Sometime in elementary school, fourth or fifth grade. Rather dreadful. Probably tucked away in a box for safe keeping and memory lane.

The day my fifth grade teacher told us we were going to write poems in "free verse," which meant they couldn't rhyme. I couldn't imagine writing a poem that didn't rhyme and I told my friends that she couldn't do that to my poetry.

Memorizing "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and being pretty damn sure it was about stopping by woods on a snowy evening. (Fourth grade)

The first time I found Milosz's anthology A Book of Luminous Things. I sat in the stacks of the library and read Szymborska's "Four o'clock in the morning." And I wanted to write like that.

Those were my beginnings. And then poetry became habit. I sat in the back of classrooms, writing long free verse poems down notebook pages. There weren't that many of us writing in junior high, in high school, so it was something about me that made me different. I was introduced to my first (only-ish) boyfriend because we both wrote poetry. Mine was better.

I made it to college, still thinking that I was special and ususual because I wrote poetry. But I learned pretty quickly that what I was writing wasn't very good poetry. (Insert humiliation when a professor had me share a poem with the class. . .) I don't like being not very good at things, and I decided I would make a better editor. I joined Inscape, spent one semester on the poetry staff, and then became poetry editor for over two years.

I couldn't stay away from poetry. It started with a lit class in contemporary poetry. Kim Johnson came to speak to the class about her poetry. I was fascinated, memorized her poem "Persephone," and read Leviathan with a Hook so many times that I could have recited the order of the poems. I signed up for Kim's workshop. And it was hard, and I wasn't very good, and I met Kristen. Kristen made me realize that poetry/writing can't be done in isolation, as much as we all admire Emily Dickinson.

Kristen joined Inscape, and then Kristen and I joined in a conversation facilitated by Kjerstin Evans, who named the conversation "April." When Kjerstin left Provo to serve a mission, I inherited April (must use that line in a poem sometime). Suddenly there were six of us who loved writing and language and poetry and it was okay if we weren't always good--we were writing together. There is nothing on this earth that feels as good as participating in that friendship/conversation.

Even with Inscape and April, I still wasn't ready to embrace the idea of "me as writer/poet" when I applied to the MA in English at BYU. My nickname was editorgirl and for good reason. I started the American literature track, with a thesis on contemporary American poetry. I found out that I loved teaching writing as much as I loved writing. And I used my thesis topic as an excuse to still take poetry workshops.

It was Kim who woke me up again. She gave a reading at BYU. It was awesome, naturally, and afterward Aaron, one of my April friends, asked me to introduce him to Kim. I wasn't sure if Kim would even know who I was. But she did and she signed that copy of Leviathan that I had memorized and asked me if I was going to take her creative writing theory class.

That theory class is the point everything else radiates from. My confidence as a writer. My realization that I am more engaged, happier, talking about how a text works than what a text means (although I think those conversations should be happening together). My decision to apply to PhD programs in creative writing. I was finally ready to claim that as my place.

If you've been around this blog much, you know what happens next. I apply to three schools, get waitlisted by one, and don't get in. I don't finish my thesis on time, don't get the teaching position because my thesis wasn't done, and somehow everything I had just achieved seemed to collapse around me. But I finish my thesis (thanks to Kim and Lance Larsen), and apply to PhD programs again. This time I doubled the number of schools to double my chances. And I got waitlisted twice and didn't get in to either. In an effort to regroup I retreat to Bountiful and a job as receptionist at my dad's law firm. And Kim emails me a link to a new MFA at Northwestern. I apply in July, get accepted in August, and move to Chicago in September.

I know that last paragraph doesn't seem like it's about poetry, but it's just as much a part of this as writing poems in the back of the classroom or the sonnet-kick I went on my sophomore year of college. Because for once I didn't give up when it seemed like I wasn't good enough. I've given up on a lot of things in my life--piano, voice, driving, dating, math. That community, of April, and then FOB, of Kim and Lance and Muhlestein and professors and friends and family who believed in me when I wasn't giving them any reason to believe in me--this is turning into a Hallmark card. But they kept me in the conversation, kept me writing.

This will be the last time I apply to PhD programs. I've had an amazing two years at Northwestern, and I'm finishing a third that makes me so happy. After a rough start, our MFA poetry group is tight (although not named after a month) and I've added friends and professors to my community of writers. My poetry finally deserves those votes of confidence I've received over the years. I'm going to end my degree with a thesis that I'm proud of and with workshops with two of my favorite profs--Ed Roberson and Simone Muench. This is what I was looking for, and what I needed. I wasn't ready for a PhD three years ago. But I am now. I want to continue to build this community. I want to use my MA and my MFA to not just add to the conversation, but help direct the conversation. I love poetry and I want to talk about it.

I know that I might not get in. It's competitve and it's taken me a long time to get here. I still question myself. But I'm not sure you can be a good poet and not question yourself. If I don't get in, I still have my MFA. I can teach. I can write. I have my friends (maybe not after this long post) and I'll be okay.

But I still really really want in.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

intense

The thought of it actually makes me kind of sick. Can I really go through another round of this?

Not grad school. Grad school I'm good with. But the application process. . .

Four applications. Due December 15, January 1, January 15, and February 1. You need a degree just to navigate the sites to figure out how to apply.

You need writing samples (check), GRE scores (check), letters of recommendation (checking), money (check-ish), transcripts (.5 check). And you need a letter/statement of intent/purpose. No check yet, but it has to be done by the weekend for those letters of recommendation to happen.

That letter/statement kills me every time. I don't like writing about myself. I am awkward and nervous and scared they won't like me. I come across desperate. Please don't make me join the human race! Please let me stay in school forever!

It's not about school. I love learning, I love classes, but after a decade of a college education. . . there is no good way to end that sentence. I have grown old taking class after class. And I will keep taking class after class. There's no stopping me. I've actually considered another masters if the PhD doesn't happen again. So why the PhD?

I have an MA in literature. In June I'll have an MFA in creative writing. Each of those degrees teaches you do one thing very very well. (Read/talk lit, write/talk poetry, just in case you were wondering.) In lit courses you talk about "what it's about." In creative writing classes you talk about how that same lit works. What only happens in very rare classes (Kim Johnson, John Bennion, Mary Kinzie) is that you talk both about what it's about and how it works and how the craft and the criticism need each other. Kim's creative writing theory class got me thinking about this (what form is appropriate for what argument), Bennion's English lit courses presented it from a different angle (creative writing assignments in a lit course), and Kinzie just insists on speaking both languages at once. I first discovered it in my own work when I realized that the only theory/criticism that would work for my MA thesis was Grossman's Summa Lyrcia, which is on the craft of writing a lyric. And at NU, I come at texts from a new perspective that lit profs aren't expecting because I'm considering what the text says about the craft, and how the craft makes the argument. I have this crazy toolbox to talk about and teach literature and writing, specifically poetry, and I want to use all of that toolbox. And a PhD seems the best way to do this.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

be my thrill

Tonight I had to choose between this



and this


I should clarify. I wasn't going to fight club, I was going to the annual Halloween multi-stake dance as one of the Jane Austen Fight Club girls (or, alternatively, Relief Society Fight Club). And I wasn't going to be a Muppet. I was going to the Weepies concert.

It's probably not really a surprise that the Weepies concert won. I had bought my ticket in August, the venue is a five-minute walk from my apartment, and it was the Weepies.

They were awesome. Better than awesome. Best concert ever. Ever. I had paid for a reserved seat at a table in this tiny venue, so I was thisclose. My friend Dani came with because she's awesome. (Awesome being the appropriate adjective for such a night.) They sound just as good or maybe a little better live. And they're the cutest couple. That's right. I, cranky-pants McGee, just declared someone the cutest couple. Ever. And if you ever call me cranky-pants McGee, I'll hurt you.

There were two things I really loved tonight, other than the music. One was that there was just the right mix of performing songs and talking to the audience. Poets and other writers could learn a lesson from musicians, or at least these musicians. If the audience wanted to hear your poems, they could read them out loud. Of course there's the added benefit of hearing the poem the way the poet hears the poem, but really the audience wants a little more than they can get from just reading the book. They want to feel as if they know the poet, know the poem, a little more from the reading. And by "them," I mean "me." So listen up, poets of the world. Give me what I want.

The second thing I loved tonight was an example of the first thing. The Weepies are Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, and they're married. (This is important for the next part.) Steve shared the story behind the title track of their newest album, "Be My Thrill." They had a fight, and he was mad, and he wrote a song. He took it to Deb, and said, "This is an angry song," and played it for her. She listened, and then said, "That's not an angry song, it's a love song." She took his angry song and made it a love song. "And that's marriage, guys," said Steve.

I love this story. And I'm a little embarrased that I love it. If you're reading this blog, you probably know that I have a little minor obsession with marriage and weddings. (The stack of wedding magazines at the foot of my bed might dispute just how little that obsession is.) I've never felt that I had the right to think about relationships and marriage and love as much as I do--as much as I want those things, I'm not sure that I'm the type of person who has those in their life. But tonight's concert was about love and respect as much as it was about music (and making money from the second round of people crammed into that room). It was beautiful and fascinating and I have a new favorite song.

Friday, October 29, 2010

good morning

sometimes I come home from work and I'm tired and I just want to not think. I watch an episode or two or three of a show that entertains and nothing else. I eat dinner, which is the most thinking I do for a few hours. I sequester myself in silence and artificial life. and then I slowly emerge from the break I've given myself. I want to do things, I want to talk to people, I want to be brilliant again. the only problem is that this usually happens close to the world's bedtime. I'm not going to pick up the phone. I lurk online--gmail, facebook--hoping someone will say hi. I never say hi first. because you might be just about to sign off.

.

I just realized that my iTunes, which has been shuffling for hours, has played "Elephant Love Medley" more than twice tonight. This can't be a good sign.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I didn't fall in a ditch

My friend Lindsy taught GD this Sunday. She mentioned a "grateful" journal she kept on her mission, and that "I'm grateful I didn't fall in a ditch" was a frequent entry.

So.

I didn't fall in a ditch today. I did wait for the bus this morning for close to 40 minutes in crazy wind. I spent my morning prepping for a meeting that was cancelled. I was stranded hosting a going-away party for a man who didn't want a party. But there are things to be grateful for. When the bus came, it was close to empty which means I got to sit on the 10-minute ride to campus. The wind made everyone look a little disheveled today, so no one noticed that I didn't really get ready this morning. Prepping for the meeting led me to the solution to a problem that has been haunting me since July. And there was cake. Chocolate cake.

And I didn't fall in a ditch.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

honestly

I may have said that sometimes it's hard to go to church. While I was at church. Standing at the "pulpit".

"Pulpit" is in quotations because our branch has moved to an elementary school, so the pulpit is more a lectern-type stand in the auditorium. I find it oddly refreshing, although the missionaries seem a little weirded out by not being in a traditional building.

This is not what this post is about. And my last post, about being stuck, wasn't actually meant to be about work. It was meant to be about writing. This post too. I just get so distracted by everything--work, church, social situations--that writing becomes more and more difficult to concentrate on.

Right now I should be writing a poem. About red and names and maybe God, man's relationship to.

I just read the title of this post and remembered what I logged on to write about. Honesty. And about sometimes being too honest. Where do you draw the line? How much do you tell someone? In this case, there is a specific Someone who I told many things to and who repeatedly complimented me on my honesty, saying it was appreciated. But did that Someone deserve my honesty? And was I dishonest when I didn't tell this Someone Everything? (The caps are getting to be a bit Salinger-esque. Not really.)

I'm not saying that I would have lied to this person. Or to any person. I just don't seem to have that filter that stops me from oversharing--that's what I mean by too honest. How much of my personal experience do I need to share with people for them to feel that I'm being open and honest? Is honest even the right word to describe what I'm talking about? I'm not sure.

After I told this Someone somethings about myself, I realized that I had left something out--maybe subconsciously, but maybe a little on purpose. And I know I'm being vague here. Because right now I'm embarrassed about opening up that much to Someone who isn't a close friend or a therapist. But it's made me thing about what I choose to share and what I keep to myself.

You know what? I think I have a poem to write now. See you later.

Honestly.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

is so completely stuck

My life has been reduced to a series of Facebook status updates.
  • Editorgirl is having an "I hate numbers" kind of day.
  • New personal rule: no talking to engineers in elevators.
  • GRE word of the day: Help.
  • deciding just how nice I'm going to be today.
With the exception of the GRE, they're all about work. I've been overwhelmed lately, and nothing seems to work. I even tried to run away to Utah for a weekend--which was lovely--but I seem to be stuck in a land of numbers and policy and things that in my head really don't matter. Even though I know they do.

I keep trying to figure out what I'm doing, why I'm doing this job. I thought I was going to be writing or editing or teaching or something having to do with degrees in writing, editing, and reading. Instead I'm going line by line through expense reports, pounding the hell out of my 10-keypad.

I tell myself it's temporary. Actually, I tell everyone it's temporary. Nine months and I'll have masters degree number two, and maybe a spot at a PhD program. If that PhD doesn't happen this year, I'm going to start looking internally for a position that fits me better.

Does this sound like I'm not grateful? I am. I know how lucky I am to have a job, one with benefits, one that lets me eat while I study poetry. I like the people I work with, I like that I still get to work for the university, and it's really not all that bad. I'm just stuck right now. Not so much with work, but with everything else, and work is the easiest thing to point my finger at and say "See. I'm not crazy."

I am crazy. But you knew that was coming.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm not paying attention

I've been trying to blog for the past week. I keep opening windows and closing windows, and writing sentences and deleting sentences. Sometimes just fragments.

"Fragments" is precisely what I'm experiencing right now. All of these pieces of my life, and I have this nagging feeling that they all fit together, they're all what my life really is right now, but I can't pull them together. I can't bring them into focus at the same time.

Exhibit A. Puzzle piece A. The graduate students are coming back to NU. I know that I'm a grad student, but really I'm not. I'm a staff member who is getting a graduate degree. My life is 9 to 5 work, and then, every once in a while, 7 to 9:30 pm poetry. And I'm happiest then, I'm who I am then, and yet--I'm good at my job. Good enough that I forget that I write poetry and I get pulled into the numbers. One of the new grad students in the branch asked me if I was bored during the summer break before classes started. I couldn't even process that--I work full time. Who has time to be bored?

I am so bored. I am impatient. I have one year left. One year to write my thesis and apply to PhD programs and graduate and go to another school. Be a real live grad student again. And in the meantime, until classes start and I can get that rush of writing and talking about writing and even a little bit of teaching, I am bored and distracted and not sure what to do with myself.

I met a very nice young man at church on Sunday. He's coming to NU for grad school. I told him that I'm a grad student, MFA poetry. He said, and I quote, "Good for you."

What the hell?

I'm annoyed with him, but I'm also annoyed with me. Because even after his condescension, I kept chatting and trying to be slightly charming. Because he was another grad student, because he was a real grad student. Because they are few and far between in the great Chicagoland. Because I knew once he met the other girls/women in the branch, I would just be "that other person in the branch at NU." Because I've come to expect invisibility from myself. Because I expect you not to see me. Because I'm convinced if you do, you won't like what you see.

I am giving it all up. This year is just a year. I'm going to write my thesis, I'm going to apply to grad school, I'm going to tough it out one more year. My great girl friends out here will continue to be great girl friends, but I'm all set. By this time next year, I'll be blogging from Denver or Ohio or Utah or. . . well, Chicago, if I decide on UIC. But this phase will be over and out.

Yeah, I don't believe me either.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2night

I was this close to writing a very long post with TMPI: too much personal information.

Part of me still wants to write that post.

The rest of me just thinks you should listen to this song, on repeat:



Guess which part of me is winning?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It ain't over til

It's over. And by "it," I of course mean the Proust class from. Not hell. Just Proust.

And by "over," I mean that I read every page (skimmed every page), wrote my 12-page paper, stayed awake through the last two-point-five hours of lecture, received my grade (it was shiny and A), and let my boss read the final product.

Let me repeat that last bit: My boss, or rather, my boss's boss, wanted to read my Proust paper. And she didn't stop asking. I kept trying to distract her with shiny objects and minor policy benders, but no luck. She wanted to read my paper. So I let her. And now, somehow, it all feels over.

Other thoughts in the "Feelings" category:

1. I took the pain killers tonight. The ones that work. Also the ones that keep me awake. I always forget about that part. And then I start blogging.

2. Using "the" unnecessarily makes me happy.

3. I'm missing my family more and more lately. I want nothing more than a night in Bountiful, eating Chuck Deli sandwiches, watching Sam scoot around the table, and Abby explain why she only has to eat three bites. And then I want to come back to Chicago.

4. This isn't a feeling, but a poem of mine won a contest. First prize. First prize was an espresso machine.

5. First prize is still wrapped in its box.

Maybe that's all for tonight, but you know what happens next. Once I start blogging, I can't stop myself. Or maybe I just won't stop myself.


PS. The Proust paper made the argument that Proust's narrator states that to experience and create art, the artist must be alone, separate from society--and yet, he refutes that argument with a six-volume novel populated by hundreds of characters, in which the artist only truly achieves something when he has come in contact with other people.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

there are more important things than this post

Is everyone else tired of my whining? Because I really don't mean to whine. I don't. Really.

Last night was kind of awesome. A group of poetry-peoples from my MFA program meet up every couple of weeks to workshop, and last night one of our profs (Simone Muench) and Hadara Bar-Nadav came with. (This is not the whining part.) It was awesome. It's always awesome, but hanging out with Hadara and Simone was awesome times four. Maybe five. I'm not very good with the math.

I made it home kind of late, and was giddy to boot, so I let myself sleep in a little this morning. I had mentioned I might come in late to my boss, who was cool with it. I got into work around 10:00, and by 10:20 (here comes the whining part) found out that my boss is leaving our office to work elsewhere in NU.

I do not handle change well at all. This particular change is going to be dreadful and painful and explained a whole lot of high emotions running around the office lately. My boss will no longer be my boss as of next Friday. Which is sad. On the other hand, by Saturday we'll probably be Facebook friends.

In addition to change, I don't handle bad news very well. I clam up and get serious. "Stoic," according to my boss later in the day when I finally broke down the wall a little to ask if we at least get cake some time next week.

The only truly good part about all of this is that I no longer feel guilty for applying to PhD programs this fall. I realized that a lot of my loyalty was to my boss, and not as much to the office. That, and I'm not sure I'll be as happy working for someone else. We got along really well--she understood where I was coming from, and we spoke the same language in terms of work. Not so much with the rest of the office.

We've now reached the part of the post where I've rambled myself out. I should have just written about Simone and Hadara and workshopping. Because that was happy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

adolescent me

The thing is, I check your blogs every night. Some of them during the day. I'm waiting for pictures and for stories and I keep wondering why you're not posting more. And then I remember that I'm not posting more.

In the ongoing battle of EG v. the AC, I won last night, but I think that was more sheer exhaustion than anything else. I also suddenly feel justified in my struggle, as everyone else seems to be fighting the same battle. It's validating. Or something like that.

Yesterday I was so tired, I fell asleep at lunch. While reading Proust and eating a hot dog. I wish I were exaggerating. After work, I headed to the library to do some more reading, and fell asleep again. At least this time I wasn't risking a mustard stain. But I had class from 7:00 to 9:30, the prof lectures like he's running out of time from the word "Go," and I needed to take notes for a friend who wasn't there. Solution: Rockstar. Pounded. Class was this odd hallucination of Proust and memory and time and friends and this sensation that I should be falling asleep, but I wasn't. Luckily that feeling wore off around 1:00 a.m. and I was able to crash.

This is why I live alone.

I'm actually really loving my Proust class. The prof lectures like a mad man, but a mad man who has Very Interesting Things to Say. And the reading is a lot (like too much a lot, and that's saying a lot coming from me), but beautiful in places and ways that you don't expect. Most of the themes are things I'm interested in reading and writing about--art, time, memory. But I realized yesterday that what it's really about, at least the books we've read so far, is adolescence. That age of obsession and confusion and pages and pages of nothing much that will somehow inform our adulthood. What's interesting about this, is that adolescence wasn't really a solid concept when this was written. People went from child to young (wo)man, not from child to teen to young adult. (To single and alone in an apartment full of cats.)

Sitting in class, talking about how we remember things, how we perceive time, how we manipulate our memories, and how real "truth" comes in the unbidden, unmanipulated memory--well, it drags me back to adolescence. To high school, to the first time I realized I had friends in high school. To the boys I watched in high school. (Proust is also all about the relationships--or the wanting of relationships.) High school wasn't easy, but I think part of the point is that adolescence isn't easy. That this time of obsession with ourselves, with others, is necessary to reach some stage of stability in our lives.

Wow. That got kind of serious. I promise I won't do that again.

Also: I won a $20 gift card to Borders in the McC staff raffle today. I'm thinking I'll get something frivolous. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ding!

Of course it's one in the morning. Why wouldn't it be? And of course I'm awake. Sleeping is for people who, well, sleep.

That was profound. I'm profound a lot these days. Must be all the late nights. That or the cheese. And the Pop-Tarts.

Here's the thing: it's hot. It's hot, so I turn on the AC unit securely fastened in my window. And that huffs and puffs and blows cold air all night. Yay for cold air. But then--and here's the tricky part--the huffing and puffing keeps me awake. So I turn off the AC. And I fall asleep for a little while. But an hour or so later, and I wake up hot and icky and uncomfortable.

I feel guilty for complaining about this. I'm grateful for my apartment, grateful that I get to live [just north of] Chicago, grateful for that AC unit. But I haven't had a good night's sleep in over a week. I'm starting to look like one of the more disturbing Addams family members. Maybe the fat little boy in the striped shirt. Or the hand. No body, just a hand. He was my favorite.

Here's to round two of EG v. the AC. I'll tell you in the morning who won.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

let's write something happy

I am sitting on my bed. This would not be worrisome, except I am singing. Les Mis. "On My Own," "A Little Fall of Rain." Stop me when I get to "Stars."

I have not been productive this weekend. I have sat on my bed and sang my entire repetoire. I also did my laundry, but that was a sweaty mess. Not my laundry, but me.

Why is this happy? Because someday I'll get to tell these stories with half a smile on my face. Probably in a RS lesson, but any telling is good.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

cold, cold iron*

Thursday night something happened. The stars aligned, Hulu offered up some inspiration (it happens), and I suddenly knew that I was brilliant and ready to write. But by the time I reached this conclusion, it was almost 2 in the morning and I needed to sleep so that I could go to work the next day. I considered calling in sick, but since Monday had been a holiday, I wanted to put in a solid day of work.

And of course I was too distracted to really work. But I did an excellent job of pretending. (I actually was quite productive while still thinking about the poems I was going to write after work.)

But after work came, and since it was Friday, there was Nevins. I love Nevins. Most of the time. But I was still aching to write. I was zoned out and in my own world most of the time I was with my friends. I couldn't explain to Powers why I wasn't all the way there, but this was it: I wanted to be working, writing.

After Nevins I ran to B&N for a new notebook. I took the bus home. And by the time I got home,

it was gone. Not the desire to write, but whatever fire had been burning in my head--it was gone.

I keep trying to re-create Thursday night, to put that fire back into my head, to put together the pieces. Instead, I'm bouncing back and forth between almost-inspired and definite depresssion. I'm not going to let myself crash, but I'm so close. So close.

I want to write, dammit. Where did it go?




*Thoreau said that writing after the inspiration is gone is like ironing with a cold iron. Just in case you were wondering.

Friday, July 09, 2010

shake it off

You probably won't believe--I'm not sure I believe me--but somehow writing that last post got all those awkward needy feelings out of my system. I'm good to go, at least until the next hormonal up-surge.

In the meantime, I'm finding myself desperate to write and create and art. Art is a verb, people. At least, it is now. I'm at work, looking at numbers, and I just want to be curled up in front of a painting at the Art Institute. Or the Tate Modern. Let's go to London, friends.

I sent some of the poems I've been working on to one of the poetry profs in my program. (This post brought to you by the letter P.) She was enthusiastic about the work I've been doing this past quarter--and so am I. It's something new and very very--well, me. It's the kind of poetry I want to write, at least right now, not some pale imitation of someone else's work. It's all mine. It's a good feeling.

So this is detox. I want to write. I want to talk with people about writing and art and excitement.

Won't you be my people?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

per the wedding dress

It's back. My wedding obsession. And, by vicious relation, relationship obsession. This is not healthy. I'll be the first to admit. Guilty as crazy. But right now I'm also listening to music and thinking about how brilliant the soundtrack of my pre-wedding party will be and how I'll know how to stop the DIY projects before my wedding looks like a craft fair instead of, well, a wedding.

This has got to stop.

Song: "Addicted to Love" covered by Florence + the Machine

Maryn sent me a video of five EFY guys singing "God Save the Queen." They're reportedly British. I kind of hope they're from Idaho. Just because.

I think I miss those days, when guys were possibilities and adorable. I know that's nice and vague of me to say "I think," but I don't really remember those days (that's right, I'm very very old). I hope Maryn makes the best of them.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

noun, noun, noun

I kind of want a tattoo.

Don't worry, Mom, because I also want to build cakes and buy a wedding dress.

Damn you, TLC.

Funny story: I just typed "weeding dress." Freud would be so proud.

Dear Mom, if I ever get a wedding dress, I promise to weed in it. The front hill, just for you. (No I won't. But I'll clean the house to avoid the weeding. Just like old times.)

I've been wondering about growing up. When exactly is this supposed to happen?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy 2nd of July!

Sure the 4th of July is the birthday of America, but the 2nd of July is the birthday of two of the most important people in my life: Stephen and Lauren (aka, Stephanie and Larry. . . those names are sticking).



Lauren is the most amazing mother.

And Stephen. . . if the doctor thing doesn't work out, there's always modeling for toothpaste ads.

I love you both. Happy birthday!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

i dream of books

 
I had to post this, just so that I won't misplace it. Ever. It's that cool.

Now someone just tell me who this "J. Crew" is, and it will all be good.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

in which I ask too many questions

I second guess myself. A lot. Maybe too much. Maybe not enough. But there are certain things that are set in stone. The PhD is one of them.

The PhD is usually one of them. I will apply at least one more time to PhD programs. With any luck, cliches will come true and the third time will be the charm.

Three times. I've never failed three times. I only had to take my driving test twice. Everything else, once was enough. And now I feel like I'm setting world records. I'm the only person I know who keeps putting herself through this gauntlet.

And yes, I am being a little dramatic.

This isn't the problem (my history of failed PhD apps or my tendency toward the dramatic). Today my boss mentioned that a job would be opening up in the school I work for. She joked that I should take it. I knew she was joking, I joked back, and I went on with my day. But I couldn't shake the idea of this job.

This job would require a sizable committment. I'm not even sure I'd be qualified for this job. But what about other jobs like it? Jobs that would keep me employed at a steadily increasing salary over the next five years, instead of teaching comp classes while paying yet another university to give me a piece of paper saying that I'm qualified to write poetry.

Poetry. The world doesn't really need more poetry.

I could write poetry while holding another job. A job that pays. A job that would pay for poetry.

I'm writing this, and I'm thinking that I'm crazy. I'm just not sure if the craziness is me doubting my PhD plans, or thinking I should grow-up and get a real job.

Maybe the worst part of my current job is that I'm good at it. That I know I could keep being good in other admin positions. That I could still work at a university, just not as a professor. That I could grow up and join the rest of the world in growing up. There is nothing like school and a studio apartment to make you feel as though your adulthood has been postponed indefinitely.

So: job or school? And what if I send out my applications, and they make the decision for me? What do I do then?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

san juan by proxy

So before San Juan I got a new little toy: a Fujifilm Instax Mini. Basically a polaroid-style camera with credit card sized pictures. I'm kind of in love. I brought a bunch of film to San Juan, and well--had fun with it.





I like to take pictures of my food. And then tear its little heads off.

and then we went to san juan




san juan family portraits

No, not that San Juan. San Juan Island, Washington. State. Where it's cold. And where my family would spend every vacation if we could. (Maybe every other vacation. Got to get Europe in there sometime.)



Hmm. I guess this doesn't really show you want San Juan looks like. Or why go to San Juan. I guess that means I'll need to post more pictures. Dang.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

success is a hard word to spell

Here's what happened today: two men set up the window AC unit in my apartment, and I ate a really good hamburger. With feta.

Here's what's happened every other day: this summer will be divided into pre-AC and post-AC. I'm predicting post-AC will be like unto the garden of Eden, only with clothes. Pre-AC was dreadful, painful, and sweaty. And IL hasn't really experienced summer yet. But there were nights when I had my (small) fan aimed directly at me, while I slept on ice packs. Ice packs, people. They're not feather pillows, that's for sure.

In other, non-AC news, the spring quarter is ending. On Tuesday I presented my completed essay on books. I'm working to compress the Quicktime file so that I can post it here and you can all finally find out the one sentence in Gatsby that puts me in my happy place. (It's a rather small happy place.) I got some good feedback on my essaying. Perhaps my favorite moment was when my prof told me he didn't expect "a poet to come screaming out of nowhere." I kind of like to think of my writing as screaming out of nowhere.

I have one final school-related task in front of me. Or at least one immediate school-related task. I need to pull together my portfolio for workshop. Roberson (or EdR, as he signs his emails) gives the best assignment for the last poem we workshop in class: write the poem you haven't written yet. Meaning, look at the poems you have written, and see what's missing. This was more obvious for me because I'm currently working on a project, and I can see the holes. For Tuesday, I wrote a poem titled "Song." I know there are at least five or six other poems that need to be written to round this project out. Maybe more. But they're there. The next one will be called "Essay."

I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I've been thinking about posting, but I'm discovering that Kim was right when she asked me why I blogged, if it took up writing energy. It does, when you're actually writing--when it's more than a hobby. It hurts to blog sometimes, as if you're letting go of words you might need later on.

But that's not right. Maybe it was when I was thinking so much about essay, but the blog is good for me. It's good for me to connect with people.

Hello, people.

Monday, May 24, 2010

books (an essay in progress)

I'm not sure where this is going. I'm not sure where I want it to go. But it must go somewhere. So I'm looking to my best readers to tell me, of all things, why we read. And, of course, buy books. (Note: This is a video essay, which is why it's sparse on the concrete, physical details you all crave.)

.
on books

When I moved to Chicago, I brought five books with me. Maybe it was seven. Maybe ten. Maybe I shouldn’t count the books about Chicago I brought to Chicago.

Two days after I moved to Chicago, I bought two books—sequels to the book I had read on the plane. The same book I read again the first night in Chicago.

I bought books for class.

I bought books that I already owned in Utah. Books that I didn’t feel comfortable without. One book that I never owned, but checked out from the library at least twice a year. Books that were strictly guilty pleasure reading.

Maybe every book is a guilty pleasure.

Thin volumes of poetry. More substantial anthologies, all of them with the same poets, the same poems.

The three books by Anne Carson that I bought at a reading, and one I had brought from home. When I asked her to sign all four, she wrote “For Sarah, respectfully,” four times. She never looked at me.

The biography of Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee I bought at a store where they sell books by the pound.

Three copies of The Great Gatsby. I’m not overly fond of The Great Gatsby, except for a single line:

Sunday, May 02, 2010

sleep isn't on the agenda

I should be exhausted. And I am. But I'm not sleeping.

It might have something to do with the sirens that blew past my building 20 minutes ago, but that's just silly. Silly sirens.

Today was quite lovely: errands, schoolwork, laundry, grocery shopping. The kind of Saturday where you get things checked off your list and ready for the coming week.

Last Saturday was not that kind of Saturday.

Actually, last week was not that kind of week. The last two weeks. When did my life get to be so busy?

I have back-to-back classes again, this time Tuesday/Wednesday. And Tuesday's class is the most homework I've done in the MFA. It's awesome, I love it, it's killing me homework.

So Tuesday and Wednesday are always done for. (Wednesday wouldn't be so bad, except that it's in Chicago, which means an hour bus ride. An hour each way.)

Two weeks ago Monday I left work sick, got some medicine, took a nap, and went back to campus to finish a homework assignment for Tuesday. Tuesday class. Wednesday class. Thursday I left work early to meet up with my more-than-adorable cousin Kimber at the Art Institute. I dragged her around the building before sending her off to a show and myself off to do laundry. Friday night I had dinner with my work friends, and then my favorite work friend (and the only one who also lives in Evanston) and I went to see The Losers. Our review: hot men and explosions. Go team.

Saturday was actually a very good day. I begged a ride to the eight-stake YSA activity, which is something I never do, but I did do this time (I meant that sentence to read awkwardly) because MTA Kimber was performing with her vocal group from BYU-I and I wanted to cheer her on. She was awesome, the dancing (my dancing) was awkward, and the night ended with one of the most perfect moments of my life--Kimber did some dragging of her own to get her group to sing "Scarborough Fair" to me and a few friends (and the rest of the YSA-ers who were still around) after the concert/dance. Kimber's pretty cool for a cousin.

The night actually had two endings--the amazing singing, and then some punchy-it's-too-late entertainment at White Castle. My branch headed over to the chain so that two 19 year-olds could say that they had been there. (And one 29 year-old.) I wish I had been filming, because we thought we were pretty funny.

Sunday was church, and then more homework. On campus. Because Tuesday is evil.

(More sirens, if you're wondering.)

Monday night might have been the best time I've had in Chicago. It's hard to follow up Kimber's visit, but two of my MFA friends and I got to teach an undergrad advanced poetry workshop. It was awesome. I love teaching, so much. I know it's where I'm headed, but I wish I could get there a little faster. Oh well. We were brilliant. Hell, I was brilliant. The classroom is my stage and I owned. But enough of my modesty.

And that brings us back to Do--I mean, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was the first free night I'd had in two weeks, and I spent it doing nothing. No thing. Maybe dishes.

Maybe.

Friday, April 30, 2010

um. . .

How is this not the best thing you have ever seen?


It is.

Link.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

dear world

I am not sad, nor shy, nor serious. (I am, however, resisting the urge to quote Much Ado.)

I am just very very overwhelmed. And yes, I know that that was redundant.

I'll see you on the other side of this:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

don't you fret

My head is way too full tonight. I have poems to write and a movie remix to figure out. And I have tonight to figure out the poem, and a week to figure out the remix, and of course my mind is working in reverse.

I was reciting Les Mis to myself last night. Not the whole book, and not the musical. Just the part where Eponine dies (oh--SPOILER ALERT) in Marius's arms because she just stepped in front of a bullet that should have killed him (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) and before she dies she says something to the effect of "You know, I think I was a little bit in love with you."

Maybe I've just rewritten Les Mis. I haven't read it since I was in tenth grade. But I like that idea.

I think I was a little bit in love with you.

How many men could I say this to? I mean, I'd have to be dying in their arms to get up the nerve, but there is a handful of men this would apply to.

Am I making this up?

Not just the quote from Les Mis*, but the handful of men. Have I ever been a little bit in love with anyone? I want to say yes**. And I think I can claim yes now,

but will there be a day when I brush aside those "loves" for something much more real? And by saying this, am I suggesting Eponine's love wasn't real? (Do not debate this--I love Eponine. I love her broken hand and her desparate eyes and her worry that even now he doesn't see her.)

I have a poem to write.


--------------------------------------------
*I found it: “Et puis, tenez, monsieur Marius, je crois que j’├ętais un peu amoureuse de vous.”

 Translation: “You know, Monsieur Marius, I think I was a little bit in love with you."

** I know, I edited this. But that line was too sad. And it made my mother worry. I try to avoid that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

definitionally

Remember how I said I was going to quit posting late at night?

Today I taught a lesson for RS. It was okay. The brilliant opening I had ready was less brilliant once I heard the words coming out of my mouth. But at least it was entertaining. And I think I tied it in eventually.

The opening used the idea that names mean something. I'm always a little shocked that people don't know what their names mean--your name is a word. It means something more than "Hey you." It has a definition, an etymology.

Editorgirl, if you're wondering, means a girl who edits.

I should have said "surprised" instead of "shocked." I'm shocked when someone's bleeding. I'm surprised when someone doesn't know what their name means. Especially the Biblical names. The second counselor asked me after the lesson if his name was in my book. His name is Joseph.

This whole idea of naming/names, definition of, has been showing up in my poetry lately. A lot. Almost as much as the wings of 2005 (to 2009). But I like it. Other poetry recurrences: I keep using the title "Elegy." I'm still thinking of using my chapbook title as my thesis title (Inadvertent Elegies), so maybe this all makes sense.

Maybe.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can tell Abby that her middle name came from a TV show and not the Bible.

Also, I'm naming my first daughter after my grandmothers. Consider this dibs, Sven and Lauren. And Maryn, if you care yet.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

. . .

I hope Lauren doesn't mind me stealing this pic from her blog, but this just might be my favorite picture of Abby ever. I tried to make it my wallpaper, but that's just too much personality for one little old laptop.

In other Lauren-Jesse-Abby-Baby news, Jesse (aka, my genius brother-in-law) just got a super-mega-awesome internship in Seattle with Microsoft Games. I'm a little sad that they'll be even farther away from me, but I think maybe it's time these little duckies spread their wings. . . that metaphor was better in my head.

other words that begin with Q

I am feeling chatty. I'm still at work, and there's no one to talk to right now. They've either left for the day, or they actually have something that must be done before 5:00.

I have done all my must-be-dones and so feel okay about the blogging.

I also feel (all these dang feelings) that I should qualify what I wrote last night, what I write every time I'm spewing loneliness onto this blog. Most of the time--not every time, but most of the time--I choose to be lonely. And then 11:00 pm or midnight hits and I'm lonely and bored, which is a bad combination. So I turn to you, my dear little blog world.

This week was pretty awesome. And pretty crazy. On Monday night, I used my webcam for a birthday celebration with my family. I had presents to unwrap, Abby helped me blow up some balloons, and there was singing.

Tuesday night I had class (video essay awesome class) and then webcam'd (there has to be a verb for this) with Sven and Ashton.

Wednesday I actually had the evening I always thought I'd have once I was in an MFA program in a cool city like Chicago--a few MFA friends and I hit a poetry reading, then retreated to Uptown for some food and music and talking. I got home late and was thoroughly happy.

So by last night, I was ready for some down time. And it was a little lonely. And there was a lot of Hulu. And some ice cream. Maybe some cold cereal. But it wasn't a bad thing. I like having time to myself, time to think and not think, time to unwind.

Still doesn't mean I want to be a cat lady.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

deal?

I live with a list in my head of what I should be doing. For example, right now, I should be going to bed. But I'm not. Just in case you missed that.

Maybe I should have started this way: I have a list in my head of things I should be doing, and a list to counter all those things I should be doing. I should be going to bed, but I'm going to blog or stalk you on facebook. I should be revising poems, but I'm going to watch the series finale of Ugly Betty, and then Top Chef Masters, and then catch up on Lost.

It's amazing how much time I lose on Hulu, just because I'd rather not think. Not thinking for 40 minutes always multiplies into more until--well, until it's time to go to bed.

My lists suggest that I am a productive, and possibly organized, person. I am not. My productivity comes in very short bursts, and usually require human, if not divine, intervention. I need to commit to someone that I will do something before it's actually done. And I actually have to believe that commitment.

I suspect that I'm not the only person who suffers from this mentality. Or is easily distracted--because right there I was just as happy to start quoting Much Ado as continue this conversation.

But. Here's the thing. I know I've been writing a lot about being lonely. And I still am. Part of me is convinced that I need other people around, if only to get me to turn off Hulu and turn to my notebooks--or anything else. Anything else. I quite worried that I'll turn into a cat lady, without the cats (because they are creepy).

Let's make a deal. Don't let me turn into a cat lady. I promise to do the same for you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I got a camera for my birthday

and by camera, I mean a nice camera. After it came with me to a few Church events, a friend in the branch asked if I would take her engagement pictures. I explained that a good camera does not necessarily mean a good photographer, or even a good picture-taker. She explained that they didn't have money to hire a good photographer. (She didn't --she just asked if I'd at least try.) So yesterday we met up at Millennium Park in Chicago to try to take some pictures. I wish we'd waited about an hour for the sun to start going down, but they are busy busy people.

So this is me, trying. Well, trying-ish.




I feel the need to add that there were more engage-y looking pictures, but I'll leave them for Clark and Shelly to display elsewhere. These were a few of my favorites. I know I'm not even close to the genius that is Maryn, but I wouldn't mind practicing some more. (It wasn't until the end of the "shoot," that I asked them, "Is this how you would normally sit?" And they both said no, rearranged themselves, and they finally looked like Clark and Shelly.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

my friend [my computer]

I have at least half a dozen emails that need to be written. Which is why I'm writing here.

An old friend made an appearance in the comments section of this blog. I suspect he'd prefer to remain anonymous, and I'll give him that (hence my own personal code name for him and another friend), but he made me realize something kind of important. Or really important. Maybe even Very Important.

I went to London in 2001, 2005, and 2007. Each experience was defining for me in some important way. 2001 was the longest I had ever gone without seeing my family. 2005 was when I realized I wanted to teach, and that life isn't a tourist mecca (that might require another post). And 2007. It happened. I made some really good friends. And it was the beginning of the hardest two years of my life.

So three trips to London, all during spring quarters. Which means I have spent a total of six months of my (soon-to-be) twenty-seven years in London. I'm not a numbers person (I just play one during the day), but I'm pretty sure that's a relatively small amount of time.

That isn't to say that short/small periods of time aren't significant in our lives. Or at least my life. But they also are never the whole picture.

So [my computer]. I tend to ignore my time at BYU. Which is foolish. Because despite the way that it ended (nothing shameful, unless you're a prideful academic-wannabe, which I am), there were some really great things that I loved about BYU. And [my computer], along with the man who gave them the nickname, were one of the best parts, some of the best mentors a young writer could have. I was a lucky girl to work with them.

And then, there was this one day, when [my computer] told the story of Chicken George. And then later he sent me speed dating and told me I reminded him of Starbuck. And I thought Starbuck was a man and that [] was weird. So I made him say the opening prayer.

The end.

Monday, April 05, 2010

when will I feel

It's raining, which means I can do one of two things. I can tell you about the events of my day, which were, admittedly, uneventful. Or I can tell you about how much I love the rain, how alive I feel watching it through an open window, how I'll dance with or without you.

No U2 reference intended.

I would run outside right now, but I have to work in the morning and I know that just being in the rain will wake me up to a point that sleep will become impossible tonight. I'll write feverishly, acknowleding the rain drying on my skin and tangled in my hair, and then it will be morning. I will have to dress appropriately, put on mascara, and sit at my desk typing number after number after number.

I know all these numbers. I know what they mean. I know what they do. They are not as interesting as the rain.

Maybe I should write, feverishly, of course. Last night I woke up at 2:00 in the morning, completely frustrated with a memory I couldn't answer. I couldn't remember a roommate's last name. I ran through every other roommate, without a hitch (maidens only--I'm completely lost when it comes to married names). I finally Googled.

Dear roommate. I couldn't remember your last name, but I knew your first, your employment, your current city. I googled you. Hello roommate.

It's not just raining. It's thunder and lightning and the kind of rain you turn the lights off to watch. The kind of rain you watch in silence, and, if there is another person in the room, you hope they understand the silence. I've been lucky enough to have friends who understand the silence.

Tonight I'm sitting away from my window, the lamp is on, and I'm listening to my iTunes on shuffle. Ingrid Michaelson's "Masochist," then Jack Black covering Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" (from High Fidelity), and now Feist's "Let It Die." Which is the song I was going to start with, so it must be meant to be. It sounds like rain.



When I was looking for the song on YouTube, there was video after video of girls wearing glasses, embracing their guitars, singing this song.

I am not one of them.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

since I don't really know you

I am resisting the late-night-diet-coke-induced-insomia-driven urge to email someone I don't really know. I'm resisiting the urge by blogging for the whole world to see.

Should there be another hyphen in that sentence?

A few years ago, I remember telling friends that I would never want to be in a relationship with another poet. No doubt another diet-coke-fueled rant, but let's ignore that small detail. Why would I say this? And why am I thinking about it tonight?

Saturdays are lonely days for me. Every once in a while I make plans and follow through with them, but for the most part, I'm left to my own devices. Which is laundry, movies, school reading, non-school reading, and talking to myself. These are the days when it is easiest to think life would be easier if I had someone to talk to. And since none of you are here with me in Evanston, and I don't want to show any favoritism, that someone becomes a tall-ish intelligent man. From there, I spin other characteristics, to suit that day's fancy. The one thing that never changes is his intelligence.

So that email. I was going to send it to a similarly academically-driven young man to ask him--What the hell is wrong with academically-driven young men?

Not really. But you get the gist of it.

At BYU, there were far more of these menfolk to observe and, occasionally, to crush on. In Chicago, they seem to be in short supply, at least in the groups I find myself in. And because I'm academic, and he's academic, people inevitably point us in each other's directions. We have a nice talk, exchange stories, compare battle wounds. And then, inevitably, he wanders off in the general direction of a Very Cute Girl. I am many things, but a VCG is not one of them.

So here's what I'm wondering. Do they feel the same way I used to? Is there an unwritten rule that there should only be one academic in a relationship? Nevermind that one of my favorite couples is two of the smartest people I've ever heard of. (That's right--Marie and Pierre Curie.) Actually, I can think of multiple academic couples that fit this bill, which leads me to one conclusion:

Boys are stupid.

Note: These thoughts in no way invalidate this post. It's just Saturday talking. Also, I would totally date a poet. Essayist. Maybe a novelist. Maybe.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

surprised?

No, this is not my version of April Fools. I really did decide to change things up, again with the help of yummylolly.com (who also designed my last background). I loved the black and white, but the circles were starting to give me vertigo.

Along with the new design, I considered a name change. This blog started out as "Bitter Diatribes are Redundant." Or something like that. It was a long time ago--2004. I think it was during and after my second trip to London (2005) that I tried to find a new name/identity. And I landed on "the world's first unmanned flying deskset." After five years, surely I've changed. (And I really like the sound of "a snail named patient.")

But, well, I'm not patient, really. I went back to the source.



This is what it's all about for me. Not the parents forgetting my birthday (which is coming up. . . I'm old). Not the teenage angst (like I said, I'm old). But the idea of the world handing you the same tools and you finding, shall we say, new uses for them. New perspectives.

That, and I really like flying.

a snail named patient*

I had so many blog posts running through my head today that I chose to write none of them. Foolish, I know. But since that was the trope of the day, maybe I can tip my hat to it and move on tomorrow.

Work has been really hard the past few weeks. Not so much hard-difficult as hard-frustrating. It reached its peak yesterday/today when my long weekend in St. Louis got canceled, every idiot with an invoice over a year old decided to crawl out from under their desks, and. . . well, I try not to write about work here, at least not in more specifics. Part of it is that I don't want someone from work finding my evil rants online, and part of it is that I'm hoping that in a few years, this will all seem like a very odd dream. Not a bad one, but an odd one.

So St. Louis. And I know Anna and Brooke wander over here from time to time, so I hope they don't mind that I'm writing about this. We were supposed to crash the ACA/PCA conference in St. Louis this weekend. I found train tickets for $48 round trip, and I was going to take two days off work (today and tomorrow). B got sick--really sick--and without her, the trip didn't make much sense. My tickets were refundable, and I was literally going to just crash B and Anna's panels, so I'm not out any money--in fact, this means that I'll have more vacation days later in the year--but I was so ready for a break. The past few weeks--the past few months--have been long and cringe-worthy. I debated just taking a day off, but I'm worried that I'll need that day off in the near future for class work, so I'm holding on to it. Plus I found out that we're closing the offices a few hours early for Good Friday tomorrow. 3:00 p.m. is death lately, so I'm going to skip my way out of that building and into the sunshine.

Classes started this week, and spring quarter is going to be both awesome and deadly. I'm taking a poetry workshop that is focusing on ecological/nature writing and a video essay class, where we'll actually put together video essays. I've always like the idea of combining language/writing with other media--my favorite films at Final Cut were always the films that were centered around poetry--and I'm excited to learn this way of "writing." It's a new-er form, one that I think could set me apart from other PhD applicants, if I can learn to do it well. And I think I can.
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*Lauren told me the best story today. I gave Abby a board book last year about "feelings." One of the feelings is "patient." The picture shows a duck or a goose watching a snail on its way to who knows where. Today Lauren took Abby to buy a new shirt, and being the awesome mom that she is, let Abby pick the shirt. Abby chose a pink shirt with a snail on it, because the snail is patient.

(I suspect the snail-love is also genetic. Lauren used to catch snails in the garden, and then create "snail hotels" out of bricks. Each snail got its own room. Seriously.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

'warded

Apparently there are other flying objects in the blogosphere (unmanned and otherwise). And one of them landed on my blog this past week. Haleyknitz, who blogs The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Object. She didn't say if she liked Neon Trees' "Animal," but she did say she liked me. In fact, she gave me a blog "award."

Now, the apron makes me a little nervous. Nervous, but still flattered. Thank you, Haleyknitz, for stopping by.

There was a list of questions that came with this award, that I believe are meant to be answered in one word. And we all know how I love lists. Here it goes.

Your Cell Phone? beat up (pretend that's hyphenated) 
Your Hair? short
Your Mother? quilt-y
Your Father? smart
Your Favorite Food? steak
Your Dream Last Night? twisted
Your Favorite Drink? Diet Coke
Your Dream/Goal? Phd, Mrs on the side
What Room Are You In? it's a studio apartment. . .
Your Hobby? craftiness
Your Fear? stairs
Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? PhD
Where Were You Last Night? CTA
Something That You're Not? patient
Muffins? poppyseed
Wish List Item? speakers
Where Did You Grow Up? Utah
Last Thing You Did? watch Man v. Food
What Are You Wearing? pjs
Your TV? Hulu and Netflix
Your Pets? Sophie
Friends? family
Your Life? good
Your Mood? wouldn't you like to know
Missing Someone? always
Vehicle? feet, CTA
Something You Aren't Wearing? socks
Your Favorite Store? bookstore (any bookstore)
Your Favorite Color? depends on the day
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? tonight
Last Time You Cried? after I laughed
Your Best Friend? Anna
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? church
Facebook? right now
Favorite Place To Eat? Nevins

Thursday, March 25, 2010

my friend Josh

I see a theme developing here. Hmm. . .

So when I'm home alone, I keep tucking bobbypins into my bangs (to keep my bangs out of my face). The result is Barbara Walters-ish, Hilary Clinton-ish, I'm too young to die-ish.

This was not the point of this post.

Josh and I were 19 together, but more importantly, we were 19 in London together. If you think that sounds like the beginning of a Jack Weyland novel, well, it probably is. Maybe I should write it. But not this time.

Eight years ago, I was 19 and in London for the first time. I love London. Love London. Will always love London. Am scheming ways to have someone pay for me to go back to London.

Again, not the point.

Josh and I took a stroll down memory lane. Except it was with Josh, who always stops to dance and sing on random street corners. And in the process of tripping down time, we came up with the name of another guy on the study abroad. We were chatting on Facebook, so once we figured out the last name, we both looked him up and found a photo album labeled "London 2002." I tabbed through the photos, not suprised to not see my face in any of them--Unnamed Male and I didn't hang out, except at the dining table in my flat where I quizzed him on what a [something] major was doing on a study abroad with a bunch of theatre and English majors.

Photo album. I was happy just idenitifying the places, when Josh asked if that was us in a picture in front of a castle. I had already passed the picture, so I went back. And it was very clearly Josh--because in my mind, Josh is 19, and, well, there were only four guys on the trip. But I couldn't decide if it was me. I'm pretty sure I was 19 once, but was that me at 19?

I studied the picture for a while. And I'm honestly still not sure. As much as I love London, as at home as I feel in that city, that trip feels foreign now. Except

I've been remembering things lately, stories from that trip. There are a few stories I always tell--reading Shakespeare aloud, Kimball insisting that the only thing worth indulging in was food, seeing Ion performed in a black box theater--but there are smaller stories, and, more importantly, real people that I connected with a long time ago.

I friended Unnamed Guy, with a note that said, "We went to London together eight years ago."

Unnamed Guy wrote back.


a picture of Josh and me, 19 and in London

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

my friend Jim

My friend Jim has excellent taste. In everything. Books, movies, clothes, music. Everything that matters.

Jim has a blog, which is one place I turn for cultural enlightenment. And when Jim tells me to listen, I obey. And when something Jim says is this good, I pass it on.



Thanks Jim.
 

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