Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I shouldn't use my blog to avoid homework. And I'm not avoiding homework. . . not exactly. I'm sure at some point I'll mention Barthes and whatever Barthes is talking about. Maybe I'll mention that I find Barthes easier to understand than Culler, who is supposed to be explicating Barthes and is doing a rather poor job. Or I'll just write Barthes because it's a bizarre combination of letters and sounds all working against each other in my brain when I try to figure out how to pronounce Barthes. And no, I don't want to be instructed in the pronunciation of Barthes or linguistics or anything else, unless it's the accelerated whatever that Optimistic has been touting. And even then, I may not pay attention.

Actually, I can guarantee that I won't pay attention. It's just a fact of life right now, limited attention span. Limited attention span, excessive sleeping, disinterest (Matthew Arnold would be so proud), aggressive roller coastering. Yesterday it was a relief to not finish my homework assignment, spend forty minutes looking for a parking spot, and dump a Jamba down my shirt because it gave me something to be upset about. Right now I'm upset about the Hollywood Ten, courtesy of Eli Wallach's guest appearance on Studio 60 (watching that on NBC rewind is really how I was avoiding doing my homework tonight). I like Eli Wallach--I didn't like him at first, for his role in How to Steal a Million, but since then--he's amazing. And he was quite good in How to Steal a Million, his character was just annoying. Something similar to my hating Fred Astaire after watching Holiday Inn. I couldn't stomach Funny Face for a while. Of course, that could be because of the rather dreadful "Bonjour Paris" number.

Like I said, limited attention span.

P.S. The picture is of Wallach comma Eli, not Barthes comma Roland.

P.P.S. Speaking of pictures, I need a new one. I love Eve, but she's just not cutting it right now. Suggestions?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

what was your first impression?

I love that I can post three sentences and get several responses more thought out than the original post. And yes, I do enjoy the voiceover on About a Boy and most of the time on Arrested Development (is no one else mildly creeped out that it's Ron Howard? Or that his daughter was wet and barely clothed for the entire Lady in the Water?). But I feel the time has come, as the walrus (or was that the Walrus) said, to talk of many things. Or at least as many things as I have time and patience for.

Listening to Badly Drawn Boy. Last night I was at Muse Music for an unpublicized evening of rocking. . . not my words. The Cobabes, aka Rockwell, aka Electric Gravy, were opening for some group I'd never heard of. But I have heard of Cobabes/Rockwell/Gravy. We went to high school together and they are three of my favorite boys in Provo. Three of the sexiest too. Well, one of the sexiest, one of the cutest, and one of the most awkward. . . but one out of three isn't bad. Plus I can say with pride that I went to Muse last night, while I'm not so sure I can be proud of the fact that I have seen Step Up twice since it hit the dollar. Twice with Lady Jane, at that. The first time we went for the dancing and because I still think Channing Tatum is hot. The second time we went for the dancing and because Channing Tatum is hot. And guess what--he was hot both times.

In other movie news, Marie Antoinette. I have been waiting and waiting for this movie, reading reviews, buying magazines. A small part of this was that I like Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman as actors--something I know is awful to admit. But even more was the study of European, and more specifically French, history that occupied my brain during high school. I've always been fascinated by Marie Antoinette and Versailles. There was a tragic extravagence to both that held my attention. I think that was a large part of Coppola's movie, which also held my attention. It was beautiful and overwhelming and almost too caught up by the story to care about its audience, much like I think Versailles must have been. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up, but with the warning that you just might hate it. The girls I was with did. A lot.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

day ten

I hate voiceovers. Why do I need you to tell me what I'm watching? Why do you need to tell me how I'm feeling? And what am I feeling? Stupid people.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Extending the Challenge

Today my 218 students shot questions at me about my writing process. One came closer to the end of class, and it was something I'd never thought about before: What do I like best about my poetry? And I had no answer. I spend so much time critiquing my poetry that I haven't thought about what I like, let alone what I like best (a superlative implies multiple happy things, right?). I told them I'd get back to them. Here's what I came up with, although I don't know if any falls under "best."
  • I like the restraint that characterizes most of my poetry. It's often my downfall, because I don't give my reader enough to figure out the poem, but when your concern is expressing silences or absences, it makes sense to leave a lot out.
  • I get giddy over a well-wrought phrase. They are few and far between, but I think some of my lines qualify.
  • Speaking of lines, I find similarities in the structure of most of my poems. Odd numbers of lines in stanzas, lines standing alone, words occupying their own lines, line breaks that play with the meaning of the poem. The last is a newer development and it occupies a lot of my revision time--seeing if I can mess with the lines to do more than is already being done.
  • The lack of restraint--or rather, the lack of propriety when it comes to topics. I have no problem invoking the sensual, the disturbing, the embarassing, the depressing along with invoking the muse. This is possible (I think) because I use restraint in addressing these topics. Confused yet?
  • The last thing I love about my poetry (and the thing that I won't share with my class) is my muse. My muse acts as encouragement as well as inspiration.
I think this is a challenge that I'll extend not only to my writing class, but to the April and Fob diasporas, as well as Zero and all other writers who venture here. What do you like best about your writing?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

the opiate of the masses

I just finished reading Terry Eagleton's summary of New Criticism in his "The Rise of English." Before that I was reading new critics (or New Critics) Brooks, Wimsatt, and Beardsley explanations and applications of New Criticism. And all of this most likely means nothing or very little to you, my favorite reader, who was expecting some dazzling new insight from the top floor of the JFSB. Well, I'm on the top floor of the library tonight--or at least as top as they'll let us get--and joining my studies with those of the masses is doing weird things to this poor girl's head.

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