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


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.

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