Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Ok, so I have senioritis. It's true. I didn't think this was possible anymore. I had it in high school. I had it at the end of my undergraduate degree. Now I have it in the last semester of my Master's degree program. I've already defended my thesis, and I'm thinking, "Oh man, I am so done." I'm having difficulties focusing on Walt Whitman's ra-ra-sis-boom-ba, go America, and I would like to think that Walt himself might be a bit chagrined at his cheerleading of America and the idea of democracy if he'd have guessed that someone like George W. Bush would someday not only be born and SURVIVE to middle age, but actually become the freaking PRESIDENT of the United States. Walt, I'm sorry, I'm just not feelin you, buddy.

Yes, I'm talking to Walt Whitman in the present tense, and if you've ever read "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", you'd know why.

I'm also taking a course on class warfare and issues in America. It's all done in a virtual classroom, as a sort of experiment, with graduate students here on campus as well as with graduate students in programs in other universities all over the United States. It's interesting, but I'm not feeling it either. I mean, I am, but I'm not feeling like doing much WORK.

That's not true either. I feel like doing work, but not work for courses any longer. I'm much more inclined to be writing my own stories right now, and this last semester isn't really involved with that.

Also, one of the classes I'm teaching is filled with some REAL, um, challenging people. Read that sentence with gritted teeth.

So, yeah, I'm complaining. Sigh. I'm sure I'll want to be back in school again once I leave it and enter the "real world", as my father likes to tell me, and work at a "real" job again for a couple of years. And hey, that's ok, right? I think I'd actually like making a nest for myself in academia, if I have to. There are worse places to be. And the university has always been a place where I felt more comfortable to be myself. Why not build a life in a place that makes you feel like that. If you've noticed, this is a dialogue with myself really, an argument between where I come from and who I am, and where I come from is so deep seated that, even if I don't let it win out over my own desires, it still gets its two cents in on everything. Someday I hope they'll invent a surgery to remove things like that.

By the way, Susan Marie's expedition to the sale at Express was in synch with my own shopping spree at Structure, the guy's side of Express. You can't beat those redline sales, can you Susan? Too bad I got sucked into the regular OVERPRICED side of things like you did. Damn this capitalist prison state! (I got myself a pair of brown twill pants, and a darker brown v-neck sweater to go with them, though, very cool, slightly retro look.) You know brown is the new red, don't you? AHA-AHA-AHA-AHA. Just kidding.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

School is in session once more. I'm teaching two courses (Writing 1 and 2), and taking two courses (American Poetry/History, and American Class and Culture). Just got through the first week, just barely. Bleah. I'm juggling fifty students writing progress and reading for two courses, and working on stories, and yes, a novel, which has been real fun to write so far. I'm constantly in fear of the point I will most likely reach in the writing of it where I have no clue as to what I'm doing, but I'm just going to have fun with it first, and worry second. Otherwise, I'll end up dropping it altogether.

Other than the work load, I've mainly been spending time with Jackie and the other grad students. We threw a going back to school party a week and a half ago, with a pajama theme to follow, although some people chose to spice up the nightwear choices. Hmmm...Pictures taken? Yes. Posting them? Possibly. I'll look for safe ones. Or funny ones at least. We played silly games someone devised. The guys had to dip their faces into bowls full of whipped cream with cherries placed in the middle, lap up the cherry, and whoever came up with the least whipped cream won. This was supposed to be a test of tongue and mouth skills, I guess. Of course I won. And then Beth (housemate) smashed my bowl of whipped cream all over my face because I had come up with only a dab on my goatee. (I think she was jealous--heh heh). I'm still wondering why my undergraduate years were more calm, and graduate school seems more like Animal House than the fraternity kids down the street do.

I'm listening to the new Tori Amos cd, "Scarlet's Walk", which is gorgeous. It feels sort of like a synthesis of her initial early sound with some of her more electronically laced later music. And the phantasmagoric depiction of America that forms from song to song is really lovely. Another surreal and emotionally turbulent success.

Thanks to Tim Pratt for the award. I feel honored, truly!

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Yes, I'm alive, Ms. Bond. Sorry for the absence. The holidays took me far far away, to Manhattan actually, where I spent the past week visiting my friend Rick. Saw some amazing shows there. The Def Jam Poets were absolutely wonderful!!!! I want to see them again already. And Caryl Churchill's play "Far Away", was incredible. I saw the Modern Museum of Art for the first time in my life, with all those incredible paintings. It was a shock to my aesthetic system (a cousin to the nervous and circulatory systems) because it's one famous painting after another. Incredible. Also saw the film, The Hours, which I really liked a whole lot, even though it's depressing. So was the book, which I liked a whole lot too. Nicole Kidman does a great Virginia Woolf. All the acting was good, for the most part. They stayed mostly true to the book, too, and translated most of its feel to the screen.

I'm home again, and recovering from travel and from ringing in the New Year. I hope everyone has a good one. The day itself isn't as important as what we make of the ones that come after it for the next twelve months.

See you all on the flipside.