i’m still alive, among other things

i thought that writing about a new book that no one’s written about would be FUN and EXCITING and LIBERATING, but really it’s just hard.  and i find myself making these large crazy gestures of interpretation (metaphysical life after death through narration!  associative families!  streams of omniscience!  …goodness, it hurts.) as if to compensate for the fact that i am writing about this one tiny aspect of this massively complicated book.

i will return to the blog-o-sphere, i am sure, when i am done with papers/ grades/ stupid research job of stupidness.

never fear.  supper.



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Now comes the long blue cold

Now comes the long blue cold
and what shall I say but that some
bird in the tree of my heart is singing.
That same heart that only yesterday
was a room shut tight, without dreams.

Isn’t it wonderful—the cold wind and
spring in the heart inexplicable.
Darling girl. Picklock.

—Mary Oliver

i have crashed, as far as studying goes.  i can’t read any more.  i need to take this week to regain my ability to write more than a sentence without totally wearing myself out.  the good news is, i mostly know stuff.  and i just have to keep focusing on that.  because i’m not stressed out.  i’m just exhausted.  all the time.  i wake up exhausted, i fight off the exhaustion and still try to plow my way through a couple of books, i go to bed so exhausted i can’t sleep.  please, exams, go die.
our exam has been compared to the zombie apocalypse: barricading oneself in the gll conference room, armed with machetes to beat back the professors who have come to eat your self-esteem.  and brainz.
the better news is that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of my sister coming to visit in just over 2 weeks, and my parents after school gets out.  which means excuses to host fancy brunches and go out to try ethnic restaurants and take walks.  and see my family, though in some ways their planned visits make me even more homesick.  blah.  but i am looking forward to them.  and to summer, post-high school boot camp: rhode island beach vacation, possible vt trip (fingers crossed!), denver road trip, drinking wine on the porch before dinner.
my new addictions: the show numb3rs (don’t judge!) and, far worse, diy home improvement sites.  the pantries!  the laundry rooms!  the neatly compartmentalized entryways!  roses on the bathroom vanity!  the built-in shelving… ye gods, the built-in shelving!  please someone get me my vermont b&b post-haste so i can make it beautifully retro-perfect!

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the femme-ivore’s dilemma

one thing that is really missing from my program here at osu is the presence of useful role models. of course, that’s because it’s a research university and to become tenured faculty at a research university, you have to be so into your research that you have neither the time nor the people skills to become a useful role model to graduate students. but… like… it’s so hard to motivate myself to go through 3+ more years of painful academic hazing, just so i can get hazed by the job market, just so i can maybe have the privilege of getting hazed by the tenure process, when the result of that is being like my osu professors. i really like and enjoy working with my younger professors here, but even they have attitudes that bother me, like going to conferences with the sole purpose of presenting and furthering their research, not with the purpose of getting to know and interact with colleagues. (conferences have the potential to be these great intellectual parties, but UGH when people have that attitude, no wonder they can be so boring!) anyway, there’s a reason i still write to f, b, and n when i need advice on grad school, papers, research, presentations… i just have to keep reminding myself, it’s *them* i want to be like when i grow up. now if only a job would miraculously appear at middlebury when i go on the job market…

and then there was yesterday. my presentation was fine, not great, not as disastrous as i’d been worrying about. it wasn’t what stood out to me by any means about the day. the coincidence, though… it’s a damned small world. one of the professors here recognized me and knew me by name – nickname, not name printed on nametag – and i was *so* awkward and embarrassed that i didn’t even recognize her. not even, like, knew her face but couldn’t place where i knew her from, but flat out had never seen her in my life.  turns out, she (a former student of m’s, thus, a contact of h’s) recognized me from “wedding pictures your wife posted on facebook”.  which is kind of awkward in and of itself – oh, internet, you slay me – but which, more importantly, gave me this jolt of oh shit she just outed me now everyone here knows.  which.is.stupid.  because i am legally married and wear a damn wedding ring and should not be shy about coming out/ being outed/ doing anything but acting like my Life Decisions are perfectly normal.

it’s a dilemma, i guess.  i love my wife, and i’m comfortable with her around friends, but i’m not even out to most of my professors, nevermind my wider professional circle, because… i want to say it’s because i fear judgment or don’t want them to change their opinions of me based on my private life, but i think it’s mostly that i’m too awkward to make any revelations about myself.  definition of midwestern gay shame: keeping your hands in your pockets at conference coffee breaks so that people don’t ask you what your husband does for a living.  cue self-loathing.

Genesis by Evan Jones

He was a young god
So he worked with furious abandon
Strewing his precious suns around
In largely useless galaxies

Grandiose in his use of mountains, water, sky,
But not merely bombastic
For the detail of the microscopic was ingenious
Beyond the imagination of his predecessors
And the uses, particularly of form and colour…

But he wasn’t sure
Not quite sure, even when he had finished,
Especially then,

That he had solved such questions as
The relation of stability to change…

Cycles of birth and death were a masterpiece
But they weren’t, not quite…

Yet, oh, the thing was beautiful
Turning and glittering and many-coloured
Infinite in all directions in space and time
And yet completely self-complete…

But he wasn’t sure

So, as a sort of flourish to his signature
An underline for curtain
He made an animal in his own image
Except of course, for the dimensions lost
Transferring from eternity to time
Gave it the last perception of his mind
The sense of incompleteness
The gap between the intended and the done
The utter sadness of magnificence not quite

He gave it that
And asked of it perfection


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something old, nothing new

random coincidences of the internet just caused me to rediscover a short story / sketch thing i wrote my junior year at midd… i’m actually a little impressed with myself!  (now if only i could make worthwhile words come out in my current academic writing…) posting this here for my own edification and for posterity, since it’s in german, but you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s decent.

Wir machen eine Reise…

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no words in my brain

this is the most mesmerizing thing i have ever seen.

How Your Sewing Machine Works

How Your Sewing Machine Works

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clearing of throat, stepping up onto soapbox

this comes a bit late – after all, congress did (unsurprisingly) reach something not unlike a budget compromise at the eleventh hour, thereby avoiding a government shutdown, aka y2k+11.  but i have to put in my two cents (aside from the fact that i think almost all congressional representatives, democrat and republican, need to be poked in the eye and replaced by real people in lieu of political emotibots).

there was a big movement on facebook in the days leading up to the Great Government Shutdown Scare of 2011 to ensure that, even in the event of a shutdown (this year or in the future), measures would be taken to make sure that troops serving abroad would continue to be paid.  and while i think that is a noble cause on many levels, and while i would never be in favor of depriving our troops of their pay, i don’t think they should be paid in the event of a shutdown.  why?  because the military is the last branch of public servants left (besides legislators, oddly enough) that haven’t yet become vilified in public opinion because of labor and union issues.  and because nothing would put more pressure on our congresspeople to take a deep breath, get the party line sticks out of their asses, and make real, meaningful, immediate compromise than a whole lot of pissed-off troops, veterans, military families, and american citizens in general.  it would be a real wake-up call… and let’s face it, congress needs a wake up call REAL BAD.

and to all of you legislators out there in the ether who, unfortunately, do not read my blog, and even more unfortunately, are attempting to pass legislation vilifying rape victims, limiting health care to those who need it most, and stripping rights away from people who have vaginas (since you fall into none of those three categories): you may all go do something obscenely biological to yourselves in a corner until such time as i have less adorno to read and more time to write up an eloquent excoriation of you and everything you stand for.

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fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high

i forgot to say in my last post that i was chatting in german with a few native speakers at my conference at georgetown over the weekend, and one of them asked me where i was from, and she was shocked that i wasn’t a native speaker.  after, like, a lengthy conversation in german.  HUGE ego boost.  still occasionally floating from it, even though MA exam prep + homework + teaching + coping with life is right now making it so i can hardly string together sentences.  i am sometimes competent in my language, yay.

and last week it snowed, big fat fluffy flakes sticking on the grass, which would’ve been thrilling and white christmas-y in november or december, but in mid-march, it’s annoying.  luckily, a certain special someone braved the columbus drivers (who turn of their brains at the first sign of moisture, possibly for fear of short-circuiting) to come pick me up from school.  tonight and all day tomorrow, we’re supposed to get blustersome bad thunderstorms.  april showers bring may mugginess; welcome to ohio!

april, though!  9 more weeks of winter school.  a box from h’s parents, a box from my parents (my mom goes into hallmark to buy me a birthday card and inevitably emerges with beanie babies that were just too cute for her to pass up), and a card from the lovely miss a all arrived the morning of my birthday!  and i was sung to over the phone more than once, though never well.  and we made pizza for supper, and in some distant eventuality, i will make myself a cake.  meanwhile, extensive (3 times in 2 weeks) eating of frozen yogurt.

i met with some of my fellow MA-examinees on friday to go over practice questions, and i was by far the most prepared of those present, and found myself able to answer the questions pretty easily, despite the fact that german literature pre-1700 (actually, pre-1950 or so) isn’t really my bag, baby.  so that was also a boost in the direction of i know i can pass these exams, it’s just a question of to what quality, at this point.  and it will be okay.

i just reread “i am a little church”, and it was lovely and brought tears to my eyes, as always.

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