Tag Archives: writing

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.



Filed under Journal

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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gearing up for spring(ish)

after a very early morning and several near-panic attacks on the way from home to the airport through check-in and security to my gate, i was richly rewarded by an AMAZING view: it was still overcast and barely getting light when we taxied away from the gate, but when we broke through the clouds, it was this incredible sea of pinky-orange and grey-blue with the sun just coming up.  trying to take advantage of my couple of hours strapped to a seat without access to facebook, i’m now (or i was, until i started writing this post) working on the paper i need to present at my next conference in a couple of weeks.  unfortunately, the combination of up at 5am + no coffee + attempt to articulately express my thoughts = me writing very silly sentences.  to wit: “this sexual relationship is both sexual and forbidden.”  holy extended felines, batman!  long cat is long!  blah!

also, my tray table sags on one side, which is both annoying when i’m trying to type, and a little terrifying as my cup of orange juice teeters on the edge between my laptop and the lap of the sleeping gentleman next to me.

spring break was lovely lovely in many ways.  having z out to visit made it so that i could relax (which i would’ve done anyway) without feeling guilty about it (which i wouldn’t have been able to do).  we didn’t do much that was terribly exciting: lots of cooking (french toast!  sweet potato gnocchi with gouda cheese sauce! tofu spring rolls!), *lots* of eating, lots of TV watching (she’s now thoroughly hooked on castle and understands my girl-crush on beckett, hooray!), sleeping in, taking walks, shopping, cuddling (and memorably, washing) the cat… everything i needed to recharge my mental and emotional batteries before plunging into spring quarter.

i’m approaching spring quarter with a lot of anxiety.  for one thing, i remember being totally burnt out about 2 weeks into spring quarter last year.  and i really can’t afford to be anything but Totally On Top Of My Shit for the next 10 weeks.  in addition to the obvious pressure of MA exams (fridays of week 6 and 7), there’s conference 1 (today and tomorrow), conference 2 (in 2 weeks, for which i am currently (not) writing my paper), visiting prospective grad students, another visiting professor candidate*, a part-part-time research assistantship, and upgrading my one class from a novel a week to a novel and a short philosophical treatise a week.  it makes me feel a little ill to think about it all.  it makes me want to dive under the covers and watch a whole season of dexter and eat a whole pint of jeni’s ice cream.**  …taking of deep breaths.

finishing this post up sitting in tarsi’s office – we’re off in a few minutes to grab lunch in chinatown and see some cherry blossoms around dc before i head out to my conference.

*oh my goodness, if my professors don’t start acting like PROFESSIONAL ADULTS instead of pre-schoolers, i will smack them right in their faces.  slash i (and all the other grad students) really want them to hire one of the candidates who has already visited, and i will be severely peeved if they do not.

**i would seriously regret the last two of those three things, one for the nightmares and the other for the digestive consequences.


Filed under Journal

i am conflicted about THE WORLD

THE WORLD gives me writer’s block.  THE WORLD makes me paralyzed.  the world is BIG and full of BAD THINGS and i live in it kind of.  and i have nothing to say about it.

there’s so much going on in THE WORLD.  six weeks ago it was the protests in egypt, then coming out of that, the continued unrest in libya, where a government is attacking its own people.  i started and deleted about six posts about these things.  for the last week, it’s been earthquakes, tsunamis, and now nuclear who-knows-what in japan.  i keep trying to have Something To Say about these events, these major WORLD HAPPENINGS AND CATASTROPHES, but i know next to nothing about middle eastern politics or nuclear power or rescue efforts or military strategy.

to write a blog post here in my dusty little corner of the internet giving my two cents about these things seems silly; what do i have to contribute?  even the headlines that do penetrate into my small bubble of existing seem to bounce right off.  gay marriage (or not)?  health care?  collective bargaining rights?  ohio cutting its higher education budget?  these things affect me directly, and i still can’t muster up meaningful words (um, thoughts) about them.

all this stuff is flying around my head, and i’m writing about:
– the ophelia myth in 20th century literature
– the unreasonable speed with which grey fluff builds up on white tile in my bathroom
– the fact that being in the basement when mal is playing upstairs  sounds like being underneath a convention of a major international bowling society
– the warmish weather and halleluja we’ve been able to open the windows a crack
– the cat goes bananas over said open windows

it all makes me a little jealous of my parents’ generation, or even my grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generation.  where you inhabited your little bubble of being, and THE WORLD was kept at bay by sheer dint of distance, and newspaper headlines and rss feeds and twitter and facebook updates didn’t inundate you with IT IS SO MUCH WORSE EVERYWHERE ELSE and YOUR PROBLEMS AND SMALL TRIUMPHS ARE TRULY INSIGNIFICANT and make you doubt every bowl of cereal that you ate and every nap that you took and every page of literary analysis that you wrote.

THE WORLD MAKES ME CONFLICTED.  there is so much going on out there, and i’m struggling and struggling to make my little bubble of existence meaningful, and the failure of those two things to mesh is just making me miserable.  and if i spend the day glued to the NYT headlines, i feel like an insignificant bug, and if i go hide from my insignificantness in front of the TV or in a yoga class or in my kitchenaid mixer, i feel like an insignificant bug.  i feel like a nauseous, sad, insignificant bug.  this is not a post of self-pity, and i am not asking for comments saying OH BUT YOU ARE SIGNIFICANT WE LOVE YOU AND THERE ARE RAINBOWS YAY.  in fact, please do not say those things in comments.

i read books and talk about them, and i am good at that.  i teach language, and i am good at that.  i am trying to take those things, which i am good at and also which i like, and make them mesh into the world outside of my bubble.  so far, i have not been successful at this: the job i applied for in boston didn’t pan out, because they had so many qualified candidates (not me).  i guess i don’t know how to become qualified at something that makes a difference, because everybody else gets in the door first because they are already more qualified.

…i’m going to go make bread now, and pay my taxes.


Filed under Essay, Journal

pretentiousness compounded, and biscuits

i keep starting entries and not finishing them. my blog is… what, not even a month old… and i’m already neglecting it. i blame it on grad school, the end of the quarter, my inability to write a sentence that isn’t either 3 or 80+ words long, the grey weather, lack of sleep brought on by weather, kitten, radiator-wife, anxiety, and sleeping on a futon, and a general sense of ambiguity toward all aspects of life not related to cooking or baking.

we got up early and went to yoga this morning (before even eating breakfast!) and it felt LOVELY to just hang out with my body for the 90 minutes. i had my glasses off, and found the class challenging enough that my body and remembering to breathe were about the only things i could pay attention to, which was amazing.  and then we came home and i made whole-wheat biscuits and hannah made scrambled eggs and we had a lovely hot brunch with tea.  good for the psyche, if not necessarily for the to-do list.

messy yogurt biscuits:
4 T butter
2 cups flour (i used 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1 1/2 cups white)
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 cup yogurt (i used vanilla because it was what we had in the house.  so sue me.)
stir together dry ingredients, and crumble together with butter until combined.  add yogurt.   glomp dough (yes, glomp is the technical term) into a rectangle about 3/4″ thick, cut out into circles, bake at 450* for 7-9 minutes.  serve with jam and a steaming hot side of holy-crap-i’m-hungry.  and a cup of tea.

none of the usual methods for fighting the villainous apathy of the end of the quarter seem to be working.  yes, this paper represents the last time i will have to deal with Professor Muppet-Legs until my MA exam.  yes, the weather is too grey to be tempting me outside.  yes, i love the remaining works that we’re reading in my non-boring-as-hell seminar.  yes, there will be sibling visit, pleasant if business-related trip out of town, and general opportunities for sleeping in during spring break.  (perhaps there will even be sunshine!  if not, i will be needing a recipe for groundhog stew: curse you, punxsutawney phil!)

so i wrote this composition early last week (monday, all in one day!  in case you were wondering, i am the biggest procrastinator in life!) in which one of my sentences was a 72-word, 6-clause behemouth.  and since the assignment was 800-1000 words, i was kind of tempted (challenge accepted!) to try and write the composition in 11 sentences.  which didn’t happen.  but anyway, somehow, german has infiltrated the far reaches of my brain and made me write a 79-word sentence in my (english) seminar paper.  which is a problem, because these things are stylistically acceptable in german, but they are clunky and incoherent in english, especially when they represent my attempt to summarize ophelia’s role in hamlet in one sentence.  463 characters – too long for twitter, people.

Hark! A Vagrant!  Nietzsche

Neitzsche in, 'Thereafter Pretentious Men May Quote Me Ad Nauseum'

To friend Overbeck and wife.
Although you have so far demonstrated little faith in my ability to pay, I yet hope to demonstrate that I am somebody who pays his debts?for example, to you. I am just having all anti-Semites shot.

and now that i’ve written an entire (completely incoherent) entry, i shall post it!  and save the topic of motherhood, which was the topic of the post i’d been writing, for another time!

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Filed under Cooking, Journal


first off: we have one of Those Cats (all of a sudden – like within the last week) who curls up purring in the sink.  it is heavily tempting to turn the water on, but i resisted this morning because of yesterday’s bath.  poar kitty.

working on a paperlet on nietzsche for my cult fiction class.  about half the time, i really enjoy the philosophy/ theory stuff (also last spring in my aesthetic philosophy class and resulting Utter Disaster of a paper, in english on derrida in french on kant in german), and the other half the time, it makes me want to put something sharp in my eye.  i’m in this constant state of i-think-i-might-know-what-he’s-saying-but-then-again-maybe-i-haven’t-a-clue.  and so i throw words and hyphens into the void: anti-nihilism!  self-conquering! guilt!  morality!  self-moralizing!  guilt-morality!  my brain is on fire!

in other news, next time i write a paper in english, remind me to use ‘excoriate’ as one of my ten-point words.  (in the book review i wrote over break, they were ‘perspicacious’ and ‘denigrate’.)

project i’ve been putting off since october when i got my replacement computer, and more specifically, since the wonderful h’na, a, sinkie, and midgety sister made their mighty contributions to the rebuildment of my music library: re-making my favorites playlist on iTunes.  after MA exams are over, i’m going to take like a whole day and watch movies and make playlists on iTunes and 8tracks.  and bake.  and write letters.  alierwj;akfjdk.znjv!!

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