Thanks, Girls

The whole evening was fun, from getting ice cream to almost getting steamrolled in the parking lot from getting pizza to violent lagamorph card games to popcorn and an awesomely ridiculous movie. These girls are great. They also got to look through my Ward Directory! to see … people. Just people. What a great group of girls: really laid back, really smart, very different personalities. Instafriends, nonetheless. I’m glad they like me. I guess the friend who introduced us figured they would.

Thanks for coming over. Let’s do this again sometime, yeah?

But maybe a bonfire before then …

Hap(1)py(2) Birth(3)day(4), You(5)

I started out with the typical birthday list of 25 things, you know? Then I realized that 25 is a pretty fun number to play with. Massaging the list a little bit, each item is somehow related to 25 or its square root, 5: 25 words or syllables or letters; or 5 words or syllables or letters. Here are some poems or sentences or ideas about one of the greatest, most beautiful friends on her birthday. The only thing is now everyone knows how old she is.

Are(1) you(2) okay(3) with(4) that(5)?

Thank(1) you(2) for(3) being(4) born(5).

Alicia’s Awesomeness
Sincerity is genuine with her.

Five squared is a quarter
25 times the calendar turns
One fourth behind her now
Three quarters ahead of her
Enough for a pay phone

Elle aime la France, tout Paris.

Strumming and singing by firelight helps my bones fight the chill the feeble fire cannot grow to extinguish.

Red hair
I wish I had it.

Dance moves
She has one.
Demand it.

She gives. No questions asked.

Twenty-five syllables cannot adequately capture what this one woman manifests in friendship.

Alicia’s Sign
Nothing fishy on this pisces

Music taste
A large percentage
of my own music
comes from free downloads
she passes along
and it’s amazing.

She says she doesn’t stalk them.

Creamy confection on brownies? What?!

Words float from the page
Drifting into my lone eyes
Painting what I can’t deny
What I can only see
As purity dancing without shame

She likes it. A lot.


Heart Sized Large Holds Plenty

She picks you. Done deal.


Hard work
If she has a cause
She will work for it
She will meet her goals
She will not back down
Precisely focused

Guitar Hero humbles us. Sometimes.

and the livin’ is easy…

The girl doesn’t dream small.

She stands her ground. Oy.

She won’t even flinch when it comes  to deceiving and stealing to surprise her friends and to make them smile.

Loves her family.


Gaining A Little Momentum

I’m sitting in French class. The professor promised our midterms today. He announces he finished grading them and that the average was a little lower than usual. My stomach sank.

Saturday morning I woke up to the thought of a huge mistake I made while taking this test last Friday. It had to do with the verb aller and the imperative form with tu. Anyway, I had confused a bunch of rules and wrote down words that didn’t even exist, much less made sense. And if I actually remembered that mistake, I knew I’d made more.

So at the end of class the professor hands us back our tests. I look at the listening portion and see I hadn’t missed any. Neat. Then I lift the cover sheet to the part I took in the testing center. On the front page I see the numbers from the listening part added to the written part, and I’m a little incredulous. So I look through the test and see what I’ve missed – and my dream was right on. I missed a few other points as well (confusing a couple feminine nouns for masculine), but I also received a few bonus points, one for using de+noun in a ne-pas structure, and another point for being brilliant, pretty much.  (Note: I say I’m brilliant or a genius when I can’t remember specific details.) The professor had also written bien next to a paragraph I’d composed which was supposed to be a letter to a friend telling her why she should stay at my grandparents’ apartment in my hometown.

I flip back to the front page, and I start to believe the 96% a little more. I do a little fist pumping, and I look around and tune in to my classmates’ comments on their exams. I made eye contact with someone, and she asked me how I did, and I tried whispering the score to her, but it comes out loudly anyway. I want to dance around the classroom so bad, but I refrain. I return the exam and exit the room.

I beeline from that building to this here computer lab and get on gchat and first thing I say to anybody is my French test score.

We celebrate by listening to the Ting Tings and Journey together. Because technology rocks.

Have I mentioned that I really like school?

Two Links and a Little Rant

I’m going to try making this pizza. It’s cheeseless and tomato-less, but looking at it made me really hungry. Too bad for you who don’t like mushrooms or fruit. Sarah also shouts-out to New York City, which: awesome. Miss you, girl.

Speaking of tomatoes, I read advice columns. Yes kids, it’s true. This is one of my regulars – I look forward to it every Wednesday. Sometimes the situations are extremely drama-laden, but Sars has no trouble calling anybody out and offering pretty great advice. I’m including today’s questions, only because I see friends around who might have similar experiences.


I will briefly interrupt my current mirth to say just this once how much it hurts when people lie to me. People I’m close to; people I’m supposed to trust. You’re not protecting me, and in the end, you’re not protecting yourself. I get tired of gritting my teeth and trying not to swear. I’m not perfect; I do stupid things all the time. But come on. Please, please, just tell the truth.

Back to current mirth: I received a 98% on the midterm I mentioned yesterday. Then I talked with my literary criticism professor about a paper I turned in a few weeks ago, and she said it was one of the best ones, then we talked about an upcoming project, and then she offered me some advice on my current academic track: classes to take, minors to declare and pursue (I should hurry up and declare microbiology as one of them), contests to enter, internships to apply for. She had no qualms telling me how cutthroat the creative writing business is. She was incredibly helpful.

Dangit, people. I really like school.

One Point Bulletin

While I was studying during the devotional last hour, I decided to send out this text, at which time I did not know would turn into a survey:

Something about being in a study cubicle makes me want to sleep.

And in came a few responses:

-Yeah, isn’t study ‘cubicle’ another term for ‘sleep pod’?

-Something about cubicles makes me want a popsicle

-Something about being at my job makes me want to slit my throat.

-Something about life makes me want to sleep.

Then, a separate conversation:

-There’s just something about being inside a perfect square that is by nature sedative!

May-Zzz… There aren’t drug tests for cubicle sedatives, are there?  I’d fail miserably.

-I believe the best way to rid yourself of any trace in the ole system is to do forty five jumping jacks … ready go!

May-I did mini ones in my chair while visualizing real ones. When I do jumping jacks they seem mini, but they are not. Awake now. Thanks!

-That’s what I do, whenever you have difficulties in staying awake … I’ll be there!

May-Slightly problematic, only because I’m trying to stifle outbursts of laughter. I have a feeling this is typical of you. 🙂

-O i dunno:) i suppose i do like to see slash imagine smiles on people’s faces. And if giggles are having to be stifled i’m glad of heart!

-No wonder you have many friends and admirers the world over. Yay, you!

-I do not believe I’d go that far! Perhaps one day the world over. But i believe that even more renown and even sooner will be your name.

May-I’m much quieter in my approach to the world. I prefer smaller groups and individuals. Maybe someday, but not for a long, long time.

-In a different field perhaps to. Which leads to my next cliche but sincere question. What are you studying?

May-English. Going into creative writing. I hope. What about you?

-Creative writing?? I’m very intrigued, i would be interested in seeing some of your work! I write a little myself, but my major which i haven’t declared is biz.

May-Just started my major. I have pieces of different personal projects. We should trade stuff sometime for feedback if you’re okay with that.

-I think it’s a great idea! I love getting and fishing feedback for these types of things, you could tell me what you think of some tunes i have too?

May-You’ve struck a chord – pun! – with two of my biggest interests. I don’t know as much about songwriting, but i can tell you what i like and why. 🙂

May-When will you declare your major?

-What do you like and why?? And I’ll be declaring it within the next couple months.

May-I have to listen to your tunes first. 🙂 i’m usually pretty open minded if i can tell you’re conscientious. I can appreciate the process.

-Very well 🙂 i will tell ya i’m making a conscious effort with my songs which are almost exclusively half done haha 🙂

May-I’m sure you sound great. Lyrics, Melodies. Chord progressions. Integrating everything into one solid song. You know you’ve got it. 🙂

-i dunno i think it’s ok considering my novice level of expertise 🙂 so what kind of stuff do you write about?

May-I do some short fiction and narrative nonfiction, e.g. essays. Nothing really complete yet. Working on it, though. 🙂

-I bet you’re gonna go somewhere with it, or really whatever you end up doin, i’m no fortune cookie, but it’s a vibe i get for sure 🙂

Also, I happened to get a lot of reading done for class.  I organized some research for a paper and reviewed an author’s biography and considered its effect on my reading of one of her short stories.

I promise.

Oh. I got some feedback for a midterm I took a couple weeks ago. We took part of the exam in class, then we had to take part of it home. We had to perform a close reading on a poem and discuss how the formal elements contribute to the meaning, according to a New Critic’s perspective. Our instructor gave us a 1000 word limit, and I while I kept it around 800 words, I turned it in hoping I did a thorough job.

So I checked my email this morning, and my inbox presented:

This is a fantastic response. You show the complexities of the poem, including formal elements & content contrasting with the ballad form, and how the poem resolves these complexities. You completed a close reading of the poem that demonstrates your ability to analyze poetic devices. My only correction is to this line: “because this is a ballad, the New Critic expects consistent rhythm and meter.” They would look at how well the poem meets the expectations of the form (the ballad), but they would also expect that there would be substitutions (in meter) and variations in form. This is what helps contribute to meaning. You resisted–like most people in our class–coming up with a single reading of the poem, but remember that the strictest New Critics would have done so, and they would have argued for their reading. Overall, you did a fantastic job. I am continually impressed by your precision, your ability to analyze and reason through things, and your sense of ethics. I appreciate your comments in class and am glad you are among us. Thank you.

Not perfect, but great. And my instructor’s feedback, in addition to being unexpected, was truly helpful, and incredibly validating. I’m precise! I can analyze and reason! I have a sense of ethics! – And that part she drew from a comment I made the first day I attended her class. She remembers me! Yippee!

This may be enough to get me through the rest of the semester.

Something I’m Working On

Friend:  guess what?

me:  what

Friend:  I blogged for the first time in a yr and a half.

me:  i saw
you’re in my reader

Friend:  oh.

it was partly inspired by your writing, as usual.
I was trying to do a good critique, ya know and I did a little experimenting and then it grew…

me:  that’s great
i like it

Friend:  thanks. Um looking for somethign. hold please

me:  ok

Sent at 8:55 PM on Monday

Friend:  you’re gonna laugh.
I’m searchign searching
where did i put that thingy I wrote?
it’s not on the pooter. I wrote it longhand in a notebook on Saturday.
But it was the same premise. I took the skeleton of what youd done with a subway suicide and wrote it my own way.
It just got the juices flowing. And since then the gates feel [sic] open.

me:  cool

Friend:  I can type it out, but it’s nothing to write home about. it greased the wheels though.

me:  nice

Friend:  yeah, credit goes your way.
So, did my feedback help? the difficlutly picturing the  rail confusion?

me:  it did
i haven’t revisited yet
trying to get everyone’s feedback first

Friend:  yep. is it part of a bigger whole or just it’s own thing?

me:  it’s gonna be something bigger, but not much bigger

Friend:  I. want. to. know. more.

me:  i know

Friend:  success

1645 Mountain Standard Time or Whatever

The guy at the computer to my left was snoozing. His head was down on crossed arms resting on the desk. He looked ready for a game of Heads Up, 7-Up.

I’m jealous.

He just woke up.

The girl on the computer to my right is reading fan fiction. Sci-fi stuff. I wish I could tell where it was from.

I think these symptoms are more allergy-related than cold-related.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

The Week Begins

I talked with a friend for a little while Friday night:

Outside of the drowsy chatter and burning eyes, and perhaps the late hour (2 hours later in the eastern time zone), I wouldn’t have been able to tell four hours had passed. It was wonderful catching up. Thanks, you.

I’m starting to come down with a little cold. Scratchy throat, headache. I spent most of the weekend sleeping, and I meant to get a lot of work done. I don’t feel better than I did when I woke up Saturday.

It’s a big week, for some people more than others. We’ve gotta be tough. We’ve gotta be strong. We’ve gotta fast. We’ve gotta be fresh from the fight.

On Readers and Writers for Them

“You may say that the serious writer doesn’t have to bother about the tired reader, but he does, because they are all tired. One old lady who wants her heart lifted up wouldn’t be so bad, but you multiply her two hundred and fifty thousand times and what you get is a book club.

“There is something in us, as storytellers and listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense evil is diluted or lacking altogether and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his senses tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to a mock damnation or a mock innocence.

“Instead of reflecting a balance from the world around him, the novelist now has to achieve one from a felt balance inside himself. There are ages when it is possible to woo the reader; there are others when something more drastic is necessary.

“The great novels we get in the future are not going to be those that the public thinks it wants, or those that critics demand. They are going to be the kind of novels that interest the novelist. And the novels that interest the novelist are those that have not already been written. They are those that put the greatest demands on him, that require him to operate at the maximum of his intelligence and talents, and to be true to the particularities of his own vocation. The direction of many of us will be more toward poetry than toward the traditional novel.

“The problem for such a novelist will be to know how far he can distort without destroying, and in order not to destroy, he will have to descend far enough into himself to reach those underground springs that give life to his work. This descent into himself will, at the same time, be a descent into his region. It will be a descent through the darkness of the familiar into a world where, like the blind man cured in the gospels, he sees men as if they were trees, but walking. This is the beginning of vision, and I feel it is a vision which we in the South must at least try to understand if we want to participated in the continuance of a vital Southern literature. … I hate to think of the day when the Southern writer will satisfy the tired reader.”

– Flannery O’Connor

Yes, ma’am.

There’s a lot more where that came from. I have her Complete Stories sitting on my shelf right now. She’s cool. I love her quirky characters, her use of dialect, the fact that I’ve met some version of her characters as I’ve grown up in the outer outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida. I love the distortion of religion in the South: the myth, the mystery, the mentality. I like her variations on salvation.