Dear Blog

It’s not you, it’s me.

I’m doing a lot of things I didn’t think I’d do. That first line, for instance. Why do people say that? But I’m not breaking up with you, blog, though I don’t know if an explanation for my neglect is what you’re looking for. It’s been an interesting semester, and I wonder if I had the same discipline in years past maintaining this blog during this semester, . . .  I don’t know. Something had to give. A lot of things did.

Other people have come into my life, blog. When I make friends, that doesn’t seem to distract me from blogging, but this instance — this individual —  seems to be an exception. And that’s because I spend a lot of time with this person, time I could have been spending on blogging.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love to blog, blog. But there’s more out in the world to love. But you probably mean that I can always blog about the things I love, and I can understand your point.

Consider what I’ve blogged about: Everyday, mundane, natural. My complaints, depression; idiot boys, crazy and wonderful friends and school things.

I’m beginning to understand, blog.

I should be keeping better track of this time of my life.

One semester left, and it’s going to be crazy.

I took the GRE on November 22, and my math and verbal raw scores were very close. Either I’m equally deficient or equally genius in those categories.

About 20 pages of stuff are due this week. I don’t really feel like writing for any of my classes.  It is the last week of class, and as I type this, I’m finally feeling some anxiety about finishing the semester well. Strongly. Without failing.

Classes this semester were terrific and fun. I learned so much, and I wish I cared enough about grades to let the work reflect just how much I enjoyed classes. When I went. Which was most of the time. I’d rather just sit and absorb, but for some reason someone decided that writing papers as an English major would be a good evaluation of academic progress. Which: fine.

I could continue writing about my classes and friends, or I could try being one of those annoying blogs that goes on and on about a boyfriend. What a great guy he is. I could document about all the PDA we avoid, except when he walks me to my door at night, and then it’s really short, accompanied by a whispered but confident expression of deep and mutual emotion.

If I kept it up the whole semester, it would have started out as a weekly report of weekly incidents, but then it would have progressed to a weekly or daily recounting of daily events. Hours spent together, every. Single. Day. Conversation about family and books and movies and music. And life. Initial nervousness turning into pure comfortability leading to talks about a future together and togethering together.

It’s really none of the world’s business, this guy. All the world needs to know is that he’s incredible and caring and thoughtful, and he lets me be goofy, and I let him make me happy. But that’s obvious even outside of the context of our dating. It’s not like I need a rooftop tour to shout about it or announce that he’s coming to Florida to meet my family at Christmastime.

It’s serious, blog. You deserved to know.

And I am trying to tell you.

He and I have become very good at adding and subtracting 7.

Look, blog post! Please forgive.

More than two months ago — it was the end of August — I was walking home from Sunday dinner at a friend’s, and my ward prayer was happening outside. I had just moved in to a new ward and was starting to get to  know people. I turned down a potluck invitation from a new friend because I already told the other friend I’d come to dinner. And as I approached this ward prayer crowd, I wondered if I would see this new friend and ask him about leftovers. I saw a girl I met earlier that day, and we decided together to try to meet new people. I asked if anyone else knew about the potluck, and somebody — I don’t remember who — told me to ask some name I don’t remember, that he was a bald guy standing with another cluster of talking people.

So, I moseyed over to the neighboring circle of strangers and asked the bald guy if he knew about the potluck. He didn’t. But while I was talking to him, I decided to get to know him.

He told me his name is Reilly. We ended up having a decent conversation about books and movies and music. We talked about the Borders going-out-of-business sale, and he told me about the biannual Salt Lake City Public Library sale, where paperbacks are fifty cents and hardcovers are a dollar. And that usually happens in October. He said he’d amassed quite a few books in the past few months, and I told him I’d like to see his book collection sometime. He seemed a little hesitant at the idea.

Recently he told me that he thought I was 20 when we first met.

We went to the Real Salt Lake City soccer game that following Saturday.

And I did go over to look at this books. And the songs on his iTunes.

Over the weeks, I’ve made hints about my age to him, because that’s what I do:

-living more than 6.5 years in New York City after some time at BYU in 2002
-being about 6 years older than my brother
-seeing certain movies in the theater, like Back to the Future and A League of Their Own
-saying that I was in 7th grade when Ted Bundy was executed, at the state prison, about an hour away from where I lived
-etc.

Then a couple weeks ago, we were on our way to stand in line at the Velour for a concert. We ran into some classmates that I know from Senegal, and they were nice enough to let us cut in front of them in line. These classmates are now officially a couple, after quasi-sneaking their way around dating during the last couple of weeks of the trip. The girl was my roommate, and I told Reilly that they happened to put the Floridians in the same room, who also happened to be the oldest and youngest students. Then I remarked that three birthdays of people on the trip were in the month of May and there was a party, and I observed that I was closer in age to the professor whose birthday was also that month than most of the other students.

Except for the Skabelunds. They’re old. 😉

He says our ages don’t matter.

I’m glad for this.

A Little out of Focus

Well, it seems I’m a bit distracted.

It’s crazy how quickly time passes.

So much is happening. So much to write about.

So much not to write about. I mean it.

Maybe I’ll write a poem. I should write a poem.

So, there’s that. Poem ideas crash into my head all the time. I would much rather be working on poetry than my other schoolwork. I wish it was all I had to do.

Toward the beginning of the semester it was easier. But now, I’m starting to flounder.

Oh, I met and spoke with Pulitzer-Prize winner, Marilynne Robinson. That was ultra cool.

Let’s look at this week’s schedule.

Monday: Midterm; homework
Tuesday: Poems, My Fair Lady; homework
Wednesday: French Party; homework
Thursday: Meeting at the library; homework
Friday: There’d better be nothing, except homework
Saturday: Concert; homework

Also, 20 hours of work, 14 hours of class.

Also, I had a damn good weekend. It was fun.

But, I won’t blog about it.

This is the worst blog post ever.

Small Haul

The public library sale was fun. Today, hardbacks were $1.00, and paperbacks were $0.50. Pretty cool, eh?

Here’s what I got:

Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal
– We’ve been reading a lot of Baudelaire in one of my classes, so when I saw this, I got really excited.

Germaine Bree, Great French Short Stories
– These are in English, and they’re most of the famous ones.

Geoffrey Brereton, A Short History of French Literature
– I bought this one for pretense. Of course.

Annie Ernaux, La Place
– This looked interesting. And it’s short, which means it’s more likely that I’ll finish it.

Other Random French Short Stories
– These are in French. I like short stories. I like French. It only makes sense.

***

T.C. Boyle, When the Killing’s Done
– I hear he’s good.

Don DeLillo, Underworld
– This guy is supposed to be great, too.

Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays
– I haven’t read a lot of her fiction; I’m looking forward to this.

Louise Erdrich, Four Souls
– This is supposed to be awesome.

Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
– I think I have a copy of this in New York City. Oh, well.

Hemingway, Short Stories
– Short stories is pretty much the only way I like Hemingway.

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
– I’d read this before.

Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
– I hope this one is okay, too.

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah’s Gourd Vine; Mules and Men; Their Eyes Were Watching God
– I remember that a friend was reading Their Eyes her junior year while I was a senior in high school. I’ve been wanting to read Hurston ever since.

Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
– I read this the summer before my junior year of school for an AP English class. It’s time to read it again.

W.S. Merwin, The Lost Upland
– I like Merwin. I like France. Enough said.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
– I put off getting this for a long time.

Chaim Potok, Davita’s Harp
– I love the Chosen, hopefully this one will be great, too.

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
– Proulx seems pretty important, but I’ve read very little of her.

Thomas Pynchon, V
– Same thing with Pynchon.

Betty Smith, Joy in the Morning
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was pretty amazing. Fingers crossed for this one.

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
– The Red Pony, The Pearl, Of Mice and Men; it’s time for a big Steinbeck book.

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, pocket size
– I think I will always carry this one with me.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
– I’d read excerpts of both of these for a class, and that was enough to decide that I really, really like Virginia Woolf. I hope she likes me, too.

Definitely, I got my $16 worth today. I know I’m good for the year, at least.

If you want to borrow these or any of my books, let me know. If you’ve borrowed books and haven’t returned them, I’m gently reminding you that you still have them.

And that’s okay. Take your time.

Let’s Play Inferences

Facts:
I checked my grades for my religion class on Thursday
Apparently I received a 7/10 on a weekly journal assignment
I reviewed the journal assignment
I sent the professor an email contesting the score
The email may have sounded slightly annoyed, but I tried sounding as nice as possible

The professor’s response:
Ouch… sorry your journal was misgraded… It looks great to me and I have given you three more points. The reason it was marked down is my TA misunderstood what you were doing. It is fine. Press on. I continue to like your creativity…
[Professor]

Conclusions:
Ouch: I may have come across more annoyed than I intended
three more points: My overall journal score is now perfect, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be
TA misunderstood: This does not surprise me, though I’m a big fan of smart and competent TAs
I continue to like your creativity: The entry was relatively creative. Duh.

***

Now it’s your turn! What are your conclusions from these statements?

1. General Conference was great and dreadful in all the expected ways.

2. This week will be insanely busy.

3. I know I should want to get married, but most days, I just don’t feel it.

Have a great week!

It’s General Conference Weekend, and This Doesn’t “Feel” Contrary …

Life coasts along, life dazzles, life punches squarely in the stomach. What else should we really expect?

I know I keep saying I’ll post actual updates.

A lot is going on,

and I’ve found time to blog about it before, but

Yeah. No legitimate excuse.

Classes, really quick:

My religion class and I sometimes butt heads. But it’s been good for me.

History and Criticism of Rhetoric is fun. We’ve talked about Legally Blonde and My Cousin Vinny, and we’ve done homework based on Sunset Blvd and Law & Order. And this weekend we’re analyzing oratory style of any talk at General Conference, according to Saint Augustine.

Introduction to French Literary Analysis is a lot of fun. I may have to dedicate a post just to how much I love French poetry. Because, SERIOUSLY.

Early American Auto/Biography blows me away. I’m reading excellent things by fascinating people, and I wish we could read more women. But if it’s any consolation to myself, reading what I have so far — Benjamin Franklin, PT Barnum, Ralph Waldo Emerson — makes me feel pretty outstanding. I have stories about this class, too.

My poetry writing class. Oh, my heart. I’m cultivating this profound appreciation and there’s only 11 students in the class, and the instructor is adorable and instructive and encouraging. She stood briefly on a soapbox the other day about how a lot of television these days is produced at a 5th-grade level and that Americans don’t know how to think anymore. I felt so much pride then. And, then it’s crazy how we workshop each other’s poems and how I’ve just had to simply get over or ignore being scared of sharing what I know to be mostly subpar poetry with my genius classmates. I wish you could read my classmates’ poems, because WOW.

Aside from classes, there’s church and dating and work. Visiting friends and maintaining friendships because I love my friends so very much.

OH and applying to grad schools and talking to professors about all my options after graduation.

Which will be in April.

Holy crap.

But my original reason for posting right now is that I want to reblog some useful things I came across this past week. Just two things, one each from a Utah couple I’ve been following for the past five years. I’ve mentioned them before. Winter’s on its way. People get sad in conjunction with or separately from the approaching and increasing darkness. Also, although I’m decently insulated in Provo, I try to remain aware of what’s happening around me. Bad things happen all the time, regardless, and we have to deal.  While we’ll be receiving counsel and encouragement from Church leaders this weekend, I think a few other resources are okay, especially for those square punches in the stomach. Please reblog if you feel the need.

From Jon Armstrong:

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433

LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743

Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438

Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673

Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272

Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000

Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253

And, Heather Armstrong (click the quote for the entire post):

What is worse? Being sad because something tragic has happened, or being sad because that is all your brain knows how to do?

Enjoy Conference, y’all.

Because I Can’t Get Enough Right Now

Patience

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time’s fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn’t be
distinguished
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.

— Kay Ryan

*****

One of these days I will again post my own thoughts, but Ms. Ryan says lots of great things.

If my mind is space, and time is time, the exact location of my mind cannot be determined at any point in time, not without that location occurring in the past. When I want desperately to be in the now.

This is my uncertainty principle. That’s what I’m feeling.

Rest assured, there’s lots to be said about school (SO. MUCH. SCHOOL) and boys and friends I don’t see nearly enough of. And meeting poets. And autographs. And food. And boys and church. And some boys that aren’t smart. And new friends. And the cooling weather. And swearing at school, though not by me. And running into former seminary students who are so very tall. And staying up until 4am or waking up at 3am and either way letting the silence soothe me. And seeing those people in my life that make me feel like all is right with the world.

Eventually, the past will catch up to now.

Thanks for your patience.