The Camera Microphone Was on Low

Why do lecterns have to be so tall?

This is not on YouTube. I figure I’d spare Google this time around.

Well, here I am. It was a fun evening. Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Sometime between 6 and 7pm.

This is quite possibly the best 5:24 of your lives. I mention drugs AND coffee on BYU property, and security didn’t carry me out.

Turn up the volume if you want to hear me, unless you’re content with staring at my mouth move in silence. Behind a microphone. I’m pretty hot either way. However, I do stumble over a few words, and it’s funny to me that one of those words is stutter.

Keep checking this link for the updated online version if you want to read along. (It might take a while – maybe a week? – but be patient.) If you were lucky enough to get a copy of your own, you can read along that way.

Just FYI, signing autographs is fun. I like talking with people who have a similar appreciation for the creative process. This group also happens to include my friends. Blessed hour.

Also, the other readings that night were phenomenal. I felt honored to be reading among geniuses. It was way cool.


A Little Text Savvy

Me, to a guy friend:  Would any of your hot [distinguishing quality] friends be interested in going out?

Guy friend: They will have to ask their wives or [girlfriends]? There might be one though. Why who is asking?

Me: Just me. I haven’t been on a date in a while. 🙂

Guy friend: Well, we can fix that in a few weeks. This [sic] next two weeks are pretty intense.

Me: You’re a stud. Good luck with everything the next couple of weeks.

Now all I need to do is find someone to go out with in the meantime.

De La Solitude

This  was the last assignment in my non-hard French class. We had just finished studying Montaigne, and the assignment was to write an essay on one of the many subjects about which he wrote. I decided to write about solitude. It’s hard to complain about a less-than-perfect score when the grader says he loved it, AND I failed to follow directions yet again when I used only one quotation instead of two. Oops. I can be such a doofus sometimes. An A is an A, right?  I really enjoyed writing this one. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Il y a un arbre dans un désert lointain. Rien ne le dérange. Il est bien.

Mais, est-il heureux?

Un jour, une araignĂ©e seule trouve l’arbre et y grimpe Ă  l’arbre. Elle fait une grande toile d’araignĂ©e dans les branches. L’arbre pense que la toile est très belle; elle chatoie sous le clair de lune. L’arbre se sent utile en protĂ©geant l’araignĂ©e contre le soleil et les orages de sable. NĂ©anmoins, l’arbre n’a pas besoin de cette araignĂ©e pour survivre. Ils ne sont pas amis. Vraiment, est-ce que l’arbre est heureux ?

Certaines personnes aiment avoir beaucoup d’amis. Par contre, d’autres personnes ont peu d’amis. Pourtant, certaines personnes prĂ©fèrent souvent la solitude. Il faut dĂ©cider quel genre de personnes nous sommes. La plus vite on le sait, le mieux notre vie sera.

Comment est-ce qu’on fait cela ? Il y a trop de bruit dans le monde. Des milliards de personnes habitent ici, et leurs cerveaux sont plein de pensĂ©es superficielles. Personne ne s’Ă©coute, alors personne ne se comprend. Leurs esprits sont très distraits. Comment trouve-t-on la solitude? Pourquoi est-ce qu’elle est importante?

Au XIXe siècle, l’AmĂ©ricain, Henry David Thoreau, a habitĂ© dans une forĂŞt pendant deux ans, deux mois, et deux semaines. Tout seul, il a pensĂ© et a Ă©crit des essais. Il a priĂ© et a mĂ©ditĂ©. Bien qu’il habitait seul, sa mère faisait quand mĂŞme sa lessive. C’est vrai ! Il Ă©tait adulte, mais sa « maman » le traitait comme un enfant.

Il a dit, « I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.  We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers ».  Aujourd’hui, on ne peut pas habiter pendant deux ans dans la forĂŞt sans travail, sans responsabilitĂ©. Pourtant, on peut trouver la solitude dans une foule, comme on peut trouver le silence au milieu du bruit.

J’ai habité à New York City pendant six ans et demi. Il y a beaucoup de personnes, et certaines d’entre elles sont très impolies. En plus, c’est tellement bruyant. C’est très facile de se sentir solitaire parmi des millions d’étrangers.  Dans un métro plein de personnes, si je voulais être seule, je fermais les yeux, ignorais tout le monde et  respirais profondément plusieurs fois. Je me suis toujours rappelée de respirer. C’était comme une prière.

L’araignĂ©e Ă©tablit une relation passive avec l’arbre, mais on n’est pas comme l’araignĂ©e. Comme l’arbre, on a besoin de buts, de se sentir utile, mais contrairement Ă  l’arbre, on n’est pas  une crĂ©ature passive. Les relations entre les gens sont dynamiques, puisqu’elles impliquent diverses Ă©motions et des personnalitĂ©s diffĂ©rentes. Parce qu’il y a beaucoup d’Ă©lĂ©ments humains Ă  considĂ©rer en plus de tous les gens, on a besoin de temps pour organiser les pensĂ©es de son esprit. Autrement, on deviendrait fou.

Cependant, on doit trouver l’équilibre, parce que trop de solitude ne se satisfait pas. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi Thoreau a passé deux ans seul dans la forêt. C’est bizarre. Il était très intellectuel, et peut-être son intelligence a contribué à son obsession. On a besoin d’amis et de famille. Il faut qu’il y ait l’amour et l’amitié. C’est vrai, il avait sa mère. Je me demande s’il serait rentré plus tôt si sa mère n’a pas fait sa lessive.  Alors, est-ce que c’est la solitude ou les vêtements propres que l’ont rendu heureux ? Ou est-ce que c’est la nature ou sa mère ? Et sa mère ? C’est difficile d’être vraiment heureux sans servir les gens. D’ailleurs, j’étais solitaire quand j’ai réalisé cela.

J’aime la solitude. C’est important d’entendre le silence, de récupérer des pensées, de raviver l’esprit. D’un autre côté, c’est aussi important d’établir des relations avec les autres. C’est pareil.

L’arbre est resté en compagnie de l’araignée plusieurs mois. Il y avait du vent, et il a ramassé l’araignée et l’a emportée au milieu du désert, où le soleil l’a lézardée jusqu’à ce qu’elle meurt. La toile s’est désintégrée et le vent l’a enterrée dans le sable jusqu’à ce qu’elle disparaisse. À nouveau, l’arbre est seul. Mais, ça ne signifie pas qu’il n’est pas heureux.

Est-il heureux ?

Mais non ! Ne soyez  pas fou. C’est un arbre.


Dr. Anderton,

I’m sorry for the delays on our part — and for not getting back to your queries yet. We simply have an atrocious backlog, but I know you’ve been waiting some time so I’ll make sure you get a review during our next round, which we’re doing now.

Almost all I ever wanted, all in the first two words of an email. It was a response to an inquiry about a manuscript I submitted to an academic journal. The managing editor and I have exchanged a few emails in the past eternity, and I understand the backlog situation, which certainly helps me not to be annoyed. Plus? Even if the manuscript ultimately gets rejected, the inadvertent title totally made my day.

Someday, as I prepare for world domination, all of you will call me “Dr. Anderton.” I imagine you’ll enjoy it. As long as I’m not mean.

Congratulations, Elizabeth and Joseph

Today is their big day.

She’s been a faithful blog follower and a good friend. She’s the best friend of one of my best friends, and that’s how we met. I’ve blogged about her before, but her getting married adds another level of coolness I can’t even describe. She consistently makes good and wonderful decisions, and I have no doubt  Joseph is nothing but top notch. St. Louis, get ready for this power couple.  World, you don’t even know.

May happiness continue to be added upon the both of you, as one.

Proof I’m Learning Stuff

Well, at least about writing.

I got a paper back tonight. My first of the semester that wasn’t French. It earned an A. Nice surprise, considering I’d written it in a big hurry, pretty much until just before it was due.

A year ago, I don’t think I would have written a first paper – in that manner – that would have done as well.

I’m becoming way too comfortable with procrastination.

Also, I’ve learned just not to write about Jane Austen.

So far, I’ve gotten A’s and A-‘s on French papers.

My first French grammar midterm earned a B+ (89% – so close!), which relieved me. I remember leaving the testing center thinking I’d be perfectly content with a B. The exam ended with writing a short composition about the novel we’re reading. I remember feeling pretty good about the essay. The professor gave me a bonus point for style, with a little comment at the end: “Vous ĂŞtes poète!” Also, thank goodness for bonus points, for I  might have dipped down into B- or C range without them.

So, that balances the ridiculous crying I did today. If those good things hadn’t happened, I would have chalked today up as an epic loss. Of course there are worse things.

Thanks for the comforting texts, you. I wish I had a gold star to give.

I Got Rejected for A Scholarship

and I typed a rather firm reply, clicked “send” and let it all go. The worst they can do is reject me again. Then I’ll just stop working so hard. It’s not worth being so grumpy all the time.

I can’t live down mistakes I made a decade ago. They won’t go away.

It’s been a hard week. I know conversations with family are supposed to be good things, and I do feel like we have made some progress. Yet, I had to correct my dad about a couple of things he didn’t accurately remember about the past. Relatively small things, and not too far from some much more significant things. And he has not indicated in the least that he even remembers those really huge things, or that they affected me the way they did. He hasn’t had to bear any guilt about those things, and I don’t know if I’ve ever really wanted him to. Sometimes I do. He suffers a lot already. My making him feel guilty won’t make what’s left of my pain go away. The frustration flares sometimes.

It has come slowly, living down his mistakes from over twenty-five years ago.

I’m grateful for that.