Monday, March 28, 2011


Sometimes, switching my iTunes on shuffle is the right answer: when I'm feeling a little down or disconnected or I've spent too much time roughing myself up, it's nice to take a tour through my subconscious. Dear Kjerstin, the moral usually ends up being, you have pretty good taste in this stuff. Slash, remember when you loved U2 and the Chili Peppers? :) Slash, your friends are so cool.


Last night I was driving up Hwy 6 when a ferocious winter/spring storm hit. At the same time night did. What was keeping my mind busy as I was trying to decipher yellow and white-striped lines and keep a safe following distance was Natalie Doxey's discomfort, when we were small, in talking about hail. Mormon girls with Utah accents toeing around swearing and ambiguous vowel pronunciation. When you were little did you use to say "quote" before swear words when relating stories--"She called me quote an ass unquote"? We did it all the time. If I remember right, I used to repeat quote to distance myself from the swear, if it was really bad ("quote quote quote quote the f-word" or whatever). Kids win.


Utah is sort of incredible. Arches? Does that really exist? I drove down for a quick hike/mental health break yesterday and was reminded how incredible this state/world/universe is.


I am considering, again, dropping out of my life. Yes I only have 2 papers and my thesis to go. But. That feels like a lot to ask right now. Shouldn't I just leave it behind in order to follow my life goal? Of...baking cookies or saving orphans or something? Isn't that a viable narrative to follow? (You don't really have to answer this question. I'll whine about it for a second before I buckle down and get it done.)


My sister Rachel is having a baby! Her youngest is almost 6 and last word on the topic was There is no Way in Hell (hail). Delightful. They're good folks and they make handsome, well-adjusted boys with loads of personality. I'm looking forward to our family expanding.


Best of the Week: I am very glad it's over. I invested some good time in organizing a conference the English GSA put on with the English Department which happened on Friday: well attended, apparently, and relatively hitchless. And then it was over!


Tattoine. Jeremy Messersmith.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Names in Books

I write my last name in my books lately. Because a lot of them are repeated around the grad office and because I lend and forget books all the time (Cherise: I need Plainsong back if you remember!).

It reminds me of reading my mom's old books, left from before she was married. It freaked me out when I was little, finding and reading these books, thinking about Connie with a different last name--penciled in a slightly rounder hand than I recognized. Who was this person? This pre-mom mom? (The image I have of Connie in college--forgive me, if this is private info--is her curled beneath a blanket in a dorm room listening to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" turned all the way up again and again. She told me this story once when I was having a hard time adjusting. Or when we were listening to Simon and Garfunkel. And it stuck.)

(It's paper-writing season again. So you all have that too look forward to. :) )

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I have been teaching writing for too long mayhap

I had an epiphany today.

Let me back up: I'm trying to put my life together is the context of this post. Jobs? Relationships? Life after Provo?

I was starting to think about how to make decisions today and the advice that Booth gives to researchers about starting research with a question--for to better sort through all the sources and decide what to read and what not to read and what to include and what not to include came to mind. The quote:

The point: if you don't have focus, everything seems applicable and nothing actually is.

It's the Cheshire Cat situation in other words, right? If you don't know where you're going it doesn't matter the path you take.

In other words: what is the research question (or, dare I hope, the thesis statement) of my life? There's no way to tell if a decision is good/useful or a bad unless I have some sort of criteria or end goal to measure it by.

Why is this an epiphany, now, at 28? Because, I'll be honest here, I was going to have babies by now. And it seemed sort of profligate to make grand assertions about the path my life would take when at any moment my life could be commandeered by some fellow with other plans and tiny dependent humans. And other people seem to do just fine managing the flexibility necessary to this kind of plan, I'll take responsibility for me kind of just being noncommittal and also anxious.

Ok. But now I know. So what's it going to be, this thesis of my life? This path I want to follow? [terrified and exultant screech here]

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pat on the Back

This week I have:

Been up before 7 every day.
Gone running 4/5 days (maybe I'll go this afternoon just to round the numbers out).
Spent *hours* working on my thesis.
Replaced my extra-breakfast cocktail of diet coke+tums chaser with water and B vitamins.
Read lots of good things God had to say to people just like me.
Mostly really worked for 8 to 10 hours a day.
Tried again.

I'm feeling powerful (my looking smoking in my white oxford helps with this) and hopeful and not entirely in control of my life but coming to terms with that. Maybe.

I guess: yay for me! And: everything feels possible when the morning air smells like a little like the ocean and you can eat picnics on the grass. And: bring it on.

And: happy friday!


Saturday, March 5, 2011


Help me understand.

Art and religion, I think, are the same thing. In this: they're systems of symbols and made up of symbols and their intent is to make us think and understand things that we can't quite express in language. (And you could probably define language this way too.)

Is there antagonism here--does it have something to do with creation? The creation of worlds or points of view (which are the same. Which symbols and our contemplation of symbols create.) Who should/can be creator?

Whatever. This is beautiful.

Makoto Fujimura - The Art of "The Four Holy Gospels" from Crossway on Vimeo.

"Art is always transgressive, you know, and what I always say is, we need to transgress in love. We, today, have a language to celebrate waywardness, but we do not have a language--a cultural language--to bring people back home."
Thanks Amanda.

New Music?

Who are you guys listening to? Any suggestions?


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lone Wolf

So my friend was learning how to read tarot and I had him (how does one phrase this?) read me? do a reading? Whatever? (I have thoughts on tarot--informed by His Dark Materials and also my mom's unexpected interest in astrology--about the symbols and predictions being vague enough that you can bring your own meaning to it, that it's a way to organize your thoughts and feelings...anyway.) Among other things, he told me that people think of me as a lone wolf. I'd never put it that way, but it makes sense--I'm hesitant to join the crowd, particularly when I'm not comfortable, and my social anxiety comes out sometimes as standoffish-ness. And there's that wolf t-shirt I wear occasionally...

So this last week (James and I broke up, which is what the 30 Rock quote eluded to as obliquely as possible: I'm ok, or will be or whatever, but still sort of shell-shocked and weepy) my impulse has been to retreat even further into myself, but I've been constantly surprised and humbled and [made grateful] by the kids around me reaching out--I've gotten sweet emails and invites to get pedicures and to watch Glee (love) and even just to chat and hang out and whatever. Like people have been really above-and-beyond good and thoughtful.

And I feel alone sometimes, just in my life. This week, as really knee-deep crappy as it's been, has also been a great reminder that I'm not. Alone. Invisible. Whatever.

So thanks to all of you.

(And you don't have to send condolencey comments. Though I'd love to hear from you in other capacities. :) )