27 September, 2008

people should not leave looking-glasses hanging in their rooms

I went for a run at 6:30, in the light rain, in circles around the abandoned campus. I was compelled by guilt, because Kelsey asked me at 5 if I'd go to the SRC with her and I declined. Then I thought about it, and felt, a.) that I wasn't going to do anything more productive with my time, b.) she might be judging me for not exercising, c.) I feel sluggish. It was a nice run. Jens Lenkman and Okkervil River pushed me on, up the slick bricks and around the campus buildings and down stairs. A meager accomplishment, but an accomplishment just the same.

I was filled with envy tonight when I heard that Rachel, Elizabeth and Brittany are getting a dog. I want a dog. I dreamt about them last night, dozens of homeless sweet dogs that I had to guide down dark hallways. Emily mocked me this weekend for saying that dogs brought me a deep sense of joy. (We were going back and forth on what things in life we considered restorative, leading to rest. I still think answering "dogs" is entirely legitimate.) My votes for her name: Kenya, Mecca, or India. Perfect names for a black labrador. Will you let me come over and play with her and walk her? Because I miss having a dog something tremendous.

I finished a short story tonight.

I hate it when every paragraph in my blog entry begins with "I."

"Her mind was like her room, in which lights advanced and retreated, came pirouetting and stepping delicately, spread their tails, pecked their way; and then her whole being was suffused, like the room again, with a cloud of some profound knowledge, some unspoken regret, and then she was full of locked drawers, stuffed with letters, like her cabinets." -- "The Lady in the Looking-Glass," Virginia Woolf

I love reading Time magazine. It fills me with hope for the state of American journalism. I think you will rarely find well-written news elsewhere.

Today Emily and I made a list of all of the great writers we could think of who were homosexual. Basically all of them were. We're fated to be mediocre.

We watched the presidential debates last night, flopped on our stomachs on my bed, riveted, trading commentary over the host's questions (we called him, whoever he was, The Crazy Uncle). Barack calling McCain "Jim" and "Tom": hilarious. McCain giving tedious history lessons when The Crazy Uncle wasn't listening at all: also hilarious. Overall: who can tell who won? I know where my allegiances lie, but I am so deeply Middle Wing that I'm afraid I'm too trustworthy to say. (Emily naturally chose Obama, but tonight namely because of his impeccable pronounciation of "Taliban" and "Iraq" and "Pakistan.")

Hearing: "Lump Sum," Bon Iver, and "Mykonos," Fleet Foxes
Reading: The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James; A Haunted House and Other Stories, Woolf
Eating: the amazing trail mix that Emily made today (dried pineapple, cashews, chocolate chips)
Thinking: I am restful. I like that I am wearing my yoga clothes now, without any intention of doing anything even mildly resembling yoga.

24 September, 2008

let's reckon with the sun

Because someone loves being a poli.sci. major
Emily: "I could talk about the Treaty of Versailles all day long. I don't care who you are, but that's interesting shit."

Reflections on Jesus
Me: "I just don't know where He's coming from; it's so out of the blue."
Guion: "Yeah, it's like He said He wanted to paint dwarves in chocolate."
Me: (wide-eyed stare) ...
Guion: "Yeah, I said it."

Palin in political cartoon
Angela Tchou: "She's a tempest in a C-cup! Oh, wait, I mean teacup."

In other news,

Joyce Carol Oates does not make a persuasive adolescent boy
There happens to be an unnecessary bulge in Jonathan's Korean textbook
We're in the third season of "College," but the DVDs haven't come out yet
I am getting incrementally worse at frisbee
Emily sleeps with a bare foot dangling over the side of the bed
It's a universal truth that you can't get anything worthwhile accomplished in 30 minutes
The world is getting smaller
Taro Aso was chosen as the new prime minister of Japan in a landslide election
Hey, Bush Administration! You can't impose reconciliation!
I actually kind of enjoy News Editing
"The words of a dead man/Are modified in the guts of the living."

Je vis un rêve permanent, qui ni s'arrête ni nuit ni jour.

19 September, 2008

swallowed up by life

I made Irish stew last night with Johnny for the guys, Alex and Shaun's priest. While I so much enjoy everyone who haunts that house, I really love the company of people older than me, and Father Wall certainly provided fabulous company last night. He drank an abundance of red wine and laughed and told us stories about crashing bar mitzvahs and seeing exorcisms and getting slapped in the face by a saint. He walked around their house, exclaiming, "You guys are too much! This is just too much!" And burst out with the same expression when we sat down to eat. There's something magnetic to me about a person who is 50 years my senior; sometimes I get a little tired of hanging out with people who are all the same age. (That's one of my many homeschool inheritances: I often am more at ease around adults and sometimes even prefer their company to my peers'.) I love hearing people who have lived twice as long as I have tell stories. They just have so much more to tell.

"For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Corinthians 5:4). I think that's one of the most interesting (and possibly paradoxical) ways to say that: that death would be swallowed up by life. But it's true; here we are in the Kingdom of Paradoxes.

I might go for a run now. I might not.

Living with Emily is amazing; I love it. Something funny/cute she does: Something you must understand about Emily is that she is impeccably polite and eager to serve. So if I ever offer her something--like a handful of goldfish or a pillow or a cup of tea--she'll usually say, "No, I'm fine," and then offer to get ME something, but I've learned that, in Emilyspeak, this means she'd actually like some. So I just ignore her mannerly refusals and give it to her anyway. And she laughs and accepts it.

Something else I love about living with Emily: coming back to our room after class and finding her there. She sits in the egg chair draped in the yellow blanket and I sit on my bed and we talk forever, laughing, bragging, explaining, advising. She is my good therapy.

The weather is cooler now, desirable, pleasant. I look forward to walking to class because it gives me an excuse to be outside. The advent of fall stirs something electric in my veins.

When I'm not reading novels and poems for class, I am very slowly working through Joyce Carol Oates's Them. So far, I think I like it. It's a nice, tragic American family saga. I really love those. It's what Steinbeck does so well, you know. And I think Oates does it well, too. She may be a little heavy on The Point of This Book sometimes (Women vs. Men), but her style is usually skillful enough that the pecadillo is easily overlooked.

Two girls on our hall last night made a sandcastle. In their room. At 2 a.m.

Thanks to Guion, I am now in love with Bon Iver. You can add him to my list of crushes (which, I would like to point out, is considerably shorter than Guion's, which is currently topping off at about 16. I think I only have six: Andrew Bird, Sam Beam, Sufjan Stevens, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, and now Bon Iver.)

10 September, 2008

in the company

A grim, rainy afternoon. I was standing under a lamppost, waiting for Catherine, watching the streams of people go by with set faces. Emily somehow spotted me and laughed, telling me I looked like a creeper. Catherine soon converged with us and we came back to our room and ate an assemblage of things (sandwiches, hummus, pita, carrots, pistachios) while listening to French and Arabic rap. As we sat in separate spaces of the room, making random remarks, I thought about how good it is to be merely in the company of others. We didn't have to be making conversation; it was fulfilling to just sit in the same room with the two of them, looking occasionally at them, asking a varied question or two, sitting apart and yet we were very much together. That was my impression, anyway.

Received a hilarious update from home from Grace, who informed us that Dad, since learning the triple-step swing at dance lessons with Mom, is convinced he's slowly becoming gay, and that Sam ("Little Bro Peep," as we like to call him), since getting braces, is convinced that he can only eat liquefied foods. Mom is fine and normal and "exceptionally fit," as Grace says. "Doesn't it suck to have a mom in better shape than yourself?" Good to know that things are progressing as usual on the homefront.

Triumphantly finished Moby Dick last week and am now trucking through Uncle Tom's Cabin for the third time. It hasn't much improved. But I find I am more tolerant of Stowe's stock characters, so Dickensian in their black-and-white moral compositions, because, hey, it was 1851. And she wrote something culture-altering, which is more than most of us can say.

I am going to a career fair for English majors later this afternoon. "Isn't that an oxymoron?" Catherine asked. Yes, it is.

I like The New York Times, but sometimes they are ridiculous. Is Kim Jong Il suffering from a stroke, or is that just rumor? Why is the fact that Salman Rushdie was not nominated for the Booker Award newsworthy? Do we really need a full article on how McCain embraces and kisses Palin and Mrs. McCain, contrasted with how much things have changed since Geraldine Ferraro? Probably not. Ladies and gentlemen, the American Press: a dying industry that I hope will still make room for another superfluous voice -- mine.

Playing frisbee is gratifying to the soul. As is a block of medium-sharp cheddar cheese.