31 May, 2009

muddy river

Yesterday was a great day because we got to escape from our editing cave in the journalism school. We had a picnic, unsuccessfully launched a kite, played Frisbee, went hiking in a state park and saw the biggest (or second-biggest) tree in Missouri. After the day's adventures, a group of us went to a winery on the Missouri River in Rocheport, Mo. I think it's the first time I've really enjoyed drinking wine. It was a lovely evening and I've sincerely enjoyed the company of my fellow interns. (Mom, you can see photographs from yesterday's adventures.)

I went to church this morning with Anna, my suitemate, and really enjoyed it; it was refreshing. What they sang, how they did communion, how the service was constructed, reminded me a lot of my church in Raleigh, Vintage 21. And what do you know? There was a reason for that. Karis Church is an Acts 29 Church, which is the group that Vintage is affiliated with. Pretty amazing. I got excited about this summer, too, because I found five Acts 29 churches within 10 miles of my house in Denver.

I am quite happy here, well-adjusted. But just as I am becoming comfortable in Columbia, I am getting nervous about Denver. I want so badly to succeed there. I work from 4 until midnight tomorrow on the copy desk for "The Missourian" and then have varying shifts through Thursday, until I fly out for Colorado on Friday morning.

I really miss having tea every morning.

Also, this is why I love, really love, Proust:

"The questing, anxious, exacting way that we have of looking at the person we love, our eagerness for the word which will give us or take us from the hope of an appointment for the morrow, and, until that word is uttered, our alternate if not simultaneous imaginings of joy and despair, all this makes our attention in the presence of the beloved too tremulous to be able to carry away a very clear impression of her. Perhaps, also, that activity of all the senses at once which yet endeavors to discover with the eyes alone what lies beyond them is over-indulgent to the myriad forms, to the different savors, to the movements of the living person whom as a rule, when we are not in love, we immobilize. Whereas the beloved model does not stay still; our mental photographs of it are always blurred."

And Joanna Newsom is blowing me away this afternoon. "Monkey and Bear" is magnificent.

That's all for now.

28 May, 2009

midwestern editing

My time here has gone by at an amazing speed. Every day is full of little things to be learned, memorized and then put into practice. I feel very alert and inquisitive all day, which means I'm positively exhausted by about 10 p.m. Last night, after working my first shift at "The Missourian," the student/faculty paper here, Kendra and I got homemade ice cream and joined some of the others at a street-side Ben Folds concert. He finished crooning about high school around 9:30 and I was ready for bed. Pathetic. But it's a tiring life, this existence as an amateur copy editor.

The people here have been great. With regard to age and background, we are quite a diverse dozen. It's interesting to me how people are almost forced to bond in limited community. It's not like university, where you have hundreds of friends to pick and choose from. Here you have 11. And so you naturally fall into friendships with people you might not ordinarily consider. I like that. 

Some things I've learned:
- "Seeing Eye dog" is a trademark. You can't use it unless it's a dog from that program. 
- In a similar vein, there is no such thing as a Styrofoam cup.
- There might only be 30 or so distinct personalities in the world.
- The placement of "only" is often wrong.
- AP Style always ends bulleted lists with periods, even if the sentences are not complete.
- Speaking the grammar lingo is half the battle.
- The bread on Subway sandwiches is particularly bad.
- College towns look about the same everywhere.
- I should probably go to graduate school.
- Being a copy editor is actually a lot of fun.
- The editing eye becomes a sixth sense. You get instincts about this stuff; you absorb it.
- Copy editors are extremely intimidating people, but if you speak their language and do solid work, you're golden.
- All boys love "The Catcher in the Rye," "On the Road" and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
- The Daily Tar Heel is an excellent student paper.
- It rains a lot in Missouri.
- Old Missourians pronounce "Missouri" like "Missoura."
- People have a lot of stereotypes about the South.

This made my day: Guion and Mr. Pratt created a brief video greeting for me. How I do love my scruffy-looking boy. 

Before I go, HUGE happy birthday wishes to Catherine, who turns 22 today. I am devastated I can't be there to celebrate with you (and, in fact, have never been there to celebrate with you on your birthday). You are a beautiful and courageous woman, and I'm honored to know you. I wish I could have a food party with you right now.

25 May, 2009

hello, missouri

Greetings from rainy Columbia, Missouri. I don't have long to write, but wanted to say briefly that I've arrived and am already in the thick of editing seminars, grammar blitzes and friendship-forging with my fellow future interns. I'm about to go eat a cheese pizza with three of the girls, while we apparently watch "Greek" before going out to a bar on Broadway. Sounds cute and collegiate, doesn't it?

Being here has reinforced my feeling of extreme gratitude for this opportunity and training. At first, I didn't really want to come to Mizzou, but now I know this is going to be a vital part of preparing me for my summer in Denver. The campus here is actually really lovely, despite all the rain. The buildings are great. And our professors and lecturers are kind, eager men who've spent decades as copy editors and are sages from the profession. 

Much love to everyone, flung across the globe as we all tend to be during the summer...

23 May, 2009

goodbye, north carolina

I had such a good time with this boy over the past few days. Having him here was the best going-away present. Being away from him all summer is hard, but we did it last summer and I think we can do it again. I really should be packing right now, but I had to tell you a little about these past few days before I leave.

On Wednesday, all of us went for a gorgeous day hike to South Mountain State Park in Connelly Springs, N.C. I actually have no idea where that is. The park was even more beautiful than I remembered it being as a child. We hiked all afternoon, scaling rocks, splashing in rivers, sunning on rocks. It was completely perfect.

The full set of photographs from the outing can be seen here, along with the photos from our date to Lazy 5 Ranch, Mooresville's premier drive-through zoo.
I fly out tomorrow morning for Columbia, Missouri. I will spend a week in copy editing training at the University of Missouri. And then I'll fly to Denver on June 5. My excellent cousin, Sarah, has volunteered to pick me up from the airport and take me to where I'll be living in Lakewood. I'm thrilled about seeing her and the possibility of hanging out with all of my Colorado cousins this summer.
I hate packing. And I am super-frustrated right now because I can't find my favorite pair of shoes (that I wanted to take with me) and my camera case, which has my cable in it. I never lose things, and I've somehow managed to lose two important things right before I leave.
I met Elisabeth last night at Summit and we talked for a long time about many things, mostly our boys. I like her so much and I'm so glad I got to see her before I left. She is funny and wise. She came back to our house after and we did face masks, ate brownies and watched "The Jane Austen Book Club" (a.k.a. "Let's Interpret Everything In Our Lives Through Austen Characters." But it was still entertaining, Sarah).
Farewell for now. I'll try to blog when I get the chance. I'm leaving with a feeling of frightened hope, a buoyant spirit that is constantly looking over its shoulder.

18 May, 2009

the wakefulness of living things

I got contacts today. No one ever said how hard it was to try to get them in the first time. I sat there for almost 40 minutes trying to get those stupid, plastic discs to cling to my eyeball. But once I did, I felt like a rockstar. My life might be a little bit better because of them. I still love my glasses, though. It's just nice to be able to watch TV, read street signs and recognize faces without having to use those black frames.

I had breakfast for nearly two hours on Saturday morning with Tara and Emily S. I love the fact that even though we are all at such different stations in life (one of us is married and pregnant; one lives in a townhome and works at Caribou while going to school; one is going to Denver for the summer and then who knows what) we can still talk forever, like we used to. It was a good morning, good to be reminded that I love and appreciate them.

I read this last night and remembered that I liked it. Emily gave me this book last year, I think.

"Happiness," Robert Hass

Because yesterday morning from the steamy window
we saw a pair of red foxes across the creek
eating the last windfall apples in the rain--
they looked up at us with their green eyes
long enough to symbolize the wakefulness of living things
and then went back to eating--

and because this morning
when she went into the gazebo with her black pen and yellow pad
to coax an inquisitive soul
from what she thinks of as the reluctance of matter,
I drove into town to drink tea in the cafe
and write notes in a journal--mist rose from the bay
like the luminous and indefinite aspect of intention,
and a small flock of tundra swans
for the second winter in a row was feeding on new grass
in the soaked fields; they symbolize mystery, I suppose,
they are also called whistling swans, are very white,
and their eyes are black--

and because the tea steamed in front of me,
and the notebook, turned to a new page,
was blank except for a faint blue idea of order,
I wrote: happiness! it is December, very cold,
we worke early this morning,
and lay in bed kissing,
our eyes squinched up like bats.

I read this poem and think, How sweet; Robert Hass and Brenda Hillman must be so peacefully pretentious.

Watching probably the GREATEST episode of "Gilmore Girls" right now with K & G: the one where Jess comes back and he's changed and he really loves her and wants the best for her now. That lopsided smile. Gets me every time.

Guion comes tomorrow! We are going hiking with the siblings in South Mountain State Park. Win was going to come, but he chose Prague over us. I guess I really don't blame him.

14 May, 2009

blue-eyed babies

Last night at dinner, the four of us kids made an executive decision that our children will call our parents Juju and TT. TT may also be abbreviated to "Teats," a name simultaneously hilarious and vulgar.

To Juju's dismay, however, these titles will not be used for many years yet. That "nursery" he's building upstairs will have to remain vacant for some time.

In an entirely unrelated point, this may be the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen.

13 May, 2009

it was a very dangerous thing to live even one day

Things I am happy about today:

1. Awkward Family Photos. Probably the best blog I've seen in the past six months.

2. Not having to go back to the courthouse today. Thanks to the great mercy of God, I was not called to serve. I was there from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. But I finished one book ("Women and Writing," Woolf) and read half of another ("Cousin Bette," Balzac). Elisabeth, I'm sorry, but I think you might be crazy. Why would you ever want to fulfill your civic duty in that way?

3. Almost finishing the next issue of the math department newsletter

4. Waking up to an e-mail from Guion

5. I got an internship position at UNC Press for the upcoming school year!

6. New soap in the shower

7. Tea with breakfast

8. Watching "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" last night with Grace

9. Windy's happy-faced daisy arrangements on our kitchen table

10. Plans to meet friends (presently confirmed: Saturday breakfast with Emily S., baby Skolrood, and Tara and then Thai food for lunch with Dr. Gordon, Grace, and Mom. Pending: Elisabeth, J.Hecht)

11. That my mom is still totally beautiful at (almost) 50

"If the artist does not throw himself into his work like Curtius into the gulf, like a soldier against a fortress, without counting the cost; and if, once within the breach, he does not labor like a miner buried under a fallen roof; if, in short, he contemplates the difficulties instead of conquering them, one by one, like those lovers in the fairy-tales who, to win their princesses, fought ever-renewed enchantments; then the work remains unfinished, it perishes, is lost within the workshop, where production becomes impossible, and the artist is a looker-on at his talent's suicide." -- Cousin Bette, Balzac

11 May, 2009

i never hear the word escape...

After all of the graduation madness, Guion and I escaped to Mapleview Farms in Hillsborough. We drove with the windows down and the air was warm and sweet. We sat at the picnic table overlooking the dairy farm and ate our cones. We didn't say much, because we'd been talking all day, but that was perfect. To just sit, side by side, smile and watch the kids roll around in the grass.
The college graduate. I'm so proud of him. The only moment I almost cried was when I got a glimpse of him up in the stands of Kenan Stadium, clad in his Carolina blue cap and gown, flanked by his closest friends. He looked so happy, distracted, hopeful.

I want to own a field like this one day. Remaining few photos from our adventure here.
This weekend was great. More accurately, it was a speeding slideshow of joyful anxiety, happy anticipation and sadness for the momentousness of it all. I still don't like thinking about him not being here next year, but I'm excited just the same. I can't even find the right qualifiers. I loved being with all of the families on Saturday night; they are all, individually and collectively, amazing. It was a good weekend, it was. I'm just not sure how to say it.
I have jury duty tomorrow. Thanks a lot, democracy.

05 May, 2009

rain on the street

Good things today...

Selling back textbooks

Buying Resurrection (Tolstoy) and Allusions in Ulysses (Thornton; UNC Press)

Quadruple date at Mediterranean Deli (Guion, me + Eric, Cristina + Kemp, Rose + Catherine, Russ)

Homeless dude called me "gorgeous thing." I guess that's kind of a good thing.

Talking to David P. for half an hour about Athens, local foods, old friends, his dog and his baby

Meeting Caroline, my roommate for next year, and discovering that Melissa has an extra twin bed for me to use

Gelato with Angela (she gave me The Omnivore's Dilemma! I am so excited about reading it this summer!)

Buying my first thing from Etsy (finally! A screenprint of an owl to hang on my wall) and ordering big versions of my favorite photographs to hang on my wall

Hugging Catherine

Emily coming "home" from training at Vespa. Thinking about how this is our last night as roommates. That's not a good thing. Ok. Have to stop now...

04 May, 2009

not studying

Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. I will take the last exam of my junior year. This creeps me out. And then I have about 12 full days at home before I leave for my long, hard summer in the wild West.

Yesterday, after we went to Holy Family, REI and Ted's Montana Grill (I had my first bison burger and it was really good, but SO MUCH MEAT. I could only eat half of it, but Guion told me he was still proud of me. Eating with him sometimes makes me feel like I'm a 6-year-old with picky eating habits; he always congratulates me on what I finish), we lounged on his back porch, napped and read "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" to each other. The sky was cloudy but the air was warm and the wind was ideal. Yes, we have perfect Sundays.

I packed up all my books so all I have left to read are the short novels of Chekhov. This has actually been very nice. I finished "Peasants" yesterday and started "In the Ravine" last night. One benefit of Chekhov: It reminds you that no matter how bad you think your life is, it's not as bad as the lives of those Russian peasants. I don't live in a hut with seven other people and eat gruel every morning.

This laughing Hillary montage from Daily Intel is killing me. And the headline, too.