25 February, 2010

stuff and nonsense

Have I told you how much I love our wedding photographer, Meredith? Because I do. She's not only amazing at what she does, but just about the sweetest person we've worked with amid all of this wedding madness. She's incredible and I can't wait to see her in May.

Speaking of our wedding, would it be criminal to forgo flowers? They're the only thing that's stressing me out right now. I love flowers. If I were rich, I would have vases of fresh ones in every room. But they're so unbelievably expensive and our little budget can't really handle them. That said, however, we've been receiving some wallet-friendly suggestions from people--and an extremely gracious offer of help from one of our dear neighbors. I think it will all come together. I'm just anxious about it. And I don't really have the energy to be anxious about anything right now.

News flash: The woman in the Honda with the border collie was in the exact SAME place again this morning, trying once more to pull off an extremely poorly planned ten-point turn! What is she doing? Why is her dog with her? The world is full of mystery.

Last night, as I was perusing the blogosphere while waiting for the ice skating to begin, I stumbled upon these gorgeous wedding photos by one of Charlotte's most respected wedding photographers. The bride is an old friend of a friend and although we have not spoken in years, I feel oddly compelled to tell her how remarkably beautiful she looked. For real. This girl is a knockout. And godly; a pre-req. for marrying into Crossway royalty, you know. But the photos are stunning. The picture of her and her dad kissing her head: gorgeous and sweet.

Snowed this morning. Fat, floppy snowflakes that flew sideways and refused to stick. This has been the longest winter ever and I am so eager to have it go. I miss wearing dresses.

23 February, 2010


Today's little stories.

As he read the Turgenev passage that dripped with sentimentality, my Russian literature professor drew his upper lip inward, laughing, and I remembered my father; my father and his mocking face when you gave him a compliment.

In the Peabody building driveway, a woman in a white Honda was attempting a very poorly executed turn. She had wedged herself between a stone wall and another car and her bumper had already scraped the top of the wall. There was a panting border collie in the front seat, looking as nervous as his owner probably was. I looked in at the woman and involuntarily raised my eyebrows. I jumped up on the wall to get around her and into the grass, still damp from the arrival of morning. I was wearing my Hunter boots and immediately wished I was walking around my farm instead of my ever-shrinking campus.

I finished writing my paper about the implicit prejudice in Time magazine's coverage of the Fort Hood shooting earlier than expected. The sun had finally broken through the watery gray clouds. I cleaned up the kitchen, wiping down all of the counters and scrubbing the pile of pots and pans, inwardly delighted. I remembered my mother's subtly reinforced value of the unity between a tidy kitchen and a peaceful heart. It felt true at that moment.

22 February, 2010

puppies and dolphins

I turned in my full draft this weekend, and so I took the whole weekend off my thesis. It felt amazing not to be chained to my busted laptop, tapping out confused prose about alternative forms of artistic creation. Guion told me I seemed happier than I've been in a long time, which might just be true. I am pleased I have a little less than a month to edit, and then, on March 19, I will be free!

I've had enough of this temperamental weather. Yesterday was impossibly gorgeous. Guion and I went to church with Alex and Kelsey and then came back, walked to the quad, and lounged in the grass for three or four hours. We "did our marriage push-ups" (his term for the book we're reading together, Sacred Marriage) and talked with random friends who stopped by. It was perfect. And now, today, it's cold and raining. As if it had never met yesterday.

I got a beautiful little letter from Grace yesterday. She is the cutest and most talented person I know. She also knows how to tug on my heartstrings: there was a DOLPHIN smiling at me at the bottom of the page.

I really want to adopt this puppy. Right now. A certain fiance didn't think he was CUTE. This certain fiance might be going blind.

For Christmas, Guion gave me the guitar that won him Euros and small fame this summer in Ireland. I finally picked it up last night and remembered how joyful it was to play... but now slightly disappointing, because I seem to have forgotten almost everything I knew. Not to mention the fact that my calluses have disappeared. I think it will gradually come back to me, but I need to keep playing--or, more accurately, keep struggling.

18 February, 2010


I'm getting married in 100 days!

"These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves."--Gilbert Highet

I finished The Museum of Innocence (last line was heartbreakingly good) and will be going to the library after class to pick up James Baldwin's Another Country (at the year-long recommendation of Reva Grace).

All of last semester, I hadn't felt ready to leave UNC. But now I feel like I do. I know I'll miss it something awful as soon as I graduate and have to be an adult, but I get the pervasive sense that it's TIME. Four years have been great. But four is enough.

The Guardian's top 10 unreliable narrators.

16 February, 2010

if i have not love

"I woke up in the night and said, 'But I am the most passionate of women. Take away my affections and I should be like sea weed out of water; like the shell of a crab, like a husk. All my entrails, light, marrow, juice, pulp would be gone. I should be blown into the first puddle and drown. Take away my love for my friends and my burning and pressing sense of the importance and lovability and curiosity of human life and I should be nothing but a membrane, a fibre, uncoloured, lifeless to be thrown away like any other excreta.'" -- Woolf, in a letter to Ethel Smyth, Aug. 19, 1930.

(I feel like this is Woolf's version of 1 Corinthians 13. If I have not love...)

Despite the busyness of my small life, I am quite happy.

10 February, 2010

today's open letters

Dear blogosphere,
That new French film or that hipster boy on the subway piqued your curiosity. Your curiosity was not peaked. Unless it was the Alps.

Dear flu-like symptoms,
Go away.

Dear thesis,
You've been very cooperative this week. Thank you.

Dear women's studies major in my class,
We get it. Most of us are on your team, anyway, so stop talking to us like we're your enemies.

Dear Guion,
Thanks for not fighting in the second Civil War on the seventh floor of Davis library. I'm glad you're still around.

Dear wind,
Cut it out.

09 February, 2010

fear no more

Perhaps because my ears were blocked, and perhaps because I was in a general haze from the fever, campus seemed incredibly quiet this morning. The sky was pewter gray, air was cold. Students were walking all around me, but no one made a single noise. Not even their feet. It was as if a giant fleece blanket had fallen over the university. I dropped off my assignment and came back to the Shoebox, read The Museum of Innocence and "The Overcoat," and pretended to sleep away my illness.

Florida State really, really wants Guion! Best news of the month. Tallahassee sounds like a place we could grow accustomed to over two years.

"Outside the trees dragged their leaves like nets through the depths of the air; the sound of water was in the room and through the waves came the voices of birds singing. Every power poured its treasures on his head, and his hand lay there on the back of the sofa, as he had seen his hand lie when he was bathing, floating, on the top of the waves, while far away on shore he heard dogs barking and barking far away. Fear no more, says the heart in the body; fear no more." -- Mrs. Dalloway*

Once I get married, I am going to start blogging differently. (As a choice, not as an involuntary consequence.)

It is raining now and the cars on the street sound like waves against rock.

*Oh! Frightening coincidence I just happened to discover. Apparently, Fate has deemed that I will be drawn to this exact passage at this exact time of year. See here.

08 February, 2010

time and will

Sick. Flu-like symptoms, I believe. Roommate has it, too. And poor Guion has a fever and is driving himself home right now. Don't. want. to. do. anything.

But I did read this today and it made me feel better about Kemal and Fusun:

"Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate." -- W.H. Auden

06 February, 2010

home, for a short while

I'm at home today... I came back yesterday to buy my wedding dress. At last! It feels really fantastic to have that checked off my list. Mom and Grace also found the dresses they're going to wear and they look like total babes. I've had a quiet morning here with Mom. Grace left for Asheville this morning, Sam is at a friend's house, Dad is playing hockey. We had breakfast, talked about reception centerpieces, how to make the favors for guests, and on wishing we knew better than God. I've been trying to work on my thesis, but I haven't written more than a paragraph. It's too difficult to accomplish things at home. I don't really want to go back to school in an hour. The drive here was long, lonely, and even a little scary; practically no visibility and I saw six bad wrecks (two completely totaled cars).

"Some elders once came to Abbot Anthony, and there was with them also Abbot Joseph. Wishing to test them, Abbot Anthony brought the conversation around to the Holy Scriptures. And he began from the youngest to ask them the meaning of this or that text. Each one replied as best he could, but Abbot Anthony said to them: You have not got it yet. After them all he asked Abbot Joseph: What about you? What do you say this text means? Abbot Joseph replied: I know not! Then Abbot Anthony said: Truly Abbot Joseph alone has found the way, for he replies that he knows not." -- The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers, LXXVII, ed. Merton

I resurrected my book blog, The Unrehearsed Reader. After a hiatus since November, I figured it was time to pick things back up again. Mini reviews of "Vanessa and Virginia" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" come next.

Our invitations came in the mail last week and I'm delighted to have them here, along with being quite pleased with how they turned out. I need to go buy a calligraphy pen today at Michael's so I can start the fun and arduous task of addressing them.

I gave Win "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" for his birthday and as I handed it over, I wanted to read it again, right then. It is one of those books that is difficult for me to say why I love it so much. It's not even the characters that are so compelling or powerful; it's something about what Kundera is releasing. His prose is like freeing birds from a net.

I happily discovered this week that two of my favorite humans, Danielle and Sarah H., have blogs. For inspiration and entertainment, please read Dannilynn and Intervals of Sanity.

"Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is longing for repetition." -- Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

03 February, 2010

attached to life at all four corners

Instead of working on my thesis during the break between meeting with Kathryn and class, I read fifty more pages of Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence. I think it was a good choice. I haven't done anything indulgent since the semester started. Reading it today was like getting a shot to the blood, reminding me of what I love so dearly: words on a page! Pamuk's writing is so beautiful, too. I picked up this hefty novel as a fluke; I'd seen it at Bull's Head while waiting for Guion and paged through it, thought it sounded interesting. Pamuk has been on my to-read list since he won a Nobel in 2006 for Istanbul. When I searched his name at the library, this title, which was published in 2009, came up first, and so I thought I'd go for it. I'm glad I did. Reading it is giving me a little bit of my life back.

That said*, after reading the novel today, I was worried. Why is it that love stories never happen between married people? That all the passionate affairs are always illicit in some respect? Kemal, the main character in Pamuk's novel, is newly engaged when he falls for his distant cousin, Fusun. Their rambunctious and yet sadly touching trysts are troubling to me. Why can't he be in love with his fiancee? I suppose the tension that arises from an extramarital affair naturally makes a more interesting, complex novel... but what about a true novel? Marriage, I suspect, can be just as interesting and complex as an affair. Is it not true that husbands and wives may be just as madly in love as Kemal and Fusun? Woolf says that "fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners." Fiction, then, should give us more difficult--yet passionately loving--marriages.

Does anyone have a good example of a novel of deep love between a husband and a wife, or between lifelong partners?

(*J.Hecht has his "brass tacks;" I, apparently, have my "that said.")

02 February, 2010


Happy anniversary, Guion! I can truthfully say that the past two years with you have been the happiest of my life. Here's to many more!