Monday, August 31, 2009


"If someone comes up and asks you, 'English Major? What are you going to be with an English Major?' look them in the eye and say, 'EDUCATED!'"
-Prof. Petersen

I am in love with my classes, my teachers, my books, my fellow students, and just about everything else.

My schedule this semester is pretty much the best one I could have ever conceived:

German 102- Kajsa Spjut
French 101- Randy Demetter
English 251- Paul Westover
English 291- Zina Nibley Petersen
Honors 201 (The Pen and the Sword)- C. Wilfred Griggs

Consequently, I am fairly euphoric.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Okay, I'm gonna have a super-post about this last week on the east coast, but I want to document a few instances of utter awesomeness with my most adorable cousins:

Unknown Adult: What would you wish for if you could have anything in the world?
Anna: Um, that this next year would be good, and I could have fun in school.
Maya: I want a big fat monkey eating a chocolate milkshake!

Casey: Get a birds eye view to do the puzzle.
Maya: What's a birds eye view?
Tana: It means that Casey is crazy.
Maya: Casey, you're a birds eye view.
Casey: Correct usage!
Maya: Yes. Correct sausage!

Anna: I like to sleep on the floor sometimes.
Tana: Yeah, I slept on the floor a lot when I was younger.
Anna: . . . Did they have beds back then?

Tres: I'm really hungry, Tana. I need something sweet and fresh!
Tana: Like what?
Tres: Well, um, like, Cheese-its!
Tana: Those are neither fresh, nor sweet.
Tres: Yes they are. Well, maybe not, but they are salty and delicious.

Tana: Oh, boy, Tres-butter. Whatcha got there?
Tres: [motioning to his growing sponge dinosaurs] This one is a Trioctagon, and this one is a Giggassa Rapper.
Tana: A Velociraptor?
Tres: No! A Giggassa Rapper!

In addition to a hundred other awesome stories of a similar variety, all three of them know the Thriller dance.

Friday, August 7, 2009


"Other than my eye, two things aren't paralyzed: my imagination and my memory."
-Jean-Do Bauby, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon

Stop reading this blog and go watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Right now.

Still reading? Tush!

It's a wonderfully inspiring film, documenting the paralysis of a man's body, and the liberation of his mind. Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor of Elle, suffers a stroke, and when he wakes he has lost all sensation in his body, save for his left eye. His brain, miraculously, remains unaffected, leaving him with a rare condition called "locked-in syndrome." His immovable body becomes a prison for his desperately active consciousness. The major part of the movie deals with his struggle to accept his situation, and his attempt to trade his lonely diving bell for butterfly wings. (Oh! It makes sense now!)

I've been reading Letters to a Young Poet, and I was surprised by the discrepancy in Rilke's view of isolation and Bauby's view of it. Rilke stresses, again and again, the need to remove oneself from the world, to become as foreign as a child in a land of adult thought. That, he proposes, is the sole method by which we truly comprehend "self." Bauby unquestionably found that solitude after his stroke, but was unable to live a life without some form of communication. I agree with Rilke that the most intimate understanding of myself is found at the end of a path which only I can follow, but without some interaction with others, I've lost all standards for comparison. I mean, could I define myself without the people who have given me basis for not only desire and appreciation, but loathing and detestation as well? Would I really want to?

I have always advocated a degree of isolation (though I rallied under the banner bearing the title, "self-efficiency"), but perhaps not as vehemently as I would like to believe. I write, don't I? That in itself is a cry for human interaction, a cry to be known. It's my attempt to draw those around me into my lonely world of dreams and beauty. I want to give them a set of lenses to see the world as I see it, and once they have, we can sit back together and savor the spice of whispered secrets.

I suppose that, as with all things, a balance must be obtained. I've got to keep one foot in the real world, and one in the world of my mind, and be cautious to never (or very rarely) stray completely into one or the other for any extended length of time. By dancing around the borderline, I can live as both the natural, uncensored creature of my consciousness, and the tame, civilized woman of society. I have the beautiful opportunity to select the building blocks of my own reality, which is, assuredly, as real as any other, since I opt to make it so.

Now, what shall I choose?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


"Some say that we are different people at different periods of our lives, changing not through effort of will, which is a brave affair, but in the easy course of nature every ten years or so. I suppose this theory might explain my present trouble, but I don't hold with it; I think one remains the same person throughout, merely passing, as it were, in these lapses of time from one room to another, but all in the same house. If we unlock the rooms of the far past we can peer in and see ourselves, busily occupied in beginning to become you and me."
-J. M. Barrie, A Dedication to PETER PAN or THE BOY WHO WOULD NOT GROW UP

In summer, time is a funny thing. Moments of hot breath under twilight stars hang immovable and delicious around a sun asleep on the horizon, until the great orb wakes, blushing the sky crimson, and rushes below my line of sight. The world sits dark and endless, waiting to be tasted, touched, lived.

I am unquestionably up to the task.

The strange passage of time excites me. It's a new experience to actually comprehend the steady trickling away of existence - or the collecting of it? These seconds by which we measure our lives will indefatigably fade away; that is inevitable. But every tick of the clock is another step towards eternity, and within eternity. I don't want to lose any of it. Each moment is spent growing a little more into myself, expanding onward, upward, and inward in search of some potential to be actualized. And without a doubt, in the casual step of time, I will find it.

Words of advice from Rilke: "You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can to be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue . . . And the point is, to live everything."

That's the secret, then, isn't it? Appreciating the locks? Because, like placing the final piece of a puzzle, there's a unique gratification that comes from personal accomplishment. And when you've found just the right fit, an entirely new scene unfolds, ripe with unpicked thought and discovery.

I used to envy people who were older than me. I longed for their experiences and wisdom. Lately, though, I've begun to realize how much room is taken up by the emotional baggage of jealousy.

Awe of pure sensation (and I mean my own sensation) is so much more worth the effort.