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A Voracious Vocabulary
gainsay (verb) to declare false.
Fancy fair isle sweater for myself.
Friday, Sept. 15, 2006 - 11:17 a.m.
For the past few days I have been battling some strange illness that seems to be a combination of the flu my mom has had and the cold that the rest of the English department has had. This morning I've spent forty-five minutes determining whether or not going to teach classes today is a good idea. So far, the cereal I've eaten is agreeing with my stomach, and I'm hoping this fairs well for the whole digestion process. To school it is, and my students better fucking behave this time. I'm in no mood to deal with the half a dozen boys in my first class. I usually treat them all like my little siblings, but these boys need to get a grip before I kick them to the curb. Luckily, my second class is more mellow. At first I didn't like this, but now I see they could weather most anything, bad lesson plans or poor directions, pretty well. They go with it, and sometimes that's all I need to make it through.
Wednesday, Sept. 06, 2006 - 7:18 p.m.
Back to the Lists:
1) I have to:
a) read 100 pages of Richard Hugo.
I think he's a good poet, but I am
required to think that because I
want to be a writer of the West.
b) write back a former student whom
I'm really happy as decided to keep
c) oh, write a paper about Hugo.
d) figure out what to teach my
incredible (no kidding, these guys
rock) students on Friday.
2) I have:
a) a left over piece of chicken
that I need to eat before it goes
bad. (I cooked it in my crockpot,
a brilliant invention of modern
times, by the way.)
b) a trip to Glacier National Park
to plan for the next weekend.
c) an odd obsession with the band
Ok Go, and I don't think I want to
talk about it. (My mom saw them on
tv and said, "At least they're
3) I want:
a) to not be in the nonfiction
workshop class I am in now, because,
it appears, I am not the only one
who thinks the professor is
genuinely mean to me.
b) ice cream.
c) to meet a decent guy who thinks
Monday, Sept. 04, 2006 - 8:47 p.m.
This morning I woke up in Libby, Montana. I was visiting for the holiday weekend, because, let's face it, Glacier Park is infinitely more worth it than watching your colleagues get wasted and hit on each other. Honest to all higher powers ever envisioned; Glacier Park is truly that beautiful.
So, the night before, I asked my mom to wake me up at 9am because a) I no longer have a room of my own at my parents' house and b) my no longer having a room of my own at my parents' house has led to my needing to bring my own portable alarm clock, and I can barely remember to bring all the dirty laundry I have, let alone a clock.
At a little after nine this morning, my mom whispered in my ear that Steve Irwin, the crocodile guy, had died, and that he was only in his forties. I registered this info and then fell asleep. Then, half an hour later, the SuperGeniusKid, her sister, and her little brother (the baby who is no longer a baby but a little boy) came over, and woke me up and gave me hugs, and what did I care about the world but that the baby was giving me hugs and speaking gibberish? Granted, the day before he was in the dog kennel licking the chainlink fench and eating dog food because he had figured out to get through the doggie door. Nonetheless, he gave me hugs and kisses, and I've known him since the very day he was born, and I love this kid, dammit.
It was only hours later, after logging onto the internet that it registered that Steve Irwin is dead. I was not attatched to his show or him, really. But, did any of us think this guy could really die? He tempted death so often that he really did make us believe he would be eighty years old and french kissing a rattle snake. Some how I feel sad about his dying. He had a child, a wife. I begin to wonder how his wife dealt with his antics. Was she even more unware of his immortality than we were? In some way I came to rely on his interactions with the most dangerous part of the animal kingdom to prove that we could fool any part of nature. How odd that we begin to internalize even the subtlest messages of our culture.
Monday, Aug. 14, 2006 - 12:49 p.m.
My last trip to the used bookstore, I found, among other books, one I had been eyeing but sure as hell was not going to buy full price. I enjoy the blogging skills of the author of Bitter is the New Black, but after reading the first two chapters of her book, I realized that Lancaster's writing is tolerable (for me, at least) in only short and concise pieces. A whole book of her hackneyed English sorority slang set me on edge and gave me a headache.
I don't like it when writers look down on other writers simply because of style differences. I don't like the idea of one style of writing being better than another. Instead, I think personal taste and need dictate what a person should read. I am going to say Lancaster's style didn't meet my taste and needs. Because, otherwise I am going to begin to become one of those sophisticate self-entitled snobs.
Yet, to give you an idea, imagine Reese Witherspoon's character from Legally Blonde and remove all charm, and that's how this book reads. Perhaps it gets better past the second chapter, but I wasn't about to waste my time. Oh god, the headaches I had.
Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006 - 1:51 p.m.
Continuing the slow climb out of my lethargic blog posting hell, here's what I've been up to...
1) Trying to get myself on a reasonable sleep schedule. Not working very well so far. I am not sure if my wanting to sleep in is an indication of depression or that I've become a night owl and need to embrace that. Come one week from next Monday, I teach at 11:30am. Much better than 8:30am. So, here's my plan. I need to take into consideration the following:
a) I need to wake up with enough
time to drink dress and brush
my teeth and stuff, but also
with enough time to drink two
cups of coffee and eat and read
my favorite blogs. This will
make me a kinder human being
for the rest of the day. I
would like an hour for all this,
but could do it in forty-five
minutes if need be.
b) The amount of time it take me to
walk or ride bike to campus,
somewhere between fifteen and
c) I need to arrive at campus half
an hour before class begins, to
'get my game face on' and arrive
in the classroom ten minutes
11:30am - 1 hour for morning
rituals = 10:30am
10:30am - 1/2 an hour for
transport = 10am
10am - 1/2 an hour for class
prep/meditation = 9:30am
To keep it safe, I should wake up somewhere between 8:30 and 9am. That's the plan, which I am okay with. It was that having to be ready before 8:30am that I had issues with, or, at least, that's what I am hoping. I need to begin to go to sleep around midnight, give or take 1/2 an hour.
Will this work? It better, or The National Sleep Foundation will see some trouble come its way.
2) (In the conintuing saga of what I am up to, if you actually became absorbed in my own self-absorbed goal of actually having a reasonable sleep schedule.)
Feeling a mixture of disgust and pity for Joe Francis, the letch who concieved the misogynist economic powerhouse, Girls Gone Wild. The article is well written, though I would have liked to see the journalist, Claire Hoffman, explore the psychological issues more. Her recognition of Francis himself being so alienated by his own need to justify his gross business practices is insightful. Girls Gone Wild is a business that alienates all involved, from the owner to the women it features to the men it employs to do the filming. They are all wrapped up in a culture's overblown value of an unrealistic sexuality. They are all victims. How crazy is that shit?
3) Reading Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller. It is compelling and excellent. If you read some of the reviews on Amazon, some of my concerns are voiced. I wonder at Fuller's intentions towards those people about whom she writes. Yet, she doesn't even come close to my icon of egotistical disgust, Capote. Yeah, Fuller is keeping a lot of herself out of the story, but I think she at the very least admits herself as a witness and therefore implicated in some of the actions going on.
Some the reader reviews on Amazon appear to be angry with what they call Fuller's exaggerations about the war. I wonder at these reviewers, because I have read accounts of war that are much more gruesome than those that Fuller tells. I wonder at these reviewers' backgrounds and own personal allegiances.
I can't help but find Africa intriguing. I have never wanted to travel there and don't neccessarily find myself emotionally connected to it, but forget the Middle East, all the real testing of our humanity shit is going down in Africa. So, if you want to read a little about Africa and the trials of our humanity, tell self-righteous Gwenyth Paltrow to fuck off and go read accounts by those who have actually lived there.
(By the way, I am sure this Paltrow ad is just another way for the Pitt-Jolie Hollywood Machine to unwittingly make us into the newest colonizers of Africa and its cultures. I have no doubt that the aid organizations are excellent and doing good an much needed work, and I applaud them. But, the US is already diluded by Hollywood and its unrealistic vision of humanity (that's my new 'use every time I can word': humanity), can you just imagine what Hollywood's dilusions could do to Africa? In fact, what its dilusions are already doing there? Sure, high profile people drawing attention to important things is okay, but have they ever thought they might be doing more damage to the cause than good? Bono may speak very loudly about how we need to help those in need, but we also know this man has millions upon millions of dollars. He talks the talk, but he sure as hell doens't walk the walk. He's bloody fuckin' crazy rich. There are those people who do spend the majority of their fortunes on helping those in need. Hell, there are those who have nothing and have dedicated their lives to giving themselves to help others. A very rich man whose wardrobe costs more than my entire college education telling me that I am an ignorant, selfish first world nation citizen is alienating. Plus, what of the serious political issues going on in Africa? How do we know our help would not be misconstrued or used against those who we intended to help? I have a feeling Bono isn't going to be on the ground following the aid to the right place. Fuck it...enough about that.)
4) Writing, a little bit. I recently moved, and the transition is still catching up with me.
5) Listening to my neighbors argue about their relationship. Note to all men (and women, I guess) out there: using the words "fuck" and "baby" in the same sentence is not advisable).
6) Watching "Project Runway" (stop laughing, now) and "Rescue Me" and reruns of "Gilmore Girls".
7)Avoiding writing on this blog. Cheers.
Friday, Aug. 04, 2006 - 12:57 a.m.
My "gold" membership recently expired, which means that various parts of my blog, aka pics and banners, were in jeoprody of being lost in cyberspace. For a couple of weeks, I contemplated whether or not to renew my membership.
Then, I sent myself back to the very first post of this blog. It was a summer day. The liddle bruder and his girlfriend were in my last apartment in Tacoma, amusing themselves by yelling throw a box fan to one of my roommates.
I realized the following had happened since:
1) I had survived a nervous breakdown in CA.
2) I had returned home, a thing I thought I would never do, and found parts of myself I never knew existed.
3) The liddle bruder got himself engaged, to the very same girl who was involved in previously mentioned box fan incident. To the future "Mr. and Mrs. Liddle Bruder" (Sorry, but holy fuckin' shit...) perhaps we need to discuss the allocation of some of the inheritance. I get the bed. Got it?
4) I was accepted into and have become a member of what will undoubtedly be the leading program of writers who define the western US. I think Bravo should turn us into a reality television show.
5) My maternal grandma moved to MT, where she undoubtedly belonged a)because it is beyond beautiful and b) because here we can adore without the problematic issue of distance.
6) I continue my identity crisis, which appaers to be an intricate part of my existence.
That said, thank you to the following for always reading:
Mom and Dad...my new shower head is still leaking, even though I bought that plumber's tape at ACE Hardware where the guy who is most likely younger than I am mocked me because I asked if there were a box of a nails in a variety of sizes for driving a large hole into the wall. He gave me a look that said, "Your landlord is going to kill you," to which I thought, "Duh, but I am cute and know how to spackle, so fuck off." Just so you know, the ACE Hardware in Moscow, ID attracts the odd ones during the early afternoons of weekdays, so avoid wearing shorter skirts and pigtails. Unless of course, you're willing to shout, "Stop staring at me or I will stick this wooden dowel up your ass," which I am not since my parents instilled in me a sense of modesty.
Megan...you need to visit in the next two years, b/c I am not going to move in that time, b/c moving is hard work and stressing to my OCD. Plus, my Mom doesn't want to clean anymore carpet.
Jeffery...I actually dont' know whether or not you're reading this right now...as busy as you are. Try to put forth the effort, ok? I am older, and automatically deserve that kind of respect.
To my new membership and the hope that I can post more often in the next three months...
Thursday, Jul. 27, 2006 - 1:23 p.m.
Okay, so I have set a new record for lazy blog writing. That said, I don't have the internet at home right now, so posting will remain scarce. It is hot here in Idaho, which means I don't want to do anything that involves moving, especially moving outdoors. Once I have interent at my new apartment, I hope to begin posting more often. But don't hold me to that.
Friday, Jun. 09, 2006 - 1:59 p.m.
I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to this while it was going on because I fell on the side that Dan Brown didn't really do anything wrong, besides writing a book that doesn't deserve the success it reaped. I don't like being on Brown's side, but I have to say that the accusations brought against him have real consequences for writers.
Basically another writer, Lewis Perdue, argues that Brown stole not only information but also the plot structure from Perdue's own book, Daughters of God. The thing is, Perdue is arguing on the basis that Brown had two storylines that alternated, that they involved the Catholic Church, that the main characters are in a dangerous situation under pressure to figure out the mystery, and that world famous art is involved in the mystery. It is not as if Perdue had a giant albino man in his book, a huge lame plot point in Brown's book.
The thing is, there only so many ways to tell stories. Sure, as writers, we do our best to mix things up, create new and fascinating forms and stories, but if we weren't allowed to use previous forms and strucutres, we would be writing a whole lot less, if at all. Then, the accusation regarding the feminine divine, a concept which Perdue argues Brown also stole from his book, is more of an indication of how pathetically unaware we are of our rich religious histories. The feminine divine far from being a new concept, and politics of a religious insitution stomping out beliefs it doesn't like is also not a new concept. In short, that kind of history cannot solely belong to one person. It's all of ours, even though we are mostly ignorant of it.
Oh yeah, I still don't like Dan Brown's writing.
Thursday, Jun. 08, 2006 - 7:23 p.m.
Realized Victory of the Day: My parents, who are in their 50s and 60s, know what a blog is. Basically, my parents are smarter than yours. Hundred times cooler too.
Unsure Victory of the Day: If you type "Shilo Nouvel" into msn.com, I am the third hit on the list. This is because I spelled Shiloh incorrectly. Who says not being able to spell correctly doesn't pay off?
Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 - 10:11 p.m.
Dear Baby Brangelina, also known as Shilo Nouvel Jolie-Pitt,
Listen, kid, I am sorry to tell you this, but your parents basically screwed you over since day one. First off, no one cares that your name is Shilo. You will always be known as Baby Bragelina. This will be a serious problem when you reach puberty. Sure, you can't help but be proud of your parents who were sex icons in their own time. But, for Christ's sake, you will just want to have your own fuckin' life running that cute Ma and Pa Cafe in downtown Small City, USA. Face it, kid, your parents have stuck you with their lives. You never were in line for your own life.
To add insult to injury, the media has tongue-in-cheek dubbed you the modern day messiah. By "tongue-in-cheek messiah" I mean "the media sincerely believes you will save the world with the illuminate glory that is your beauty" messiah. At the same time the media has bestowed you with this title they have irrevocably guaranteed you will never live up to the potential they have assumed for you. The first and foremost requirement for any legendary hero, let alone a messiah, is birth into obscurity. You have so missed the mark. By a lot.
You need to know, this isn't your fault. At the same time, I have absolutely no sympathy for you. And that's the other thing; your much heralded birth means that you're already eating into your fifteen minutes of alotted fame without showing any talent. You better learn to tie your shoes very quickly, otheriwse we will all get resentful on your ass. We are going to be resentful anyway, not because your parents are supposedly beautiful (By "supposedly," I mean your mother has very large lips that only appear to be sexy because she claims to have had a lot of sex, and your father is actually a decent actor and thus is assumed to be handsome even though he really is just average in a way that I forget what he really looks like.), but because they have money. That means you have money. We are also resentful because your parents roped a poor African country into believing their presence is a saving grace. Then they left, leaving only a small fraction of what they earn for ONE movie to compensate for the money that Namibia spent on your birth's security alone. Sorry, Shilo Brangelina. You are the shining star of new colonialism.
I really am sorry, Shilo. Both for your name and for the circumstances into which you were born. Your father rocked in A River Runs Through It, and your mother really is hot. You have little room for error. For your sake, I hope your parents' love will be able to overcome all this, but they bore you not only into this world but also into the skewed sometimes sick world of Hollywood. You will either have to shun it and stomp it out, or succumb to it in a fashion whose precedent has been set by the likes of certain socialites in my own time. In the end, it really sucks to be you.
With with greatest sympathy,
P.S. Don't call me.
Saturday, Jun. 03, 2006 - 9:07 p.m.
The summer has more than officially begun, as has my lack of motivation, though you wouldn't know it by how much I get done in direct retaliation of lack of motivation, or, rather, my guilt for lack of motivation. I've already read three of the nine books for my summer literature course. Rundown:
The Same River Twice by Chris Offutt - I just finished reading this work of reflection on an aimless come wisdom-driven life, thus my thoughts haven't yet fully galvanized. For now, I dig Mr. Offutt's braided story about hitchhiking away his twenties and early thirties, his fear of and isolation from the life process as manifested in his wife's pregnancy, and especially his contemplation of the knowledge of science, history, philosophy, and religion. He refers often and with seeming reverence to goddesses such as Isis. At first I found this refreshing, then unbelievable. Not unbelievable in a the sense of shocking, but unbelievable in that I doubt his ability to see the goddess or even a higher power as something other than a splendid intellectual idea.
Mr. Offutt grew up in Appalachia, but he doesn't (at all, if I remember correctly) talk about any religious upbrining. The closest he comes to really talking about spirituality are his experiences with nature. The jump from nature to goddesses is not a hard one to make, via Mother Earth and Gaia. Yet, his trivial references to such things as maiden and crone and mother, espeically in reference to his pregnant wife, come off as just that...trivial. They seem nothing more than quick thoughts that only prick the surface of deeper mystery. Mr. Offutt continually avoids going into the mystery by pawning himself off as a disconnected male, self-depracation at its most annoying, and by giving us his history as a vagabond, one that makes him as elusive as a writer as he was as a person in his twenties.
Granted, Mr. Offutt's life and contemplations are interesting and, no doubt, sincere. But, they are not neccessarily intriguing, kinda like his relentless use of metaphors and similes that are not surprising or capturing. His anecdotes are entertaining, especially his life as a circus worker, but the one scene which should have made the most impact, his son being born, fell flat. That the whole book up to that point kept reiterating his continual isolation from the process of incubating a life made it so he seemed all the more removed from the birth. It made him appear unsympathtic and lost to the moment. Mr. Offutt has so much to offer, so why did I leave with so little?
Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington has snakes and the devout non-denominational Christians who handle them in the name of the Spirit. What's not to love? I have to admit, I was excited to read this book because my colleague, K, went to school where Mr. Covington now teaches. The writing world is saturated with gossip. Saturated.
I wasn't expected this book to be as much as it was. While Mr. Offutt's memoir fell flat for me, Mr. Covington's book left my thoughts mid-air for days, and it did so with understated grace and acceptance. As a journalist, Mr. Covington covered an attempted murder trial involving a snake handler. That's the first fourth of the book, the majority of which balances history, faith, and culture, that of the people Mr. Covington comes to know and his own.
The book moves at a prefect pace with description that is sharp and surprising. Oh, and there are snakes. Lots of snakes.
A Childhood: The Biography of a Place by Harry Crews was a book that I did not anticipate enjoying. The picture of Mr. Crews on the back of the book (yes, I judge that way) depicted man that look worn down by years of drink, cigarettes, and womanizing. The story of his childhood and his childhood home(s) is steeped in Southern mystery and magic. I love it. Love it. Plus, I haven't figured out why, but Mr. Crew's writing voice and/or tone sounds wise to me. I felt as if I were his granddaughter, my grandfather passing on the history of the land to me. It is an intimate book.
Otherwise I have been shelving books at the university library for less than $6 an hour. I fall asleep with call numbers running through my head. My brain hasn't latched onto that kind of thing since I took Latin and fell asleep and woke up to my brain declining nouns.
Writing has been slow this last week, but before that I was clipping along on a new essay. The duldrum week has passed, and I think this week my writing will pick up again.
The liddle bruder graduated and got himslef engaged. He seems okay. I, on the other hand, am still proccessing it all. I sleep a lot. Not drinking alcohol so much. Every one is off somewhere, either for a job or retreated somewhere in their brains to recover from another year of school. My own recovery is moving slowly. Further reflections on the past year will no doubt follow. It was a really hard year for me, especially in retrospect. I am looking forward to things looking up, but I am not investing much in that. The summer brings its own form of pessimism. Must be the heat.
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