one year

•September 21, 2009 • 1 Comment

I guess it’s been about a year–a little more–since we went on our first date. Of course, neither of considered it a date at the time, but in hindsight we realize:  it was a night for falling in love, a First story so lovely it’s practically from the books. A whole year ago! It’s such a very short amount of time–I feel ashamed to admit it to people who are older or more conservative than I–but it feels longer; I have changed and grown so much that the last year feels like lifetimes.

He is, of course, my former boss, who I agonized about seeing the last time I remembered I had a blog, who I was sure would break my heart. I moved away and in with him in february. Then it was much less than a year and I shocked myself when I agreed to it:  I have always been ponderously cautious when heartbreak is even a faint possibility, always slow to take risks. We had not publicly been dating for very long at all. But when I considered my options–leap or say goodbye forever–I felt it would be a horrible mistake not to go with him.

We live in Colorado now, which is much nicer than Wyoming but not as invigorating as big-city-California. We no longer work together, of course. I quit when he was promoted to manager and given his transfer. I found a job here at an independent used bookstore and it is the most perfect I’ve ever had–I never imagined that I could feel so content outside of academia, but now I’m not sure if I ever want to go back. I am paid very well to sell books to an array of the most interesting & dear people–it is my calling, I think. And when I come home I’ve got him.

Like everyone else, we muddle through this business of love and commitment. It’s not perfect. Yes, there is some of the heartbreak I’ve feared so much all of my life. We fight, I get hurt, I hurt him. But there’s a constancy, a surety, to our relationship that I thought myself too damaged to feel, much less live. It’s the most glorious thing in the world to see him in the morning, to hold and be held.

So, that’s the update. That’s my year past. Blog, consider yourself resurrected.

declaration

•January 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

Dear internet,

I think I am in love. With a guy whose job makes our relationship completely amoral and tragic. Really, I never thought I was the sort of girl who’d fuck her boss. But he’s not just my boss–more importantly he’s this funny smart sweet silly kind excellent human being and I’m fairly sure I’m in for a lot of heartbreak. But, you know, I don’t really care, and that’s part of why I’m bandying about a word like “love.”

In the meantime, have not had much time for internetting. I’m only here now because I am sick-abed and he’s at work. It’s that dull stage of total immersion, I’m afraid. I’ve got nothing to say except reflections on the sculptural perfection of his nose and there’s no way I’m deluded enough to think that such dreck should escape the pages of a paper journal, so I’ll stop. But I did want to say something. Even if I’m just talking to myself.

love,

c.

p.s. Sarah Haskins is hilarious and insightful enough that I feel I can give it up for life. Go watch her on Target:  Women!

•October 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I found a bookmeme over at Booking Through Thursday and decided to use it as an excuse to post here again. After all, November is coming up… it’s either a novel or the blog, and god knows that I haven’t got a book in my these days, so.

What was the last book you bought?

A double-header:  The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and The Flip Dictionary (a birthday present for a friend). It’s surprising; my book buying has actually decreased since I started working at one, but every once in a while I can’t resist. The last book that I got for free as a perk at said bookstore job was Pillars of the Earth because I find it advantageous to read Oprah’s picks–I can sell any book so long as I’ve read it.

Name a book you have read MORE than once.

Pnin by Nabokov! I just finished my fourth reading of it–and I rarely read books more than once. I never tire of Nabokov’s sentences, and Pnin is such a tragic–yet resilient and hopeful–character. I’d like to meet him.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

Probably. Probably I could write a whole post about these books. Maybe I will someday.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

Never by cover alone! I choose books by recommendations, canon, reviews, and sales. In that order. The last is for the job. Recommendations and reviews (by a trusted reviewer, which is almost the same thing as a friend) have the most weight.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Fiction! I like nonfic, I start a lot of nonfic, but I tend to get bored or distracted before I finish. Fiction is always more riveting. Perhaps it’s the stereotypical escape from reality.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

What, can’t I have both? Which I find more satisfying depends on my mood, but really, an ideal book has both. Which isn’t to say that I don’t love things like Proust, which is all lovely sentences and little plot… Yeah, it’s mood-dependent. On rainy dreamy days sentences are the way to go. During weeks of drudge and boredom plot thrills me most. (Though there is, of course, a certain standard of quality that must always be maintained.)

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

I already talked about Pnin! Carson McCullers’ lonely teenage girls are also dear to me–Frankie from The Member of the Wedding and Mick from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. My fondness for them might be pure narcisism, though. Benji and Quentin Compton from Faulkner’s Sound and the Fury are haunting. I used to be in love with Daniel Deronda and spent a lot of time trying to manifest his doppelganger in my real life.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

Life & Fate by Vasily Grossman, Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz, The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Macado de Assis, the best short stories of 2008, and How the Dead Live by Will Self. I didn’t notice until this moment that (excepting the anthology) they are all male authors. Don’t tell my women’s college, they’ll take away my diploma!

Visible World by Richard Siken

•June 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I do not like ordering books online but I really should make an exception for Siken. Here’s another, with the formatting tragically stripped because I am all sorts of inept when it comes to these things.

Visible World
by Richard Siken
Sunlight pouring across your skin, your shadow
flat on the wall.
The dawn was breaking the bones of your heart like twigs.
You had not expected this,
the bedroom gone white, the astronomical light
pummeling you in a stream of fists.
You raised your hand to your face as if
to hide it, the pink fingers gone gold as the light
streamed straight to the bone,
as if you were the small room closed in glass
with every speck of dust illuminated.
The light is no mystery,
the mystery is that there is something to keep the light
from passing through.

graduated and unemployed

•May 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’m graduated. The period of stunned disbelief is slightly wearing off, though I still can’t shake the guilt I get on days when I don’t do reading or work that resembles study. It’s terrible, how ingrained the impulse to study is by this point. I feel like a lesser human being if I don’t read Derrida or literary criticism or Very Weighty Canonical Literature every single day…

I would probably better be able to snap out of this strange academic hangover if I had a job, but I haven’t found one yet, and, antisocial, I know no way to fill time but by study. I find I am shockingly unqualified for most work considering that I got my degree from a swanky, mad expensive, generally well regarded private school where I was considered a top student and a teacher favourite. I know english literature isn’t exactly the most employable major, but I’m smart, personable enough, highly literate, a quick learner, and I write well — shouldn’t these qualities make it, if not easy, at least not difficult to find employment? Maybe the problem is that I’m not looking for a career of any sort, and that I shy away from secretary and office work, which is what my job history most qualifies me for. I’d be perfectly happy making coffee at this point (at least I’d get to talk to people all day long), but I don’t know how to work an espresso machine or a cash register, and who the hell is going to take the time to teach me? They all want at least a year of experience.

I’m seriously thinking of selling my body to science. Take my kidneys, urine, blood, lung tissue! Seems like a fair enough exchange for a few hundred and a place to go during the day.

(Does anyone know of any job opportunities in the bay area?)

not done yet…

•May 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Every other day my friend L. calls me. Before I even say hello I answer her question, “Not yet. Not done yet.” Then we talk for two minutes in which I chatter about what I am doing and promise to call her the instant I send in my last paper.

If she called right now the interaction would be exactly the same. Not yet.

I stopped counting how many pages I produced last week after I finished my 23-page thesis and then immediately wrote a 17 page paper (that was only supposed to be 10). Still to do: minimum 14 pages? In 24 hours? No matter; I am a paper-writing machine. My confidence might just be delirium from sleeplessness and too much caffeine.

Here are some of my titles:

  • The Interior Jungle: Articulation of Identity in Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding
  • Of Parents and Portraits: The Moribund Identity of Aurora Leigh
  • Deconstruction as Negative Theology: Mystical Undertones in Derrida (epigraph: “I pray God to rid me of God.” — Meister Eckhart)
  • The Monologism of Madness (working title. clearly needs at least one colon & possibly an epigraph.)

In case you’re wondering, then yes, I did write almost solely about construction of identity this semester. Psychoanalysis, anyone?

two poems about words

•May 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Which one I believe changes pretty much from day to day. Words and I have a very complicated relationship.

I do not think the first is a very good poem, but I have always really liked certain lines in it, particularly the ending. The second I have just discovered and need to read outloud and write down before I can decide what I think. But the counterpart of them struck me.

“Words”
by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

“One Star Fell and Another”
by Conrad Aiken

One star fell and another as we walked.
Lifting his hand towards the west, he said–
–How prodigal that sky is of its stars!
They fall and fall, and still the sky is sky.
Two more have gone, but heaven is heaven still.

Then let us not be precious of our thought,
Nor of our words, nor hoard them up as though
We thought our minds a heaven which might change
And lose its virtue, when the word had fallen.
Let us be prodigal, as heaven is:
Lose what we lose, and give what we may give,–
Ourselves are still the same. Lost you a planet–?
Is Saturn gone? Then let him take his rings
Into the Limbo of forgotten things.

O little foplings of the pride of mind,
Who wrap the phrase in lavender, and keep it
In order to display it: and you, who save our loves
As if we had not worlds of love enough–!

Let us be reckless of our words and worlds,
And spend them freely as the tree his leaves;
And give them where the giving is most blest.
What should we save them for,–a night of frost? . . .
All lost for nothing, and ourselves a ghost.

 
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