Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good-bye, Microsoft Word - Hello notecards!

I have now finished and turned in my last paper of the semester. My academic paper count for the semester now totals 11. Yee-haw! AND I used the word "oftentimes" on page 4 of my paper; it was used correctly and in context, Haynes. Welcome back, "oftentimes," to the 21st century! I wanted to use it at least three, but I restrained myself and only used it once.

I babysat the two youngest of my advisor's 5 kids this afternoon. I can't believe the baby is 2 1/2 years old. I remember when he was born! I rode my bike to their house and made the mistake of forgetting my gloves; bikes may get one from Point A to Point B faster, but the windchill factor increases as a result. I had to stop back at the house to get my gloves before I could carry on to the library.

I was told outside the library by the girlfriend of a friend that everytime she sees me walking around campus with my hood up, it makes her want to put her hood up too. In other words, Julie, you look ridiculous with your hood up and bill tucked back (I have to tuck the bill back or I can't see), but you pull it off, so I'll do it too! I say, if your ears are cold, who cares how ridiculous you look?! Vanity will only get one so far in life. Think of all the body heat being lost to the chilly and uncaring Michigan air.

I read an article today in the American Scholar (a journal I highly recommend reading, if you do not already do so) entitled "Blue-Collar Brillance" and it ruffled my sensibilities because the whole basis of the article is the presupposition that if you are born into a lower social level, you are less intelligent. I completely disagree with that to a point (and, of course, so does the author of this article--hence the point of the article). But is this really a mindset in America? I think the lower classes need to be more liberally educated, but I would never suggest they are less intelligent. Intelligence is not a scale based on one's pecuniary accumulation, but on the broadening of one's mind so as to comprehend and make connections, a capacity of mind per se. Intellect is inate first, then developed secondly. It never stops developing either. That's how old people get famous for things they picked up in the middle of their life; it's all about applying and dedicating one's self, prioritizing.

'84, Charing Cross Road,' for example, is the correspondence between Helene the American reader and Frank the British bookseller (whom I just wrote about in my last aforementioned paper) and though she never went to college, she continues to read and self-educate herself. I think that drive and desire to self-educate is being lost in our society, and that loss of edification in our daily lives is what should alarm people, not a concern of where one falls on the social scale. One of the saddest things I hear is when people say, "when I leave college, I'm never reading another book again." Really?? How horrid!

That's another reason why I loved my Robert Frost class and the need for people to be "versed in country things." He did not write the poems for elite academics with esoteric knowledge to dissect, but regular Americans. His poems are good because they can be read and understood on a more local level as well as analyzed by an academic.

It's the same with Flannery O'Connor. I read a letter by her to an English teacher who wrote about how he, a few other teachers and their students analyzed "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." O'Connor was shocked that they made the story so metaphorical and that the Misfit was only inside Bailey's head and what happened was really a dream, etc. One of the most beautiful and daunting elements of O'Connor's work is that it can be taken extremely literally and that the dark grace shown in it cuts like a sword to allow light and a change in the mind and/ or actions of the main character. It is not always pleasant to read perhaps, but it shows evil for what it truly is, which I think is a gift. Lewis wrote in the Screwtape Letters that they (the Devils) purposefully keep things hazy in the mind of the people now, so that they can have eternity in Hell to make reality lucid.

But I digress. Here is my selection for poem of the day, compliments of NPR's Writer's Almanac.

"The Tulips" by Ricky Ian Gordon

The tulips at that perfect place
crane their necks with liquid grace
like swans who circling, collide
within the lake this vase provides.

They stood like soldiers, stiff, before
as if they had been called to war.
In two days more, when petals fall,
I will entomb them in the hall

with trash; the morning's coffee grinds,
old newspapers, and lemon rinds.
It's bitter that such loveliness
should come to this,
could come to this.

But now their purpleness ignites
the room with incandescent lights.
Their stamens reach their yellow tongues
to lick the air into their lungs
through stems attached to whitish manes.
The pistil stains.

And even though there are no bees
about the room for them to please,
I take them in like honey dew-
and buzzing now,
I think of you...

I think of you who bought me these,
at least,
I wish you had,
as that might ease the ache
of passing hours.
A love is dying, like these flowers.

Now, back to the house for a KKG sisterhood! This will be the first one I've been able to attend all semester since the library swallowed me and my studies consummed. My little is going to be there as well, so I look forward to spend more time with her. We have not had proper hang out time in quite a while. Then study for art history...

word of the day: "ersatz"
go ahead, look it up!

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