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Things and Whatnots

Post 1


I submitted a poem to my university's literary magazine today.

I'm vaguely terrified. No one except my mother (whom I can never seem to keep from telling anything) has ever seen my poetry before, and so I don't know if pretentious undergraduate literary types will scorn it. The editors are nice people; I don't think they'd be like that--but we'll see.

We just had six weeks of term, and now we have a week break before we have six more weeks of term (followed by a two-week break and then exams, and then it's time for a new term). It's the busiest, most labor-intensive time of year, because whereas final papers and exams are spread out over a two-and-a-half week period when classes don't meet, midterm papers and exams all occur in one week on top of regular class meetings and reading. I had three papers (political theory, American studies, American literature) this week, and one exam (biological anthropology). (My other class is on the history of biography and autobiography, and our midterm paper is due after the break.) As you can see, in America we take lots of classes outside our area of study (my grad-student friend here who went to university in Britain thinks this is very odd), but most of my classes are still in my general area of interest, American and British literary and cultural history.

Because tonight is the last night before the holiday, the university is celebrating Halloween now. Most everyone is out in costumes, and at parties, but I'm very tired and don't feel much like partying anyway. I've been sitting here in the window seat in my room (I sacrificed about 20 square feet for the sake of a window seat) since after dinner, paging through old diary entries and reading the internet and watching a little YouTube. Term-time is so busy, this is the first opportunity I've had to simply let my thoughts wander since this summer. I feel a little melancholy, but a little happy at the same time, which is probably why I feel the need to rant in this text box. Odd, isn't it? Somehow I needed an audience, and out of all the text boxes in the world, this seemed like the right one.

It's strange that I feel melancholy, because this semester my life has been consistently the happiest it's been since I was a fairly small child. When I pass people on the paths that wind through campus and they ask me how I am, I say "great!" and I mean it. When people asked me a year ago, I might have said "good" or "fine," but I would have been lying.

I've begun to move away from journalism and into creative writing. I read a lot of books by Edmund White this summer; he's a novelist and memoirist and he teaches fiction-writing here. I'm longing to take a class with him, because his sort of autobiographical writing is something I would really love to learn how to do properly. The Washington politics world is so frustrating that I seize the opportunities to work on other projects, but it's hard to break away, since that's been the focus of my writing efforts for years now.

On the other hand, it's not too difficult when my academic work is always calling, since that has to take priority. In addition to doing my work for this semester, I'm thinking about the classes I'm going to take this spring and next fall, when I'll finally be a proper member of the history department and the American studies program. I'm starting to look at possibilities for what to do this summer: I'm thinking about doing a French course in Montreal, because there's funding I can apply for through school and because if I spend the summer in Montreal I expect a lot of my friends will want to come visit me. (Before university, I never had friends who would come visit me anywhere.) I'm keeping an eye on the process for applying to do two terms at Oxford in spring 2011--it's a bit early, but the application is quite complicated so I've got to keep on top of things. And I'm even getting the gears turning on my senior thesis, 100 pages of original research I'll be starting to write two years from now. It's going to be about gay men at my university between 1945 and 1973 (we went coed in '69), and because of the lack of written sources about that topic I've got to keep my eyes out for clues where I can. I'm keeping a file of names of former students and professors to interview; I'm hoping that enough people from that period are still alive and/or that there's some written sources. It's going to be a challenge, but I think it's a significant project that could contribute to historical scholarship (for a then-22-year-old, anyway) so I'm very, very excited.

I suppose I ought to stop rambling and go to bed--it's after 1am and this post has gone on for quite long enough. Bravo if you got down to the bottom. Love the new smiley - thepost; I'm still lurking in everyone's journals when I have time. Right, I suppose I'll retreat back to Facebook now....

Things and Whatnots

Post 2


" I feel a little melancholy, but a little happy at the same time, which is probably why I feel the need to rant in this text box."

Perhaps you're just a little tired - university can be a whirlwind and leave you both terribly excited and terribly tired all at the same time.

Well done for thinking about things in advance. It sounds like you've got things in hand. smiley - hug

It's always good to hear from you, EMR.

smiley - fairy

Things and Whatnots

Post 3


100 pages... ouch.

Enjoy the break! I really hope you get on the Oxford programme, we all know how much you would love that!

Things and Whatnots

Post 4

Skankyrich [?]

Every time you compliment smiley - thepost, I get a little shiver down my spine smiley - brave

It's always great to hear from you, EMR.

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