Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Settling into Life in Richmond

Cool Blue Evenings at the Edge of November
Leaves are falling here in Richmond and the cooler temperatures make for nice walking weather. I’ve taken to riding my bike around the neighborhood, picking up a soda from the 7-11 on the loop back home and I find that I’m beginning to enjoy life here. I have a full library of new books, a warm bed and tomato soup and grilled cheese when I come home from a long day at the Writing Center. It’s quiet where I live and so I get my work done, read in my big comfy chair and sit out on the back stoop to eat dinner and watch the neighbor’s cat stalking finches in the high grass.

While I mourn the loss of Boston from the World series, life has taken an upswing in the past few days, for a few reasons. I got a new computer and I dropped the evil composition class that was bringing down my self esteem and my grades. I picked up the perfect eight-hour-battery-life computer and NaNoWriMo starts in just a few weeks. I'll be running through it with my friend, Kathy from Travel Well, Leave None Behind. I’m preparing myself to pick up North of the Line once more. This story has followed me for most of my adolescent life and has surfaced once again in graduate school.

The Great Story
I think, and please don’t judge me for this, that each author has that one great epic story they want to tell. That story will haunt each of us until we write it and define our writing life when we do. Maybe some of you don’t believe in this, but I do. North of the Line has been that story. I have figured out quite a few things about myself in writing this story and I love it for its sudden complexities and its characters, each of whom embody specifics of my own life. The story has also matured as I have come up through college and I am pleased at the changes it has endured in the past few years. While grad school has become the bane of my existence for the moment, this story has become a way for me to escape and enjoy writing again.

Holding the Line.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jason Varitek is My Hero

Must-Win Game and a Must Finish Paper
So, while I'm waiting for the game between the Red Sox and the Rays, I'm working through the composition paper from hell. The thing has to be fifteen pages long, touching on every singe article we've read so far this semester - an impossible thing to accomplish in that page count. I do get a chance to revise it, so I guess I have a chance.

On a lighter note, tonight I get to see Boston in a must-win Game 7 against Tampa. Jason Varitek has become my hero over the past few weeks. He's knocked in some of the pivotal scoring runs for Boston and he's maybe one of the better catchers in the league. And, just as a personal aside, I adore catchers. Tonight, I hope to see a Sox victory, then Boston v. Philly next week.

As October and baseball's postseason wind down, I'm gearing up for November and Novel Writing Month! A friend and I are launching into the project, with a goal of 20,000 words instead of the traditional 50,000. We're both busy with school and life, her with kids, me with 150 students. So, we're taking it easy and trying to get a story going in November. I'll be posting segments of it every Friday for your consumption.

I'm not expecting a great literary work on the first go round from NaNoWriMo, but I do expect to have a few ideas to work with over Christmas break, which I will be spending in Richmond, VA.

Let's See How Far We've Come
I voted by absentee ballot last week and all I can say is that the election can't get here fast enough. I don't really care how you guys vote, but definitely do it; this may be the most important election in decades. We're picking the next leader of the free world and all of the responsibility that comes with that position. So, vote. I include the following video, just because it's pretty nifty.

Holding the Line.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Right Path and Praying for Boston

As October rolls in, the American and National baseball leagues battle it out for a chance at the World Series. I admit, I'm a baseball fanatic. During college, I could never guarantee that I would ever get to see the Series, but I followed the post-season quietly, not wanting to alarm my roommates or my boyfriend. This week, Bear has discovered my obsession: baseball is my religion. The Brewers have fallen while the White Socks and the Cubbies retreat back to Chicago. Last night, the Red Sox retired Anaheim in game four. That's tons of fun, but I just want to see the Sox in the Series. Say amen.

This past weekend, I went down to Portsmouth to drop off the face of the earth for a few days. I visited my friend and after we rode bikes, we watched episodes of Frazier while we ate ice cream, grumbling about our aches and bruises and weary legs. I found I was able to concentrate, to focus on my school work, to even consider the life I'm leading. I have decided to continue with my MFA, but once I'm done, I think I'll take a break from academia for a while. I want to be a professor like my undergraduate teachers; they inspired and encouraged their students and I didn't feel like the breath got knocked out of me every time I went to class.

Have any of you ever realized that you may have set out on the right path, but maybe that you did it at the wrong time or in the wrong suit? That's what this feels like.

Holding the Line.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Reading List for Graduate School

From what I hear, graduate school is supposed to be, pardon me, a bitch. Finances, classes, jobs, grades, students, etc. I don't know if I manage my time and my money very well, but I've not run in to most of this evilness. So far, I've picked up thirty books, a few DVDs, and enough fresh fruit to survive the apocalypse. Life is good my friends. Life is pretty freaking good.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy
  • Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy
  • Tuck Everalsting by Natalie Babbitt
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand
  • Heaven's Net is Wide by Liam Hearn
  • The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Liam Hearn
  • Brilliance of the Moon by Liam Hearn
  • The Collected H.G. Wells
  • The Collected H.P. Lovecraft
  • Winter's Tale by Mark Heprin
  • Big Bang by Simon Singh
  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  • Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
  • Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Holding the Line.

p.s. Thanks for the encouragement on the last post! Knowing you guys understand helps.