December 20, 2012

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“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” – Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being

The past few weeks have been very Christmassy and very academic, one of my favorite combinations. There was a Sufjan Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long, a night of Carols & Readings, stockings with housemates, and an English Faculty and Staff Christmas party (I was Christian’s plus one…Mexican food with all my teachers, woo hoo!). A few things at church have changed color by now, (purple for advent—the candles, the priests’ robes) and if we can’t have snow, this is the next best thing.

I had my don rags today (Torrey’s version of finals, an oral exam), and my question was nice and open-ended. I got to talk about Flannery O’Connor’s stories, hence the quote above. That woman is teaching me things, about grace and about God.

Now, the only assignment between me and Christmas Break is my Rookie/teen girl culture project, due Friday. For the past few months, I have been writing down notes in my cell phone whenever a thought about girl-hood or growing up comes (usually in class or in chapel or in bed), and I have been sub-consciously banking on the fact that those cell phone notes will be 25 pages worth… it will come, I know it.

Also, my roommate Chelsea had her final art show opening this Monday in the campus gallery. I love her drawings. For the past few weeks, she has been using our bedroom wall to figure out how she wanted to arrange them for the show, and now I miss them.

(photo by Christian)

(photo by Christian)

To be knit up finally

December 16, 2012

Here are some of Marilynne Robinson’s words, from her book Housekeeping, that seem especially good and especially hard this week.

Also, some secret pictures of my roommate doing her morning stretches (I think she is beautiful), and puddles.

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“For why do our thoughts turn to some gesture of a hand, the fall of a sleeve, some corner of a room on a particular anonymous afternoon, even when we are asleep, and even when we are so old that our thoughts have abandoned other business? What are all these fragments for, if not to be knit up finally?”

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“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow…when do our senses know anything so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing—the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again.

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“The force behind the movement of time is a mourning that will not be comforted. That is why the first event is known to have been an expulsion, and the last is hoped to be a reconciliation and return.”

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December 1, 2012

Magic

 

Lately I have been suffering from RookieBrain, which is what happens when I spend too many hours at a time on the Rookie Magazine website (for “research” purposes of course…I’m still working on my Creative Nonfiction piece) and then end up feeling panicked and lonely and weird. There are so many references I don’t recognize and too too too many links (to be fair, Rookie doesn’t actually have a lot of links…I just feel an over-dramatic sense of darkness after clicking on too many [i.e. 1-2] links. I call this more general condition InternetBrain… or “I JUST WANT TO STAY HERE IN THIS ONE PLACE OKAY?”). Also, I constantly wonder how these girls possibly have the energy to do everything they are doing, and why I, made of similar human stuff as them, can’t be more productive. This is a normal frustration, I think, and writing my Creative Nonfiction piece has really helped me feel like I’m not just drowning in my own passivity.

I found another partial remedy to RookieBrain: I’ve been submitting things to them! I have never ever been the type to “stick my neck out” (frankly that just seems like a stupid thing to do physically speaking), but something about sending an informal e-mail to a bunch of nice girls just seems easy. And the best part of submitting isn’t waiting to see if I accepted (I’ve already gotten one rejection from them and it wasn’t that bad!); it’s more the feeling like I am playing a teeny tiny role in this thing I have been immersing myself in for the past few months–this thing that feels so intimidating, and so “other.” It’s kind of like voting…you know your vote doesn’t technically make a difference, but it’s still empowering to participate in what’s going on. Bad analogy? Okay. Anyway, clearly I have lots of THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about this whole Rookie thing, so I am actually thinking about turning it into my Senior Thesis project for next semester.

Unrelatedly (actually, totally related but in ways not worth explaining), I am reading Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping for class right now and it is becoming one of my favorite books of all time. I don’t want to write about it yet because it’s too beautiful and sad (read: heart-cracking) and I am still in the middle of it. But today I got together with two of my friends from class who happen to be art majors (my favorite type of people), and we walked around in the rain talking about things that go with the book in our minds–photographs and songs and poems and letters. It was the best kind of afternoon, because people are infinitely better than the Internet.

 

P.S. The other night/early morning I woke up to the creature below–fully wrapped in the blanket–whispering my name from the doorway…the first of what now has become a series of  bizarre attempts by my roommate to “scare” me. She has enlisted everyone from her boyfriend to our other housemates as accomplices, but has yet to succeed. Pretty pathetic, seeing as I am a wimp.

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