Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day Three:

"When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville."
(Flannery O'Connor)

So I have a million photos (or about 100) that I took on Friday--the Friday I visited Andalusia. I will only share three.

I was not alone in my mid-afternoon adventures; there were about 200 school-age children with all their joyous glory running around the grounds. Laughter was infectious, but seemed to disappear as I wandered along fences and overgrown landscape.

It was peaceful (considering) but a certain eerie feeling followed me all around (aside from the background noise).

(a grazing Hinny)

I thought about the one novel by Flannery that I've read: The Violent Bear It Away (1960), which was written while she was living at Andalusia. I never felt alone for all the rustling in the trees and all the sounds associated with water--be it baptism or drowning.

This really resonated as I sat by one of many ponds on the property--I even wrote a few lines. Pure inspiration. I can't imagine living in such a place where creativity seems to spring forth effortlessly. Of course, as you probably have guessed--it takes a certain "ear" to "hear" it all.

Flannery had this "ear."

Maybe I was able to "hear" it too (albeit briefly).


Monday, March 29, 2010

Day Two:

(or The Devil went down to Georgia)

After a good night in a comfortable hotel room and my belly full of hotel breakfast/coffee I ventured forth to historic Milledgeville...

"Bathed in an intoxicating mixture of magnolia and moonlight, her classic beauty is unsurpassed."

"Cloaked in mystery and intrigue, her appeal is universal and her attraction undeniable."

"Like a true southern belle, she perfectly charms treasured guests with fascinating tales, southern delicacies, and gracious hospitality. "

Am I talking about myself? Or perhaps the Devil?

Nope, just the town. (According to the website--and well, I happen to agree.)

It was easy to navigate, being the center of town is laid out in squares (similar to D.C. or Savannah)--the antebellum homes were gorgeous, shops were charming, and the people were nice.

Super nice. It was as if I had walked onto a movie set depicting a polite, beautiful southern town.

I started exploring downtown about two hours BEFORE my scheduled appointment. I wanted to know WHERE to go and get a good feel (experience the "vibe")--figure out where to park, etc etc.

So I visited Memory Hill, the final resting place of Flannery O'Connor. Strangely enough, I was there on what would've been her 85th birthday. That's gotta mean something...

Then I walked around the "squares," parking next to the Old Governor's Mansion--I visited the gift shop and took pictures of stately homes (seeing a few other people doing the same thing made me feel less awkward).

About fifteen minutes before my appointment, I was on campus (it was Spring Break) and walking toward the Arts & Sciences building. Everything felt laid back--calm, cool...*insert more adjectives here)...

I had my meeting (and was introduced to two more important people)--heard more about the MFA program, the typical course of study, saw the office/kitchen...it was all very interesting and exciting.

Afterwards I shuffled around campus some more--before stopping at a Mediterranean restaurant for a late lunch....

Cross your fingers and hope that the stars align (aka Funding comes through).


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day One:

It was only a Wednesday...but it seemed more like the longest day EVER!

I didn't leave the Memphis area until "late"...or "later" than expected--even though my appointment with the Director wasn't until THURSDAY I wanted to get to my hotel before dark.

At first the little GPS box and I didn't get along...

I figured following it and ignoring the obvious (aka just get on the Interstate)...would somehow lead to something miraculous. I drove up and down tiny streets NEXT to the Interstate for twenty minutes before realizing there probably wasn't a hidden secret passage...

I thought about that episode of The Office where Michael drives INTO a lake while blindly following the GPS...and just got ONTO THE INTERSTATE!

Then we were friends (Me + GPS = Foreva)!

So out of Tennessee and into Mississippi we (GPS & I) went--Interstate onto U.S. Route 78...which has it's own Wikipedia entry....fancy fancy! I guess that explains all the "Corridor X" signs I saw...okay, I saw two or three and I had something more sinister for the meaning.

One of my favorite parts was passing the Tallahatchie river...which had me singing my own rendition of "Ode to Billie Joe" ...one of the greatest songs of ALL TIME!

Best county name in Mississippi? Itawamba!

Then into Northern Alabama...where the speed limit drops a full 15 MPH...uh oh! I saw a state trooper (even wearing one of those hats) out writing a ticket and knew I needed to watch it.

Thank goodness for Cruise control.

(worth repeating)

Thanks goodness for Cruise control! (exclamation point is better)

By the time I made it to Birmingham (which smells like BBQ, a compliment) it was time to grab something to eat and fill up my tank (even though it was only half empty). I did all of this before jumping onto another Interstate (20).

The rest of my Alabama route was hilly. I drove past Talladega Superspeedway and through the Talladega National Forest before crossing the Georgia state line.

I noticed the time/time change and realized I would hit Atlanta during "rush hour"...although as a friend aptly put, "it is always rush hour in Atlanta."

There is even a webpage (which I JUST found) discussing the perils of driving in Atlanta: via Emory University, even.

Thankfully, I made it through with little incident. Three lanes seemingly became seven lanes faster than you can read this sentence. I kept my eyes forward (trying not to notice the sea of vehicles behind me) and stayed in my lane (which I knew was the place to be due to GPS).

Eventually I made it to 441 as the sun was setting. The sky held blue and orange as I passed cows of every color grazing. It was both tranquil and beautiful...and dark by the time I went through the Lake Counties.

Final Destination: Holiday Inn Express
Final Time: more than 8 hours, but less than 9


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Road Trippin'...

Whip out the big-hard-to-fold map GPS and let's be on our way...
Three Four states (TN, MS, AL, GA) in pursuit of one dream
(deciding upon an MFA program)...

This is going to be fun (the madness begins tomorrow)!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

An Assassin--

Oh! That JOHN MAYER...last night...

No, I'm not alone...

I'm an assassin and I had a job to do...

Suddenly I'm in over my head
and I can hardly breathe...

And I feel everything...

I know exactly what I've done
and what it's gonna mean to me...

I was a killer, was the best they'd ever seen...

I'd steal your heart before you ever heard a thing...

Little did I know,
that girl was an assassin too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Don't let the "title" fool you.


It's a ruse.


Hence the properly placed question mark, followed by an exclamation...

But I'm going to let John Mayer take it from here:

"So what, so I've got a smile on me
but it's hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don't believe me
Don't believe me
When I say I've got it down."

Sure--he (John Mayer) has had a grand case of "open mouth, insert tibia disease" lately (as a friend so aptly put it), we're still friends (and we have been for about six, seven, or eight years now). I don't mean ACTUAL friends, he doesn't know me from Eve--but I appreciate his art.

He's a great musician, doesn't take himself too seriously, and has relate-able lyrics.

The music has been in my head lately because I'll be seeing him in concert tomorrow night--I've had to get "in the mood."

Mayer Mood?

This will be my third time seeing him LIVE! and in person. Every time he's been gifted to me. As in, I *won* the first two shows on the radio and was surprised with an extra ticket for tomorrow night just a few days ago.

I don't know what that really means. I'm lucky? I'm supposed to be there to see him? Maybe Spring is Clarity time?

It seems that next week I'll be hitting the road and traveling to another state to visit a campus. I'm all nervous and excitement in one body.

Either way, I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life..am I living it right?


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beware the Ides...

of March!?
(a soothsayer)

Maybe only if you are Caesar, because I actually had an amazing one!

(And I hope the same for you)

I received a fantastical e-mail from an MFA program at practically the same time someone at work asked,

"Have you heard from any other programs yet?"

I said, "No." (ho hum) But decided to check the infamous BlackBerry ten minutes later anyway.

Before you knew it, I was leaping for joy (both feet left the ground) and kicking a pharmacist in an unmentionable place while in the process.

(Not a good Ides for him, I suppose.)

There was no strange screaming, but something that sounded like a PANT for the rest of the day--they asked if I had returned to our atmosphere "yet," I exclaimed, "Nope!"

Ay, they have come, but they are not gone. (a soothsayer)

I am waiting to hear about the F-word (funding), of course. My chances seem better than at the "other" G. I'm practicing the power of positive thinking, nevertheless.

I'm currently 2/6 in this crazy MFA game (still waiting to hear from 4 other programs, I'm expecting to be 2/7 come Friday)...

but I have a feeling this may all work out...(positive thoughts--see!)


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Learning Sanskrit:

although that's a little bit misleading.

Very misleading, to tell you the truth.

Learning sanskrit would probably be calmer and more focused than any post I could come up with right now.


That's the word I was searching for...learning sanskrit would be more cohesive than any blog post right now.

Typically I like to have themes or one singular driving point:

I started an entry about Alice in Wonderland (which I saw and loved last weekend). My post included a feminist ramble and snatches from the Jabberwocky.

I started an entry rating rejection letters from various MFA programs. I have two "snail mail" letters and only one "e-mail" to refer to...and the "e-mail" wins hands down. It's the best. I've printed it out to be inspired (and I'm not being sarcastic).

Both entries were stagnant and short.

I considered writing about my obsession with Criminal Minds. Not the minds of criminals, per say, but the television show that seems to run in circles whenever I'm flipping through channels. And by "circles," I mean neverending, because I've never seen one episode twice.

The show is addictive, but maybe not the best to fall asleep to--I've found myself hopping up and finding HGTV so I can dream about vacation homes on Fiji or the Great Barrier Island of New Zealand instead of profilers working for the FBI.

I was going to tell you about my new (to me) car.

I was going to tell you about Yellow Tail Chardonnay and the night I had the pleasure to hear student fiction read to me until my laughter turned to tears.

But in a way, I guess I just did all that.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Books like to Teeter-Totter

(a statement proven by this very picture -- snapped this morning)

If I sleep with enough literature books under my bed, will the knowledge seep into my brain as I toss and turn OR do I have to open up the pages and actually read?

I jest (you know). But it was a good way to preface another trip to the used bookstore (maybe).

This time around I specifically did NOT pick up any F. Scott Fitzgerald (although a couple of his short stories are in the anthologies). I tried to be a little gender-biased and pay homage to my fellow female writers:

Margaret Atwood -- The Blind Assassin* (She is currently being read by a friend as a major project, so when I saw her name, I figured I could dive in as well)

Eudora Welty -- Delta Wedding* (Which I may have a copy of in storage--or I was supposed to have a copy of for Southern Literature, or I've heard it mentioned a few times and decided it was time...)

Sylvia Plath -- The Colossus* (Her first collection of poems, which were not hailed by critics...so why not have more Plath to carry around?)

And then I saw a 1st Edition John Updike collection (Museums & Women) and I had to buy that one as well. He is a master of the short story and who doesn't want to own a 1st Edition Updike?

So I broke code. Ah well.

Brief Yoga Update: We did enough leg work last night -- I have been making not-so-attractive noises as I go up and down the stairs.

Brief MFA Update: There was no e-mail at 3am, 5am, 7am, or the three times I've checked while tying this entry.

Ounces of coffee consumed? +/- 32

& I plan to see Alice in Wonderland before the clock strikes midnight.


p.s. The Mail Truck put me out of my misery with a rejection letter. That's all the news I need for today -- Thanks, universe.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Open Brain: Insert Information

Thumb twiddling is an activity that is done with the hands of an individual whereby the fingers are interlocked and the thumbs circle around a common focal point.

While it is an expression of at least a moderate amount of manual dexterity, thumb twiddling is frequently used as an example of a useless, time-wasting activity.

It is equated with other activities that are also considered useless by the speaker. Therefore it is most often used as a synonym for an activity that will take the attention of the performer, but will not yield any useful results.

(all information "borrowed" from Wikipedia)

Sure, there is more that I could be doing right now than obsessively checking any blog related to (self-reported) MFA acceptances...I am being a somewhat productive member of society...especially now that I'm not watching the Winter Olympics (I think I deserve a medal for my fanaticism).

I go to work.
I communicate with friends.
My sweet Buttercup gets a lot of love.

I could clean my room.
I could clean my car.
I could read a book...or maybe WRITE something...

But I check blogs instead.

I wait and wait and wait. I'm to the point of chasing the Mail Truck around the block...and don't ask me how many times an hour I check my BlackBerry just to see if maybe I have e-mail...

I'm an incredibly lucky person already. I've been accepted to a prestigious creative writing program, but the funding (TA selection process) isn't a guarantee. I have to wait...

I have two official "NO's"... so I'm waiting to hear from SEVEN schools (in case the funding doesn't work out).

& learning about Thumb Twiddling (of course):

  • Most people tend to twiddle their thumbs in the direction where the thumb currently at the top goes towards the fingers.
  • Twiddling the thumbs in opposite directions from each other is significantly more difficult than regular thumb twiddling.
  • Thumb twiddling can be used as a simple test for manual dexterity.
Good to know.



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