Monday, August 30, 2010

It's just been...

one of those days...

The weather has been beautiful, not too hot (in the shade); a nice breeze, blue skies.

I've been on campus: which means I got the latest issue of Poets & Writers ... provided to me, by the program!

Which leads to an epiphany--

Thank goodness I am here, specifically at this MFA program. It fits like a glove.
Hay. Maker.

When I see mention of "us" (because that's how I refer to the program already) , I get rather excited. I point "us" out. I talk "us" up.

It's only the third week of classes and I'm Ms. Mary Sunshine. Sure, I have the great "fear" about classwork...the papers, the reading, the writing, the teaching assignment in November--

But between the Scrabble (and every other version we've played)--and the adult beverages (Trivia Night)--and the lunchtime confessions-- I feel a special kinship/bond with so many people...the layers are so beautiful.

There is the politics of graduate school to deal with, of course. But that's pretty normal, average, typical of any situation...I'm not naive.

And again, the weather--the town--the people. I went to the local farmer's market last week and can't wait to go again tomorrow. I enjoy the "walking" part (not the "sweaty" part).

Like I said, it's just been one of those days.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Past? Meet Future.

As much as I LOVE books, they can be a little bit intimidating.

Today, I was in an office where every scholarly volume dealing with Flannery seems to be housed.

(or seems to be housed)

Shelf after shelf after shelf.


This is just a minuscule example snapped by my little camera in my BlackBerry. It doesn't do the collection any sort of justice.

Included in this amazing collection are several shelves of other great Southern Writers. Eudora Welty. Katherine Anne Porter. Alice Walker...

I'm reminded of one of my favorite episodes of the Golden Girls in which Blanche has decided to become a writer, more specifically a great Southern novelist:

"I'm too tired to sleep, I may never sleep again. My body is limp with exhaustion, all the greats know what this feels like." (Blanche)

Dorothy asks her to expand on the other great Southern writers, but Blanche can't--it sends me into giggles, of course.

I regress. THIS is what it all looks like...books on two novels, 32 short stories, personal letters, and some prose. They are obsessed with Flannery O'Connor.

THEY being THEM. Scholars. Students. Academia.

Which is what WE do. We write. We study. We take apart and analyze every facet of not only the author's work, but the author's life.

The intimidation comes two fold (or three, or four).

These books represent what I do NOT know nor what I own. They represent all the work that is always being done. Universities (research) is a place of flux.

And they could also represent what a library representing studies on any one of the writers in this MFA program (students and faculty alike) may look like at some point in the future.


Friday, August 20, 2010

In a southern town...

Most of campus looks like this...I'm not kidding. It is beautiful.

I haven't decided which official (Weather Channel) phrase is my favorite when it comes to the weather here in Hotledgeville (more on the name in a minute):

Dangerous heat index.
Oppressive humidity.

Either way, it's HOT (blazing, parching, roasting, searing). You get the idea.

Thankfully my apartment alongside the two buildings on campus I'm living in (hey, I have the keys) are perfect. But it's a bit discerning when you show up to class with your clothes stuck to your body AND your face is the color of red Kool-Aid.

Hotledgeville was coined earlier in the week by one of my witty classmates (they're all witty) . She lives in Hotlanta (nickname of Atlanta) and decided after going home for the weekend that our little town is definitely hotter.

Despite the weather, I've survived my first week of graduate school.

There were a few hours of complete "freak out" when I started compiling syllabi and noticing how much I have DUE in a relatively short amount of time. BUT I finished my first essay/response to a handout and things got better.

I do start working hours as a Writing Center Consultant this upcoming week, so I may as well schedule another "freak out" session now.

Some Fun Parts of the Past Week include: Scrabble, Trivia Night, getting lost, and eating watermelon in the MFA office.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Piecing It Together

One of the final stages of knitting is called Blocking.

This is when you adjust the shape of the finished piece and there are several different ways of doing so.

Either way, it increases the flexibility of the sweater or sock, making it durable and comfortable to wear.

I can't tell you much more, because I have never blocked a piece of my work. (You can click on the link above to learn more)

Not everything in knitting needs to be blocked though. Since my skill level has yet to advance past "scarf," I've really never had the need to "finish."

This afternoon I spent time printing out "blank" weekly templates. Promptly I began blocking in my class schedule so I'd have a visual of my time...

Available coupled with unavailable time.

Either way, I'm not staring at nine hour stretches of pharmacy time and it's exciting in an itchy skin kind of way.

Alongside filling in blocks, this week I've gained access to buildings and offices. It feels a bit powerful to have official "State of Georgia Do Not Duplicate" keys jangling in my pocket.

A personal photocopy code is also in my possession. Who knew?

We have a couple more orientation days remaining and I'm feeling strangely confident or ready to go...but timid and frightened as well. It's hard to explain.

Being surrounded by individuals in the same position is comforting though. It makes this part of my life feel less itchy, but more easy to wear.



Absolutely not.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Devil Went Down--

It's hard to gather my thoughts right now, but I've arrived in Georgia.

I've had one day to wander around and one day to meet classmates.

Every minute seems like an adventure.

And it's only going to get more jam-packed.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Capote* on Prozac*


As my last weekend in Memphis winds down (for now), I found a few hours to spend with a fellow...

workshop survivor?

(yes x 3)

Of course, we won't be attending the same graduate writing one can handle us both at the same time...we did successfully survive the application process together (just as the magnum of wine we consumed one night).

Where did we start out? BOOKSTAR -- which is probably my favorite "chain" place to hang. The converted movie theater has the coolest bathrooms in Memphis. No, really. I'm NOT kidding.

After I picked up the latest edition of the Oxford American (best magazine, y'all)...we joined forces (vehicles) and traveled to the best local bake shop...MUDDY'S...

I've been hearing about cupcakes from this bake shop from friends for quite some time. I originally didn't want to go because I knew I'd fall in love and just have another thing to pine for while away at school. I was right--LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

We waited patiently in a friendly-spiral line....I admired the knick-knacks and decor. When we made it up to the bakery case I said something like, "Don't judge me, I'm about to order half a dozen so I can try six of those suckers!"

prozac (chocolate/milk chocolate) (pictured)
capote (chocolate/vanilla buttercream)
frankly scarlett (red velvet/ cream cheese)
pucker up (lemon/lemon)
citrus explosion (lemon/orange)
new yorker (chocolate/cheesecake)

With our cupcake bounty (he picked up six too), we shimmed over to Whole Foods for appropriately fun beverages to wash them down with (I tried another brand of coconut water).

Pucker and Capote were the first to go...eaten delicately with a fork. I don't know how I managed to go soooooooo slow, but it took several forkfuls to finish just one. I couldn't help the noises though. These aren't HUGE cupcakes, they are perfectly sized!

About five hours later (really, FIVE HOURS) somewhere around midnight, the New Yorker disappeared...whoops! Frankly Scarlett was great from breakfast...(you get the idea).

Alas, back to packing...


Thursday, August 5, 2010


“Silence is a source of great strength.”
--Lao Tzu

I missed my one year Yoga-versary...

I didn't forget about it, but since I only attended one single class in the entire month of July (due to a ridiculously long illness) it didn't seem fitting to celebrate.

Or maybe it seemed wrong since I still have trouble with very basic poses.

It's probably a combination of both things.

Now I understand that Yoga brings together three things: Mind, Breath, and Body...I've got two of those things down...I'll let you guess which two based on a previous statement.

Tonight is my last local class for a good long while and since it's been soaring "over the century mark" for days now, it will be another unintentional "hot" yoga class.

"Hot" Yoga or Bikram Yoga where the room you practice in is intentionally heated to anywhere from 90-105 degrees. NO THANK YOU! It's hard enough to hold a pose when you don't have sweat streaming down your arms, legs, and face.


I'm going to have to continue my practice on my own (for the most part) as I go off for graduate school. Mentally I NEED yoga to remain calm, cool, and focused. It's really become one of my favorite things.

I've got the gear (mat, straps, blocks) alongside several pairs of "yoga" pants. I have a couple Yoga specific books and I've been gifted two more books that deal more with the lifestyle side. I may get a Yoga Journal subscription to help stay inspired.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nom Nom Nom!

(a Fino, Roast Beef, Pasta Salad, & Tiramisu)

Despite the unbearable HEAT (we broke a record y'all--it hit 103° F with a heat index of 120° F) we were all over Midtown and East Memphis (our favorite parts) today:

*Lunch at
Fino's (my last for awhile, as pictured above)
*Adult beverage shopping at Buster's
*Shopping at Oak Court (50% off sale!)
*Vita Coco Coconut Water with Pineapple from Whole Foods...
*I finally found some Almond Milk too!
*A donut from Gibson's in the *gasp* DAYLIGHT!

Whew! A gigantic summer thunder storm sprung up as we were leaving the area. Gusty winds blew miniature white and purple petals all over the place while the sky was electric with an awesome display of power by Mother Nature.

How could anyone NOT miss this city?


Monday, August 2, 2010


“I never knew a girl who was ruined by a book."
--James Walker

I watched an interesting documentary via Netflix tonight entitled Obscene (2007).

It follows Barney Rosset of Grove Press, who published several alternative/literary classics in the U.S. when no one else would:

D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer)
Allen Ginsberg (Howl)
William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch)

It's a long documentary (as far as documentaries go)--more than an hour and a half in length. Some of it is a bit boring, while other parts are interesting. There is a lot about the Evergreen Review, a literary journal also published by Rosset from 1957-1973...(is now back Online) exciting!

I found out Grove Press is the exclusive U.S. publisher of the unabridged complete works of the Marquis de Sade....I own Justine as well as Lady Chatterley's Lover--but I have only scanned/skimmed through them...I haven't made it cover to cover yet.

Of course, I own four volumes of Anaïs Nin's journals and her Delta of Venus (related because of her famous relationship with Henry Miller).

Five of the authors Rosset had the nerve to publish have even gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature!

If none of these titles mean anything to you, here is a selection from the top 100 Banned/Challenged Books last decade (2000-2009) according to the American Library Association:

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green

65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold

81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle

Do you feel like READING? I feel like writing!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Push Pause!

Pre-orientation training...

(getting ready for an HR meeting)

I haven't been "oriented" in a rather loooong time.

It was supposed to take an hour, but I spent that much time unjamming my printer.

(After I replaced the ink cartridge)

Stressfully, I was able to relocate my social security card, because photocopies of official documents aren't allowed.

(How old was I when I signed my card anyway, the signature doesn't match anymore...)

ADA? (check)
FMLA? (check)
HIPPA? (check)
Policy on Amorous Relationships? (check)

Kinda reminded me of all those computer-based learning modules I've taken in my "former" career. How strange is it to say--FORMER? Is it former if it ended only two days ago, after 15 years and 41 days? I guess so.

Is it okay normal to get excited over a George Foreman Grill because it matches your pink plastic kitchen "set"... or what about how your bedding looks in a Space Bag after all the air has been sucked out?

I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm ready or not...zoom zoom zoom!



It's in the Brain--

This is from a "school notebook." I'm not exactly sure WHAT class I was in at the it all seems cryptic somehow.

The Birth of psychology-->
when we think sin (pentitance) (punishment) --> HELL
(alternate direction: Heaven)

It's in the Brain
let it go
understand it

*we don't know where the guilt comes from--

~~the Brain is like a Machine~~

within that hour

(below all of this is written:)

Super Ego

...actually, I think it's from my American Gothic Literature class...maybe...



Blog Widget by LinkWithin