Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Tears of Joy

My grades are all turned in! Now to sit back and wait for the emails of complaint …

Anyway, that is not the event this post title refers to. I was reading the blog of the Poor Clare nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, in Alabama. My cousin Regina was invested in July, which means she is now a novice! And she has received a new name: Sister Chiara Marie of Jesus, Our True Light.

I am so proud of her, and so joyful for her, even as I miss her. Take a moment to see how beautiful she is.

My other cousin–Regina’s sister–sent me that blog post, as well as the reminder that my deadline is a week from yesterday, and I ought to be writing. (She is serving as my “professor,” the one I’ll turn the draft in to.)

I suppose I ought to listen to her … she’d make a tough prof.


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Waiting for August

It’s been a week since I last posted; two more days–two more crazy days where Rosemary’s brain threatens to seep out her ears–and I am done teaching for the summer. (Though not done grading; revisions are due on Monday.) And then the rest of my summer will be one of self-imposed deadlines, because apparently this is the only way I can get anything done. Deadlines for story drafts; deadlines for blog posts (including thoughts on running, grief, and writing “what you know” that have been simmering–the latter from comments on Catherine’s blog and a question TC Conner asked me); deadlines for dentist appointments.

This August will also be filled with reunions, weddings, housewarming parties, and (hopefully) interior decorating of a sort. And if I’m lucky, I will begin it with electricity. (There is some danger it will get turned off on me, due to complications with the internet application to get everything switched from my roommate’s name to mine. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.)

In the meantime, my roommate is packing up, getting ready to move stuff to the house she and her soon-to-be-husband will be moving into. The two of us are disposing of her coconut rum together–purely in the interests of consolidation and convenience, of course. (Equal parts cran-raspberry juice and coconut rum has the Rosemary-seal-of-HIGH-approval, fyi.)

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Happy Easter!

Real posts coming after the holiday. Until then, have a wonderful Easter.

(I think that, with the exception of Eastern Christians who observe the strict fasts, Catholics must enjoy Easter the most (along with any other Christians who observe Lent). Fasting from the small, good things–coffee, or chocolate, or TV shows–really renews life on every level.)

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I woke up this morning to a rejection in my inbox. I didn’t really expect to be accepted (except maybe a little bit, because why else would I submit?), but it still takes a little bit out of you, still lets you a little down.

I archived the email and went to work on other things. After all, I am not a poet, really; so if my poems don’t find a home, it makes me a little sad for them, but probably it saves me from embarrassment later on.

And then half an hour later sat staring at the wall trying to figure out why I was relating so intensely to various blog posts about being rejected as a writer before I remembered. Once I remembered, I wasn’t bothered by it. I’m still not bothered by it, per se, although publication would have been nice.

But it stuck to me enough that, even though I forgot about the actual rejection, I felt slightly rejected.

It seems to me that most writers have egos that are either incredibly fragile or huge and unbreakable. I wonder which is better?

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That I am a procrastinator, and always have been, and probably always will be, is not shocking news to the world. If, by some miracle of God, I were ever to become a canonized saint, I would be the patron saint of procrastinators.

The Internet, whom I like to think of as my friend, is actually the enabler of my weaknesses. (See: this blog post, written while I have approximately one hour to read six or seven student essays, pick one, and build a workshop around it.)

I actually like the feeling of getting things done. I like the idea of sitting down for a day of work and crossing bunches of stuff off my to-do list. I love lists. I need lists. If I don’t have a tangible, written list, I keep a list in my head, or try to, and that eventually drives me crazy. So, written lists. I like Gmail’s task feature.

I love planning out how and when and for how long I’m going to do things. Give me a free day, and I will map it out with things to do, to accomplish. Give me the morning of the free day, and I will sit around in my pajamas. Give me the afternoon of the free day, I will poke around on Facebook and Twitter and follow all their rabbit trails. Give me the evening of the free day, I will read a book. And give me the day after, and I berate myself for having gotten nothing done.

Give me a deadline, and I will get things done. In the few days before a thing is due. This is, sadly, how the majority of my work gets done.

The crazy thing is, despite my procrastination, and despite my general lack of organization (lists aside), I am also a perfectionist. This really is *not* a happy combination, in terms of my stress levels. But I suppose that perfectionism is what keeps the negative effects of my procrastination in check.

And now that I have procrastinated by reflecting on my procrastination, I must return to my students’ essays. I’m not sure what it is, but I swear that this is the second or third time I’ve found one of them using the word “perspicacity.” I don’t like it when I have to look up a word a student uses. Have they ever heard of astute or shrewd? Simpler words, but I like them better.

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You would think that having snow days would lead to Getting Things Done at home, right?

Not necessarily, apparently. Monday I got very little done at all. Tuesday I started getting my rear in gear later in the day. Today, so far, I have written. I need to get off of the internet and write more; but I have written.

Better yet, I just let myself write without worrying, let my character think what he would, without worrying about economy or what the prose would look like in workshop. Which meant that things got more interesting. Loose writing, though it may be in need of polishing, revising, rewriting, is almost always better than the tight, anxious words that feel stuck and/or suffer from stage fright.


I also got an email from my undergrad adviser today. The old head of the English department has invited me to be a part of the Curriculum Assessment Committee.

This is part of what makes Slippery Rock University awesome. At many other universities I imagine I would have been mostly forgotten by now; but Slippery Rock, as far as I’ve seen, has always taken its students seriously. This is partly because it is a smaller school (8,000 student body the year I graduated), but also because the faculty are, quite honestly, wonderful.

I went back and visited last semester and gave my boyfriend a tour of the English department. All my old professors recognized me and stopped to talk to me. It was late in the day and most of them were getting ready to leave, but I talked to one in the hall for a good bit, and to three of them in the lounge for about half an hour. My boyfriend commented on this, thinking it probably wouldn’t have happened at his alma mater.

And one of my favorite professors organized a lunch date with me when she was in the city (although sadly her granddaughter ended up in the hospital and she had to cancel).

That investment in students is something you expect at the graduate level. I think it’s less common for undergraduates.

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I guess everybody’s talking about snow today. There certainly is a lot of it. Snow photo albums are popping up all over Facebook (even by my mom!), and I guess I’d make one too, if I had a camera. There’s a good two or three feet out there. It’s hard to tell whose car is whose in the parking lot.

Oh, and then there’s the giant snowman.

(By giant I mean seven or eight feet.)

Luckily it is not sitting in the driveway, which is where its bottom portion was located for a long time last night. People were also having snowball fights on the fire escapes of neighboring buildings. It’s just like when we were kids and snow was awesome.

Awesome like the giant snowball fight scheduled on the Cathedral lawn tomorrow afternoon. Heck yes!

Later today the boyfriend and I will probably brave the roads to an Olympic party. (The sensible thing would be to cancel it, but I highly doubt it will be canceled, and so we are going.) Until then I have all day to get things done. Snow should be good for writing, shouldn’t it? With a cup of tea or cocoa and a bowl of soup. This sounds good. Very good.

There is something incredible about snow. How it can be this big, powerful thing–I see these massive overhangs on the roof outside my window, and the trees are laden with snow, and the cars cannot drive for snow, and I thought we were going to lose electricity last night. But for all this power, it is quiet. The world is calmer, very still. You can shout and it soaks up your voice and returns it to silence. There is nothing sharp about it, but the clarity of the senses–hearing, feeling, seeing–so penetrating.

There is something wonder-full about that.

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