I don’t want to look back in five years time and think, ‘We could have been magnificent, but I was afraid.’ In 5 years I want to tell of how fear tried to cheat me out of the best thing in life, and I didn’t let it.
In 5 years I will hopefully have a “dr” before my name. And because this has been my goal for so long, I’m completely confounded as to what comes next. I could move to Argentina. I could live on top of a plateau, underneath a really big telescope, and just like, read and write. I will probably fight for another job, another opportunity, but ugh lemme dream.
Remember how everyone’s favorite part of Heath Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain was his almost painful physical repression, his reluctance to express any emotion that wasn’t punching or SHUTTING DOWN? His voice was closed in on itself in a raspy burr — he fell to the ground rather than shed tears — his face was hooded and dark and full of twitching cheek muscles. Kristen Stewart is Heath Ledger, I assure you. She has the same handsome face, the same winsome, masculine smile, the same reluctance to make direct eye contact.
For years, everyone in the world has misunderstood Kristen Stewart’s compressed emotional range. They thought it meant she was a limited actress; it means nothing of the kind. She is John Wayne being forced to play the Maureen O’Hara character. Give her a rail to lean against during a sunset, a military jacket, a toothpick to chew on, and something to squint her eyes against lazily in the distance, and her guardedness will be transformed from unsuccessful femininity to The Great American Male.
An agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time; a truce.
Under a veritable shower of 90s movies (The Goonies, Only You, Jumanji, It Takes Two, I think I’m trying to conjure up places I miss, sun-bleached rock, dramatic landscapes, songs sung in other languages, twins with a penchant for matchmaking), learning “Sitz im Leben” and that mint dark chocolate M&Ms are so good holy shit, I remember a few years ago that my favorite word was “sublime,” and I think it’s because it reminds me of Uffizi and Botticelli and those dusty corners, illuminated, dripping with context, and rainy days in Seoul, young men with hip haircuts and neon yellow backpacks and pants that make you go, are they slacks? are they pajamas? but who cares because I mean, paired with a white t-shirt stretched across broad shoulders.
I’ve done a lot of reading today, on power and its endless, ever expanding cycles, and it’s a low place, it’s a low, low place. Thankfully there are more chapters; it doesn’t end here! I was trying to recall a word while looking up another, and it turned out that word was “armistice,” which, “Armistice Day” was the title of a Good Omens fic I read years ago, which began with something like, “And there was war in heaven” — very striking, spine shuddering, etc., ecclesiastical themes a plenty. The point of this is just to say, I’ve always liked that word, armistice, but it’s a word that wouldn’t exist without terrible actions and events, and then it’s like, well of course.
“I love that sweet smell of decay that surrounds me in forests and woods. A kind of mulchy, deep, rich rot that has no connotation of death or ending, but rather of life and age. A sense of perpetual destruction and rebirth.”—(via dearfern) okaaaay I mean not the perpetual LIFE vs. DEATH thing but I still maintain my favorite smell is cedar. Should write more about smells.
And I mean, today, an upper-level grad student was asking to what extent I knew Marx, Durkheim, etc. and I was honest and said, none, and she was like, well you’re screwed for classical theory. And instead of being like, girl, girly honeybun ladybug girl gurl I went home and broke down some cardboard boxes and rearranged some furniture and thought about it and concluded that our definitions of screwed must be very different, like supergalactic different, like I am here and you are five worlds over, subtle knife somehow in your pocket, different.
I mean, there are a lot of things this person doesn’t know. She doesn’t know that I fucked up so many times in the past, there’s literally nothing else I can do but succeed. She doesn’t know that I’m highly skeptical of success anyway. She doesn’t know that I’m not remotely dicking around. For a few minutes I kinda felt like the Jim Kirk of grad school, like don’t tell me what I’ll do because I’ll do better and break some rules too. And unlike Jim Kirk I’ll be the nicest motherfucker you’ll know. Because why not. Because I refuse to forgo niceness even when it’s not popular or socially acceptable in a given situation. Because everyone deserves it, even when what they front is baffling.
People aren’t talkin about the news, they’re talking about what they think the news is. There is no news channel saying “This is what happened, draw your own conclusions.” We have made this country so bereft of critical thinking, that now we have a problem where we have to teach them to think for themselves.
We have no unified authority, or problem solvers. We have congressman discussing environmentalism, when they don’t understand half the problems our earth is going through. We go to congress instead of going to people who have worked their whole LIFE trying to solve these problems. When it comes to racism, we’re asking a panel of white dudes, when it comes to sexism and woman’s rights we ask a panel of white priests on what they think. IT’S INSANITY! We ask people who are not in the arena they should be speaking in/for.
AND THAT’S WHY WE DON’T trust the media, it’s because they’re not in the arena of black experience, and they don’t care about the black experience, UNTIL something bad happens and they have the tools to paint us as destructive, ugly and evil!
”—The response of a Protester in Ferguson who was asked by a reporter as to why most of the protesters didn’t want their faces on tv. (via sara-the-narco)
Writing retreats with everyone, but especially with rosycheeked! Last week I dragged my ass over to this tech orientation and got lost trying to find the lab, only to bump into a Vanderbilt grad — mutual things in common being: messy hair, triple eye bags, clinging humidity — and in another life, we would not be friends, like I kinda felt like the Ginny to her Halley from TOAOTP (best book, all teens should read), but instead 2.5 hours were spent making confused faces at the computer screen, slowly collapsing into disengaged stupor. I held out until the end — legend has it, my dad attended a class where everyone dropped out except him and one other person, and they both got automatic As, don’t think I haven’t learned from this — but she left early, but not before the sacred number exchange.
The point is, I made a friend, like, on my own, without major social forces like common program or matching specialization to help things along. The point is, it’s an ugly world, but miracles still happen.
The women in my cohort — three of us in total — are four, ten years older than me, which is phenomenal because I thought we were roughly the same age, given, like, looks. In terms of demeanor, I feel the oldest; most confident, most considerate in discussion, which means I’m the most extroverted, which means trouble because I’m such an introvert. Or maybe (relative) youth is what enables not giving a shit about what books you’ve published or what classes you teach, because by the fifth and final day of orientation, my brain is applesauce. Formless, raw and wet.
But our combined life experiences are kinda peerless! Human shields and training horses, etc. Excited to work with these ladies, excited to help my advisor with a project ASAP?! Excited to finally put my writing to good and productive use?!
Things my apartment’s still missing: quilt, colander, magnets. I have to get creative with hanging shit, including a 20 lb framed poster and the mobile that made it all the way from WA and that I tore in a moment of pure tragedy. Orange — a former favorite color, and therefore me and orange items are one and the same for my mom — is definitely a theme.
On the other hand, I feel super ancient when nine PM rolls around and the kids down the hall are partying so hard, man. I’m like, knuckling a smudge on my counter and making some tea with some tea bags stolen from Hampton Inn, bleary eyed and every joint cracking, and there’s like, loudness and laughter and I just >:(
I mean whatever, I really like it here; just so, so tired! One of our presenters said this year is ripe for change, which reminds me of Fired Up! “you gotta risk it to get the biscuit,” my own brand of life motto and arguably the best movie ever.
Permanent eye bags, man. Another thing that happened was getting reamed into by the department faculty, like you will love this but it will be shitty, which has essentially been my whole life, so yeah, daunting but not unfamiliar. There’s this one part in Ender’s Game — I need to DL some new sci-fi — where Dink’s like, hey Ender I bet your dad just absorbs the bullshit, takes and takes it until he can’t anymore, then he busts out; I think I’m like that. Both Dink floating around in the battle room and what Ender’s dad is not, which is that I can contextualize what’s fucked up then guilt myself into thinking it’s not that bad. There’s always a way to quantify your pain and make it smaller. But then I get pissed and do a thing, which is when something happens.
It’s definitely the big leagues. The barriers are so high it’s like, the city with the golden gates. I think I’m on the brink of that conflict where, I know I can do amazing things, but how much of the game do I actually want to play in order to be amazing. How much work do I want to put into it when what I’m scaling is the ivory tower. Idk but my apartment’s pretty great; pictures once I get a quilt, a lampshade.