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before I go

April 20, 2011

Words, they are coming to me; I guess I will write them down.

Today I presented my honors thesis to the English department. Afterwords, the seven other honors students and some of our advisers went out for a fancy three-course dinner with wine to celebrate our accomplishment.

The thesis presentation was such a relief. I was so nervous, and then (I feel like) it went really well. Once it was over, I felt 100% better about my life.

The dinner was wonderful. The food was amazing; but more importantly, over the course of the meal I realized something that subconsciously I already knew: I am surrounded by such amazing people here. My peers are so intelligent, funny, caring, and just so fun to be around – and I wish, so badly, to have known them better. Because after dessert and coffee, I had the profound sensation of something incredibly important coming to a close. In everything but name, tonight was the night of my graduation.

I left the restaurant feeling sated both intellectually and physically. I was rushing to get to a mandatory end-of-year house meeting, but all of a sudden, I found that I was crying. All year I’ve been looking forward to commencement, beginning the next chapter in my life, but now that this one is over I feel there is so much I’ve left undone. There are so many wonderful people that I want to know better. There are so many regrets.

I don’t want regret in my life. It is the most unproductive emotion, with the most potential to damage future possibilities for happiness. So, based on the way I feel tonight, after a few glasses of wine and a looming moment of closure, I resolve to make the most of my last few weeks at Smith. Before tonight, I had dreams that once the thesis process was over I could wear pretty dresses and lay in the sunshine reading poetry – and that still sounds great – but I have a few new goals: now that it’s all ending, I want to make friends. If you’re reading this and you go to Smith, then yes, I do mean you. Look me up. I want to know you before I’m gone.


oh hai

March 31, 2011

you should follow that shit

writing this post instead of studying for my midterm

March 25, 2011

I have done the practice tests and resigned myself to my fate.

Recently I decided not to go to grad school – at least, not right away: not until I had figured out what it was I “really” want to do. Then I had the rug ripped out from under me, and in that brief moment of clarity before hitting the floor, I realized that Brown University had accepted my application and it made absolutely no sense not to go.

I have only a handful of weeks left at Smith and the days are running through my fingers like water.

What to do with the time I have left?

Panic about my thesis, work on it, panic some more.

Make up work (like this midterm) that I missed in the week before break.

Watch old episodes of Criminal Minds.

Hide in my own house, because I’ve managed to alienate 99% of the students who live there.

Listen to music.

Leave everything (that doesn’t cling of its own volition) by the wayside.

Dream that somewhere, flowers are coming out of the ground and blooming.

alienation & co

March 21, 2011

Back at college after break. Stocked up on chocolate and have set the National’s album High Violet to repeat. Wondering how the hell I’m going to finish everything I need to do in order to graduate.

It’s snowing.

you’re a wolf, boy, get outta this town

January 30, 2011

Certain people, says (Richard) Rorty, are “always aware that the terms in which they describe themselves are subject to change, always aware of the contingency and fragility of their final vocabularies, and thus of their selves.” …Rorty calls people capable of adopting new languages “ironists,” because they inflect even their most fervent commitments with doubt. It’s possible, they know, that what today they hold most intimately true will be replaced tomorrow by other, better ways of seeing and saying things. They comprehend what Rorty likes to call the contingency of their own current state. – Why Read, Mark Edmundson

Okay, so, maybe I don’t want to be a teacher. Maybe I want to move to San Francisco and start a completely new life, work in a bookstore and try to get screenplays noticed. So what?

Onwards & Outwards

January 21, 2011

So some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while – over four months. I was procrastinating on my write-up of the last day of the Fringe, not because I didn’t like the shows – I did, they were some of the best of my festival experience – but because, if I wrote about the last day, I would have to write about it all being over; not just the festival, but my time abroad, because I flew straight home after.

And that, frankly, is too tall an order. Four months later, an entire Smith semester later, I am still not ready for the Oxford chapter of my life to be closed. So below you will find the reviews of the last three shows, and nothing more. I am just not ready to say goodbye.

That being said, as a senior, I still have to figure out what I want to do next. As I see it, my options are as follows:

1. Grad school. I want to be a teacher, so why hesitate to get the training I need to do that? Here I come, Brown/Tufts/Boston/UVM!

2. Gap year. Not the purely fun, Gap Yah kind, but a year to work and think and gather my strength before jumping in to more academia and the life ahead. This could mean moving back in with my parents and working from there, to save money, or it could mean finding a cheap apartment (somewhere, anywhere) and starting over. It could also mean saving to go abroad for a little while, visit the old life, before heading back to school.

3. A different life path. This one scares me a little to think about, since I have thrown myself so fully into the issues of public/urban education, but I have to admit that for almost two whole years I saw myself venturing into the film or television industry. Entertainment is one of the hardest fields to break in to, but I have base-level training, I have a deep and abiding love of the medium, and I have ambition – and if you’re going to make headway, those are the ingredients you need, short of actual talent. So what then? I move to LA and become a cliche waitress/writer, trying to find my next move? God help me.

Right now, I am writing this when I should be working on my thesis, which is due in for a draft reading on Monday. But somehow, I just can’t concentrate on that when Oxford is behind and the world is up ahead, and I am stuck here in the middle, torn in so many directions it makes my brain hurt. (As told by Magnet, with your heart in the future and your head in the past, there’s nothing in between that’s going to last.)

Be warned – this is what happens to you when you don’t have a plan, and you’re the kind of person who really, really needs a plan.


ETA: I need a new name for this blog.

The Edinburgh Fringe, day 10: Saturday, or, The End

January 21, 2011

101 (again) – Still my most favorite and memorable experience at the Fringe, this last trip to 101 was just as ambiguous and intense as the others. The story was Othello, and let’s just say that being swept up in that much domestic abuse does not leave you with warm fuzzy feelings.

The Harbour – speaking of warm fuzzy feelings, this play was top notch. With a minimal, multi-purpose set including crates that became tables and parts of ships and yellow rain boots that doubled as fish and birds, and a small three-person cast, The Harbour told the traditional selkie story – the fisherman finds a strange woman by the sea and they fall in love, only to lose her to the sea once more. The production also featured a live cellist for incidental music and sound effects which really added to the atmosphere. The story was lovingly told, hilarious and moving by turns, and definitely left an indelible impression on me.

Quasimodo – Belt Up! Need I say more? I love this company to death. Another late-night show, the story was hauntingly told, immersing the audience in the action as Belt Up does. Using only a large table in the center of the room and trappings of a set all around, the low lighting and intensely personal acting really brought the tragedy of Notre Dame to life. Quasimodo himself gave an amazing performance; you could really see the ache of his broken body as well as his broken heart. Belt Up, do you happen to need a production assistant? Because I would totally work for you.