Brevity: the new spice of life

Flash Interviews <—

Dr. Wright, a creative writing professor I work with and for at APSU, has a new project going. It’s exploring the off-the-cuff, impromptu interview as a blending of both the non-fiction and flash genres of writing.

Currently, there’s one start-up question posted so far (answer in 40 words or less, don’t stop to think!) and lots of neat things are ensuing in the comments. Stop by and check it out? It’s a lot of fun, it’s great for writing skills, and it would be a big help for the project. 🙂

(PS – It’s hosted on WordPress, but you don’t need a WordPress account to join in.)

The arsonist stood up in court and said…

I am not an arsonist. I dreamt
the building was a phoenix
and needed my help. Before sticking me
in a sentence, like a four-syllable word
with only one meaning, consider
what becomes of the ashes: see
how after smearing a palm-full
hair grows on a bald man’s scalp, how
just a sprinkle makes irises sprout through
sidewalk cracks. You call me sick,
but have you ever seen a suicidal
parakeet, a homeless butterfly?
You want to know how you go crazy?
One marble at a time. It’s the law
of your language that dictates mess
is the precursor for messiah. You don’t
understand my logic to the hmph degree.
Your style of math is forty-three floors
beneath me. But you should have seen
the fire, a symphony of mayhem, people
leaping from windows, like lightning
bolts somersaulting out of a terrible cloud.

— Jeffrey McDaniel

I ran across this today (thank you, greatpoets!) and decided to use it for my literary criticism presentation next week; I’m using Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory.

I have finally managed to craft and shape my first Erdrich paper into something I’m proud to put my name on (though, at 16 pages, it has managed to stretch to twice its assigned length); it’s typed and ready to go for Wednesday. Now I’ve got exactly a week till the next one’s due. Alas, fall break, I hardly knew ye.

A week after that second paper, I have to give a presentation on a poem I’ve not yet chosen demonstrating a literary critical approach of my choosing – that I’ve also not yet chosen. I really want to do New Historicism – I feel compelled to champion it, since the rest of the class (professor included) seems to find it lazy and somewhat irrelevant – but then I’d have to choose a co-text in addition to the poem and I’m not sure I want the extra hassle. Somehow, October became absurdly assignment-heavy.

November brings a short, informal talk on Indian reservation life and a longer presentation on Victorian spiritualism and a story I have (again) not yet chosen. Hear ye, anyone more familiar with 19th century lit than I: I’m open to suggestions for really good short ghost stories of that era. Bonus points if written by a woman. (Think along the lines of Since I Died, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.) After all that, I will likely seclude myself to churn out the ~40 pages’ worth of papers that are due the first week of December; with luck I’ll emerge with brain and hands intact.

I’ll settle for getting through till the end of this month, though; a break in assignments, a first annverisay (Eee! I’ve been married for a year! Eeeee!), and, with any luck, some answers in a currently troubling situation that could determine the next few years. Waaait and see, I guess.

So, there it is. I’m tired, but I’m happy. When I come home after 8 or 12 hour days spent teaching and learning, my mind and body are exhausted, but my soul has wings. This twelvemonth has given me a lot of very precious things.

Dracula – 75 years dead…

For anyone who has an interest in such things, the 75th Anniversary 2-disc Edition of the 1931 Dracula film is well worth having. The first disc contains the original film, with options to watch it with commentary by a film historian, the script author of the Leslie Neilson spoof ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It,’ a film/actor trivia track, and an original score recorded by the Kronos Quartet. I attempted to watch it tonight with the trivia track and the musical score – I say ‘attempted’ because a lot of the little trivia track blurbs seemed to be missing. (There weren’t nearly as many as there ought to have been and sometimes one would pop up and seem like it was the continuation of a comment I hadn’t gotten to see.) May have to play around with that. But the score…the score is amazing. The tone and instrumentation are perfect and it adds so much to the suspense of the film.

Earlier this evening I trekked out a few miles from home to attend my first ever book reading/signing. Barry Kitterman is a long-time professor at Austin Peay; he also happened to be my fiction writing teacher for a few years and my advisor for the entire length of my undergrad degree. Tonight he did a reading at a local book store of his very first full-length published novel. Now there’s a nice, signed copy waiting for me on my desk. Knowing what I already do of Barry’s work and having heard the first chapter of the novel tonight, I’m excited about getting to read it. If you’re in the market for something new to read, look for “The Baker’s Boy.”

Seeing some of my English professors tonight reminded me that classes are rapidly drawing nigh – not that’s it been very far from my mind. I’ve been able to pack an amazing amount of stuff into the last week-and-a-half, though; I accomplished everything on my to-do list except ‘paint kitchen’ – and, well, I do have 3 days left.  Looking forward to doing nothing this weekend except snagging some quality husband-time before both our schedules are all crazy again.

When I registered for classes months ago, I signed up for one more than I really needed in my current situation, because I knew if I got a scholarship I’d have to be taking a full load and I could always drop it last-minute if that didn’t come through.

Yesterday afternoon I gave up and dropped that last class.

Last night I got my scholarship/assistantship acceptance letter. The one I thought just wasn’t coming.

The stipulations are that I must be enrolled in a full load of classes, as well as working part-time hours (16-20, I think) as an assistant somewhere in the English dept. The reward is that they are paying my entire tuition, plus a semester stipend.

I don’t…I can’t even…I’m not good with the forming of sentences just now, but wordless expressions of utter joy don’t translate well over the internet, so there you have it. That’s my news. 🙂

‘Anyday’ is today, I guess. :)

I had no idea how prophetic “any day now” would turn out to be. I got an email from Tara in the graduate office just an hour ago; I’m a graduate student now.


I’ve applied for the graduate assistantship too, but that isn’t announced until August, insofar as I’ve been told. Which presents me with a little difficulty.

There was a sleep department schedulers’ meeting today. Dr. M talked about how we are one of 15 hopsitals specifically treating/researching children with autism. Lately we have kids coming in from out of state to be seen in the sleep clinic. Dr. M had a lot of praise for those of us on the phones (which, as of next week, will just be me. Again.), stressing how she feels that a significant portion of her good reputation as a caregiver is dependent upon how we treat the patient – in other words, the entire clinic experience from scheduling to treatment, not just the time the kids and their families spend with the doctor. I’ll say this for Dr. M: however badly frustrated I may become with the nature of the job and office politics, she never fails to make me genuinely proud of what I’m able to do here.

Which will of course make me feel like a complete heel when I have to tell them I’m leaving.

Although the actual dilemma is not giving my notice, it’s when to do it. Timing is everything and that assistantship position ain’t exactly set in stone yet.

Medically Speaking

Ah, violent wind storms. Driving home through the neighbourhood tonight was like driving through the remains of an Epic Battle fought by large, plastic trash containers.

In other news, after 4 days of sharp, stabby uncomfortableness in my left shoulder (and eight years of general shoulder joint pain, shut up), I finally took myself to the doctor. An hour later, I left with an rx for an anti-inflammatory, an order for some x-rays, and the knowledge that I have “surprisingly good reflexes.” The doctor will likely send me to an orthopedic specialist, but she wants to see the x-rays first.

It took a little over half an hour to get my prescription filled, so I chatted with my mom for a while. She is well, Grandmother is well, Steve is…only slightly less well than his usual.

Grad school applications, GRE scores, and one letter of recommendation are in! Two more letters, and then they can send me my acceptance letter. Aaaany day now. 🙂

I made a pair of pants last week. Actual, wearable pants. Yes, the one article of clothing that has thwarted me for years and made previously readable sewing instructions morph into incomprehensible Greek has finally submitted to my will. Mostly because of my grandmother’s tutorial. 🙂 But still! I have committed pantsery Huzzah!!

Opera Time!

For any who didn’t know, or those who knew and forgot:

Tonight, APSU Opera Theatre Presents: Gianni Schichi!!…..and some other stuff.

6:45 – Opera Cafe — come here some of the opera performers in a special solo concert before the show begins.

7:30 – The Main Event:
– A Gypsy scene from Bizet’s Carmen (A French opera. Set in Spain. Confusion and fun and gypsies!!)
– Three Scenes from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. There’s dragons. There’s (almost!) death. There’s funny hats, teddy bears, and scantily clad spirits! You know you wanna come. 

Approx. 8:00 — Intermission

And after that…The Main Event: Gianni Schichi
A clever and cunning tale of death, betrayal, thieving relatives, and true love. A little something for everyone. 🙂

It’s in the Music/MassComm building on the Austin Peay campus – not hard to find, parking located directly across from the building. Tickets are, I believe, $8 at the door. What, can’t come tonight? Well, ok, you won’t get to hear me sing, but you can still see tomorrow’s matinee at 3pm. (Opera Cafe at 2:15ish.)

Why are you still reading this and not on your way here??