Well, That Escalated Quickly

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Grad school is great.

Number one, I have a part-time job, which helps me feel less like I’m spinning my wheels and more like I’m earning my right to learn awesome stuff by earning money to pay for the degree.

Number two, the assignments for class are more fun. There are more projects, but not group projects, which are the bane of my existence. Just a lot of little projects with some big projects due right before Christmas.

Number three, there’s lots and lots of reading, but not too much. I mean, this week I was only assigned one tiny short story (“Monday or Tuesday”) by Virginia Woolf and her book A Room of One’s Own, which I rather enjoyed.

Number three, a lot of my books are online, which meant I didn’t have to buy them. My teacher even sent us a link to one of the books. It’s Monday or Tuesday in the email. I’ll assume the italics are a mistake. It was a short story, not a book.

I’ll click the link to prove it to myself.

Wait.

Wait a second.

Monday or Tuesday is the title of a whole book of short stories by Woolf, which includes  “Monday or Tuesday,” but also about ten billion of her other stories, all of which need to be read by tomorrow, apparently, even though the syllabus just said “Monday or Tuesday.”

Humph. Well, I guess those will get read on Monday. Or Tuesday.

Grad school stinks.

Looking Up

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Do you see them?

It’s like the heavens hold the last sparks of a fireworks display in freeze frame.

As if someone ripped holes in the fabric of the sky to let pinpoints of light shine through from Whatever Waits just behind it.

We look up and we search them like we search the face of a traitor or a lover and we’re trying to figure out which one it is. We tear our eyes away, more mystified than we were when we first looked up. And we go back for more.

Scientifically, we know what they are: they are great spheres of fire, spinning end over end billions of miles away, powered by combustion and their own unrelenting velocity. They pull bits of the universe around them and turn them like tops in unending spirals. They roar into the blackness around them, spewing fire like dragons.

But to us, they are as silent as diamonds on velvet. Their collective song does not reach our ears. Yet without them, the world would hush, unless the rocks decided they must cry out.

And we stare up at them, wondering how the windows of all the planet’s bustling cities could be scattered like dust and stay forever frozen in the icy ocean we call the sky.

We stare and we wait.

And so few of us know exactly what we’re waiting for.

High Hopes

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I had high hopes for this evening.

I was going to get a head start on the weekend’s homework. I was planning on doing a short yoga workout. I was going to make a slideshow for a presentation about my Croatia trip with my AB. I was going to drink a cup of detox tea and write a long, long blog post. Balance my checkbook. Write a letter. Clear off my desk. Go grocery shopping. Read an article.

Well, you know what they say. “The best laid plans of mice and men…”

The trouble with Fridays is, I have no motivation left after cranking it out all week. All I wanted to do once I sat down was wait to see if I’d won the play writing contest while looking up random stuff on the internet. I read some interesting things, but mostly tripe. And I didn’t win the contest.

I did get the slideshow done, however, and I’m proud of that. I watched old videos of cast reunion parties and cried a little, and I looked at lots and lots of photos from Croatia, which was good for my weary soul. That’s the most productivity I’ve managed to milk out of a Friday night in forever.

I guess the rest will have to wait until tomorrow.

Enough

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Today I wrote a play in exactly five hours and 18 minutes. I submitted it to a speed-play-writing competition…the same one I won back in the spring.

That’s quite enough writing for one day.

This time, I feel no pressure to win. Which is good, because I won’t, so I’m prepared.

It was one of those “do it while you’re young” things. So I did it. Because I’m young.

Vacant

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I keep wondering what’s different about this semester.

No, it’s not that I’m no longer in undergrad. I got used to that a long time ago. And it’s not the apartment, although that’s very different. And it’s not the part-time job, either. I’m more used to that then I am to my classes.

Every night, when I sit down at the end of a long day of classes and work, with several house stretching before me to midnight, I pull out my books and start reading and taking notes, and occasionally I pause to contemplate the change, unable to put my finger on it.

Today, I realized what it was.

It was the fact I/m not going to rehearsals. I didn’t even audition for anything this year. I knew that I’d be adjusting to grad school and I didn’t want to dedicate myself to something that would keep me from fulfilling other responsibilities. In undergrad, plays were easier to juggle because I wasn’t working 28 hours a week.

This is the first semester in forever when I haven’t actively tried out for a play. I”m not even in a speech class. Zip. Nada.

It’s a weird feeling. Admittedly it’s nice to, you know, do homework and things at a less-than breakneck pace and to be able to take time for yoga and running and regular meals.

But…no performances for me. No stage. No long nights. No script. No memorization. No blocking.

No….late…..nights….

Maybe I’m sad. Maybe I’m okay with this.

The Girl Manual

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Yes, there’s a Girl Manual. It’s a book that teaches girls how to be girls and keep at it through womanhood. Yes, I’ve read it.

Most of it, that is.

I skipped a few chapters. I paid close attention to the chapter on male-female interaction (which, despite my highlighting and dog-earing,did me little good). I read the chapter on emotional independence (even though I didn’t heed it much until late college). I frequently revisit the chapter on how to be a good daughter. I devoured the chapter on how to be an intelligent female (no matter what popular culture tells you you must be). I carefully marked all the sections on God’s view of women (a deeper love than most would imagine) and remind myself of those daily.

I skipped the chapter on cosmetology.

Sometimes, when I visit friends’ homes, I’ll enter the restroom to be confronted by a room of mysteries. Straighteners. Curlers. Tweezers. Powders. Creams. Minerals. Waxes. Lacquers. Highlighters. Lowlighters. Buffers. Trimmers. Sprays. Thousands of bottles and little tiny boxes for smearing and polishing and coloring and glueing and changing.

Most girls take delight in all of the above, own all of the above, and know how to use all of the above. I’m not trying to demean those ladies in any way. To each her own.

I’m just saying that I’ve never really understood what the fuss is all about. Is it to impress the men? Most girls would say “yes,” but most men (at least the ones I’ve asked) say they prefer an unpainted face to a painted one. So we’re trying to impress…each other?

Having struggled with persistent acne for over a year now (and some have struggled with it from adolescence onward), I can understand the desire to cover, to alter, to balance, to change. That I understand, perhaps now more than ever.

Most women believe they are ugly. That is why the cosmetology chapter exists.

(And most of us aren’t. Culture tells us we’re ugly and we need to change. That’s another post for another day.)

And even though most of the cosmetology chapter doesn’t make much sense to me, there is one part I wish I could master:

I wish I knew how to do cool things with my hair. I have a lot of it (it hasn’t been cut in a year), and it sort of hangs around my head in a quasi-wavy mane. It’s great, but it gets in may face, and putting it up rips the hair by my scalp and gives me wispy bangs. Pulling it back sometimes does the same. So usually I either let it hang, push it back with a headband, or so a side braid.

I dearly wish I could figure out how to do something with a little more variety. Something that doesn’t involve waking up at 5:30 to apply hot curlers (which I don’t have) or hairspray (which I don’t have) or a billion bobby pins (actually, I have about a billion of those, so there’s a start).

Maybe dreads….

Monday List

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  1. Apparently some strands of the common cold give you unnatural amounts of energy.
  2. Still, under six hours is not enough sleep.
  3. Modern writers are super depressing. I mean, really, do optimists not get published?
  4. Growing up is still dumb, but at least it comes with perks.
  5. It is possible to eat your weight in salsa.
  6. Also, grapes.
  7. My second week without coffee is wildly successful, but I smell coffee from thermoses on campus and start drooling.
  8. I’m pretty sure I could never be vegetarian. Just throwing that out there.
  9. always bring a banana to a party.
  10. Why are geese honking outside my window at 11:42 at night?

Open Letter to Worriers (Self Included)

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Dear You,

Life’s a little dicey right now, isn’t it?

Maybe not only a little. Maybe you feel completely displaced. Perhaps you feel like you don’t belong where you are, but feel powerless to pick up and move. Maybe your emotions are in ten different places at once.

And what if your choices sever friendships? What if you decide to turn your life upside down and discover that was the wrong choice? What if you don’t and discover you should have? What if you never raise enough money for that bill, that medicine, that birthday present your loved one wants?

What if? What if? What if?

Know this: God knows the end from the beginning. He fought and won the battle before it began. He gathers your tears and keeps them in a bottle. He knows their number and the quantity of hurt. His heart shatters when ours crack.

He owns the resources of the universe. He meets every need, and shows us what needs are real and which are not.

His children lack nothing. They never will.

Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.

Calm down. Deep breath. Keep going.

Love,

Rizzy

Dialect

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I hab a code.

I dink eberybody on cambus id cubbing down wid subding. My boss had a code. Sub ub the kids I subervise had a code. Eberybody has had a code.

Eben me. And I take egginachea ebery day. My liddle lybmph nodes are swollen and eberyding. I’b gond through a whole bogs of tissues and half a boddle of Airborne.

*Sniff*

Bud I’b had worse codes. Ad least wid dis one my head doesn’t feel fuzzy and I don’t feel sleepy…at lead not more dan usual. I’b been drinking lods of fluids and eading well, so hobefully dis bug will go away sood. Maybe eben by toborrow.

*Sniiiiiiiiif*

Ad lead dis id heppening now, idstead ub durig exam week.

Sometimes

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Sometimes you need to be twenty-two. Twenty-two and seventeen at the same time.

Most every twenty-two year old has a seventeen-year-old on the inside, anyway.

And sometimes you need to be with some of your favorite people and be a little crazy and speak to each other in your own language and laugh at things no one else finds funny.

Sometimes you need to eat junk food and sit in the trunk of a car and talk about girl things. Sometimes you need to walk barefoot through muddy field.

Sometimes you need to backtrack.

So you don’t forget what you were. So you’ll know better how to be what you are.

Turmeric: the Wonder Spice

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In my neverending quest to find natural solutions to a pesky and unsettling hormonal imbalance (the details of which I will not here divulge), I have researched the medicinal capacities of hundreds of plants. Plants are powerful things, man. God knew we wouldn’t have conventional medicine for a long time, so He made plants to take care of us while we waited for things like penicillin.

The most recent one to come to my attention is turmeric root. Turmeric roots are ground into powder and are most commonly used in curries and other spicy Indian foods. The powder is orange, but has a distinctive yellow color when cooked.

Turmeric is a potent antifungal agent. It prevents bad bacteria and intestinal funguses (yes, you read that right, intestinal funguses) from latching on and taking root inside your system. It’s a potent natural painkiller when combined with ginger root. Made into a paste with whole milk (or coconut milk, for the lactose intolerant), it can be used a as a face mask that removes dark circles and sucks toxins from your pores. Some really…enterprising people use it to battle cancer sans chemo. (I will not go that far. If I get cancer, that sucker is getting pummeled by chemo, end of story.)

Turmeric has traditionally been used as a clothing dye. Its golden-yellow color found itself splashed over garments in India and other places where turmeric is grown. Once applied to fabric, that vibrant color would be irrevocably stained into its fibers.

And, thanks to an unfortunate cooking incident, the same will be true of the front of my favorite linen dress.

One Day

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One day they will open up your books

and wonder what you were waiting for

 

They will read into your self contradicting sentences

And write out volumes of dusty literary criticism

 

They will look for patterns in your poetry

And catalogue your plosives, fricatives, dentals, bilabials, glottals.

 

They will search your diaries for imaginary passions

And friendships that went deeper than you claimed

 

They will invent exotic histories of your life

And label what must have been your diseases. 

 

They will forget that you were a person

Who made wishes on her candles every birthday. 

A Little Bit of Both

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 The apartment is great, but it’s got its downsides. Well, the apartment itself doesn’t have downsides, since it’s not a dorm room and anything it throws at me will pale in comparison to the challenges of a shoebox dormitory room. 

I have little to no cell service in my apartment. This is the fault of my service provider, not the apartment. 

The power went out twice in a row tonight. I’ll assume that’s a fluke. 

The air conditioner is loud. But, hey, it gets this place chilly. 

Very…enthusiastic neighbors upstairs. And the walls are thin enough to hear the neighbors’ alarms go off in the morning. And to hear their phones vibrate. Still, it beats the sound of girls screaming and running up and down the hall. 

Sometimes the shower water gets really warm. Sometimes it hovers right above lukewarm. But it never gets downright cold somewhere around 10:45, which is when I’d take a shower in the dorms…right after everyone else had used up all the hot water. 

But that’s all. Those are the only disadvantages I can think of. This place is awesome. I’m not here much these days, but it’s a wonderful place to rest my head at night, and I’m very, very grateful for it. 

 

Upon Noticing a Pattern During My Literature Courses

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Well. It’s decided. I’ll never be a famous writer.

I couldn’t possibly fit the bill. One, I never had any traumatic childhood experiences or prolonged illnesses. My parents didn’t hate me and neither one ran off with a gypsy.

I never ran away from finishing school. I never even went. I completed my college degree and I’m pursuing even higher higher education.

I never ran around with the underground bohemian crowd. I’ve never been an alcoholic or a drug addict. I haven’t so much as puffed on a cigarette. My wildest incident of substance abuse was drinking caffeinated coffee at 10 pm and being awake until 4 the next morning. And boy, the hangover.

I’ve never been married and had an affair. And one traumatic relationship in my late teens is hardly tragic enough. I would at least had to have had three traumatic relationships at the same time to qualify.

I’ve never stowed away in a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. I’ve never been whaling. I never belonged to a communist activist group. I’ve never secluded myself in a cabin by a pond for a year. I’ve never been committed to an asylum. I don’t have immediate plans of becoming an ex-patriot, because I rather like America.  

I just can’t be a writer. At least not one of the greats.

Oh, well. I’m probably a bit better off.