Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Blog Entries!

At left: I was writing in bed when I noticed the mirror on my open closet door was facing me. I used picked up my digital camera and snapped this cool, almost impressionist self-portrait.

I've recently added a about ten new posts. It's come to my attention that many of you didn't know they were there, because they're old posts. They're below the post about my new laptop. I started at August 14 and worked my way toward the present. (You can read about Day One and Day Two of the Suffolk sheep show at the Iowa State Fair, my 10-year high school reunion, and traveling to visit my Kiley grandparents, former BVU professor Nadine and Unkie and Helen. I've also written about repairing childhood toys, my friend Emily's wedding, and my trip to New York.) I've also written new, post-laptop-buying entries.

I still need to go back and write up the English Department's "Moveable Feast" party and the ODU Lit Festival, but then I will be all caught up. Yay! I hope you all enjoy. You know, I never know if anyone is reading this thing until I talk to my friends or my mom on the phone. Feel free to leave comments. It makes me feel like I'm not just talking to myself out here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shoe Ew.

I recently saw this on a fashion blog, and all I can say is, yes. Too square. Hideously square. The flats aren't as egregious as the Herman-Munster-in-Drag heels at left, but no. No-No-No-No-NO. Not cute. Never gonna be cute. Buy uber-cheap knock-offs if you must perpetuate this ridiculousness, but please don't do it. It will just confirm fashion designers' belief that they can sell us anything as long as they convince a few celebs to wear them first.

Remember, it's a business. Fancy shoe designers have finally talked women into spending $400 on top-shelf high heels. $400 shoes don't wear out easily, so how do they keep women buying? By manipulating trends so that last year's Jimmy Choo shoes are now out. Don't buy into it, ladies.

Also, the return of the chunky heel? Well, this one is more borderline. At least a chunky heel gives added stability and, unlike a stiletto, will not get stuck in a subway grate or manhole cover...not that that's ever happened to me. The picture I found at left is not as square as some, but the average chunky heel is not doing your leg any favors. If you want comfort, go with flats. For height and stability, try an elegantly-sculpted wedge. If you're going to go to the trouble of contorting your foot with a high heel, pick one that makes your legs look long and slender. It's just common sense! Okay, end of shoe rant.

P.S. if you have some truly adorable pictures of square-toed shoes that will win me over, send them my way. I've been wrong before...I just suspect this isn't one of those times.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Break

Through careful planning, l managed to turn a four-day break weekend into a five-day weekend. Monday, I gave my students their midterm. I had student conferences scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, but we all agreed to have them Wednesday and Thursday instead, giving us Friday off. It made my week hectic, but I needed a weekday off when the campus was still up and running. Friday would be errand day. Near the end of the day, I realized I had just one hour left to make it to the registrar and post office before they closed. And what time would the campus bookstore close? I had no idea, but if I wanted to get even my first two tasks done, I would have to run.

Then, ahead of me on the sidewalk, the entire Old Dominion University women’s field hockey team was running, carrying their sticks. I realized I would have to pass them, and it was going to be…at least awkward, and at most embarrassing. Why? Because I was wearing a knee-length black dress and ballet flat-sneaker hybrid shoes, with black faux-alligator purse slung over my shoulder. It’s always funny to see someone run in a dress. Also, they may have thought I took their running as some kind of challenge and I was trying to show them up; I’m not sure.

As I chugged past, I heard exclamations of surprise: “What?” “Who was that?” I could hear all of their footsteps pound behind me. They eventually caught up because I stopped to consult a map (I’d never been to the registrar’s office before) and I got caught at an excessively long “Don’t walk” light. Anyway, I did manage to make it to the registrar, fill out forms, jog to the post office, stand in line and fill out forms, then jog to the bookstore to find a book I needed, all before my hour was up. Looking at a map, it should have been impossible. Here’s hoping all my fall break chores go as smoothly.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Poetry Reading

Last weekend, I was exhausted from Lit Fest week. It’s my favorite week of the school year here, but it requires endless running to get everything done. That meant this was a week of playing catch-up: catching up on cleaning, reading, homework, exercise, grading and rest. Of course you can’t really catch up on all of those things in one week. Guess which one had to go? If you guessed “rest,” you guessed correctly.

Last week I also signed on to take part in an ekphrastic (inspired by art) poetry reading. I was supposed to look at an art exhibit centered on mothers in prison, Interrupted Life. Because of all the catching-up, I didn’t make it to the gallery until 1 p.m. Friday, with the reading just six hours away.

I was relieved, however, to see another of the poets there, too. Luckily, I found a series of letters that really inspired me. I went home and wrote two poems I really love. They’re so different from the rest of my work, and they’re persona poems. Writing more persona poems (Poems that are clearly from the point of view of a character who is not me) is one of my goals for the year. I called my BVU professor and mentor Nadine to get her opinion, and she made some helpful suggestions.

Before I knew it, it was time to go. As I walked to the coffee shop where the reading was being held, another poem popped into my head, so when I got inside I quickly jotted it down and did a bit of revision while waiting for my turn.

I got to meet the wife and baby of Noah, the other student in my poetry workshop. It’s some ways, it’s annoying that there are only two of us in the workshop right now, but at least Noah is really talented and kind. Also, Christian is auditing the class, so he comes as often as possible. The beauty of there being four of us, including our professor Luisa, is that we all get tons of attention paid to our work every single week. Also, there’s camaraderie beyond what I’ve felt in prior workshops.

I loved the reading. Hearing other peoples’ work is so inspiring. Luisa read a brand new poem she had just shared with Noah and I in class. He and I shared a quick look of “We heard this first!” then settled in to listen again. I got to hear Andrea’s work, Til’s, Noah’s and Dana’s.

Dana was our lone fiction writer of the night, and she helped me look at fiction a new way. It wasn’t the average story, a series of events from beginning to end. Rather, it was an internal monologue with a harried assistant trying to decide whether or not to spit in her boss’ Starbucks. A-ha! I thought. Fiction can do that. Her story was a good reminder and made fiction a little less intimidating.

When I it was my turn to read my poems, I linked into the audience, the way I used to when I acted. It was great. I could feel them hang on my words, and they were with me for every emotion in the poems. People came up to compliment me. Noah’s eyes were wide: “You need to read like that in workshop. Why don’t you always read like that?” Because workshop is not theater. With most of my poems, I’m not playing a character…or at least not one different enough from me to trigger a noticeable change.

Sigh. I miss acting. I need to join a community theater…one that magically doesn’t practice at when I have evening classes…or infringe on the time I need to teach, plan, grade and do my homework. Maybe writing more persona poems will give me a different way to play at being someone else.

P.S. I got home and realized I got pictures of everyone but me reading, so I used the bathroom mirror to snap these. You can’t see what I looked like during the reading, but this is what I looked like that day.