tomorrow i’m presenting at rice’s graduate symposium.
this event is at least partially intended to provide rice’s graduate students (mostly in the english department) with the opportunity to present a conference paper in a safe and nonthreatening environment. however, the idea of discussing my research in front of fellow students — people i will see in the hallways for the next four years of my life — and rice professors — who in a sense hold my academic career in their hands — is far more frightening than presenting a paper in edinburgh this summer in a room full of academics i will most likely never see again. at least after my fifteen minutes in the hot seat in edinburgh i can get a little tipsy on some very good whiskey and hop on a plane.
anyway, we’ll see how it goes. my panel is likely to be relatively well-attended, since it’s right before the free catered dinner.
in other academic news, i’ve started reading a sarah scott novel — description of millennium hall, a female utopia narrative — for my 18th century seminar paper. it usually isn’t wise to commit yourself to reading a non-required novel for a seminar paper, if only due to time constraints, but after reading only one-third of it i’m convinced that it is a PERFECT text for someone like me (who is much more comfortable with close-reading and historical context than theoretical work). it’s full of what dr. michie has informed me are called clitoral details (oh, how appropriate), or small details in a text that seem insignificant but can be recuperated to produce meaning. my current plan is to connect the narrative structure, which is a series of individual histories, with the community consciousness necessary to write a utopian novel. maybe also something about the unique historical moment of this text as a narrative directly preceding the realist novel (e.g., how can a utopian narrative exist in a time when novels are tending toward the realistically verifiable, or at least identifiable). there’s also this weird obsession, at least so far, with male “curiosity” about the female world, which i think i could connect to the idea of women as a spectacle for the male gaze.
but the larger point is that this book is awesome, and i particularly recommend it to anyone interested in feminist studies. but there are moments of interest for those not into feminist theory, including what just may be very early evidence of the current midget obsession.
well, enough about school, since most people probably don’t care.
oh but before i leave the topic of school i want to send big props to alanna, who was accepted to sarah lawrence’s creative writing program. alanna obviously should be regarded as representing all that is good and right and genius.
other things are going well. i’m still psyched that danny is back and a little euphoric over the idea that i can call him any time i want. for the entire year he was in iraq i was somewhat attached to my cell phone, since missing a call from him might mean missing my only opportunity for two or three weeks to talk to him. the ability to miss a phone call from him is this strange negative freedom. and i’m going to see him for a bit on tuesday and wednesday, because i’m picking him up from fort hood and driving him to houston to catch a plane for charlotte. he hasn’t seen my place in houston (or even been to houston, for that matter).
well it’s after 2 a.m. i suppose i should get some sleep before tomorrow’s stressfest.
in light of a recent blog entry from my friend bdw, i offer the following list in conclusion…
five songs that will always be on my mental soundtrack.*
1. down get on yourself, by chris isaak. it mostly reminds me of being homesick to the point of nausea during my freshman year at american, but despite this i find myself listening to it on repeat this year. this is probably partially due to the fact that i have an inner smugness about the ease of my transition to houston as compared to the vomit-inducing panic that attended leaving for college. ter, you might be able to shed some psychological light on this one… 😉
oh god i just used an emoticon.
2. my heart will go on my celine dion. i know, it’s embarrassing. and last year and i realized just how horribly corny that song truly is (whyyyy does the heart go oooooonnnn…). but despite the cheese factor it reminds me of those rare moments in high school when everything seemed right with the world.
3. chocolate by snow patrol and don’t panic by coldplay. must be listed together. danny sent me a CD from his deployment — right at the end — with the snow patrol song, and for about a month i constantly belted it out in the car with a sense of complete excitement and relief that he was coming home. the coldplay song was playing in the car when i pulled away from his apartment in killeen, when i was leaving for houston after spending his first week back in fort hood (a whole week ago). both songs are attached to this weird, unidentifiable feeling. after a year of being so far apart, i’m still unfamiliar with the concept of leaving him behind and knowing that i’ll see him so soon. the coldplay song especially has this note of contentedness and discomfort in it that seems to fit.
4. tainted love by soft cell. only can truly understand the influence this song has had on my life.
5. kokomo by the beach boys. this is the song danny sings when nothing else is stuck in his head. now it’s the song i sing when nothing else is stuck in my head. we’re planning on visiting every place mentioned, although port-au-prince probably isn’t the friendliest place in the world right now (and as far as i know, kokomo only actually exists in indiana).
* this list is necessarily incomplete. and probably biased to recent years.