Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tomorrow, at the ungodly hour of 4:20 a.m., I will leave Samford and go to the Birmingham airport. From there I will fly to Chicago, and then to the jewel of the Mid-West: Minneapolis. What brings seven lowly Alabama English majors to the great state of Minnesota? Why, nothing less than the illustrious (cough) Sigma Tau Delta (or, STD - snicker) convention. There, along with other poor abstract souls, we will read papers on such highly relevant topics as "Renaissance Poetry: Gender and Class Identification in The Faerie Queen," and "Necrophilia and Neo-Capitalism in Poe's Early Short Stories."

Yes, we are nothing if not relevant. That's why they confine us to a convention center in Minneapolis once a year. 

On the upside: All I have to do is read some poems that I submitted at the last moment. 
On the downside: I  . . . I can't remember what poems I did submit. I mean, I know SOME of them for sure, but like I said it was last minute and I really didn't think they'd get accepted, sooo . . . this is where I can pull the "constant revision" card. Who are they to say if "Novemb
er Morning" could not be revised and evolve into "Tulips and Motorcyle Drag"?

Is it sad that my younger brother is the one who reminded me about the Mall of America when I was whining to him about what to do there? All I'd found was an art gallery (actually . . . I probably will go) and some museum on the mill industry (gag blah I'm zoning out as I type it). So, shopping and art. And reading The Education of Little Tree. All in all I'm still bitter about having to miss Dr. Brown's Amazing Folklore Class tomorrow, but who am I to refuse a University Excused Absence for three whole days? 

In other news, here is the best I can do as far a haircut photos go. Mac Photo Booth pictures always end up looking emo and self-conscious. 

I hope I can find some sort of internet connection up there in the wilds of Minnesota, and fill you all in on my Mid-Western adventures. Until then - peace, children. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Scenes from Spring Break: Act One

Yesterday, I scheduled a haircut. I went with a speech prepared. The speech went something like this:
"I am ready for something new; something professional that doesn't take a lot of time . . . nothing too drastic, but I'm willing to experiment."

I recited my speech very well. Except for the one clause I left out. Guess which clause? Yes. The one that includes "drastic." 

A note of explanation. My sweet mother always kept my hair bobbed when I was growing up, so when I got older I rebelled by growing it long(er). I even made it to the tops of my shoulder blades for a while. And every year when the weather gets warm, I resist the urge to chop it off to a chin-length bob, and the urge passes, and I go back to my long-hair happiness, and resolve to let it get even longer. 

Until yesterday. My hair has not been this short in eleven years. The resolution and dedication of eleven years, gone in a few swift shears.

 And I love it. I feel older. And my hair does not look like an animal sleeps there anymore. And it's bouncy and cute and makes me want to wear a sundress all the time. And I will post photos as soon as I'm near a camera when I haven't woken up from a nap and don't look like some creepy puffy-eyed emo kid. 

In other news, life at home = beautifully relaxing. As a good friend pointed out, I find it hard to just stop and rest. Even my rest time has to be productive somehow: I must catch up on all those issues of Cooking Light, and organize my room, and bake all those things I can't at school, and walk the land - so that soon even relaxing becomes a to-do list, and I'm still wound up in a tight little ball. 

So I've been trying to take this friend's advice. Like today, when I dragged a quilt onto the back porch with some books and paper and pen, and wrote a poem for a while, and then just rested. Lay face down on the sun-warmed quilt and dozed. And came inside to crash on the couch and doze some more. 

Or last night when I put away my book and actually watched a movie with my family instead of glancing up every so often. And I found out that I really love High Noon and that haunting song that runs all the way through it and all future boyfriends must live up to the GCS (Gary Cooper Standard). 

Yes. Work and rest. A balance between the two. Not a constant mix of both. 

Also, my family has eaten dinner together every night so far. That never happens, because Jim the social butterfly is doing something every night with high school friends. [And I don't blame him - if my friends lived close, I'd be with them all the time during breaks. But my friend group comes from college. This is because I was anti-social in high school, and didn't figure out how to be anything but shy until my senior year. So by the time I found out that the kids in my class were actually pretty cool, there wasn't time for anything but a casual friendship. And this has been a really long side note.]

So it's been nice in the evenings, to sit and have supper while the sun sets and Dad and Jim quote There Will Be Blood and I laugh hysterically and Mom serves us really good food. And then we all hang out in the keeping room after dinner and watch old movies and I have the feeling this week will be one of those memories you come back to rest in later.

Do not forsake me, oh my darling
Wait, wait along
I do not know what fate awaits me
I only know I must be brave

Saturday, March 7, 2009

M, I, Crooked letter, Crooked letter, I . . .

 . . . Crooked letter, Crooked letter, I, Humpback, Humpback, I. 

That's right. I spent the day in the great state of Mississippi. A land whose welcome centers flow with free Coke and root beer samples. 

Today, you see, was the first of Dr. Brown's Folklore Fieldtrips. To Freeney, MS. Where is Freeney, you ask? Well. For those ignorant of the geography of backwoods Mississippi (like . . . me), Freeney is on the Choctaw Indian Reservation, near the Silver Star Casino.  We spent 4 hours driving to a bona fide general store. And I do mean general. Everything from Choctaw rivercane baskets to screwdrivers to Moonpies to chipped crockery. It was wonderful. 

After watching a Choctaw woman (and a random non-Choctaw woman) weave and drinking Coke from a glass bottle and wandering around the store for about an hour, we left for the casino. (Oh yes, and there was a weird old man with guns in the back of his car who kept blasting this hand-held horn and telling us the origin of the phrase "honky white man." That was fun too.) And the casino was just sad. 

We didn't actually do that much. Most of the time was - well, driving. And actually, that was just fine. The best part, even. Because I was crammed in a car with four witty and delightful people, so thank you to Ellen, Josh, Jordan, and Drew for making me laugh until my stomach hurt. 

It was one of those days where you're not concerned with much besides whether to eat at Popeye's or Wendy's, where you make fun of Howitzers in front of Assembly of God churches, a gentle and lazy sort of day where you let everything happen without trying to control it too much. I like those days. I am naturally introspective, you see, and while that's not a bad thing, it makes me love the days when my mind quits its feverish churning and I look Out instead of In. 

Good company + spring weather + driving in the country = perfect way to spend a Saturday. And now I can't wait til the canoe trip in April. 

On the way back we were all tired and hungry like little kids after a long day at the park. I got back to my room and ate black beans with rice and salsa and whipped cream cheese (college cooking lends itself to creativity) and took a relaxing walk in the warm spring night and typed up my Folklore notes. 

And now I am ready to sleep. For a good long while. 

Go to sleep, little baby
Everybody's gone in the cotton and the corn,
didn't leave nobody but the baby