Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sing your song, Margie

And when you ask them "How much should we give?" The only answer is MORE MORE MORE.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Last Word from Me for Awhile!

So, this week I'm going into term-paper hibernation and I probably won't be posting for awhile. This is good for me, I think. I'm a little obsessed right now with school and I don't want for all of my posts to be about that. I'm a girl with a one-track mind.

I've got a preliminary green-light on my thesis. Whoopeee!

This is the happiest I've been in quite some time, my friends.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Goodbye Portrait

Holding a note that reads: "I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!" Chris McCandless, August 1991

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Death from Above

In class yesterday, I was assigned the role of "major responder" to the paper of the unfortunate undergraduate student sitting next to me. Her paper was a brief comparison of the "Veiled Lady" in Hawthorne's "The Blithedale Romance" and the White Wale in Melville's Moby-Dick. It's a potentially interesting comparison that she wasn't quite ready to make. Her comments reminded me of Colonel Kurtz's monologue in Apocalypse Now.

Horror. Horror
has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and mortal terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.

Why does Melville's Ishmael paint a picture of the color white as horrible?

Because white is the color of hope, and when it belies a deep malice, it's truly an enemy to be feared. White belies the horror of a pastor who preaches hope and equality and intense community and leads his people to a cup of Flavor-Aid in a Guyanese jungle. White belies the horror of a marriage ceremony that ends in infidelity and immeasurable loss. White belies the horror of a nation who invades to liberate and instead rapes and tortures and kills despite its best intentions. White belies the horror of a Colonel in a jungle who set out to follow orders and ends up a demagogue in a self-made feudalism.

Thwarted hopes are the horrors of the world below.

And all of these things make us plead weak-kneed for God to make his face known as we sweat out those dark nights of the soul that give Evil an opportunity to whisper that it just isn't true. But hope, hope comes in the morning and with it comes courage to face a Red Dawn. Hope that will not ultimately be disappointed because, after all, has he not told us he went to prepare a place?

So bold I go before the mast knowing the sinking of the ship will be the victory of my soul. And if it is not, I cling bravely to the only lifeboat I know and face down the waves beneath the spreading sky.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Susanism for the Greater Good

I met with my adviser yesterday to talk about my "future." It seems funny to schedule an appointment to talk about your "future" on someone's office door in fifteen-minute increments. But, that's what happened.

We talked about my "safe schools." (And at this point, I realize that if it's going to amount to attending my "safe school," I might just skip it. I've had too many bad experiences with elephants if you get my drift.) We talked about my "reach school." And it's quite a reach. There are two other schools I'm interested in at the moment. I have three semesters left to punch up my vitae by presenting papers at conferences, making some really good grades and writing as much as I possibly can.

The good news is that my grades are (thus far) solid, I'm planning to co-write a paper for a conference in February for which I'll get a grant and I'm writing a prospectus for a conference at Tennessee Tech in March. (Cross your fingers for me.)

Here's an outline of what I've learned. Maybe I'll expand upon it later. It might be arrogant, but at least it's honest.

1. I like to work hard. I've had jobs that didn't require me to work hard. Sometimes, I kind of got in trouble when I tried. This gave me a complex. Hard work is more important to me than I realized.

2. I like to be challenged. I like to do my best and have to wonder if I'm going to fail or not. Safety is not as important to me as I thought.

3. I don't know if I'm a fantastic writer, but it's what I'm supposed to be doing.

5. I'm more of a feminist than I thought. (Or, maybe I'm just a Susanist.)

6. God cares what goes on inside the Ivory Tower. God is a passionate linguist and truly, truly, the Father of all kinds of Wisdom. There is no wisdom apart from him. He is generous with that wisdom, however, and he shares it with people who don't even believe in him.

7. I'm smart. I'm not the smartest, but I'm smart. I've finally started to wonder what was wrong with all those people at my old job who thought I wasn't, instead of wondering what is wrong with me. (I realize the wrong and I forgive it. This is power. And progress. And immeasurable joy. And gratitude to God who doesn't leave us where we fall.)

And to sum it up with what seems to be the end line of all my best writing ( you who would be joy-thieves):

Amen, Hallelujah.

(And gratitude to God who Does NOT leave us where we fall.)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I don't sleep anymore.

I don't sleep through the night anymore. I'm not sure why, but my brain can't stop it's buzzing buzzing buzzing with ideas old and new.

And the work I need to finish.

And the immeasurable joy of sussing something out for myself.

I lie awake and wonder about the people I used to know, some years and years ago, in other countries. And I wonder how they are. Hope they are safe. And warm. And I hope that they miss me somewhere in between the busy moments of their over-thought waking time. And I think they should. I made marks bold and bright. And I left some wounds, but time moves like a rake on the sand and smooths them out and leaves us with the tender moments we held like jewels in between those busy, rustling hours that made for us the better part of the seventies and the eighties and the nineties.

And we still hold them, because they can't be shared or leased or given away or left behind a trash can at the mouth of an alley.

And I rattle around this house like typewriter keys shaken in a jar. A student of letters. Learning how and why and where they fit together to make something sensible out of something that spans the length of centuries and has yet to be defined.

I trace the trajectory of my joy across a broad expanse of kindness.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Yesterday, a student told me that Watergate was not only a scandal, but also a HOTEL! You're too young to understand, she said. Which was, for the first time in my life, actually more complimentary than offensive.