Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ball Juggling 201

One semester of grad school down, three to go.

Clearly, being a full-time student added to my list of roles has kept me from updating my blog! But, as I learn to negotiate the highways and byways of life as a student, I am seeing the road with more clarity.

I have spent the past six months reading 16 books—most of which were creative non-fiction, written 6 critical essays, 6 book reviews and 150 pages of creative work, and attended two residencies—22 days worth—in Vermont! I have loved every minute of it, and it is very out of the norm for me not to be whining about something! (I'm sure the antidepressants help some, but there are some things that pills just can't cure.)

I'm starting the semester strong, reading some amazing stuff. Though it will be no surprise to anyone, I'm enjoying Flannery O'Connor—What a smart cookie! Mystery and Manners would have to be my favorite book on writing so far. I have underlined just about every sentence. My book just looks ridiculous...My underlining was supposed to cue me when I look back to see what I should include in my critical essay. I hope my professor this semester is ready for rewritten copy. Maybe I'll just change the font and he won't recognize it.  

Speaking of my advisor, I have a new one! Patrick Madden, my brilliant essay-expert of a professor from last semester has been shared with five other students and I will miss his critiques and encouragement. But, I will continue with my education of the classical essay on his site Quotidiana. I will be working this semester with the memoirist and biographer Lawrence Sutin. His work is incredible and I am loving A Postcard Memoir. The level of academic excellence we are being exposed to at VCFA is fantastic. Every time I go to research one of the faculty, I am amazed at the amount of google tags that open up. Seriously. I've decided that my next goal in life is to have a Wikipedia page dedicated to my accomplishments. It'll be one of those long-ass entries that talks about my childhood in Tucker, GA, including the baby kangaroo we had as a pet. Of course, my more technical creative nonfictionist classmates will charge me with inaccurate information....(So what if it wasn't a baby kangaroo? It was a wallaby. Same diff.) You can't just add yourself either. I've tried. It'll be up for one day and then someone out in Wiki Land deletes your entire entry, officially saying that your life is just not important enough. They may have a point. Whoever "they" is.

So, if you are up for it. We can have a mini-online book club. It'll be called: Don't you wish you'd get credit for reading this book like me? Book 1: Mystery and Manners

by Flannery O'Connor. Book 2: A Postcard Memoir

by Lawrence Sutin. You can even order these books straight from my blog. Yippeee! The memoir has beautifully-written lyrical essays that were inspired by Sutin's postcard collection. I have enjoyed reading them (each essay is quite short) and then using some of the postcard images for my own inspiration to write.

Feel free to leave comments about the books. We can have a dialogue going in my comments box. If you say something really interesting, I might even include it in my critical essay. Though, I won't cite you, if that's okay. Just know that imitation is the biggest form of flattery.

So, as I continue to strike a balance with teaching, schooling, parenting, and living, I will try to bring in more blogging. What's one more ball to juggle? If I drop one, well, that'll just be more balls to shag. And, who doesn't like a good shag every now and then?


  1. Hooray! Well as always, this is a pleasure to read. I am inspired to read all of these books and discuss with you. But knowing my pension for failure in these matters, I have almost immediately given up on that. However i still appreciate the moment of imagined, creative excitement.
    I hope at your stage of life your ball handling skills will hopefully be enough, that you can avoid the strenuous exertion of shagging. Hopefully leaving more time for blogging.
    [sorry Dave]
    P.s. I am already ready for more.

  2. Impressive reading list! Hope to see more of you on the blogosphere now that I can't see you every morning in our VCFA, err, nest.