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I wanted to post this to the Fourth Street Fantasy community on LJ, but apparently I don't have posting access. So, here: a poem that I was trying to find online for the story-telling evening about journeys (but which I could not locate until yesterday). Milosz is one of my favorite poets.

THIS ONLY
Czeslaw Milosz

A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
A voyager arrives, a map led him here.
Or perhaps memory. Once, long ago, in the sun,
When the first snow fell, riding this way
He felt joy, strong, without reason,
Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
Of a train on the viaduct, a feast of motion.
He returns years later, has no demands.
He wants only one, most precious thing:
To see, purely and simply, without name,
Without expectations, fears, or hopes,
At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

South Hadley, 1985.

apace

Feb. 16th, 2012 09:23 pm
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I know I ought to Start Working On Something New, since I've started querying agents and all. But, well. There's only so much I can do, and my classes-and-work responsibilities have been eating my brain, nevermind the research proposal and associated duties. Today the work excitement was "run a class visit to Special Collections all by yourself with no particular training in such areas". (It went well, and they seemed to like the books I showed them. Yay!)

In the meantime, though, I have been reading. These days reading two books in as many days counts as a major achievement these days.

Yesterday it was How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, which a friend had recommended. I picked it up at the library, didn't find the first few pages too grabbing, but kept reading and got sucked in. Gracious. There are things I could quibble with, but overall it's quite the book and I'd recommend it.

Today, Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. I first found this back in Minnesota at a bookstore, enjoyed the beginning, but didn't quite want to commit to spending the money (college student!). Happily, I ran across it in the New Books section of our college library today. Spent part of the afternoon devouring the rest of it. Also good. The closest comparison I can make, off the top of my head, is The Last Unicorn for ten-year-olds only a bit thinner and portal fantasy.

And tonight, because my brain was tired of staring at computer screens (fixing website stuff at work today, etc.), I started rereading Pamela Dean's Tam Lin. Even though my college life is very different from those characters', aspects of it hew awfully close.
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Thanksgiving break has, this year, been not so productive. But that's okay.

I'm staying with Kate and her family and the two foster kids they've got for the weekend. Though I haven't interacted with the kids a ton, the forced perspective is interesting: how do you explain to a five-year-old the similarity between ice cream and sorbet? It has the same sort of texture, or maybe consistency, but are those words she's going to know? My vocabulary avails me naught!

This evening, I have had writing time. I didn't do anything last weekend, so me being into Part Three now is just catch-up from that; I'm currently at the end of the first chapter in Part Three and, having hit a scene that needs to be completely rewritten, that may be where I end for tonight.

I have this odd double vision: I know I am making the novel better, I can see where I am trying to take it, but I also have the distinct impression that even if I get it where I want it, it'll be vaguely boring and no one will really be interested to read it.

...then again, that may just be the middle of the novel talking.

Back to campus again tomorrow. It feels like I barely left yesterday, but it also feels like I've been gone for an age. Not looking forward to the run-up to finals--I just want it to be winter break, with a good three weeks where I don't have homework--but I am fairly well prepared for them, I think. Nevertheless, I will probably vanish again after I hit "post" on this. Such is life.
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Rumors fly about Mountain Day every year, but this year it seemed that there were more than usual. Having a week and a half of rain can do that. On Wednesday, the rain finally broke. It was sunny, and twenty-something (a high something) of my Facebook friends posted angrily about the lack of mountain in their day.

Mountain Day exploits! )

Friday afternoon, after finishing my physics midterm (and buying a new writing/everything notebook for VP onwards), I felt like I got to breathe. I lay outside in October sunshine and... well, and realized that, oh, Viable Paradise is in two days. Thought about writing, about my life. Having the space to do that is important, and I lack that sometimes these days. Going to the REU was a good thing, but I ended up without all that much time to just sit and be this summer. As my former Special Collections boss said in sympathy, there just isn't time to read.

Now I'm partway toward VP already. Tomorrow I go the rest of the way, and will submerge into that world for a week. I hope that the writer part of my brain wakes up. I hope that I learn, and write, and read, and make friends. I hope I get to explore the island. And I hope that all my plans for getting back to MHC on Friday night work out. Hold my breath and cross my fingers, and that's all that I can do.
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We have all managed to move in on campus again, hurrah hurrah. It involved me sitting in a car for a couple of hours with plant in my face, but that's okay.

The Mob and I have an apartment in a dorm. We moved all the furniture and unpacked and bought groceries and then discovered that our stove and oven don't work. Um. They are electric; they are plugged in; we're not sure what we're doing wrong. Facilities management, of course, had Labor Day off.

The other oddity is that apparently the groundskeepers thought this summer was a good time to put in a barren wasteland outside our windows. We figured maybe wizards did it. A friend eventually explained to us that there had been a large crevice and that that might have been why the basement of this dorm flooded last year. Okay; I accept "not flooding dorms" as an excuse. But I still really hope they plant some new stuff there.

...since then, apart from the exploration of our kind-of-awesome kind-of-creepy all-confusing basement, the flailing about stoves, the cleaning of everything, and the having of a tea party (we had to borrow electric kettles and make no-bake cookies), we've all been watching Doctor Who pretty much continuously. Namely, the second half of season five (to catch Kate up); and the Christmas special (to catch Kate and Anna up). Shaaark! Next up: all of season six so far.

Aaand we may just all skip convocation today--it's raining and wouldn't be very pleasant in the amphitheater--and have a lesbian movie marathon. I am deeply appreciative of my friends' taste, and am happy to be back on campus with Everyone Ever (except all those people who graduated and left), but am getting kind of eye-achy from watching laptop screens so much. Maybe we can purloin the TV room.

Actual productive-on-classes things done: very very few. I figured out this morning that the western-encounters-in-Afghanistan class (which starts with Alexander the Great) at Smith won't actually work because the buses would conflict with things I'm already taking. Which means I will probably be taking a history class on the Italian Renaissance as seen from the perspective of the populace, which is at MHC and therefore much easier to get to. Figuring out my class schedule: definitely progress. Of course, I have bought precisely zero textbooks so far... ah well.

Off to get dressed so I can go eat breakfast. At least the weather's cooled off. I could almost believe it's September now.
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Back in Massachusetts. Been working on various useful things, since I have a few days to spare while other people pack their belongings before we all move back in on campus. (I have started to suspect that the reason I didn't need to spend a lot of time packing for college is that I never really become unpacked.) Much of this is writing-related. One of these was: I submitted two stories to markets today. Out the door again has got to be worth something! Another was rewriting the second act of the short story now called "Lightening".

Queen of Spades is alas still resolutely refusing to come together. I know the plot and setting and characters, at least vaguely, but although this is often enough to get me bowled into the project, this time it... isn't. What do I need? I might need a first-person narrator so I can worm my way deeper into the main character's head.

Non-writing-related news: res life says when my roommate goes abroad for spring semester, I have the choice between convincing someone to move into the apartment in the middle of the year... and getting placed with a random roommate. Full of win, guys. (I'm hoping I can talk with them and disability services when I get back on campus, and see if there's anything that can be done.) Also, moving toward switching up my schedule for the semester--I registered for a history class on the "little people" during the Italian Renaissance, but haven't dropped my extraneous physics class yet. Should probably talk with people about that, and about actually signing up for a minor, but that will all be easier when I'm on campus.

In the meantime, we went raspberry picking today. The mosquitoes seemed to enjoy our presence; the bees largely ignored us, pushing sleepy faces into flowers, but the flies--not best pleased--buzzed sharply around our heads. My jeans now have smears of berry juice on them, but it was worth it.
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Last night I woke up at two in the morning and had to take painkillers again. Sad face. I went in to the health center, who told me helpfully to go buy Sudafed somewhere else, 'cause I'd have to sign for it.

Happily, I am planning to be in Northampton tomorrow (and so can pick some up), because it will be Pride! I have a ridiculously multicolored skirt, knee-high rainbow socks, and a t-shirt that says "We're here, we're queer, our parents think we're studying"--what more do I need? I keep missing Minneapolis Pride--I've been but not for a while--and so I am glad I am going to this one, besides the part where it'll be interesting to compare what they're like. (This summer I will be in San Francisco for their Pride... now that will be an experience.)

Finals go. I can do most of the proofs on the real analysis final, but I have to write them up and sort out all the qualifiers. I have a couple of questions about the quantum final, which I really ought to remember to email the professor. (Hmm. Maybe I'll go do that.) I studied some Greek earlier and will study more tomorrow morning, before Pride, and I know at least one more distinction that I need to add to my final paper for CST--beyond what I already knew I was going to put in.

Mostly, this afternoon, I got the impression that pieces are sliding into place. I have three-quarters of a jar of jam left in my minifridge, and nothing to do with it: I shall take it with me to Northampton and eat it on rice cakes for lunch. Someone is taking my minifridge off my hands--The Mob and I have an in-dorm apartment for next year, complete with full refrigerator--so I don't have to worry about that. Et cetera. I tend to worry about things in advance, and make a lot of plans, so it's always nice to be in that bit of time when all the plans catch and hang and they all click over together.

Not Thinking about leaving campus next week. Not Thinking about not seeing Kate for over a month, or the fact that the last day we'll see each other (for over a month) will be six months from when we started going out. These things will take care of themselves, in the future. For now: I will work on my paper tonight, I will go to Pride tomorrow and eat jam and make a blanket fort with my friends in the evening to watch Doctor Who, and it will be awesome. That is all.
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I should probably not say anything, because it will squeak and run away, but--I have a story.

It has no title yet. It does have names (baby name websites rock) and a list of fairy tales and bits of mythology that I want to use, most of them twisted. I am writing the scenes out of order; it's the first time I have really done that for a story. Usually I get the beginning and write until I get to the end, and then stop. This time? Who knows. I know the style, though, at least vaguely, which should be enough to get me somewhere.

Having a new story is nice.

Also nice: having done the last homework assignment for real analysis. Now there's only the final left! And The Mob's birthday happened recently, so we had a tea party on Sunday, and we baked a lemon cake with frosting which was delicious--people, including me, were shamelessly scraping the pan for crumbs. The weather has been indeterminate but pretty lately: one day I woke up to find that I couldn't see across the quad for the fog. Today it was misty in the morning, but that faded into a gorgeous afternoon to beat all gorgeous afternoons.

In a week, classes will be over. Um. Wow. Excuse me as I run away from that thought...

fireworks!

Apr. 16th, 2011 05:35 pm
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I have my second real analysis midterm now, but weirdly it's the homework rewrite due Tuesday that was frustrating me this morning--I have an idea of how to do all but one of the problems on the exam. I also figured out what I'm writing my second-to-last short essay for CST on! For some reason, "look at all your homework and figure out how to do it" counts as plenty of productivity for me on a Saturday.

Admittedly, this is enhanced by the fact that I cut off all my hair again today (yay--it had been getting long). Oh, and I spent a few minutes making the Scrivener scene files for this one sequence I re-organized on paper recently, though I haven't started modifying the text to fit what I need. Revising is an odd thing to get used to; it doesn't have an easy metric like "I wrote this number of words".

Yesterday I went to the theater department's production of Skin of Our Teeth. It is an odd play; I think it must have made more sense in 1942 or they wouldn't have given it the Pulitzer. Maybe not the whole hours thing in the last act, but the gender roles, maybe. And the sense that the world always gets destroyed and then we have to build it again--these days it seems like everyone thinks we're getting tiny apocalypses while slowly sliding into the abyss, and eventually we'll all just fall over the edge. (And the rest is silence.)

But the production was very well done--great costumes, great set (made out of cardboard apparently--the first time one of the actors picked up what looked like a flat and carried it off I was very startled), very good performances all around. Cute dinosaur. In the last act almost all the characters had half-size puppets of themselves with which they acted out the scenes, which was fascinating. They must have gotten a puppeteer in to teach them technique; they had clearly gotten trained in how to use puppets onstage, and it added a layer to all of the meta. What that layer means I'm still not sure, but it was really neat.

It's Spring Weekend or some such, which means vaguely obnoxious music drifting from the campus center last night and today--and a foam pit no one wants to play in when it's forty degrees out--but which also means that they had a fireworks display last night. Before the play Kate and I were eating dinner outside and saw them setting up. During the intermission I realized that the dull booms I had been hearing weren't sound effects for the play but fireworks, and promptly dragged her outdoors to look at them.

I love fireworks. The way they thump in your chest and the way that the new ones illuminate the drifting smoke-corpses of the last. It's vicarious, unreasoning enjoyment, and I adore it. Seen in the middle of Skin of Our Teeth it gave a sharp contrast to the affectations, the sometimes painfully self-aware meta... Just generally, too, I like the intellectualism on campus, but once in a while I need some fireworks to shake me out of my brain, send me running for the doors to watch them glitter and die.

I think I will be okay the rest of this semester. I've been having weird moments of doubt (mostly Do I want to be a physics major after all?), and--well, I have not really enjoyed real analysis this semester, which is Minnesotan Understatement for please get me out of this course it is breaking my brain. But all I have to remember is that no, that isn't all of life, not even my life, not even right now. I have fireworks and I have Kate and I have a ticket for the Janelle Monae concert in a couple of weeks, and I have some Scrivener files waiting for me to fill them with words. And I will get through the real analysis and the rest of quantum and all the rest of everything, and I will be okay.
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Life calmed down a bunch, but then I used my free time to write and enjoy not being stressed and lie in the sun and spend more time with Kate and stuff so I still haven't posted in a while.

But! A few notes:

- Obvious writing statement: novels take a long time to write. (I would add "no, longer than that" but since a number of you write novels too, you know this already.) A Returning Power has finally gotten kicked into "maybe I can revise this" territory, after finishing the previous draft over Thanksgiving break. I rewrote two scenes! There are another couple of scenes in which I know what I want to change! There's another sequence that I know vaguely what I want to be different, too.

- Perhaps less obvious writing statement: for a short story to work, or to surprise me, or keep me interested... there have to be at least two different things going on. Two ideas. Two things happening. A melody and a counterpoint? This has taken me longer to figure out from reading slush than it maybe should've--and I have used this in a couple of things I have written, which is the sad part, but it just crystallized in my brain this afternoon. So. Two things. At least. Otherwise, whether the story is a thousand words or three thousand, I am probably going to lose interest.

- I finally finished reading Steam-Powered, aka The Lesbian Steampunk Anthology, the other day. (I promptly had to lend it to The Mob (aka my roommate) and then Kate. Kate's roommate wants to read it after that. I love my life and my friends.) All the stories were at least good, and by the virtue of being lesbian steampunk short stories they were kind of awesome by default. But I will say the last two in the book were my favorites, Shweta's and Amal El-Mohtar's, and now I need to go back and reread that poem and look at the picture again, because I thought that was a neat collaboration for Con or Bust even before I had read either of the stories.

- Taking a critical social thought class on the history of science/the scientific revolution, and starting to write again (I always seem to start up with the spring; sunlight gives me enough energy to write on top of all my schoolwork, maybe), is maybe ruining me for doing physics. I had a moment the other day when the Aristotelian worldview completely made sense.

- The end of the semester approaches with alarming rapidity. I register for classes for next semester... tomorrow; soon I will know where I'll be living next year. I need to buy a plane ticket to San Francisco for the summer. I need to figure out what storage service I'm using for my stuff in MA this time. Eep.

- ...and now it's time for dinner; time rushes on. To FOOD!
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The semester started on Wednesday. I am not sure how I feel about this.

Classes I'm taking are:
- Real analysis: should be interesting and teach me things--it's full of people who are about at my same math level, which rocks.
- Quantum mechanics: best class ever? Quite possibly. (I have been waiting years to take quantum mechanics. On the first day we got a thermal image of a zebra. As far as I care this class can do no wrong.)
- Second semester of Greek: more maiming! More violence! Always fun.
- Science, revolution, and modernity: a critical social thought class, which seems very interesting and also kind of intense (six books plus supplementary readings? 3-4 page paper nearly every week?), at least to my physics-major brain. But hey, readings and not problem sets, so that's nice.

I auditioned for the five-college early music program and got placed in a group. Singing madrigals! I haven't done that much since freshman year of high school, and I have missed it. (I kept forgetting to check and see when auditions were, the past few semesters.) I will have concerts to go and do, in addition to two hours' weekly practice.

[Edit: And of course working in special collections. Forever.]

In grand college tradition, I would also like to attend at least a few meetings for the Coalition for Gender Awareness this semseter--I've been on their email list since last year--and, oh yeah, try out for a play. I am going to try out for the play anyhow, which might be a bad idea but oh well. CoGA might have to wait. I seem to be cycling through all the things I want to do; I just have to hope that I have enough time to actually do all of them before I graduate.

Not helping with this: I hope to study abroad for a semester next year. I have a shortlist, just need to fill out all the forms. I do have some time on that.

Meanwhile, though, I still have physics research applications to do. I am getting through them, but I have some left--the plan is to do those today. (Also, my homework for tomorrow.) I submitted my application to the U of MN materials science REU program this morning, which I point out especially because their application webform has a box to type in for gender, not just buttons for male and female. Win!
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I have regained College!

The train journey this time was pretty awesome, too. On the Chicago stopover, I stuck my luggage in a locker and trekked the mile across downtown to the Art Institute, which was having free admission on weekdays--score.

(I pause my narrative to complain about the lockers. They annoy me. They cost $3 or $4 per hour, depending on size, and take only one- or five-dollar bills (or credit cards). They do not make change. I am not really good at carrying a plethora of one-dollar bills. This led to a couple of "excuse me, would you trade me four quarters for a dollar bill?" interactions at the station. By the end of it, though, I was running out of quarters. Also, you have to scan and confirmation-scan your fingerprint before you can rent one, and while the scanner is oohcool and high-tech, it... does not always recognize that your fingerprint is the same thing as itself--an interesting philosophical conundrum.)

Anyway, art museum! Free art! Well, I had to pay a dollar to check my coat (more quarters gone!), but that was okay. The Chicago art museum makes me ashamed and proud of the Minneapolis art museum at the same time. Everything they have on display seems to be something famous and shiny and pretty and impressive. They are very proud of their famous, shiny, pretty, impressive things. They want you to admire them! They would like it if you went goggle-eyed at them.

Whereas in the Minneapolis art museum, there are things like the period rooms, which have nothing famous in them at all; there are non-famous things; and generally it is just homier. Or maybe I am just used to it.

But the shiny pretty impressive things in Chicago were duly shiny and pretty and impressive. They have a lovely arms-and-armor collection, and just everything is beautifully restored and awesome (a book from I think the 1500s that looked like it had to be a replica, but no, they wouldn't exhibit that). Some of the medieval art was really colorful. They have some reeeeally old stuff there, too, ancient (Chinese?) jades and bronzes (~1000 BC on some of the bronzes, I think?), and I got to recalibrate my oldness sensors. So I am very much not complaining.

There was also an exhibit, in the modern wing, by Richard Hawkins--which I was trying to find on the website under current exhibitions but apparently that was its last day. Um. But it was neat--some of it was not quite my thing, but there were also these house-sculptures, lit from inside, some with mirrors and Grecoroman statue pictures and doors inside, some just lit in empty rooms, floors stacked on each other... this was one of them, I think, but so much cooler in real-space. Another of them was on a low table so that I had to stoop down to circle it and peer into the windows, and the mirrors reflected pictures of statuary, and further doors, and slices of my own face...

That was cool.

Then I walked back, making a stop at Argo Tea (two things you need to find in a new city: art museums and tea) to get some mint tea and hop on their wifi for a bit. After which I spent some hours sitting around in Union Station until my next train boarded.

Tip for train travel: go when it won't be crowded; then you can nab the seat next to you, too, and curl up entirely horizontally. I got a pretty good night's sleep that way, despite waking blearily a few times, which is sort of par for the course with trains.

The next day went on much as days do, on trains; I reread Gaudy Night and read part of Delany's Neveryona. I ate lots of granola. We got in about an hour late, which I got slightly grumpy about, because they hadn't made any announcements about us being off schedule, and I had gotten on the train at 9 pm the day before and didn't have the schedule of stops memorized, so as to know how far behind we were. So I started fidgeting and hoping that the train had not decided to skip Springfield and perhaps go to the moon instead. At that point I'd been on a train for about twenty hours, though, so my behavior may be forgivable, but I think before my next trip I should download the full schedule for the train so as to have a reference. That was really the problem, that I had no idea how much longer it would take. I also didn't know how I could summon a conductor to ask about it, and since (as far as I knew) the train could be stopping at the station any minute, I didn't want to wander back to the cafe car where they hang out and ask.

But I got there eventually, and a friend of mine very kindly picked me up in the freezing rain and slush and drove me to campus.

Today, I spread everything out in my room in a parody of how I did before I packed it, three days and a thousand miles ago. (I have put away most of it, and cleaned a few things, but there is still work to be done.) I also went over to the library and obtained Books, for there is a week before my classes start and I intend to waste it thoroughly.

A few pictures are up here; it's difficult to take pictures from a moving train, so there aren't very many, but there are some.
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Absolute radio silence = finals week!

Three down and one to go. I have spent the last three days marathoning math-and-science takehome finals, and finished the last of those about an hour ago. Which meant I got to sit around and read webcomic updates, and put away all the laundry I had done this morning and just dumped on my bed, and later I will review Greek verbs and all the little words so I can take that final tomorrow morning.

Also, the afternoon light in this room is being gorgeous, and I have music. So those things are all good.

Promise to myself: to never take three math and science classes in one semester ever again. (Unless I, um, really have to at some point to finish my major or something. In which case it'll probably be okay, but optimally, not choosing to do that again.) By the end of yesterday I was sick and tired of math finals. Doing physics today was a relief, but still too similar for comfort.

I also woke up this morning knowing exactly what I did wrong on this one question on one of the math finals I turned in yesterday. Whoops.

In the midst of that, on Tuesday evening we went contra dancing. Wonderful fun. By the end of the evening we all felt a bit nauseous (and completely exhausted), and the bus back to campus didn't help, but--wonderful fun. It may have persuaded me, in fact, to bring a skirt back with me next semester. I didn't bring any skirts or dresses at all this semester, and never felt the lack except at the contra dance, where part of the point seems to be how swirly one's skirt is.

At some point recently--time's a bit vague--I looked up a whole pile of physics REUs and made a spreadsheet of places and deadlines and websites and topics. And I got advice from my advisor about resumes and essays and so on, which was really helpful. So I will apply for REUs over the break (some of them look really neat!) and also to Viable Paradise and possibly also to Taos Toolbox, which is good to have settled in my mind, at least.

...I should probably not actually act like I'm all done with finals now, because I'm not. But it feels so nice to sit here and let my brain uncompress from all that math and physics, and think about how I do not have much left to do before I go home.

Also! Important: do you have any advice for long train rides?

I am taking the train home for break, see, and I think I have a good notion of what I need to do (pack all the food ever, bring a water bottle, bring a blanket...), but there might be something I am forgetting.

Off now to try to study Greek. Maybe I will just sit in the sun and read the Iliad. That counts, right?
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So. Things.

I spent most of this past week being tired, and feeling bad about it until I realized that it was probably my body trying to recover from the massive shock of anaphylaxis last weekend. (Entirely apart from the drugs they gave me at the hospital.) But I met with some people, and came to some conclusions, so that was good and with luck it will never happen again ever.

Friday was really nice; I spent about two and a half hours in the children's books section of the library reading the first 20-50 pages of novels. (I have been thinking about Beginnings.)

Also, I read some books. The whole thing, I mean.
The Changeover, Mahy: I read this when I was entirely too young, and understood practically none of it. Now I understand a lot more! There is a time between these two, though, when I both would have understood it and would have needed a book like this. However, as is often the case, I never picked it up when I was that age.
For The Win, Doctorow: By an order of magnitude better than Little Brother. (In my opinion, at least.) I picked this up as a see-the-beginning thing, realized I was intrigued, and checked it out to take it home with me.

Last night it snowed a little. I went out to dance in it then, as it was falling, and then this morning got up at seven or so to go out and wander around a lake before it all melted. I hear Minnesota is having a snowpocalypse, and have seen many lovely photos of things covered in a foot of snow, and am envious, but... well. I will be there soon enough, and there will certainly be snow. And I did get falling snow and snow to crunch in on a winter morning watching dawn, so things could be much worse.

This afternoon, I finished my last midterm. Now all I have left in the semester is one day's worth of Greek homework and to Take All The Finals. Yay?
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When novels leave there are these big gaping holes in your brain where you used to fiddle endlessly with plot and characters and What Happens Next. (I would be lying if I said I didn't think about the novel-that-was at all, but I've been trying to push it out of my brain as much as possible.)

So, clearly productive things I have done this week include watching TV on the internet (Community, Glee, the last episode of Tipping The Velvet), reading, making my christmas wishlist, fretting about my future (after college; next summer; this January), and doing assorted homework. Finals are approaching; they're still far enough in the future that I don't actually have to study for them yet--just worry about them, too.

(While I was thus distracted, the new issue of Ideomancer came out. It's awesome.)

I've also realized that I never wrote up things about all the books I read while staying at [livejournal.com profile] vcmw's house over Thanksgiving break. Possibly that will never happen. Short rundown: Pegasus, Hopeless Savages (Best Of?), a non-fiction book about awesome Victorian women, um? Probably something else. Since then, I have read Sayers' Nine Taylors (creepy) and caught up on a bunch of online fiction venues.

The state my brain's been in, though, everything takes me twice as long as it normally would. And the pointless fretting about my future definitely isn't helping: should I go to physics grad school after undergrad, even though I'm not really sure I want to? Should I get my MLIS, even though really I would like to do special-collections librarianship and that isn't a very large field and I'm not sure I would like the job enough to go wherever there was an opening? Should I sell some best-selling novels before I graduate college and then just end up with enough money to never have to do anything but work on novels for the rest of my life? I like that last option but it's even less likely than the rest of 'em and all the bits that I could affect of that one are intimidating, too.

Also, I feel like this summer is Important to what I do after college--if I am going to grad school for physics, shouldn't I try to do physics research this summer somewhere? But I kind of want to go to Taos Toolbox and learn about writing novels, and that is both not doing physics and spending more money than I am likely to earn, seeing as how I have no idea how to get a job that isn't work-study in a library. And preparing for a career plan that is very unlikely. Whee.

...yeah. Any, er, advice, anyone? (Hint: "go drink tea and read some more nice books and don't worry about life after college" is perfectly legitimate advice.)

next steps?

Nov. 9th, 2010 09:50 pm
aamcnamara: (Default)
My body let me know this morning that it hasn't adjusted to the new time yet by waking me up at 4:45. (I then went back to sleep. For, um, an hour or so.)

I have just sort of resigned myself to not getting any writing done the first few days of each week. I always think "Well, I only have one class on Tuesdays--" and then there's work-study and homework and reading and physics research and a meeting with my advisor and the physics talk of the week, and True Colors, and here I am staring at nine-thirty again.

But the physics research is going well! I finally showed what I have so far to my advisor, who seems to think I am making good progress, so--yay!

On the other hand... class registration for next semester is this week. And I have been informed in no uncertain terms that the creative writing class I was so, so hoping to get into doesn't want me. Because I am not a senior. Not that I can come to the first class and if there's room I can be in there--which was the first offer, before I admitted to being a sophomore--but just that they don't let non-seniors into the class at all. Apparently because that would involve, like, actually judging people's writing or credentials or experience or something. Weird stuff like that. (And this is the college that's supposed to be anti-bureaucracy and -rules? I'd think you would throw out the seniority and keep the 'judging on merit' bit.)

You can probably see why I did not write any emails back to this professor after receiving the email today. Anything I could possibly say about this as a pedagogical theory would mostly be directed toward satisfying my own sense of justice.

Anyhow, that squashes my plans for "take creative writing next semester!" very neatly. No other colleges in the consortium are offering anything involving fiction writing at length, as far as I can tell. And while I know there are more things I could learn about writing novels from writing short stories, I would rather learn things about writing novels by, well, just writing the novels.

Overall this is saddening and frustrating, too. I just can't see why they will let me into writing classes suddenly when I am a senior... and still a physics major, any more than they will when I am a sophomore and a physics major. Or into writing for grad school, if I want to get an MFA for some reason (there are awesome programs out there!).

As well, I had been vaguely thinking of trying to study abroad somewhere with an awesome writing program--who knows if they will accept a sophomore (a physics major, an American) into their higher-level writing classes? I am tired of waiting until I get older, tired of the fact that even when I am older there will still be things that hold me back from getting to do the things I want. Tired of trying to think up ways to stick what wants to be a writing career into the cracks and crannies of a college life, of work-study, of every responsibility I have and hold, of my brain and my energy levels.

(I'm not quite going to run away and write novels, but I'd kind of like to.)

And, well, I am just tired, too. It's time for bed.
aamcnamara: (Default)
I have the Internet again! I have arrived at college, and am (mostly) unpacked. We've already had a tea party--we need to get much better at teapots (pouring from, keeping from making rings on tables, maintenance of, etc), but we will work on that.

Soon there'll be the flurry of textbooks and classes and and and. With luck, we'll still find time to invite all our friends over for tea.

It's going to be... well, a different year. A lot of things will be more awesome than last year (or already are), but they'll also be different, and figuring out exactly what all of that means should be interesting. Also, like [livejournal.com profile] mrissa said before I left, there will be things like internships and study abroad and jobs, and pretty soon I will have to start making those decisions and those choices will affect my life, where I live and how and with whom and maybe my relationships, friendships and all that. And that's scary.

But I have a coffeetable laden with teacups and two teapots, and a comfy chair to sit in, and my plant returned to me, and will have strawberry seedlings on the windowsills, and really that should be enough for anyone. At least to start with.

(edit: The Internet informs me that LJ is being silly again. I assume that you all are not planning to cross-post comments here onto Facebook or Twitter, but I will mention it anyway. La.)
aamcnamara: (Default)
110 / 350


...through 106 or so of which was technically yesterday's progress. One new scene today--one that I have known I had to write for a while now. I think it's in the right place. Not sure yet what the next scene is, so some Ideomancer work and watching more internet TV should round out the day nicely. And maybe I'll bake something, who knows.

---

Grades for the semester came out today, or were supposed to--my physics professor apparently didn't get them in on time. Oh well. My other grades were about what I had expected.

Surprise of the day was that I apparently received some kind of departmental math prize named for Mildred L. Sanderson. I searched on the college website and couldn't find any information whatsoever, googled and found out only that it's given on an annual basis and first-year students receive it something like frequently.

I called and left a message at the math department to see if I could get more information (like, do I get money? A nice piece of paper that has my name on it? Or just this line on my unofficial transcript?), so we'll see if that gets me anywhere. For now: yay! Math!
aamcnamara: (Default)
I have boxes packed up, ready to be taped/labeled and shipped out tomorrow.

I have turned in all my papers, gotten confirmation all were received, and have taken my final.

I have not yet packed up all my things to be stored, because there is a certain amount that I have to pace myself. (My stuff won't be picked up for storage until Tuesday.) For the same reason, I haven't even dragged my duffel bags out from under my bed yet.

Which I guess are all things that say what I have done, but not how I am doing. So: I am okay with the amount of stuff I own. (Why is packing to move so much like writing a novel? Any large project, I guess.) I am dealing with leaving-campus and not-seeing-people by... ignoring the fact and listening to strange music on youtube. But, you know, I'm distracted and I'm okay.

What I plan to do with the rest of my afternoon: attend a Coyotecon session and figure out what to do with the three fingers of maple syrup left in the bottle.
aamcnamara: (Default)
Presentation completed. It was the one on fantastic/surreal/numinous elements--basically I argued that people talking about philosophy in fiction find it really useful to put in fantastic elements so they can literalize metaphors and capitalize on known concepts to make ideas easier to understand. It was a two-blackboard presentation, also a two-chalk-breakages presentation.

(I find these useful metrics. My last presentation involved no blackboards and no chalk, let alone the breaking of chalk, so clearly this one was more enthusiastic. Better? Who knows.)

Then I had to finish up my classics work before class, and then I had class, and now I am watching a cappella videos on youtube, because life is too short to spend all my time working on final projects, or, well, something like that.

Today has been another grey day, with peeks of sunshine. The moments of sunshine glow through all the little white flowers on the tree outside my window.

And, well--life, you know, is too short to spend all my time watching videos on youtube. Or even posting on LJ. Maybe I'll go write.

August 2015

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