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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in emily's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
12:21 am
bibliothèque du film
listen, all. I'm going to prague on friday. I just bought the ticket. this is maybe the most impulsive thing I've ever done and I'm excited and astonished all at once. I also spent the last two hours hanging out with my host family (loose term, he's 35, she's 31) and their friends, as we ate dinner at 10 pm, bottles of wine kept appearing, and they incessantly smoked cigarettes. could that have something to do with it?

my life here is such goodness. I am so thankful that I am spending my time doing what I am doing, even when all that is, is sleeping. in my bed, in a little parc off of champs elysée. whatever. that's the least exciting thing I do here (though I do seem to do an awful lot of it), and it still makes me incredibly happy.

tomorrow, I investigate the BiFi.
Thursday, September 29th, 2005
1:12 pm
je suis meilleure
So, briefly, I wanted to say things are better, at least in this exact moment. Why? Yesterday I had a picnic in the Tuileries, wine and cheese and bread and strawberries. The grey clouds against the white sky made us a little nervous, but it didn't start raining until the moment we had finished everything. Then we walked up Avenue de l'Opera for a dance performance, which was a strange combination of classical and contemporary dance, and amazing costumes, and lots of sex. Then we went out to a great bar where they gave us a couple free drinks for no particular reason, and we met two french men, one of whom spoke english with an irish accent. They were pretty cool guys, and everyone made fun of me because I was from los angeles. But the "Irish" one is apparently a big fan of Venice Beach, and got incredibly excited when I told him where I lived.

Afterwards I walked home, which was probably not the smartest thing but actually felt really safe. There were enough people that I knew they could hear me scream if something happened.

And today I got my classes! And none of them are on Friday and they're really cool: one about French New Wave Cinema, one about children's literature, and one about disillusionment in French literature. When I get home I will start doing things for the world, I promise. But everyone told me it's okay to be self-indulgent while in Paris, and I'm doing my best to listen to them. So I go out to too-expensive bars and I take literature classes and I'm going to go to budapest, spain, amsterdam...

I'm newly excited about being here.
Monday, September 12th, 2005
3:12 pm
first french transmission
Alors, I am here. In Paris. In the basement a more-sketchy-than usual internet café on Blvd St Michel. I am taking a brief respite from the hoards of girls who make up this program; there are 40 of the fairer sex, and only two guys. Which means that it's hard to avoid moving en masse; girls tend to do that anyway, and when you're a group of freshly minted Parisians (or rather, obviously American students), the urge to have at least 4 pairs of hands to hold is very strong.

This all sounds somewhat negative, and I am not having a bad time at all. In fact, the most down I've been for the past 6 days is right now, and that's more because I'm getting sick than anything else. I've been keeping it at bay, but I think the hour of truth has come, and it's going to involve some serious exhaustion and sore throats. But I'll buy some Vitamin C, and I've been taking echinacea even though my roomate sent me an article from the times this summer in which scientists proved that it does absolutely nothing to prevent the common cold.

Tout va bien. Things are good. Really good. I'm staying with some great people in a funky little apartment, and the 8 year old girl who's with them sometimes told me my French was good. (She's the daughter of the gent, haven't gotten the whole story yet, and if I asked it would probably be a mistake because I wouldn't understand all of it and then they would expect me to know in the future) I am not anywhere near fluent, but I can communicate, and that makes me overwhelmingly happy. All of this does, actually. I want to just say the word "Paris" and leave it at that, and while it's a pretty strong word, using it as the sole description of my experience is somewhat limiting and impersonal.

So then, what is so great is negotiating the metro, ranging all over the cities for the littlest things. Being here and having it be so much easier than I ever anticipated, particularly when it comes to people and my ability to talk with them (this is in English too, mind you -- remember what I said about big groups of girls?) This weekend there seemed to be music everywhere I went, which sounds overly romantic when I say it but was really just cool. I got off the metro and found an entire chamber group filling the tunnels with music; I passed a man playing a piano with the front removed so you could see all the hammers and strings; I came up from the metro at Place de la Bastille to find it filled with hundreds of people, dancing and drinking and smoking. It was the end of the Techno Parade, which was 6 hours around the city of big buses filled with dancing people and DJs. It started (and ended) at the Bastille, which meant that when I got there, everyone had been partying all day. People were all over the central monolith - when I upload pictures I'll post the good ones. If you walked around, like I did, you ran into all sorts of overlapping beats and had to avoid all of the gyrating people. It was so fabulous; it sounds cheesy to say, but there was such good energy there, like a less hippie, citified, celebratory drum circle. Actually, probably like a rave, but I wouldn't know.

In sum, things are going swimmingly. We had a language test this morning and have orientation stuff for the next couple weeks. Then classes at université begin. A whole new level, but if things continue to go well... then I guess it will all be okay.

à bientot!
Monday, August 29th, 2005
2:24 pm
these foolish things (which act as markers in our lives)
it is overly strange to sit in my mother's bedroom, with santamonica air/view/smells surrounding me, and be barraged by reserved students emails and commands to come play pick-up on mertz at 4:30. classes start today at swarthmore, and by now I would be moved in, hunkered down, and a million mental miles away from these walks and meals and southern californian pleasures. but instead I have 8 days left here before moving to paris for the semester ("moving" sounds better than "studying abroad," does it not? more like an attempt at autonomy and originality than the obvious, eurocentric, liberal-arts-school-english-major move that it really is). I need to do things relating to electronics and clothes, and when I'm done deciding what books I should bring (shakespeare & co and the abbey bookshop will buoy me through anything forgotten or any cravings I should develop); when I'm done with all that, what else is left? seems that my life, or at least, its accoutrements, is pretty much covered by those categories. mental preparation is another bag entirely, and one which I've given up on for the most part. meaning, I've moved beyond my fear to playfully telling customers, "I'm sure the first few weeks are going to be awful!" and when they assure me how wrong I am, I cheerfully contradict them, meaning every word. this isn't banter, this is the truth of my future existence: it's going to be incredibly difficult at first, and, like most things, if I think about it directly I'm scared to my depths. but I'll be in paris (PARIS!!), and experience has shown me that I'm better at life when it's happening than when I'm anticipating it. so, it will all be okay, n'est-pas?

I'm going to miss home enormously -- this summer has shown me (reminded me) how comfortable I am here, with the people and the place and the countless opportunities it provides. and, funnily enough, I'm missing swat too. same reasons (though its opportunities are more purely of the social and mental variety). I wouldn't have predicted this: when people ask "do you love it there?" I tell them that "love" is too simple of a word, implying something unadulterated, fierce and deeply sincere which I can't bring myself to apply to my college experience thus far. but I really like it, I continue. I like it enormously and I like it in ways that surprise me, and I am comfortable there in a different way than I am here, but it is nonetheless a genuine feeling. the swarthmore version of me is a good one, and it's hard to believe that it won't be employed until january. until then, I'll probably keep getting all of these emails (getting off of lists may be a necessary step, but right now it seems too harsh), and keep in spotty touch with a few people, and be dazzled by the ability of life there to go on without me.
Wednesday, June 1st, 2005
1:38 pm
"After the late failure of radical hopes."
I know that LA is supposed to be smoggy and disgusting, but the air in my backyard is one of the most delightful things I have smelled in ages. Even when I want to panic slightly and have trouble breathing, I can't; I just keep inhaling slowly and steadily and wondering how it is, exactly, that I got here.

But it's good to be here. After two weeks of living in other people's worlds (still at swat, then in new york, then portland), I am solidly back in mine. Spent the day talking with parents and drinking tea, reading on the back porch and now that it's slightly cooler inside with the window flung open. Airports all day yesterday left me feeling like I had no idea of how my body worked, but a full night's sleep and a few well-timed plums have done everything to change that. Other things have maybe started to make sense too: like why "Herzog" is an incredible book, and my plans for the summer (Dutton's with the possibility of adventures and various forms of "self-improvement"). Little things, yes, but worth it right now.
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005
11:22 pm
(This entry is boring as all hell)
I have balanced a day spent in the library writing my final english paper with a day spent doing absolutely nothing. Except an awesome frisbee practice, obscene amounts of time spent online, and visions of indian food dancing in my head.

Tomorrow I will study for econ all day. I will also eat and go to practice.

On Thursday, I will take my econ final. I will do my other english paper, I will go to practice, I will eat dinner, and I will go to see the Decemberists!!

After that, it doesn't much matter.

Current Mood: zoned out
Thursday, April 14th, 2005
8:12 pm
frittering away my time
The way I've been running my life these days never ceases to astonish me. For example, I didn't go to the classes today that I am actually enrolled in for a grade (one of which is a class for my major). However, I did go to a) the class I am taking pass-fail and b) the class that I began auditing after spring break just because I should have taken it all along. The professor doesn't even know I exist. I'm also done with my homework for the pass-fail class (due sunday) and not done with the work due tomorrow for the classes that I didn't go to.

These are not large things, but I've decided that it's okay to focus on them because then I don't have to think about: summerparishousingseminarslovelife. And I've been sick in a really weird way for at least a week now, in that I'm exhausted much of the time and my throat hurts. But sometimes it feels fine. And my contacts always seem to stop working sometime around 8 pm (maybe it's my eyes that are no longer capable of staying open). People keep assuring me that I don't have mono, and I'm sure I don't. But wouldn't it be awful if I did?

etc etc.

The best thing that I've done recently was last Sunday, but it's still worth mentioning because I ran away (rather, strolled slowly in the sun) from this campus and spend 4 hours at Borders, reading "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." I loved it, and if I had bought the book I would quote lines and lines at you. Then I wrote JSF a love letter, but I have yet to send it because I don't know the best way of getting it to him. Through his publisher? I'm afraid to read it over again because it was written when I was still entirely subsumed by the world he had created in my head, and prose just doesn't work like that normally. But it would be really great if I could get it to him. Any ideas?

After that, I ate dinner out and went over to Caitlin's to talk and drink coffee on her porch in the dark. It was a truly lovely day.

EDIT: This doesn't really deserve a new entry, but can I say that Jason and Mark brought me surprisingly delicious coffee from Dunkin' Donuts so I could stay up and do some of the aforementioned work, which I didn't start until after midnight because I was distracted by all sorts of fun people. And that I've been listening to Dylan, and that I've thought of Blonde on Blonde as a sad album ever since someone important to me said it felt like that to him. More accurately, he said that every song on it could be sad, and so I've listened to it with that thought in mind ever since, and found him right every time. But tonight it made me really happy, which is the unsaid part of his analysis: that it's surprising that every song can be heart-wrenching because if you're in a coffee-driven, high-on-Shelley sort of mood (or just listening to the album on a beautiful spring day, which I think I will do more often in my time remaining here), it's so fun and happy, in a mature sort of way, that it's impossible to be depressed while listening to it.

And emails will have to wait until after this weekend, because I'm driving all the way across Pennsylvania for a frisbee tournament. It's about the distance from LA to San Francisco, which is a much more worthy drive in my estimation, and one that I would love to be making sometime soon. Perhaps this summer? Will anyone be home to do it with me?
Wednesday, April 6th, 2005
3:20 pm
today:
70 degrees. daffodils. so much frisbee. a good crossword (done in the sun, with roommate and a bagel, instead of french class). unexpected conversation. iced tea in a nalgene. iced coffee that didn't work quite so well. potential solution to spring housing concerns. so much sun.

SO MUCH SUN!!

Current Mood: manipulated by the weather
Friday, April 1st, 2005
2:22 pm
dejeuner sur l'herbe
This is amazing. It is spring, first of all, and though there is a 90% chance of rain at the frisbee tournament tomorrow (and apparently a chance of snow for Sunday)(!!), I spent a glorious hour having lunch on the grass with an ever changing group of delightful people. I love when everyone comes out of the woodwork and takes part in each other's conversations and tackles one another while giggling maniacially. That last was more vertigogo boys than anyone else, but still a pleasure to be around.

Before that, my macro professor gave an amazing lecture, during which he espoused a theory he hates with an entirely straight face. I only now realize that it was probably for April Fool's Day; that is, I knew it was a joke the whole time, but not why he chose today for teaching it. It's not really a joke because this guy (Prescott) won the nobel prize last year, but it certainly is an unnerving and coldhearted way at looking at the world. The best way to make him sound like a fool is to say that he thinks that unemployment is just people choosing to take vacations. What's more disturbing than that, even, is that if this had been the first day of class, I would have written it all down and made it make sense in my head. It's internally consistent, after all. So imagine taking macro with Prescott, or taking any econ class with any conservative theorist. It would be so different! I'm not sure what I think about that.

There is a baseball game and birds outside of my window. I finished my CS homework in ample time and am now left to loiter, read, go pick up vans, and grin quietly to myself until we leave for Penn State in a few hours.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2005
2:26 pm
wondering:
Is it bad when your mantra in class is "Actually, I don't care"?

Is it unwise to blow off your work because you're exhausted, and then spend your time doing things that make you even more exhausted?

Is it worrisome when you have a dream about taking the semester off instead of going to Paris, and you wake up seriously considering the option?

Is it deeply unsettling to still have no idea if you have an internship this summer?

Is it wicked when you smile even though you feel like crying, even though you could be sick at any time?

At least, I was pleased for a moment when, looking through my macro midterm, I found a comment which (I believe) says, "Because you are not a bozo." (In response to my tentative explanation of why my proposed fiscal policy was better than that of the Bush administration)

Current Mood: shaky
Monday, March 14th, 2005
2:05 pm
mandatory
Spring break was amazing. Now I am frantic because I just got a call from a woman at the study abroad program I want to do; the application is due tomorrow and I was planning on not getting it in on time and having that not really matter, but apparently they're getting lots of applications and they think it's important to stick to the deadline, so now I have to (start and) finish the application, get signatures, ask the professors I already asked for recommendations to email/fax their recs instead of mailing them... and I don't know what else. I also have a midterm for my english class to do, which as far I as I know from glancing at it about week ago should take several solid hours of work.

I got back at 4.30 am after driving all night after 10 days of sun and frisbee and beer. I made friends with people I did not expect, and I wish that I had more time to write about the conversations I had and what surprised me and what I learned, and also how I dove into the atlantic ocean naked at three thirty in the morning, but there are things that I must attend to. Wish me luck.

UPDATE (3:30 pm): the application is filled out except for the "describe yourself/your personality" section, which I've decided to leave for later. there are many signatures to get and I've been a whiny, annoying bitch to several professors via email, but hopefully that will all work out. I hope that this is worth it.

Now, onto romantic poetry!!
Friday, March 4th, 2005
1:47 am
"This dead of midnight is the noon of thought/And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars."
It's been a day of good and bad decisions; particularly, of decisions which are both good (for my happiness) and bad (for my finishing of work before spring break). For example, I didn't go to CS because I wanted to do work. But then Henry came in and made me help him with the crossword. But I wanted to help him with the crossword more than I wanted to work on this paper, so I did.

Then I had to go get vans for spring break. Then I had to go buy new running shoes for spring break. Then I had to eat.

After that, the line between "obligation" and "choice" became very, very blurred. Yes, it was incredibly important to watch the final hour and a half of "Fanny and Alexander" (Ingmar Bergman's chef d'oeuvre abouut which I may say mroe at a later date). It was also a very good thing to go to Taku's room, eat his yummy cheese, drink his jug wine, and engage in exciting conversation that reminded me more of being home than most social things here do. However, did I do anything between the hours of 4:30 and midnight (wow, that's quite a stretch of time) for this paper which needs to be finished before 4 pm tomorrow so I can drive for 14 hours (not me personally driving the whole time) down to Alabama in order to start playing frisbee at 9 am on Saturday and not stop until the following Sunday evening? No, not as such.

Now, I'm torn between going to bed and waking up in a few hours to get back to this, or staying up for another several hours. Sleep being a very important ingredient in good paper writing, I think I'll set my alarm for 7 am and pray to whoever will have me that I'll be able to get up when I need to. Another mildly worrisome thing is the length of this paper; not that it won't be long enough, but that I am not actually that far into it in terms of the poem that I'm analyzing but perhaps too far into it in terms of pages written. This is a problem that I rarely, if ever, have, but it poses the double threat of this still taking several more hours of solid work, and when said work is finished, being over the page limit.

But then it will be spring break and I will be one of three girls in a van of loud, wonderful boys and it will be fabulous.
Saturday, February 19th, 2005
2:20 am
a thought: maybe making a mix for someone is about how much you would love it if it were given to you.

conclusion, then? I am worthy of endless adoration simply because it begins with for esme (on the cover) and ends with jack kerouac (in audio), and goes all sorts of delightfully suggestive places in between.

*

I've only felt like sleeping recently in the middle of the day, and I've felt like eating barely at all. I've forced myself to do both, but maybe going back to new york this weekend will rejuvenate me. in any case, the gates two weekends in a row cannot help but be healing in one way or another.

Current Mood: happy, actually
Wednesday, February 16th, 2005
3:26 pm
silent as the foot of time
Something about today has made me feel more like a college student that ever before. That’s “college” and not “Swarthmore,” and for some reason there’s a major difference. I tried to explain why last night and failed miserably; maybe it’s because it was past my bed time, maybe it’s because I was lying on the landing halfway down the stairs trying to have a personal conversation in a public space. It’s raining today, but I doubt that’s it, though it is a funny kind of rain, where the drops are far apart and the overall affect is silence instead of constant noise.

What is it about today? I had two lunches, one outside before the rain began and one inside which was only gossip and mint tea for me. I spent half an hour with my French teacher planning out what I’m going to say to the class about Baudelaire on Friday. I met with a WA (writing associate) to talk about my English paper and I came away from it frightened and excited. She made me feel like I hadn’t thought about it hard enough (okay, I hadn’t, that’s the whole point of a rough draft and having someone edit it) and also said some very perfect things that hopefully I will be able to remember and successfully transplant to my paper.

Today is just the kind of day where things are getting done, and new things keep coming up that I need to get done. I have two wickedly clever and seductive cover letters that I need to write to major publishing houses; I have probably hundreds of pages of reading to do; I have to do research on la vie et l’oeuvre du Baudelaire; I have to write my sophomore paper (ie tell them why I want to do what I want to do all while ignoring the fact that some part of me is still not quite sure that it’s what I want to do; also, pick the classes that I’m going to be taking for the next two years of my life and try not and get angry at them for giving me horrible options); I have to manipulate a nascent relationship; I have to go to African dance; I have to get some sleep.

When I went to the bookstore today to get books for classes I’m actually taking, I also bought some Rilke just because it was the only thing for the modernism seminar that I haven’t already read. And the last line on the first page is, “The main thing was, being alive. That was the main thing.” Which sounds more like Salinger to me than anything else (probably just that comma), and so I simultaneously want to curl up with “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge” and also return to central park and walk around lakes under saffron gates, trying not to think about those ducks but inevitably adding italics to certain syllables under my breath and resisting the urge to smoke cigarettes.

Current Mood: solid
Wednesday, February 9th, 2005
3:21 pm
procrastinating, listening to bonnie 'prince' billy
Today in macro, the boy sitting in front of me had a cup of coffee in a portable french press from Peet's. Amid IS-LM curves, I was launched into visions of brewing loose leaf tea as I walked to class, arriving in my seat to gently push the filter down to the bottom of the cup, trapping the leaves at the bottom and leaving me with a delicious, full-bodied cup of tea as is only really possible with loose leaf teas. Then I remembered that I don't actually have any loose leaf tea in my dorm room; plus, I am a wasteful person and never actually bring a reusable insulated mug thing into the dining hall but sacrifice at least one paper cup daily on the altar of my caffeine consumption. Nevertheless, the idea was very exciting. I wonder if he already has ground coffee in his room? Fascinating. Remember, also, that they don't have Peet's around here. He's from Palo Alto and it was a gift from his mommy, so that makes sense. But it made me want to go to Peet's even though I never go there when I'm at home, and until recently I haven't really been in the habit of getting coffee when I go out for coffee with people. Another dream dashed, though perhaps a lesson about the chasm that exists in my mind between fantasy and reality?

This all led to me perusing the Peet's website for a while (do you know that all of their coffee and tea is kosher?), because I had already read enough news stories on enough news websites to keep me sated for at least an hour. This as I drank my newly purchased twinings jasmine green tea, which was not as good as the tea they sell in the science center (which, among other things, has fabric-y bags), but still yummy.

No more talk of tea. Rather, let me tell you that I'm going to New York this weekend for a whole slew of reasons. First and foremost to visit my sophster and meet her boy. Close runner-up reasons have to do with Big and Expensive and Popular Art: a visit to the new MOMA (sponsored by Target if I go on Friday evening, a fact that we plan to take full advantage of but my god, people, what kind of world has this become when free days at museums are sponsored by corporations? actually, I think it's really good that they are using their money for something like this, which can make art and architecture available to everyone regardless of income... but it's still really weird). Also, Christo's Gates in Central Park, which I have been incredibly excited about ever since seeing the pictures in the New Yorker last year. It opens on Saturday and the city is bracing itself for a rush of off season tourism, which I think is also really cool. And it's going to be so incredible; part of what's so cool about him is the sheer size of what he does. Sublime, much? Not exactly in this case, but there is something to be said for the majesty of lining all of the paths of central park with vibrantly colored cloth gates. And the contrast against the (okay, not so cold after all) February surroundings! And the interiority that will be created like a tunnel of lush trees in springtime!

I also have an informal interviewy-networky sort of meeting with someone at Scholastic who my mom knows, and then with someone else who he knows. So, black pants will be brought and worn. I keep wavering wildly between the confidence that this summer will work out and everyone will realize how wonderful I am based on my sparse resume and my overly cheerful cover letters, and a self-deprecating assurance that there are a thousand people out there exactly like me and there's no way this will work out and I'll die alone in my dorm room eaten by squirrels, not to be found for days because all of my friends are too busy having sex and doing abstract algebra.

The point of all of this is to say that I have to go write about sublimity, now, and how the traditional Burkeian (not a real word!) conception of the sublime is played with by one Ms. Anna Barbauld, to the extent that god is recast as an approachable figure, and birth and death and dawn become conflated into one glorious image of the possibility of knowing.

Or something along those lines.

Current Mood: procrastinating
Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
4:31 pm
mounting exhaustion
I am currently doing the work of six classes (maybe most people don't do all of the work for the classes that they shop, but I guess I do), so being here has been fairly dizzying thus far. There are many people who I want to sit down with (or just cuddle up with) and I haven't had time to do that yet. But that time will come, particularly after I drop at least one (and perhaps two) of these classes, and the weekend comes, and things begin to be right again.

However, it has begun to snow, and I am luxuriating in buying into the idea that a layer of white makes the whole world softer, at least for a little while. It's a nice thought, nice enough to keep me warm as I begin reading "Culture: The Anthropologist's Account" and mentally prepare myself to head outside again.
Sunday, January 2nd, 2005
7:28 pm
most of this interests nobody but myself
Books meant to be, but still not read this break (including those purchased with full intention reading):

1) The Master and Margarita (Bulgakov)
2) Their Eyes Were Watching God
3) The Things They Carried
4) Runaway (new Alice Munro)
5) Wallace Stevens (Collected Works)
6) Rilke (The Book of Images)

Books begun, but not yet finished:

1) A Compact History of Infinity (David Foster Wallace)
2) The Gastronomical Me (MFK Fisher)
3) The Intuitionist (Whitehead, gift from Isaac)
4) Uncle Dynamite (Wodehouse, from my Uncle Fred Omnibus)

Books read:

1) Away Laughing on a Fast Camel (4th book in Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging series)
2) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
3) The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
(all at work on Friday, though I had to finish the 3rd one at home)
4) The Fixer (Joe Sacco, graphic novel about Serbia)
5) Summer Blonde (Adrian Tomine)
(edit: I did remember one more, "Men and Cartoons" which is Jonathan Lethem's new book of short stories. trying to be vonnegut and not coming close to succeeding, but strangely impactful nevertheless.)

and, well... I'm trying to remember and frantically scanning the piles of books around my room to see if there's anything respectable, any novels that don't have pictures or cheesy teenage girl plot lines, but I think that's it. Not quite what was planned, nor how my vacations usually go. In the past, there's been a lot more down time, days upon days of lying around the house with a book. This year, there have been valiant efforts to make a dent in all sorts of genres - food/memoirs, pop science, a few novels - but nothing has grabbed me quite enough to really concentrate on it. And the time hasn't really been there either; life at home has been nearly as busy and as scheduled as was this last semester. I've upped both my exercise regimen and my caffeine intake, and have otherwise been working constantly and seeing friends and family (extended and nuclear) for the majority of my remaining waking hours.

The poetry is another story. There's more that didn't appear on the list, books (Anne Sexton, Bukowski, William Carlos Williams, Dylan Thomas) that I pulled down from my shelf where they have been quietly secluded for quite some time. I love the idea of reading them but I don't really know how to go about doing it. Every time I run into Rilke as an example of something or other (usually the problems of modernity; that's what it always is, really), I love it and crave more. But now that there's a whole book, sitting on my floor staring up at me, I don't know what to do. Read a few poems each night? Open the book randomly or read straight through? Read it out loud to myself (blushingly, in whispers with the door closed, when there are other people in the house; tentatively and then more boldly when I'm sure that I'm alone)? How many times should each be read, how much care should I devote to absorbing each one? It's a totally different way of approaching writing, but it's required by the drastic differences in the form. And when I love a poem, fall into it and for it, it makes me feel like I should quote it to someone or write it down for myself. It seems easier than quoting a novel (which I want to do, too, often, but very rarely actually do), because you can see it all right there on a page or two. But really, should I be transcribing every word I read? It seems excessive, so instead I make imaginary bookmarks that I know I will forget in a day or two, if not as soon as I turn the page. I wish it were easier to remember things that I love.
Tuesday, December 28th, 2004
2:43 am
in which california weather takes its usual winter turn
I had my first real Christmas Weekend ever, this year. we (my parents and I, sister being in ny) drove up to see people who except for the fact of not being related to us by blood are exactly like family, down to the fact that we don't actually talk to them that often and I had to keep whispering to my dad to check on who, exactly, was who. but it was wonderful. there was christmas dinner, with turkey and ham and stuffing and sweet potatoes and a jello mold (!); to drink, it was beer or wine or milk and then coffee for afters, with pie. all somehow incredibly all-american (read, also, not jewish) and in many ways unlike anything I had ever experienced. we talked and played cards, and then the next morning went over again to hear stories about my grandma and her "high school set," and being in the service and going to UCs, so many lives with so many tragedies, too. it was fascinating.

and then back down with a stop at carpinteria to see more family friends, adding up to more sugar and caffeine and then some sushi. then, home, to walk around santa monica for a few hours and catch up even more.

(note: we have mice, and the dog has been chasing them all night. now she closed in to sleep and I am in the kitchen, and I just heard some weird noises behind me and saw TWO mice run across the floor. it's really creepy, but now I know for sure that she wasn't hallucinating all night.)

I worked all week and then went away for the weekend and then worked today (1-9), so there has been very little breathing room. there still won't be in the next few weeks, and I guess I understand now how the semester went so fast, because when you're doing something nearly every minute a sort of compression seems to occur. I'm pretty sure it's for the best (even though I have yet to go to the gym or to email people about internships, let alone dwell more on my classes for next semester. and these are superficial things compared to what I suspect I should truly be confronting, all those niggling little thoughts about people and happiness and life goals. sometimes it seems like my mind is constantly running away from itself.)

at least work was quiet today, so I got to read all of the opus cartoons (and was told by a customer that he could never understand comics, it was always - in his opinion - the left-brainers who were into those sorts of things. they also, he added, liked science fiction. this is not my favorite type of customer, but they do exist). I also started, and bought, "A Compact History of Infinity," which I am enjoying with the guilty sense that I should just go take Real Analysis (and all of its prerequisites) and not be the kind of person who reads popular science writing. Particularly when that writing is done by david foster wallace, author of a tome of fiction and some other stuff too, but certainly not the foremost expert in number theory (or epistemology, or analysis, or history, or any of the fields that he tries to give their full due). maybe I don't need to go take more classes; I know a lot of it already, from philosophy and calc and discrete, but it's interesting to see it all laid out with the concept of infinity as its center.

enough.

*

a little something from wodehouse:

"In these days in which we live, when existence has become a thing of infinite complexity and fate, if it slips us a bit of goose with one hand, is pretty sure to give us the sleeve across the windpipe with the other, it is rarely that we find a human being who is unmixedly happy. Always the bitter will be blended with the sweet, and in this melange one can be reasonably certain that it is the former that will predominate.

A severe indictment of our modern civilization, but it can't say it didn't ask for it."

Current Mood: crossword puzzles
Monday, December 20th, 2004
10:12 am
DONE!!!!
DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE!!!!

and before I have to leave for work, too. I am absolutely ecstatic.

as someone said the other day, now I'm halfway through the second half of being halfway done. guess that one doesn't work for quarter system people...


hot damn. I'm done.

Current Mood: overjoyed
Sunday, December 19th, 2004
2:34 pm
a possible invitation
I am home.

but I'm not really home, because I still have to do this paper. my sister also has homework, so we are shooting for the 10 pm showing of "A Very Long Engagement" at the Laemmle on 2nd. If you want to go (India, Megan... I don't know who else is home) then you should tell me so I can call you if (IF) I finish.

it's in the 70s outside and my dad went to the farmers market and brought back fruit and pastries. I would be much happier if I didn't have to confront religion & social theory, but as it is, I'm still astoundingly pleased to be here.
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