April 2007


Well, well, well! We now have one Dr. R.D. Shirey in our midst. Well done, indeed! What’s more, this means that we finally get our papers back and can begin revising in earnest. However, this also means I now have five writing projects on my desk for the next week. (This in addition to the decidedly non-English review of 63 kanji et acceptable written Japanese. Komaru daroo nee!) Three of these, fortunately, are short essays, but that still works out at about 12 pages of writing, 11 of revision, and who knows how many more of the metacommentary and style portfolio.

Now, I could have started some of the essays earlier. In fact, I did begin revising Shirey’s paper and compiling my style portfolio last week. However, procrastination is a fine art. It takes a certain amount of skill and daring to begin a paper at 9:00 the night before it is due, and it also takes careful forethought and an innate sense of timing. One must perfectly judge the speed of one’s thought and typing; miscalculation, while not fatal, is certainly disastrous. Getting the timing just right, though, is wonderfully cathartic.

All of this is to say that my workload is partly, even mainly, my own doing. Ah, well. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre, c’est la pomme de terre.

CAVEAT: to my future WRPM students: never, ever, ever do what I have just described. Do as I say, not as I have done, and there will be time to work with me on your papers. If you come to me the night before with only an idea, you’re on your own.

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Right. Back to a regular theme today. Shirey defends tomorrow afternoon, so good luck to him! If all goes well, we’ll be turning our papers in to Dr. Shirey…

Just a bit of orange and maroon in my site for the next few days. I’m afraid I won’t be updating as often for a while, as I catch up with the work I neglected last week. For the real action, check out the comment sections and give me some feedback; I’d love to hear from you.

I just found out that my classmate, Austin Cloyd, is among those dead in Monday’s shooting. We were not particularly close friends – she moved to Blacksburg our senior year and we didn’t have much time to get to know one another – but she was bright, funny, and extremely caring (not to mention drop-dead gorgeous). We were in NHS and AP environmental science together, and everyone enjoyed working with her; she was just a good person to be around.

Austin, there is nothing I can say that will bring you back, little I can do for your memory or your family. And though you can not know, you are in my thoughts and heart, along with your loved ones. Please find what peace you can, and though no one can replace you, we will try to continue your work.

Peace be with you.

Requiescat in pace.

Thirty five candles
on the dark coarse brick
of our own ground
they flicker and wilt
and bend with the wind
Thirty five for thirty three
and more
or less? Fewer I should say but I
cannot think
of my old grammar lessons now
they lie dead
or facing death
have bright hopes
sunny smiles and
toils and trials and heartbreak
human
that will not come again.

They
battle

and we
not knowing
stay by the guttering flames
whose wax flows idly
towards the limp piled flowers
gently dying
on the dark coarse brick
of our own ground.

There is no turning back.

I send my condolences to all of the students and families touched by today’s massacre at Virginia Tech. Through a fluke of timing, my own family is safe, but there are many who were not so fortunate, and for you we grieve. To those who were injured, I wish a speedy and thorough recovery.

As a break from writing my 9-page draft for Shirey, last night I went with a friend to PAD’s performance of Sor Juana InĂ©s de la Cruz’s House of Desires. It was fabulous! Go! Go, and take your friends!
Now, I admit that this is slightly biased by my position as an employee of PAD, but I know when we’ve done a damn fine job of it, and this is one of those times. The costumes are amazing, the set is fantastic, the actors and musicians are excellent, and the directing is spot-on. My boss says that this is the best show we’ve put on in 10 years, and I agree. It runs through next weekend at the Edison theater, so take advantage of it!

After the play, we hung out for a while with a friend of ours who co-hosts Newsworthy Ghost Island. We were listening to some of this year’s podcasts of the show and playing Egyptian ratscrew when they came on with their version of “the song that never ends.” It was hilarious, and I’ve been humming it all morning. Although I can’t remember exactly how they put it, here’s my hand at reconstructing the verses:

This is the song that continues indefinitely,
it marches on and on past infinity,
these two guys started voicing it
not heeding what it meant,
and they continued vocalizing
as the chorus went:
this is the song that continues indefinitely,
but we’ve got nothing that rhymes with indefinitely…

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