I’m about to be off. Sort of. Out of Waco. To Dallas (Farmer’s Branch to be more precise) for the night, then a quick few-day jaunt to Providence. A bit of a Baptist Pilgrimage–Brown University, the first Baptist church in the country (before it was a country, natch)… see some good friends. I’ll get to wear a jacket. And long sleeves. And run outside….
Waco has a way of seducing you. Never thought I’d think this, let alone admit it. Something about summer in this town especially, brings you under its spell. Even though this one felt busier than I expected, I still caught myself in these suspended moments of What Summer Ought To Be. Hot, to be sure. Which makes things still and thick and slow and easy. Once the rain stopped, at any rate. There were pools, and sun, and swimsuits, and iced tea, and cold beer, and sunscreen melting off faster than we could blend it in…. Also a good bit of work thrown in for good measure.
And perhaps this sort of summer was just what we all needed. To bring us back ready to hit the school year with matching force and speed with which the semester arrives. And it is now into this second week of school I am reminded of the bits of beauty that the school rhythm–albeit it more hurried and deeper–allows. Every day I grab a copy of the New York Times and attempt to at least read the headlines. I feel more informed during the school year; and not that I’m particularly proud of my relative ignorance of the summer months, subconsciously, though, I’m reading in the library, discussing in seminars, writing in coffeeshops, and reading the NYT. My study break becomes the crossword puzzle. As predicted, there were a fair number more blank squares left over today than yesterday.
The median air-conditioned room temperature around here is somewhere around brisk New England March morning. It’s hard to complain about the oppressive Texas heat, when it actually offers relief from the meat locker of a seminar room from which I just emerged.
Things I don’t miss about the summer include all the waiting I have to do now–waiting on a treadmill, waiting on a parking spot, waiting in line for a coffee….
Being a student is hard work.
From McSweeney’s: check out the ‘Mundane Dreams List’ installment. And then click the “more lists” link at the bottom of page.
McSweeney’s Mundane Dreams
according to the registrar, summer is almost over (t-minus one week). I’m celebrating by going home for a few days–wedding, friends, louisville food-slash-coffee, new hair. While sitting here enjoying my latest kitchen creation (pineapple fried rice. I believe the word you’re looking for is jealous.) I thought it was about time to add to the list. Let’s see, first item: books. This time: music.
Three concerts this summer. Started off by marking the end of finals with “an evening with Damien Rice,” in Austin. The tickets may have been a little pricey, but more than worth it. It was all him. Unfortunately, he seems to have had his heart broken by (music) partner Lisa Hannigan, and had a different blonde cellist accompanying him (who nearly stole the show with her solo cover of The Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi”). There are no words to describe his acoustic–completely unplugged–version of “Cannonball”. Tears. The Patty Griffin tickets we purchased a couple months in advance snuck up on us, but gave us a great concert experience (if you ignore the domestic dispute that erupted, interrupting her finale…though somewhat poetically during “Getting Ready”. The drunk middle-agers probably should’ve been paying attention to the music.). Right before “Getting Ready,” Patty sang “Nobody’s Cryin'” followed by “Rain”. Again, no words and tears. A couple weeks ago I talked Courtney and Claire into heading to Emo’s to see Bishop Allen. Even though we had to wait a couple hours, the concert was cheap, and so much fun–how live music should be. Page France opened up for them and is now one of my new favorite bands. The xylophone and interesting drums/other percussion give them such a unique and fun sound–and their lyrics are simply creative. Bishop Allen was the highlight for me. I surprised myself with how many songs I actually knew. They also had a chick with a glockenspiel. Apparently it’s the new indie thing.
Other music of note for the summer…Spoon’s new album is fun, I’ve continued my love affair with bluegrass/folksy singers, including, of course, Hem, the Be Good Tanyas, and Old Crow Medicine Show. I’ve also delved into my Paste music samplers, and subscribed to eMusic (kind like netflix for good music). If interested, let me know, and I can refer you–then we both get bonus music.
it’s Bishop Allen. Aren’t they cute?
Remember how it’s summer and life is supposed to be slower and I only work 21 hours a week (yes, 21; not 20; not 22.) and I’m supposed to be laying around reading, playing, etc.? Bah.
First of all, I’ve moved twice since summer “began”. Currently I can still see two big cardboard boxes from my sprawl on my bed. And plenty of things awaiting their final home. Until I move them out of Texas. Unfortunately, this homemaker is slightly deficient at picking out anchors for the wall. And though I am a successful coffee-table-maker (including hinges, thankyouverymuch), I can’t work the lawnmower.
Aside from myself, others have been moving around and shifting. Goodbyes and transition color this summer. It’s grey. Also because of the rain. According to what I overhear (which is always reliable) Central Texas has received enough rain in the first half of 2007 to last three years. No sun-worship. It’s actually been a “mild” summer. I moved here almost exactly a year ago–in 100+ degree heat, plus some humidity and sparse breeze. We’ve had rain, wind, and so far no temperatures in the triple digits. Yet.
Remember how we used to be able to brag about our injuries and scars and scabs like battle scars of life. I still do. During one of my moves, exhibiting a normal amount of grace, I fell and skinned my knee. Pretty beautiful. The most recent bragging right comes thanks to my “most-likely-staph-related-infection” on the right cornea. Also quite a sight for sore eyes (pun most certainly intended).
Emily (the sister) comes tomorrow. Welcome to Texas.
Anyone else tried the Simpsonize Me gimmick? I did:
I love lists. I hate outlines, but I love lists. They allow me to think the same way I live: my own personalized version of organized chaos. I’m not dirty; I’m messy. I’m not organized, but live by lists. In this spirit I proffer my first, and very rough, version of the Summer List.
Books. I started out very decidedly and ambitiously attempting to read. A Lot. Anything that had nothing to do with school. Or at least if it did, because I chose it, not because it appeared on any page of a syllabus (required, recommended, suggested, further, or otherwise). The lament of every student. It’s not that we don’t want to read but it’s just that someone is making us read something other than the thing we think we most want to read. Right. All that to say: I (re)discovered quite a bit. At least in the first few weeks of summer. Read Anne Lamott’s new(est) book: Grace: Eventually. Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving Church is excellent, if you read the entire thing. If you give up (as I was tempted to) before the last section, it can only be described as mildly disappointed. Read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Wow. Have read, also, quite a number of magazines. Resubscribed to Vanity Fair, and am gulping down my Paste Magazine issues by the eye-ful. Yum. Oh, and I finally finished The River Why (David James Duncan) and smacked myself around for letting it sit abandoned on the shelf for far too long. To make it up to the author’s efforts, I am over halfway finished with Duncan’s God Laughs and Plays and l-o-v-e it. I know nothing about fishing, and only spend nominal time in the Pacific Northwest, but reading his essays convince me of an alter ego of mine that lives somewhere between Oregon and Montana and enjoys sitting outside with a sun-brewed lemonade and a fishing rod. This alter ego has likely never had to read anything she did not first choose to lift off the shelf. Lucky her.
I’m back. I’ve come to the conclusion that my voice is far too valuable to be kept silent from the mingling masses on this thing they call the Information Super-Highway.
The first post is the most awkward. It’s the ultimate blind date. Good Writing Teachers help students discern not only their own voice, but their audience. Knowing one’s audience is, after all, half the battle. At least. I mean, I can imagine who will likely read this (Hi Mom. Hi Dad.) I can imagine who I’d like to read this. I have no idea who will actually read it. Blind date, here we go. Hi, nice to meet you. Um, where are you from, what’s your major, any pets? kids? Oh, that’s nice. Yes, I’d like another bottle of wine, please. No, just for me.