A Quick Word

"In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

21 December 2009

Breaktime activities.

Before break, I came to a crucial realization: I have not been happy this year (2009.) It's been a hard year, I've had all this trouble, blah-blah-blah-it's-what-I-say-in-every-self-reflective-blog-post-ever...


All that should now come to a stop. Why? Because I noticed a correlation (one that speaks also of causation) between the suckiness of this year and my mindset I've adopted. Late in the fall of '08, I began a personal campaign to make school my priority-- I was going to be more studious, more academic, and more dedicated. However, I took this mantra to an unhealthy extreme. Not only did I start focusing more on school, but I forsook pretty much every pleasurable activity in life in its pursuit. I stopped playing music--which I have done since the age of three-- I stopped painting and drawing in pen and ink-- which I have also done all my life-- and I halted progress on nearly all of my creative writing projects.

Now, please notice something here: I replaced all of these things, which, apart from just adding FUN to my life also contributed heavily to my identity, with school. What. The. Heck.

How can I be surprised that this year has gone so badly?! I removed everything that I enjoyed in order to pursue something that, yes, I did want to pursue, but that I should not have pursued so ardently. And ironically enough, once I removed all of the aforementioned things from my life, my academic progress suffered.

What have I learned from all of this? I have learned that I need to lighten up a bit. I need to do those things that I enjoy, not that I deem 'most prudent'-- whatever that means. So, to commemorate this revelation that is certain to become my New Years Resolution, I spent the past two nights re-acquainting myself with all of my gorgeous guitars, jamming out to U2, John Mayer, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra in my basement.

Merry Christmas!

17 December 2009

There's nothing common about that.

I like the fact that certain songs make even the most banal parts of life seem vibrant, epic, and more alive. (Especially when they make things epic--I tend to appreciate a song that can turn brushing my teeth into a sweeping space opera or driving to Walmart into a high-stakes car chase from The Italian Job.)

As is the case now, when I'm sitting here trying to finish a take-home exam that, if I can complete before going to bed, will mean that I can go home tomorrow afternoon rather than Friday.

Thus is my life.

14 December 2009

Scare tactics.

Why has there been an escalation in crime around campus this past week? It seems like everyday I get a new "CRIME ALERT" email in my campus mailbox, and every new email contains a multiple of the number of crimes it previously featured. It's a bit discomforting, really. (Especially since the crimes aren't petty theft-- they include beatings, unconscious victims, and theft.) Furthermore, they seem to occur at times of day usually considered fairly "safe" (7:15 PM, anyone?). Two people have been attacked, knocked to the ground, and kicked multiple times in the face and torso in between the hours of 7:00PM and 8:00 PM. Scary.

I wish the police would be a bit more proactive than simply "increasing their patrols in the area." Perhaps, "conducting investigations," whether they are actually conducting them or not, would be a better thing to include in the CRIME ALERT emails, as this sounds more man-of-action than does cruising around in one's patrol car. And with the terrifically vivid suspect descriptions we have been given-- two black college-age males, three college-age males in sweatshirts, etc.-- I'm sure that increased patrols are all we need to catch them. I almost expect the next email to say: "Armed robbery at the 300 block of so-and-so street. The suspects were all reported to have faces." Thanks, guys.

But in all seriousness, these muggings, aggravated assaults, and armed robberies are awful. I certainly hope that those who perpetrate these crimes are caught soon. Final exams, it seems, need to end not simply for our sanity, but our safety as well. I would like to come back to a safe campus.

12 December 2009

Brain atrophy.

Why is it that one's mind always seems to go on vacation prematurely? I still have a week of final exams-- all of vital importance to maintaining my GPA. Yet do I feel a sense of stress? Urgency? Unrest? No.

I hope this is just my body's way of saying "Don't worry about it, I know everything without having to study or do all of the reading. You're prepared."

I hope.

09 December 2009

The nearness of Christmas break.

Had my last classes of the semester today. Now, I must simply make it through final exams and I'll be home-free. What has been a trying semester looks to finish on a high note-- I'm hoping I can carry this momentum into next semester.

My motto for the next ten days: "Constant vigilance!" (Thank you, Mad Eye...)

02 December 2009


As much as I love U of I, it really is a dreary place sometimes. For instance, today, while in British Literature lecture, Prof. Wood remarked unflinchingly that our generation could be the last English Majors ever to walk the earth. Really...? Are things that bad? I mean, I understand that the humanities don't offer as lucrative a career as, say, Engineering (a field that dominates our campus), but they still have merit-- if nothing else, people must learn to speak and write English well, do they not? My father has made quite a decent living writing (despite the fact that he has a business degree), and wishes all the time that he could have studied more English while studying for his undergrad at Ole Miss. (The land of Faulkner-- ah... and Welty, sort of.) And if a certain skill is prized in a field (my father's writing for business, for instance), then wouldn't it make sense that there must exist a group of highly educated people to teach these skills? Prof. Wood commented that the English Dept. is doomed to become ("possibly," he said, not "probably") a Dept. of Communication. However, we already have one of those, and it is considerably smaller than our English Dept.-- though I must admit I am considering it for my minor now that Medieval Studies has collapsed-- which would indicate that English still has a greater relevancy than the impression given by some of my professors.

My ramblings aside, Prof. Wood, whom I deeply respect and admire as a professor, raised within me deeper questions than ones debating the practicality or financial advantage/disadvantage of studying the humanities; he caused me to examine why I, as a twenty year old undergraduate, think so highly of the humanities and place such a value on them. Though I, examining the notion of the university and the benefit of liberal education and my objections to the "university as vocational training" model, could fill volumes framing my response to this, I will instead end this long post with my thoughts on the English/Communications scenario posed above.

To me, Communications could never replace English-- as an educational equivalent, at least-- because though both fields share the similar underpinnings of writing and rhetoric, each seeks to fill a subtly different role in society. Communications is all about (no surprise here) raw communication-- the simple conveyance of information simply, succinctly, and directly. It studies how communicating information affects people and their actions, whether that be through public speaking, raising awareness for certain causes, or through emerging technologies. (Facebook, blogs, etc.) Such a field of study certainly has its practical application. Yet English, while still teaching how to argue effectively and write clearly, also seeks to teach something deeper-- what it means to be a human. It does not simply examine why we communicate, but also what we communicate: Why do the words of Keats move us? Why did Keats (or any other poet) feel the need to express what they chose to express? I could go on and on... I love Keats. But Keats is not the important part of this post. What I mean to say is this: I believe that knowing these complexities about the human condition is far more important than knowing simply how to use a form of media to say something to someone else . I may be (as I continue to be proved) archaic, but one may as well be sucking out my soul every time the humanities are spoken of as a dying field-- indeed, my soul is sucked out every time they are mentioned in that way. I hope we (as an enterprising world) can find a way to herald the humanities' relevance for future generations. After all, we don't know everything there is to know about ourselves... and how can we if we leave it all to hard science?

I remain hopeful. There are too many of us who care.

30 November 2009

Geared up.

Whew! So much has been going on-- Thanksgiving, term papers, figuring out study abroad, majors, minors, and everything else-- Christmas break can't get here fast enough. All that to say, I had a great Thanksgiving, capped off with the incredible experience of seeing John Williams conduct the CSO in pieces from David Lean's films, as well as Williams' own scores from Harry Potter (plus an encore in which he conducted such iconic numbers as the Imperial March, the theme from Superman, a selection from Indiana Jones, and the Sunday Night Football theme). Amazing.

Anyway, I am operating under a dense fog due to lack of sleep (only five hours), because I decided not to drive back to Champaign until eight last night. In hindsight, that may have been a bad idea. Bedtime, it seems, will come quickly tonight.

23 November 2009

Which humour controls writing?

I'm one paragraph away from completing all of my work assigned over break. I don't really know why teachers (even now) think that not having class for a week gives students more time to work on assignments. Because when every instructor takes this up this notion, one finds that "break" becomes more of a figurative term than an actual one. (More Latin than usual? Really?!)

Anyway, I'm enjoying this brisk autumn day in northern Illinois. It's cloudy, misty, and perfect for putting the Chieftains on repeat and pretending I'm in Ireland. I spent some of the morning looking at bald people on Google Images. My hairline continues to recede, and it is almost to the sad point where, if the wind blows any strand out of place, my scalp is rather visible. So, to take care of this problem, I aim to simply shave it all off rather than go with the unattractive "thinning hair" look. However, shaving off my hair will reveal my head's awkward shape that was previously masked beneath a bed of brown. My skull is flat in the back, tall, and has an interesting crown in the middle of its top that juts up like the nasal cavity of some ancient dinosaur. For comparison, the closest head like mine belongs to Tiki Barber (perhaps crossed with a bit of Yul Brynner for good measure). So, I'm a bit hesitant to make such a drastic change right now, when there exists little hope for getting my scalp to resemble the shade of the rest of my skin. (The last thing I want is to look like a bleached conehead.) We'll see. My dad says it will have "character."

I suppose that depends on one's idea of "character"-- something tells me that ours don't align.

18 November 2009

Before bed.

I'm exhausted. It's been a long day of paper writing, with tomorrow promising much more! (Joy!) Though now at peace, I'm still trying to work out this whole "life trajectory" thing. I know what I love and what I am passionate about and what I can do well. The trick is marshaling those things together into something coherent and marketable-- I need to make other people believe in them. If I can't do this, then whatever vocation I choose will not matter, as no one will see me as a worthwhile candidate for employment. As of now, these are my choices:
-Remain a Medieval Studies Major, English Minor
-English Major, Medieval Studies Minor
-English Major, Economics Minor
-Economics Major, English Minor

I am fairly confident I would struggle immensely with the Calculus part of the Economics Major/Minor, but it's a more practical option than my other two (especially Medieval Studies). And if I can't seem to excel in English (what does excelling in Medieval Studies even look like?) then struggling at Calc is fine by me if it means a better chance at employment. Writing and teaching have always been at the core of who I am-- what I have always wanted to do-- but I'm not meeting much encouragement on either front, nor am I confident that I would be received well as a Medievalist in an already shrinking field (the Humanities). Lame that the world operates like this and that esoteric vocations don't provide a future.

But, I suppose, thus is life.

11 November 2009

No regrets, but...

...I miss you.

And you, too.

10 November 2009

A night on the town.

Did you go there? Well of course I did, sir; it was only natural. She spoke to me so sweetly-- but how can you object? Sure, I suppose it does complicate things. Well just throw in human experience and it complicates a lot of things. Yes-- I said that. Haha-oh yes, I know. So stupid of me, so stupid. Well I don't plan on it. Not for so long, maybe less time. Maybe less-- it's just hanging there, you know? I know. . . so weird, somewhat confusing. Did you even get that? Did it sink in it at all because I was just like so confused the whole time and I mean can you believe her she's so arrogant! I am not dealing with that anymore, I'm just not and seriously-- the light was low. It was so perfect! And then-- how rude, I mean, I would never do that. I mean, I would never. Times are tough, I'm never quite sure about things. Not quite.

08 November 2009


...that last one made me feel better, though no less confused.

Soured expectations.

Why has my mind been so complicated lately?

Tonight is one of those nights where everything
And nothing
Crashes down all at once,
and if I could just understand,
if I could only grasp, reach out,
perhaps see-- but no,
the answers remain clouded to me.
To know, it seems, would be
And so, with the dithering,
The driveling, much is left to rot
In this sordid, splendid spot.
All hope has not completely left
Me, I know
That I am-- what I am--
And the tension can break.
The tension, sweet tension, tenuous
Stringent estrangement from parts
Of me
That lack, and are lacking.
I feel the frustration
Of Prometheus on the mountaintop,
My own Caucasus looming, and
The bindings binding me to stone
As that wretched bird picks at
My stomach.
A beautiful vista stretching
For miles into stunning infinity.
But I cannot reach,
Though god-like, I am
I am reduced to mere man
By the manacles, shambles,
And my own mind.
For, I find, that cleverness
Is at least, partially divine.
---As, perhaps, am I.

04 November 2009

For posterity.

This day marks a change.

02 November 2009

It's that time of year...

Well, now that Halloween is over, I suppose the ushering in of Christmas can begin in earnest. Sure, we still have Thanksgiving to look forward to. But in my family, Thanksgiving is merely the kickoff to Christmas-- a party for Christmas where we eat turkey and don't give any gifts.

So... here's to breaking out the Bing Crosby!

27 October 2009

My life as it is now.

I am a jumbled mess veiled beneath an exterior of big teeth and pleasant speech. I fear I am on the verge of serious physical detriment due to lack of rest and erratic sleep patterns, which are causing some disturbing things to happen to me. My time sleeping for the year of 2009 is about 6 hours per night--sometimes less. The body was not meant to live on caffeine alone. Worse, these things are causing me to procrastinate, to get behind on assignments, and, ultimately, to perpetuate a vicious cycle that I must end somehow. My cognitive abilities have declined to the point that I forget ends of sentences as I start to speak them, can't remember simple things throughout my day, and can barely comprehend even basic reading material. All of these problems have built a weight of anxiety that hovers perilously over my shoulders at every moment, threatening to topple me into oblivion. Hyperbole aside, I really should get things in order. My eyesight, which has also declined dramatically, can't take much more or I'll surely go blind.

I realized something important last night: excellence comes not through hopes or ambitions, forgiveness for trespasses or fixing problems, but through the honest act of plodding along, of being proactive and taking charge-- in essence, it is bred of doing. During my lifetime, I have had the incredible opportunity to hear many great men and women speak about what it took to get them where they are, and their statement almost never had to do with being the biggest or the best or the brightest, but being the most willing and resilient. I am reminded of when I had the privilege to hear Tony Blair speak at a leadership conference, and he was asked what was the most important thing for a leader to have-- that quality that got him to the top of British politics (and a crucial leader in the free world). His response: just keep trucking (though he said it much more eloquently than that.) Mr. Blair advised everyone to identify and have what he called an "irreducible core," and to retain it at all costs. This "core" is comprised of all the things most crucial to who you are, and is what will allow you persevere through difficult times. I have neglected to maintain my own "irreducible core," and have let it slip away as the much more primal needs for sleep and rest have superseded my desires for anything more.

So, in a public forum, I am declaring a fresh start. First on the agenda: get more sleep. Because how can I do if I don't have the energy to?

21 October 2009


I don't know if annual visits by pestilential creatures are commonplace in the Midwest, but if so, I feel slighted for not having been warned. First, we endured the clouds of soybean aphids. These were gross, as you couldn't help but inhale them and/or get them in your eyes as you walked from class to class. The aphids disappeared after a few weeks, and I thought the irritation had subsided. However, a new breed of irksome creature has emerged to take up the aphid's mantle: the ladybug. That's right; I did not misspeak. Ladybugs, ladybugs, ladybugs, flitting around everywhere, swarming out of bushes, and descending in droves from tree branches-- its maddening! What's worse is that, not only do they land all over you, but they inflict painful bites to exposed skin whenever given the chance; I've already been bitten in the neck twice.

This is unnecessary. To any Midwestern natives: Are there any other plagues I should know about?

15 October 2009

Good mornings get the day going right.

I'm beginning to really enjoy my time in Champaign. I've found a few new haunts, one of them being the Pekara Bakery in downtown Champaign, on Neil St. right beside Aroma Coffeehouse (another great place). Everything is made fresh from all natural ingredients-- you can taste the difference. Today's crisp, misty Autumn morning was met with a steaming cup of their house roast coffee, a piece of pumpkin bread, and a piece of banana chocolate chip bread. Delicious.

Things in Champaign are much quieter than in nearby Campustown (not surprising, really.) There's two great used bookstores-- Jane Addams being the better one-- and great restaurants and a few really great bars (the Blind Pig, Bentley's, the Seven Saints), not to mention the historic Virginia Theatre, where Roger Ebert hosts his own film festival every year and one can catch movies for much cheaper than in regular theatres (it's owned by the Park District.) There are also a bevy of up-scale eateries, jewelry stores, and vintage clothing stores. I've frequented the Walnut Street Tea Co.-- one of the best specialty tea stores I have ever experienced. All of these places are within walking distance of my apartment. Win.

So, there's my plug for the city of Champaign. Come visit me.

10 October 2009

My current project (aside from not becoming a mediocre student).

About midway through last summer, after having finished re-reading the 6th and 7th Harry Potter books in preparation for the movie's release, I had a revelatory experience: instead of simply waiting for another burst of inspiration, I should focus my writing efforts on re-penning and improving the novel I had already written. So far, I have only managed a new title, a revised dedication, a new author's note, and seven pages of new material (chapter one). It's slow going. However, I have gotten a fair amount of pleasure out of the experience. I am enjoying seeing the book that I had envisioned begin to truly take shape-- no more misplaced modifiers or awkward sentences or rampant adverbs. The story itself is becoming richer, deeper. And with each minute I spend working on its tangles and blemishes, I feel myself becoming richer and deeper as well.

I've spent considerable time this past year thinking about my academic career-- too much time, I believe. In focusing all of my attention on graduate school, trying not to fall behind in Latin, and working through the difficulties of starting a new life, I have inadvertently rearranged my priorities. Because, as foolish as I know this sounds, academia is a fall-back plan to my true (and even less attainable) career goal of being an author. . . namely, a children's author (which is even less attainable than being pretty much any other kind of author). It's like a business degree in case you don't become the next Peyton Manning or something.

I have discovered that when I make my writing my first priority, it brings my grades up as well. I can't figure it out.

But I'm not going to argue with it.

07 October 2009

The sad story of the eternal enema.

In the sometimes difficult (and oftentimes, frustrating) business of living the collegiate life, I can easily let stress get the better of me. I can begin to blow things out of proportion, so that my mid-terms turn into life-or-death gladiatorial games or the fact that I need to go to Walmart becomes a daunting journey into the deepest, darkest jungle. Yet, every day, right as I step off the bus in front of the Union, I am reminded that my problems-- no matter how awful they may seem-- are not as bad as the fate that this poor lady must endure forever.

She sits majestically atop her fountain, which someone engineered and designed so that the main water feature blasts her right in the--well, you can see. I don't know whose idea it was to make the fountain do this, but I think its hilarious; I can hardly walk by without at least grinning a little bit. One day, my curiosity drove me to read the hefty copper sign that lay in one of the flower beds surrounding this lady's domain. I discovered that, originally, this fountain (which was designed by a Swede named Carl Milles) stood in downtown Chicago at 540 N. Michigan Ave, and was given to the school as a gift presented by Time Inc. on behalf of the class of 1921. The unfortunate woman at its top is none other than the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana (Greek: Artemis). This would explain the bronze animals that adorn the other tiers of the fountain, as well as account for the bow (that looks suspiciously like a stick) in her left hand. As for the reason why she must be subjected to a perpetual heavy crotch-dousing, I can't definitively say. However, I can say that, as well as being goddess of the hunt, Diana represented chastity, and, in myth, remained a virgin for all eternity.

Oh, you funny little Swedes.

02 October 2009

The Spectator.

I continue to watch and observe.

Recently, in Enlightenment Lit., we read various essays from Joseph Addison's popular (at the time) paper, the Spectator. At its most basic, Addison's paper was simply a collection of his observations of English culture. He viewed himself as being aloof from the goings-on of society, and it was this detachment, he claimed, that gave him license to offer his commentary. I thought such a credential was slightly ridiculous-- how could he be living in the culture from which he deemed himself so aloof? Could he have not picked something else to add legitimacy to his observations? Perhaps not. Today, while walking through the park toward my apartment, I realized that, in many ways, I was feeling like Addison. I stand just outside of a few social circles, yet participate in none. My observations of interaction at UIUC takes place in small vignettes on the quad-- sorority girls talking loudly and frustratedly into their cell phones (apparently something happens every night of the week that pisses at least one of them off in some way), or guys laying out a hazily detailed plan of how they "are totally going out tonight, man," or some activist group shoving flyers at you while attempting to solicit support for their cause (which usually has to do with socialism or saving animals--no hyperbole here). People argue about everything. I don't know the other people, who are usually quiet, and so they slip easily into the background of my everyday observations.

I want to feel part of a circle. Joseph Addison was great, but I don't want to be him. (Nor do I want to be in any three of the circles mentioned previously.) Patience wears thin.

My next post will be pretty interesting. I promise.

30 September 2009

This day in history.

Exactly twenty years ago, at around 10:30PM, my mom gave birth to me in a hospital in Flowood, MS. I have come a long way since then, but not far enough to drink.

Here's to another decade (hopefully quite a few more), and all of the fun that will come along with it. Because let's face it, turning twenty is the last time hitting a new decade is cool; hitting thirty is so bad it sends one into a "crisis." (Which also happens around 40, I think.)

24 September 2009

A new paradigm.

On a completely unrelated note to the rest of this post: I like iTunes 9. The layout is fresh--makes me feel like I've got a whole new iTunes. Anyway...

As I have alluded to in previous posts, the transition to life at Illinois has been a rocky one. It has made me even more aware of the gaping problems in my life, and also reopened a few old wounds that I thought had healed over. Be that as it may, I believe I'm making a great deal of progress in sorting it all out. For one, I came to the realization that the problems I have faced this past nine months are not new to me-- in reading through a few old journal entries, I came across instances detailing difficulties almost identical to the ones presently plaguing me. Reading in my own handwriting the words of desperation and frustration spill out across the page brought me a sense of relief. Obviously, I pulled through a slump like this before, so I should be able to do it again.

Second, I became aware that my present state of mind is defeating itself; I perpetually shoot myself in the foot simply by thinking and living the way that I do. I have not been placing adequate importance on the things that I care most about, with the result being that I only spend my time doing things I don't like to do. I spend too much time fretting over the wrong assignments, doing the wrong activities, and not going to bed on time (which, as stupid as it sounds, is important.) Ultimately, this leaves me feeling depleted, both physically and psychologically.

As humans, we must have a sound structure from which to live our lives. If our foundations-- the way we view ourselves, the things we do, our hopes and dreams-- are not strong and well-defined, then we tend to crumble under the weight of life's mundanities and obligations. In my case, I have an idealized form of myself in my mind which I try to live up to. The farther my actions deviate from this idealized "me," the more I deteriorate and more purposeless I tend to feel. If, however, I am staying true to this idealized form of self, then I tend to perform better and be an overall happier person. It has now become my goal to reorganize my life so that I can--with hope-- move closer to living the life I want to live rather than the life I settle for.

For me, passion is everything.

21 September 2009

An autumnal reminiscence.

I remember running through the autumn air when I was in grade school. I remember its chill, fresher than normal air--crispier, too-- and the crunch of the dead grass underfoot as I scampered along its vast infinite surface. In an odd way, it was magical, mystical to be outside on a fall day. The leaves had turned colors, and some of them had already turned as crisp as the air, turned brown, and busied themselves with scraping along the pavement as the wind carried them off to somewhere. I remember playing football with the other boys in the neighborhood. I remember the thrill of the game-- I played quarterback-- and wearing my old Brett Favre jersey so I could pretend to be him for the day. It made me a better player, I was sure of it. All of us wore jerseys-- all of us pretended, I suppose. We would play until the sun drooped too low in that brisk autumn sky and we couldn't see anymore. Usually, we played in the neighbor's yard, and their floodlights would come on as an unspoken sign that we should go home because dinner was ready and our houses were warm and lamp-lit and forgiving. I remember the grass stains on my jeans, the smell of the outside on my fleece jacket, and the scent of everyone's different detergent as we slammed each other into the hard earth. Our noses would run--our ears and noses turned pink and burned in the cold. My hands, much like they still do today, would turn dry around the knuckles, and sometimes they would crack and bleed, but I didn't care because we were playing football and I had to lead the team. I was so full with life then, too human, too strong as a ten year old, that it only bolstered and goaded me on. Real players bled. I was Brett Favre. Do the math.

15 September 2009

From a cafe on Neil.

If you read this-- and feel so inclined-- you can comment on it, even if you don't have a blogger account. Just letting you know. I don't want to resort to Facebook notes again, and so I tell you this in hopes that I can reach a vocal readership without having to tag people. Anyway...

I'm learning about the topography of life-- namely, that there are hills, valleys, mountains, and canyons, and that plateaus are only for those ignorant of the sudden drop that exists a few miles ahead.

13 September 2009

The business of being backlogged.

My ideas for updating this blog have all been excessive in scope; my topics are too broad, and the things that interest me often require more words to tell than people express interest in reading. (Not that I think people really read this, anyway. But if they did, I would want it to be accessible.) So, for posterity:

I'm still struggling to get into the swing of things. My bout with the swine flu really threw me off, and has resulted in an accumulation of assignments, which, as any good student knows, simply translates into hours wasted on Facebook rather than actually spending time completing the assignments themselves. It is a vicious (though seemingly inevitable) cycle.

Despite the time I have needed on Facebook, I have found the time to do other activities-- I attended my first Big Ten football game last night, watching the Fighting Illini defeat the Illinois State Redbirds 45-17. I have more analysis for this (and every other football game that has come on this weekend) than I do for John Locke's views on education in the 17th century or for Coleridge's "Kubla Khan." My lack of opinion regarding these latter two subjects is problematic, as a two page write-up on the Illini's current position in the Big Ten, no matter how well-written, will not garner me an A in Enlightenment or British Lit. And thus, I face a week full of Latin charts, ancient Greco-Roman mythologies, Romantic poets, and wars between science and religion that I must trudge through before the freedom of next Friday.

I'm learning the importance of purpose in one's activities, and the crucial nature of conviction regarding outcome and consequence.

06 September 2009

Back in the saddle.

I finally beat the swine flu. Perhaps I'll get back into the swing of things...

01 September 2009

Easing the adjustment.

I tried my hand at writing poetry today-- or rather, I adapted my prose into something like poetry. I realized that, at my best, my writing can sometimes contain its own rhythm, meter, and internal rhyme that adds a very lyrical quality to it. Curious at my new discovery, I took a grouping of sentences I had written earlier this year, put them in lines and verses, and tried to pass it off as a poem. I'm not sure if it is genuinely good, as I was just pleased that it exceeded all of my other attempts at writing poetry. Ironic, I thought-- finding a poem in a few lines of prose. But, I did not complain.

As it is, I found the experience satisfying. In many ways, it represents my life lately. Here's the poem. Don't be too harsh. (Remember, it was born as something different.)

The Overlook

Somewhere over the mottled hills
And into the burning twilight,
There lies a hope that beats
So softly against my chest.
It is where memories sleep,
Where emotion breathes, and
True beings sing hymns and lullabies
And hum for the approaching moon
--and stars.
Even the wind and breeze seem
Bent on making it over those hills
To this place of quiet refuge
Where my dreams, unfettered, thrive.


30 August 2009

On the concept of "blogging."

Generally speaking, I don't really like blogs-- I have felt that they appeal to an unhealthy part of the human psyche. "Blogging," it has seemed, was simply a way to communicate publicly thoughts that would have otherwise been written in a private diary or journal. As if to say "Look! This is the way I feel-- now comment on it!" (a notion that I once believed in), the blogger types away, injecting their own thoughts into the flood of discourse that gushes through the wires of the internet every day. And so, years ago, I stepped away from my Xanga page (oh, the old days of LiveJournal and Xanga...) simply because I was admittedly embarrassed; I felt that my most awkward years were captured on the world's stage, naked, for all to see.

Yet, here I am. Obviously blogging. For whatever reason, I feel the need to wiggle my way back into the web before I allow myself to become irrelevant. I don't use Twitter, and I'm not much of a presence on Facebook (despite the fact that I spend so much of my time on there), so I must assert myself somehow. I want to use this as a tool, so that my friends know what I am doing and thinking even when we are separated by hundreds of miles. And, perhaps, the things I have to say will do something more important than that: spark discussion, cause people to think, or simply entertain. After all, I do fashion myself a writer, and so get a great pleasure from pleasing others with my words.

So, welcome to my brain. "In so many words..."


29 August 2009

A few words from William Blake.

"The Human Abstract" (1794)

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor;
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace,
Till the selfish loves increase;
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.

He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears;
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Catterpiller and Fly
Feed on the Mystery.

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the Raven his has made
In its thickest shade.

The Gods of the earth and sea,
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree,
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the Human Brain.