Monday, February 28, 2005


indefinitely. My priorities at the moment are working on my senior thesis and finding a job in Chicago (cross your fingers). Don't know when/if I'll be back, but I'll let you know.

(BTW, Promethea Books II and III: kick. ass. And I'm finding Mr. Trollope quite enjoyable as well).

Friday, February 25, 2005

Performance anxiety

J. reads my blog, and now I'm trying to think up something interesting to say. Now personally, I think blathering on about books and my personal idiosyncracies is way more interesting than learning the ins and outs of some stranger's personal life, but that may be because I have no personal life to speak of myself.

Anyway, I'm going to do what all bloggers do when they can't think of anything to talk about:

Answer the following questions with song lyrics. Describe:
1. How you feel about yourself. I’m not a leader, I’m not a left-wing rhetoric mobilizing force of one,/But there was a time way back, many years ago in college, don’t laugh,/But I thought I was a radical Dar Williams "The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-ed"
2. How you think your friends view you. I like the green grass under my shoes/What can I lose, I'm flat, that's that/I'm alone when I lower my lamp/That's why the lady is a tramp Actually, I have no idea how my friends view me, I just love that song.
3. Your family. One day I took your tiny hand/Put your finger in the wedding band/Your daddy gave a piece of land/We laid ourselves the best of plans/Forty years go by with someone laying in your bed/Forty years of things you say you wish you'd never said/How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead Patty Griffin, "Long Road Home"
4. Your romantic/sex life. who was i trapped in all this fucking who straight as water as wine as you/and maybe for a second we both thought it’d turn out the way we wanted it to but you’re not like the rest you’re not the fucking rest you’re not like anything The Butchies, "Second Guess"
5. Your current state of mind. Get me outta here! Jet

and because one meme is never enough:

1. What is the first book you remember reading? I remember reading Genesis in a children's bible and realizing that Adam and Eve didn't have any clothes on, and thinking I was going to get in trouble for reading about naked people.
2. What is your favorite book? Eliminating Austen cause she's a given, Tipping the Velvet.
3. Who is your favorite author? Emma Donoghue
4. Pick up the nearest book (magazine or any available printed material will do). Turn to page 24 (or the closest to it). Go to the 7th line. What is it?

I was stunned. Juliet Marillier, Son of the Shadows.

5. If you could be any character in literature, who would you be?

Ooh, Nan Astley, definitely! I get to work as a professional cross-dresser and live happily ever after with a socialist.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.

My roomie C and I were watching Pride and Prejudice this weekend (my super duper Special Edition DVDs), snarking on the Bingley sisters and commenting how their lovable brother was exactly like an adorable puppy dog. Every time I see Mr. Bingley I just want to pat him on the head and say "Good boy!"
C., like every heterosexual Janeite woman, is massively in lust with Colin Firth. I guess it must be one of the Janeite requirements.
I, of course, feast my eyes on the glory that is Jennifer Ehle (man, Keira Knightley doesn't have a chance of comparing with her Lizzie). So you see, Austen really has something for everyone.
But mostly, we watch it for the clothes. I could totally reconcile myself to living in Jane's England just for the clothes. All those fancy, pretty muslin dresses make my inner femme squeal with happiness, and hey, cross-dressing would be so much more fun with breeches and frock coats and top hats.

So Elizabeth is walking up to Netherfield to visit poor Jane (being ill in somebody else's house has got to suck majorly). Swinging her bonnet and jumping over mud puddles and generally being her fabulous self. Stumbles upon Mr. Darcy, who's sporting what C. and I refer to as The Coat.
"I am come to inquire after my sister," Lizzie says.
"On foot?" responds the startled Mr. Dipshit (er, Darcy. I love the man, but he's such a dork).
Then Lizzie gives him this classic "No shit, Sherlock" look and replies, "As you see."
Anyway, the whole time C. and I are exclaiming over The Coat.
C: Omigod, he looks SO HOT in That Coat! Gaaahhh!
Me: Omigod, I want That Coat! Gaaaaahhh!

Seriously, anyone know where I can get myself a greatcoat, circa 1805? It's so dashing and bad-ass. It would totally rock with the Big Ass Dyke Boots. I daydream about sporting spencers and pelisses and cloaks, but I think I'd have more opportunity to wear The Coat. sigh

(title quote from Emma, btw.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Madeleine is Sleeping

Walked into the library and saw it on the shelf of New Books, and I knew I didn't stand a chance.

Wow. Just, wow.

Yeah, I don't have the time, but that's okay. I'll single-handedly manufacture more hours in the day.

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. Now that is a distinctive authorial name.

And, lest you accuse me of fickleness, I'm still savoring every moment of The Rose in Twelve Petals. I'm rationing it out slowly, one story a day.

I did manage to be amazingly productive today as well. I'm giving a presentation on Books 1 and 2 of Aurora Leigh tomorrow, so I made a little handout: So, You Want to be a 19th Century Woman Writer: You too can achieve Public Scrutiny, Critical Neglect, and Marginalization in the Women Studies ghetto with these 10 easy steps!

I'm quite pleased with myself.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


'In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in political terms.' -Thomas Mann

How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has both read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms.

William Butler Yeats

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Well. I started out knitting a hat, and I kinda wound up with a really big, stretchy yarmulke.
Mind you, it's a very hip one, red and black and yellow stripes, but, you know. Not very useful.

Oh well. I'm still pretty damn proud of my second knitting attempt. "Look at my neat hat! I can't actually wear it, but isn't it cool?"

In other news, I'm reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Aurora Leigh" for class, and I think I'm going to write my senior thesis on it. 300 pages of blank verse on women's creative force and their role as poets and artists. It fucking kicks ass [/poetry geek]. And I'm giddy at the prospect of using Gilbert and Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic for my paper. Woohoo!

Oh god. I'm going to be an academic. I just know it. There's no hope.

Also, the title story of The Rose in Twelve Petals makes me wish I had a proper thesaurus, because I could use "amazing," or "fantastic," or "incredible" yet again, but it wouldn't really convey what a gift Theodora Goss has. Remember when you were a kid and you read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time? Yeah, like that. Just run out and buy the book (see post below), and you can thank me later.

Still don't know what to do with this blog. If I'm going to keep it up I should probably do that All Consuming book review thingy everybody else uses.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It feels like Christmas!!

It came! It came today!!

I sent a check to Small Beer Press weeks ago for Theodora Goss' The Rose in Twelve Petals after reading her poem "The Ophelia Cantos" on the Endicott website. I fell instantly, madly in love (and it doesn't hurt that Goss herself is frickin' gorgeous). I've been checking the mailbox everyday, even though I knew it can't possibly come today, I just sent off for it, but I couldn't help myself.

And here it is. It is like Christmas, like when you're a kid and you run to the tree and you're genuinely surprised and thrilled that Santa came, because you never know, maybe he won't this year, but he did, and you jump up and down with excitement. It's just a 6 dollar chapbook stapled together, but it's got illustrations by Charles Vess and it's beautiful. And tomorrow's Friday and I only have one class in the morning so I can spend the rest of the day curled up with it in the library, trying to make it last while wanting to gobble it up at the same time.

Dear Small Beer Press, there are so many of your titles I want I can't make up my mind. I love you. Will you marry me? You do live in Massachuesetts, after all.

I think I'm officially out of my funk, for the weekend at least. How can anyone not love books?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun*

gacked from Negative Capability (who officially has the coolest blog name ever):

How many of these poems do you know by their first lines? Copy the list and make your own, replacing the lines you don't know with poems that you do. Replacements in bold.

1. Had we but world enough, and time,
2. anyone lived in a pretty how town
3. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
4. Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
5. Do not go gentle into that good night,
6. The Heart asks Pleasure--first--
7. He is more than a hero
8. That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
9. Turning and turning in the widening gyre
10. I am a miner. The light burns blue.

Anyway, I'm thinking of giving up this blog. It's been fun, but I'm tired of having to have something to say, and rambling away into empty space. But I don't know. This is symptomatic of my larger "Oh fuck what the hell am I going to do after I graduate so that I don't have to go grad school and/or move back in with my parents! Fuck!" crisis. I've had an increasing desire to disconnect, and cut what few ties I have to anyone and anything. I've been thinking of spending a year in China teaching English, just me and the 2nd volume of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. Seeing as I fucked up my application to France and all (surprise!). Why not. There's nothing keeping me here, certainly not the hot'n'heavy lesbian dating scene of the rural midwest [/sarcasm]. I think something that drastic might be what I need.

*Shakespeare, of course. Sonnet 130, my favorite.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Totally Like Whatever

In case you hadn't noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you're talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you're saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)'s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences - so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not-
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don't think I'm uncool just because I've noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It's like what I've heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I'm just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like . . .

And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we've become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.

Taylor Mali

Sunday, February 06, 2005

insert witty title here

I'm in a silly mood.

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

by William Shakespeare (aka some guy named Jeff Brechlin)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Am I the only one who sees this?

Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows:

Samuel Johnson:

Slap on a pair of goggles, stick him in a roadster, and you've got Dr. Johnson's Wild Ride! He'd totally be up for it too:
In our way, Johnson strongly expressed his love of driving fast in a post-chaise. 'If (said he,) I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman; but she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation.' Friday, September 19, 1777. The Life of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell.
I've pretty much spent the whole day making fun of the good doctor, without neglecting his dear friend Mr. Boswell either. I can't resist taking the pompous blowhard down a peg or two after wading through his whole life (okay, so we read the abridged Penguin edition, but still. It's nothing but Johnson going "Well, Sir, blah de blah blah", and Boswell alternating between being a sycophant and creepily passive-aggressive). So imagine my delight at this bit of juicy literary gossip:
The friendship between [Johnson] and Mrs. Thrale developed, indeed, into an intimacy whose mysterious depths are hinted at in an extraordinary correspondence of 1773 in which padlocks, fetters and rods are mentioned, in which Mrs Thrale refers to herself as his governess and Johnson calls himself her slave...For one had known Johnson so well as she had done in sickness and in health, in high spirits and in those moods when, beset by 'sinful and corrupt imaginations', by 'inordinate desires' and 'wicked thoughts', he feared he was going mad. Pg. 20-21, Intro to the Penguin edition.
Hm. Mr. Boswell forgot to mention that naughty Sam enjoyed being discplined upon occasion. As did Rousseau, for that matter, though if Johnson knew he shared the same tastes as a damn'd French philosophe he'd probably keel over from apoplexy. ::exits stage left, laughing uproariously::

It's a good thing I'm enjoying my classes this semester...

"I love Walt Whitman. He’s the best bearded gay man ever!" –Professor B.

...because they're really cutting into my reading-for-pleasure time. I think I'm going to have to give up the ghost with Gigi and Swordspoint; I've still got to finish parts IX and X of Boswell's Life of Johnson, start on Ivanhoe, catch up on the Romantic poets (even though I've already read them five billion times before), in addition to trying to figure out Life After Graduation.

But there's always time for a quiz.

P. B. Shelley
You are Percy Bysshe Shelley! Famous for your
dreamy abstraction and your quirky verse,
you're the model "sensitive poet." A
vegetarian socialist with great personal charm
and a definite way with the love poem, you
remain an idol for female readers. There are
dozens of cute anecdotes about you, and I love

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?
brought to you by Quizilla

Okay, not as sexy-beast-cool as Byron, but not bad. If I have to be a Romantic poet, Shelley will do. I get to avoid early death, opium addiction, insanity, and possibly incestuous sibling relationships, but still have lots of sex. And marry Mary Wollstonecraft's daughter. Yay me!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I love this class

"Johnson's Rasselas is like Candide without the syphilis."--Dr. M