Sunday, September 13, 2009

Generic Update

Well, the results are in, and my second full week of graduate school is complete. I’m drained, though fortunately, mostly in the physical sense now. The emotional drip of the first week or two alone in Boston has nearly dried up, and I’m becoming accustomed to, well, this new life o’ mine. I had a brief relapse the other day, walking home from the T, though. I passed a woman walking a long-haired dachshund, and I wanted nothing more than to walk in the door of my apartment and find Cookie and Sula yapping at my ankles and furiously wagging their bushy tails. [Note: if/when I move out of this apartment, I’m finding a dog-friendly place, and I will be getting a puppy. Or will be bringing Cookie with me. Or both.] I’ve decided with confidence that I am not a cat person. Yes, the cats here are (mostly) sweet and certainly cute, but the almost sinister self-possession of cats unnerves me. Yes, animal rights folks, feel free to call me out on my longing for pet-dependence. What can I say? Dogs give affection without condition, and I like having someone around who will be invariably happy to see me. That sort of genuineness and love are rarely, if ever, found in people. Which is why when I inevitably become a batty spinster living atop a mountain of books, I’ll make sure to be the ridiculous dog lady of the neighborhood. Maybe I’ll throw in a century-old wedding cake and call myself Miss Havisham, while I’m at it.

Off that tangent, now. Classes are running smoothly and I’m surprised to find myself so excited to be back in that element. With only a three month break between the toughest semester of my undergrad and the rockiest change (thus far) in my life, I figured burnout was a given. But I can’t begin to describe how different graduate classes are from undergrad ones; everyone is engaged and excited; we go into the classroom from mutual positions, hoping to interact and learn from one another. Well, I can only speak for myself, but I’m so fascinated to hear what people have to say, and it makes me step up my game—I want to offer something constructive to the dialogue, too. Most of us are coming from different backgrounds; we cover a large span of literary periods and have wildly varying perspectives—but that’s precisely what makes the discussions so electric. I’m thrilled with it, even if the workload is insane and the commute is often brutal.

[update, Saturday morning]

Hungover. Strangely enough, it’s now that I most miss my queens/friends. Don’t get me wrong—the folks in my cohort are fucking great, brilliant and a blast to get bombed with—but it remains strange to wake up feeling like you’ve got cotton wool wrapped around your brain and not be able to walk down the hall and grab the people you were partying with the night before for a morning, messy, unnecessary ciggy. It’s hard to keep myself from falling back into fag slang and to repeat the dangerous and exhilarating party habits that will, of course, leave me forever imprinted on William & Mary’s mythology (har har)—especially when often I’m putting myself in a much more compromised position, seeing as public transportation closes at 1:00 AM and I have a long, lonely hike from any well-populated areas to my apartment. I need to take better care about that sort of thing, because I keep finding myself stomping down the dark roads to my apartment at 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning, by myself and drunk and without cab cash. And just as a sidenote: riding the T while drunk is NOT FUN. But I keep forgetting that I’m in a big city, that I’m more or less on my own, that the same sluts who went with me to the vomit-bush aren’t able to stomp me home. That’s where the homesickness clutches you in its vile grasp; in the little things that crop up out of nowhere—little itty bitty voids in your daily ritual, where you go to turn and say something to your coffee shop buddy or your smoke buddy and realize that you look like an idiot, because no one’s there.

But as I said, things are beginning to seem normal. When I get back to the city from campus, I think of my apartment as ‘home’; I’m getting into a daily schedule that, sure, is different, but keeps me busy and content. I have two coffee shops and innumerable used book stores. There’s a lounge in the English department for grad students and faculty, and it makes me feel super important sitting in there and half-doing work. I even get to pack a lunch and leave it in the lounge fridge. I’m behind in nearly every class, but not unmanageably so, and I’m enjoying the work and the fact that I’m being compelled to parse ideas out on a much more complex level. I’m reading Faulkner’s Light in August and had forgotten what a joy Faulkner really is. I’m getting my feet rooted in queer/race theory, rather than playing salad-bar with a bunch of theorists, and I’ve got a group of people to bounce ideas off of and likewise sponge up their brilliance. I don’t know how I become so long-winded on this thing every time, but there you have it. Will try to update more regularly, so that it’s not information-dump every few weeks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Some notes and details on things in my life right now:

-I eat some sort of variation on a deli-meat-sandwich about every day; a potato, cooked in different fashions, typically constitutes the ‘vegetable’ of my dinner. I must be braver at the grocery store, and soon.
-One of my roommate’s cats has taken a particular liking to me; the downside is that she frequently howls outside of my bedroom door for well near an hour as I try to fall asleep. She wakes me up sometimes, too. Though, admittedly, this worked to my advantage over the weekend, because she woke me up from my drunken stupor in time to warn me to run for a plastic bag to vomit into. Nonetheless, I need my fucking beauty rest. This needs to stop.
-Classes are fabulous, but reading a book of theory a week in addition to, like, a million other things, will take some getting used to. I spent about six hours today wading through Foucault.
-On that note, I’m reading Foucault for all three of my classes. And from what I hear from some English grad compatriots in other programs, this is a fairly universal experience. Is he really that great?
-I’m making friends, and am finally at the point where I can sort of count on having weekend plans. Yay! The bloody edge to this sword is that I spent a lot of this weekend hungover and incapable of being productive. And I spent far more money on booze than I should have.
-Though Boston, and my neighborhood in particular, seems to have a pretty substantial—and visible—gay population, I’m apparently still the resident freak. Honestly, no one bats an eye at all the fucking hipsters wearing girl jeans; I wear a pair out—me in girl pants, me, someone who actually sleeps with men—and I’m given glares like a fucking leper? Sheesh, give me a goddamn break, you hypocritical yuppies.
-I still want to properly review Inglourious Basterds, and am hoping to do some capsule reviews for a few others things I’ve read/seen lately—Halloween II, Angela Carter’s Wise Children, and Alice Munro’s Open Secrets.
-There will be more substantial updates soon. And pictures, potentially, though from my shitty phone. Things are generally smooth; I’m still a bit lonely and disoriented; we could hit grad-school-panic-mode soon; I think I’ll survive. Until next time.