16 September 2007

i finished the third book in the saga of bella and edward this morning. which is probably a good thing, since reading them made me adopt a somewhat vampirish existence. i ate brunch on thursday at 10:30 and a snack about 2:30. but then i started reading before eating dinner and i just read and read and stayed up all night (til 6:30 friday morning) to finish new moon. and of course after my four or so hours of sleep friday morning (wearing an eye mask to keep out the light--first time and it worked great), i had to start the third one. i didn't eat again until a snack around 4:00 and dinner around 6:30 on friday. and after my eight hour trip to l.a. (to see pink martini in concert, which was fabulous), i stayed up til 3:30 reading more. apparently i was obsessed enough with edward to adopt his sleepless, foodless lifestyle...

they're not great literature. but they were great reads. if you want a little vampire romance (and even if you're not sold on the whole vampire thing), they're definitely fun. a more extensive review to come (when it's not 12:45 a.m. after two nights of little sleep).

14 September 2007

i'm in love with edward cullen. yesterday, before my five hours of poetry, i picked up stephanie meyer's twilight and read the first chapter. i liked it. but i had to read poetry. today, after working all morning and then an afternoon appointment, i decided to go back to barnes & noble to read more poetry. but first i thought i'd read one more chapter in twilight. five hours later, i finished the book head-over-heels in love with its undead hero. and now it's 11:41 p.m. and i have a drive to and from l.a. to make tomorrow and work to do in the morning. and i really shouldn't start new moon. but edward's kiss beckons...

13 September 2007

this afternoon i read poetry. all afternoon. working on the syllabus for a class i've never taught before. shakespeare. donne. marvel. finch. keats. bradstreet. wordsworth. shelley. coleridge. wheatley. emerson. behn. among others. (tomorrow i get to do the 19th and 20th centuries--yay!) i love it. and it intimidates the hell out of me. i fluctuate between excitement and feeling terrified. but mostly i'm excited.

i made a point of reading poems by george herbert today. i've always loved herbert, but before today it was an academic kind of love. it was the way he made the shape of his poems and their meanings coincide. i've long been fascinated by texts which use their physicality to create layers of meaning, so discovering herbert was one of the highlights of the rather boring early british lit survey course i took as an undergrad (the other highlight was my professor, who regularly wore suspenders with pigs on them and who did a spot-on thomas s. monson impression).

today i loved herbert for much more than his form. "prayer (I)," in which he describes prayer as "the soul in paraphrase," "Christ-side-piercing spear," "Heaven in ordinary," and "something understood." the image of man as "brittle crazy glass" given, through the grace of god, the "glorious and transcendent place, / To be a window" in god's temple. herbert's poetry is achingly beautiful--full of a spiritual insight so pointed it pierces through layers of obscuring fear and self-delusion.

i particularly loved "denial." i'll type it here, but you should follow the link to see it's format (if only i could figure out how to format things better through blogger).


When my devotions could not pierce
Thy silent ears,
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse;
My breast was full of fears
And disorder.

My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
Did fly asunder:
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
Some to the wars and thunder
Of alarms.

'As good go anywhere,' they say,
'As to benumb
Both knees and heart, in crying night and day,
Come, come, my God, O come!
But no hearing.'

O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue
To cry to thee,
And then not hear it crying! All day long
My heart was in my knee,
But no hearing.

Therefore my soul lay out of sight,
Untuned, unstrung:
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
Like a nipped blossom, hung

O cheer and tune my heartless breast,
Defer no time;
That so thy favors granting my request,
They and my mind may chime,
And mend my rhyme.

so many times i've felt this. the frustration. the anger. the sorrow. of asking and seeking and begging. 'but no hearing.' but i always come back. because when i am 'unable to look right,' i know the only answer is to go to god and ask him to mend me. to 'cheer and tune my heartless breast' so that in granting that favor--the favor of re-tuning my spirit--i can align my will with his, rather than continuing to let my imperfect vision control what i seek.

herbert captures this perfectly. the anger that masks the anguish. and, when neither the anger nor the anguish gets me anywhere, the quiet turning back to god. and, god willing, for a time it's peace not denial that colors my relationship with him.

06 September 2007

my first obsession is with books. i think i've spent some time in a bookstore everyday for the last week, with the one exception of sunday. it's been hot as hades here, so when my upstairs room and office reach the point of sweltering, i abandon the house and relax in the cool comfort of a bookstore cafe to read. with an occasional foray into the aisles to browse, of course. because i couldn't sit in a bookstore and not browse. sometimes to buy (a great introduction to prosody by stephen fry; a new blank book with a black and white cover with just the right flexibility; a novel by a new author that promises to be delightful). other times just to look and think and soak in all the promise of books.

but books are not my only obsession. i also have a thing for shoes. and this year, my birthday has been an exercise in podiatric indulgence. a pedicure, since i missed out on one when my sisters were here and ever since i've had a hankering to have flowers on my toes. i stopped painting my toe nails a few years ago. i'm not sure why. i've always loved painted toe nails. they look like summer. so this year, i started again. mostly red. occasionally pink. and now with flowers.

and then, a few hours after my first indulgence, i wandered into a t.j. maxx to look for a new bookbag that would handle carrying a computer. i found the bookbag (it's going to save my back this year). and then i found my next indulgence: green, orange, and gold flats with birds on them. just the right splash of color to make jeans fun. and good for hurrying across campus to make it to my class on time.

that was last week--a little pre-birthday anticipatory indulgence. and then my parents gave me cash, in a card that advised i kick off my shoes for my birthday, and then go buy more. so i did. i've been needing new tennis shoes, so i headed to nordstrom rack where i'd seen good tennis shoes for good prices and found a pair. the problem with the rack is that i have to browse all the shoes to find what i'm looking for. which of course meant i found more than just tennis shoes...

my first pair of blue suede shoes--a bit reminiscent of my sister's blue suede docs, which i always loved (and really, this post is dedicated to her; i know she understands this particular obsession of mine). so comfortable i could be on my feet for hours and not feel it. i now understand the taste for keen shoes.

and then there was the real indulgence. the cole haan distressed blue leather sling back platform 4-inch heels with peep toes to show off those gorgeous nails. it was love at first sight. and luckily (for me? for the shoes?) they are comfortable. comfortable enough for me to wear them when i dress up. because love at first sight and fabulosity notwithstanding, i won't buy shoes if they're not comfortable enough to wear.
happy birthday me.