Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Woes

So, it is official. I have literally not left my apartment or showered since Sunday night so about 60ish hours, give or take. This winter weather has got me all. Well, technically, I feel like I haven't really done much of anything since last Thursday. Besides a meeting I had on Friday, and an awful attempt at jogging with Hall on Saturday and viewing Big Love on Sunday at J's, I haven't done anything of much consequence, as I told a friend of mine over the phone. I guess I never realized how important getting out of your apartment can be. Besides all of that complaining, I have been rather productive. I read The Real Charlotte by Sommerville and Ross (it is like a fin-de-siecle Jane Austen novel), Dusty Answers by Rosamund Lehmann, and The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble. The latter two were for thesis research, and I found them slightly less than entertaining. I really plan on giving Drabble another chance. I plan on reading The Needle's Eye sometime soon for thesis research, as well as a book by Iris Murdoch and one by Muriel Spark.

I have also been feeling very, very nostalgic lately. I know I told a couple of you this, but they recently tore down my old dorm, Boozman Hall. It brought up a bunch of memories, and I have been haunting the alumni page on Facebook and such. I posted some photos and wrote a little snippet about my time there. My mom and I have dreams of me returning to teach there one day and settling on the lake. It was just such a good place for me. I really loved my time there. All of this winter weather has me thinking about how much I would have loved to have been in my old house, snowed in for three days, enjoying time with my old roommates. It is kinda lonely living alone, and I guess it stands out so much more for me now that I haven't been out and have no one to spend those weird times together. Like that last hour right before you go to sleep or the early morning stumble from the bathroom to the kitchen. No one to gripe with between classes and no one sneaking into my room for a late night talk.

I can't even really bring myself to finish this post, nor do I even know why I am posting something like this. I haven't really posted something this personal before. I guess I was just feeling like sharing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Heterosexist Volkswagens?

I was watching TV the other day (big surprise, I know) and one of the commercials grabbed my attention because Robert Gant from Queer as Folk was in this new Volkswagen commercial. I tried to find a copy of it but was unable to. The ad is quite clever and features him and a girl riding in a car, with Gant saying something clever like, "I think we are in a car commercial." Basically, what is implied in the ad is that Gant and this female are a couple. This kinda bothered me (personally) a little bit because Gant is an out and proud homosexual actor. Now, I don't think this means that he should only play gay roles, but when you pair this with the infamous Brooke Shields's Routan commercials, I was struck by this trend of heterosexism in the Volkswagen commercials.

Now, if you watch the Routan documentary in its entirety, you do see two women together handling a baby. Does this mean that they are a couple? Well, two women with a baby is striking different from the male-female couples that are seen holding a newborn and shopping at the car lot. Besides this one potential lesbian couple, every couple featured that is producing children for this Routan is a heterosexual couple. I was just struck by the absences of gay parents in this ad. I thought that we, as a society, were growing up, but I guess not everyone is okay with same-sex parenting. And by the way, why are people more willing to accept a lesbian couple having children but not a gay male couple having children. Just some food for thought. (Thanks, YouTube, for the video.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gloire de Dijon

I thought a long time ago, "I hate roses." I was never really a big fan of them, and of course, through my study of symbolism, several friends and I used to laugh about how giving roses to someone was like giving someone sex organs. It was funny when I first thought about it, but since then, I have just sort of not liked roses because they seemed to be so overdone, everywhere and meaningless. "A rose is a rose is a rose." And yet, with all of my reading of Yeats and Lawrence this past week, I have discovered that I may like one rather specific rose, the gloire de dijon.I was reading this poem by Lawrence entitled "Gloire de Dijon." I realized that he was talking about a flower, but I did not know what find. Early, having looked up images of honeysuckle and snap-dragons, I decided to go ahead and find out more information about this particular flower, which is from the rose family. It would seem that I can now say that I like roses, at least this particular one. I think its combination of pink and orange is very pretty.

Here is Lawrence's poem:


When she rises in the morning
I linger to watch her;
She spread the bath-cloth underneath the window
And the sunbeams catch her
Glistening white on the shoulders,
While down her sides the mellow
Golden shadow glows as
She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts
Sway like full-blown yellow
Gloire de Dijon roses.

She drips herself with water, and her shoulders
Glisten as silver, they crumple up
Like wet and falling roses, and I listen
For the sluicing of their rain-dishevelled petals.
In the window full of sunlight
Concentrates her golden shadow
Fold on fold, until it glows as
Mellow as the glory roses.

Lawrence's poem is part of his collection, Look! We Have Come Through!, which was written during his early affair with Frieda and their trip to the continent prior to World War I. It is also part of a larger rose sequence of poems, which may offer more contexts if you are interested in reading more.

Lawrence, D. H. "Gloire de Dijon." Complete Poems. New York: Penguin Books, 1971. 217.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What will we be known as? Or using office hours productively!

I just had one of the most fascinating conversations about postmodern theory with the most unlikely of people--my favorite librarian who specializes in government and military history. I stopped by to inquire about getting my old summer job again. Then, one thing led to another, I was already late for my office hours, and I decided to stay and continue talking to her about this most interesting topic we arrived at. After the witty banter and catch-up, she sort of posed this odd question that took me a while to answer: "In the future what age will the 20th century be known as?" I was kinda stuck on the answer. She continued with some great speculation and started to explain her reasoning. She mentioned how in all the centuries before use there were some many adjectives and qualifiers to describe the time: Augustan, Victorian, Renaissance, Neolithic Era, etc. And then she got to the point of mentioning the reason, which was she never understood why we ("English majors") came up with postmodernism. Why not just have a new word altogether. Of course, I then got onto my spiel about Grand Narratives, explained some stuff about capitol letters and lower case letters. Ultimately, she stumped me yet again with semantics that I had not really put together.

"It would seem that every age or time period were modern if you in it in the present moment so using modernism as a designations seems strange."

Of course, I started to draw on some pop culture references and mention words like technological age or post-industrial as a good qualifier. And yet, at the same time were seemed not necessarily to really be talking time periods but rather about the concept of experience. (One of my newly discovered favorite imaginative and intellectual wandering topics.) She posed a rather great question that made us both laugh, "How do I know my desk is in my office if I am not in there?" I immediately thought of Toy Story having just mentioned it was one of the few VHSs that I have left. And yet it so true. And all this ultimately got me to think about last night's Contemporary American Lit course and our discussion of Adrienne Rich's "Diving Into the Wreck."

I was so completely ready to call the book of myths patriarchy. Patriarchy is fueled off of adventure and exploration; it is how a man is made. And patriarchy is where the name of woman does not exist. For the name of woman cannot exist in patriarchy, for in patriarchy man creates the name of woman. Man names. Woman is named. I was working up this great speech that I left undelivered for class about how the book of myths feature women merely as props for male fantasies and how myths are romantic and adventurous and, yet, woman becomes nothing more than a prop or creation of man within them. And how, of course, Rich would want to associate myth with patriarchy because she wants to unmask the myths that patriarchy has, have, and will continue to perpetuate within society.

That is why the experience of Rich and the experience of reading her poetry is so interesting and fascinating. Of course, everything will be modern for someone in the present moment, just how every person can only see through there own eyes and there own experiences. Azar Nafisi said that it is when we accept difference and attempt to embody difference--to immerse ourselves in the lives of the Other--do we truly appreciate and understand our own culture. We know ourselves much more than we let on, and it is only through an understanding of others--walking in someone else's shoes--that we can truly learn or experience something unique.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Writing / Blog Discovery

I found this really awesome blog that I wanted to share with everyone. It is called "The One-Minute Writer." ( I thought it was quite serendipitous that today's entry was "Teach: What information would you like to teach to others?"

Here is my 60 second writing:

I think it is interesting that the one thing that Beamish wished for was world peace. How can you teach world peace? It seems that so many people like to teach hatred and live by fear that to teach others to love one another. And yet, as I write that last sentence, I already know examples that contradict that and know people who want to love and to create love. To change the world and teach others to live not in fear but rather in


So that was about how far I got with just 60 seconds. This blog seems like a really great thing for those of us that do teach writing to use as an activity in class. To get students to think about writing. I can already see from what I wrote that I did not even necessarily write about my ideas. But the restriction of just having 60 seconds to write makes me want to write more. Perhaps five is more reasonable, but I have always found that with the free-writing exercise things go too far astray.

I hope others enjoy this blog and maybe even use it.

Also, I think it would be cool to know how some of you would answer this questions, too? What would you want to teach others? I immediately wrote about what Beamish wished for, but I guess I wouldn't even really want to teach people that. It is was just what was on my mine. I guess what I would teach is a motto I drilled into my 3 year old cousin several years ago, "Difference is good."