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Archive for September, 2009

People are always fucked up in college.  They stay up all night and then wonder why they can’t just bounce back and be totally productive in class.  Here is a guide to avoid this.

1) Drink water. No, not coffee.  WATER.  It’s the original beverage.  It’s what 2/3s of your body is made up of.  Is your body made up of coffee?  As much as you would like to believe that it is, it is not.  WATER WILL FIX SO MANY OF YOUR PROBLEMS.  It’s harder to fall asleep in class when you have an ice cold Nalgene of water in front of you, forcing you to have to pee every so often.  Keeping hydrated prevents you from being sick, prevents you from being hungry when you’re not (aka when it’s 11 pm and you really want to eat three Easy Macs),  prevents headaches, and just generally makes your body feel better.  Nalgenes in the 1 liter size are my water bottle of choice because two of them equal the standard “8-glasses”-of-water-a-day deal.

2) Go the fuck to sleep. Yeah, it’s college, and your mom isn’t going to tell you to go to sleep, and you have a lot of reading to do, and lol it’s so funny when you don’t sleep and then go to class and can tell everyone you didn’t sleep.  Guess what?  Your body will hate you.  There’s this neat thing called the Sun.  Your body reacts really well to being awake when the Sun is up.  It does not react well to being awake exclusively when the Sun is set.  That’s why a lot of people get really depressed in the winter—because the Sun sets so early, and they want to go to sleep at 6 o’clock, but cannot.  So rather, I should specify—go the fuck to sleep at a decent hour and get up sometime relative to when the sun rises.  Then, if you do end up being overwhelmed by work and have to stay up late, you will be able to fall back into your schedule.

3) For the love of God, EAT. Your body needs food.  Your body needs REAL FOOD.  Not easy mac, not one salad with some honey mustard and three crackers, not pizza all the time (or at all hours of the night).  (And this goes for coffee too.  A cup of coffee≠breakfast.  Never.)  It needs some solid, hearty meals. Vegetables! Whole wheat!  Cheese! Milk! Protein! Bananas! Grapes!  Food will help you stay awake.  Food will help your body not get sick by making it strong.  Your brain likes it when it has nutrients to—Oh, I don’t know—stay alive.

4) Don’t do drugs. Coffee is cool and everything, but even if drink only one cup every day, you’re forcing your body to do things that it doesn’t want to do.  Again—if you do have a night when you have to stay up late, when you decide to get a fresh brew in the morning, it will actually help you wake up.  Coffee will not let you stay awake indefinitely.  Sorry, kids.  Adderall will probably let you stay awake indefinitely, but it will also make you not do number three, so none of that either.  On the flip side, if you’re stressed out, do not drink an entire bottle of raspberry-flavored liquor.  Don’t!  Besides, you are more than likely not 21 and getting caught just is not worth it.  Neither is the hang over which will prevent you from doing all of the first three items on this list.

5) Miscellaneous. Don’t go to Applebee’s for half-priced appetizers three times a week.  Don’t fuck every person you meet who is willing to fuck you too.  Don’t do every quiz on Facebook.  Don’t drink anything with the number 99 in the name.  Don’t watch youTube, in general.  Don’t “pick five” things fifty times.  Don’t do anything associated with Farmville. Don’t go to any sites that involve fucking my life, texting, or viewing photos of the generally unattractive in strange situations.  Instead, do your work.

6) Don’t stress out about your work too much.  “Oh. Em. Gee.  This is probably the worst three-page paper that I have ever written in my life! I’m going to cry for awhile and then e-mail my professor and see if he’ll let me do it over, or perhaps let me do an even harder more extravagant project to make up for the new level of low that I have just reached.”  Whoa!  Well, it might not be a classic essay that should be added to the curriculum, but at least you did it, so stop stressing.  Besides, it’s only worth maybe 5% of your grade.  I’m not saying don’t do your work, but if you keep up on things, you’re allowed to slip up once. Or twice.  Or maybe 10 times.  You’ll probably still get some sweet grades just as long as you’re diligent and punctual.  Work done on time is always better than work done with an extension when you should have been doing other work and now you’re just even further behind.  

7) Hug everyone. It will make everyone much happier.

 

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Susquehanna Review

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[Note: This may have just been one of the most self-serving things I’ve ever done. I’m only getting away with it because I have to for novel.]

[Dr. Robertson, if this isn’t what you wanted, please tell me. Either way, I had fun doing it.]

(This is a love poem for Tara Elizabeth-Lynn.)[1]

CLEMENTINE DIVINE[2]

A heavy-bottomed glass[3] tipping over.
That’s what it felt like when her head dropped to my shoulder.

She is all things orange: clementines[4] peeled in single spiral,
Sewn back together with red thread, left on the sill[5] for winter;

Thai tea[6] swirled with clouds of rice milk[7], blooming underneath
My tongue, forever staining[8] the white cuffs of my shirt;

Peach pie out of season, frozen months before and discovered under bags of
Vacuum-sealed corn, the bottom burned black when it was finally baked;[9]

A heavy-bottomed glass tipping over.
That’s it felt like when her head dropped into my lap.

She was suspended there, airy, like silk scarves, and then
Sunk, leaving iodine[10] stains on my thighs

The tint of tainted orange and a sanitized
Feeling that I just couldn’t scrub off.

Andy[11] had said, “Everyone knows
Girls are like fireflies.[12]” But it wasn’t

Until I felt her leave that I knew
He meant grasping for light that goes

Dark in your palm.[13]

1. Tara Elizabeth-Lynn is more commonly known as Tara Toms from Tara Toms and the Tumbleweeds. Toms is the only person with a poem in the Girls from the River School series to not be directly associated with Susquehanna University.
2. Morris has noted that this title is taken from a poem written by Andrew Shiraki. The original line is, “Hey lover of mine / sweet clementine divine.”
3. Morris is most likely referring to a tumbler or highball glass, which has straight sides and, as is mentioned in the line, a heavy bottom. These glasses were weighted so that they would not easily tip over, which is the reason it is an important moment in the poem.
4. A small, seedless variety of mandarin orange. Clementines are characterized by their juicy interior that breaks easily into eight to fourteen sections and, as is pertinent to this line of the poem, its flexible and easily-removable peel. Even though clementines have a Wikipedia entry, Microsoft Word has never added them to their spell check roster as anything except for a proper name for a girl.
5. Short for windowsill. Sometimes the peels of clementines, which were popular in the winter months, as they were shipped to the United States from Spain, were dried on windowsills and used for potpourri.
6. A tea popular in American Thai restaurants. The tea is usually served cold in a tall glass with half and half or evaporated milk floated on the top. The tea, which is usually just a strongly brewed black tea, sometimes with orange blossom water or star anise added, is colored with red and yellow dyes, giving it a bright orange color.
7. A milk substitute made from brown rice. Morris has noted that her best friend Abby used to make thai tea with rice milk and that that was the first way she ever drank it.
8. Again, the tea had such a strong dye in it, that it would, indeed, stain a shirt for a long time, if the shirt were not properly treated before being washed.
9. In an interview, Morris said that this references a peach pie she found in the freezer of her Grandparent’s house, six months after her grandmother had died. It was the first and last peach pie that she had ever eaten of her grandmother’s, and she considered it truly magical to have found it after she had thought that she would never eat her grandmother’s cooking again. Her grandmother’s middle name was Clementine.
10. Iodine was commonly used as an antiseptic and was also known for its orange color.
11. “Andy” is an imaginary boy in a song written and performed by Tara Toms about a boy named Andy who was every drug that Tara had ever taken and the loneliness that these drugs and Andy caused her.
12. Originally spoken by Steven Schrey one night after playing Frisbee, probably on a Sunday, in the Summer of ‘07, when he was driving Morris home in his Jeep with the top down. Morris knew it was poetry, but it took her a year and a half to fit it in the right place and have it mean something.
13. Morris notes that Tom Bailey, her fiction professor at Susquehanna University, originally said this line in describing the end of a short story. He said, “You know how the end of some short stories are like grasping for a firefly? You reach your hand out and think you’ve caught it, but when you look in your palm, it’s gone.”

And I can’t even pretend that I didn’t come up with the idea of linking the few things that I did on here from Nadia‘s hypertext final project that she did for Randy Robertson’s History of the Book class in the Spring of ’09.  Nothing is new!  Just think of them as footnotes to footnotes, since I can’t make footnotes to footnotes (I tried). Though I will say that I kind of did something similar when I was fifteen and thought that I was cool.

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#1
Freedom

I was willing. Laying this scalp against clay was a thanks. That was anguish. King C.—knight in shining skins.

#2
Name

Who? I? Lips to soil, Lord C told of a sixth sol circuit. I is for your flock.

#3
His God

My maker crumble. RC mark a pure text, a man/pa/fume cut away.

#4
Family

Two bred one. One put the cheek on the ground. One knows not the two. One knows the One. Crusoe.

I know these journal entries may seem sparse, but they actually took me a very long time to write, because they are lipograms. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipogram ) Lipograms are passages, or sometimes entire books, written without certain letters. I decided to choose four things that Friday lost when he became Crusoe’s slave. Then I wrote tiny (because they were so hard to do) journal entries in which none of the letters from the original denied entity could be used. By taking out as many as six letters each time, I was extremely constrained in what I could say, which was appropriate. Friday, too, was denied these things, just as I was denied them in language.

“Freedom” was interesting because, with the omission of the letter m, Friday could never say “I am” and thus never declare himself in any state. He could not independently “be.” It was also hard to say that he placed his head against the ground because so many body parts have o’s or e’s in them (think about it—head, cheek, ear, eyes, foot, toes, feet,). The same is true for how Friday put his head on the ground/dirt/floor/earth.

In “Name,” I have Friday describing how Crusoe named him Friday (“a sixth sun circuit.”) In writing this, I got stuck with not being able to say that Crusoe or Friday were both a “man.” It was also impossible to have Friday declare “I am” again, even to say, “I am your slave.” Instead, I have him say, “I is for your flock.” Indeed, Friday was the first human element of Crusoe’s flock. By being forced to say, “I is” Friday becoming part of the flock is more like his identity is the flock, that Crusoe transferred the “I” of Friday to his own liking, and his own flock, instead of the Friday before Crusoe, the one we never meet, joining. This entry also has the second name that I had give Friday give Crusoe (first King C then Lord C) because of the restraint. However, this reflects that the relationship between them is slightly blurred. While Friday was his slave, Crusoe also found his first companion in twenty-five years in Friday.

The “His God” portion, which I thought would be the easiest, was actually the hardest. It is nearly impossible to say God without an o or I (Absolute Being, All Knowing, All Powerful, Allah, Almighty, Creator, Divine Being, Father, God, Holy Spirit, Infinite Spirit, Jah, Jehovah, King of Kings, Lord, Maker, Yahweh, daemon, deity, demigod, demon, divinity, holiness, idol, master, numen, omnipotent, power, prime mover, providence, soul, spirit, totem, tutelary, universal life force, world spirit(and as you can see, the few that did not have an a or I had other letters from “his name”)). I probably struggled with this for an hour. I also could not stand that I could not say any of the words “of,” “from,” or “for.” I also struggled because I could not be in the present tense because of the s in “His,” I could not be in the past tense because of the d in “God” and I could not be in the future tense because of the I (which I would need to write “will) in “his.” Because of this, the syntax is totally garbled. What I was trying to say was that Friday’s god fell apart and Crusoe taught him about the Bible, and the trinity. The struggle here, if anything, reflects the struggle that most people have with defining their religion, and then defending it.

Obviously, Friday meets his father after he “gives himself” to Crusoe, but by family, I meant more generally his society and his culture. By letting Crusoe be his Master, he gave up his way of dress, his daily routines, and the people with which he spent most of his days. Of course, Crusoe saved him from being eaten, but when asked, Friday also admits that he misses his home, and his reuniting with his father is one of the more touching moments in the book. By omitting the letters in family, I could again not use “of,” “from,” or “for,” which was appropriate because Friday not long was of or from his origins, but was for Crusoe almost entirely.  I could not say “I” anymore, and so Friday started from almost a third person perspective speaking of where his family came from and who his family was now.  His detachment from the entry parallels his never returning to his homeland.

I hope that these explanations have helped back my argument for these short journal entries from the perspective of Friday. They really were hard to write, but in the process of writing them, very rewarding in helping me dig deeper into Fridays’s perspective.

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“The bookshelves of mine, which were of a high quality, glossy with a sheen that reflected light much as glass does, were lined with the various trinkets and, in my mind, treasures that I had collected over the years. There are cans now empty, their papers removed to let them shine, this shine enhanced by the help of silver polish. While I know such things both do not exist and are exceedingly impractical, I always yearn for the cans to be pressed from gold. I also have a collection of rings that I acquired on a voyage to Mexico when I was but five years of age. I also have various other things, presently: first, diagrams of jewelry, viz. necklaces, bracelets, diadems, carefully cut from magazines and pasted to cards, which are propped upright; one very good spoon that my grandmother had presented to my mother and father on their wedding day, made from the purest silver that my grandmother could obtain at the time; silver of a more reprehensible quality (“Not at all to my liking”); and a collection of pieces of eight, doubloons, and gold coins, each of which have been boiled in a cast iron pot and shined to a nearly reflective state while I mused upon my relationship with the Lord.”

Also, today Cornelius and I had this conversation at the Gaming Club table at the activities fair.

C: How’s Crusoe?
E: Kind of a dick. He’s hanging out with his slave and all.
C: His slave!?
E: Yeah, Friday.
C: Friday was a slave? In the children’s edition, they were really good friends!
E: When they first met, Friday fell at his feet and Crusoe taught Friday to call him Master.
C: I mean, he was always sort of a butler, but never a slave!

At this point, I picked up one of the balloon animals he had made, a butterfly, and told him, “This is your childhood.” I then popped the balloon.

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Robinson

“From: Roberston, Randy
To:”09FA-ENGL-265-W2″
Subject: Crusoe – postscript: 09FA-ENGL-265-W2

Hint: the narrative in Robinson Crusoe picks up considerably when Crusoe finds something unexpected on the island (p. 112 in the Norton edition).”

Dr. Robertson makes me feel like I’m playing a logic puzzle computer game.

“Stuck with the pad lock on the cellar door? Look towards the potted plants for an explanation.”

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For the duration of this semester, I’ll be using this weblog dually for my own pleasure as well as for my Forms: the Novel class with the brilliant and endearing Randy Robertson.  Here’s my blackboard post about stuff, for sake of continuity.

My name is Elizabeth Deanna Morris (which is one syllable short of being in iambic pentameter.) My E-mail is morrise@susqu.edu, which I think is funny because it’s like Morrisey, the musician, but without the y.

Back in the day, I took some German for four years and somehow tested out of it here. I can say “Mein Lieblingsessen ist Pizza und Spaghetti,” and “Ich liebe dich.” These mean “My favorite food is pizza and spaghetti” and “I love you” respectively. That’s about it.

From this class, I hope to gain an appreciation for Moby Dick. I read Billy Budd as a sophomore in high school and hated it. I, indeed, tend to hate dear Herman in general because of that book. I tried really, really hard to get a head start on Moby Dick this summer and failed tremendously. The main dude got to a shady inn, and I decided to read Susan Minot instead.

My strengths in writing are that I’m really good at writing creepy poems about people that I have crushes on, mostly girls (ask Nadia about it). Because of this, I’m good at writing really beautiful descriptions of women’s bodies and a lot of sexual metaphors. My weakness is fiction, mostly because it scares me, and when I try to write it I get really angsty and freak out and do not get anything done. I also have a strength in grammar and sentence structure, which is important because I have a semi-colon tattooed behind my right ear, and, if I was bad at grammar, I would not only look silly but would be a hypocrite.

As briefly mentioned, I read Susan Minot’s Monkeys and Rapture. I would suggest Monkeys, because it is a lot more interesting than Rapture if you have already read “Lust.” Rapture just felt like a hundred and twenty pages of “Lust.” Movie-wise, I just rewatched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou for the thirtieth time and still adore it.

The interesting thing about me is that I consider myself as much of a knitter as I do a writer. I knit the hat that I was wearing in class today. If I could pick up a knitting/fibers minor my life would be complete, but, alas, no such thing exists, and I’d probably be the one teaching the classes if there were. I started to learn to spin wool this summer on my Grandma’s wheel, though, as a creative writing major, I’ve been spinning yarns for a long time.

I also love puns.

I already have a blog that I use to talk about writing/literature/knitting, so I’ll be using that one for this class: https://exclamate.wordpress.com”

Fascinating, I know.

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