Posts Tagged ‘randy robertson’

More like Spring bullshit. You want to know what’s new with me? How about some existential crises? I also feel like I have no grasp on my own writing anymore. I may or may not get a tattoo with Raise Up Roof Beams lyrics and probably freak Nathan out, who, I have to remind myself, is not actually my friend no matter how much I like to believe that he is. I do not have his phone number. We do not hang out. I have never made him and Anne dinner.

Reading Sartre and cannot help but think of Beth as Anny and Randy as Antoine. For no reason at all. I really should not have taken two and a half philosophy classes this semester. Why? BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING ME UP. Also its so much goddamn reading. Of course I can go to class and reading a hundred pages every night. Why can’t I do that? I mean, that’s absolutely reasonable. I have lost my ability to connect with literature. Because I can’t do anything but read for main points. Except for with Sartre. I’m too emotional, and yet too distant. Walking paradox.

I wish I could have classy blog posts like Alison Feldish.
I wish I could be in Costa Rica like Abby.
But most of all I wish I could be with Kenny.

I have been working everyday, but I have not been doing enough work. I do not feel like I am capable of working hard enough to be a good writer, because I will always favor sleep over writing. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to myself.

“our mother has been dead for so long now”

More Nausea, staying up late tonight.
I hope it warms up so I can wear these dresses.

All my affections,


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2) If religion were to disappear, what would you want to replace it?
Literature. What is religion but a constant? I grew up in a secular household. My mother presented the idea of God and Christianity to me, but we never went to church. It makes sense, then, that I became so obsessed with reading. Stories teach you things, perspectives. Poems satisfy the part of me that like puzzle boxes and falling in love. And falling out of love. And trying to comprehend how beautiful water is. And how light is my favorite thing that I cannot hold. And how sometimes I think everything is ending. And how sometimes I think my Grandfather is the sky. Adrian, my pen pal from Canada, wrote raw poems and posted them on Diaryland (ha, the internet) for everyone to see. Somehow, I found him. They were magic. I carried them with me. He doesn’t believe in them anymore; he told me he stopped writing because he grew out of it; he didn’t need it anymore. But none of that matters. His poems still exist and will always exist and I can believe in them and they just won’t fucking leave me or break my heart and I can’t miss them like I miss everyone else and how I have always missed people.

And it means something.

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I’ll keep updating this until I get the entire way through. One of each is me seriously trying to summarize it, one is me doing it so that I might vent my frustrations about how terribly angry this all makes me. Not necessarily the fact that dear Randy assigned it so much as that it exists at all. Can you guess which is which?

Though, to be fair, Nadia and I were discussing how this would be a very interesting constraint, if it were done very meticulously. However, I still say that the people who could do this well, the ones who would use it as a wonderful poetic medium, are not the ones who will be making these bastardizations of the books.

Amazon’s reviews of the Twitterture book:

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

a) Whales are large. Whales are often in literature. Whales are sometimes referred to as leviathans. Whales are very influential and important to this book.

b) Whales are everywhere! The bible! Sea! Songs! Science! As the author I’m surprised no one’s written a book about hunting a whale, as they have so permeated our society!

Chapter 1–Loomings

a) ohai A/s/l? jus call me 1shma3l. u wanna go sailing 4 a wha1e? ;) k c u soon

b) I’m Ishmael. The sea is addictive. I like being a sailor because I get paid to go to sea. I have a huge desire to hunt a very large whale.

Chapter 2–Carpet Bag

a) Packed up some shirts but missed my ship. Looked for an inn. Found the shadiest one-the Spouter Inn. Oh well, I’m poor. Let’s check it out.

b) Missed ship. Was cold. Wandered and wondered. Found the Spouter Inn. Went inside to inquire about a room.

Chapter 3–The Spouter-Inn

a) No rooms? But I don’t wanna share with a harpooner. Yum dumplings. I’ll just sleep on this bench then. Brrr. Fine, I’ll share. GAH CANNIBAL

b) Inn’s perfectly cheap. Ate dinner. No rooms, though. Slept on a bench before deciding to share. My roommate’s a cannibal. Didn’t like that.

Chapter 4–The Counterpane

a) woke up spooning with @Queequeg :) and his tomahawk :( remembered when my step?mom sent me to bed for 16 hrs lol Q got dressed like a weirdo

b) Awoke to @Queequeg’s arm about me and his tomahawk in my side. He became dressed in the rudest fashion.

Chapter 5–Breakfast

a) Sailing men of all sorts were herded like cows into breakfast. @Queequeg harpooned his meat!

b) nomnomnmnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom breakfast

Chapter 6–The Street

a) Went for a stroll, saw a bunch of characters, from the inexperienced sailor to the weathered man. Beautiful women in New Bedford.

b) Left the inn, saw some peeps, scoped out some hot chicks, off to Chapel.

Chapter 7– The Chapel

a) Our brothers of the sea have died here. With a solemn heart I sat down for the service.

b) Checked out the tombstones, saw @Queequeg hanging out. Let’s get my God on!

Chapter 8–The Pulpit


b) What a beautiful chapel, it is much like a ship on the sea.

Chapter 9– The Sermon

a) This Jonah shit is fucked. I’m gon’ go kill a whale now.

b) The preacher gave a fantastic sermon about Jonah and sin and ended on his knees.

Chapter 10–A Bosom Friend

a) Queequeg and I decided to be friends for life and bedfellows once more.

b) @Queequeg and I are hetero life partners! sMoKeD up, cuddled. No homo, though.

Chapter 11–Night Gown

a) Queequeg and I continued to chat. Fell asleep, woke up and felt dreadful. Q&I partook in his pipe.

b) @Queequeg and I fucked around for awhile. Woke up really fucked up so we smoked some more.

Chapter 12–Biographical

a) Queequeg told me of his royal hertiage and his advertures at sea. What an experienced and wise man.

b) YO @Queequeg is a fucking kinG! And he knows how to make this shrunken head into a bong lolz

Chapter 13–Wheelbarrow

a) @Queequeg n i rolled down the the docks 2 1/2 deep me him and the wheelbarrow lol got in a scuffle

b) Queequeg and I took a wheelbarrow of our things to the docks. We boarded the ship, Q almost threw someone overboard!

Chapter 14–Nantucket

a) Nothing of mention happened on the voyage. Nantucket is beautiful.

b) boredd ;)

Chapter 15–Chowder

a) We arrived at our inn and was served endless amounts of chowder by our hostess.

b) nomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom chowder

Chapter 16–The Ship

a) Yojo suggests that I choose the ship. After considering three, I decided upon the Pequod. What characters run that ship!

b) @Yojo told me to find our whale ship. Craigslist ftW!

Chapter 17–Ramadan

a) Queequeg has taken to the most peculiar rest and fast that I have ever encountered. He only just rose today.

b) “Kick in the door, I look on the floor / It’s my bedfellow Queequeg and he’s fastin’ sum mo'” Cannibals ain’t shit

Chapter 18–His Mark

a) I cleverly convinced the captain that Queequeg is indeed Christian! My skill with rhetoric is even impressive to myself today.

b) Pulled a fast one on the captains for @Queequeg. You’re my bro, man!

Chapter 19–The Prophet

a) Met a queer fellow named Elijah. He both followed and annoyed us.

b) Motherfucker tried to slip us up but @Queequeg and I wouldn’t take his shit.

Chapter 20–All Astir

a) Busy on the ship.

b) Yo, shits busy, no time to tweet-haha

Chapter 21–Going Aboard

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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]


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


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

His God

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


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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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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