deliriumcrow: (Default)
On Sunday, I'll be heading deeper into the south. Why, you might ask? It's for the best of reasons, and the only one outside of New Orleans that would actually convince me to stay there.

I have an interview at Colonial Williamsburg for an interpreter position.

See, this is the job I've been day dreaming about since I was 12, when I first found out that people dressed up in 18th century clothes (albeit hugely inaccurate ones, for the womenfolk) at Saratoga Battlefield, and I could too! My first experience was with dipping candles for an annual demonstration of household tasks. It was terrifically boring, but I loved it anyway. I liked feeling like I was living elsewhen, in those stolen moments between curious observers, when i was alone in the still summer air, wood smoke heavy in the humidity. We were far enough from the roads that I could not hear any cars, and it was something I have sought to find since, but always it's come up imperfect. 

We went to Williamsburg in February, and I was madly in love from the first few moments. Here was a world that devoted itself to history, walking around and talking to you. Showing you how to spin and weave, how to sew the channels in the stays. And across the street, the College of William and Mary. Which, incidentally, is a public school, incredibly inexpensive, and has a graduate program. That's very important. I need that, you see, in order to learn more stuff, and in a place where my crazy collection of useless facts isn't, after all, completely useless.

So wish me luck, and hopefully on Monday we'll be looking for an apartment, too.


Dec. 20th, 2005 04:49 pm
deliriumcrow: (Default)

Just to let you know: I thoroughly enjoyed reading your paper and was impressed with your research, reasoning and creativity. You got an A for the essay and the independent study.

My next step is to get this course assigned to the major.

Have a good holiday,

Prof. Dressler
deliriumcrow: (Spider Jerusalem)
Five -- six? -- years ago I sat in Jen's apartment, unmaking myself on her couch, certain that I'd never get into school. That, having dropped out of high school, having worked up to that point as a janitor, in a factory, in a grocer's, and as a waitress, that I'd never amount to anything, that the brains with which I'd been born had been utterly wasted.

It was, to date, my favourite bedroom. Dark and bare, the walls were lathe and beams, the plaster removed and never replaced. it had been devided, at one point, into very small rooms, marked out by edges of paint and linoleum on the wooden floor. The head of my bed, a pile of blankets on the floor, was marked by the slightly pointless outline of a dorframe, suspended between wall-less beams. I had no real furniture, a book case made of milk-crates and scrap wood held my clothes and a few books. There were windows on either side of the room, one with a deep sill in which I would sometimes read. The other two had no glass in them, and I'd wake on occasion with pigeons cooing over my head. They did not bother me. it was summer then, too hot to move and humid, and I lived in what amounted to an attic, the back extension of Jen's apartment. It looked like a tenement, and suited where I thought I was going.

five years ago, I sent in an application for school. And got accepted. And thus began the most terrifying days of my life, trying to prove that I was worthy of this. The fear faded over time, after my first semester I knew it was real, that it hadn't been a trick. And then did I learn that it doesn't get easier. It will never be less of a strugle, if you prove you are capable of surviving disasters. There will always be another. There is no rest in the real world, there is only what peace you find, whether it be that which you carry within yourself, or that which is found in quiet moments -- sun on Joshua trees, snow-wreathed oak. Rose in shadow, bright-lit bird. It is rare, it is necessary.

I have graduated now. My major is not something useful, and I'm going to be going back to school in perhaps a year to finish the degree -- all the way to PhD if I can. It's the path I've chosen. I'm still called to that garret room, but under a different aesthetic. That of impoverished student, of artist, of writer, in that room one could paint without fear of ruining nice furnishings or carpeting. My little part of it was made as much like home as I could, and as comfortable as summer would allow. I'd do it again in an instant. Perhaps with glass in the windows this time, though. Even if that does mean giving up the birds over head.

Everything is a part of everything else. In the weeping girl I'd been then, in the sullen, contrary teenage runaway, in the young woman stepping uncertain into four years of white columns and windows full of trees and books, were the seeds of this. Whatever "this" is. It was work. It had to be done, and so it was. It's not finished yet, and probably never will be. There will be no real rest, but for the respite found in a breath. I have survived this, and come out well. Not unscathed, not by a long shot, but well. I am alive, I am happy. There is even now a stillness in me that I've not explored, to carry me through so many more trials. May it not run out. In a perverse sort of way -- may it never get more simple, that I have then proven myself unworthy of further tempering.

... and I read this before posting and realize that I've developed a rather strange sort of philosophy over the years.
deliriumcrow: (Waterhouse Ashes)
It's just now failing to be mornign and I've been up since before it was light. Gar. I hate mornings, too.... Have to fine a micro as well to pop some corn fo rlunch, and hope that I can find my ID card when I get home. Because if I can't I can't get books. So as it's gone so far, I've been to one class, at 9. I like it so far, it's pre-Beowulf to Milton, and looks to be rather amusing. H'es putitng everything into historical context, starting today with the history of the Roman occupation and Old English literature as the literature of an occupied people. Unfortunately, I have a reading due tomorrow out of the $50 text that I can't get until the dispersments go through, or alternately until I can find the ID card and put money on it. More expensive that way, but whaatever. And then I went to the bookstore to collect ISBNs so I can order books at the store for less money. And found that E Follett changed all the ISBNs on all the books so they could charge more for them. Bastards. And then went to student accounts, got some forms, and found that I can't put a new ID on the account I have, I have to pay for it. Gar. ANd these are probably the slowest computers I've ever seen. Slooooooooow. It' won't load pictures, and it barely gets to the next page in under two minutes. Feh. Have to find the goo dcomputers here, even Albany had decent ones in the library.

So notes to Remy, since there's no other way to reach you, as I hesitate to imagine just how quickly the computer would explode if I even thought of installing AIM (not that I could. I can't get to the AOL site.) I left my coffee out. In the blue Gloria Jean's cup in the living room, if you could put it back it won't smell bad and I'll still be able to drink it. And could you please, please try to rip the house apart so I can have the ID? I *really* need it. Desperately.

And I had in the brief time I was asleep, a rather disturbing dream. Remy and I were living in the apartment that Avery and I used to share in CO Springs, but the windows were all open and the whole place filled with leaves and cobwebs and very dark, in that brown-green-nature is taking things back sort of way. Everything was surrounded by trees. I was in one of my SCA dresses, Remy was in something vaguely Edwardian. I think. It was old at any rate. Tiger, my brother's looong tiger cat was there, and my mother tried to pick him up to put him in the car (from the 1930s, it seemed) and he was fighting her, very unusual for him. He was a sweet cat when he lived. She noticed that Tiger was foaming a bit at the mouth, and thought he was rabid. An old man, presumably a vet, came and chopped off his head, and took the body to test for rabies, leaving his head, which soon rotted away to nothing but bone, grinnign out of the ditch at us, and I was trying to figure out why he would have come back, rabid, from the dead. About an hour later the alarm finally rang.

I rahter hope that isn't some sort of omen, though I fear it might have been. Of what I could not say. But it has that feeling that one associates with the symbols of a tarot reading.

Not mornign anymore, it seems. I think I'll have to go and hunt down something with which to make a lunch. And ponder the dream some more, or alternately, forget it.
deliriumcrow: (Default)
So one of the classes I have to take in order to graduate here is a class on diversity in America. Different experiences in childhood, growing up, etc. It sounded really nifty. It's listed as an English class and thus can be counted towards my minor, which was an advantage that other courses that filled the requirement didn't have. So I took it. And decided on the particular class that fit most neatly into my schedule. Makes sense, no? Ha.

To start, the books we were assigned are all depressing, to various degrees. I realize that childhood sucks. I lived through it too. That's not so bad though, in that pretty much everything I read is in some way disturbing (Though it may not be so brilliant an idea to be reading Bastard out of Carolina, All Quiet on the Western Front, and an account of the homeless population living in the subway tunnels in NYC all at the same time. Breakdown waiting to happen. Again.)

Then there's the fact that the population of the class is all either appologetic about being born white, defensive about being white, or constantly pissed. My role seems to be that of counterexample, or the one who knows of them. I seem to exist soley for the purpose of forcing the realization that no one fits into these nicely categorized littel boxes. This does not endear me to much of anyone in that class, least of all the professor. She seems to have the most guilt about her race. Usually I find this almost easy to ignore, if a bit laughable, and am usually fairly good at ignoring the fact that she talks down to us so often.

Today, however, I was thoroughly insulted be her. She brought up the topic of fairytales in the American experience and how damaging they are to childish minds, and how biased they all are. I agree--Disney is biased. That does not mean all the fairy tales are bad. Most are not, despite the violence that was just as present in the society in which they were written as it is now. And I am not the only one who has heard them, else where would I have gotten them? Or anyone else I know who has heard them? And then when I suggested that I write my paper on fairytales in the American Experience, she said that I have had enough of an uncommon upbringing that she didn't think I could manage to keep it to the stories that everyone knows. I'm sorry, isn't this a class in diversity? How is my experience not American? How is my experience less valid than anyone else's? I grew up here. In America. This is an experience that does not get shared with teh general public, it was not a Dick and Jane childhood. It was not neat, or clean, or pretty. I can pretty well guess where she would like to pin me in society, and that's not where I fit. How is it that she does not recognise that no matter how many catgories you may tey to put a person, how many labels you try to fit them with, how you may try to generalize, the box never fits? Yes, I am made up of all sorts of things, from the cultural background of my ancestors, to who I happen to want to fuck on a given day. There are certain things that are roughly static, but most things change, and I am far more than the sum of my parts. There is no box into which you can put a person and expect that it will always fit. People change so rapidly, there is no solid way to define them. I am not even always Cate. Sometimes I'm someone else entirely.

Remy says an infinite cardbaord tardis will alwas fit.

I have never had the entirety of my childhood experiences so invalidated before--and certainly not by someone who claims to have such Knowledge and Wisdom and Enlightenment that we miserable middle class white kids will never hope to attain. (May I add that I am not, nor ever have been, middle class) Yes, it was unusual in many aspects. Yes, I learned many tales that aren't in the common oral tradition. But then, neither is the story of Rainbow Crow, and that is a decidedly American tale. So how are the selkies that my father used to sing about or Tam Lin any less valid? I am not the only one who;s had this experience, lived in this culture. It may be a minority of a culture, but it's there. It needs to be seen too.

The sad thing was, I asn't even going to use the odd ones, except as a very small contrast point. I was simply going to point out some of the more positive uses of fairytales.

Then the photo lab was closed.

The upshot was that when I met Remy after class we went to Borders because I decided that the free drink card would bring me the chai that was the only thing that would stave off either a massive depression or a homicidal killing spree. And when we were there we ran into my "twin", who hadn't responded to my email of a few months ago because she never got it. good reason. :)

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