I know I won't actually drop out of school, but it seems a pretty tempting option sometimes.
Just got back today from a few days in Ithaca, NY, with, Rebecca, one of my two lovely college roommates. While she was volunteering on Friday afternoon, I bummed around the house for several hours and then decided to take some photos of the waterlogged leaves on her deck.
So, because I've been feeling a little more artsy and less smartsy lately, I've chosen to write a little poetry. (My next project will probably take the form of photography.)
Some of you might think I'm taking the easy way out with all this creativity nonsense, but let me tell you, it's mighty difficult to write a poem that isn't complete garbage. Perhaps Dr. Wagner and Amy Peeler don't know good poetry from bad, but I doubt that's the case.
Letting the text guide my words without letting them put me in a strait jacket is tricky. Finding exactly the right words and transitions to express what I want to is like walking on a high wire. I probably could have written a more traditional reflection in less than an hour, but I've been agonizing over this poem for the past two days!
Maybe this is just my way of avoiding the other work that I have to do... Who knows? Whatever it is, it's a good thing it's satisfying because it's taking a freaking long time!
Here's a picture (click on this one to see some other perspectives):
Because I don't have "real" bookbinding supplies, I had to improvise a lot. It was a fun process. The paper I used is standard printer paper in various shades. Each page is the size of 1/8 of a sheet. For the cover papers of the end signatures, I used an award certificate I'd received that was printed on cardstock. The covers are made from davey board that I salvaged from a book Andrea helped me make senior year of college. The beautiful blue thread that I used for the coptic stitch binding is blue embroidery floss, which I waxed using a scented candle.
In all, I spent between 6 and 8 hours working on this little gem. It was a very satisfying endeavor and now I have something useful that didn't cost me anything but some time and a little effort. I was a little worried that the coptic stitch would be beyond me, but it turns out that my sewing talent helped with that part of the project.
Anyway, if anyone is interested in having me make a book for them or for a gift for someone else, let me know...I bet we could work out a good deal. And, the end result would be enjoyment for me and for you.
Over the next week I have a a sermon, an exegesis paper, a reflection paper, a midrash, and a midterm to write. There's also some reading and translating and studying for an in-class midterm thrown into the mix just for kicks. I just take comfort in the fact that the work always gets done.
So, the upcoming week should be good and busy... Yeah, that's all I've got.
Now that I'm in graduate school, the same question looms every time I prepare for another class, every time I write a paper, every time I sign another student loan document. What do I want to be when I grow up?
Since arriving at seminary, my answer to that query has been "I want to study the Old Testament," or "I want to work in church education," or something along those lines. The problem is, that answer doesn't ring true anymore. Maybe it's the result of being in school almost constantly for twelve of the past thirteen months, but the thought of studying for another five years after the completion of my current degree program sounds, well, awful.
In the past few months, as I've become more interested in photography and, more recently, interested in the art of bookbinding, I've begun to contemplate whether it would be possible for me to pursue such things as a career or, at least, as a hobby that pays. I'd be glad to have a more traditional 9-5 to pay the bills, but my dream is that I wouldn't need to. I could tend a large vegetable garden behind a modest home, make books, sew things, take photos, cook large, delicious, mainly vegetarian meals, indulge in hospitality, and sell beautiful things to people who might appreciate them.
Can I dream such daring things? Or would such a path be a waste of the knowledge and skill I've acquired at college and now graduate school?
I wish that you had not been so interested in rescuing me from my solitude. Sometimes I don't mind being alone in public places. Maybe I would like to let my thoughts wander and enjoy the taste of my food without conversation.
It's not that I'm really ungrateful, but as soon as you sat with me I knew that the more would follow. And, after they sat down with us, I knew that conversation would turn into friend-talk. Friend-talk is wonderful, I love doing it myself, but it's exclusive. So, no matter what I do to break in and no matter what you do to include me, it doesn't work.
So, conversation became stilted and ordinary, which made me want to finish my food as quickly as possible and leave. It made me want to leave the table I was sitting at so peacefully, all by myself. Then, when I wanted to leave, I felt it necessary to stay for a few more minutes just to make sure it didn't look like I was trying to get away from y'all, even though I did.
Anyway, the next time you see someone sitting alone, don't assume they want company. Sometimes they don't.
I've only purchased two items from Etsy since my poor grad student status automatically negates much frivolous spending, but I still love to snoop around the place thinking of things that I could make, either for myself or as gifts. A particularly fantastic part of the site is that most of the sellers are willing to work with customers to create personalized, one-of-a-kind items, so that you get exactly what you're looking for.
My favorite seller, so far, is Froydis. She uses old, falling apart books and dust jackets to make beautiful hand-bound journals. I can only hope to someday make books that look half as good as hers. The whole site makes me want to give up on school and start making books and selling framed photos...
Anyway, if you like crafty/artsy things or if you need a gift for someone who does, Etsy is a good place to start and finish your search.
This morning, as I was putting my glasses on, the arm that had been threatening to fall off, finally gave way. It's not a tragedy; I have another pair of glasses. It's just that these glasses are blue and plastic and make me look like I'm trying to be a sassy emo chick. Not to mention, the prescription isn't too far wrong, but it's also not completely right.
I guess I'll go talk to the financial aid office and see if I can get a few more dollars in student loans for next semester to cover a new pair. For now, I guess I'll be a sassy emo chick...
Coming from someone who hasn't much liked some of the most recent Radiohead albums, I'm digging this one. It's got a more mellow feel than some of their other stuff, especially "Hail to the Thief." Anyway, the most it's gonna cost you is 45 pence, so you might as well check it out.
Anyway, I arrived at the library after a fruitful trip to the Lindt store and a fruitless trip to the closed-for-Columbus-Day Post Office, only to find that the books I wanted, which the catalog claimed were on the shelf, were, in fact, missing. Two lovely librarians tried to help by looking through the books yet needing to be reshelved, but alas, there was no finding these books.
I'm sorely tempted to go on Amazon.com and just buy some books, but I know that such a venture would not only be an affront to my nigh on empty wallet, but I also might purchase worthless books that will be of little help in my quest to develop a new skill set.
I guess I should look at the bright side. Even if I got the books I wanted, and started learning fun new things, I wouldn't have the money or time to really pursue this new interest. Perhaps it's providential that I was unable to find much tinder for my new desire.
Woe woe. Alas, alack.
I thought that I would have to buy a new phone, but when I checked the AT&T website last night, I found that, since they are desperate to retain all their Cingular customers, I was able to get a new phone for free. So, even though it's sort of annoying that I have to do the whole new phone thing, it's really nice that I didn't have to pay $180 for it.
So, this is your opportunity. If you desperately want to get on my speed dial, you can email me your number... I probably won't call, but you'll be in there.
This is possibly the best picture I've taken in a month. No editing, not even a crop. I'm very proud of this one, with the perfect asymmetrical framing, the sharp detail in the foreground and the beautiful soft bokeh of the sun through the pine branches. Oooooo...I love it!
And, yes, I did deserve that pat on the back. Thank you very much!