A Semester in Review

Hello internet people. I know what you’re thinking: It’s been AGES, we thought you’d DIED. And I know. It’s been a lengthy absence, especially after my being so consistent for so very long. But I have excuses! Honest!

I have a very long list of them, if you care to hear. I’m very good at making excuses. I’m a college student, after all. Excuse making is practically an olympic sport in our situation and frankly, I’d have to say I’m a gold medalist. But! I haven’t been just sitting around whining that it’s too cold in the apartment or I’m too tired or things are stupid or I have work in 3 hours so better not move. This has actually been a pretty eventful semester.

Exhibit A: My flirtation with Buddhism. Yes, I’m aware one probably isn’t supposed to describe their relationship with a religion as flirtatious, but frankly when it comes to religion I’ve always been a little bit aloof. I prefer a little light, joking interest to serious commitment. But in the course of my studies this semester and came across Buddhism, which is in fact not at all what I’d always conceived it to be. It turns out Evansville has a sangha, and my friend Gina and I went and had a couple of meetings with a lovely man there by the name of John. I’ve got a few books on my shelf and I’ve spent a decent amount of time squatting on a mat attempting to mediate. If we’re sticking with the dating metaphor, Buddhism hasn’t moved in permanently just yet, but it’s definitely got a drawer and an extra toothbrush at my place.

Exhibit B: Internships, internships, internships. My school is about the greatest place for me to be, honestly. I started the semester panicking that I’d never find a darn thing that looked even remotely like an internship. And then, in the course of a single semester, I landed TWO. Between the Student Writers of Indiana program here at UE, (abbreviated SWIP) and the internship course I’ll be taking with one of my favorite professors next semester (which is, sadly, largely about Hemingway) I went from no hope to ALL THE INTERNSHIPS! Well. Maybe not all. But a decent number. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll hear all about my experiences next semester when they finally unleash me on an unsuspecting classroom of middle or high school students and let me prattle on for approximately an hour about writing. And I’m positive you’ll hear me moan about Hemingway. Because, well, he’s Hemingway. Not exactly my cup of tea. Or in his case, scotch followed by whiskey followed by about ten beers.

Exhibit C: I do not, in fact, get paid to sit around writing or to be a college student (though I do now get a modest $200 a semester stipend for my work on our school’s admission blog–yay). So I’ve been working away at the same old same old job, which as we all know makes me a relatively cranky person.

Exhibit D: College is hard. Okay, it’s not THAT hard. But there’s still plenty of stuff I have to do. Like study. Write papers. Pin a thousand things on Pinterest while telling myself I’m going to start doing school work any minute now, honestly.

Anyhow, that’s my modest little list of excuses and update on all things College Student at the moment. Hope you’re all having a lovely holiday (frantic shopping) season!


This Is the Part Where I Walk in Sheepishly and Say I’m Sorry

Hello, internet people. You’ll notice that yesterday, 15 February 2012, was a day in which I broke a promise and did NOT come to you with the tales of my third day in Dublin. This is me, most earnestly saying I’m sorry. By way of apology, here’s some explanation of what I did instead: I went to Peterboro on a field trip and bought an adorable monk bear guy who I have named Cuthbald. Clearly it was a day well spent.

To make up for it, I’m doing double duty today, as those of you who know me well enough to be my Facebook friend/Twitter follower will notice I’ve posted my official Harlaxton blog about what I learned in Ireland and all of that. That’s right. This is the SECOND BLOG POST I’ve written today. If it sounds like my wrists and fingers are screaming in agony while I typed this, don’t be alarmed, they’re used to it.

And I know I said I was going to tell about our third day in Dublin in my next post, but I’m just a little burnt out on Dublin (to summarize for now, we got up, we went to the book market, which was amazing, and the food market, which was equally amazing. Then we went to look at some gorgeous cathedrals, including St. Patrick’s, and did some shopping and just general looking around. Lunch in a creperie. Very good day.) Instead, I’m going to have one of my little rants, because there’s another reason I didn’t post yesterday.

To be honest, I’ve been on a major hormonal kick the last couple days, what with Valentine’s Day and being a woman and all of that. But yesterday I got sucked in to the wonderful world of the internet and started watching the episodes of the show “Once Upon a Time” that I’ve missed since I’ve been here in England. First of all, shows as brilliant and intricate as Once Upon a Time make me quiver in envy as a writer–the things they do, twisting the well-known fairy tales together so that they make sense as a cohesive whole, as well as paralleling them in the “real world” never cease to amaze me. But of course there’s another problem.

Fairy tales. Cinderalla, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast. All that Disney stuff that gets pumped in our veins from the moment we seem capable of staring at an illuminated screen for an hour at a time. It’s all about that one special thing: true love. True love conquers all, true love can break curses, true love can bring people out of a coma, and on and on. Naturally, Once Upon a Time isn’t quite capable to break the chains when it comes to dealing with these issues.

I don’t know what makes me cry more–the happy endings Disney is always shoving down our throats even though we all know Pocahontas died and a girl living in the woods with seven men is pretty damn creepy, or the way everything has gone horribly wrong as a result of a curse in this show. It breaks my heart seeing all the happy endings when cynical me is sick of hearing it, but I have to admit, watching this show has made me realize how much I expect it and just how upset I get when things fall apart.

I’m not going to say too much because I don’t believe in spoilers and if you want to see where the brilliant writers of Once Upon a Time have taken things (albeit with somewhat dreadful special effects) you’ll just have to see for yourself. But the premise is that this is a fairy tale world minus the happy endings. And it is a crushing thing. All that magic and promise and pretty girls doing slightly stupid things falls apart pretty fast without the happy ending–suddenly it’s all just incredibly real and sad. I find myself clenching my fists and waiting for the moment when the curse is lifted and everyone gets that happy ending, my cynical side curled up in a corner long forgotten as the sap in me sobs and munches chocolate and wants everyone to be happy and in love.

I guess what I’m getting at is the conditioning for a happy ending runs deep. I don’t consider myself a “romantic” person, and those of you who’ve been reading for a while know how pissed off I get at the inevitable romantic comedy cliches out there, and yet I can’t help but EXPECT this moment when everything turns out all right. It’s the same when I’m reading a good book. And I can’t help but feel a little unsatisfied and a lot depressed when things DON’T turn out that way. It’s crazy to look at it, our addiction to these neat little endings where everything is somehow justifiable, where boy met girl and then boy and girl fell in love, had a fight, but ended up with that big kiss scene (probably in an airport) at the end. It makes me worry, and I’m sure it’s a concern I’ve expressed before, that we’re setting ourselves up for failure here.

Real life, like Storybrook, doesn’t often have a neat little happy ending. For one, the ending in life generally means we’re dead, and what’s happy about that? The trouble with life is you’ve got to keep going, past that kiss in the airport (or in the mall, or your dorm room, or wherever the hell you first kissed your significant other) and past that first “I love you.” And isn’t it after all of that, when the magic wears off, that the real living begins? I understand the appeal of the happy ending, and I think I even understand why we almost need to see it, a little reminder that good things DO come out of the bad. I’d just also like to see us remind ourselves, every now and then, of how life goes on. How first love doesn’t always mean true love, how sometimes a kiss really is just a kiss, and how every now and again, the happy ending can just be me, curled up in bed with my laptop and the assurance that my roommates are having a night in, too, and that’s a perfectly acceptable way to spend the night.