Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The things that happened today:
1) Went jogging for a really long time down on the river paths & around Oxford & noted that reading 800 pages a week for 8 weeks though righteously bodacious is detrimental to one's relaxed cheetah-mimicking stride. Shrug. So. Can't do it all--all at once that is. Can do it all in stride, however.
2) Laid in bed with Aldo Leopold. Sorry. I like saying things like that on this blog. It's a cheap thrill. Studying ecocriticism & literature & what easy-on-the-mind reading to find Leopold's A Sand County Almanac in my hands among Heidegger, etc. I've been known to say that the one I seek to do life with is an Aldo Leopold/Robert Frost sort of bloke. Astounding as always to me the brilliance that precedes us well beyond what most of us have any notion of. "Progress" and the unfurling fad of progressive "consciousness" are no lovers of mine.
3) Booked the two apartments we'll be luxuriating in, tittering in, window-leaning from in Paris. One is beside the Louvre with big windows looking down on the street! click here for photos: 1st arrondisment flat And the other is on the Ile St. Louis (the island on the Seine beside Notre Dame). click here for photos: 4th arrondisment flat . We have one week in each one. (Also booked tickets from Venice to Paris April 6th---this means we must get from Oxford on March 30th to Venice by April 6th--hooray! Probably through Salzburg and Vienna, or maybe through Prague and Vienna, that's to be arranged when I find the right tickets).
4)Received word from Oxford Professor #1 that he judged my essay work/aptitude/bantering capabilities to be an "A-level" grade. I'm calling it an Oxford A, because, wow, I've never pushed it that far before. So thankful--totally didn't expect to earn more than average--the bar here is so high--weeped a bit today after hearing this. If Humble and Pride could be lovers, they would birth me at this very moment.
5) Received word from the University of Vermont that I've been admitted into their MA literature & theory program for September--Burlington, VT; and, that I'm on the waiting list for having a Teaching Assistantship (full ride, stipend, and housing costs covered). (That makes--3 yes, 2 no, so far). Come on Oxford. March 19th should be the day. I'm almost feverish over the waiting. Thankful for my other options though.
6) Found out about our friends' giant sweetheart St. Bernard, Canyon, having to be put to sleep yesterday & feeling glum. Dog friends are too amazing for such brevity. Yet, nature, life cycles, vulnerability, death are perfectly beautiful to notice so keenly as one does when loss occurs. I wouldn't like to live forever, I told Naya recently. It would create a cesspool of a world to have all the humans ever made forever clinging to it, but also I like the feeling of having to work with a finite time--it fosters the very feelings and drives that make me feel alive and lit up. I like feeling vulnerable. And I imagine becoming sick, old, injured and thus dying to be just as meaningful and captivating as any other set of moments. It is why if I come across an injured creature gasping I have a very hard time deciding what to do--because what if our idea, my idea of putting things out of their misery actually takes away the richness of something being experienced that we can't possibly understand. i want to be allowed all of my experiences, all. yet for other things i can't bear the witnessing of writhing or angst. tricky business.
7) Ate dinner in Hall with my best mate, Naya, who laid out her life plan to me as she often does now in that Hall as we eat--tonight she said, "I'm definitely going to be a philosopher and do art." Pause. Chewing of a buttered roll. Eating of spanikopita. Swallow. "And who would you be if you could be anyone up on the walls in here?" I answered, ah, tough, either Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), Queen Elizabeth I, or her dad, Henry VIII. Naya said, "Well, I want to be Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway." But she's not up on the wall, I said. "Okay, then Queen Elizabeth." I said, okay then I'll be Henry the VIII and maybe I'll let all of my wives live this time around. Then I asked her where, if she could live anywhere in the world in any sort of house or situation, would it be. She gave me an elaborate multiple choice of options with very funny details to try to trick me and clue me in at the same time, with the correct choice being "A really big farm in Sweden with horses, chickens, rabbits, my kids, my husband and I'll teach art to kids in a school nearby." But then she said she was worried about this because she knew I'd want to live in Paris or Oxford or Whitefish. But we sorted that out. We'll have a dedicated spare room for each other, and we'll make lengthy visits lasting for months like happened in old Russia.
8) Went to a play about semi-old Russia, "Three Sisters," three hours long, really brilliant. They wanted always to leave their dull town for Moscow which they put on an intellectual pedestal (hmmm...sound familiar?) But they never manage it. But they always want it. It breaks their hearts in different ways that they don't, yet, of course, the meaning and purpose they seek in life, would not be found in Moscow anymore than it would in....forgot the name of their town....so let's just say it was called Whitefish. The meaning and purpose they seek in life would not be anymore readily found in Moscow than Whitefish...though perhaps other things would have been more readily found, but perhaps not. One can't help leaving the play wishing they had gone to Moscow, at least for a time. It was a meaningful play at this particular juncture in my life, to be sure.
9) Now I am going to finish the second half of the film, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." Did not feel a kinship for the most part with the Sabina of the first half. Anyone reading this have any opinions of this book/film? I heard an intricately woven earful the other night from my Italian landlord, Erminia--another unexpected highlight of this wonderland called Oxford.