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Showing posts from August, 2010

It's my birthday, ya'll!

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Wow! What a great weekend! I am constantly stunned at how many wonderful people I have in my life. I love my family and friends. Usually, I spend a really quiet birthday with my immediate family and a friend or two, but my dad's family (sans T., damn it...have no idea why he couldn't fly all the way from Oregon to be at my birthday...it isn't as if the economy is bad or anything) all came into town last night and we had dinner out and a little fun at grandma's! It was so sweet of everyone to drive so far and take the time to celebrate. A big thank you (though I will be sending personal ones soon)!

I have a really small family. My mom only has one brother (no wife or kids), and both grandparents are dead now. My father had five other brothers and sisters, but two are deceased, and out of the rest there are only a total of five grandchildren (and our grandfather is also deceased). So, like I said, we aren't many, but we make the most of one another! My dad's sist…

Enjoying my Renaissance and saying to hell with the rest of the world!

Taking time off from my dissertation has been the best thing for me. Yes, I know I just started working on it about four months ago. Considering how the summer has gone however, it was either give up the stress of the dissertation or give up my sanity...and my sanity won the lottery. So, I am having a mental renaissance, of sorts. My friend Melanie said that every spring (while at university) she had a Renaissance. Her Spring Renaissance, she called it. And she enjoyed the creativity and artistry that went along with it. So, we would go out to the mounds and read poetry and just have a great time in the spring. Well, I am going through that now...right through the dog days of summer. And it has been great. I have been reading so many things that I would never read otherwise. I am writing a lot, too...and that has been the best part.

Sometimes, telling the world to go to hell is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Sometimes, you have to do it. You have to do it for yourself. Th…

Autumn Light

I think that I noticed it for the first time two days ago, but it struck me once again, even more powerfully, today: the light is changing. I can tell that new seasons are sneaking in by the light. This is my favorite kind of light, though. There is a richness to it that you just don't get during the summer...or even the spring, when the light changes again. I guess that is why I love the spring and autumn so much. You don't get to see the light like this quite so much.

Interlibrary Loan, How I Love Thee.

Warning: Inevitably, this will become a really nerdy post.

Those of you who know me academically are aware that I study Victorian literature. Those who are familiar with the label "Victorian" also know that there is no good definition of Victorian literature or good boundaries for the time period. So, those of us nutty enough to pursue Victorian studies end up specializing in a decade or two of the 70 plus years that make up the time period. Typically, I center my studies between 1850-1870, though my dissertation pushes for 1840s-1870s. Anyway, none of this is interesting in itself, except to say that I am ignorant of the early and later stuff...and that includes some fantastic later fiction by "New Woman" writers. I have been reading some Marie Corelli over the summer, but I don't know much about these "New Woman" folks (other than the basics).

So, I decided to check out some material for fun because God knows I have NOTHING else to do. Right. So, I s…

"Eat Pray Love" and Greatness

I saw the movie Eat Pray Love yesterday. In general, it was good, though I am not sure about the emphasis on making sure that she is paired up with someone by the end. I found the movie affirming up until that point. I guess that I just have problems with the "romantic goal." I prefer something like Under the Tuscan Sun, a film that allows romance to enter the picture but ends much more positively and realistically than the fairytale that is Eat Pray Love. The reality is this: 99 % of the women out there don’t have the means to travel and live around the world for a year in order to find themselves; a gorgeous, emotional Brazilian (actually, I don't think that he is from Brazil) isn’t going to run us off the road in Bali (I got sick of the amount of crying in this movie, by the way); and, I don’t think that I need to travel to India to find spiritual fulfillment. In many ways, the title character has moments when she is such a cliché. Her experiences in Italy were the m…

It's the first day of school, ya'll!

Well, it is back to the grind! Actually, today was a really good day (when my students' eyes weren't glossing over). The first day is exciting and boring at the same time. I love it because I get to see old and new faces. It is not great because I spend 40 minutes going over rules and regulations...still, it is best to begin as you mean to go on!

Jeff (youngest cousin) had his first day on campus as well! He isn't a freshman because he did some of his classes in Birmingham, but he was excited. His first class is at the same time I teach my first class...and right down the hall! It was so much fun to see him this morning before and after class. He is too funny! (Jess, you should have seen him after class! It was so funny!)

Other than that, because this day is always so hyper, I am spending the rest of it chilling out and writing (not the dissertation...just fun stuff). I have taught this class so many times that all of my lectures are prepared (except for a few about new mate…

Furious Love: Chapters 12.5 through the end

It should be noted that there are several more chapters of the book. I have decided not to post in detail about the chapters remaining for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that I think that they are not well done. I am both relieved and sad to end the book (as I am sure some readers of the blog are relieved that I am ending this series of posts...but these people will just have to deal with it...this is my blog). :)

I found the ending of the book rushed, incomplete, and lacking the depth and dignity that I found in other moments. If anything, the end of a relationship needs more analysis than the beginning--and there is so much more to say here. Who knows...maybe Taylor will say it one day...or maybe she already has something written. Or maybe, as perhaps she would want, she will take it to the grave. It is her decision. And she doesn't owe anyone anything. I was horrible about marking quotes in preparation for this post, but the authors printed something she said a…

Furious Love: Chapters 11 and 12 (first half of 12, anyway)

WARNING: Probably my longest post ever.

Chapter 11, "Rings and Farthingales," tracks the descent of the Burtons' relationship into extreme substance abuse. Richard is drinking more and more while Elizabeth has begun a binge on prescribed medication. On Dec. 31, 1968, Richard wrote:

"[During the day Elizabeth is] inevitably sipping away at the drinks. I dreaded at night when she has had her shots, etc.,...and is only semiarticulate...What is more frightening is that she has become bored with everything in life...as a result of this half-life we've been leading I am drinking twice as much. The upshot will be that I'll die of drink while she'll go blithely on in her half-world." (258)

Statements like these are especially poignant in a post-"Intervention" world. I think about the silent conversations taking place in this biography: of child abuse and neglect, of co-dependence, of addiction. Today, thank goodness, there is a very public narrati…

Furious Love: Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter nine, "Boom!," and chapter ten, "The Only Game in Town," review the Burton's time spent filming (obviously) Boom! and the demise of Elizabeth's film career (while chronicling the rise of Richard's). Several crazy stories are included in the ninth chapter, including the time even Tennessee Williams had to leave the Burton's chartered yacht after a particularly lurid incident (not involving Richard or Elizabeth, but instead instigated by Rex Harrison's wife, Rachel Roberts). The incident doesn't bear repeating here, as it is truly vile...and for Williams to have left (and for the Burton's to have begged her to stop), well, that should tell you what you need to know for now. Basically, this chapter is an introduction to the increasingly lavish and outrageously extravagant lifestyle that the Burton's enjoyed.


Also, in chapter nine, the authors discuss the filming of The Comedians, a screenplay adapted loosely from a novel by Grah…