Showing posts from April, 2011

I am alive.

I survived the tornado (hit about 1/4 mile away, but we heard it come over...terrifying). We had a tree down on the house, but other than that we are fine. No power, but we have our lives and a place to live. So thankful. Please keep everyone in Tuscaloosa in your prayers. We have so many dead. Some are saying the estimate is in the hundreds (they can only give out confirmed dead once they identify a body and right now there are only 39 identified...but so many more...and so many children). So sad.


On the agenda for today:

I am compiling all of my Augusta Evans Wilson information to review. I haven't looked at most of it in over a year! So, to avoid making a complete idiot out of myself on Sunday during filming for Bob Clem's documentary, I am trying to refresh my memory.

I have to be honest: I am terrified of being on camera. I am excited, however, about spending time in Mobile again! I can't wait to go back to the Malaga Inn. I had the pleasure of staying there in 1998 (?...maybe 1997) during a journalism field trip to visit the Mobile Press Register. I look forward to seeing it again and enjoying a couple of nights in the old city.

I haven't read all of Wilson's books, but I am making my way through them. I think that At the Mercy of Tiberius is my favorite so far (and it was her's, as well). I liked Beulah and Infelice, and I loathed St. Elmo. I haven't had a chance to read Inez (well, I skimmed it quickly) or Vashti...but I think that Vashti will be the next one I pick u…

One of those nights...

Things are slowing down a little and when that happens I finally get a chance to really think...which makes me feel like writing, because I become so inspired or disturbed that I must. Sometimes ghosts from the past creep up on you during the most unexpected times. I both love and loathe these times. I feel energized but devastated. But I wouldn't trade these moments for the world, because they are richly layered and they are me. They are who I am.

And, I think it is Conrad that did this to me. :)

Joseph Conrad: "The Return" (My GoodReads Review...but I will post more later)

The Return by Joseph Conrad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, wow. Now, Conrad isn't my favorite most of the time, but this story (and it must be read slowly) is amazing. It is brutal and explosive in understated ways. You have to take your time with it, reading each word and thinking about choices. What I love best is how Conrad slices through the sham of late-Victorian narrative and life. Such a painful read.

View all my reviews

One last question for the night:

What think we of Harold Bloom? (Well, actually, I know what I think...but I want to know what you think.)

Everything I read today comes back to how books are related to people:

"Every page was once a blank page, just as every word that appears on it now was not always there, but instead reflects the final result of countless large and small deliberations." -- Francine Prose in Reading Like A Writer.

The most important reading you'll ever do...

...takes place during childhood. Meg Ryan, in You've Got Mail, said basically the same thing. And it is true. I think back to the stories I read as a kid (and I already posted about Ann M. Martin's books), and I really can see that I became those stories/characters in so many ways. As I just said on Twitter, I inhaled the values and emotions of the books/authors. But I still don't know if the books made me or if I was naturally drawn to certain stories.

The first story I remember--and I begged my father and mother to read it to me every night--is The Big Bark (published around 1975, I think).

(Source: And this site has a few more images from the book!)

I loved this book because I understood about fearing the unknown. It is still something I struggle with to this day. I am a planner, and when I don't have a plan or know what is ahead of me, I get very nervous...much like the little girl in this book. In the story, the …

End of the semester!

Well, here it is...the day I have been waiting for: the last day I have to teach new material this semester! By the last month of the semester, I am so tired that it is a struggle to go into the classroom each day. Ugh. And, today was especially interesting to me for some other reasons, but I can't go into those just yet. I will soon.

On a very positive note, I found out that I for sure have funding secure for next year! Hooray! I received the Blount fellowship and am so grateful. It is an amazing program here on campus and we are lucky to have it in place.

Other than that, last night we had our big 25th anniversary party for the magazine. Such a busy night, but it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, those of us who worked it (all of us who work at the magazine had to work the party...and, Jeff, my cousin, came and worked, too!) got caught in the rain.

(A quick photo of the venue before everyone arrived. This is Smith Hall, the geology building on campus that also houses a natural hist…

Random Memories (Because all of my posts seem to be going in that direction these days...)

Southern Lessons in Flirtation:

Am suddenly remembering a young boy who pulled me aside (I was his babysitter and I know he had a crush on me) and proudly said, "Miss Susie, I shot you some quail this weekend."

I think it was supposed to be an early attempt at flirtation on his part. I love to eat, so had he been about 25 years older, the relationship might have worked out.

Wow! Memories!

Someone just posted an image similar to this on FB:


I HAD ONE OF THESE!! I may still have it! I loved that little doll!

Fun Memories from the Past!

I finally had a chance to scan some photos today, but my time was limited. Here are a few!

This is one of my favorite more recent photos, taken six (?) years ago. I am in the USF sweatshirt, of course, because this was taken while I was attending school down there! Jeff, to the right of me, and Jess, to the right of him, had come to Tampa for a short visit before Thanksgiving. We drove back to Alabama from Tampa the day before Thanksgiving and stopped in Dothan to visit our aunt, my dad's older sister Jeanne, and Uncle Theron. This was taken out by her pool.

I think that I am about four-years-old in this photo--one of my absolute favorites. Mom had just returned from a business buying trip to New York and I am in my dress from Macy's. :)

Mom and I outside of the auditorium where I had my ballet recital. I think that I am either three- or four-years-old. I was a rose in the Sleeping Beauty section.

Taken when I was about nine-years-old, this is my absolute favorite photo of my gra…

Conversation with my mom while watching "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

Mom: Is that a deer?

Me: Sort of, but you see it glowing, right?

Mom: It just looks like a deer.

Me: Yeah...but it isn't one, exactly.

Mom: Well, what is it then?

Me: It is a patronus.

Mom: A what?

Me: A patronus...It is a charm--

Mom: Whatever. It just looks like a deer to me. How in the hell am I supposed to remember all these crazy names?

Technologically Challenged.

I have decided that I want the blog to have a new look and wider columns for text (because when I write...well, you gets long...and it just isn't convenient to read it this way). The thing is, I know nothing about HTML or templates and the free ones available through blogger are TERRIBLE.

I think I might enlist the help of a former student who is a dear friend now. She is good at these things.

So, I ask those of you who read this crazy blog sometimes: What would you like to see?

Come on...

I know you want to comment. :)

I feel like a truck has run over me.

Seriously. I don't remember the last time I felt this exhausted. I am not sure if I am just really tired or if I am getting sick, because I also feel dizzy and my throat hurts a bit. Either way, this feeling needs to go away...and quickly. I have too much to do. But I just don't feel well. I think it is my body's way of saying that it has had enough. I need to sit back and rest for a bit.

Today, I barely made it through my work at the magazine. Then, I had to go pick up my taxes, mail off my lovely check to the government and state, and then (and at least this was fun) I went to my grandmother's to visit with her and my aunt and cousin, Jeff (yes, the one I mentioned a couple of posts ago). :)

Other than that, not much is going on. I am trying to get everything wrapped up for the end of the semester. I really hope that I can teach tomorrow, but if this keeps up...I just don't know if I can. I have been able to stave off illness all semester! And, yet, here we go!


Check out this blog!


My new theory:

I think that my cousin Jeff and I are reincarnated, very mischievous (maybe treasonous?) siblings from 1500s England. I bet we had a lot of fun in that life, but we were probably executed. :)


"Thought-Provoking" People: Cyril Wilde/Holland

**Note: This is not a post about Oscar Wilde, nor is it a post that engages directly with his trial or the question of “morality” as related to homosexuality. However, what I can guarantee, should the need arise, is that I WILL DELETE any hateful comment left about any subject related to these matters. My blog will not be used as a space for hate speech.

Primary source for this post: Vyvyan Holland's Son of Oscar Wilde. If you are at all interested in Wilde or his children, this is an interesting read.

Also: Am just going to stop warning you that these posts will be long. You know me. They are always long. :)

UPDATE: For a review of a beautiful edition of Wilde's "The Selfish Giant," see this post. As you will notice from the text below, "The Selfish Giant" was one of Wilde's and Cyril's favorite fairy tales.

I will never do justice to anyone I cover in my “Thought Provoking People” posts, but the only thing I can do is to try to draw attention to the…

My Last Lecture:

So, as the semester comes to an end, I always start to think about what I want to say to my students as I send them into a new semester and away from me. Most of them won't really care what I say, but a few of them will. On our final day of classes (coming up very soon), I always have a short speech for my students, encouraging them to do good things and to believe in their talents and to take lessons from our reading and apply them to the real world. These are things I really believe in and I always make them hear it...because, hey, they are a captive audience, after all! It is the one time I wield my power as the time keeper for my own purposes!

But this year is different. This semester may be the last semester I teach for quite some time (of course, you never know). My funding and teaching assistantship runs out in May, and I am not scheduled to teach for next year (though I have other plans at the moment). It is a strange feeling, even though I am ready for a break. So, I want …

Ah, land of my ancestors, memories of you are making me want to return to you tonight.

Leeds Castle. Okay. Not technically where my family was from in England (we are Durham folks). But look at that. King Henry VIII was one lucky guy...crazy, yes...but lucky. This was my absolute favorite tourist/heritage site. Go there if you have a chance!
(Source: Personal photo.)

I just noticed...

Today's readership is quite multinational!



Oh, yes. It keeps happening...

One shoe in the road. (You can read my old post to see what I mean...or don't. It is entirely up to you. But it is a good way to kill a minute or two.)

WHY? WHY? How do you lose only 1 shoe??? And how can you go on and not miss it? The one I saw last night was a really expensive shoe, too.


Where have I been??

It has been days since I posted something substantial on this blog! I am sorry, but things have been incredibly crazy lately. My students turned in their papers (translation: 60 papers to grade over the last week). Add to that magazine copy crunches and family hospital time (with my uncle)...and, well, you get the picture.

I do promise that posts are forthcoming.

What have I been doing in the meantime? Well, I do have a "Thought-Provoking People" post ready to go once I hear back from a friend who is reading over it for me (this subject for the post is very much alive and a "virtual" acquaintance, so I want things correct). I am also reading a lot of Augusta Evans Wilson books, because I have the documentary filming coming up (along with the public event itself in Mobile). Just trying to familiarize myself with everything again!

I haven't been doing a lot of dissertation work over the last two weeks, but I worked so much on it for two weeks before then, so I had …

Please Vote for Laura!

Hi, everyone! My cousin, Laura, is gathering votes for the Yoga Journal cover contest! Please vote for her! All you have to do is click on the stars (you know you want to mark all 5!) and click "Rate". (You can vote once a day.)

Vote For Laura, Please!