Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh the Humanities!

Trust me.  I'm a doctor.

Albeit not the kind Jewish mothers kvell about.  

More the kind lavender ladies croon about. 

Which is just (closer to) fine with me.
The best thing about getting a Ph.D.?  The tiara I bought myself to celebrate finishing the damn degree.  After spending a year writing a fascinating and insightful dissertation that I'm pretty sure nobody has ever read (and yes, I am including my advisor in that assessment), I figured I ought to have something to show for it.

So why not something sparkly and glamorous and likely to be coveted by drag queens?

Who says a girl has to be biologically a boy just to wear herself a crown?

Are you a princess or a queen?  the neighborhood crazy lady queried, as I marched into the post office, tiara-clad, to mail something off on my way to school to file my dissertation, that fateful long ago day.

Neither I answered, only slightly put off that the person calling me out on weird wardrobe was the neighborhood crazy lady I am a doctor.

These days, seldom having any occasion to dissert, profess, or
 serve as a beauty pageant runner-up, I only find cause to don the tiara once a year.

My birthday.

Because everything, even chocolate cake, is better with rhinestones.

And, apparently, a bra strap hanging out.

Ah well, it was mostly a glamorous birthday bash we had here at Dutchboy this past Saturday.  

Even if it was a little lacking in the sexpertise of yore.  

And my actual birthday, which was Monday, was pretty rocking too.  

My boss brought me a cupcake. And she didn't even pretend to have baked it herself.

Then I Delved into some Shakespeare. 

Specifically, into the final class of the Shakespeare seminar I've been teaching.  

Because, you know, having a new full time job plus my usual twelve thousand hobbies just didn't seem like enough to fill my days, without a good dozen hours of reading Elizabethan English every week.

The seminarians were really great.  One of them said she took the class because she liked my article in Bitch magazine critiquing the global politics of Viacom's Dora the Explorer franchise.   Si, se puede, as Caesar Chavespeare might have put it.

Another seminarian told me I was the first good teacher she ever had.  The fact that she has a graduate degree is perhaps more a statement about the lows of higher education than the heights of my Delving.  But I do not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Or, in this case, a Greek bearing gifts.  Which she was, both in terms of Hellenic heritage and in terms of giving me a handcrafted, locally grown, chocolate vodka.

If that wasn't enough of a Jewish girl's dream day, I came home to discover the postal carrier had delivered the latest issue of Bridges, which in case you never heard of it is like Bitch mit a bissel Yiddish thrown in.  And there, right on pages 75-77, was a poem by little old me.

About a course I had to take to get my Ph.D.

So now, in addition to being a doctor, a tiara-donner, a righteous 9 to 5-er, a Dora-critiquer and an intrepid Delver, I am also a published poet.  

Next thing you know, we'll be seeing Robert Pinsky traipsing around in a rhinestone crown with his bra strap hanging out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From the Mouths of Bards. Well, Only One Bard. And Thus One Mouth.

I meant to do a Happy Hallotween post.  

It involved an Erev Halloween voicemail from our favorite tween, in which she shrieks in terror.

Terror because her father walks into the room while she is leaving us a message about how she can't hang out with us on Halloween because she is going on a six hour trick or treat binge with her peers, and tells her in that cruel way parents do that she totally not going trick or treating for six hours.  She is only allowed to go trick or treating for like four hours.  Five max.

Then Halloween actually happened.  And the Walloon of Walgreens and his Wuvely Wife surprised the whole block by dressing up as me and the Cheez.

That Is Not My Beautiful Walloon

So I kind of lost the thread of the Hallotween post.  And apparently of the All Saint's Day, Election Day, and Veteran's Day posts as well.

But now I've got a surefire idea for a post topic.  


Only, that's an ugly word.  Let's go with Literary Tribute instead.

That's much nicer.  And appropriate, as I am plagiarizing a literary treasure.

So here, without further ado (i.e., more crap photoshop) are the quotable quotes from the eight-week-minus-that-one-I-was-with-my-Schwinstress-in-San-Francisco poetry workshop I took this fall with Peter Sears.

My Own Personal Sears Catalogue:
We do depend on narrative to some degree, especially here in Oregon.

Read the cummings poem and have a glass of wine.

Hot language beats everything.  Deep meaning--leave that to John Donne.  Or whoever.

We have a right wing in poetry that is kind of formal  But they're just stodgy.  They don't really write.

That's what poets do.  They don't want characters chapters, plot.  Screw it.  They want language.

Where can I get a pink tshirt?

You have a real strength in things.  The thingness of the poem. [said in response to a poem we were critiquing, not, alas, one of mine.  Apparently I'm a little thing-lite when it comes to poesy]

We call that in the business POETICIZING.  Poeticizing, a nasty way of saying what she just said.

There he is throwing up in the john, or having angst, or looking out the window.   Whatever it is.

Are we talking your talk, honey?

Sounds like a Ronald Reagan speech.

All the poems work that way Peter declares.  Dubious, workshop student responds, All?.  Peter considers.  A lot of poems he concedes.

Wallace Stevens wrote a few good poems, you know.  And he did philosophy up and down.

On lyric: That's a place, especially with males, where things strut.

Also, the soul is only one syllable, so I like it much better than spirituality.

By young, I mean under fifty.

On William Stafford:  That's why a lot of people hate his poetry.  They can't figure out how the hell he does it.

Sex, war, and some good meals.  There's a title for your first book.

As you can imagine, it was a deeply edifying experience.  

Maybe because I have so much to learn about writing poetry.

But at least I know where you can get a pink shirt.

Right over at the Walgreens.  Which is just the place to go when you're celebrating having your second ever poem accepted for publication anyplace that isn't your high school literary magazine.