A Sampling

I am reading, all the time. I try to change the environment up a little bit – the corner nook chair in my room; an eno hammock next to the creek, discreetly tucked behind the freshman dorm; my iron bench on the back quad (my name is not on it, but it is very much mine; kind of like Sheldon and his spot on the couch); the rocking chair on the porch of the Chaplain’s Office; those gloriously comfortable couches on the third floor of the library; and, for particularly dull readings, an equally boring and hard desk.

Still, every night (or, rather, early morning) as I crawl into bed, just before I quickly slip into a deep sleep, my head aches from all the literary food I have digested. So. Many. Words. Ceaselessly.
I am embarking on a semester-long reading marathon, and it is a feat to keep pace. Without utmost attention and discipline, I tend to wander from the text. My mind drifts, pressed with post-college decisions and the many other things I would rather be doing. Oftentimes the book finishes me before I am quite done with it, my drooping eyelids, which as of late have been forced to stay open too long, demanding a respite. Today, my mind wandering as usual, I was struck by the variety of subjects and material I am powering through. It is really quite comical.
 So, I thought I would invite you into my world, give you a taste of who my companions have been these last two weeks – not the new freshman on my hall (but they are SO great!), not often my best friend or those with whom I would still like to reconnect. Nope. It is the books…and some wine and chocolate. Books on books – a diverse selection covering a whole spectrum of academic disciplines. How are topics like sugar and its increased consumption over the last two centuries, the struggles of a first year teacher, Homeric battles, a quaker’s moral conflict over slavery, reconnecting with oneself through journaling, different approaches to literary analysis, and Shakespearean sonnets for a sampling of this week’s reading?
“At the production end, sugar early became one of the leading motivations for making overseas agricultural experiments of a mixed sort – that is, with capitalist means and unfree labor. At the consumption end, it was, as we have seen, one of the first items transformed from luxury to necessity, and thereby from rarity to mass-produced good, a transformation embodying both the promise and the fulfillment of capitalism itself.” (Yawwwwwwwn)
                -Sweetness and Power
“ ‘When you’ve got the guts to face what you did and talk about it, I’ve got the time to talk to you. But I don’t have time to waste talking to a cowardly little boy.’ I didn’t say it mean, just matter-of-factly.
     He turned back to his classroom, picked up a desk, and threw it. He looked at me, his chest heaving, his eyes wet. I just shook my head, shrugged, and walked away.” (What a badass teacher)
                -Educating Esmé
“And at this, once more
He joined the melee, entering it as a god.
Hektor in splendor called Kebriones
To whip the horses toward the fight. Apollo,
Disappearing into the ranks, aroused
Confusion in the Argives, but on Hektor
and on the Trojans he conferred his glory.”
                -The Iliad

“Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most high! Such is the purity and certainty of his judgements that he cannot be partial in our favour. In infinite love and goodness he hath opened our understandings from one time to another concerning our duty toward this people, and it is not a time for delay.”
                -John Woolman: A Nonviolence and Social Change Source Book
“To begin to ‘write real,’ (that is, to keep a journal and to write from our hearts and our feelings) is to enter the river of our writing and being.” (I do value journaling, but can we get any more hippie?)
                -Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life through Creative Journaling
“If a character narrates who also plays a role in the diegesis, it is called homodiegetic narration. If a voice situated outside the action narrates, it is called heterodiegetic narration.”
                -The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d 
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age; 
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed 
And brass eternal, slave to mortal rage; 
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain 
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, 
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main, 
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state, 
Or state itself confounded to decay; 
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate — 
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose. 
                -Sonnet 64
How ridiculous is that?! Do you feel like your brain is starting to hurt a little bit? This is what happens when you are an English major at a liberal arts college.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do love being a student again. Learning and discussing is my thing; I have been doing it for a good 16 years now. But balance, as I have blogged about before, is key. Right now, it would be nice to have less books and more people.
PS
The time I spend in class is killer. I have calculated that I spend exactly forty hours a week. FORTY HOURS. That is a full time job without the homework. If I’m supposed to be spending three hours studying for every one hour in class (believe me, I don’t), there’s another 56 hours (not including tennis and lab). And if I ideally got 8 hours of sleep every night (again, believe me, I don’t), then there is another 42 hours. That totals to 138 hours.
There are 168 hours in a week. What does the math equal? SchoolOnSchoolOnSchool.
PPS
It is Saturday, and I am going downtown for some live music at Sidewinders tonight, just in case you’re concerned all my time is spent in class or isolation. I think I can count on people being there.
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