The wilderness

A mountain near Chuzenjiko that we almost climbed, 19 July 2008. I love the way that Japanese mountains look: this clearly could never exist in Charlottesville.

Guion said something interesting yesterday when we were at the church series, “Good News for People with Big Problems.” He was explaining his current position to some new-ish friends; how he gets paid to do one thing–write great poetry. And he was talking about the feeling he gets when he sits down to write–a feeling that is purportedly shared by his fellow MFA’ers–the thought: “I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea how to write!” But then you do. And you keep venturing into the wilderness.

The other internal wilderness in my head right now: the notion of graduate school. Yesterday, I spent some down-time doing practice GRE questions. The analogies absolutely killed me. You can’t figure out an analogy if you don’t know what “adumbrate” means! Le sigh. I was simultaneously daunted and excited. Daunted by statistics like the fact that UNC now only offers a Ph.D. program in English and accepts a mere 18 of the 400+ that apply. Excited by the idea of getting to be in school again. I miss it. I need to talk to people who have master’s degrees or Ph.Ds in English. I’m going to e-mail the few that I know this week and ask them in the most polite way I can think of: “Was it worth it?”

I’m reading my first Pynchon novel now, The Crying of Lot 49. He writes like a post-modern Dickens (the fateful coincidences; the intentional and hilarious naming of characters, e.g., Oedipa, the protagonist, and Mr. Fallopian). I’m not sure what I think about it yet, though. It’s pretty confusing.

We have our church classics book club tonight. We are discussing Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins. I hated it so much. I can’t even say how much. So I might not. I might just let everyone else talk about it tonight and try to discern why people worship Percy as a Giant of Literature at our church. Maybe his non-fiction stuff is good. I can’t say I’ll ever attempt to read another one of his novels, though.

We got Halloween presents from our parents; it was super-cute and exciting. Mike and Windy sent us chocolate bars, and my mother sent us a package full of candy and her prize-winning (at least, in our house) Halloween cookies. Guion says he doesn’t like them, which I think is super, because that means I get to eat ALL of them.

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