Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Beginning of the End

Monday marked my last first day of school. Very exciting! It is really hard to believe that this is my last semester of college. Today I found myself thinking how next semester I'll order my books ahead of time (I HATE the textbook-buying process), and I have to remind myself that there will be no next semester!

All of my classes look like they are going to be pretty interesting. I'm taking interpersonal communication, where I will learn how to be everyone's favorite person; history of western dress, where I will learn how and why people dressed the way they did in olden days; and life and literature of the American South, where my love for the South will continue to blossom.

I can already tell that southern lit will be my favorite. The prof, Dr. Clarke, came to class yesterday dressed in a blue and white pinstriped suit. He has a very deep laugh, and made several references to how Jack Daniels has changed his life. He reminds me of Dustin Hoffman in Stranger than Fiction, but a little older and friendlier. Kyle is pretty sure that he had Dr. Clarke when he was at A&M, and he remembers Dr. Clarke telling the class that he was giving whiskey up for lent, which seems to fit his present Jack Daniels comments. Ah, it's nice to meet a consistent person.

We are going to read a pretty wide range of authors, kicking the semester off with Faulkner, which will be nice to get out of the way, as he is nobody's favorite. Then on to Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams, Walker Percy, and various short stories by writers such as Flannery O' Connor and Eudora Welty. I have a pretty good feeling that I will be blogging about lots of happenings and discussions from this class, but for today, I will leave you with Dr. Clarke's reasoning for why there are no dates on our syllabus:

"Northerners live by the clock; Southerners live by the rhythm of the season."

Here's to a good semester.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Car Switcharoo

Yesterday marked an important day: I got a new car. Kyle and I decided to switch cars, so it's not new per se, but it is to me. Kyle's new job is a little farther than his old one, and since they encourage workers to take a lunch break instead of working through like Kyle used to (we're not sure why), he's been coming home for lunch, meaning that he's been using a lot more gas lately. Kyle's car only takes premium gas (it's a bit snobby), so we decided that he should start driving my 2002 Honda Civic since it gets GREAT gas mileage. I grabbed my parking pass, sunglasses, and CDs and started life with my "new" 2002 Volkswagen Jetta.

This is a little sad for me, as my Honda was my first and only car. My grandma bought it for me when I was 17, and it holds lots of good memories. But the Jetta isn't without its memories as well. Driving around in it today, I was thinking about when Kyle and I first started dating and how we drove all around Houston in it. I say the first part of our relationship because once we were more serious, we started taking my car- I'm telling you, Hondas get reallyreally good gas mileage, and Houston is a big city. And maybe I'm crazy, but it has a "Kyle" smell.

And for those of you who aren't sentimentally inclined, the Jetta has a few more perks.
1) My Honda was a 2-door, and switching to a 4-door somehow makes me feel more distinguished and mature.

2) The gas cap is attached to the tank by a wire, ensuring that one can never lose it. This may not seem like much to the untrained eye, but shortly after I got my Honda, I lost the gas cap. I was getting gas and forgot to put the cap back on. I drove away and quickly realized this, and went back and got it, but someone must have run over it (or I could have run over it) and it wouldn't stay back on. My very wise mother told me I had to buy myself a new one because I would be less likely to forget than if she bought me one. This is just one example of how insightful my mom is because that $22 for a stupid gas cap has kept me aware at the pump the rest of my driving life.

3) The interior is black. I'm not sure why this is a perk, especially since it may make it hotter, but it looks "sleeker." My Honda's interior is beige, and it shows dirt and spots really easily.

We're having a hard time figuring out how to refer to our cars. I used to say "my car" for the Honda, and "your car" for the Jetta, and Kyle would do the same, but now that system just isn't efficient. "Do you mean your former car, or my former car?" "The Honda?" So we have resulted to using the generic terms of "Honda" and "Jetta." You may call it boring, but we call it smart.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Filling the Pages

Sometimes it's hard to think of something to write about. This week, I am writing a final paper for my internship class. When I took my job as a writing intern last March, my boss told me that the last intern was able to get class credit for for the job, so I should check with my adviser. This has been such a blessing because I was able to count my job as a 3-hour credit internship, which saved me from having to take an another "fun" elective this summer. I say "fun" mockingly because I often find electives harder and more boring than core classes. I wish they would just let me take more English classes.

So this summer I registered for a 10-week internship class where I had to write 15 journals about my daily experiences, and then a final 8-10 page paper about my overall experience and how it relates to what I've learned in college. I have finished all the journals, and I'm now on page 4 of the final paper. So now what am I doing? Procrastinating by writing a blog. I guess there is some irony in avoiding writing by turning to another form of writing, but sometimes you just get desperate for a "productive" distraction.

It always amuses me when I have a hard time writing for my classes because I am paid to be a writer for my job. It seems like if writing is your job, and in my case my most marketable skill as an English major, you would think it would come somewhat naturally, and even be fun. Not always the case, my friends.

No matter how much time I spend writing, I still find myself having lots of writer's block, lack of new "strategies," and the same haunting grammar and spelling mistakes. It's hard to switch from my writing style at work to writing for school. Writing for work is all about news writing: concise, attention catching, and informative. Writing for school seems to call for more commentary and opinion, and guiding the teacher into understanding my thoughts. The most practical difference of course is the length. My news briefs are supposed to be 200-500 words, depending on the importance of the story, whereas school assignments are several pages long. You don't have time to explain your reasoning to news readers.

I almost always interview someone for my articles at work, so it's like getting lots of little facts and then piecing them altogether in (hopefully) an interesting way. With this paper, it's all about my experience and thoughts. It feels like it should be so easy since there are very few guidelines, but I guess I'm someone who needs lots of direction. It makes me think of Anne of Green Gables when Marilla tells Anne that she should continue go to college.

"Marilla, I feel like someone has handed me the moon, and I don't know what to do with it."

I know this paper should be so, so easy, especially compared to some of the other assignments I've had to tackle, but I guess it has me stumped a little. I'll stop complaining and get back to writing.