Tuesday, June 28, 2011

sorted update

1) The waiting continues. I finally got a letter back from my admissions officer, saying she'd been out of the office unexpectedly which caused my application to be delayed--but I should know by the end of this week. It feels so good just to have applied. There were four things I'd done in my life that I regretted so much I would go back and change them if I could; one was not applying to St. John's. I guess now the list is three.

2) I've been thinking about my desire, approaching life, to cram it all in. Definitely I did this when I was dancing; I found an old class schedule in my files the other day, and I'm amazed I did it. That was a sort of special case; I knew that the opportunity was for a limited time, and was desperate to make the most of it. In retrospect, over-scheduling myself was still a great decision.

Now I'm responsible for much more of my own life, and it's become clear to me that to live how I want I need to give some things up. You can only pack life so full if some of the things you're packing are quiet moments.

I am newly resolved to a) own as little stuff as practical, b) take shortcuts in housekeeping as necessary, and c) limit the number of projects I engage in at a time.

3) I've also been thinking about what I'll do if I don't get into St. John's. Definitely go for some crappy housing (to better live within my means) and rent my house to someone who can take care of it. Definitely get more involved in working with some of the college profs I really respect here in town--Scott Hatch, Michael Minch, Shannon Mussett, Chris Foster, I don't know who all else. Finish my bachelors degree, and then--at least for awhile--go away. It's not that I don't want to live in Utah; it's that I want to know if I don't want to live in Utah. Additionally: hike more, and get better at the other basics of living.

Friday, June 24, 2011

About The Tao of Pooh

--I think I've figured out where I disagree with it. Hoff says cleverness, information, thinking and trying are the problem. I don't. Thinking and trying are like a hammer and nails: not useless, but not necessarily what you'll need in a rainstorm. As he sees it,

Scholars can be very useful and necessary, in their own dull and unamusing way. They provide a lot of information. It's just that there is Something More, and that Something More is what life is really all about. p.31

I suppose if I found scholarship as joyless as that, I might be down on it too. How terribly sad for him. I don't suppose scholarship, in some contexts, might be performed in a way that has something to do with Something More? He also thinks that

Cleverness. . . takes all the credit it possibly can. But it's not the Clever Mind that's responsible when things work out. It's the mind that sees what's in front of it, and follows the nature of things. p.75

I think the best mind for working things out would see what's in front of it. . . and have a lot of things in front of it, as much as it can handle well.

Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

In China, there is the Teahouse. In France, there is the Sidewalk Cafe. Practically every civilized country in the world has some sort of equivalent--a place where people can go to eat, relax, and talk things over without worrying about what time it is, and without having to leave as soon as the food is eaten. In China, for example, the Teahouse is a real social institution. Throughout the day, families, neighbors, and friends drop in for tea and light food. They stay as long as they like. Discussions may last for hours. It would be strange to call the Teahouse the nonexclusive neighborhood social club; such terms are too Western. But that can roughly describe part of the function, at least from our rather compartmentalized point of view. "You're important. Relax and enjoy yourself." That's the message of the Teahouse.

What's the message of the Hamburger Stand? Quite obviously, it's: "You don't count; hurry up." pp. 106-107


The play-it-safe pessimists of the world never accomplish much of anything, because they don't look clearly and objectively at situations, they don't recognize or believe in their own abilities, and they won't stretch those abilities to overcome even the smallest amount of risk. p.122


Thursday, June 23, 2011

in the past

it was always me that did the dumping, and I knew that wasn't right. I feel like a traveler, freshly arrived at the place where everyone lives. Awhile back I was at a bachelorette party and learned how open relationships are scandalous; no one seemed to think of them as that-thing-you-do-when-you're-afraid-of-commitment. That thing I do. It hurts, but in my head I know this means I've broken my mold, and I remember this is a good thing. At least in my head.

I was so happy; I thought you were in. I thought we really we had a shot. I thought I had permission to speak freely. I thought I had not been lying to you.

I hope you don't hate me for being so hungry. I don't know how to make it go away.

* * *

I've been reading the Tao of Pooh. It has such good ideas, but the anti-intellectualism gets to me. . . especially since one of the great lessons of the original Winnie-the-pooh books was kindness towards those characters who are self-important and full of silly mistakes. Hoff makes it very clear that they are Doing Things Wrong, but I relate to all of them so much that I want to stick my tongue out at him, though the changes he suggests are things I want.

* * *

Lately I feel like a writer. I've produced two essays, on demand and deadline, that I think are good--start to finish. It has never happened before. I am learning that I work slowly, and that it is tired, painful, satisfying work. Of course, my kitchen looks like I've been a writer. Maybe someday I'll find balance; maybe not.

The application is in, and I am waiting. They said I would know in days. If I get in, I decide whether I want to upend my entire life to go--a lot of work. I think yes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Maybe happiness is harder to write about, or maybe I have a lot of selection bias.

Ten days ago I had the idea to apply to college. I've done my time in open enrollment schools, but this is new. It won't be the end of the world if I don't get in, but I'm drawn by the promise of intellectual community.

Today I have everything finished for the application but my last essay, which is all about how Twilight changed my life. Wish me luck. :)