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burning like matchsticks in the face of the darkness
 
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Friday, October 10th, 2003

Time Event
11:47a
Life makes me happy sometimes.
Didn’t lunch use to be the last meal served before Fall Break? Am i thinking of some other break? Turns out there is both tea and dinner (though the latter is only in Chase-Duckett, Tyler, and King-Scales) so my father and brother should arrive around 5, we’ll load up the car, eat, and then head “home.” It’s funny, so many of my first-years are all bonded and they’ve been all sappy good-bye-ing whereas 4 days feels like nothing to me. Smith feels like my permanent place, so heading back East is a mere “visit.” Plus, i mean, how often do i see my friends here? Not often enough, that’s for sure. So not seeing them for 4 days, somehow doesn’t seem all that much different from when we’re at school ;)

[Edit: Okay, i should know better than to assume that people have actually consulted reliable sources. Our kitchen does indeed shut down after lunch. I hung out in the TV room and watched the second half of Revenge of the Nerds with people, though, and enjoyed it more than i had expected to.]

I got an 86 on my econ exam, which is much higher than i deserved, because Lewis is incredibly generous with partial credit. I didn’t study for that exam nearly as much as i should have as other things took priority. I still want to really learn and understand this stuff of course, so i will be going back and seriously studying, but it’s nice to know that i’m not gonna have to kill myself to ace the next exam in order to not fail.

The weather the past couple of days has been absolutely gorgeous. Today’s been a bit chill, but that’s okay as it is autumn after all. Indian summer is weird (though not unwelcome).

"How Writers Write"
[October 9, 2003 - 7:30pm; Neilson Library Browsing Room]
A nuts-and-bolts panel discussion on the creative act of writing. Panelists: Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures and editor of The American Scholar; Nancy Franklin '78, staff writer and television critic at The New Yorker magazine; Ann Martin '77, author of The Babysitters Club series and other books for young readers; and Abe Louise Young '99, poet. Michael Thurston, English, will moderate.

Ye gods i’d forgotten how much i adore that man. I really need to visit sometime, particularly since i seem to have a rep. Would one of my lovelies like to inform me as to when his office hours are?

Michael asked Anne Fadiman about how inspiration operates for her as a nonfiction writers after asking some of the other panelists, and she said the way he asked it sounded a bit snide, as if they have muses with wings who come down and she gets a UPS man or something. I was sitting in the back and thus couldn’t see anyone but Michael and couldn’t manage to differentiate voices, but it seemed that Anne Fadiman and Nancy Franklin were the witty ones. Anne talked about how she gets a lot of ideas just from conversations with friends and recommended if you want to write that you “cultivate friends who are going to have interesting careers or live in odd places.” When she was pregnant with her second child she was mandated to bed rest for the whole of the pregnancy. She had been a journalist, but obviously she couldn’t do that. Frustrated, she asked her husband, “What can I do horizontal?” And of course her husband had the thought that one does and we all laughed. She ended up writing personal essays and used the metaphor of recycling, of recalling stories which had been forgotten or just kinda shelved, and bringing them out and making something new and useful out of them, and i really liked that metaphor.

Nancy i think it was talked about how her editor is very attuned to body language and thus when reading her work is always asking things like “Show me what this character is doing” and i thought that was really interesting as i’d never really thought much about the usefulness of body language as a subtle device.

Writing: “It’s not like throwing up.”
-one of the panelists, responding to a student who talked about her writing being a survival mechanism, therapeutic, something she has to do and can’t control.

Sophian party followed. Was amusing that Heather and i had never actually had a conversation “in person” prior to that. I met Megan McRobert and she actually seems pretty cool. I had no respect for Cate as a writer last year, and i’ve come to respect her as an editor and honestly, i’m growing fond of her as a person. Heather, did she actually say that Jacqui Shine told her i should write for Op-Ed? I didn’t quite catch all of that exchange.

I came back to the following on my door:

Elizabeth: Ur the humor in my bumper sticker!!!
[from Nikki]

Elizabeth - You are the squished peppermint patties at the bottom of my backpack
[from HP Liz]

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