So anyway, Commencement Weekend.
Rehearsal Friday morning was lame. It did give me a better idea of how the ceremony was gonna go, and Meg and i got to feel cool 'cause we know what "speech act" is [and it sounds so much like a marriage pronouncement, too -- "by the power vested in the Board of Trustees and delegated..."], and i enjoyed the projector images even though they were hard to see, but it wasn't tremendously helpful, and oh the stupid questions people asked. There were i think 2 valid questions -- neither of which the woman was able to answer well (how early will the ITT be open if graduation is inside, and how are we supposed to do our graduation hoods). Liked the German guy running things, though. Afterward, we took the class picture on a steep grassy knoll, which was ever so much fun. Lunch was good. Danne gave me a rose. I got a graduation card from a couple at First Churches whose faces i can't even think of to match with their names.
My parents arrived Friday evening and we went to see Six Characters in Search of an Author. Well-acted. Unsure how i feel about the play itself. Interesting ideas about how no one else can really be you. But characters in a play aren't actually existant persons, they're characters created to be performed by other people. (As opposed to characters in books, who were created to exist within their own world and not to be embodied by other people.) The immutable is more real? Yes reality is always changing (as they say) but does that make the past an "illusion"? Is saying "No, it's memory; that's different" a cop-out?
Ivy Day was Saturday morning. Side-zipping dresses are a bitch, and i owe Poorn much love. It was actually pretty. (They should have told us the reason to arrive 45 minutes early was so that everyone could take pictures of us. Have i mentioned how the Commencement/IvyDay rehearsal didn't actually include anything about Ivy Day?) After all the processions, though, when we sat down and listened to people talk, i was cold and bored. [When i said i wanted winter back, i didn't mean when i was sitting outside in a sleeveless dress.] Reminiscent of Class Day. The box lunch following was yum, and i first went home to change into real clothes, so sitting outside and eating was nice.
We went to SCMA next, and i abandoned my family partway through for the departmental reception to search for Jessie. I hung out with Meredith, and Joan (whom i don't see enough), and saw Mary Barbara [Sherborn lady], and finally found Jessie. Also Skarda -- who was giving out department pins for regalia, which apparently they've been getting rid of for at least 2 years. I rather liked them, though i actually forgot to attach to my robe come Sunday. After my family finished with SCMA, they went to Lyman and then found me. They got a rather full Skarda experience.
Skarda suggested i write about massage in literature -- seedy and all. I said it would be like my seminar paper -- fun to research but not so much to write. She said she doesn't think of her massager as the brightest bulb. And it's hard to get employ as the market is glutted -- but then, she pays one.
Skarda said only about 300 people (recent stat, probably from Atlantic Monthly) support themselves from their writing. My father suspects this doesn't include, say, journalists. He says i seem very comfortable with words -- very comfortable in front of a keyboard, using words. So true.
Skarda told Joan's mom that she could always count on us to say smart things in Telling and Retelling. Joan didn't remember speaking much at all in that class, and i'm inclined to agree (though i know i talked a lot) but whatever. Reminded me a touch of Liz Carr's effusiveness, which was amusing.
Saw Prof. Kaminksy, who asked about my post-graduation plans. I told him bartending and massage school. "See, that's that look i was talking about." No, actually, he was thinking about all that practice you have to do, and would i be local. And he managed to not make it sound skeezy. I mean, i know him, so i know it's not skeezy, but it's so the kind of thing that would have come out skeezy if i'd said it, so i was impressed.
We had dinner at Fresh Pasta, which was yum as usual. And because our reservations were for 5pm we beat the dinner rush.
There was time to kill before Illumination Night, so i picked up my Zaleski final, since i'd been forgetting to that for days. "I like the simplicity of your style in this paper, as you gradually discover Gandalf's character -- in real time, as it were -- by working through the stages by which he gradually makes himself know to the hobbits and to the reader." [...] "Your journal and Blackboard entries fell off during our Tolkien phase, but you were a faithful contributor to class. You always let us know when you didn't like what you were reading or hearing -- and that was quite often!"
When i was finally hungry again we went to Burdick and i got a $4 hot chocolate. Not the sex-in-a-cup i was recalling from Winter Weekend, but still good.
Illumination was one of the few graduation exercises i was kind of excited about, and it disappointed. The lanterns looked like balloons (pink, yellow, yellow-green, blue) though they were less bad when one was close-up (they had shrubbery designs on them) or when they were illuminated. The Senior Candle Lighting was kinda lame -- we all got white candles and the class president lit them and then it was like "okay, yay you, you can go wander the illuminated paths now." I was expecting some sort of procession -- since that seems to be a theme this weekend, and a procession of people holding candles would be cool.
Sunday was Pentecost. I did the Scripture Reading (Acts 2:1-21 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-13) and was also asked to do the Call to Worship, which i willingly did, though i'm not sure how i feel about it.
Not as in the old days I pray, God. My life is not what it once was.(Googling, it's apparently a poem by R.S. Thomas -- a 20th-century Welsh poet.)
Once I would have asked for healing. I go now to be doctored.
I would have knelt down wrestling with you wearing you down.
Hear my prayer, Lord. Hear my prayer.
As if you were deaf, myriads of mortals have kept up their shrill cry, explaining your stillness by their unfitness. It begins to appear this is not what prayer is.
It is about the annihilation of differences, this consciousness of myself in You and You in me,
the emerging from the adolescence of nature into the adult geometry of the mind.
Circular as our way is, it leads not back to that snake haunted garden but onward to the tall city of glass that is the laboratory of the spirit.
Apparently Pentecost is considered the birth of the church, so they did confirmation this Sunday. In... South America i think Tessa said it was... they pour flame colored rose petals over heads as symbolic of the flames of the Pentecost story, so she had the little kids do that to the confirmands.
Peter's sermon was called "In Our Own Native Language," and he talked about the confirmation class kids' statements of faith and how we each have our own frames of reference and things that are particularly important to us and so on, so when we talk about our faith it's like we have our own individual language, but people are still able to understand us, and it is due to the Holy Spirit that we are able to bridge some of the more difficult gaps. I was a little confuzzled because my interpretation of the Acts account was that the disciples -- who were all from approximately the same linguistic region -- spoke and all those gathered (who came from a multitude of linguistic regions) heard their words in their own native tongues, not that the disciples all spoke in their own native tongues and everyone present was somehow able to understand them.
During her statement of faith, Isabelle used the phrase "war-torn," and i want people to understand why God sometimes demands -- or is interpreted as demanding -- violence or other things that we perceive as not good. I had a moment of intense contra-left-ness and wished for God to be full of wrath and vengeance and pro-killing-people. More sanely, i want people to realize that it is not true that the Bible fully supports what they value and that they're opponents are just wrong and misinterpreting; i want them to realize that it is complicated. (Gee, look at how that is always my desire.)
Back when Peter first asked i wanted to be involved in a graduation service, my mom suggested that i ask for "Here I Am, Lord" to be included. I didn't, since there wasn't really an opening to do so. However. What was the closing hymn? "I Danced in the Morning" I learned that i don't dislike the tune -- though it doesn't feel quite right -- and it's so not as obnoxious as it sounds when F. sings it ;)
I got so many congratulations after the service. MJ gave me a card with a Starbucks gift card -- because i so frequently do tea duty and she comes over and chats with my while she drinks her coffee.
They were having a luncheon thing, so we went back to campus for brunch. My brother said that people should just pay off portions of his student loans instead of giving him physical gifts. (He's gonna graduate RPI with way more loans than i have from Smith). I like that idea :) (2 graduation cards arrived for me on Saturday -- both containing checks :) )
Like Ivy Day, Graduation seemed to require arriving 45 minutes early in large part for the photo ops. I was rather indifferent. I did actually get excited when we started to process, though, feeling all official and proud, and the happy face. I saw a whole lot of people i knew on the sidelines and had a good view of the faculty procession. It was a bit chilly, but i had jeans and other appropriate clothes on under my robe, so i didn't mind much. And the college had thoughtfully provided us with bottled water underneath our seats.
There were a few drops of rain at the beginning of the procession, but otherwise it was completely fine. And i actually liked both speeches -- Lauren Wolfe (to whose election as my class president [insert "She's not my president" joke here] my near immediate reaction was dread of Commencement) and Shelly Lazarus -- and approved of the honorary degrees. Lazarus, class of 1968, talked about expectations and about what things were like when she graduated. She said the question now isn't whether you can have at all but whether you want it all. She talked about a Manhattan waitress who loves her job, saying, "Don't judge!" [Edit: link to full speech]
The whole thing only took about two hours. A half hour of procession, a half hour of speeches, 45 minutes graduating us, plus about 10 minutes for the masters candidates, and then we were done. Except for the Diploma Circle. It sounds like a neat tradition in theory, but we had like the most ineffective diploma circle evar. You're supposed to pass diplomas in concentric circles, passing the diplomas you've already seen into new circles, but we just ended up passing the same diplomas, and sometimes we had stacks of them and sometimes our hands were empty, so we finally just made one big circle -- which feels to me like how it should work anyway -- and i got mine relatively quickly at that point. Immediately post-Graduation is an impossible time to see people, and i was impressed by the speed at which i connected with my family, but i was lucky enough to see Layna at the CC (where i used up my remaining OneCard money on more drinks). And hopefully now that we're residing in the same vicinity i'll get to see more of her.
Summation of the weekend: Having events structured as meaningful moments, like, "You're going to do this, and it's going to be meaningful for you," is weird. [Edit: Last week, Stacey said something about me being a control-freak and i said i didn't usually use that phrase, though i definitely use a number of similar phrases/adjectives for myself, but the phrase kept recurring in my head this weekend, since i know i really like to be able to control what i'm doing and i was realizing that that was probably the reason behind a lot of my ragifying moments this weekend. The fact that i didn't know in advance exactly how things were gonna function, trying unsuccessfully to find people, etc. -- all that is the kind of stuff that drives me up a wall.]
P.S. My brother says he's been pleasantly surprised by senior ceremonies (his and mine) and we had similar thoughts about what was good and what wasn't. He was a good sport about being dragged around all weekend, regardless.
I have Palmer orientation this Thursday. In the mail on Monday i got my Student ID. Look, i'm officially a student again :) I really do need to get myself an actual job. And, um, bugger. I didn't actually coordinate the transportation before registering for a Palmer class, so i didn't think about the fact that i'm dependent upon two commuter rails plus a subway and 10pm is perilously close to when commuter rails stop running in Boston. So yeah, don't actually have a way home. Ditto Sunday service for the first day of my bartending class. Why do i suck? My mom can drive me in to class on Memorial Day morning, though, so that's not a big deal. Any volunteers to drive me home from North or South Station in the vicinity of midnight every Tuesday night? Floors to crash on also appreciated.
I also need to get myself a real job. Having class at Salem at 6pm makes this whole office job thing difficult, though. Grr. See above re: thinking ahead and "I suck."
I read "Homestead" by inlovewithnight. A good solid story that reads like an episode of the show [Firefly]. The voice reminds me of the show i love so much and brings tears to my eyes.
marauderthesn asked for suggestions of "gay movies that are watchable with parents." I am so a bad person to ask. I mean, i watched Claire of the Moon with my mom. (Horrible movie, btw.) My favorite moment, though, was watching Jeffrey and the phone ringing and hitting pause right on the "sex" frame.
penknife says: "Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe trailer: looks very pretty, but who knows about the acting and the script. Good or not, will clearly be next year's shiny new fandom. I fear the badfic." All this Narnia movie talk is bringing out my seething loathing of adapting books into movies (Really need to write up that manifesto i do.) but the idea of more Narnia fic is appealing -- but then again, the fic i have loved has dealt with one of the things i hate about The Last Battle, and i don't tend to remember the minor characters in non-LWW books well enough to feel right reading fanfic about them, and i'm not sure how much good fanfic could be created with only the knowledge of LWW -- though White Witch backstory could be really interesting, either as post-MN for those who know it (which reminds me that i want more Illyria fic, also ancient!Dawn, and should check out History Lesson) or as AU for those writing only with knowledge of LWW, and the theology geek in me would be really interested in seeing any of the LWW characters post-LWW back in their own world.
I finally got a feedback on "Osiris Serenity" over on Blood Sings. Brought tears to my eyes. Interestingly, rereading the fic, i am less satisfied with it than i used to be.