Archive | September, 2012

A Chilly October

25 Sep

1. My mom hadn’t even been that sick, when she went to the doctor for vision problems she was having. It took several doctors appointments before they decided to do an MRI. They had seen an abnormality on the CT scan and wanted her in the next week for the MRI.

2. My sister drove down to be with my mom during her appointment. I couldn’t go, because I had to work. I told them to call me and let me know as soon as the results came in. Hours passed, and though I was at work, I called them all incessantly begging for information. After a while, Brooke walked into the store I work at, came right up to me and said “you need to leave, I talked to your sister, and I’m going to drive you to savannah to be with them.”

3. Sitting around my mom’s house in Savannah with my two sisters was an ominous experience. It’s a very rare occasion for us all to be in the same city, much less one room together. Since it wasn’t a holiday and it was just a Thursday in October, it was even more strange. My mom had told us the MRI had shown a tumor on her brain. It was in such a delicate and difficult spot, that they would not be able to remove it surgically. The first step in the process was to get a biopsy of the tumor to determine if it was cancerous. This, however, required a very invasive brain surgery.

4. The day of my mom’s surgery was another ominous one. My sisters and I had all taken off school, work, etc. for the day, and posted up in the hospital waiting room with some other family and friends. The surgery was supposed to only take four hours, so we busied ourselves trying not to think about what we were waiting on. We visited the gift shop, the hospital cafeteria, and hovered casually outside the scary OR doors. Four hours came and went, an with no word of the end of surgery we settled back into the waiting room for the longest wait of our lives.

5. In a hospital waiting room, there is usually at least one group of people who seem to have it worse than you. On the day of my mom’s brain surgery- my family was that group. It seemed like everyone there knew what we were waiting on, and kept looking at us with mournful eyes. We were the last group in the waiting room that day. Finally, after almost double the time we expected we heard the page, “the Shore family is needed to the conference room.” My sisters and I nearly sprinted down the hallway to the room. We lingered in the doorway waiting for the neurosurgeon to appear. When we finally saw him, his expression was unreadable (I think they teach you that in medical school). After a few moments of talk through the surgery, we discovered that our mom had made it through fine. And in the end, I can only tell you one work for certain that he said to us that day, “benign.”

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The Micro Essay

18 Sep

The readings this week were all great examples of micro essays. After reading these essays it seems like it’s a pretty difficult form of non-fiction. You might not think so, since you’re actually writing less, but in that short length, these authors have all managed to get a very large point across. I think it’s amazing they can do it in so few words.

 

Two of the essays that I think did an especially wonderful job of this were “Sunday” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and “The Signature of God” by Judson Mitcham. These were two of the shortest essays we read, but they both held a lot of meaning. The Signature of God, was so short, that I felt like I still needed a few answers at the end, but it didn’t leave me feeling unsatisfied. In fact, I really enjoyed this piece, and I think that the length worked really well for it. “Sunday” was a piece that I think held a lot of power in such a short piece. While it could read on the surface solely about a family and their cooking traditions, underneath it also holds some powerful civil rights meaning. Both of these pieces were really great and I really enjoyed them.

Graduate School?

17 Sep

With the GRE behind me, and having earned scores high enough to be admitted into my choice graduate school, I find myself asking one questions: can I really push through two more years of school? I realize that this is probably poor timing on my part, I probably should have figured it out before I spent nearly $200 on the test and so much of my time studying for it. But it’s only now that it seems attainable that I really begin to question the decision.

 

I’ve had senioritis since my junior year of high school. Really, I’m not sure if I ever got over it. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed college, I have really, but isn’t 16 years of schooling enough without having to tack on two more? I had never really planned on going to grad school anyway, I just wanted to clock my four years and enter the workforce. It seems obvious, however, that entering into the workforce directly after graduation isn’t such any easy task after all. That was when I began to evaluate my options.

 

It wasn’t just the worry that pushed me into considering grad school, when it really comes down to it, I’m just not ready to be done with professional education. I’m not, I feel like I still have so much to learn, and I want to do it while I still have the opportunity. It may sound cheesy, but I know that’s where I’ll end up. That is unless the world really does end this year, I suppose.

A Bit of Light Reading

11 Sep

The personal essay: part two section of the non-fiction reads, had a lot of information. There were several essays to be read here, and all of them were quite interesting. These varied from the reads last week, because they didn’t have a connecting themes, as the love stories did. The essays this week read primarily as memoirs, to me. I really enjoyed that, though, because I’ve decided that’s probably my favorite branch of creative non-fiction. It’s always fascinating to read about a piece of someone’s life, the way they remember it.

While all of the essays had good qualities, my favorite would have to be Tina Fey’s excerpt from Bossypants. There is a chance that this is largely due to the fact that I’m a huge Tina Fey fan, but it also has a lot to do with her writing. This essay made her seem so relatable.  You get to hear a first person account from her, from before she made it big, when she was just a regular person working at the YMCA. It seems that for celebrities, a lot of their memoirs or personal essays are about a time when they were more “normal”, but for people who are slightly less under the radar, their essays usually tell a story that makes them stand out. That is what these essays delivered.

GRE- Get Really Exhausted

10 Sep

Over the past few months weeks days. The primary thought in my mind has been the GRE. I registered for this almighty test over the summer, and at the time I had months to prepare for it. I bought a practice book, read the first chapter, and did a few math problems. Unfortunately, that is where the preparation ended.

 

Don’t get me wrong, in no way has this test left my mind. I can’t even say that the test crept up on me, because the fact is I’ve known my test was on September 14th all along, my problem was that September 14th came a lot faster this year than it typically does. As you can tell by the date that this is published, m test date is in a mere three and a half days. How did that happen?

 

In an effort to not neglect my studies, I’ve decided to forgo sleeping instead of my classes. My days will be as follows, Go to work, go to class, study, go to class, study, study, study, etc. My life as of today. During this nonstop panic-stricken, study I’ve come up with a few things to complain about.

  1. The math section. Really? I haven’t taken a math class since my freshman year, and as I am currently a senior in college, the information from that class is probably long gone. Why do I need to take this part anyway? I’m not going to graduate school for math. What good will this do?
  2. The content of the math section (yes that is a separate thing to complain about.) It seems that the majority of the math section is Geometry. Geometry?! That was by far my worst math class. And do you want to know how long ago I took that class? Six years! Six years since I’ve thought about geometry, how am I supposed to remember any of that?
  3. The cost. I’m basically paying $175 to torture myself. And where is that money going anyway, because it’s graded electronically…
  4. Choosing 4 schools. I have to limit the possibility of my graduate career to four schools. If I don’t? The test company will again get more money from me because I want a 5th school to see my score.
  5. The length. It’s four hours. That seems completely absurd to me. And what do I get for those four hours? A 10 minute break. Thank you, GRE test people for being considerate enough to let me breathe for 10 minutes in the middle of an exhausting test. ‘Preciate ya!

 

At least I have someone to complain about all this to. After an emergency run to walmart to replace my empty case of diet cokes, I found a loyal companion there to cheer me on.

At least there’s that. So ask me this time next week how I did, I might be sane enough to answer by then.

 

Love is Non-Fiction

4 Sep

There is one type of story that I would be willing to bet frequents the pages of writers more than any other. I would assume that it’s pretty easy to guess, but the story I’m speaking of is a love story. Love stories take so many forms, but are especially common in the genre of non-fiction.

 

One essay in this genre, “Homecoming, with Turtle,” tells the story of a past relationship of the author, Junot Diaz, during a time when he was returning home to the Dominican Republic. This essay is clearly one of creative non-fiction because it is about his real life events. Diaz entertains the readers by making the story interesting and adding a lot of detail.

 

Another essay, “Leave Me Something When You Leave Me,” by Brock Clarke, takes on a more comical standpoint on the love story. He mentions how the story is going to end at the beginning, and then works his way towards it. It’s a very interesting read and a clear example of CNF. Although the story has comic elements, it is obviously a true story that really happened to him.

 

“The Story You Will Tell,” by Jami Attenberg puts an interesting twist on a love story. Instead of the author coming out and telling the story from her perspective, it is written in the second-person. There’s no “I” involved, it’s just “you.” Even with this twist and it not being a direct connection, it is still an example of CNF, since it’s a truthful story told quite creatively.

 

“The Guy Who Was My Boyfriend For Like Three Weeks,” by Dave White is another Nonfiction story about a gay relationship. This essay follows the pattern of other stories in that it reads almost like an excerpt from a memoir. It was quite funny and interesting to read.

 

“I Love You in Twelve Languages,” by Wendy Brenner is a story that moves back in forth in time. Sometimes she’s writing about her relationship as it happened years ago, and sometimes she’s discussing the present day. The story is very true and powerful. It’s an in-depth look into the relationship she had, and therefore a great example of creative non-fiction.

All Was Well

3 Sep

I think I was a junior in high school the first time I told someone that I wanted a Harry Potter tattoo. It was probably a few years prior to this when I realized it myself. On my eighteenth birthday when it was finally legal, I got a tattoo, one that I had been planning for years, but it wasn’t Harry Potter. When I left the shop that day, I knew it wasn’t for the last time. I knew that I would be back one day for some more ink.

 

Three and a half years later brought me to this past summer, my 21st summer. For some reason, I felt that this was the last summer of my youth. I was about to start my senior year, and I knew that the next summer would be spent job hunting. I wanted to make the most of it. I started planning my next tattoo, something that had never left my mind, but had slowly been pushed to the back. I passed around a few ideas, “mischief managed” was a forerunner. I felt that tattoos were somewhat mischievous, and therefore a clever idea.

 

It wasn’t until a few days before I was planning on going to the tattoo shop when a new idea struck me. I had spent a lot of time browsing blogs of people who had made the ultimate commitment before me. There were of tattoos to see, and one of them was “All Was Well.” I had seen it a few times before, but I had never really thought about it. When I saw it I realized that it was the last sentence of the series that had such a huge impact on my life. In some ways, this last sentence symbolizes the end of my childhood.

 

The series may be over, but with this tattoo, I’ll have it with me forever!

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