Archive | March, 2013

Weekly Treasure #7

29 Mar

This week, I found an essay from Hippocampus Magazine. The essay is published on the memoir section of their website. Its called Kitten Sack (a title I couldn’t pass up) and the author is Michele Leavitt. You can read the essay here.

The essay is an excerpt from “Before the Bar,” Leavitt’s memoir. It follows along the period of one day while she was living at a rooming house. The tenants woke up one morning to find a sackful of kittens outside of their land-lady’s door. While trying to figure out the culprit behind the act, something that might have divided them, they recognized the innocence of the kittens, so instead of an argument it was mere speculation.

While the kittens tried to escape from the sack they were in, the people around started to recognize some of themselves in their actions. She says,

“And all of us praised him as one of our own, lifting our bottles and plastic cups in tribute to him as he lapped at the milk, harking back to memories of our own cleverness in escaping some dead-end job or unsuitable spouse or misbehaving child and finding freedom.”

The story was very well written and it was enjoyable to read. I love the way she connected the kittens in the sack to everyone that was living at the boarding house. It put a nice connection and twist to the story.

I won’t deny that I was sad at the end, when the kittens that remained in the sack were left unforgotten, but I guess that just goes to show that not every story has a happy ending.

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Weekly Treasure #6

15 Mar

This week I read an essay on brevity.com by Dinah Lenney. The essay is called “Instructions, As If.” Though it was a short essay, it definitely told the whole story.

I starts out without my explanation, but the reader is able to figure out what is going on pretty quickly. The author is discussing the options of places that she might be scattered after she passes away. She notes that she is not brave enough to consider any of the options, but just by the act of writing it, it shows courage and thought.

Her husband, I assume, suggests a place they started their lives together. This takes her on a kind-of flashback to their lives there and the different experiences they had. There are other places mentioned, such as New York, but she said she didn’t really belong there. In fact, she implies that she would be just as happy being scattered in the park that they’ve always walked their dogs at, which I think it absolutely beautiful.

I’ve thought about where I want to be scattered before, and I don’t think I’m alone in imagining the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen. The top of the swiss alps or central park, and though both of these experiences were fun, happy, and exciting, it wasn’t home. As the author points out, don’t we want to rest in peace?

This author did a great job writing this essay. Her descriptions and languages were really beautiful, and I really enjoyed her piece. If you want to enjoy it too, you can read it here.

Whirlwind

15 Mar

This week has been so crazy, I’m not even sure where to begin. So crazy in fact, that I completely forgot to write this post this week. Better late than never?

As anyone who has read any of my blog posts will probably know, one of the all-encompassing things in my life right now is my hunt for a graduate school. I was fortunate enough this week to have the opportunity to interview for my desired program at one of my top choices of schools. Fantastic, right? Well it was. It was fantastic, overwhelming, exciting, and a whole bunch of other adjectives.

It was a two-day interview process. So, it was two days of nerves as well. In my (almost) five-hour trip to the school all I could concentrate on was my nerves. After checking into my hotel, I had almost convinced myself not to go to the interview. I was that nervous. But that would have been a huge mistake, and I’m glad rational Samantha talked nervous Samantha to her senses.

Once I got there everyone was so nice and welcoming that I couldn’t even believe I had been nervous. Deep down I was still nervous, of course, but how could I focus on that when they were spoiling me with compliments, t-shirts, and cookies? It was on the back of my mind.

By the time that the interviews were over (all 6 of them–1 for the program, 5 for graduate assistantships) I felt a little sad. I didn’t want to say goodbye to all of these people. I met so many people in just a few short days, and a large part of me wondered if I would ever see them again. Though I had been through this whole interview process, nothing was saying I had been accepted. They told us at the orientation that we would hear something about the decision by the end of the week. So we all said our goodbyes and went home, not knowing if we would all meet again in the fall.

As I’m sure you can image this has been a long and worry-filled week. Not only was I awaiting the arrival of spring break (which I am now officially on) but I was also catching up on work I missed during the interview days, and of course worrying about the admission decision.

The email came a little sooner than I expected. I had been preparing myself to hear today, Friday, but alas, yesterday I saw an email in my inbox that I just knew held the news inside. I didn’t see much more than the first word initially, afterall congratulations pretty much says it all in those kinds of emails. Although I am 100% elated, I’m also starting to worry about my part of the decision process– which school am I going to choose?

Weekly Treasure #5

4 Mar

The essay that I read this week may possibly be the most beautiful and tear-jerking piece I have ever read. To experience this for yourself, you can read the essay here.

This essay first caught my attention by the title. It’s called “A Graveside Nuptial”, and the author is Sean Toner. With a title like that, I couldn’t help but read it. Within the first few lines, I knew that I would be holding back tears by the time I got to the end.

The essay is about Toner’s engagement and informal marriage. Due to medical issues, Toner is blind. He may have lost his sight, but this hasn’t inhibited his beautiful writing. Through the essay we learn that he is unable to legally marry his wife without messing up his health benefits, but this does not stop them from exchanging vows.

The title, A Graveside Nuptial, is fitting since their wedding occurred in a graveyard at the graves of his deceased relatives. If this seems like a morbid thought, I promise you will change your mind after reading the essay. There is nothing morbid about it, it’s actually very touching and heartwarming.

Even without sight, Toner manages to include ample descriptions for the readers. One of my favorites is said just after they exchange vows:

“We stand together for a few minutes, the drizzle sounding like a cascade of rice, the clouds are our wedding party.”

Isn’t that just beautiful? The whole essay is written just as fantastic. You’ll be really glad you read it, I know I am.

 

My Relationship With Writing

4 Mar

In just one short week I will be attending my first interview for graduate school. The interview is a two day event, and although I find it slightly odd that the first day of the interview process is on a Sunday, I’m absolutely thrilled for the opportunity. I had been dying for some good news from a graduate school, something to give me a concrete thought to hold onto for next year. I must admit though, that this is not concrete by any means. The interview is simply the next step. I haven’t been accepted yet. I’m just grateful that I made it to this step this time–the first cut if you will.

This whole thing has really been making me think of the past four years, and how much things have changed. (This is obviously something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, see my previous blog posts for further information.) One thing that I’ve really been putting some work into is my portfolio. My problem is that I’m not 100% sure what to put in it. I have a very special place in my heart for writing. I love it. A lot. But it’s not my major, and it’s not what I’m going to graduate school for. What does that mean exactly? Does it make me less of a writer? I hope not, because that might just break my heart.

Writing is really something that has evolved over time for me. At first it was an interest, something I realized that I could do (I’m not sure if I necessarily did it well, but that’s a different story) After a while, it developed into a hobby. I don’t know what I would call writing at this point in my life. My mistress? That doesn’t seem right. I don’t think it’s fair that I wasn’t able to devote as much of my life or academic studies to it, but I hope that my journey isn’t over. I hope that I can continue to develop as a writer, even if I won’t be taking anymore classes.

I have no intentions of giving it up. After all, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be working a 9:00-5:00, which should give me ample time to continue writing. I plan on taking it to the next level. I don’t want this to be something I just did in my spare time in college, I want to be able to call myself a writer, even if that’s not my job title. So, my writing samples are going in my portfolio. Definitely.