Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Ideas

Why, hello there!

I don't believe we've met; let me introduce myself. My name's Elizabeth, and I am halfway done with college.

And now, I'm back home with the humidity and the tall grass and the bugs and the dog, just sort of hanging out. I've got to get a job soon, but right now I'm just soaking in the sun (not really - I'm as pale as a sheet) and basically detoxing from the most ridiculous semester ever. On my drive home (7 hours, ugh), my mind wandered through the past two years, and I was absolutely amazed at how much has changed, especially in the past year and even the past few weeks.

And before you get irritated that this entry will be full of cliche memories instead of wildly entertaining humor and dazzling displays of artistry, please remember that this is my life and my blog and I can write whatever and however I please. Can you hear the latent anger?

This past year, I met some of my best friends in the world (amazing, amazing people), I added a major (English) and a minor (Theatre) (and a concentration, but that's another story), discovered a love of parentheses, and now at the end, I know decidedly what I do not want to do - this might shock some of you - write.

Yeah, when that thought first occurred to me, I thought it was blasphemy, but it's sadly true. I cannot spend my life writing for the sake of writing. I'm not motivated enough, and also, I'm not good enough. I doubt that anyone will ever pick up a book solely based on seeing my name on the cover, especially not anything creative. All three of my English classes this semester focused on the power and beauty of language, definitely something everyone, not just majors, needs to understand, but instead of scribbling out volumes of inspiration, I was bored and struggling - occasionally apathetic. Why?

My high school memories are a little fuzzy at this point (at least academically), but I think the fact that I took primarily history classes my first year of college has forever altered the way I read and write. Basically, whenever I read anything (with the exception of select fictional series), I'm asking, "What's the point? What does that mean? What does the author mean by that?"

Now you non-Humanities people might not understand the significance of that, but apparently in English - primarily poetry - those questions are huge no-no's. At least that's the impression I got from the classes I took. Historians investigate and make assumptions, but literary scholars sort of soak in the language - they sit and wait for meaning to appear to them, which I so hate to do! It makes me want to scratch my eyes out!

Hem, wow, but it's totally true. At points this semester, I felt like I was going crazy. I really struggled with my writing ability this semester, and it really confused me, because I know I'm a good writer, yet I struggled to even mildly appreciate most writing I did, much less enjoy doing it. The only class where I am satisfied with my performance is, of course, my urban history class. Every piece I wrote in that class had a really distinct and aggressive search for meaning, interpretation, what happened (etc.) behind it.

So those are my very interesting thoughts on English philosophy. I hope you all enjoyed it. I leave tomorrow (in 3 hours, actually) for Yellowstone (Montana!) and I can't wait! One wonderful week riding horses, climbing rocks, panning for gold (yeah, you can do that!) and running away from bears. Rest assured I have packed several (several) books to read including The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan, and of course Pride and Prejudice by dear Miss Austen. I'm not sure what kind of electronic communication we will have out there, but honestly, I'm not too bothered by the thought of temporary isolation. So goodbye until Sunday week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trials and Tribulations

Well, it's been quite a while since I tried to articulate my thoughts, simply because there are so many of them and it's so hard to think them!

Despite getting delayed by an unnamed (because I can't spell it) volcano, I made it back to the States, luggage intact. I'm really missing Oxford, and my friends there, but I am enjoying being home too. It's so hard to explain what it feels like to stay in one place for a short time like three months, but develop a real life there, and then return to something so normal as home. It's wonderful to be home, but it feels almost like going backwards.

I started my internship at Lee Hall Mansion on Monday, and soon I will be giving tours on my own! I know I will enjoy this - just hearing about organizing the archives and polishing 19th century silver gets me excited! Plus I am helping with the middle school youth group this summer. I have to admit, the first night, I was terrified. Middle school for me was...awkward, to say the least, and going back there something I plan never to do. So, you can understand why willingly walking into a room full of people just barely (and sometimes not) shorter than me would be nerve wracking. But turns out they're normal people too!

I wanted to talk more about the last few days in Oxford, but that will keep until next time!