09 December 2009

Today I work, I got a call from one of my former professors. She was looking for a poem written by a local writer, Eliza Jane Poitevant Nicholson, who wrote under the pen name Pearl Rivers. Eliza Jane was the first woman publisher of a major daily newspaper, the Picayune. She was a real feminist in a strict time of no feminism.

To my surprise, we have many works of Pearl Rivers, and I spent the morning sifting through them. Her poem, Hagar, immediately caught my attention. I guess wrapping up my Philosophy of Religion class, wherein I learned the connections between Islam and Christianity, really helped spark my interest in the poem.

So, according to the story, Abraham’s wife, Sara, could not bear children, so she asked him to father a child with Hagar, her bondswoman. So –Ishmael was born to Abraham and Hagar. God tells Abraham all about being the “Father of Nations,” and makes the covenant with him and so on and so forth. Some years later, God tells Abraham that Sara is going to have a baby and the child is to be named Isaac. So Sara gives birth to Isaac. One day, Sara sees Isaac playing with Ishmael, and she flips her lid, saying "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac." God, as it happens, sides with Sara, telling Abraham to cast out Hagar and his first son, Ishmael. And that is exactly what Abraham did – he cast them out, with only a loaf of bread and some water to carry out into the desert wilderness.

I have always felt so badly for Hagar. I don't understand how one could simply cast out another human - let alone your very own child. I have often imagined Hagar's response to this news. God didn't speak to Hagar until after she was cast away. Think of what she must have thought in those hours. Think of the turmoil and the sheer terror she faced, carrying her baby boy into the desert with only a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water. Hagar is constantly on the losing end - constantly being commanded and forced to do whatever Sara wants, and Abraham always obeys.

This poem is slow and sweet, though it full of contempt and fury. It feels like the embodiment of wilderness – long and lonely and back and forth. I felt like I was moving with Hagar through these emotions, through this disbelief and anguish and hatred. It burns like the desert – snakes uncoiling and hissing, memories blurring together, the constant refrain, “Go back!” It feels like abandonment, like complete hopelessness, with the whole spectrum of human emotion binding the poem together. We go with Hagar, emotionally and physically.

My favorite part is a litany of Sara’s desires – all the richest, finest things – followed by Hagar’s simple retort:

“Leave all your wealth to Sara. Sara loves

The touch of costly linen and the scent

Of precious Chaldean spices, and to bind

Her brow with golden fillets, and perfume

Her hair with ointment. Sara loves the sound

Of many cattle lowing on the hills;

And Sara loves the slow and stealthy tread

Of many camels moving on the plains.

Hagar loves you.”

It is at times like these I just adore my job.

01 October 2009

My job is mildly depressing. It isn't that I dislike the work; on the contrary, I enjoy what I do very much. I do not, however, enjoy going through boxes containing someone's most prized treasures, especially when I know that someone is now deceased.

Love letters written during the war, the fanciful script of a bygone age, tintypes of children with their pets, frozen in time.

I feel like I am an intruder, gazing into someone's life secretly while they lie, unsuspecting. They never imagined I would be rifling through a box of their belongings. They never accounted for me at all. Yet here I am, creating my own past.

It makes me feel a little crazy. All these people are just forgotten, like they never happened at all, reduced down to this box, collecting dust on a shelf, being worn away by bugs and air and time. Always, always time. Their possessions outlive them, then those, too, slowly disintegrate. Everything ends.

Our lives really are so minuscule, so insignificant. We are really so temporary and fragile, and then, so easily forgotten.

I don't know if this is just my own fear surfacing. If somehow, I am the one afraid of being cast aside. If I am the one who is scared to die.

I miss my mammaw. I miss Courtney. I miss Uncle Sammie. I miss Dangerous. I miss people who aren't dead, who are just off living their own lives somewhere, no longer in my life.

I don't want everything I know to die.

This is my curse.

12 September 2009

I got a job working full time - finally! I got the call last week from the library! I am really excited about it. I will actually be utilizing my degree, for which I am quite pleased. I am getting to learn a lot about emergency preparedness and the safe handling of aged documents, books, et cetera. I mean, how perfect can it possibly get!? I also get to learn a lot about Mississippi history, namely the Delta region. I am thrilled to be a part of something that I honestly feel is important (and interesting). I really don't know that I could have created a better job for myself. Maybe if my dog got to come to work and they gave out free pizza on demand, but alas.

Though the past few weeks have been sketchy, I can say things have taken a sudden and unexpected turn for the better.

I guess life works that way most of the time. The back and forth, I mean.

20 August 2009

A few weeks ago, I interviewed at the university for a part time job. My interviewer told me about a full time opportunity also at the university. He said he would recommend me for that job as well. In the PT interview, I was cool and collected. I felt extremely confident and I went into the interview already sure I would land the job - and I did! I was elated at my newfound confidence. I got a call the same day offering the job.

Well, after a lot of soul searching and general angst, I made the decision to turn down the job in hopes I would land the full time job. This job is my ideal! What's more, I would actually be able to use my degree for something related to my degree! Research and writing! I had several "big dogs" on campus call and recommend me to the director. I wrote the most awesome cover letter I've ever written, explaining my love of the Delta and Google and the written words with perfect eloquence. The deadline for applications passed, and I received no call. I really started to panic, convinced I had made a hasty, poorly planned decision.

However, one full week later, on Tuesday, I was asked to come interview. So yesterday at 1:00, I headed over, dressed to impressed. I have been so worried about the outcome of my decision that I was not as prepared as I could have been. It was a four person panel, and I was extremely nervous. I was sweating and my mouth was dry. It was just awful. I felt like I had never interviewed for a job before. All the confidence I had with the PT job was out the window. I felt juvenile and foolish.

I am convinced my performance was so shoddy I have lost the job for myself.

I am extremely discouraged, and hope that the good folks at the library can see through my anxiety.

14 August 2009

today was the anniversary of mammaw's death. it still pretty much sucks.

29 June 2009

Last night I woke myself calling out for Mama. It has been a long time since I had a nightmare, much less one that I woke up screaming. For a minute, everything seems alien. After I woke, my room seemed strange. It reminded me of Coraline’s discovery of her “other” house, where everything looks normal, yet everything is off in the tiniest, oddest way.

I have been slowly growing lukewarm to the idea of moving away. After my unsuccessful move to the west coast, I have been hesitant to even consider the thought of moving again. Now that I have graduated, though, I realize the job market is going to make decisions for me. I know this will sound insane, but one of my biggest concerns about leaving the house is that Dangerous is buried in the backyard. I just don't want to leave her, even though I know it isn't her at all anymore.

I have been doing some copy editing for school, and it is extremely tedious. I keep finding mistakes that I specifically remember correcting. I don't know what the problem is, but it is really getting frustrating. I am none too pleased to be faced with another round of edits, but I'll do what I have to do. I am slightly overwhelmed with the project, I have to admit.

I feel stretched pretty thin these days. So many people require my attention and time, and I feel like I have little time for myself. I have only recently discovered that time alone is particularly vital to my success and wellbeing. I look forward to being alone, with no one to answer to or entertain or what have you.

I put up curtains in the kitchen to help keep the heat out. Yesterday my car said it was 110 degrees. In Mississippi speak, that's freaking hot, ya'll.

28 May 2009

Tomorrow is my last day of working part time, and then it is on to the terrible world of full time employment. I am not changing jobs; the company that pays me is changing. In addition to the 20 extra hours of work, I am the recipient of roughly a 50% decrease in pay. While I think volunteering is awesome, I also think having money to pay my water bill is equally awesome. I'm bummed, but will do what I have to do. How grown-up of me.

22 May 2009

i found this dead snake. it scared me at first because i thought it was a living snake. pretty significant difference in the two.

15 May 2009

the theme for this year's doodle 4 google contest was "what i wish for the world," and i just found the best entry. 
it's entitled "bring back dinosaurs!"

"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees - my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath - a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind - not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself - but, as my own being - so, don't talk of our separation again - it is impracticable..."

I find, more often than not, someone has already said what it is I've been trying to say.

Truly though, it is impracticable.

09 May 2009

Today I graduated from college. It has been a pretty great day.

I'm proud of me!

05 May 2009

I have recently decided I should start writing more. I find it awfully cumbersome to write by hand, so I decided I'd make use of my blog (for once).

On Saturday, I will graduate with a BA in English, emphasis in creative writing. I am amazed at how much I am capable of achieving. Seriously, I never gave a shit about academics or doing well or applying myself. I have only recently discovered the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. I am exceedingly proud of myself. It feels pretty surreal to be making plans to pick up my cap and gown. I couldn't be happier.

I don't know exactly what my plans are after graduation. I have applied for graduate school, but I am having second thoughts. I don't know if English education is right for me. I am really uptight and anxious about all the graduate school requirements, like the writing proficiency test and the exit interview. That sounds ridiculous even to me, but I can't help but feel it all the same. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I have no idea if I will be able to get any job. The job I currently have expires at the end of the month, and I will be broke and unemployed, making me even more American, I guess.

It's strange to be in two places. On the one hand, I am overjoyed to finally be done. On the other hand, however, I am completely terrified because I am done.

That is why I am getting in the bed and reading Wuthering Heights until I fall asleep.

18 March 2009

spring is here at last!

08 January 2009

one hundred twenty-three: my favorite.

07 January 2009

one hundred twenty-two: he never gets out of his pajamas.

06 January 2009

one hundred twenty-one: the never-ending to-read list grows.

05 January 2009

one hundred twenty: day and night.

04 January 2009

one hundred nineteen: rediscovered, part two.

03 January 2009

one hundred eighteen: already helping me through the lonely nights.

02 January 2009

one hundred seventeen: same old, same old.
one hundred sixteen: "washed downstream into the sea."