Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday: December 22, 2009 (shiraz)

(shiraz): As these are offerings from the experience of my academic life, I think I'd like to name the offering I am making at the academic altar of these writings - and since wine and cheese are poetry staples, I figure I'll start with that.

Let me start by saying that when I finally got to my first university at, oh the tender age of about 25, I remember being a bit overwhelmed, but enthralled. My first class in summer school was Western Civilization at Arizona State and I remember feeling like I was drowning every day, and the terribly tanned Greek instructor I had that summer was certainly a grueling, but fascinating, history professor, who seemed to take a strange snake charmer's delight in inundating – us generally, but me particularly, since I sat center row first aisle – with the allegories, legends, warriors, myths, victories, and tales of demise from several hundred years of European history leading into the ‘new world’ that I had little information on, having come from public school on the deep east side of Detroit, via community college, where most things were just sort of … summarized.

Since that time, I've obviously learned and read a lot. Probably not enough. And now, I am struck again with the terrible ghost color of that professor's grainy blue eyes and his sandy face lording his monarchs and trojan wars over me all over again, and sometimes, suddenly it's a very long, hot Arizona summer day. But, those eyes seemed then, not to curse me for all that I didn't know, nor to judge me for how terribly quiet I sat under his yammering (and he was one who knew he yammered, he taunted us with it), but who below everything seemed to somehow appreciate me...

...for listening. I was a good student. Less jaded. More enthralled. I felt free from all that had weighed so heavily on my education in Detroit, where learning failed me and I failed it right back. In college, I was bright-eyed and attentive. I graduated with honors.

Bit different now. Pride gets in the way alot of times. Hard now to feel like I'm still on the receiving end of being told how to think, by folks who are from places so different than where I'm from. I think about that a lot. Too much, I think.

I struggle with what I DO know now, and how sometimes I feel like what I know isn't in a book anywhere, not really. Not like that. Not a text. I feel like what I know is not worth arguing about anyway, because that's not what we came here to talk about, right? So there’s all that, and then those dusky Greek blue-gray eyes, with all that those eyes know – are still there. I feel like that same hungry, empty sponge - but ... with a chip on my shoulder. I wish I could remember his name.

Anyway, it’s hard. And I love it. and Hate it. And it Hurts. and Excites. and Calms. and Invigorates. and so, you see, I'm all cut up - from all this ...raw. Most days.

It's very different now. I figured I'd do this blog journal to talk about how.

Starting now.


Melissa D said...

It is great to read your thoughts on this. This is very much the way I felt being at Cranbrook. Infuriating but wonderful in hindsight, I guess. I think now that getting an MFA is a process of losing the voice you worked so hard to develop to get in to the program, and then finding it again just before you leave.

It'll be fun to read your journal as you go through this process!

francine said...

what you're saying about voice feels really familiar and right. i don't know that i'm "losing it" but maybe "hyperawareness" is a kind of loss in itself.

thanks for your comment.