Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Word to Your Mother

I've never been one of those people who equates song lyrics with poetry. I don't mean that as a value judgement; it's not as if I consider songs to be intrinsically less important than poems, it's just that I think their aims and concerns are different.

I think a song works alongside music and those mysterious notes that are proven to evoke certain emotions in the listener. A song is meant to be heard aloud (yes, I hear you poetry students: a poem is meant to be heard aloud as well. But how often does that really happen? There are no radio stations for poetry) whereas a poem is most often heard in the mind's ear. And because it is heard aloud, it can rely on the vocalist's tone and inflection in a different way than a poem can.

Though, still, I guess it's all a means of communication, the constant struggle to deliver meaning with imperfect words. And then, too, in poetry, one of the things I love best is to hear the language played with, manipulated: people taking pleasure in the sounds of words.

This is why I love rap. That always strikes me a slightly hilarious, that I find rap so much closer to poetry than anything else. But there is something about a really wonderfully crafted series of words (particularly when it's off color, but that may be just something about my taste) that can force a delighted giggle out of me.

I've been reading Billy Collins while I do my algebra. I often tell my students, as I bumble through my explanations of x and y, that specialization is fine and normal and that I specialized in words, but that they may specialize in math and that neither is more important than the other (although I secretly think that they are both pretty worthless as far as daily life is concerned for the majority of the population. It's not like anyone ever comes up to you on the street and demands to know the slope of the line or what the direct object is).

But I do vastly prefer my words. And Billy Collins is the God of Words, soothing my burning, math-laden brain.

Thesaurus by Billy Collins

It could be the name of a prehistoric beast
that roamed the Paleozoic earth, rising up
on its hind legs to show off its large vocabulary,
or some lover in a myth who is metamorphosed into a book.

It means treasury, but it is just a place
where words congregate with their relatives,
a big park where hundreds of family reunions
are always being held,
house, home, abode, dwelling, lodgings and digs
all sharing the same picnic basket and thermos;
hairy, hirisute, woolly, furry, fleecy and shaggy
all running a sack race or throwing horseshoes;
inert, static, motionless, fixed and immobile
standing and kneeling in rows for a group photograph.

Here father is next to sire and brother close
to sibling, separated only by fine shades of meaning.
And every group has its odd cousin, the one
who traveled the farthest to be here:
astereognosis, polydipsia, or some eleven
syllable, unpronouncable substitute for the word tool.
Even their own relatives have to squint at their nametags.

I can see my own copy up on a high shelf.
I rarely open it, because I know there is no
such thing as a synonym and because I get nervous
around people who always assemble with their own kind,
forming clubs and nailing signs to closed front doors
while others huddle alone in the dark streets.

I would rather see words out on their own, away
from their families and the warehouse of Roget,
wandering the world where they sometimes fall
in love with a completely different word.
Surely, you have seen pairs of them standing forever
next to each other on the same line inside a poem,
a small chapel where weddings like these,
between perfect strangers, can take place.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Best Birthday Present EVER

This was just presented to me by my two next door neighbors, Jack and Owen. They are 7 and 4.

Jack reports to me that I should not drink this because it has sleeping medicine in it. It also contains rosemary, flour, and sesame seeds, but not peanut butter.

As he left, he yelled, "Take it or leave it!" and then kindly reminded me to wash out and return the glass.

I love those two so much.

30 Years of Humiliation

And now for the moment we've all been waiting for...

I would just like to say that my husband, family and friends are more than any girl could ask for. I am filled with chocolate cake and my new iPod (thank you, Thomas!) is filled with songs. Hooray for 30! If I'd known it was going to be this good, I'd have done it a long time ago.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Looking at the Bright Side

So, I thought of some more good things.

1. I got a really good haircut. This seems like it should not be a very big deal, since all I had was a trim, but since the last time I had my haircut the woman cutting it actually said, "Uh Oh" and went to get the manager, it feels awesome. The guy was lovely and took almost 35 minutes to trim an inch and a half off my hair, fixed some spots that were bothering me with their refusal to cooperate, and complemented my hair's color and texture. Rule. Now it takes less time to do and, dare I say it? I think I could actually skip blowdrying on the weekend without looking like I am wearing a helmet made of sticks.

2. I now understand why 4+(-3 times -2)/2 = 5. Thank you to my algebra tutor who tried not to giggle when I brought this problem to her, unable to get the answer 5, even though the book was telling me I should. Oops.

3. Everything I own is in bloom. I've made 2 bouquets for people without totally decimating my flower crop.

4. Summer school: 2 days down, 43 to go.

5. Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club is coming back to Wilmington on August 4th.

6. I ate a nice fat steak for dinner.

That is all.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Meg and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Life

Dude, do you know what I've spent the last two days doing?

Relearning algebra.

Which is about par for the course these days.

This year in summer school we have an abundance of math kids. I don't teach math because I haven't taken it since I was in the 11th grade. But the other teacher desperately needs some help, so I've been solving for y and plotting my domains and ranges and I seriously think my brain is on fire.

Things still haven't settled down in Meg-land and my list of complaints could fill up this entire blog, but I will sum up today as the first day of summer school complete with cramps so bad that I think parts of my body are trying to secede from the union.

I'm so tired. Just emotionally, physically, mentally tired.

I'm sorry. I know it's my first post back and it's such a downer. I'm going to try to think of something good to say.




My nasturtiums are blooming.
My birthday is in 6 days.
Gonzo seems to be feeling better.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It Is Happening Again

Sorry, guys. I'm ok and I'm sorry that I'm not blogging right now. I'll be back as soon as I can.

In good news, I joined the LibraryThing early reviewers program and got my first book to review from Random House today! Whoot!

In bad news, real life continues to take precedence.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Secret Blog

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to blog when there is actually stuff going on in your life?

I mean, I find it easier to come home from work on a standard Tuesday, in which nothing out of the ordinary happened, and blog about how I'm not totally sure that I LOVE my new flip flops and isn't Thai food just the best? than I do when I have real things to talk about. Then, I'm either too busy, or constrained by the idea that 10,000 people are reading this.

I was reading a friend of mine's blog the other day and while I don't know if "introspective" is the word I would use to describe it, it is certainly more raw than what I have going on here. Which is fine. Because every blog has its own M.O. and that's as it should be. But do you ever wish you had a secret blog in which you could write all your horrible true thoughts? Or is that just what post secret is for?

I've never been sorry that my authorship is transparent. Although I admire the blogs that feature a list of pseudonyms for reoccurring characters, I could never keep track of one myself. And I feel I've been fair, for the most part, to my family and friends in being careful to never tell anyone's stories but my own, even if I do use their real names.

But just once, it would be nice to write coherently about what is actually going on with me. I find it odd to go back through a years worth of posting and think, well, that was about the time that ___________ happened, and find no evidence of it here.

Lately, I've been wondering if this is the resurgence of my actually wanting to write again, but then I have dreams in which someone is dying because of something I wrote--literally, I dreamed that a man was plucked off the street and crushed by a backhoe-type machine and it was all because of something I was writing a la Stranger than Fiction, or something. Or maybe I just have an overinflated sense of importance.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Just stopping in to say that I broke 10,000 hits today. Hooray, me!

Friday, June 01, 2007

5 Shot Friday Rears Its Ugly Head Again

But this time with a new cast of characters. I don't know if we'll be wearing funny hats, but we'll be shaking off this horrible week. Yeeeah.

I want to tell you that I will be 30 in a mere 23 days, so it won't be long now until I reveal 30 years of braces and bad hair. I know you're, like, peeing in your pants.

In honor of 5 Shot Friday, I thought I should complete one of these memes. Here's an interview with, check it out, 5 questions from Gina. Thanks, Gina, and sorry it took me so long.

Favorite Snack food? Havarti cheese with Dill or Breyers Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream. Washed down with my favorite summertime drink of Tropicana sugar-free lemonade. Yum.

If you could see any band in concert, who would it be? Nar. I don't know. As has been previously documented, I'm not much of a concert-goer. I guess if we're talking a big-stadium-world-tour thing, it'd have to be Radiohead. I missed out on their tour a couple of years ago because the date I had tickets for was cancelled due to mud. MUD, I tell you. I don't think I would have minded getting a little muddy.
Locally, I'd travel throughout a 3 state area to see Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club again.

What is the next big event you are going to? See, now this is the reason you answer the questions on time. I would have had an answer to this a week ago, but now I have to school's graduation? It is kind of fun to do the whole faculty thing and wear my cap and gown and hood and all that...but seriously, year after year, I get mistaken for a graduating senior. When, oh when, will I look like a grown-up?

Chocolate or vanilla? So vanilla. Because you can add things, including chocolate, to vanilla, but you can't add to chocolate.

Are you a homebody or would you rather be traveling? I'm a complete and total homebody. 5 Shot Friday is being held at someone else's house tonight and I feel like I'm going to get hives from it. I'm the kind of person who is totally willing to invite everyone and their mother over to hang out, but I can't spend a great deal of time in other people's homes without getting itchy. When I was in college, the girls in my hall used to give me a really hard time about it. "Meg's hibernating again," was the constant refrain. But I really don't mean any offense by it. I just like to be at home.