Also, I just tried to write the following made-up word because my train of thought changed tracks in the middle of writing it: Alaskarado. Really? I guess it could be an interesting place. Hmmm...
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Humans seek transcendence. We just do. We always want to overcome the limits and boundaries that have been placed on us. You might call it human nature.
Well, we have this particular boundary called Earth, and we're pretty good at everything that can be done inside this boundary. But we often get bored with the things we master. So we took to the sea. Water was an ancient symbol for chaos because it is always moving, often dark, sometimes dangerous. For myself, I'm still a little afraid of large bodies of water because I can't see what's in them. However, humans in general have been using water for business, fun, and war for hundreds--even thousands--of years. We had expanded our mastery to include Earth and water, but we were itching to transcend even those boundaries. So we turned our gaze upward and saw the birds.
Birds have been ahead of us for a long, long time. They use Earth, they use water, and they are very good at using the sky. We envied them. They could transcend all boundaries. In short, birds were, and are, awesome.
Now, humans eventually figured out how to enter the realm of the sky and even outer space, but there is just something so powerful about the natural way that birds inhabit the air, about their inherent symbolic qualities.
I love birds. I've been learning how to identify them by sight and by song. The chickadee has, for me, the easiest song to recognize.
Just two notes. One high, the other a few steps lower. Hree-hoo.
But one of my favorite birds of all is the only kind with sickle-shaped wings and a death-cry: the peregrine falcon.
They're also wicked fast. In fact, they're the fastest animals on the planet.
So, birds. Gotta love 'em. Wanna be one when I grow up.
And now, a testimonial from my dear friend, Emily Dickinson, on how birds can be used as awesome symbols:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Posted by Toni Elise at 4:24 PM
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I am a social editor. No, that does not mean that I edit people's words as they speak them. No, that does not mean that I edit societal sayings. It means that I edit out loud.
"Hello, Mr. Comma."
One of my first editing professors instructed me to question every comma to make sure that it actually belongs where it is. I took this to heart.
Yesterday at work:
"Hello, Mr. Comma," I said. Commas are almost always male.
"Hey, dude," he replied.
"What are you doing there?" I made my voice deep and scary, like a serial killer's voice.
So I axed him. It was bloody, I'll admit, but it felt so good to get rid of him. I was like a bloodthirsty exterminator on the prowl. If a comma couldn't explain why he was there, my red pen swung down on him.
I approached my next potential prey.
"Hello, Mr. Comma."
"Greetings!" My spirits fell a little. This comma was pretty polite. It would be harder to exterminate him.
"What are you doing there?"
"Well, I'm connecting two complete but related sentences with my friend, here, Mr. And."
"Oh," I said. I blinked.
"Yes, well, sorry to disappoint you, but I do believe we belong here."
"Yes." I lowered my pen with great sorrow. "Nice to meet you, Mr. And."
At this point, my boss turned around. "Who are you talking to?"
A hundred misplaced commas giggled on the page. They can be so stupid. I smiled and said, "I'm talking to my victims." And the giggling stopped.
Posted by Toni Elise at 9:31 AM
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The night after I wrote my last post, in which I asked if zombies dream, I dreamt of gigantic moths like this one:
And they were crawling up a dude just like that! And while they were crawling on this poor dude, I started to say, "Watch out, dude! There's a dozen giant moths on you!" And then I saw this yummy little creature, who was also crawling on the dude:
Yipes! The giant spider crawled up and ate the giant moths! And all on the dude! I stood there, frozen, unable to say anything. It was horrific. It was tragic. It was terrifying. And then I woke up. So, yes, zombies dream. At least, they nightmare. Can we make "nightmare" into a verb? I think we should be able to. After all, "dream" is both a noun and a verb. I dreamed a dream. See? So it follows that we should be able to say I nightmared a nightmare.
Think about it.
Unless you would rather think about the giant spider, in which case you probably shouldn't be my friend.
Posted by Toni Elise at 8:09 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Another 11-hour day on campus. I firmly believe now that graduate school turns respectable people into zombies. My reasoning? Simple. Graduate students are a bunch of bedraggled, sleepy, starving students who are after one thing only: braaaiiins. Oh, and we also have wicked dance moves; see also Thriller.
It should not be surprising, then, that the first thing that came to my mind as I was trudging home was this: Gee, I really want to read some Edgar Allan Poe tonight.
You see, last fall semester, I took a class all about Poe. We studied everything he wrote, read, and sneezed on. He wrote much more than just the Gothic, creepy stuff we learn about in high school. Although he was definitely a master at that, too. It was a particularly fun class during the Halloween season, which (for me) lasts from Labor Day up to November 3rd. The extension after October 31st is, of course, to accommodate celebrations for the Day of the Dead. I'm totally getting myself some pan de muerto this year. At any rate, this season is one of my favorite times of the year!
So I wonder which Poe piece I will be reading as I fall asleep tonight. Will it give me nightmares? Actually, it will probably make my dreams calmer than they normally are. No more epic floods and swimming from Utah to Michigan with aquatic velociraptors on my tail for me!
But, my question to you is, do zombies even dream?
I guess we're going to find out.
Posted by Toni Elise at 7:37 PM
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I have four jobs. Four. Quatro. As many jobs as there are Italian cheeses. As many jobs as there are wings on an X-wing fighter. As many jobs as there are letters in a four-letter word. Allow me to explain. No, strike that: I'll just let you figure it out on your own.
Editorial Assistant for Western North American Naturalist
@ the Bean Museum
Writing 150 Instructor
@ BYU Writing Program
Primary Author of a chapter on LDS contributions to young adult literature
@ BYU English Program
Writer of children's books, middle grade books, and young adult novels
@ My Desk
So, let us call upon The Great Pen of the Sky. Great Pen of the Sky, please please please turn me into this:
Um, thank you, that is all.
(squeezes eyes shut) Is it working?
Posted by Toni Elise at 12:45 PM
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Tuesdays are going to be my long days this semester. I was on campus for 11 hours straight. But it was 11 hours of awesome! I love my studies, I love my jobs, I love my friends, and I especially love my soft, fluffy pillow and the nice little way it greets me when I come home (basically, I flop onto it and it sits there all squishy and warm). This is essentially how my day went today.
Disclaimer: this may or may not be a bit fictionalized. For example, no, I did not wear this many outfits today.
6:00AM The Dread Alarm goes off. I bound out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...at 6:20.
9:30AM I go to my creative writing class. I revel in nerd-dom. My writing project has kitties in it. Samwise (shown here) provides the inspiration.
11:00AM I go to the BYU devotional. President Samuelson warns us not to be over-zealous. I zealously vow to be more careful about it.
12:00PM I work through my office hours in the Writing instructor carrels, which is a fancy way of saying "Studying Stalls," not unlike the one in the image below.
2:00PM I work through my office hours in the Bean Museum. I read about Lepus americanus. It's not as scary as I make it look.
4:00PM I eat dinner. Nom nom nom.
5:00PM I go to Introduction to Graduate Studies in English, where I appear all scholarly and such.
7:00PM I walk home. To start my homework. And eat Second Dinner.
And that pretty much explains my whole schedule for those of you who wonder what a graduate student in English does. Basically, I'm awesome all day long. Who would have guessed!
Posted by Toni Elise at 9:49 PM
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I survived my first week of graduate school! Allow me to illustrate how I feel with the following photographs, which are actual pictures of me studying/researching/writing essays/etc:
I feel like Link behind the power of his favorite weapon.
I feel like Ron, having just achieved the impossible.
I feel like Michael about to deliver the coup de grace to the devil-dragon.
I feel like Aragorn, ready to conquer the army ahead.
To grad school, I say, "You will release Captain Solo and the Wookie to me."
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Posted by Toni Elise at 4:38 PM