Monday, December 22, 2014

Now that I'm blogging again, pretty much all I want to do is blog.

Here is a waffle I made yesterday:


I made it using the Cuisinart waffle iron I obtained for a fraction of its original price at the Salvation Army, back in August. Until last night I had only used it to make paninis. The waffle was mediocre, because I didn't have milk or all-purpose flour so I substituted yogurt and buckwheat flour and large flake oats. So it was full of protein and had the texture of a sea sponge.

This summer I had a waffle in Brussels and I fear no waffle will ever live up to it.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ever since I started overseeing EVENT's website and social media presence, I've been thinking about what version of myself I want the internet to see. Also, I'm teaching personal narrative classes and constantly considering the different ways to portray oneself, for example I taught this weird and excellent Cynthia Ozick essay called "The Break" where she represents two warring aspects of her writer personality as conjoined twins who have been surgically separated. This threw off some of my students, until I explained it was a conceit, and pointed out a couple logical issues (e.g. the twins are two different ages). Talking about this essay in class made me want to re-read one of my favourite Ozick essays, "A Drugstore in Winter," so I did, and it was wonderful, because reading "The Break" gave me so much insight into the other essay. And "A Drugstore in Winter" this time was far more affecting than when I'd first read it in undergrad, especially its ending, which has this lyrical desperation in describing her disappointments and self-doubts as a writer:

"A writer is buffeted into being by school hurts—Orwell, Forster, Mann!—but after a while other ambushes begin: sorrows, deaths, disappointments, subtle diseases, delays, guilts, the spite of the private haters of the poetry side of life, the snubs of the glamorous, the bitterness of those for whom resentment is a daily gruel, and so on and so on; and then one day you find yourself leaning here, writing at that selfsame round glass table salvaged from the Park View Pharmacy—writing this, an impossibility, a summary of how you came to be where you are now, and where, God knows, is that? Your hair is whitening, you are a well of tears, what you meant to do (beauty and justice) you have not done, papa and mama are under the earth, you live in panic and dread, the future shrinks and darkens, stories are only vapor, your inmost craving is for nothing but an old scarred pen, and what, God knows, is that?”

So back to my original topic, I'm starting to like Twitter more than I used to. I hadn't invested any time into it before, and thought it was mostly for Will Smith's children and Joyce Carol Oates. But now I see that there are many clever people on Twitter whose tweets are like witty prose poems. Also, it's good for finding sweepstakes to enter.

Twitter in comparison to Facebook seems very vast--I feel more aware that the text I'm typing enters straight into the ticker tape of cyberspace. I haven't pinpointed my Twitter voice yet. I haven't settled on a ratio of witticisms to informative links to inspirational quotes to pictures of pretty leaves. With Facebook, I am in the cozy company of my 665 friends. But although I used to perceive Facebook as more personal, nowadays it's mostly articles about Dal Dentistry, Ferguson, Jian Ghomeshi, and other sickening misogynist and/or racist goings-on. Maybe it's just that I've met lots of academic friends over the past few years so now my newsfeed is liberal and informed. Instead of what it was like when I first joined--in 2004, newly open to Cornell students--with posts like "I ate an amazing grilled wrap at Noyes! Cornell Dining Rocks!"

**Sudden business idea: there should be a website for virtual weddings. Maybe there already is.**

I miss blogging, that honest activity of typing whatever you feel all unedited and non peer-reviewed where any stranger or student can read it. The internet's transition from personal blogs to Twitter and a Facebook full of articulate political commentary reminds me of that Seamus Heaney poem where he keeps yelling into wells and then realizes he's too old for this and decides to write poetry instead.