Friday, December 30, 2011

The Graduate

So I got my diploma in the mail. My student loans have gone into repayment. I also started reading a book that I wasn't assigned, that didn't feel like a chore to read.

These things may or may not be related.

Of course I did not pick up a book when my diploma arrived, in a stiff cardboard envelope forwarded from my apartment in Dover, NH. It didn't occur to me to think, "finally, some closure. Now I can pursue intellectualism, free from the restrictions of academia." But it seems fitting that, yes, finally it is secure. It is real. I have a master's degree and now I am reading a book. And, of course, if we cannot force symbolism and meaning onto our lives through blogs, where else can we do it?

I haven't wanted to read in a long while. Since moving to Seattle--which coincided nearly exactly with my the completion of my thesis, of academic reading--I have read three books, total. The first was a collection of Hemingway short stories, called In Our Time. I tried reading it aloud to Kili during our roadtrip, but we got depressed on the first page and decided Hemingway was a buzzkill. I'm sure he could throw a party like no other, but man he was a buzzkill. I labored over the thin book for weeks and weeks, stretching into two months or at least one--far too long, at any rate, for a ninety page book.

In the past month and a half, I have read two collections of David Sedaris stories, Naked & Holidays on Ice. I've read most of the latter before, and I love David Sedaris. He's a fast, easy, fun read. Yet it took me six weeks to finish his stories. Much of my excuse for not reading lies in the fact that for the entire fall, I was working three jobs and applying to graduate programs. Free time consisted of more work, in various formats.

My mind was tired, too, from the dead jobs and from working hard for two years. But I can't spend my entire post-graduate degree life collapsing on the couch after a thirteen hour day and watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding episodes.

Patrick's mother bought me a book for Christmas called All Over But the Shouting, by an Alabama native named Rick Bragg. It's his memoir, of a life lived in rural, dirt-poor Alabama, with an abusive & drunk father, and a mother who made do. I've read the prologue and two chapters only so far and it is beautiful and it is heart-breaking and I know, I just know, I'm going to be so sad. So, so sad. But I'm reading, and that, at least, feels wonderful.

1 comment:

Ardith said...

Remember, we can always go income contingent on repayment. Le sigh.

In other news, so proud of you, Master Benson.