new notebooks

So it’s started: crammed into a little basement room, with more than fifty students confined to their mobile, black plastic desks—everyone on wheels—our professor opened with an overview of what Literature of Our Time entails, the major themes and issues we will be covering in our condensed summer course, eight months of content squeezed into the upcoming four. It’s going to be fast and furious. Novels, short stories, plays, and poetry arrayed in chronological progression: all examples that exploded their forms, defied preconceptions; texts which will takes us from the modern, to the postmodern, to the postmillennial. (The postmillennial term is new to me—when I was at university before we were, just barely, pre-millennial. Ten years have truly past.)

It felt good to be sitting there. It felt good to have made it, after all the wrangling, the letter writing, the case making; and, in the end, I didn’t feel too disjointed being one of the older people in the room; I didn’t feel too conspicuous. (Not that I thought that I would, necessarily, but you never know, once you’re there, what might go on internally in media res.)

And it’s going to be unabashedly theoretical, which is why I’ve paid the price of admission, and why I’m coming all the way downtown to sit in a basement and take notes on my computer. I want the nuts and bolts of this thing we call literature strewn about. I want the questions and the quandaries of expression littering the cement of the floor. I want to talk about the how and why it all comes together.

I also want an “A.”

All this anticipation has taken its toll on my subconscious. After class I met up with Frantic F for a snack and a sip of water at Kalander in Little Italy, where we chewed on the nuances of academia between the bites of our modest appetizers, before I took my moderately exhausted self back to my apartment in Midtown. I put my new books away, pulled on my PJs and snuggled into bed.

I promptly dreamt of my former roommate S., a dropped thread from higher education, phase I. In this nightmare incarnation we were inexplicably cohabitating together again in a university residence, and everything that I did was driving her batty with rage. Whatever I said caused her to fume. The friends I made led her to disparage me openly, and criticize my choice to return to school at all. The straw that broke her was when I staid up late one night debating with other students on our floor, espousing views I didn’t necessarily believe in, but playing devil’s advocate, stirring the pot, “playing in the sand” as I told her later.

“You have to take these things more seriously if it’s going to work out for you at all this time. You wasted your last opportunity, and you can’t afford to make such egregious mistakes this time around.”

“By talking with people?” I asked her incredulously.

She flounced down on her bed on the other side of the room, seething with wrath and what I also took to be jealousy, primarily over me making friends so easily and coming off as smart, when compared to her I was so obviously an academic fuck up. I relented and went out to the common room where one of my new friends was washing the dishes, even though it wasn’t his turn on the rotation.

“Here, have a drink of this,” he said and poured me a tall glass of something limpid green and citrusy. I took a sip. It was almost 50% rum.

“It’s good to have you around, man,” he told me with a grin.


~ by A Mundi on May 11, 2010.

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