Archive for September, 2003

September 30, 2003

Smells like fall.


September 29, 2003

Yes, ladies and gents, there is life after COMPs.

September 29, 2003

I’ve been so buried in my COMPs notes for the last hour that I didn’t notice that the same song was playing over and over and over again. The beauty of the Repeat button.

September 28, 2003

Panic. COMPs are tomorrow.

September 25, 2003

From today’s Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of Shel Silverstein, born in Chicago (1932). He’s the author of some of the best-selling children’s books of all time, including Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981), and Falling Up (1996), books of whimsical black-and-white drawings and poems with lines such as:

There’s a polar bear
In our Frigidaire—
He likes it ’cause it’s cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish.

September 24, 2003

Anxious. Can’t sleep.

September 23, 2003

First Day of Fall

Am finally starting to feel better (woo hoo)! During my extended stay at home, I’ve been able to study for COMPs in between bouts of hacking, among other things. Today I discovered the appeal of The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. See folks, I’m allergic to peanuts but not other nuts. Strange and terrible things happen to me if I stuff a peanut (in any of its forms) down my throat. Suffice it to say, I’ve never met a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I’ve liked.

Today, however, I made a cashew/macadamia nut butter and strawberry jam sandwich on 7-grain sprouted bread, toasted in our superior DeLonghi toaster oven. I took my first bite of the sandwich to discover that after a few moments of sharing close quarters between warm, toasty bread, the nut butter and jam had melded into a marbleized concoction of chewy saltiness and sweetness. Wow. I didn’t know nut butter and jam could taste like this.

Anywho. Just thought I’d share. Back to studying.

September 22, 2003

Hi, my name is Michelle and I’m a sick as a dog. Ever since I’ve gotten these cold(s), I notice I haven’t been able to speel…I mean, spell.

September 21, 2003

Sick, Part II

Okay, so I got sick again. I had a cold all last week and just when I felt like I was getting over it (Thursday), I got sick again (Friday). I got re-sick. This time, symptoms are worse and I am confined to my room once more: to get over my cold(s) and to study. COMPs are just nine days away. God, give me strength.

Keep the chicken soup comin’.

September 20, 2003

From this week’s Vroman’s Bookstore newsletter:

Many of you are familiar with Mark Salzman because of his numerous bestsellers, and particularly for his novel The Soloist, which was chosen as Pasadena’s One City One Story selection in the summer of 2002.  Mark has a new book out entitled True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall.  So many of Vroman’s staff have already read and fallen in love with this story, that we have chosen it as our favorite book of the fall.  The book tells how Mark ended up teaching a writing class at one of L.A.’s juvenile correctional facilities, and his relationships and role as a mentor to many of his students.  The young men Mark works with are, for the most part, only temporarily in Juvenile Hall–most of their crimes were violent felonies, and most are waiting to be transitioned into the adult prison population.  Yet as you read this book, and get to know these young men through their writing, you start to realize that these men are much more than a 30-second sound bite on the evening news.  Mark does not try to say that the crimes committed by his students are understandable or forgivable, he simply shows that there is much more to each of these young men than what we all have a tendency to assume at first.  This book had such an impact on me and my co-workers– just the other week Mark was in the store meeting one of his former students, a triumphant success story that you’ll have to read about in the book, and my co-worker and I raced down the stairs to talk to them both, gushing and giggling as if we were 13-year-olds meeting our favorite rock star.  Mark is not only a tremendous writer, he is a marvelously engaging speaker, and neither True Notebooks, nor Mark’s event here this Thursday, September 25, at 7p.m. are to be missed.

Writes Anne Edkins:
I knew Mark Salzman worked with kids at Juvenile Hall because he’d occasionally come into Vroman’s looking for suggestions for a collection of stories or essays to spark a writing assignment. But I never really considered who those kids were, or what exactly Salzman was doing, until I read True Notebooks, his absorbing account of how he got started teaching creative writing to criminals biding their time at a juvenile facility until they could be moved into the adult prison population — often for life. In an anecdotal style that is honest, insightful, and often funny, Salzman describes his initial lack of interest in volunteering (among his reasons: “students all gangbangers; feel unqualified to evaluate poems about AK-47s” and “crime victims don?t get free writing classes, why should the criminals?”) and his gradual acceptance of and even friendship with these violent offenders. Interspersed with Salzman’s tale are dozens of excerpts from his students’ writing, revealing young men with the same dreams and fears as anyone — suddenly, these boys that I feared (when I thought about them at all) seemed real, not just some stereotype from a music video or the evening news. Their writing is as fresh and creative as anything a student ever wrote — and most of it has nothing to do with AK-47s. True Notebooks is a wonderfully written account of a reality that all of us in Los Angeles live with every day but never really see.