what am i doing, what i am doing.


here's a secret. i mostly write this blog using proper capitalization, but if you knew me, you'd know that's not how i talk when i'm talking to friends.

you can be my friend tonight.

what am i doing. what i am. here's a few things:


i'm reading ander monson's other electricities. i'm only like 30 pages in. it's growing inside me. it's everything i need to be reading right now. it's signed. it says something about the white space. i am in it? wherever here is.

"section breaks."

i care about them lately. i'm learning a lot. i'm figuring things. i feel full at the moment. full in the large/wanting way, which is one of my favorites. it makes me wander around with my headphones in, makes me turn music up loud. the snow underfoot.

i am writing.

fell out of my purse: one purple glove. a borrowed hat. cigarette butts i didn't want to throw on the ground. another glove, one of the warm pair i found in my desk. who left it? but i traced my steps back across the street and i found it.

fell out of my pocket: a cigarette case, backseat of car, it says hida. a lighter. found it in snowdrift days later. it's working again. sometimes things need to rest.

my purse broke.

who put these up?

what does postmodern mean? someone said someone said i was that. i think it means i'm trying too hard. i'm going to try not to try so hard. ha ha, ha ha, haaa.

coffeeshop has great graffiti.


smiling at you. smiling at all of you.


here's a picture.

-gen & billy

i care about barns, too.


i'm in boston. i flew here. i'm happy to be here. i miss minneapolis.

how crazy is that?


this is my desk.

i just finished my first semester as a teacher.

thanks, students.


mmm, i'm tired. sorry, i know i haven't said much.

bye again.

Come on inside


i like this


Posted via email from Wahida's posterous

On the Way Somewhere

Posted via email from Wahida's posterous

Cracking Clay

Not much makes me miss the desert, but this video makes me miss it so much I could cry.

"Four Provinces," by The Walkmen

I shouldn't be here. I should be writing a story that starts with the first line of Kate Chopin's "The Storm," so that's what I'm going to go do.

♥ Goodnight, world.

By the Way, My Brand New Life (Oh, Minneapolis)

So I know I dropped off the side of the planet. But I'm here! And now, here is Minneapolis. I arrived at the end of July, and ever since I've been running around trying to get my life in order. Things are just about normalized, so I figured I'd pull it together and post a post for you good people of the internets.

I got lost one night, and ended up with a great view of the river. Did you know the Mississippi runs between the Twin Cities? I didn't, until my first visit in March. "Look at those chunks of ice! Is that a lake?" No, Wahida. It's the Mississippi.

I house sat in St. Paul for the first couple weeks I was here. I found this little street poem in the sidewalk on a random corner:

This is my "breakfast nook." It's like a restaurant booth, but in my kitchen. I am so in love with it. I have red cushions on the benches now. The boxes have been shuffled away, as well. Best part is, it doubles as a writing nook.

Hmmm----what else? Well, here's a picture of the corner of Lake & Hennepin, the (yuppified?) heart of Uptown Minneapolis. I don't live near this intersection, but I do live in Uptown. Most of my friends-----I love love love my classmates-----live here too, and so far I adore it.

Well, I need to write up another post about all the school/MFA stuff that's going on. I'll be back! Hope September is treating you well.

Contact the White House to show your support for health care reform and the public option

support public option Pictures, Images and Photos

Here is the letter I sent through the White House's online comment form, earlier today. It's a bit sappy, (well very), and it's certainly no masterpiece of rhetorical writing. But I think volume is what matters most. Send a quick note to show your support! Feel free to borrow/adapt bits of this when writing your own letter of support.

Contact the White House to show your support for health care reform
and the public option:

Folks on Twitter are also pushing a call-in for Monday 8/17, 9 AM.
White House comments line: 202-456-1111

Please read President Obama's 8/15 op-ed piece in the New York Times:
"Why We Need Health Care Reform"

And if you don't understand why this is so urgent, please read this 8/16 AP article at NPR: "White House Appears Ready to Drop 'Public Option'"


Dear President Obama----

Hi, my name is Wahida. I'm 26, and I'm about to start grad school---an MFA in Creative Writing. I'm proud to call you my President.

I appreciate all the hard work you've been doing, trying to revamp our broken health care system in order to ensure that all Americans have access to health care. I'm writing to ask you: Please, please don't give up now!

I know there are many out there who are doing all they can to stop the public option from happening. But I think that there are more of us who believe that quality health care is a fundamental right. Maybe we haven't been yelling as loudly as the other side---maybe it's time for that to change. We can be vocal too, and that's why I'm writing to you for the first time since the election.

I voted for you because I believe in you and I believe in what you stand for. I know you want this to happen, and I know it must be frustrating to deal with the often spiteful tactics employed by those who oppose health care reform.

But during the election, you asked us not to give up, and we didn't. I made phone bank calls for your campaign, and volunteered for voter registration. I made room in my student budget to donate money to your campaign. I attended rallies and shared information. I spoke out against the lies that were being spread. Most of all, I believed in you and your campaign. I believed that you would bring change to our nation.

I know you're just a man, and I don't expect you to be able to magically fix everything that's wrong with this country. I'm impressed with how much you've done already, and I'm so grateful for the work you do. You've made some decisions I didn't agree with, but I also know you're not in a position where you can just do everything your own way.

Even when I don't agree with one of your decisions, I respect you, and I believe that you have the best interests of the United States and all her people at heart. I can't tell you how much it means to me to be able to feel that way.

But I do think you can make great strides towards fixing our broken health care system. I know you don't want to give up the public option. We don't want you to give it up, either. If you let this go, those who are afraid of change in this nation will think that yelling is all it takes to get their way.

My grandfather is a decorated veteran of World War II. About two years ago, he had a stroke, and suffered a form of linguistic aphasia. Even with veteran's benefits, the care and rehabilitation he needed wasn't completely covered. After spending their whole lives working hard and living simply in order to provide for their children and help provide for their grandchildren, my grandparents---patriotic Democrats, children of immigrants who came to this country with nothing---have gone bankrupt.

The public option is what's right, and it's what's right for this nation. I read your New York Times editorial. You said it best:

"In the end, this isn’t about politics. This is about people’s lives and livelihoods. This is about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future, and whether we will be able to look back years from now and say that this was the moment when we made the changes we needed, and gave our children a better life. I believe we can, and I believe we will."

I believe too. Please don't give up, President Obama.

Sincerely, with all my best wishes and support---

Wahida O.

The MFA Chronicles

So, I met a lot of great people on P & W and the MFA Blog during the application season. Some of us decided it would be great to keep in touch via Facebook & Twitter, and I met a lot of new great people through the people I'd already connected with.

One of those great people, Jonterri Gadson, came up with a great idea: a collaborative blog made by first year MFA students. And so The MFA Chronicles was born. We're all starting at different programs, we have different genres, and most of us have never met in person. I'm excited to be a part of it and I'll hope you'll check us out.

PS---I spread the word to my wonderful S. She's starting a Creative Writing PhD in fiction, and I think she'll give us a fun perspective from a different angle.

Discipline, Structure, Momentum & Fear

I'm a procrastinator, to the point where it's almost obscene. I write many of my first drafts all at once, most in 2-3 sittings, usually within 12-72 hours of my due date. Don't tell anyone. I always make it in time, but there's something about the adrenaline that comes with pushing right up against a deadline that helps drop me right into the zone. I'm a junkie.

I have no discipline.

Or at least, I have no discipline without structure. I'm terribly ashamed to admit it. I graduated in December, but I attended a community college night workshop during this past Spring semester. I needed the structure. I learned a lot, and I had a great time. But my biggest reason for signing up was that I knew if I didn't, I wouldn't write...or at least, I wouldn't write anything resembling a complete piece.

If there's one thing---and actually there isn't just one thing, only a million things---that I want to learn during my MFA, it's how to structure "writing time" into my unstructured life. How to make myself responsible for it. How to make it an organic, unquestioned part of my life. When I'm in school, or when I have some kind of an outwardly imposed deadline, the writing happens. When I don't, I always find an excuse to avoid the writing.

The woman who instructed that workshop I mentioned earlier said something, towards the end of the class, that really stuck with me. She was recounting something that one of her MFA professors said to her. I guess she felt, at the time, kind of like I do now---like the problem was that she lacked the proper amount of "discipline." But her professor pointed out that she didn't lack discipline, at all. She was putting all kinds of hard work and dedication into other aspects of her life. (I won't tell you what, but let's say it was tap dance, for example.) It was the writing itself that was the thing, the problem, not the discipline. Realizing that changed the way she looked at writing's place in her life.

I think I'm the same way. Writing scares the crap out of me. It does.

It doesn't make sense, because I love writing. It's the thing that makes me tick, I feel most like myself when I'm in that writing "zone." But I'll do almost anything to avoid it, unless somebody else tells me that I can't. For instance, I'll write this blog post, which doesn't count as actual "writing." I'll organize my internet bookmarks. I'll read craft books, and tell myself it's part of the writing process. I'll scan photos, I'll read over old journal entries, I'll spend hours doing family history research. I'll clean out the fridge. Anything, anything.

Sometimes I meet people who don't have this problem, and to be honest, they kind of scare the crap out of me, too. I admire them fiercely, I wonder what it is they got that I ain't got. Courage? Maybe the Cowardly Lion is my patron saint.

I love love LOVED this LA Times article, below, by J. Robert Lennon (MFA fiction faculty at Cornell.) I see myself in it, so much. It makes me feel better about how ridiculous and hopeless I am. At the same time, it also reminds me that even if most of the time spent during "writing time" isn't actually spent writing, it's still important---crucial---to schedule that writing time in, somehow.

I need to learn to make that commitment, to put writing first. I want to, more than anything. I really believe that being in this MFA program will help me learn how to do that. My life will be centered around writing. And that's the thing---the more I write, the more I write. I've noticed it at several moments in my life. It's like momentum slaps my fearmonsters in the face, like I'm too busy to notice how terrified I am.

And when that happens, I write. And I like myself. I'm going to learn how to get there without the crutch of outside pressure.

Now's the part where you say: So what the hell are you doing?

Put down the blog, put down the blog!

What do they really do with all that time?
By J. Robert Lennon, June 21, 2009
Ask a writer what she values most in her creative life, and she is likely to respond, "Time to write." Not many of us have the luxury of writing full- time; we have spouses, families, day jobs. To the people closest to the writer, "writing time" may seem like so much self-indulgence: Why should we get to sit around thinking all day? Normal people don't require hour after continuous hour of solitude and silence. Normal people can be flexible.

And yet, we writers tell our friends and children, there is nothing more sacrosanct, more vital to our intellectual and emotional well-being, than writing time. But we writers have a secret.

We don't spend much time writing.

There. It's out. Writers, by and large, do not do a great deal of writing. We may devote a large number of hours per day to writing, yes, but very little of that time is spent typing the words of a poem, essay or story into a computer or scribbling them onto a piece of paper.

Recently, I timed myself during a typical four-hour "writing" session, in order to determine how many minutes I spend writing. The answer: 33. That's how long it took to type four pages of narrative and dialogue for my novel-in-progress, much of which will eventually end up discarded.

Let's assume that this was an unusually brisk day. Let's estimate that, in general, I spend between 30 minutes and an hour writing, on days when I'm writing at all. What this means is that, even at my absolute peak of productivity, I am actively writing less than 5% of the time. Considering how many days of the year I don't write at all (most weekends, all holidays, teaching days, sick days, days of self-doubt, hangover days, bill-paying days), I could easily revise that figure down to 2%.

Should such a person, a person for whom writing consumes 2% of his life, even be called a "writer"? Given this logic, here are some of names by which I might more legitimately be referred:



bus rider

naked girl imaginer

child reprimander



But back to those four hours a day, during which, on those days when I do write, I am supposed to be writing. If I spend less than 25% of that time engaged in the act of writing, what do I do with the rest of it?

To answer this question, I surveilled myself during a recent writing session. The results are below.

8:04. Subject says goodbye to older son leaving for school.

8:05. Subject turns on laptop and sits on sofa in pajamas.

8:05-8:23. Internet.

8:23. Subject lets cat out.

8:23-9:07. Internet.

9:07. Subject lets cat in.

9:08-9:15. Really fast typing.

9:15-9:17. Subject makes toast.

9:17-9:30. Subject eats toast while rereading article in local paper about rural UFO cult.

9:30. Subject puts extra pair of socks on over extant pair of socks.

9:31-9:35. Deleting.

9:35-9:40. Re-creating deleted text almost verbatim from memory.

9:40-10:26. Internet, including 20 minutes spent writing, revising, and ultimately abandoning angry Internet message board post.

10:26-11:14. Intense self-doubt.

11:14-11:31. Subject showers, dresses (including two new pairs of socks).

11:31-11:49. Really fast typing.

11:49-12:01. Bathroom break.

12:01-12:05. Frenetic typing accompanied by quiet sinister chuckling.

12:05. Subject saves file, turns off computer, makes sandwich.

As you can see, writing makes only brief appearances in that chronology. Indeed, it would be easy to make a case for "non-writing time" as an alternative, perhaps superior, designation for what is presently called "writing time."

The truth, of course, is that writers are always working. When you ask a writer a direct question, and he smiles and nods and then says "Well!" and turns and walks away without saying goodbye, he is actually working.


To allow our loved ones to know that we are working when we are supposed to be engaged in the responsibilities of ordinary life would mark us as the narcissists and social misfits we are. And so we have invented "writing time" as a normalizing concept, to shield ourselves from the critical scrutiny we deserve. Indeed, even writers who don't write fiction are engaged in the larger fiction of imitating normal humans whose professional activities are organized into discrete blocks of time.

If you have any questions, please write them on a postcard, slide the postcard between the pages of a library book, and return the book the library. I will get to them when I'm finished writing.

Lennon's most recent novel is "Castle." He teaches writing at Cornell University.

Racism is Alive & Kicking (And Apparently Shameless) in Philadelphia

I should be packing but I can't even think. WHAT. THE. F$!#.

Hearing about these kids getting kicked out of that pool makes me want to punch something. Philly needs to f-ing shut Valley Swim Club down.

I feel like my brain is broken. I want to punch something. This needs major coverage NOW.

, #valleyswimclub

RT @harrislacewell: You can email outrage about #racistpool to info@thevalleyclub.com

@elonjames : #TWiB! "Philly's Vally Swim Club Doesn't Care about Black People" - http://is.gd/1rsF4

RT @cinnamn RT @AllAboutRace: 60 black child daycampers kicked out of Philly pool b/c "they might change complexion of club" http://bit.ly/13IKFx

RT @AllAboutRace: Campers have new pool & Arlen Specter investigates discrimination claim. http://bit.ly/r8mIK #racistpool #racematters

RT @elonjames RT @karsh: You see this? http://bit.ly/r8mIK I'm glad the kids have a place to swim now, but Valley Swim Club is well exposed.

Here's the email I just sent to John Duesler at the Valley Swim Club. I wish I could have been more eloquent, but I'm still rattled. I think I made my point, at least. Please send one yourself.

to: info@thevalleyclub.com
subject: Racism is UNACCEPTABLE

To John Duesler at the Valley Swim Club---
I am shocked and appalled by your despicably racist (and utterly heartless) decision to throw those kids out of the pool and force the daycamp to take a refund. It's completely inexcusable. I hope you realize that your actions and the statement you gave were shamelessly racist. I hope to see national media coverage of this disgusting incident in the near future, and I hope to hear that you've lost your job because of it. I hope Valley Swim Club gets sued for discrimination.

Racism is UNACCEPTABLE. I'm just totally outraged. I hope you learn something from all of this.

From NBC Philadelphia

Dymire Baylor says he overheard a woman ask, "What are all these black kids doing?" when he and his freinds showed up.
Dymire Baylor says he overheard a woman ask, "What are all these black kids doing?" when he and his friends showed up.

Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"

Campers sent packing after first visit to swim club


Updated 3:01 PM EDT, Wed, Jul 8, 2009

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.

"I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat.

UPDATE: But the kids will get to swim, thank goodness:

Campers "Complexion" No Problem for New Pool

U.S. Senator looking into accusations of racism


Updated 10:06 PM EDT, Wed, Jul 8, 2009. NBC Philadelphia

For kids in the summertime, there's nothing better than jumping full-speed into a pool to cool off. [...]

They just wanna swim.

So the staff at Girard College, a private Philadelphia boarding school for children who live in low-income and single parent homes, stepped in and offered their pool.

"We had to help," said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. "Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience."

The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more – especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim.

"I'm so excited," camp director Alethea Wright exclaimed. There are still a few logistical nuisances like insurance the organizations have to work out, but it seems the campers will not stay dry for long.

The banning has caused so much controversy that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) plans to launch an investigation into the discrimination claim.

"The allegations against the swim club as they are reported are extremely disturbing," Specter said in a statement. "I am reaching out to the parties involved to ascertain the facts. Racial discrimination has no place in America today."

MFA Applications Will Kill Your Soul (But Don't Let That Stop You)

, for months now I've been meaning to post a list of things I learned from the MFA application process. But I just didn't have the strength. Now that I'm safely far, far away from that soul-crushing process, I think I'm ready to give it a go.

Here's the knowledge-like substance I gleaned from the whole torrid affair.

1) MFA APPLICATIONS WILL KILL YOUR SOUL. But pleeeease don't let that stop you. It doesn't feel like it now, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Or insert uplifting cliche of your choice here.

I applied during the last semester of my undergrad. (I graduated December 2008.) I was trying to finish my senior thesis and get through papers & midterms & finals, and at the same time I was revamping my application list again and again, studying for the GRE, taking the GRE, ordering transcripts, writing endless SOP drafts, trying to figure out how to apply to each school (why why WHY can't this process be more streamlined/standardized?), trying to get my writing sample in order, etc. etc. etc.

That was the longest semester of my life. I'd tried to prepare over the previous summer, but by the time I actually sent in my last application, my list of schools was completely different, so all my summer work ended up being kind of irrelevant. Actually, strike that. It would've been a lot harder without the thinking head start, even if I did most of the grunt work during the semester.

Waiting sucks. Rejection sucks. Not knowing sucks. Knowing sucks. Spending 24 hours a day glued to the MFA Blog, TSE and P&W until you forget what the sun looks like sucks. Second-guessing your writing sample/SOP/application list/reasons for living sucks. The whole process really, really sucks.

In the end, it was all worth it. I got into a kickass program with the funding I couldn't live without, and I am so. freaking. grateful.

If I hadn't gotten in, I would've applied again. I was thinking Teach for America for my Plan B.

SO, anyway, I know it's awful. But you're gonna make it. Or maybe you already have. High five!

2) YOU'RE THE DECIDER. Tom Kealey's MFA Handbook is invaluable. Buy it, read it, heed its advice---up to a point. In the end, the only person who really knows which schools should be on your list is you. (Wait, actually I think that advice is in the Handbook, too.) TSE and the P&W boards can be really helpful, too. But there is no magic list. There is no MFA Monarch who can tell you exactly how to get in at your dream school.


I applied to 9 schools. I got into Minnesota and waitlisted (as in, bottom-of-the-list-don't-hold-your-breath-listed) at Cornell. I got rejected outright by 7 schools, including Rutgers-Newark & UMass Boston & Florida, where the stats and the hype and my professors made me think I had some kind of a shot in hell. I also got rejected by Michigan & Syracuse & UMass Amherst & UT Austin/Michener, where the stats & the hype made me think I'd have just as much luck balling up my application and flushing it down the proverbial toilet. But I felt the same way about Minnesota, and somehow that happened for me.

I guess my point is: Apply where you actually want to go to school, where you can actually get funding, and don't worry so much about the stats & the hype. Just do your best and then sit back and see what happens.

At some point I told one of my letter-writers that I was worried because I felt like my list was too pie-in-the-sky, and that's basically what he told me. I think it's really good advice, and I'm glad I followed it. I didn't apply anywhere I wouldn't have been really happy to end up.

This application thing is so not a science. Follow your heart (and the funding!)

You can see my final rundown here: All Results Are In.

4) SCHOOLS WILL FIND YOUR BLOG. They will find it, they will read it, and wondering if it's having any effect on their decisions will drive you crazy. I was totally convinced that schools would never look for, let alone find my blog. But then I started seeing views from urls at schools I'd applied to---I knew because of StatCounter---ON or close to the days those schools sent out decisions. And then the administrative coordinator at Minnesota confirmed, when I was on my visit there, that they like to take a look at them. She did say that they do it after making decisions, so it has no effect on that, but who knows if that's true at other schools.

If you're keeping an open journal during admissions season, be somewhat careful. I really, really wasn't careful, and I tortured myself over it later. It might be a good idea not to show all your cards, just in case.

See this post: Off the Record (You're Not Out There, Are You?)

5) FIND EVERY WAY TO SAVE $$$$. This is a crazy expensive process, and in the end, it's kind of like betting. I'm chronically broke, and I hate betting (why risk not having money I already have for extra money I'm pretty sure I won't win?) So I was all over the money-saving jedi moves.

Michigan, UT Austin/Michener and UMass Amherst will waive their application fees if you send in the proper request form, along with documentation of financial need. This was a big help to me.

Cornell's site said they'd waive their fee in extraordinary circumstances, but it sounded like they were less cool with it than the other schools, and it scared me off, so I didn't ask for the waiver there. I probably should have. There are other schools out there, like Brown, that will also waive their fee, but I mostly just know about the ones where I applied. Doing the research really pays off.

If you get a GRE waiver from your undergrad school (knocks the price of the GRE in half!) a copy of that waiver will usually serve as proof of financial need. That's the easiest way. If you didn't or can't get a waiver, a letter from your financial aid office stating that you're a financial need student (very low EFC, received x percentage of need-based aid, etc.) will do the trick.

Ask the financial aid office at your school about GRE waivers, well ahead of time. As with the application fee waivers, you have to have a significant amount of documented financial need to qualify. And don't forget to always fill out that FAFSA!

Oh! And of course, the most important part: do your research about program funding! (!!!) Do see Seth Abramson's article about funding (here), do consult the MFA Handbook, and do make sure that the info you're getting is still current.

6) READ FACULTY BOOKS, AS MANY AS YOU CAN, AS EARLY AS YOU CAN. Funding (including teaching) had to be first, for me. And then came location. I'm ashamed to say I really didn't manage to start reading faculty works until after my application list was set in stone. But if I had it to do again, faculty would tie with location. After reading faculty works, I really feel like maybe I kinda sorta "get," in some tiny way, why I got in at Minnesota. That could just be in my head, and I still believe that the biggest factor was probably plain old luck, but hey. I feel a certain click, and that's a nice feeling.

That doesn't mean that just because you love somebody's work, they're going to like yours. And it doesn't mean that just because somebody likes your work, you're going to get in at their program. But even if you're strapped for time, like I was, and it comes down to just reading the faculty at the programs you've already decided to apply to, reading faculty work could really help if you're lucky enough to have to pick between 2 or more programs.

Here's the reading list I made up, for the schools I applied to: Fiction Faculty Books

7) COMMUNITY HELPS. But it also drives you crazy. But it also helps. But it also drives you crazy.

I was lucky enough to have a best friend, Sacha, who was applying to Creative Writing PhD programs at the same time I was applying to MFA programs. I think I would've gone crazy without her. If you don't have a friend applying to MFAs at the same time you are, try to find one.

That's part of what the blogs & boards are good for. It felt good to get info, to commiserate and celebrate with everyone else who was going through the crazy ups and downs of the admissions season. I feel like I've met some really awesome people and made a lot of great connections.

But sometimes it's just too much. Try to take it easy. I really, really didn't take it easy, and I think I'm just now recovering. (Ha?) Don't let the information overload/radio silence cycle eat your brain or crush your soul. See this post: Freedom from Information

Well, I think that's about all I can think of, at least for now. I hope somebody out there finds this helpful. You can find links to all the various MFA hotspots at the linkbar up top, and some more stuff at my Minneapolis Links. My linked searches there are MN-specific, but you can always just plug in your own search term once you get there.

For more information/crazytalk/possibly useless advice, check out the labels below, or check out the searchbox in the sidebar. And feel free to comment with questions. I'll try my best to answer, when I have a chance.

And GOOD LUCK! May the MFA force be with you.

#IranElection & The Day MJ Died & Dr. Tiller

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

See "Michael Jackson, Pop Icon, is Dead at 50," at the New York Times.

I actually own The Wiz. Michael Jackson singing "You Can't Win":

"You Can't Win," by Charlie Smalls

You can't win, You can't break even
And you can't get out of the game.
People keep saying, Things are gonna change
But they look just like
You're staying the same

You get in way over your head
And you only got yourself to blame
[Chorus:] You can't win Chile
You can't break even
And you can't get out of the game.

You can't win, The world keeps moving
And you're standing far behind
People keep saying, Things'll get better
(Just to ease your state of mind)
(So you lean back, and you smoke that smoke)
(And you drink your glass of wine)

You can't win, you can't win no way
If your story stays the same
(You ain't winning) No, no
(But it's nice to see you. I'm awfully glad you came)
(Better cool it 'cause, It ain't about losing)
And the world has got no shame

You can't win, You can't break even
Ain't the way it's supposed to be
(You'll be spending), No, no, (Your little bit of money)
While someone else rides for free
(Learn your lesson), ooh,
(Refuel your mind, Before some turkey blows out your flame)

I freaking love this song: "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"

I remember sitting in the back of the car with my little sister & cousin, singing along to MJ on the radio. He's a tragic figure in many ways, but there's no doubt he was an incredibly talented artist, and he left a profound mark on our culture.

Questlove (of the Roots) has posted some of my favorite tweets so far, he makes really good points. Check out his Twitter page here @questlove
Excerpts below (to read them in order, start at the bottom):

aint never heard a peep about elvis as a 24 yr old dating a 14 yr old priscilla, or his drug problems or anything but him being a treasure.

im emotional now but i dont want the only american news source i watch talking about the controversial period.

elvis got revisionist media treatment. i expect the friggin same for my hero. lemme find out yall gonna paint this mofo as a freak cnn.

but i think its time we let him rest in peace and learn to separate the ART and the ARTIST. --that is the MJ i will forever remember.

that he will get due justice in all the press memorials and whatnot. i know he was mired in controversy the last decade of his life not overwork myself to the point in which i can't even enjoy life anymore. im am devastated over this but we all have memories. i just hope

I don't think I really believe in the benefit of revisionist memory, at least not in a total historical way. *On a personal level, I think maybe sometimes we all need to do it, in large & small ways, just to get by. But I do believe in the power of empathy & forgiveness, whatever the truth is. (See "Worldview" segments at sidebar, especially Dr. King.) And I do believe that sometimes the art is not the artist. I think? I don't know. It's just sad. Maybe it's just that none of us are simple, and that includes the giants among us.


And another thing. I know it's inexcusable that I'm posting about MJ, but I haven't posted about what's going on in Iran yet. So I hope you'll forgive me. I've been sucked into the twittersphere, on that front. (See #IranElection.) The US media was hardly covering it at first, it seems. Twitter pushed the story. (See #CNNFail.)

Rest in peace, Neda Agha-Soltan. She was 26, just a tiny bit older than me, and she died just for standing up for her right to have her vote counted. She went to a protest, and she was shot to death. I've gone to lots of social & political gatherings, but I've always had this luxury, which Neda didn't have: I've never had to fear for my life. Whether it was a marriage equality rally, an Obama phone bank, a pro-choice meeting, or just voting, I never had to go knowing that it was not only possible, but likely that I'd be hurt. Neda Agha-Soltan knew the danger, her friends & family warned her, but she went anyway. Now her face has become the face of the struggle in Iran. Let's all remember her, and all the others around the world who have died and are dying in the name of justice.

May truth & justice prevail in Iran, may peaceful protest win out. We're all connected, and I don't mean that just in some vague spiritual way. I mean that injustice anywhere echoes, and when people realize that & come together, amazing things can happen. See "Social Networks Spread Defiance Online," an article at the New York Times. (Also see "Worldview" segments at sidebar, especially ubuntu.)


And that reminds me: Rest in peace, Dr. George Tiller.
See "Dr. Tiller's Important Job," opinion piece at the New York Times.

Photo from http://iamdrtiller.com/

I just want to say that I did want to post about Dr. Tiller earlier. But honestly, I felt kind of scared. I guess I feel guilty for letting that stop me.