ah yes, my dear old blog.
i suppose that if the only contact you had with me were my blog, it might have appeared that i'd fallen off the face of the earth. though at times i've wished that were the case, it simply isn't true.
let's see--where to begin? well, back in late october, my friend C told me of his plans to apply to grad school. though all he wanted was a master's degree, he planned to cheat the system and apply for a phd so that he wouldn't have to fund his own studies, then drop out after they handed him the master's. i was furious over the blatant lack of ethics of the whole thing, and decided to show him who's boss by applying for a phd of my own. there's no better reason than jealousy/anger/self-righteousness for heading into higher education, now is there?
so i signed up for my general and subject gre tests, and went to see my professors for recommendations. i was shocked at their collective lack of enthusiasm for my brilliant (and extremely well-motivated) plan to become a professor, and couldn't believe how little faith in me they had when i told them that i only wanted to apply to harvard, yale, berkeley, and columbia. pshaw.
i tried to put their attitudes out of my mind while i studied for the gre. i was terrified--i haven't studied for anything in five years, and to say that i studied for much in college would be quite an overstatement, so the idea that this evil computer-based standardized test could quantify my intelligence really freaked me out. i think i studied harder for this test than i have ever done for anything, and in the end, my scores were miraculous. i even got a perfect score on the writing. so there, faithless professors.
talking to a couple of friends in phd programs started to scare me, though. they asked what i wanted to study, and who i wanted to study with, and why i wanted to get a phd. i couldn't really tell them that the reason was because i felt competitive with a friend, so i blathered on incoherently about my love of non-fiction and bladidy blah blah blah. well, thank goodness for my heartless friends who set me straight, saying that i didn't really sound like i knew what i was talking about and that i didn't seem to have any solid reasons for wanting a phd. thanks to them, i began to doubt the decision. i went straight to the bookstore and found a book called "so you want a phd?" or something like that, and read the first chapter, which basically said, "don't even think about getting a phd if you are this, this and this." there was a list of about 50 thises, and i was ALL of them. some of the statistics in the book really freaked me out, too, like how 50% of liberal arts phd students drop out before they get their degrees. even after the orals, you're not safe--20% drop out after that. yikes!
then came the problem of not being able to find a decent writing sample. all of my long papers from school were from when i was in england, and i couldn't find any of them anywhere. this was really starting to stress me out.
so i thought back to my original idea of graduate school, and how i wanted to get an mfa way back when. i couldn't really bring myself to seriously entertain the idea of an mfa again, since it is such an expensive degree, and doesn't really qualify a person to make loads of money the way, say, a law or medical degree might. i'd be in debt forever, and a certified poet. woo-hoo.
i went back and talked to my professors, and they said that it wasn't that they thought i couldn't do it, or wasn't smart enough. academia isn't the beautiful idealist universe it used to be--there is a lot of cutthroat competition, and they didn't know if my love of poetry and literature would be enough to get me through it all. you have to want this kind of thing more than anything, and be ready to make some huge commitments and sacrifices for it. it's a race from the start, where you have to fight to get into a great school, then fight for funding and to work with who you want to work with, then fight for fellowships and crappy jobs at middle of nowhere schools in cold places, and all of the rest. i realized that i have never really committed to anything for more than a couple of years, and i didn't want to put myself through the pain of having to drop out.
my professors also told me that there are some great fully-funded mfa programs out there, and they helped me get my applications in for 6 of them. everything seemed to be fine.
and then i got universally rejected. it never occured to me that this would happen, since the last time i applied to grad school i had a 100% acceptance rate. but it turns out that these mfa programs are super-competitive, with a 2-4% acceptance rate. up to a thousand people apply sometimes for 4 or 5 spots. jeez.
so i guess i am going to have to figure out what i am going to do now. i might re-apply, and if i do, i am going to change some major things about my applications. i really don't know what i am going to do. i may travel. i might just dig a hole and hide in it. who knows?
this week i went to the soft opening of terzo in cow hollow. the food was great--i think the place is going to be a total neighborhoody hit. it's really cute, with all of lori's little touches all over the place. the halibut with romesco was awesome!!! i heart romesco. and i LOVE the light bulbs (just like ours).
i got a new pair of clark's wallabees, which i adore. they are so comfortable--it's like walking on pillows.
lately i have been listening to a lot of new and old music by: the weepies, the ditty bops, snow patrol, stevie wonder, and bill withers.
calvin trillin's piece in the new yorker last week about his late wife alice was one of the most beautiful things i have read in a long time. i think he is a brilliant writer.
the new epicurious garden on shattuck makes me want to throw up, and i can't imagine that alice is very pleased with it, especially since the pukey fake zen garden in the back looks over the patio and locker room of cp. YUCK! welcome to berkeley, walnut creek.
last week as i was driving to bob's, i was thinking it might be nice to write a long essay about bob and try to submit it to some places like saveur or the nyt magazine or something. when i got there, charlene asked me if i knew who dan barber was. it took me a second, but then i remembered he is the guy who runs the blue hill at stone barns (and of course he his inextricably linked to cp and clee and all the rest) and he's been writing some blurbs for the nyt magazine. he's trying to get bob to let him write about him for them, now. so out the window with that bright idea.
i LOVE american idol. my two favorites are katherine mcphee and taylor hicks. get rid of that bald rocky guy! not to mention bucky!
i've been watching six feet under, and i am waiting for the last episode to come from netflix next week. oh, it is such a great show. i wonder what i'll watch next....
also, can i just say that the last episode of lost was one of the most amazing hours of television, ever? oh, how I LOVED IT!
what else? well, i briefly entertained the idea of going to barcelona this week to visit P and K, but i just couldn't get it all to come together, with work and everything. perhaps in the next month or so. i really need to get out of this country for a bit.