The Mote Maintains

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Success is a bitch. 

Somedays, she is a grade of 95% on an essay.  Those days, she is a finely researched, nuanced thesis with breathtaking proofs following along behind her, and those proofs in turn have a retinue of preening, self-important little footnotes and references.  Context, Analysis, and Critical Thought come next, three aging, graying windbags who are slightly paunched around the middle.  They survey all that comes before them and make grandiose, sweeping statements about all and sundry.  They are all of them as stately as any Roman triumphal procession ever to grace the Vias of Rome, and yet they are beguiling and bewitching as any fairy court making its mad, meandering path across the countryside.  Just like a fairy's court in search of children to spirit away, Success and her entourage travel in search of willing souls to enchant with convincing words and persuasive argumentation.

She is tolerable at best on days like those.  She can be somewhat entertaining, anyway.  Other days, she really can be quite the opposite.  Today, she is a passing grade on a paper I was sure I was going to fail.  

Sure, Success isn't pretty today, by any account.  No, today she's a hoary old witch woman with warts and stringy gray hair, and everything sagging where things just shouldn't sag. She lives in a tent city on an abandoned lot downtown, and all around her there are sad, twisted, useless creatures who could really use a good cleaning-up:  For instance there are Unjustified Conclusions everywhere.  They've been caught without any supporting evidence, and that is as horrible as being caught naked in public.  Irrelevance and Redundancy pop up everywhere, stealing credibility from anywhere they can find it. 

And yet, for all their flaws, it's entirely possible that each of these monsters has the potential to become something better.  With a few more rewrites, a few more renovations, that tent city could have been a palace.  But they've all run out of time - there is the cough of a deep, incurable consumption about them, as if some deadline for their redemption has passed them by, and there will be no more second chances.  The semester in which they could have flourished has passed, and now I can let them pass out of memory until my next battle with them.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I just wrote my first exam of the semester, and Lo, It Was Good. It was Dr. Schacker's Children's Lit, and I owned that exam.  I'm still all euphoric, so complete was my owning of said exam.

All my words are gone, though.  That is the price we pay for zee writing of zee two hour essay exams.

In other news, there is one finished, fringed Gryffindor scarf sitting on my desk upstairs, and this is inordinately pleasing.  It is a Christmas gift for a someone, and I am glad to have yet another gift taken care of.  It was knit almost entirely while listening to an audiobook of Ursula K. LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea, because I am a big fat sucker for young adult fantasy.  Screw literary pretentions!  I want dragons!  mages!  princesses in high towers throwing themselves out of windows down upon the moor in wild, outrageous fits of grief!

Okay, so that last bit doesn't happen in WoE, but you get the idea.  Besides, audiobooks and knitting work so harmoniously together, I simply cannot resist it.  I did enjoy the book, although LeGuin's constant harping on 'The Shadow' and its unknown nature (its nature is so very very obvious to anyone with half a brain) was a bit heavy handed, even if it did come as a result of her usual tone of talking down to youth readers.  Her premise of true names and the value and power of true naming was an interesting conceit, and it was a delight to hear Harlan Ellison do the reading.  He's expressive and intense, and really does the story justice.  Track this one down if you have the inclination, and you won't be disappointed.