Friday, December 6, 2013

The long goodbye or 30 days of salt

Tomorrow I'm stepping on a plane, ready to give my former city one last, month-long goodbye kiss.

I plan to ride my bike to the beach, sit on some driftwood, stare out at the Puget Sound and
get lost in conversation until my butt is completely frozen.

I plan to visit my favorite local haunts and stuff folded poems between couch cushions and under the legs of wobbling tables.

I will drink tea.

I will collect more hugs than I can stand. And I will not feel any shame.

I will shiver off my fingers while climbing the vicious of Seattle's hills. I will not give in or give anything away. This month will be about taking it all in. I will live by desire and steep in the fruits of my greed.

I will savor the cold even as it is my reason for leaving. I will not stay inside.
I will catalogue the smells of the people I love.
I will make soup.

I want to bathe in the salty air.
I want to dip my heart into the brine,
I will keep the salt in me as something stronger than memory.

The Puget Sound is in my body and my body is an organism most at piece within its systems. I think I could find comfort and function someplace else, and I am ready for that stretch. But right now, my body is rejoicing in the anticipation of this long goodbye. Its salt will ease the difficulty of building a brand new home out there in the unknown.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Academic Roadblocks. Help me get through?

This is the kind of day where I have crawled back into bed 3 times.

This is the kind of day that I make my wardrobe decisions for very practical reasons:  I picked a warm top, with soft absorbent cuffs, perfect for wiping away wet salty regrets.

I feel lost. No that's not right I don't feel lost. I know where I am and I know where I want to go. I feel stuck. I feel stopped at every fucking turn and my chest is ready to give in

The heater is on full blast and I still feel frozen.

Applying for grad school is expensive. Each application costs a $50 or more and each school requires an official transcript be sent out from my alma mater which cost 10 bucks a pop.

That right there is close to $300, not to GO to any of these schools, just to be considered. On some level I see this as paying to be noticed by academia and it makes me sick.

Sometimes, for me, academia is a loan shark.

Yesterday I started looking into requesting official transcripts. Former students must apply to regain access to their school information. This morning, after waiting a full twenty four hours to have my student account rebooted I was excited to log on and send out my transcripts.

I couldn't order transcripts because of the holds had been placed on my account

Not only am I required to write and turn in an self-evaulation for the quarter during which I was asked to leave the graduate school program (which I can easily remedy and might give good closure), but more significantly I owe money.

Unbeknownst me, I owe the Evergreen State College $350. More than 100 of which is interest accrued during the three year period I didn't even know I owed money.

350 dollars is the exact amount of money I've saved up to apply to three grad schools. There is no room in my finances for something like this.

I don't want to be writing about this today. I want to be tucking my head under the covers and crying about the impossibility I feel right now. The frustration and shame are crushing. Distractions keep tugging at my numb, begging me to push away this reality.

I hate this because it's one more roadblock, telling me that grad school is too expensive for people like me to even apply for. And that I am not "serious" about writing because I don't have enough money. I feel like I should just give up and accept my station as clinically unhirable in my chosen field and not worth a twinkle in the eye of academia.

This is the exact kind of barrier that years ago made me think that if I was good enough at school, if I was smart enough, if I did everything just right, I'd somehow end up "better off" than my family.

I've given up on being better than or even better off. I just want to learn how to eek out some sort of subsistence by doing what I love. And I want to have a degree I can make a few bucks with. Right now I don't have and combination of the following necessities for doing so:
the right contacts or
the right professional tools and/or
the right letters at the end of my name

Getting these things is starting to seem like a complete impossibility. I know I'll feel differently tomorrow and my fighting energy will rise to take on these barriers. But I will need help.

I've never done this before, but I am starting to realize that part of planning for tomorrow, when I will be fighting for this again, is asking for help.

So here goes.
Will you help me follow my passion and become the writer I dream of being?

If you can please donate.

You can do so through my gittip account.

Or contact me through twitter and we can work something else out.

I know that those of you who read my blog care about my writing, and whether you can give or not, the fact that you care matters a whole fucking lot. So thanks. For the bottom of my bruised heart.

<3 WRM

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: Dispossessed

I've had a pretty good Fall when it comes to books. Seems like I just kept tripping on mind blowing books.

So I've decided to give my review of each of them!

Starting with Ursula K Le Guin's The Dispossessed.

The premise for the novel is simple, two civilizations orbiting each other, with distinct cultures: Urras is hyper capitalist with many but unevenly distributed resources, and Anarres which was founded on Urras's moon after an anarchist rebellion two hundred years previous and has not/barely enough resources distributed equally/as needed by a computer system. These two wolds have by design, had minimal contact in the past 200 years.

The Dispossessed is the story of Shevek, an intelligently disgruntled Anarresti physicist who travels to Urras.

The story is told in non-chronological order, switching between worlds every chapter. The first two chapters are slightly disorienting in this regard, but this element is perfect because it simulates Shevek's disorientation of culture shock.

While two seemingly polar opposite societies are represented, Le Guin masterfully does not come down on the side of either and instead uses individual characters to expose the problematic elements within both societies.

The sophistication of thought and emotion in this book is sharply philosophical and is as painfully relevant now as the year it was first written (1974). The complexity of societies is portrayed seamlessly through the main character's investigation of character's motives.

I wish that I could go back in time and hand this book to my fifteen year old self. It gave me all the complexity and richness I wanted from and subsequently failed to pry out of Atlas Shrugged.

This story is an appropriately critical approach to idealized societies. Through the voice of Shevek, Le Guin managers to balance care for the individual freedoms of creation/destruction with the needs of humans as a cooperative society.

This book is absolute magic for anyone who consistently feels like an outsider because they refuse to settle for a belonging that comes at too high a cost. This book is for people who are suspicious of both luxury and austerity and know that danger lies in clinging to closely to any ideology.
I know it's premature but I would already classify this book as deeply influential for me. There was so much rich thought surrounding ownership, belonging, suffering, and oppression that I will be chewing on it for years.

The Dues Ex at the end was a little disappointing, but not at all unexpected in a book I know to be part of a series. I look forward to reading more of the Hainish Cycle (maybe this time I'll get past chapter 3 of The Left Hand of Darkness).

Next up on my review list is Whipping Girl! Stay tuned!