The Week And A Half Into Graduate School at an Ivy League University Post!

Class I took to like a duck to water: 20th Century Nonfiction Lecture. What’s that, MKP, you instinctively settled into a class where all you had to do was sit quietly and listen? Hey, it’s a lot more than listening! I have to do the reading, mark it all up, then go in and listen, take notes and process the TWO HOUR FLOOD OF BRILLIANCE that comes out of this particular professor. I love it. His brain fluently speaks the language my brain is at a 6th-7th grade level in! I could (and do) wish for more women and people of color in the syllabus, but I luuuuuurve it. It’s a good thing I only have that class on Thursdays, because if I had to take in all that AND make brainspace for something else, my head might fall off.

Class that is even awesomer than I anticipated: The Graphic Novel seminar. I also luuuurve this one. It’s 99% fiction students…and me… so my perspective is a little different. On the first day when the professor asked “Do you feel comfortable having your protagonists do things you would never do” I was the only one to raise my hand and say “….no, I can’t even kill off my Sims without guilt.” It is awesome to have a class where my connections to geek culture, my years spent with Buffy and Ghost World and superhero movies and fighting my way through Watchmen and reading the comics pages….all of those are valid and contextualize-eable and useful! I’m really excited to develop a comic book character I came up with and to do some autobiographical work with collage-style art, and I’m very lucky to have several “external hard drive” friends who misspent their youths reading comic books and can let me know “Oh, that first character you came up with, that’s Daredevil.” In a nice way.

Class I was initially divided about but now love: The nonfiction workshop. 12 nonfiction writers and an AWESOME professor, picked to sit in a room and get all real and stuff. Last week we met and just talked and I immediately liked a few people and was immediately on 3Q watch with some others. But it turns out, my school knew what it was doing when it picked out each and every one of us–everybody in that room is smart and thoughtful and I am jazzed (read: tremendously anxious) to have my piece workshopped next week. We workshopped the first three submissions yesterday, and surprise surprise, everybody’s a writer!

Class that kicked my ass and made me question my entire capacity for thought, participation and general human beingness: A certain famous art historian’s class on the essay. You know that scene in “Swiss Family Robinson” where everyone’s on horses or mules and one kid is on the ostrich? I was totally the kid on the ostrich. But apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt like that. This is the only class that has a competitive, cutthroaty feel – the professor is such an archetype, there were four whole departments who could apply, and only the twelve of us got in so we’re all Very Aware of that. It wigs me out, but I know I’ll find my feet. This is also the only class that gives us quickie assignments – this weekend I’m going to the Met to write two pages about an object.

After I left Essay Seminar’s first session, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, and I was lucky to go straight to choir practice afterwards. I’m back with the chamber choir I took last year off from, and it was so great to be singing again. We’re doing some pieces I already know, which was a big confidence booster. There is a level of processing and emotional handling that happens when I’m singing that doesn’t happen any other way.

And! Brooklyn Book Festival is this weekend! I went two years ago….wait… holy Marty Markowitz, that was FOUR years ago! You guys, I let my NewYorkAversary pass sans blog mention! D’aw. Wow. Hwell. This year I am looking forward to the India panel, the Phantom Tollbooth discussion, the Comics panel with Anders Nielsen, Genre Crashers, and jeebus it’s going to be another mad dash…..

Next week I will do a clip show of all my favorite New York posts to celebrate the undergraduate degree my NYC residency could have obtained while I was working, not working, wishing I was working, glad I wasn’t working, and puttering. Ah, such puttering…

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