Sunday, November 30, 2008

My grandfather, Shigeru Fujimoto, passed away on November 9th, 2008. I miss him but I pray for him in his afterlife...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Peace, love, and a phone receiver...

(Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dali)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Empty Suitcase:
If I Chew my Homework More, It’ll Absorb Better.

“Why do you need a Master’s degree in English if you are a writer?” said my personal writing-life advisor, Yoda-ish yodeler. I gave him the nickname because he is wise like Yoda from Star Wars, he has a messy goat-chin, and he likes singing and eating Swiss cheese with Samuel Adams beer. He has five hairs sticking out from the top of his nose like the Pentagon protecting it from outside world; perhaps, receiving all the academic information for his brain. I always want to pick out the longest of the five with a tweezer.

The Yoda-ish yodeler usually has a moment of truth when I talk to him. Of course writers do not need college degrees. Degrees may polish their status but they just need talent, motivation, and chances. But I, an international person, need permission to stay in America. I just need a visa, paper documents, a passport, financial support…unaccountable things.

So, I responded, “Because I want to write in English, being a student is the easiest way to stay and study writing in America.” In the meantime, my answer could be childish. How am I going to stay in America after my graduation next May? Am I going to get married to an American man to stay for my writing career? Do I really need to stay in America for writing— there is the internet to submit all my work all over the world.

Two semesters before I am going to graduate with my Master’s degree in English, I question myself; do I really need a Master’s degree? I know what I want— a quiet room and time for writing— I do not want assignments and classes anymore even if those things are very helpful to my creativity but I only have one and half semesters to go before I have the freedom to write...well, I take those tasks in order to add a little star sticker on my academic status.

But the Yoda-ish yodeler continued that “Naoko, you cannot graduate until you finish writing an academic thesis paper and your 60-paged project.” My project— a book of original poetry— I have confidence without authority in creativity, but I can hysterically crush and smash seventeen-thousand plates and cups when I think about writing ten pages of the literary context thesis essay full of academic jargons. As an example, my creative work may belong to lyrical poetry as a genre, free verse as form, and imagism as a movement, which I have never thought about before.

In my academic field, every writing somehow belongs to any kind of creative movement; even a scrawl on toilet paper seems to represent some theories. I can spread those keywords into my academic paper randomly, but later the doctoral advisors ask me to explain, why those words are written in a particular place between such words. I would say, “It’s just chilling” with a pretty smile on. But a smile is no longer sufficient for surviving in academia with only hopeless eyes from professors. With my brainless smile, rewriting the paper is required; “sigh.” It is actually hard to smile and sigh at the same time in front of the professors without them noticing my disappointment.

I realized that artists are professional but if they are achieving a Master’s degree, they need to become a master of something. It is a reasonable demand but I have been writing in my favorite ways and taking classes for two years, so I totally forgot about the purpose of the Master’s program. I am studying poetry, so I need to study history, theory, movements of poetry and poets. I try to assume that learning academic terms is good for my creativity. They are just like spinach— chew and swallow— and become my muscles and brain. My Yoda-ish yodeler suggests that I can absorb more nutrition in the stomach if I chew enough. I crave for a strawberry margarita to flush away the spinach between my teeth.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Submit Your Creative Writing and Art Work to Analecta!

Analecta Submission Rules:

1. Manuscripts must be received by the Department of English (DW3115 or 3127) by Wednesday, December 17th, 2008.

2. Manuscript preparation:

A. Type or word-process manuscript

B. Submit two copies of each manuscript.

C. The author’s name, address, student ID number, and e-mail address must appear on the first page ONLY of each manuscript.

D. Please use IUSB email address

3. Students should retain original copies of their work. Manuscripts are not returned.

Genre Rules

Poetry: 1 to 3 poems, maximum of 6 pages
Short Fiction: 1 story, maximum of 7,000 words.
Drama: 1 one-act or 1 full-length play (no musicals)
Non-fiction Prose: 1 work of non-fiction, maximum of 7, 000words

Any manuscripts submitted are automatically considered by the staff of Analecta, IU south Bend’s student-edited and student-written inter-arts magazine, for publication in its annual spring issue.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Aaron and Naoko