Thursday, September 30, 2004

Well, life is new once again. I'm in Kingston, living the high life... by which I mean reading books and pretending a Masters in English has some larger purpose that will one day magically manifest itself in heaping doses of health, wealth, and personal fulfillment. Or at least two of the three.

And it's good. It's entirely different and shockingly the same as undergrad. I have eight hours of class a week, all in a room that fits one table and fifteen chairs... just. I feel like I'm part of an international think tank, brought together by covert means to "expand the field" and "establish our reputation as elite though kooky academic successes so that more-than-slightly-well-off parents will buy a copy for their kids". My fellow grads range in age from 21 to 33, but they are one and all down-to-earth, darn fun people to hang out with. Everyone's just the teeniest bit nerdy about "literature", but the squash and badminton ladders they've got set up are a welcome balance to my (admittedly) solicited emails from the bridge, chess, and poker clubs respectively. In the end, I just do homework, but it's fun to dream.

For those who care, I'm taking Alice Munro, T.S. Eliot, and Topics in Post-Colonial Literature I: West Indies, Africa, and Asia: "Contemporary (black) British Literary and Visual Culture". No, the brackets don't make sense to me either. I'm also a T.A. for ENGLISH 110X. I was hoping the X stood for extreme, but I think it's just a section designation for the first year general survey course. Survey course EXTREME. But yeah, I've got office hours and an extreme email address that people who seem shockingly young now that I'm shockingly mature can contact me at with questions like "um... could you help me with my essay?" All right, I made that question up, but I'm looking forward to many questions like it. Queens doesn't let their T.A.s lecture (read: "We at Queens believe that T.A.s should focus on their studies"), but I've got a pile of students who are writing five or six essays over the course of their (full) year of study, so I'm still in the business. They pay me for it too, which means that I get to wade through all kinds of union politics whenever more than two people are standing in a group in the grad lounge. Did I mention the grad lounge? Oh yeah, and I also get my very own graduate study room, graduate office, graduate-extended due dates (that book you're looking for? I've got it until JANUARY), first-name basis connections with the "special collections" people in the archives, and a study carrel in the incredibly sumptuous, gorgeous, and all around sensuous arts library that isn't shaped like a cube and is less than ten years old and has a spiral staircase and holy crap if you are still a believer in Miss Dana Porter get your little heiny over here or maybe to Yale where Tamara insists on making us all biblio-jealous. Or maybe just me.

As for the similarities, well, sports bars and hockey still ring synonymous with good times and people watch way too many movies and third year doctorate students are still nervous and ramble babble and fudge their way through presentations that no one's done the reading for and everyone still makes a ton of verbal and written grammar mistakes which everyone proceeds to mock them mercilessly about and every once in a while someone looks around and says whoa, let's order pizza. Fernandes? I miss you buddy, even though we all reduced you to your last name and spelt your name wrong. And yes, I just looked up "spelt". It's "chief Brit." Go Canada.

Those who haven't seen me in forever probably haven't heard about California or the cottage or Montreal or all the other glorious things that have been filling in the cracks, but I figure "photography is worth a thousand English degrees" so without further ado, here is my life over the last month. I'm off to watch a movie.

Santa Cruz, CA

The Point, ON

My Room, ON
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