notes from somewhere in the back row

I’m moving and rifling through four years’ worth of notes and books and clothes. Here are a few fragments from notebooks that didn’t make the storage cut.

Summer 2011, Fiction Writing II:

I’m kind of in love with my professor for only calling me Beatrice.

How to be an asshole:

1. Mention your typewriter

2. Humblebrag about how post-modern your work/question is

3. Say these things:

3a.“I think, for all of us, youth might be our greatest fault,” and

3b. “I read a lot of Native American poetry,” and

3c. “You all know who Kerouac is, right?” and

3d. (on Indians) “Not Columbus’ misconception(????), the Asian ones”

Spring 2010, Earthquakes and Natural Disasters:

We lose dollars; we tend not to lose people

Unknown Class, Unknown Time:

New Mexico is for introspective writers/actors and geologists. Give it back to the Native Americans (96)

Summer 2011, Fiction Writing II:


Golf ball through the kitchen window


This guy did not. Get. It.

Every (f) Good (a) Boy (c) Does (e) Fine (accompanied by a picture of a treble clef and scale)


day 184. an apology is in order.

I was looking through my English binder from this past semester and found a couple of my old essays. It made me cringe to re-read them, they were so awful! The ideas were disconnected, never properly introduced, explained, or developed, and the conclusions always seemed a little off because of those facts. And, yet, my professor never gave me anything less than a B!

I can remember having some great ideas in my head and then getting to the computer and drawing a complete blank. I am someone who needs to outline everything on paper before I can begin to write complete essays —if I want them to be good essays. I know this and yet I avoided using outlines this semester because I thought they were a waste of time. (??????)

I feel terrible for not actually heeding the advice that my professor had left me in the margins, and for thinking, for some self-centered reason, that my she had no idea what she was talking about. Because, universities try to hire people who don’t know shit about their jobs? Another display of my sterling logic!

I owe her an apology, or a thank you. Maybe I need to send her an email, or maybe I need to just be sure to never let it happen again. Never again will I let my ego get in the way of hearing what others have to say. When given suggestions, next time and every time after, I will listen.

The only piece of work that I’m proud to have submitted was the first essay we turned in over the elements of fiction and The Things They Carried. And that’s only because the introduction was f—ing rad.

I’m starting the process of re-packing everything for the move in two weeks. I already feel flustered and anxious thinking about leaving. I don’t know what my problem is, but I figure if I avoid dealing with it long enough it will go away, because when has that not worked for anybody? (Do NOT answer that, leave me in the dark! I like my fake-reality!)

But, really, it’s a feeling not unlike Holly Golightly’s “mean-reds” (“The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.”). I go through phases where I’m completely calm and don’t understand why I ever felt stressed out, then out of nowhere, hours later usually, the feeling comes right back.

I bet I just need more sleep.