I think I’m pretty content with how my life is going when every week when I sit down to compose my Life Update, I feel (perhaps mistakenly, but still) that I have interesting things to look back on. This was another week that started and ended on positive notes.
On Monday, Marissa Meyer had a Reddit AMA where she announced upcoming Lunar Chronicles graphic novels–what a way to start a week! And of course, today was Chinese New Year Eve–or as it’s more formally known, the Lunar New Year! The holiday is a big deal on my mom’s side of the family. I was a little sad (again) not to be home to share it with them, but I was still determined to carry on the tradition. I bought appropriate foods, cleaned up my apartment, and tonight a good friend threw a Lunar New Year celebration! Here’s a picture of me in a cheongsam:
Rounding out the magnificent moon-themed news, my ARC review of Stacey Lee’s Outrun the Moon was published on Her Campus at UCD (see ARC pics here!) She tweeted me afterward to say that it “might have made my week” and wanted to know what I thought about Under a Painted Sky (hint: very good!), which was very sweet. I also noted that this blog got a few visits after I made a post about my review on Facebook. If anyone’s still reading this, hi, and if you want to leave a comment or anything, let’s talk! 🙂
The rest of the week was pretty strong too, though with one notable exception (I overloaded the laundry washing my bedding, which was deeply annoying to deal with, but it’s all good thankfully). A LOT of cool stuff (by my standards), so bullet points:
♥ The roommate and I started another 30 Day Drawing Challenge, this one for facial expressions. (We both made OCs–I named mine Mercy, after Outrun the Moon’s Mercy Wong).
♥ My pescatarian diet came to a premature end when I realized there was no way I was abstaining from meat on Chinese New Year, but I kept it up for the most part and lost weight so no regrets. The roommate brought me escargot from Whole Foods today. I didn’t love it, but I want to be more adventurous in my diet so it was cool trying.
♥ Submitted my application for the Creative Writing Honors program, which includes a proposal for a thesis project. Both my Children’s Lit/favorite professor and fall’s Fiction prof were quite encouraging, so fingers crossed. I also entered two short stories to an undergrad fiction contest and turned in my regular Fiction application while I was at it.
♥ Got an A on my Children’s Lit paper on The Lunar Chronicles! I was actually a little nervous about it, so whew. (Check back soon for a blog post about it!)
♥ Wrapped up midterm season when I turned in my Intro to Lit paper on Friday! It was a close reading; I did mine on a stanza about the pitfalls of female beauty (typical) from Samuel Johnson’s “The Vanity of Human Wishes”.
♥ Saturday pilgrimage to Davis Farmer’s Market! I honestly don’t know why I don’t go there more often. Got the world’s best apple juice, a vanilla macaron, a presumably delicious Fuji apple and lemon for Chinese New Year festivities, and some killer vegetable samosas. Afterward we went to Let Them Eat Cake, where I rekindled my love affair with their Down By the Sea (sea salt caramel + buttercream) cupcake (I also sampled their Cotton Candy cupcake, which was also very nice) and this incredible Italian market called Zia’s Deli, where I had pasta salad. Also, Hawaiian wings from Whole Foods.
♥ My former Her Campus editor got me a really wonderful Christmas gift–a subscription to Poetry magazine. The first issue came in the mail yesterday and I am excited!
♥ Her Campus at UCD is doing Valentine’s Day tabling this week, so today we met up and baked goods for the sale!
Pretty good week! In Intro to Lit, we started mid-18th century poetry and the shift from Neoclassicism to Romanticism. We spent pretty much the whole week discussing Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”, which I dug cuz I really liked that poem.
Children’s Lit was super fun as usual, but a real treat this week. Reread A LITTLE PRINCESS, the first book I’d actually read as a child and one of my favorite childhood books. It was pretty fascinating. I was terrified I’d reread it now and hate it (I never actually read the original Little Women as a kid, but I liked the characters enough from kids’ versions to be greatly dismayed when I did and was gob-smacked by moralizing), but in so many ways I still loved the magic and still loved Sara, but now, I’m fascinated by her as well. It was interesting, though, to think more critically about the treatment of race, gender, and class politics. We also talked about the shadow possibility that Sara is in fact half-Indian. I liked it. Also, possible hint of a future relationship with Mr. Carrisford. My professor prefers Ram Dass, and I agree. And tangentially, I discovered that the name Sara(h) actually means ‘princess’ in Hebrew and gah, I love it.
Victorian Lit was back to essays (with some poetry), but they were on science vs. religion and the ‘woman question’. The topics themselves were much more interesting to me, but also, the readings themselves were really interesting! For Tuesday (Science vs. Religion), we read an excerpt from Charles Darwin’s “The Descent of Man”, which was pretty fascinating for a Biology minor. We also read Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” and Gerald Manley Hopkins’ “Pied Beauty”, both of which I enjoyed a lot. The class TA (whom I’ve previously had for Jane Austen in Pop Culture, in which she gave a fabulous presentation on Regency fashion and class in Jo Baker’s Longbourn) took over for the discussion on woman’s rights and oh (wo)man, it was a blast. She’s super fun and all the other class feminists really got into it, so it was a really great discussion. The readings themselves were pretty awesome too. Of course I’m biased towards the pro-feminist ones but I actually really liked them in their own right, besides their ideology. I was surprised by how much I liked the highly logical and deconstructionist critique of pretty much the entire societal assumption of gender in John Stuart Mill’s “On the Subjection of Women”, but I was rather intrigued by the surprisingly modern arguments in Frances Power Cobbe’s “What Shall We Do With Our Old Maids?” (which uses the idealization of love as a woman’s highest purpose and turns it on its head, suggesting that increasing women’s opportunities outside marriage will mean they will thus marry for love instead of necessity and be happier) and Mona Caird’s “Does Marriage Hinder a Woman’s Self-Development?” (which reverses roles to ponder if a man were limited as women are).
For some reason, it didn’t occur to me before to mention poems we studied in my Poetry workshop. That’s a shame, because we really do talk about cool poems. This week, we talked about line length. We read an excerpt of Allen Grossman’s essay “The Sighted Singer” and discussed Robinson Jeffers’ “Hurt Hawks” and Christopher Smart’s “Jubilate Agno.” Student presentations this week were very cool and different: Frank O’Hara’s “A True Account of Talking to the Sun on Fire Island” and Emily Dickinson’s “Could Mortal Lip Divine.” Our professor ended Thursday’s workshop by asking if anyone wanted to read a poem from The Rattle Bag or Letters to a Stranger to send us off, which was cute. Someone volunteered to read “The Owl” by Edward Thomas.
My copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Children’s Lit also included THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, and because I enjoyed Alice, I read the sequel and it was a lot of fun! In other bookish news, I’m sitting out of *Hermione’s feminist book club* this month, because February’s selection–The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I heartily approve–I’ve already read. I do want to revisit that book again, but I read it recently enough that I don’t imagine I’d get as much out of it as if I returned to it later.
I watched another Amazon Prime movie on Friday. This week it was A League of Their Own and it was really fun! No, it doesn’t radically break the mold for sports movies, but it’s entertaining and inspirational, just as a baseball movie should be, and the Rockford Peaches (Geena Davis! Madonna!) are fabulous.
I listened to a lot of cool albums this week: the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack, Feist, The Pink Noise by Shunkan, Meat is Murder by The Smiths, Night Thoughts by Suede (finally available on U.S. Spotify), Fever to Tell by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Thought Rock Fish Scale by Nap Eyes (“Stargazer” is my favorite track of the week). Also, Grease Live!
Didn’t get a whole lot of revision time, but I did start a really, really fun new chapter, so…
Taking a page from my Poetry professor’s book, here’s a little treat to wrap up this week’s (rather long!) life update. On February 1, Leon Bridges released a music video for “River”, off his wonderful 2015 debut album Coming Home. On social media posts, he discussed how the song was inspired by gospel music and the civil rights movement. February is Black History Month, so the music video comes across as especially timely.
Happy Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year/Spring Festival/Year of the Monkey!