Tuesday, November 29, 2011

At a barnes and noble 40% off sale.......
Major weakness for a lit major!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just emailed two of the leading Austen scholars at Oxford University to see if I could study under them. [gulp]
Tomorrow I'm meeting with a professor here at UW who graduated from Harvard summa cum laude--summa!--after which he became a Rhodes scholar.
Talking to these people make me feel sooooo small. Which is really good, but not easy.
I was so grateful for Pastor Norm's message yesterday. He shared on John 2--water into wine--and at the end he talked about the 6 stone pots. He pointed out that 6 is the number of imperfection and that these would have been very simple stone pots. But he closed by saying, "The pots didn't contain God's glory, they facilitated it." That is my word for the week!
Jesus help me facilitate your glory... especially to really smart, cool people!
Excerpts from I Peter 5: 
[The Message]

6-11 So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you... So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ--eternal and glorious plans they are!--will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

Today is a "keep a firm grip on faith" kind of day...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My dad is so precious!! Yesterday we went to the tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree. Of course, with all the rain we've had, the farm was very muddy.
Well, I just looked outside and my dad has a bucket of water, a scrub brush, and all of our rubber boots lined up in a row. He's rinsing them off and scrubbing them down. How cute is that? Ah! So grateful for my dad =)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I just came across some poetry I wrote when I was 15 or so. Its so strange to look back on something from that time period. It's like hearing from a different person. I didn't start keeping a consistent journal till I was 17 or a blog till 18. My memories of that part of my life often get consumed with school and FBLA and other involvements. I don't have a record of my musings. Heck, at that point in my life, I still thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I had such different ideas of who I was. Six years from now I'll probably look back with some incredulity too, but I have a better record now of how I got from point A to point B. I don't really have that for high school. Other than my speeches, I haven't looked at those assignments in years. Its so strange. 

All that to say, I did come across one poem with some merit... here is just one stanza of my affected poetical voice, but I still kind of like it:

Did David ever wonder while emerging from rock and stone,Or van Gogh’s little star ever wait on canvas alone?Is it minutely possible that brilliant Mona Lisa ever wanted to frown,Or did one of Monet’s Water Lilies ever wish to drown?Has there ever been a time that, purpose not clearly shone,Caused a single piece of art to cast its spirit down? 

I think this is what dreams sound like...

[especially from 3.17 onward =]

...and its not even Windsday! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

You might be a nerd if...

[Sarah... you have complete permission to make fun of me over this one =]

...if you not only have favorite authors, you have favorite critics. As I've studied Jane Austen, I've come to appreciate specific critics: R. W. Chapman who produced the first ever academic edition of Austen's novels (circa 1900); Lionel Trilling, whose writing on Austen in the '50's is as compelling and insightful as it is beautiful; Marilyn Butler, whose monumental work--Jane Austen and the War of Ideas, 1982--elevated Austen's work by offering both a feminist and political critique; and Claudia Johnson who argues for a view of Austen's politics that is far more radical--and much more to my taste--than Butler's. 

Well, Johnson is the only one still writing. She's a professor at Princeton and is one of--if not the--leading Austen critic. And she's coming out with a new book next year, and I couldn't be more delighted:

Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures
Claudia L. Johnson

Jane Austen completed only six novels, but enduring passion for the author and her works has driven fans to read these books repeatedly, in book clubs or solo, while also inspiring countless film adaptations, sequels, and even spoofs involving zombies and sea monsters. Austen’s lasting appeal to both popular and elite audiences has lifted her to legendary status. In Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, Claudia L. Johnson shows how Jane Austen became “Jane Austen,” a figure intensely—sometimes even wildly—venerated, and often for markedly different reasons.
Johnson begins by exploring the most important monuments and portraits of Austen, considering how these artifacts point to an author who is invisible and yet whose image is inseparable from the characters and fictional worlds she created. She then passes through the four critical phases of Austen’s reception—the Victorian era, the First and Second World Wars, and the establishment of the Austen House and Museum in 1949—and ponders what the adoration of Austen has meant to readers over the past two centuries. For her fans, the very concept of “Jane Austen” encapsulates powerful ideas and feelings about history, class, manners, intimacy, language, and the everyday. By respecting the intelligence of past commentary about Austen, Johnson shows, we are able to revisit her work and unearth fresh insights and new critical possibilities.
An insightful look at how and why readers have cherished one of our most beloved authors, Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures will be a valuable addition to the library of any fan of the divine Jane.
Home early today because my last class was cancelled. Now for a cozy night of research and re-reading.
But look what just got delivered: motivation!

That's right, Surprised by Oxford just showed up.
[sorry its backward... my computer can only take mirror images]

Tonight I'm close reading and analyzing portions of these two lovely books, Room by Emma Donoghue and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I have an outline due tomorrow for my final paper in Honors. I'm writing about extreme loneliness and how it can effect characters--even to the point of creating imaginary friends or personifying inanimate objects.

It's going to be really fun.
But I may be back on here a bit later for a break/free write to clear my head =)
"To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless."

- G. K. Chesterton
So, some of you know already and others have probably guessed, but I just wanted to make it official. 

I'm applying to Oxford.

The program I'm looking at is a 9-month M.St. (Masters of Studies) in English Lit. It is not quite equivalent to an M.A. but it would qualify me to go on for a Ph.D., which is the ultimate goal.
Please pray for me, if you think about it. The application is due January 20--less than 2 months! I have some wonderful people helping me, but there is so much to do. I seriously feel like I've taken on a 5th class. Between meeting with 1 or 2 people a week and sending emails, drafting my CV, sending more emails, and thinking about my Statement of Purpose--its a bit overwhelming. 

But, I know He's called me to do this and I know that He is faithful.
I've definitely been reciting Oxford's motto a lot lately: "Dominus Illuminatio Mea." 
God, enlighten me.

This has been such an incredible journey already and I can't wait to share more about it with you guys.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dickens, I love you, but you're putting me to sleep...
at work =/

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Only weird people read when they wake up in the middle of the night. Normal people, like me, check the weather forecast."
- My adorable sister

I'm all in...
Cannot wait for Christmas Break!!
My book list is piling up and I am so anxious to read them:
I just ordered Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. I've had 3 different people recommend this book--totally unconnected. Its the true story of an American girl who went to Oxford to study English Lit for grad school, falls in love with Oxford and falls in love with the Lord. I'm stoked! I'm going to have to resist reading this when it arrives.
Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Just saw the trailer for this and knew that I needed to read these books. I showed my older brother yesterday and today, he ordered the whole trilogy. So it looks like we'll be sharing these and I cannot wait. The series was partially inspired by the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and there are several other Greco-Roman influences, not to mention a compelling story.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
This has been on my list for months... finally time to get to it.

Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Trying to get ahead on next quarter.

This is only after I finish Hard Times, The Gangster We're All Looking For, A Gesture Life, Bacchae, and The Frogs... plus 3 papers. No big. Haha... I just can't wait to read these others =)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lily Collins as Audrey Hepburn:

Loverly =)

Which looks better?

Snow White and the Huntsman
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

A bit of a darker take on the Snow White tale. We have to ask ourselves, are we ok with giving up the 7 dwarves if we get Thor??

Release Date: 6.1.2012

Directed by: Tarem Singh
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer

A bit funnier, dwarves included, and this Snow White looks remarkably like Audrey Hepburn [post forthcoming].

Release Date: 3.16.2012
One of the craziest parts of being an adult: the frequent revelations that your whole way of life could change.
I have been having this revelation more and more often lately as different opportunities open up.

It's gonna be wild
It's gonna be great
It's gonna be full of Him...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Starbucks is ALL Christmas?! Ahh! What is this??? You can sneak a song or eggnog chai, but don't accost me with merriment till after thanksgiving, please!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happiness is... the windows cracked in the music building so all the world hear their playing =)
Wow! I'm so blessed that so many of my friends have expressed interest in The History of Love. Honestly, sharing art and watching people enjoy what I am passionate about--I think that is my love language! Sometimes I almost pity my husband in advance:

"Honeeey, would you read Jane Austen?"
"Hon, can I read this amaaaazing passage to you?"
"Babe! We have to watch this film!!"

Ok, ok. I promise I won't be terribly nagging... especially about the Austen novels and girlie movies.

All that being said... I'm thrilled that other people are looking into this novel. I do feel like I owe you a disclaimer, however. I've shared what I've found beautiful and moving. But, just so you know, the book is not filled entirely with loveliness and Keats-quotations. There is death and separation and sadness. There is the eccentric Leopold Gursky who--though in his 80's--would pose as a nude model for an art class because, in his words, "All I want is not to die on a day when I went unseen." There is the lonely, but eager Alma Singer whose kisses never work out like quite she plans. There is her mother, Charlotte, who Alma just wants to be "not sad" after her father died:
My mother never fell out of love with my father. She's kept her love for him as alive as the summer they first met. In order to do this, she's turned life away. Sometimes she subsits for days on water and air. Being the only known complex life-form to do this, she should have a species named after her... She chose my father, and to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.
I just wanted to give a more rounded representation of The History of Love. I don't mean to deter any of you. To be quite honest, I think I am just in love with the many lonely and akward moments as I am with the beautiful. And in the midst of both, I found the tought process of an author and one of th most sentimentally striking passage that I've read documenting the treck of one small book across continents. [I'm having to restrain myself from posting the whole glorious passage up here. But I don't want to ruin it for you... but let me know when you've read it ;]

I think the history of love is all of these things, but also so much more. The thing this History is largely lacking is the One who makes "life a thing of beauty and a joy forever." There are so many people searching for a love, for a word they can't seem to define. I wanted to jump into the narrative, take characters by the hand, and tell them, "He's the One who has 'words for everything.'"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just finished The History of Love. Another book that reminded me just how much I love literature.
I love it as a medium.
I love it as a mode.
[ha! unintended math pun!]
No, no... I just love it!

This particular book fueled my fantasy of marrying an author. I don't think I could a novel justice. But to be married to an artist? To perhaps even be a source of inspiration? To pass life "at the side" of a MacDonald or Tolkien or even a Dahl? 
Its just a dream. I don't require a fantastical author-husband... but it would be lovely =)

Just an excerpt, from the perspective of an author within the novel:
When I saw a Starbucks I went in and bought a coffee because I felt like a coffee, not because I wanted anyone to notice me. Normally I would have made a big production, Give me a Grande Vente, I mean a Tall Grande, Give me a Chai Super Vente Grande, or do I want a Short Frappe? and then, for punctuation, I would've had a small mishap at the milk station. Not this time. I poured the milk like a normal person, a citizen of the world, and sat down in an easy chair across from a man reading the newspaper. I wrapped my hands around the coffee. The warmth felt good. The next table over there was a girl with blue hair leaning over a notebook and chewing on a ballpoint pen, and at the table next to her was a little boy in a soccer uniform sitting with his mother who told him, The plural of elf is elves. A wave of happiness came over me. It felt giddy to be part of it all. To be drinking a cup of coffee like a normal person. I wanted to shout: The plural of elf is elves! What a language! What a world!
 Isn't it irresistibly happy? I really appreciate Nicole Krauss's writing style... this is only a snippet.

A girl in my honors course recently shared a quote: "A picture's worth a thousand words; and a word is worth a thousand pictures."
I want to spend my life exploring the trail of pictures the words leave behind...
"I'm saying life is a thing of beauty... A thing of beauty and a joy forever."
- Leo Gursky in _The History of Love_ by Nicole Krauss

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering." - Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Krauss is an incredible writer! I'm only about 50 pages in... but this book looks very promising =)

Time to start thinking about what to write my final papers on.

They have to be interesting topics... especially in English Honors.

Think-think-think... :)
"Jane! you think me, I daresay, an irreligious dog; but my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now. He sees not as man sees, but far clearer: judges not as man judges, but far more wisely. I did wrong: I would have sullied my innocent flower--breathed guilt on its purity: the Omnipotent snatched it from me...His chastisements are mighty; and one smote me which has humbled me for ever...
"Of late, Jane--only--only of late--I began to see and acknowledge the hand of God in my doom. I began to experience remorse, repentance; the wish for reconcilement to my Maker... I thank my Maker  that in the midst of judgement He has remembered mercy, I humbly entreat my Redeemer to give me strength to lead henceforth a purer life than I have done hitherto."
- Edward Fairfax Rochester

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SUCH a gorgeous day. Blue sky, crisp air, and trees ablaze with color.
Gotta <3 fall =)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today's challenge: Freud's "Mourning and Meloncholia."

Here we go...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tempting... very tempting.

Maybe next fall...

I took the plunge. This morning I registered and am taking 3 lit classes next quarter:

  • Shakespeare After 1603,
  • Rise of the English Novel, and
  • English Honors
Here's the book list =)

So, we obviously won't be reading the entirety of Shakespeare... but I do get to read all of Clarissa and Tom Jones. I'm hoping to start Clarissa over Christmas break, but I have another book waiting ever so patiently for me that I just have to read first ;)
The last 6 are all for English Honors. I'm a little nervous because this will be my first real encounter with either Virginia Woolf or D. H. Lawrence =/ Pray for me. I guess I should voice my thanks that we are not reading Mrs. Dalloway. I intend to cross that bridge when I come to it... and not a minute sooner. Also, the little I've read of Katherine Mansfield hasn't exactly thrilled me... but that was a long time ago and I'm willing to re-evaluate. But Atonement--ahhh!--now there is something to excited about! The class on a whole is focused around time and memory and how fiction treats history. Specifically, we're focusing on WWI (hence Atonement, etc.). Over the last few months, I have developed such a deep respect for that time in history and for the people affected by it. Between seeing WWI memorials in England and being gripped by an English tv show set in that era, I have fallen in love with WWI--especially in England, but back at home as well. Because of that respect, I am very much looking forward to Friday and getting to celebrate Armistice (Veteran's) Day. I'm so grateful to all who lived through such trying times... and I'm so grateful I'll get to read about them in the near future =)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anguish. That is what best sums up the last 100 pages I've (re)read of Jane Eyre. Of everything that I've read, the middle portion of Charlotte Bronte's incredible novel is the most angst-ridden. My heart literally feels like it is in a vice. ahh... enough of that for tonight.
On today's docket: reading and answering phones all day.
I'm bummed I'm missing church--the one time they're all back together =/
But... my book list is pretty consoling:
   1. Jane Eyre
   2. Fun Home (a graphic novel)
   3. Hippolytus 
Should shape up to be a good day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just found this. See last post =)

One day, I may accomplish incredible things. I may have influence. I may achieve lofty goals.
But I hope to never lose the part of me who is "Alice."
*   *   *   *   *
"When I used to read fairy-tales, thought Alice, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!"
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. 'Who are you?'"
"...so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things were really impossible."



I finally found a picture!
Back in August, I spent my last few days across the pond in a town in Sussex called Horsham. It was magical. One evening at sunset, we took a walk up the hill [Denne Hill] and then back down through this field. As I wrote that night, I was so bummed that I didn't bring my camera on the walk. But I finally found a picture. It doesn't do it justice--especially because when I was there everything was alive and blooming and bathed in light from the sunset. But I'm glad I found a picture.
In the distance are the North Downs. I can't point to it in the picture, but one of those is Box Hill =)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Well, all I can say is that the Lord knows best. 
And this week, He's proven that He knows when we need a break. This week, I had things scheduled every night wednesday-saturday. One by one, they have all been cancelled. Having unexpected time off is incredible! 
Last night I went to bed early.
Tonight - bigelow vanilla chai "latea" (as Jessica M. would say =), Jane Eyre, budgeting, voting! and a bit of work on other projects.
Tomorrow night - family night! First one in months! I think we might even rent a movie to watch all together. This is so rare, which is sad, because I find family time so very restorative.
All that to say, I'm so grateful. I'm literally walking in Psalms 23:1-2:

"God, my shepherd!
   I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
   You find me quiet pools to drink from
True to Your word,
   You let me catch my breath
   and send me in the right direction..."
[the Message]
I went to bed early last night (10.10 pm). When I woke up this morning I was exhausted. Something so wrong about that. Anyway, after running out the door late, today has been kind of an off day.
But--choosing joy! I got my paycheck and it was for more than I expected, which means I can start shopping for Christmas presents. And I'm still really excited about some things I learned yesterday =) So...... not such a bad day after all =)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This fall I have had so many friends get engaged or start relationships. Its so exciting.

But I can't help wishing for a chance to walk through colored leaves holding hands with my someone special. Someday.

Meet me in the fall...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Missing England... well this didn't help! haha... but seriously, I am in love with this wedding!

[What an incredible location in the English countryside =]

[love how ethereal it looks... and, of course, love the top hat]

[ <3 ]



[loooove this!]


I'd like to promise that I will NOT have a destination wedding... but I can't really plan that far in advance right now. This summer when we visited the estate that Jane Austen's brother owned (a gorgeous country manor house complete with sheep and an enclosed garden =), they informed us they do weddings. A girl in our group grabbed the info brochure, handed it directly to me, and said, "You're going to need this." Oh my!
It does look like something out of a dream:

sigh...England, I'm trying to get back. In the meantime, I have my memories and my dreams =)