Wow! It’s been over a month since my last blog post and so much has happened! Valentine’s Day came and went, I’m almost done with my second to last quarter at Western, and I’m facing the impending attack of what most people call: The Real World and/or Adulthood.
Life the World and Everything
I am most of the way done with my second to last quarter at Western Washington University. I enjoy my persona poetry class the most, where I embody some character near Ernesto (El Che) Guevara to relate some part of his life. I have taken on the person of a firing squad soldier killing Che, his childhood friend Alberto, his father (also Ernesto), a leper in a colony Che visited when he was called Fuser, a CIA agent reading about Che’s death, a photographer snapping a shot of Che and Fidel Castro together, and a teacher who talked to Che shortly before his death. Oh, and Che too of course. The professor wants us to keep all these poems centered around a theme in order to create some sort of focus, and I think I might try to put together a collection of revolutionaries.
I’m also taking a Chicano literature class to try and supplement my Spanish, even though the class is in English. We had one book that had Spanish in the first half, and English in the second half, so I read both. It took a bit longer, but I felt like it was worth it to get the feeling for reading intensively in Spanish again. I still have my fantasy book that I picked up in BsAs and maybe I’ll have time to actually read it over Spring break. Anyway, in my lit class I’m currently writing a paper about this book called There Dogs Came With Them by María Viramontes. If you don’t know a ton about Mexican-American history in the United States, or if you just really enjoy creative modes of expression, you will probably like this book. Viramontes has description that rivals Markus Zusak, but if she was as good of a writer as he was I would have already finished the book. That’s another thing, with all the books I’ve been reading for this class to supplement my projects and the writing of this paper (a total of six books, plus one that I should maybe get for my Kindle, not to mention the three books I checked out to research Che—but of which I only read one), I haven’t had a ton of time to stay caught up on my normal people class reading, let alone my other normal reading. Anyway, my paper in short argues that the postmodern presentation of Viramontes’ novel lends itself to becoming a metaphor in form for the Chicano experience. I’m going to say that Viramontes does this by recognizing that only through the fragmentation of her narrative in describing disparate characters, and her further fragmenting of the characters in their own timeline, does she find a unifying theme that binds them together, sort of like Third World Feminism would.
All this makes me want to talk about books, but not being in the mood for book reviews all I will say is that my favorite recently read book is I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, and I am currently reading The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman, with Sherman Alexie’s War Dances waiting in the wings.
All these classes speak to me a bunch about self-actualization and self-hood, which begs the question: What is being an adult? When I first thought of this question I immediately thought it meant having my own space that was clean and organized and one hundred percent mine. Since I live with three other people, I haven’t quite achieved that. I’m also not financially independent, which seems like an important adult activity, nor do I have a relationship. Relationships are less of a stressor now that Valentine’s Day is in the past. I work hard to be responsible and my idea of what an ideal adult is, and why? So many people who, by qualification of age, are adults don’t behave like my idea of a perfect adult all the time.
To me, this implies that adulthood is a constructed illusion that doesn’t actually exist, like normal. I’m still finishing up my university degree, but other friends my own age are having babies and marrying each other. While I miss these staples of adulthood, I shouldn’t feel irresponsible and try to play catch up to the standards of adulthood laid out for me by society; if I tried to rush myself to marrying someone now, I would be in deep shit. It helps that as I approach graduation and the end of my undergrad career with no idea of what I would like to do, except save money for a tango pilgrimage across the United States, my own father often calls me asking for advice on what to do next. My father calls for advice because in retirement he has entered a new stage of life and needs to decide what he wants to do. We’re on mirror edges of society’s continuum for us; I’m at the beginning—I decide where my life will go—and he’s at the end of his career, but isn’t ready to bow out of the ring, so he faces the same decision. That said, my father is busy with music, prayer groups, and the occasional case that comes his way. After graduation I will still have tango and writing, but I’ve yet to successfully set up a solid writing schedule and tend to do things in bursts instead of planned intervals. My only real plan is to dance tango in every state, a journey that would take at least a year probably and for which I have zero money.
But life keeps moving forward and what will happen will happen. I will end up finding a job, not because I’m necessarily brilliant, but because I intend to be persistent and because I know that when I have a dream I can do it if I keep working at it. My new dream is tango across the states, and hopefully I can hang on to it long enough for it to become reality.
Days to Come
What’s that? Valentine’s Day? How was that? Oh, it was a long time ago. The highlight of Valentine’s Day was the day before I received a free piece of cake at a milonga due to the extreme generosity of a friend who was working at the dessert shop I was at. This was after I talked her ear off, in Spanish no less, about how bummed out I was to not have any romantic plans for the big day. I sent a friend in Denver some chocolates and licorice, which she shared out among her buddies, and I gave someone in Bellingham a tube of glitter, more as a token of friendly appreciation and less as a “Be Mine” request. Valentine’s Day itself was fine, I made brownies with peanut butter frosting and danced tango.
Anyway. I started up Descent: Sea of Blood again, for those of you who know what that is (sort of a more graspable version of D&D), and it’s going well when we are able to meet—I’ve actually destroyed a few towns, go the powers of darkness!
I have four finals: Two P.E. finals which I suspect will go well since I’ve attended every class so far and can technically miss two, one is the paper for Chicano lit, and the last is a poetry portfolio plus a poetry performance that I’m still working the kinks out of—maybe chacarera? I’m going to spend part of my spring break in Denver visiting friends from Argentina, another part in Spokane visiting my family and friends, and the tail end in Bellingham, hopefully grabbing Mate with some lovely folks.
And there you have it! One month condensed to just over one-thousand words. I would say I’ll start posting more often with random thoughts, but that would require more alcoholic inspiration that I can afford or would want to drink, and I’d hate to make promises I’d break.
Besos y Abrazos!