Monday, February 20, 2017


so there i was, my very first day of graduate school with my quicktrip coffee and swedish fish. the professor announces that our semester long project would be to write a 'how to' book on any topic we wished. our final grade is self publishing the book through amazon (thankfully the sales or lack thereof will not be included in the rubric).

ya'll, this class is technical editing. i thought i was finally going to figure out what all of those editing symbols meant and learn how to writer user manuals for ikea products. 

start a hot yoga practice 
create a roller derby league 
be the ultimate hostess 
create a marketing campaign 
become a morning person
a guide to urban development 
direct a high school drama department 
jump to conclusions 
how to buy a car 
navigate awkward scenarios 
create a new employee handbook 
be an adult 
start a new business 
sell things on ebay 
write your own magazine 
understand the economy 
apply to graduate school 
use essential oils 
navigate kennesaw parking 
interior design 
choose a wine 

well, here we go. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

hometown glory.

in the spirit of keeping up with the blog, this is an essay i wrote for my english class the last semester of my undergrad. the topic was to choose and defend an interpretation of the short story "The Dead" by James Joyce. the story was my favorite from the semester and i would 13/10 recommend finding a moment to read it.

hometown glory. 

It did not come as much of a surprise when the majority of the class had an opposing view on the character of Gabriel Conroy. It was ironic and slightly poetic how everyone else despised the one character I sympathized for all year. One said that it was the description of Conroy that grossed her out, “the high color of his cheeks pushed upwards even to his forehead…and on his hairless face there…bright gilt rims of the glasses…. His glossy black hair was parted in the middle and brushed in a long curve behind his ears… (Norton, 2284).” So Conroy looked like the classic computer nerd who ate lunch in the library, I do not think any of us in room 224 dated the quarterback when we were in high school. I could be wrong about this assumption however, just like my classmates are wrong about the personality and moral character of Gabriel Conroy. I read the research, I know that most if not all of the literary critiques and reviews do not fall in my favor, but my goal is to add another voice into the mix, to prove that Gabriel Conroy is rather just painfully shy, insecure, and madly in love with his wife.
According to Daniel Schwarz in his writing, Gabriel Conroy's Psyche: Character as Concept in Joyce's ‘The Dead,’ James Joyce,
created characters who were metaphors for himself, who were the means by which he explored and defined identity. Joyce’s fiction draws upon the actual-the life he lived-and…he creates masques for what he fears to become…and his appearance, like his character, is a version of what Joyce feared of becoming: bourgeois, conventional…(Bedford 103).”
Joyce feared that if he did not get out of Dublin, his hometown, he would become Conroy, a man in unfashionable dress (no one quite understood the practicality of the galoshes) who was painfully shy, and forced to be with company he did not particularly like. Those fears mimic the ones that most of us have once we graduate high school, that we will not be able to escape and will be forced to hangout with the Mr. Browne, the one who was always trying to spike the punch at Prom, and the Mary Jane, the girl who got the lead part in the play because of her parents’ connections rather than her talent, of our town. This is a rational fear to have and one that Conroy must have had as well when he went off to University. Unfortunate or fortunate, Conroy was called back to Dublin to take care of his three aunts, orphaned cousin, and support their music academy. “Gabriel has a desperate need to be needed, and we realize that he is a family caretaker of a kind; he has been reduced to that role and he relishes that role. Kate says to Gretta: ‘I always feel easier in my mind when he’s here’ (Bedford 107).” Conroy is a family man, he left his University and his like-minded peers, came home to work as a schoolteacher and help out the family business. His freelancing at the Daily Express is not a political stance as rudely assumed by Ms. Ivors, but an outlet for him to keep up with his passion, writing.
From the very beginning of the story, Conroy is introduced as an anticipated house guest, “they [Kate and Julia] wondered what could be keeping Gabriel and that was what brought them every two minutes to the banisters to ask Lily if Gabriel had come…he was their favorite nephew (Norton, 2283).” He is also shown to be in a cheerful mood with the use of “he said in a friendly tone,” and “said Gabriel gaily (Norton 2284).” These descriptors are used in Conroy’s conversation with Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, as he is giving her his coat and goulashes.  Gabriel’s intention was not to offend her when he mentioned marriage, “O then,’ said Gabriel gaily, ‘I suppose we’ll be going to your wedding one of these fine days with your young man, eh?” He was desperately grasping at straws for small talk for the younger generation is strange to him and the weather had already been brought up.
When Lily “glanced back at him over her shoulder and said with great bitterness…”, Gabriel is embarrassed for saying the wrong thing and clueless of how to respond so he hands her some money and leaves the situation as quickly as possible. Joyce writes that Conroy literally runs away, “he walked rapidly toward the door,” and “almost trotting to the stairs, (Norton 2285).” Conroy is shocked and at a loss for a comeback, a quite often personality trait of mine, and while I do not have the monetary resources to pay off everyone who hears me say something embarrassing, the need to disappear immediately is something I can relate to.
Schwarz does not approve of the way Conroy retreats into his own head to review his speech. “when Lily distances his efforts to charm and to be fatherly with what he takes as a rebuke…he characteristically finds refuge in self-importance and begins to look at his speech (Bedford 106).” Conroy is nervous about his speech, he has stage fright. He likes the quote from Robert Browning but is certain that no one is going to understand it and then think of him as a moron. He comes off as pompous because he is worried about his higher education, not because he believes it makes him better than everyone else, but knows that if he does not use layman’s terms, he will be regarded as a pompous man full of insecurities. “He would only make himself ridiculous by quoting poetry to them which they could not understand. They would think that he was airing his superior education (Norton 2285).” This is a rational fear for those returning home for winter break, a question everyone loves to ask, “what classes are you taking,” often has the answer everyone hates, “Survey of British Literature and Thermodynamics.” For college students with family members who did not follow the path of higher education, this question is often easier by leaving it at simple “English and math.”
There are a few small personality traits of Conroy that are often misconstrued by those looking to paint him as self-aggrandizing. He is polite and courteous to Ms. Ivors as she accuses him of being a West Briton. “He wanted to say that literature was above politics. But they were friends of many years’ standing and their careers had been parallel, first at University and then as teachers: he could not risk a grandiose phrase with her.” He thinks about past conversations and analyzes them. He is seen later on still thinking about the exchange with Ms. Ivors, “perhaps he ought not to have answered her like that…but she was trying to make him look ridiculous.” Rather than a heated comeback, he replied in a way that made Ms. Ivors claim that she was joking and dropped the conversation, “trying to smile he murmured lamely that he saw nothing political in writing reviews for books (Norton 2291, 2292).”
He employs a sarcastic humor at the dinner table, “Now, if anyone wants a little more of that vulgar people call stuffing, let him or her speak,” and another “I’ll engage they did, said Gabriel, but they forget my wife here takes three mortal hours to dress herself (Norton 2296, 2283).”
Schwarz accuses him of narcissism, “Gabriel is paralytically self-conscious. Isn’t part of Gabriel always standing to one side watching his behavior? He thinks he is being watched and talked about more than he is (Bedford 109).”  I find this accusation hard to stomach, for while it is true, he does review his behavior and worry about what others will say, but it is presented as a trait of an inflated ego hoping to shake off insecurities, rather than a common human trait shared by practically everyone.
The majority of readers interpret the story as a metaphor for colonization and Conroy as the classic chauvinist who does not want to give up his ruling as the patriarch of the family, this is a shame for they miss out on the romance of it all, they are blind to how much Conroy loves and adores his wife. When he arrives at the academy, he tells his plans of hiring a babysitter for the children back home and reserving a fancy hotel room in the city. He marries Gretta without his mother’s blessing and admires her for helping his mother despite the fact, “Some slighting phrases she had used still rankled in his memory; she had once spoken of Gretta as being country cute and that was not true of Gretta at all. It was Gretta who had nursed her during all her last long illness (Norton 2289).” While in conversation she often distracts him; “she broke out into a peal of laughter and glanced at her husband, whose admiring and happy eyes had been wandering from her dress to her face and hair.”
It is common to read his admiration as possession as if he saw his wife as property. The classmates came to a consensus that he was feeling lust, not love, but I see the writing contradictory to that opinion, “at last she turned towards them and Gabriel saw that there was color on her cheeks and that her eyes were shining. A sudden tide of joy went leaping out of his heart,” and  “Gabriel’s eyes were still bright with happiness. The blood went bounding along his veins; and the thoughts went rioting through his brain, proud, joyful, tender, valorous (Norton 2286, 2289, 2304, 2305).”
When he and Gretta arrive at the hotel room, it is painfully obvious to the reader that Conroy wants to have sex with her. He gets nervous at the thought, “thumping of his own heart against his ribs,” and rather than make the first couple of moves, he wants to see that Gretta wants him just as much as he wants her. This is where the entire story falls apart. There is a sensation of horror as Gretta waxes poetic about the boy of her youth as she and Conroy walk through the empty streets of the city towards the hotel.
            Many harp on Conroy and his reaction to Gretta’s confession of a great love, mainly because he fails to do much other than watch her fall asleep as he sits by the window. This is the scene that confuses me the most when others say how pompous and rude he is, for my heart aches every time I read it. Throughout the entire story, Conroy falls in love with his wife, thinks about how beautiful she is, has flashbacks to times of love letters and other sweet memories, he cannot wait to take her back to the hotel so they could be alone and he can finally say everything he had been thinking at the dinner and hear the sweet things she has thought in return. “While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him in her mind with another.” To find out that this is not the case at all and that not only has his wife been swooning about another man all night and quite possibly throughout their entire marriage is painfully shocking and enough to make one ill. It makes me wonder if you could ever truly know someone or better yet if you could ever truly know that they love you. Here was Conroy still in madly in love with his wife after all this time only to be left staring at the snow, questioning if she had ever really felt the same, if he had been competing with a first love even after all these years. I cannot fathom why I was the only one in the class who could have understood the brevity of this scene. Joyce brought tears to my eyes as the story closed, “his soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead (Norton 2310, 2311).”
It is difficult to see the opposing interpretation of Conroy’s character, for he embodies the very traits shared with other leading characters in both book and film. He is shy, courteous to others, supportive of his family, in love with his wife, and finds a way to pursue his passion despite the circumstances keeping him where he is.  

 'and i know it's true what you said, i live like a hermit in my own head, but when the sun shines again, ill open the curtains to let the light in.'


Thursday, February 2, 2017


well, it appears that this blog still exists. a year and a half almost to the day since the last post, about seven years since the first. 
a quick update for all of the folks at home: the format is still my favorite band with the tarlatans/beach tiger a close second. i am in graduate school at ksu, working on becoming a marketing director for a university. im making an (impossible) attempt at getting into the more technical side of marketing (coding, analytics) and i hope to have so much extra time on the weekends that i can freelance for a dance company(atlanta ballet, pacificnorthwest). seeing the grand canyon is on the top of my ‘to do’ list, i hope to make a major move to either nashville, utah, or colorado. i have future plans to adopt a wiemaraner and name him hamilton (yes, after alexander hamilton and because of the play). i still drink hot tea before bed (but sometimes wine) and obsess over being french (right now i have all of the turtlenecks from jcrew). i saw elton john in concert last september and cried while he sang ‘tiny dancer.’ i have a pretty good idea of who i am going to marry, but i have an even better idea of the song for the first dance (fire by augustana). i am incredibly insecure about my braces but they will come off in twenty five days, and i am even more insecure about how i will look once the braces come off (is it possible to look even worse?).

i am also on my fourth journal (there is an insurmountable amount of pressure for this one to be really good, the pattern was discontinued and the book cost me way too much) so i figure i might as well start off with a state of the union. one day i will move to a real website but the nostalgia is real with this one (i have also finally seen star wars and didn’t completely hate it).

results of self reflection: 
i wear one pattern at a time 
i show up to work on time 
not everything needs to be broadcasted 
invest in the good makeup 
its okay to eat in front of boys 
stop drinking moscato 
being in the spotlight is usually a bad thing 
i don't always have to be the one talking 
be nice. be nice. be nice. 
if i'm not having fun at the party, leave the party 
when someone shows me who they are, believe them the first time 
you don't always have to respond 
weightlifting is good for you 
facebook is not a news source 
my citizenship is in heaven 
have a cup of tea before bed. 

stranger things affected me because i had such a connection to barb, especially the scene when she watches everyone go upstairs and she's all alone in the hallway. and then the duffer brothers forgot all about her which i thought was savage af. 

my favorite 'fast company' article, september 2016. 
'those were scare tactics, i have a business to run.' 

so i get it, beach tiger is a weird name, but give them a try. 
&& this is my favorite song. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...