Beginning the (Re)search

I find the term “research” odd. I’m not doing something a second time, so why the “re” prefix? I’m searching for the first time. I know full well the OED has a perfectly adequate etymological explanation, but I question the term not only for its surface inaccuracy, but also because I find the term “search” more exciting. It lets me feel like Indiana Jones.

Not only does conceptualizing this as a search allow me more agency, the title alludes to my mildly alarming lack of direction. In the three months I have been working on this thesis–working be a very generous term for my accomplishments last month–I have developed three different abstracts, not merely in form but in content. And I highly doubt that I have settled on to the content that will remain constant through the year.

Despite that uncertainty, the past week of delving into my topic–the form of early paperback printings of Shakespeare’s individual plays in America–has been positively electrifying. I’ve chased many rabbits, most of them resulting only in metaphorical dirty boots and literal wasted time, but I’ve found a few gems along the way.

I’ve looked through dozens of articles, checked out books from three libraries, and given the poor people at the ILL offices their fair share of work for the week. I’ve even bought myself some copies of a 1911 paperback printing of Shakespeare’s plays.

I’ve learned more about paperback printing and cover design in the early 20th century than I ever thought I would know, and it is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying to think that I have just scratched the surface.

Basically, it’s going to be a wild ride and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.

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Like a Pro(crastinator)

One month of the summer has slipped by and I have accomplished nothing, more or less.

As far as my thesis research, I have gotten really good at carrying impressive books in my bag without ever opening them.

As far as my personal health, my yoga mat remains rolled up in the corner where I put it when I moved into this house.

As far as my creative endeavors, one page of my sketchbook has new scrawlings. Continue reading Like a Pro(crastinator)

Processing

The world has been a rather terrible place recently.

First, the attacks and negativity from the presidential candidates fills the spaces when another national crisis or tragedy doesn’t demand headline space.

Then, the Stanford rapist received an unbelievably lenient sentence, simultaneously highlighting the racism, sexism, and classism in society, as well as the massive holes in our justice system.

And those are just events in the United States, not counting the tragedy, war, and violence around the world.

Now, the terrorist attacks at the gay dance club in Orlando has destroyed innumerable lives and families.

I don’t know how to respond. Continue reading Processing

Year (D)one.

This morning, I finished the last of the requirements for my first year of graduate school;  such an event should, probably, be marked with some self-reflection.

The year has been good. Challenging, and frustrating, and confusing, but very very good. Challenges were met, frustrations were overcome, and confusions were clarified. Naturally, new ones spring up immediately, but the obstacles make the journey interesting, so I won’t complain.

When you love something, someplace, or even someone, there’s a natural hesitance to get to know it better, at least for me there is. A year ago (to the day actually), I was ending my time at Messiah–a school I grew to love, but my time there did not start that way–and looking towards starting my time at MBC–a town and school I loved from my first google search. So, when the time came to move and start classes, I felt scared to get up close and personal with something, someplace, I adored from a distance.

My fears were unfounded.

Not to say everything here is perfect–there are plenty of quirks and issues–but the issues that we face are superficial, not integral. The actualities of the program and company might be imperfect, but the people working with and through them are good people attempting to do good things.

Reflecting on this year, the number of amazing opportunities I have had astounds me.

Within a month of starting classes, I performed on the Blackfriars Stage in a staged reading of The False One.

Over the course of a weekend, I heard more brilliant thoughts and met more brilliant scholars than ever before.

In my first semester, I performed as Hamlet, the Gravedigger, and Beatrice.

In the span of two weeks, I helped mount of a full production of The City Nightcap with Sweet Wag Shakespeare.

In my second semester, I directed one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows with some my favorite people.

In the course of the year, I have seen dozens of performances at the American Shakespeare Center, all of which make me laugh or cry, or frequently both.

Over a semester, I delved deeply into Macbeth and mounted a pretty freaking awesome production with my classmates.

In ten rehearsals, under the direction of my mentor I took on my biggest (full) role to date, and not only ended up with a decent performance, but had a blast doing so and learned a ton.

Looking back on all of this, I don’t know what I did to be so lucky to be doing what I love, where I love, with people I love. I am humbled and confused and incandescently happy.

Let’s do it again next year, eh?

 

The State of the Finch

This has been a year of beginnings and ends, floundering and flourishing–a year of memories.

The adventures and misadventures of this year:

  1. I visited Mary Baldwin College for the first time, and fell in love.
  2. I developed an entire unit about A Thousand Splendid Suns for my senior students.
  3. I chatted with Michael Attenborough about As You Like It
  4. I was attached by a rabbit and have the scar to prove it.
  5. I met my neighbors for the first (and last) time as well all worked to dig out our cars from the snow.
  6. I got my students really engaged and interested in The Tempest and me, on my second to last day in the classroom.
  7. I called 911 for the first time.
  8. I buzzed the side of my head for an asymmetrical haircut.
  9. I spoke to my classmates about change and identity at the baccalaureate service.
  10. I said goodbye to Messiah College.
  11. I moved home.
  12. I experienced desperation and kindness in the search for a summer job.
  13. I danced like a monster at weddings and had no regrets.
  14. I fulfilled my childhood dream and became a “bologna cooker.”
  15. I said goodbye to my younger brother in thirty seconds as he left for West Point.
  16. I cried looking at the Milky Way in the mountains of Colorado.
  17. I went to the emergency room.
  18. I learned the basics on drumming.
  19. I applied to one grad school, and got in.
  20. I moved to Staunton Virginia, a year after I first visited and told myself I would one day live there.
  21. I was a bridesmaid and cried like a cliche romcom character.
  22. I not only played Hamlet in a scene, but thanks to amazing scene partners and a superb director, I got to explore him.
  23. I saw more lovely theatre than ever before, and have every intention to break that record this year.
  24. I cried listening to a lecture about Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
  25. I met brilliant Shakespearean scholars and didn’t make a complete idiot of myself.
  26. I shared a meal with two strangers because there were no more tables open.
  27. I was in a staged reading within a month of being in VA.
  28. I found that my classmates were more inspiring, challenging, and affirming than I could have ever imagined.
  29. I had a countless number of lazy days with my better half Alison.
  30. I played Dutch Blitz until I hated my entire family.
  31. I ran into the ocean with my four favorite people on Christmas Eve.
  32. I laughed until my sides hurt at a comedy show in NYC.

This has been an incredible year. For the majority of it, I have felt compelled to remind myself “Yes, this is real.” But more than my situation–where I live, what I study, etc.–the people that surround me take my breath away. The kindness, intelligence, humour, and humanity that I see around me astounds me. Without all of the people in my life, caring for me, checking in on me, encouraging me, this year would not have been the year it was. So thank you to all of those who have been with me through this year; I look forward to the next.

 

Looking Back and Forward

Revisiting my undergrad for Homecoming confronted me with the reality that I am a college graduate. Wandering through the library (one of the things I miss most aside from the people and where I spent the majority of my time) simultaneously felt like being home again, and like I did not belong anymore. Continue reading Looking Back and Forward

#WhimWord: Glow

After three hours of driving on the snaking mountain highways–away from the responsibilities and expectations and noise that crowded life on the plains in the city–the air became thinner, cleaner, and clearer.

The final length tested the limits of the town car; roads were pockmarked with the scars of winters past; slopes were steeper and longer than seemed reasonable; towns were gone in the blink of an eye. Continue reading #WhimWord: Glow

#WhimWord: Bustle

Marching Orders for CHIRM

Mission Class: H – F.C.R.

Littleton Colorado, Annual Summer Festival of the Arts, 16 September 1997, 13:28

Subject: 2′ 9” Female, curly reddish hair, flowered shirt, affinity for pinwheels. 

No wings or halos–that’s C and above stuff. That day it got sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt–much more comfortable for observing. Continue reading #WhimWord: Bustle

Life Beyond the Bard

For the first time in my life, I think there’s enough Shakespeare around me.

Yesterday, I wandered into a little art shop after class, and struck up a conversation with the owner. She asked what style of art I did, and when I mentioned Edward Gorey her eyes lit up. We spent the next ten minutes gushing over his style and the way it has been emulated through theatre productions and recreations. As I finally paid for my small purchase and departed, she apologized for talking my ear off.

I quickly correcter her, “Don’t apologize! It was lovely to talk to someone as enamored with Gorey!” Continue reading Life Beyond the Bard