Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Einstein...

Einstein is credited with saying:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

I like Einstein. I have always been fond of the idea of a kooky old (or young) man with wild hair and wild ideas and the inability to conform. There is a statue of Einstein on campus, and I love it just as much as I love the idea of Einstein. (I never knew him personally, so I can't say that I love the actual HIM.) This statue depicts him lounging on a bench, his head thrown back and an enigmatic smile on his face. I needed some comfort today, and so sat with him on the bench and talked to him about school and my challenges. He's actually quite a good listener. He bestowed a little sage advice, his arm around me the entire time. He encouraged me to just run and take my exam and stop obsessing over it.

I did well on my test. 98%. w00t.


Geary warns us of the three P's: perfectionism, procrastination and pressure. (The first two beget the third.) She talks about using descriptive words low on the scale of abstraction. She tells us, "If you feel overwhelmed about writing, open a new doc/new notebook page and freewrite small details."

"Don't forget smell," she tells us. "Grab your audience by their nostrils and pull them in." This turn of phrase makes me laugh. She says that another teacher of her's used it once, but I give Geary the credit. I heard it first from her mouth. She to us a short narrative by Scott Russell Sanders called "Pony", found in the collection "The Country of Language". Two phrases I liked in the narrative: "crazed glass" and "paradise of bombs".

She has us freewrite. She wants us to write the setting of our narrative. Of course, I haven't chosen mine yet.

The sky is big here, sprawling and black. So different from the city sky minimized by the tops of tall buildings. The cold desert wind whips my hair behind me as I cling to my cousin's waist. He revs the four-wheeler faster and tears are blown into my eyes. It is a bumpy dirt track, wide, but pitted with holes and rocks that reach out to grab the tires as we pass. I make sure the shovels don't fall as we bounce ever further and faster away from the house. I lean my head back to take in the sky. It seems limitless, a vast quilt stitched with a million stars. The moon hasn't risen yet. He turns off the road and down a small hill, sputtering to a stop. I climb off, pulling the square-tipped shovels with me. He smiles in the starlight and takes one of the shovels, turning to lead the way down to the dam. We splash through the wet field, knee-high rubber boots heavy on our feet, shovels over one shoulder. The smell of alfalfa, damp and green and growing, is thick around us, drowned soil, low clouds. At the irrigation ditch, we slide partway down either side of the muddy bank and pull at the ends of the dam to release it. Water starts flowing back down the culvert again....

1 comment:

NullimusPrime said...

Great stuff. I have had that same experience.

My grandpa used to get his water turn while we were visiting and we would lose hours splashing around his lawn.