I know better than to do this but I spent all weekend engrossed in a very riveting 19th century novel: Jane Eyre. I was in a reading slump, having checked out numerous books at the library over the past few weeks but not feeling enchanted with any of them (except Kira Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata, which was beautiful but very depressing). I literally spent all of Saturday and Sunday on the couch with the Dover paperback edition in my hands and chips and salsa on the coffee table.
It's amazing that something written over 150 years ago can still be relevant and fun to read today. The storytelling was great, the prose flowery and old but not difficult to understand, and the characters very sympathetic and colorful. In other words, I totally loved it, and am looking forward to tracking down the Masterpiece Theatre DVD when it comes out (if it's not out already). I haven't read a really romantic story like that in ages, and it was very satisfying (if not bodice-ripping). In fact, the last "romantic" book I read (where you have to keep reading in order to find out if ill-fated lovers end up together in the end) was The Thorn Birds, which I read in the 8th grade over a period of about two days over Christmas break. It was a very steamy read and I always find it interesting that there are usually 10 or more copies at the Sister's annual book sale at CSC.
There's something to be said for cheesy romance novels, ones that are well-written anyway. I was able to escape my present life as a stressed-out graduate student and live the life of someone who could have been my great-great-great-great (great?) grandmother. Was this book considered high literature in its day? Or was this considered a Danielle Steelish novel of its time (I'm picturing victorian ladies pulling this book out of their embroidery bags and stealing a few forbidden moments with Mr. Rochester on the fainting couch).
Anyway, aside from wasting away a weekend reading, I've had a few celebrity encounters worth noting. A couple weeks ago Faith Ringgold came to our humble town and gave a lecture. It was wonderful and we snagged a few autographed posters afterwards. It seems that all famous artists dress the same--big chunky jewelry, drapey clothing, hair piled on top of their heads--but this look suited her, along with her big gold and black glasses.
Also, Libby Larsen came to our school as a guest composer and spent a day on Feb. 13th working with performers, giving a lecture, and talking with student composers, including little old me. I was fortunate enough to be able to accompany her (by myself!) to the student union to grab a coke and some snacks and really talk about music. The whole experience was truly amazing and surreal--the whole time I was thinking, "Libby Larsen is sitting directly across from me in the PUB and drinking a diet pepsi, among students milling about, eating tater tots, watching sports on the big t.v., and playing cheesy made-up new-agey songs on the piano downstairs in the lobby." Our conversation was amazing, and I would write it all down here, but there are too many wonderful things to say, so if you want to know more you must call or write. Suffice it to say, she is an amazing and energetic woman, who was neither condescending nor arrogant, and very friendly and eager to talk about my (and my fellow students') work. What I noticed most about her manner of speaking and her overall outlook and energy pertaining to art and music was this: where most people (including myself) question their artistic vision and say to themselves, "Oh, that's a stupid idea. It would be impossible to pull off," she says, "How much will it cost?" I thought that was the most amazing thing about her, and why she is a famous and successful composer. It never occurred to her not to do something.
One more thing: I added a new link to the right--Retro Research. Read it over the next few days because she will soon be abandoning her blog. I've always wanted to do something like this myself, and think that I might try a month-long internet/email/t.v. fast once I'm out of school.
Lately I've really been missing snail mail (I've lost some electronic letters because I've changed email addresses a few times in the past few years, and who thinks to print them out beforehand?). Also, I waste so much time on the internet and watching shows I don't even really like on t.v. Sigh.