desk lunch – 2015-05-21

Brought to you this week by EXHAUSTION. I moved into my fifth apartment in Philadelphia this weekend. I only have to unpack the kitchen and then I can finish putting everything in the places they’ll stay until I move again in 2-3 years. I have a makeup mirror that I can’t hang up in my bedroom anymore and it’s resting on my desk so I can better embrace my Lady of Shalott aesthetic. Tirra lirra by the train tracks seriously will someone organize my kitchen for me.

How do you not understand that a vigorous and generous financial aid system is relevant for ALL students, because it ensures your kid will be going to school with people from vastly different class and income backgrounds?
I guess that did not necessarily seem like a plus to some people.

The Nicoles at The Toast are the college counselors I wish I had at my tiny Catholic high school way back when. The link above has much better advice than such stunning observations from my high school’s counselor, like: well, with those PSAT scores you won’t get into an Ivy League school, so just go to [state school everyone in my class attended, like in SAVED BY THE BELL: THE COLLEGE YEARS, a show that NO ONE enjoyed. And didn’t Kelly DATE HER PROFESSOR?]. I never went back to said counselor’s office, and I didn’t bother asking for useful advice like how I could get application fees waived or whether it was even possible to negotiate a financial aid package.

I can’t be too bitter because in the end, my chosen school came through with an aid package that covered the sizable tuition bill. However, I’m still paying off four years’ worth of expensive room and board. It’s these really boring, common, money-related considerations that make me the worst person to play if you could change one thing about your life: the answer is always GO BACK IN TIME, GET TO COLLEGE FOR LESS.


On Monday I saw Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video about 15 minutes before Nicki Minaj and Beyonce released Feeling Myself and… I LOVE THEM BOTH. SO MUCH.

Look at these two complementary celebrations of female wish fulfillment!!! First there’s the hyperfashionable desert meetup where you eat burgers and tick off the benchmarks of your incredible professional success. Neither person begrudges the other their success and the burgers are incredible, as is your hair and makeup and everything about you.

Then there’s the other side of The Dream, where you have so much money you invite your squad to shoot a four-minute action movie. You celebrate your success by creating this lavish piece of work. You get ZENDAYA TO THROW KNIVES. You engage your supermodel bff in Xena-level kickboxing that would make Sappho throw down her lyre to watch. Top all that off with a sci-fi aesthetic more interesting than the $250m blockbuster with a robot in the title and I’m here for every second of it. (Except for the music. Oops.)


I talked to my agent about it, who was really supportive, but referred to me as “powerless” in the situation. I understood what he meant—that I had no leverage with which to make this editor respond to me—but the word struck me, because I don’t feel powerless at all. I feel exactly the opposite: that they need voices like mine. That if they don’t take them, it’s their loss, not only morally and aesthetically but (in the long run) financially, and no one will wait for them to catch up with the new culture we’re creating. We’ll just go ahead and create it.

It’s worth reading the above from Monica Byrne, a writer with an offer from WIRED to write a pop culture column. Her first batch of interesting pitches were rejected, and the second batch never acknowledged. It’s an awful thing to have the offer of a steady gig slowly drop out from under you, but this excerpt struck me for the truth of its optimism. Work that grows from where you are, from your experiences, from the life you’ve lived, can’t be ignored. (She said, more to herself than anyone else, because there’s nothing more difficult to convey than GENUINE HONESTY. Typing those two earnest sentences was the most painful thing I’ve done all day.)

Related: Byrne also published her anti-resume last year, a detailed spreadsheet of every lit mag submission, fellowship/residency application, or query to an agent sent since 2007. That’s almost 600 submissions with a success rate of 3%. It’s both humbling and reassuring that my own acceptance rate can dream to aspire all the way to 3%!! (We’re currently at better than nothing!!! percent.)

In fact, I think that sick girls will outlive everyone in the coming zombie apocalypse. You will never meet better tactical thinkers; we know which hours of the day we can go to the grocery store without running into a teeming horde of toddlers who’ll try to kick our canes out from under us (a weekend foray to Trader Joe’s is frankly excellent supply-run preparation in this regard). We know with eerie precision how many steps it’ll take to get to any marker in a room, and we can plot the best courses to conserve our energy.
where is the lie

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