I studied Greek for a couple of years of my undergrad. During that time, I went through some pretty huge emotional upheavals (and spent a good chunk of time in the office of a wonderful counselor who helped me get my life back together). During that time, I would sometimes just repeat the Greek word/suffix "εἰμι" to myself. I wrote it in notebooks, I drew it on myself. The word is the first person singular "to be." It was a reminder to not get too lost in the things that were threatening to overwhelm me, but just to be, be myself and be a friend, daughter, sister, student and all my other roles that serve as my function in society.
I decided I wanted the word as a tattoo, but I couldn't decide where. Too small for my back. I didn't want a very visible tattoo, so wrists, ankles, shoulders were all out. I thought about the nape of my neck, but decided it was still too visible. Finally, I settled on behind my ear. Then I decided, rather than get just "εἰμι," I would get the full phrase, "ἐγώ εἰμι"--"I am." Or, "I exist." The phrase has theological significance, but that;s not why I wanted it. To me, the phrase is a reminder that I always have myself, my being. I exist, am a part of the world as my body, my dreams, goals, memories, legacy, while also being true to myself as an individual. I realize this sounds a little hokey, but it's a meaningful tattoo to me. So, here it is:
16) Donate $100 a year to charity.
The Hunger Project- $15
March 8 was International Women's day. The UN's theme this year was "Empower Rural Women--End Hunger and Poverty." In that spirit, I decided to donate to The Hunger Project. Regarding International Women's Day, they stated:
Throughout the developing world, women are the primary caregivers for their families. Rural women grow the majority of the food produced for household consumption. They are intensively involved in food processing. They collect cooking fuel and water. They prepare and serve meals, ensuring that their families' daily food requirements are met. Despite this critical role that women play in food security, rural women are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action to fulfill this responsibility.
Yet, we know that when women are empowered, their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. Our programs support women and build their capacity as leaders and key changes agents. After participating in Hunger Project programs, women throughout Africa, South Asia and Latin America are improving education, health and livelihoods in their communities. They are visible role models, inspiring countless women in thousands of villages.
18) Read 10 books from the Bloom Canon.
6) Carson McCullers The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
7) Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was an incredible read. I can absolutely see why Bloom would consider it canonical. A Farewell to Arms reminded me of why I'm so disdainful of Hemingway. Sorry, friends. I've tried, but I cannot stand the way that man writes characters. I will give it to him that I stayed interested in the story--he knows how to move a plot. But that's about it. I've never understood why Hemingway is considered a Great American Writer.
19) Read 1 unassigned book per month.
March '12- George Saunders Pastoralia
I read this on the train up to Chicago. I received this book in a White Elephant gift-swap (or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods). It came highly recommended. It's a really...interesting read. The book is a novella and a group of short stories. I want to use the word "dystopian," but that doesn't feel quite right because the genius of the stories is that they aren't posited as being in any kind of alternate societal model. There are just...weird things that happen in some of the stories. They offer a creepy side-eye to some of the more banal elements of society, in a way that makes the stories stick in your mind long after you think you should even been remembering them.
24) Learn 1 new word a week.
Prevarication- a false or deliberate misstatement
Agglutination- the state of being thus united; adhesion of parts
Chilblains- the painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to sudden warming from cold temperatures
Expiate- make amends for
Ann and I were finally able to synchronize our schedules and we met up at the Sazerac bar. I had a sazzie and a Ramos Gin Fizz while noshing on some excellent bar foods (wasabi peas!)
67) Learn to make 6 different cocktails from memory.
3) Pinewood Drifter- 2 shots bourbon, 1 shot aperol, 1 shot punt e mes, 1 shot cynar, 1 shot sours, drizzle of orange bitters and drizzle of walnut bitters.
This is a drink I had at The Whistler in Chicago. It wasn't on their menu, but when I asked the bartender to make me something with Aperol, he told me this was a past menu item. It may be my new favorite "fancy" cocktail. (For reference, my standard cocktail is a whiskey sour and I am on a constant mission to find the best one in New Orleans).
4) Juliet Cook
I bought Juliet Cook's collection, 13 Designer Vaginas, a collection of poems about vaginal rejuvenation surgery, at AWP. Here's an excerpt from one poem (all of them are titled, "Designer Vagina"):
Home girl swirled with lard ass.
Pink foam egg carton wastebasket
I don't want to burst at my seams.
I want to stay intact and gleam.
5) Naoko Fujimoto
Fujimoto has a poem called "Peel" in New Madrid's Winter 2012 issue. I have re-read the poem about 20 times. It is beautiful and bracing and every time I read it, it makes me want to write something.
96) Attend 10 cultural events.
6) Reinventing Radio: An Evening With Ira Glass
7) The Lion King
Y'all. Go see the Broadway production of The Lion King if you get a chance. It is gorgeous. I cry at anything, so this is probably not a testament to the play, but when all the animals started coming out onto the stage and walking up the aisles of the theater, the whole experience of it--costumes, set, music--was so overwhelming that I started crying. I don't remember having ever been literally breathtaken, but I was leaning forward, slack-jawed with tears rolling down my face. It's good that there are no photos. Yokels at the theater, y'all!
The tickets were a gift to Richie for Christmas. That may seem like an odd gift to give a twenty-something man, but the movie is sort of special to the two of us. I don't know if I've ever told this story here, but I'm going to tell it again. Over the summer, before we started dating, Richie and I were hanging out at his apartment. We stepped outside on his patio so he could smoke a cigarette. A kid walked up, about 16 or 17, and asked if he could borrow a phone to call his mom. I didn't have mine on me and Richie's was dead. We told the kid this, he said okay and disappeared...only to reappear with a gun, demanding our money. We told him we didn't have anything and begged him to please not hurt us. The kid started laughing and ran away. Richie practically picked me up and threw me inside the apartment. Later, after the police had come (they never found the kid), Richie put The Lion King on to calm us down. We became a lot closer after that night and that movie has held a special significance since.