Jhumpa Lahiri

I’ve been reading Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and I think it’s time for me to say what I’ve always wanted to say about a book:

Hotdiggity Damn! This book is good to the last drop!


It’s so truthful and so full of human expression and emotions without being soap-opera, and I just can’t get enough out of it. Each short story makes me want to spend a whole day just digesting what she wrote, poring over every word and letting it simmer in my brain so I never forget it.

Anywho, what I really wanted to say is that Jhumpa Lahiri is most certainly my favorite author (don’t worry, The Great Gatsby is still my favorite book!), and I would love to be able to write like her. She writes with such subtlety, but your heart still melts out of sadness and joy intermingled with each other after each of her stories. She is a master of words, and I think that’s going to be my literary goal: to be able to write like Jhumpa Lahiri, to write about the small but have it mean so much more, and to be able to portray human emotions so tastefully and articulately as she does.

To anyone who is not read anything written by Jhumpa Lahiri, I highly recommend checking out one of her books pronto. You, my literary friend, are missing out.

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An English Major’s Future

(Warning: this post is almost entirely made up of me ranting and worrying about the future. Read at your own peril.)

I love English, and because of that, I can’t think of anything I would love better than to study literature in college. All of my friends and family know this, and everyone says that they can’t see me majoring in any other field.

Now. Here’s the problem. My father and my best friend have been annoying me lately with their talks about how English majors can’t do anything once they leave college. Both of them start of by telling me that English is a critical skill that everyone should know, but then they say that I should double major in something else because I’ll make no money and I won’t have a good future.

However, I know that if I was planning on studying physics or chemistry, I would have no problem, which is so stupid since there are as few jobs in physics or chemistry as there are for English. I love English, but I hate that people always say that I can’t do anything except be a high school teacher. And what I hate most is that I truly admire my father for doing a job that he loves so much and gets so much joy out of, but then because my passion isn’t as financially stable, he thinks I need to tweak my passion.

Please don’t get the wrong idea though, my father is incredibly sweet and he’s only doing this because he doesn’t want to see me unhappy and poor in the future. But he’s given me so many talks now about how, after college, I should think about going into Law, or getting an MBA, or doubling majoring in science as well as literature, that I don’t think I can take it anymore. I love English, and it would be my dream to be an editor of a magazine or in a publishing house (which my Dad says is a disappearing job because of blogs and such), but I get so much flak over wanting to have a job in literature that I get so sick and tired of all of these people telling me that I should be studying something else, or something in addition to English.

So, after all of my rantings and ramblings, I was wondering if any of you current or past English majors can tell me about your experience as an English major. Is life as an English major really worse than any of the other majors? Are the editing/publishing jobs really dying out? And for those of you who are English professors in colleges, my Dad is under the impression that English professors have the lowest salaries and find it harder to get hired–is this true?

I’ve been getting so much unwanted and unfounded advice, that I would love to hear from people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Ebb and Flow

Let’s get a boat and leave our good byes at the door
for the only parting gift that I could possibly accept anymore
is sailing with you, watching the waves always come back to the shore.

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Weekend Trifextra challenge: Inspired by all of the poetry entries we’ve had recently, we challenge you to write a poem of your own in either 33 words, 3 lines or 3 stanzas.

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

—William Wordsworth

I love the difference he makes between loneliness and serene solitude in this poem, and I think what he says is so true.

Silent love

From the beginning, they had a quiet sort of relationship, and for a while, it suited them just fine. But when her mother left for Rome with her boyfriend, the quiet became unbearably silent, until she didn’t feel related to her father at all.

In fact, the only time the two talked was when it came to his alma mater, Tufts. He was so enthusiastic that, when the time came, she applied on a whim just to please him, even though she knew that college wasn’t in her future—dancing was. She had inherited the art of sinking into a song and leaving the world behind from her mother, and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She hadn’t told her father though, scared of the memories it would bring back of her mother.

Then, one day, she saw a big envelope from Tufts in her mailbox, and she knew she had to break the silence.

“I can’t go to college, Dad.”

He looked up, bewildered.

“I love to dance—it’s in my blood. But, dad! That doesn’t mean that I’ll turn out like her—because we’re different people. She was wild and unpredictable, and I’m just not.” She paused at the mention of her mother, who both of them hadn’t talked about since her departure.

But she braced herself and went on: “I can be a great dancer, I know it. And there won’t be any trouble for you; you won’t have to pay or anything. I’d just… I’d like your support from time to time. I’d like you to be my father again, like you were when she was here.”

He nodded and walked out of the room while she let the tears she had held in for ten years stream out.

Then he came back into the room with a box in his hand and, his fingers trembling, opened the lid. Inside were a slightly dusty, but beautiful pair of pale pink ballet shoes.

“I would like that too,” he said.

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My entry for this week’s Trifecta contest, in which we have to use the third definition of the word:

: the quality or state of being troubled especially mentally
: public unrest or disturbance <there’s trouble brewing downtown>
It really has been too long since I took part in Trifecta, and though I’m not a fan of this week’s word, I thought I’d give it a try.

The Underdog of Beauty

Spirals of beautiful hardship are overlooked
for the white beds atop and small wrists below,
but, on further glance, these indentations that
swiftly turn and branch just so

when the fingers are stretched straight
like the slender trunks of deep dark trees,
the indents swerve and curve in unending
motionless circles that the lines can never flee,

like gnarled pathways etched into flesh,
drawn like spider webs in grains of sand
that will grow bulbous and grotesque with time, but
now it will help its fingers bend to hold my tender hand.

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I saw a picture of a famous musician, and oddly enough I was taken aback by how beautiful his knuckles were. I felt so strange that I had to write a poem about how knuckles are the underdog of beauty.

Hope you like it!

Goodbye High School

There it is, the last peal of the last bell
that’s marked our high school lives and years,
that interrupted our school day hours
but now is quenched by our senior cheers.

The last bell, but it sounds just like the first
that frightened us our early high school days,
when we huddled on the freshmen quad
and carried our maps to find our different ways.

But the bell slowly faded to the background
of our years—from ninth to twelfth grade,
when our new friends, dances and
homecoming games made us much less afraid.

And now we will not even hear the bell
that followed us around every hour at Hum;
instead we’ll hear new sounds, see new sights
that will shape the person we are to become.

But though the future may seem foggy and unclear,
and we know that the bell has rang its last rang
,
we’ll thank Hum for the four great years we’ve had,
and, whatever our future, we’ll go out with a bang.

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Here’s the poem for my last high school paper, in which the seniors get together and make one last issue that talks about college, leaving high school and all of that. I volunteered to write the poem for it, which is something that I definitely wouldn’t have done if you guys hadn’t given me the confidence I have now about my poetry, so please let me know what you think about it!

Also, sidenote: I originally wrote my school’s name, but I don’t really want you all to know that (again, I have trust issues and all of the mumbo jumbo), so that’s why I have the word Hum in there (since it rhymes pretty well with my school).