"The Horror, The Horror," of Our Last Class
We had our last painful graduate class with our theatrical teacher and the assorted cast of characters minus the angry lesbian and the dude who answered his cell phone during class, left to buy soup and slurped it up while we were discussing Lawrence, and checked his email from his laptop. Occasionally, he also said something. Who else? Agnes, whom I love because she has a beautiful accent and is shy and pretty and shares the same name as my grandmother. Molly, my friend and co-worker, who would never look at me during class for fear of bursting out laughing and several times unsuccessfully attempted to open bags of pretzels and failed because of the crinkling noise. The Jesus guy, and a few other people who tried very hard to pretend we were learning something and not just stuck in a show starring our loud, dramatic instructor who boomed out pronouncements in voice loud enough to induce Molly's migraines.
On the last night, I presented my analysis of "The Death of Ivan Ilych" along with another woman, Suzanne, and we offered cookies. After we finished our presentation, the teacher first fakely told us how much she enjoyed our conversations and found them to be stimulating and interesting (she meant her monologues). Then, we went around the room to tell everyone what our favorite book was even though none of us much cared to know.
The worst/best/worst moment occurred when it was the turn of this girl who has a physical disability; I don't know what it is, but she uses a walker. She said that her favorite book was Kafka's Metamorphosis because she identified with Gregor Samsa as people often look at her as though she is an insect. An honest and brave pronouncement told with not an ounce of self-pity but our teacher cried, Oh, no, Katie! (You're name is Katie, right?). We don't think of you like that! We think of you as one of our own. We would never think of you as an insect, unless, of course, it were a katydid! (I made the last part up). Katie said, Well, I didn't mean you guys do...The teacher said, Kandy, we have grown very fond of you. Never think of yourself that way, never! It was a perfect surreal moment.
I've signed up for two classes next semester, one that I think is about pop culture and the other is a Saturday graduate playwriting course wherein I will be the only pupil. No one else has signed up for it yet. I believe it will be cancelled. I also tried to register for a graduate fiction course by asking the department head for special permission, but she hasn't responded yet. I doubt she will let me do it. I've tried and failed before. We'll see.
Last night, read Steve Martin's autobiography about his decades as a comic, Born Standing Up. My favorite part of the entire book was the caption to one of his childhood pictures showing his family sitting around a kitchen table: "Our family in a Texas diner, circa 1949. Me, my mother, my father, and Melinda. I don't know who the woman in the middle is, unless we happened to be having lunch with Virginia Woolfe." She did bear an uncanny resemblance, down to the demure bun. I'm also reading Mansfield Park, which is entertaining, but I am kind of sick of Miss Fanny Price and her blushes and sweet demeanor. How does Austen manage to write in almost all dialogue and still paint a vivid picture? Almost all of her writing is telling what's happening next with very little description of place or characters or things. Still, you can see it all. I'm guessing that Fanny and her cousin Edward will end up together. They were allowed to marry their cousins in those days. That's why everyone's eyesight is so bad now.