Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meanwhile, in The Village...

by Liz

On Sunday afternoons, Village cafés are packed with laptop-wielding college students, horn-rimmed twentysomethings typing analytic essays at a frantic clip. Carelessness is a facebook memory; the time for procrastination has ceased; the time for literary procreation (or, bullshitting) has just begun.

I remember such Sundays well, if not fondly. My housemate and I would trudge to a State Street café and plop our books dutifully onto an open table, hoping to claim a four-person booth for ourselves. Felicity read Tolstoy for a Winter semester that seemed to last for ages; I plodded through a 10 lb. hardcover on literary theory. By Monday morning, we were meant to brandish well-informed, cleanly typed analyses of our respective reading materials.

I was a shade of Sylvia Plath by the end of my college career, mostly due to the heartburn incurred on such grief-filled Sunday evenings. By 9pm, I could be found lazily eyeing a dauntingly thick packet of unread manuscript; feet extended across the well-worn leather of a booth cushion; nursing a bag of potato chips; contemplating the purchase of a chocolate bar; reasoning the nihilistic attitude I felt towards my college education.

Literary analysis is bullshit. What is the worth of such pretentious bullshit in the greater context of society, anyway? Words are just formalities, placeholders for purely mental concepts. I haven’t even read the novel assigned. The less words I’ve read, the further removed I am from the author’s literary concept; the further removed I am from the author’s literary concept, the less informed my mental conception of the novel will be. The less informed my mental conception, the more obscure my written analysis will be. The words, the concepts…everything becomes diluted. Literary analysis is an exercise in futility; you inevitably understand everything less, and less, and less. And if literature is a metaphor for life then, life, too is futile…

My misanthropy was my own fault; I never did a stitch of reading until 5pm on Sunday. Still, it was a kind favor that I didn’t read Nietzsche until my senior year of college; had I understood literary theory any sooner, I would have dropped out of school.

(And if I didn’t currently have my B.A., I wouldn’t be where I am today, feeding bananas to a 2 year old and washing dainty stirring spoons at a café in Alphabet City, envying the neighborhood college students who aren’t yet pressured to prove their social utility...)


  1. how ironic. yesterday i was at barnes and noble and i looked at Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky and remembered how i never finished the Brothers Karamazov... nor did i ever read the copy crime and punishment that i so eagerly bought after taking the class. I decided to read Wuthering Heights. In retrospect (all the way back to yesterday evening, when i was bemoaning my poor, poor, boyfriendless, loveless situation, my poor ability to detach from my previous relationship, and my distasteful habit of searching every nook and cranny for reasons to hate the aforementioned {for instance, his facebook correspondence with his current girlfriend while we were still dating}...), perhaps i should have gone for something further (farther?) removed from my life, something more intellectual than a disturbing account of consuming passionate love gone sour. i should have just re-bought Crime and Punishment, something that might stimulate my mind in aspects other than relationships. I even thought about buying Jane Austen's Persuasion, but realized that a happily-ever-after kind of ending would undoubtedly make me pine even harder for my mythical semihippie-tshirt&jeans-conservative-business type-pouring out love kinda dream guy...with brown shaggy hair.

    Friends and i went to Best buy and roommate showed me his amazing piano skills, I mean nothing short of AMAZING. I can't describe. I realized I need a Life To Do list, things to distract me from my unrequited love.
    So far it goes:
    To Do:
    -read classics
    -exercise daily
    -take up sewing
    -try yoga
    -join Polish Club (its $20 a year and beers are $1 at the club. I like 75 yr old men anyway)
    -balance my budget
    -make new girlfriends (I've already made 2!)
    -find love of my life

    Things Most Definitely NOT to do:
    -facebook stalk ex boyfriends
    -eat pizza every day
    -whine about unsavory coworkers
    -call ex boyfriend and let him know that i know that he and his current girlfriend shared correspondence while we were still dating

    Ugh, perhaps i'll email you because this is becoming much longer than blog itself...

  2. Besides the pizza that is left over from last Thursday that I've been picking at to tide me over before lunch...I just hate wasting.