grad school, simple as that (because clever and/or poetic titles evade me–which, of course, implies that my other titles are clever and poetic. They are not.)

So occupied. The first week of year one of my grad program has passed; I’m still finding a comfortable rut to roll along. It’s not a matter of being stuck–I’m happy where I am, studying folklore (or learning to study it). What I mean, is I’m still finding a rhythm to settle into, so I can get my academic work done, and mind my core–which is strange.

One of the reasons I’m here is to bring folklore closer to my core. But that doesn’t mean making drumming and writing centrifugal. Right now I’m learning to make space. Over the summer, I set myself the goal of getting 75k words of the magpie book written. I managed 65k and I’m inclined to be content with that. But I still want to try and wrap up the rest of draft 1 by the end of October or November. It will happen. I’m taking a grad fiction seminar and after just one meeting, in which we discussed a broader and more dynamic definition of omniscience, my understanding of how I should be telling this nestled story of mine is clarifying:

Because the magpie book’s spine is a story told by a pair of exterior narrators, the close-third perspective I’ve been using really doesn’t make sense. Considering the tricksy, corvid nature of these outer-narrators, I don’t think they’re capable of limiting themselves to the contents of two separate and single heads, one at a time. An omniscient narrator would give them the freedom to flit about, wreck havoc where and where-not appropriate, to make potent and highly opinionated statements about the story, and the nature of story, as magpies would be (in my mind) wont to do.

Then, of course, there’s the drumming to make way for. Soon, I hope have to have a space for my set, which means there will be a significant drop in air-drumming–not absolute, though. One thing I’ve learned being away from my drums this summer is that I can nail a song much quicker and more exactly, than if I were sitting at my kit. This is probably directly related to my tendency to free-play along with songs. Which is fun, but not exactly beneficial. I taught myself a couple songs in early summer (Pull Me Under, A Dudás, and Suncatcher), paying attention to nuance and detail. Distraction plummeted with only air and anatomy and brain-fabricated sounds at my disposal, so that’s a technique I’ll be keeping with me. Nonetheless, having nothing to strike for the past four months is the sort of difficulty that can only be coped with by pretending it hasn’t been hard, so really, truly being able to drum again will be something like waking up.

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As proven by a recent photo I tweeted, grad school is keeping me inundated. It will stay like this, I know. Okay, fine. I can survive doing things. I get excited when something comes along that needs to be added to the to-do list, because I like drawing lines and bisecting letters and crowing glee with the doneness of it all, and by the time all this is over, I will have struck-through many to-dos, but probably not as many as I should. And that’s okay. Life is a massive to-do list on a pedestal (or a toadstool, because why would you put a to-do list on a pedestal when you can have fungus?) and the only way it ends is in the inkbath of death.

…that’s the afterlife, by the way: your existential to-do list. Drowned in a bucket of milked ballpoints.