Making the foray into blogging because at forty-something, and mother of three, I have turned my back on my film career and am pursuing my education. This September I start at UCLA as a Junior, majoring in English.
"I am an instrument in the shape of a woman trying to translate pulsations into images for the relief of the body and the reconstruction of the mind." - Adrienne Rich, "Planetarium"
My first day was a truly great experience. I started with French I, which I think I am going to sail through and love! My first English lecture class was inspiring, and I learned we are to study the work of not only American Women Writers (from Alcott to Walker), but women from a plethora of ethnic backgrounds - placing them into the historical and cultural context of America. This course is a departure from the booming voices of the "Great American (white male) Writers", like Hemmingway, Faulkner and Mailer, focusing instead on the creative impetus of women writers in America since the 19th century.
A bit of student activism followed - I participated in the rally demonstrating against the California State budget cuts that have sorely impacted public education. I was appalled to learn that night hours at the library have been eliminated, among many other important services, while the Regents continue to draw gargantuan salaries, stadiums are re-built and new buildings continue to expand the campus!
After the rally I had my discussion class for the American Women Writers. The professor had me read the second stanza of an Anne Sexton poem, "In Celebration of My Uterus" I am afraid I could not finish the stanza because I started to cry (mortifying!). The poor professor thought it was because it was too personal to me, but I was thinking of someone else as I read this:
"Sweet weight, in celebration of the woman I am and of the soul of the woman I am and of the central creature and its delight I sing for you. I dare to live. Hello, spirit. Hello cup. Fasten, cover. Cover that does contain. Hello to the soil of the fields Welcome, roots."
I sit at my computer looking at a stack of the twelve text books and novels I will be reading this quarter. I have bought my ring binders, college ruled notepads, pens, pencils and other assorted accoutrements of academia. Each folder is carefully labeled not only with my name, subject and professor, but also the days and times of the lectures and their room numbers. I am a bit anal about organizing. My university e-mail inbox is overflowing with invites from groups ranging from transfer student welcoming committees, greek life organizations, campus social events, extra curricular clubs, and even one inviting me to try out for the rowing team! I am being well and truly embraced by UCLA, and have even scored a prized parking spot in the second round allocations - something I am thrilled about! I am nervous, and I am excited. Tomorrow I will go to campus and walk through my schedule to locate lecture rooms to make sure I can get between classes in time, and where they are in relation to the parking lot (I have a notoriously bad sense of direction, and it is a big complicated campus). Looking at the mostly young fellow-students milling about, I'll be thinking carefully about what the hell I should wear, and wondering whether or not anyone will talk to me. On Thursday I will begin this journey in earnest. Wish me luck!
This post is off-topic, but there is a tangential connection. My Ob/Gyn is a lovely man. He greets me always with a warm handshake and kiss on the cheek. I like this, although I know some women who would find it mortifying. I even like that while he is inserting various implements and digits into my nether regions, we chat about our kids and life in general. While he is inspecting my mammaries for suspicious lumps, he asks me about what I am doing now, and I tell him about my impending foray into University life. He is so genuinely encouraging, I am touched. He says I should document the experience, and I stumblingly confess that I will be blogging. "Splendid!," he says "That is the 21st century version of a diary. Then you should use that and expand it into a book." I think about how he has delivered my third child (the other two were born in England), prescribed contraception, given me great advice about my waning sex drive,and patiently tolerated my obsession with perimenopause. He could conceivably see me through menopause and check me for growths and tumors well into my dotage. What a wonderful career he has, I muse, and he agrees with me. I get a bit teary while I am saying this, which I hope is just ovulation hormones. He spends time and really listens, and is genuinely interested in his patients. In the current environment of health care reform debate, I fervently believe everyone should have access to doctors like mine, but know I am in a lucky minority who receive the very best from healthcare providers, and I can choose them for their ability and their skill.
"Today is an important day for college football," my sports fanatic husband tells me cheerfully. "You should watch your team today, and learn something about the culture of the school." Can't think of anything more dull than watching football on television - especially American football (soccer is football in England). He has suggested I try out for the cheer leading squad! Go Bruins!
I just returned from installing my older son into his dorm for his second year at University of Pennsylvania. We had a marvelous time. I set up his dorm room, cleaning, unpacking and generally interior-decorating. He was very happy with his set-up in one of the high-rise college houses on campus. On our day trip to New York, I was able to use my student ID card to get into museums at a cut-rate, which embarrassed my kid, but pleased me no end! We had a fantastic time a the Neue Gallery and the Met, where we bought him books and posters and he talked knowledgeably about art. We also swapped notes about classes, professors and their methods, schedules, and requirements for majors.
The hallowed walls of the Ivy-Leagues are imposing in their majesty, but as I went to drop off some paperwork with my counselor at UCLA on Monday, I found myself grinning as I marched down those corridors of academia as well. It is hard to express how excited I am to start on September 24th. I have come a rather circuitous route to this point - starting at the University of Phoenix online (would not recommend, but it was a means to an end). Then a semester at Santa Monica College and UCLA extension, and then a semester at CSUN. Having been accepted UCLA I feel more a part of the fabric of California life than I have up until this point of my 15+ years of living here....