On a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky. She saw no Indians now; she saw flour-mills and the blinking windows of skyscrapers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Nor was she thinking of squaws and portages, and the Yankee fur-traders whose shadows were all about her. She was meditating upon walnut fudge, the plays of Brieux, the reasons why heels run over, and the fact that the chemistry instructor had stared at the new coiffure which concealed her ears.
A breeze which had crossed a thousand miles of wheat-lands bellied her taffeta skirt in a line so graceful, so full of animation and moving beauty, that the heart of a chance watcher on the lower road tightened to wistfulness over her quality of suspended freedom. She lifted her arms, she leaned back against the wind, her skirt dipped and flared, a lock blew wild. A girl on a hilltop; credulous, plastic, young; drinking the air as she longed to drink life. The eternal aching comedy of expectant youth.
It is Carol Milford, fleeing for an hour from Blodgett College.
The days of pioneering, of lassies in sunbonnets, and bears killed with axes in piney clearings, are deader now than Camelot; and a rebellious girl is the spirit of that bewildered empire called the American Middlewest.
– The opening passage of Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Get out your headphones and iPods!
Instead of a written post, I’ve made a podcast for you. Joining me on this podcast is my good friend Ebonee Walker, who is currently a grad student and one of those people who excel at the art of conversation.
Our topic is the title of this post, but in 16 minutes we zip our way through a discussion of ex-girlfriends, maid services, eating cereal, music by Babyface, and house husbands.
How to Listen
The podcast is in mp3 format. To play it through your browser or iTunes, just click on the link below. For iPod listening, you can download it by right-clicking and going with your browser’s expression for Download file as…
Podcast file: Every_graduate_student_needs_a_wife.mp3
This podcast is definitely an experiment, so if there’s one thing you enjoy about the podcast, do me this favor: leave a comment telling what you liked so we can do it for you again and share the joy by sending the link to someone you know.
If there’s something I could do to make a better podcast, do me this favor: leave a comment suggesting an improvement.
You might be wondering why there’s a photograph of a rain-drenched car at the top of this post. I’ll get to that. But first…
1. A quick look at 2011 on this site
Which, really, is a look at only November and December since I didn’t do any writing in the prior ten months.
Total productivity: 5,870 words and 2 videos in 12 posts (average post length, 489 words)
Your favorite posts, based on total views in 2011:
- My mother’s plan for me to marry a brown girl is doomed.
- Is it Un-American to Ride Public Buses?
- Things I learned in Sweden
(In case you’re wondering, my favorite post to make was this one because I learned something really useful along the way. And of everything on this site, this post received the most views in 2011 – and remains the all-time most-viewed post.)
All that being said, I’m glad you’re reading this site! The site stats tell me that, while I might indulge myself writing about serious things like the bus system’s finances, the fun stories are what resonate with you – so I’ll keep writing them! I enjoy the off-site dialogues that spring from these posts, and I feel great satisfaction when you say that you found a post like this one useful.
2. My Goal for 2012
I have one goal in 2012 as a writer: to write 2 pieces that are featured on sites where I don’t have editorial control.
I’m not 100% certain what I’ll write or where I’ll contribute. I read a few personal finance sites – like Get Rich Slowly, in the sidebar – so, maybe a piece on how to find value in the used car market? (AKA why Saad drives the Crown Vic in that photo.) Or maybe essays about the stuff that everyone relates to, like relationships and dating and social stuff. (Sorta like I did with that piece on marrying a brown girl.) Or maybe fiction like short stories posted in installments. (No ideas yet, just throwing it out there.)
I am open to your suggestions, as well… What do you want to read? Let me know in a comment!
And of course, I’ll keep writing on this site like I always do – experimenting, trying to make things fun, make things sexy.
(In a way, I already write for another site, with my occasional, brief contribution to Em & Lo like this one. But I’m greedy and I want to inform, entertain, and help more people! By the way, bookmark Em & Lo and visit them because you will enjoy their columns!)
Happy new year!