I Pay Rapt Attention

Commencement, Cookies, and California

Posted in Uncategorized by Zoelle on May 22, 2009


It’s that wonky time between the end of classes and senior graduation, and in true Yale fashion the theater community (ok, really the Dramat) puts up a musical in 10 days. And, in true -me- fashion, I’m acting as assistant props master while also working full-time at my term-time job. That means that I work from 9 to 5 and then come to the theatre and glue and tape and disaster manage until anywhere from 1-3 am. Except last night, when I stayed until 7 am. Not fun. It’s astonishing how protective one becomes of pairs of scissors when said scissors are the only thing allowing one to do one’s job. I legitimately found myself yelling “you mess with Matilda [the scissors] and you mess with me!!!” into an empty theater. Not pretty. The show this time is How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and it’s… interesting, if nothing else. It’s based on a real book of that title that really does purport to teach you how to climb the corporate ladder (fifties style, of course.) While there are some gems in the piece (ie the song “Coffee Break,” in which office rats essentially become deranged zombies upon discovering that there’s no coffee,) it’s definitely not my favorite musical. There’s a song called “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm.” Though to be fair that song eventually becomes more ironic and sad, it’s meant sincerely at first, and that’s… oy. Just oy.


Yesterday was my last Hebrew lesson of the school year. Though I’m not religiously Jewish, I am technically speaking, and I’ve always wanted to learn the language (if only because I like languages and being in a Jewish a capella group [completely inexplicably] I got tired of having no clue what I was singing) Regardless, I found someone who eagerly -wanted- to sacrifice 1-1.5 hours a week to teach me the aleph bet– for free– and I’ve been going pretty regularly for a semester. I can read relatively fluidly at this point, though I still don’t know what anything means.

None of this is particularly interesting except in that my teacher’s going away present for the summer was a box of aleph bet cookies. Which was AWESOME. I don’t know if they taste any good yet, but I’ll report back as soon as I open them. Which will probably be tonight after the show, because personal considerations preclude me from having a good time at the cast party tonight, and more importantly, because I have no self control.

Speaking of, only in the last two weeks of being at Yale and living in a house with a friend rather than in a dorm have I discovered just how much I hate dorm living. Give me a kitchen or get me out, as it were. Oh well, only one more year…


I’m going back on Wednesday morning. I’ll be returning newly-single, frantic about my post-graduation career prospects (Yes, that is in a year, but I have to apply for things now. And take the required tests. Ew.) and hoping to do some real writing. We’ll see. I’m trying really hard not to place unrealistic expectations on myself this time– every summer I make a ridiculous list of things I want to accomplish, and they never ever ever happen, and for once I’d like to feel like I’ve done what I set out to do- which means making sure that I’m being realistic from the outset. So, in the interest of putting this out (semi) publicly so that I have some accountability besides the tadalist account I studiously ignore, here are my (super loose) goals for the summer:

1. Get started on my senior thesis reading. (This is totally reasonable because technically I already have started so hah. It’s also the greatest reading list EVER. Perhaps I will post it here later. SO. AWESOME. Experimental literature, I love you. You too, digital literature.)

2. Maintain my hebrew. (It’s not that many letters or words. I don’t know grammar. How hard could this possibly be?)

3. Finish some writing samples. (I just have to do this if I want to go to grad school. Which I guess I do?  And either way, I should be trying to publish, so there you go.)

4. Take the GRE. (Ew.) Maybe the GMAT (but EWWWWW)

5. Learn to cook. (THIS HAS TO HAPPEN. The end.)

We’ll see. Pretty reasonable. My less reasonable goals include swimming regularly (but that would require buying a new swimsuit, ew); remembering to put on sunscreen; being successful at a slam (but that would require me to write some new pieces and actually perform! Haha funny joke.) and trying to write a play. In collaboration. Oh, the funny funny jokes I make with myself.

Maybe I’ll even resurrect Post-it Poetry. I mean, what else am I going to do with myself at the office? My job? Psh.


I’m back! (also, my word count is currently 666. Creepy.)

Posted in Eccentricities by Zoelle on December 21, 2008

So apparently posting from school didn’t work out so well for me this semester. It’s been a while, let’s say. Regardless,  I’m back in California for the next several weeks, and finally have access to a computer again. I apparently have the worst luck with laptop monitors that has ever existed- both of my laptops have been put out of commission by problems with their screens. Sigh.

Anyway, what a crazy ride the last few months have been, right? There’s the economy, and everything happening in Mumbai, and that awful movie Twilight. That’s right, I saw it. In fact, it was so bad, I saw it twice. I’ve never had to do that before, but I suppose there’s a first time for anything. I simply couldn’t believe it was as atrocious as it was after the first viewing. Needless to say,  I wasn’t wrong. Who knew an American accent could be so bad? (That’s right, I’m looking at you, Robert Pattison) Who knew vampires glittered?  At least Australia had Hugh Jackman going for it…

While we’re on the subject of movies, I will say that Slumdog Millionaire was incredible. The movie ranges from depictions of abject squalor to startling wealth, showing along the way both the briefest glimpse of the range of Indian society and a truly compelling story about the power of human ingenuity and feeling. There are poop jokes and religious killings, blindings and riding on trains. I can’t even express how worthwhile this movie was. Go see it. I’m seeing it again.

In the absence of my computer, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of reading done. What is finals period for, right?  I finally finished The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. It’s a wonderful book (if a bit sluggish in the middle) and incidentally, I’ve finished just in time for two new Bolano translations to appear- what’s being touted as his magnum opus, 2666, and a collection of his poetry, The Romantic Dogs. I’ve also been fortunate enough to read a collection of his short stories entitled Last Evenings on Earth, so I can safely say that based on that and Detectives, I’m looking forward to reading these new works. Bolano somehow manages to write obsessively about the same topics or characters (usually struggling writers and their interactions with others of their ilk) without driving me crazy. This is an impressive feat, considering how short my attention span is.

Yet perhaps the most wonderful piece of writing I’ve read recently was The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins. Wiggins has a way of stringing together words that’s truly moving. I found myself wandering around reading the first page of the book outloud to my suitemates, trying to figure out exactly what it was in her prose that was compelling. Let’s just say that it’s pretty enough that my suitemates didn’t mind (which is also saying something, considering that they were studying for finals…) Regardless, it’s a beautiful book, and I’m currently desperately trying to get my hands on a copy of “Evidence of Things Unseen” as a result.

Other books consumed in the last month: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson, Women with Men by Richard Ford, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander, The Book of Ralph by John McNally, The Burning Plain by Juan Rulfo (and many more)

It’s raining here, so lightly that I can hardly tell. Instead, the sky seems to flicker outside my window. It’s an odd effect. I’ve got to plan my trip to Southern California now, but I’ll be back to talk about my classes (Digital Literature and Graphic Forms and Advanced Fiction Writing oh my!) and the GMAT (terror!) and my fantasies of throwing dinner parties (which are more exciting than you might expect) and perhaps even the new projects I have in the works. Who knows? There may even be a graphic novel adaptation of the only good short story I ever wrote. Featuring old robots, no less.

Claims, Curry, and California

Posted in Eccentricities by Zoelle on August 8, 2008


For those of you following my car accident saga, I found out today that the other party’s insurance has accepted liability. Which is SUCH a relief, because it really wasn’t my fault. Now we just have to persuade those pesky police officers who decided prior to talking to me that I had run a red light and thus wouldn’t listen to a word I said… I just hope I don’t have to get a lawyer over this.


 Not much to say about this, except that it exploded all over everything in my work bag, and now I smell like thai peanut sauce. And have to buy my friend a new copy of The Savage Detectives. And I felt a need to whine.


Ok, here’s the meat of this post, so to speak. California is my home. I’ve lived in two other states in my life and go to college in a third, but I was born here and I’m planning to come back as soon as possible.

I can’t even chalk it up to the weather. Honestly, it’s snowy and disgusting in Connecticut, and humid and disgusting in the Ohio, and it just NEVER STOPS RAINING in Washington (because the cliche is a cliche for a reason, guys) but it isn’t as if that would stop me from being where I felt I belonged. And after two years of mostly residing in a place that I imagined perfect for me (the ivy league, the east coast, etc etc) I know that I never really appreciated what I had going for me here.

I could ramble on about this for days, but I’ll spare you. Let’s just say i never appreciated my community. And now I do.

AND– speaking of my community guess who has continued kicking an astonishing amount of ass at the national poetry slam?!

Oh, that would be the bay area. ALL THREE BAY AREA TEAMS ARE (MOST LIKELY) GOING TO SEMIS! I’m so proud. Even if Oakland beat my friends in SF. This is a landmark occasion, and I only wish I were there to celebrate with them. Fingers crossed for Saturday, people. They’re some of the most talented and fantastic humans I know, and they deserve this.