Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today the sky/is doing what I cannot
Because remembering is bringing you back here. And I can hear you laughing across the way in your office. And I can hear the pride in your voice when you thank me for everything I've done. Between thousands of journal entries for 2008 that chronicle my college experience, my jobs, my friends, my heartbreak, my joy, my ridiculous observations, my bad jokes, my young, young brain trying to comprehend the world, there are these moments with Jake. This is everything I have of him in my journals from 2008. Maybe if you read these things, you will hear Jake, too. Because even though these are documenting my own personal interaction with him, they are so imbued with everything Jake was, not just to me, but to everyone. So even though I am mostly doing this for me, I am doing it for you, too, in case it helps ease the pain even a little bit:



Today I went with Christopher after class to get a few copies of the new Copper Nickel to send to women writers whom I have to solicit work from for issue 10. This is the first printed issue that I've really been involved with so I was so excited. And it is the most beautiful issue yet. The cover art is so amazing. And my name is printed inside under the section "minted by." So that's exciting too.
*
And Jake thinks I'd be a great senior fiction editor. He is even willing to help me get a work study program going so that I can still make money while devoting myself mostly to the journal. Do you even know how amazing this is?! The one person I respect [and fear] more than anyone is willing to work it out so that I can be the senior fiction editor!!! So, do you understand how perfect this night was? How I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight? How I am finding an amazing place for myself in this world!!!! I can't even accurately describe how amazing this is!

*

Also, Jake agreed to be my advisor for my honors project. And expressed a lot of interest in my topic and even suggested a couple of things I didn't think of before. This is probably not going to be a paper solely about Ellis. Probably American Psycho and Fight Club. And possibly Quinten Tarantino (per Jake's suggestion). This is going to be fucking amazing. He is the smartest person I've ever met. And we have the strangest relationship ever but I am so excited to work with him on this. Holy eff.

*

Jake and I have a meeting Thursday at high noon. His words, only two words, followed by a question mark in an email to me early this morning. High noon?

*

I had a meeting with Jake this morning at noon. Except I went to his office and waited for 20 minutes and he didn't show up so I sent him an email asking if we were meeting in his office and then I left. And right as I got in line at Corner Bakery, I got an email from him saying he just got to his office and that I should come by as soon as I could. So I left and got back on lightrail, back down to campus, only to find a note on his door that said, Ali- I'm in Golda Meir House - Jake. So I go to Golda Meir and he's not there. So I'm about to leave and he walks in the door and we chat about my project. He tells me that I can do a senior writing project in the fall and then do my honors project as an extension of that in the spring. Which means I'd be working with him for two semesters. And then. Then! Jeff Franklin, the new honors director walks in cause they're all about to have a meeting and Jake introduces me to him and asks Jeff a question about if I could use my independent study as a post-1850 class. And then. Jake said to Jeff, she's one of the absolute smartest students we've had in the program in a long time. At which point I pissed myself. Like I said before, one compliment from Jake is like 10 compliments from a regular person. And for Jake to think that, and to say that, out loud, to another professor, I just, holy eff. He said he would really want to work with me for two semesters on this to help me get into a really good grad school program cause that's good for me and the UCD English department. So now I have basically a personal grad school advisor who is going to help me perfect a totally unique writing sample and an awesome honors thesis.

*

A Short Poem of Jake’s Vocabulary
With my linguistic virtuosity 
I will now explain the syntactic coordination
involved in symbolic spelunking.

*

I have come to realize, I think, that maybe Jake is just as socially awkward as me. Which would explain every conversation we've ever had. Which would explain the strange way we go about critiquing each other, subtle and straightforward all at once. Two contradictory things. I mean, it makes much more sense now.

*

I met with Jake today. We discussed the logging system and how CN is going to run from now on. It's amazing. I walked into our new office [!] and saw the most beautiful huge mac desktop computer I've ever seen. Oh my god. And I said how amazing it was and he said, "Yeah I bought it for you."

*

Meeting with Jake today was so relieving and helpful... More importantly, Jake told me that, given I get a high score on my lit GRE, I can write my ticket into any school I want. Which is a huge compliment. Though I don't know if I have as much faith as he does so I'm a little scared. He's telling me I can do this. So... The best parts of the meeting were when I was brave enough to tell Jake when I was confused about something he was saying. Though he tends to know anyway and asks if I need clarification. But today I told the truth and said yes.

*

I had a meeting with Jake. He asked if I was still acidic. To which I answered yes. He asked how things were but I couldn't talk about it so I didn't. I said I had a billion things going on. He said a billion seemed like too many things to handle. I told him it was. We talked about my paper. He made an Office reference, a Coldplay vs. Radiohead reference, and Batman reference while I made a Paste Magazine reference that he smiled at. He was trying to tell me how fundamental it is be be writing all the time. ABW. I told him I do, I am. And he said he can write 1,000 words like it's nothing. I said, "well aren't you fancy." He said, "just saying." He said, for example, that I should be able to write 1,000 words on why Coldplay is not a suitable substitute for Radiohead. I am wearing a Radiohead shirt today. I smiled so big and said, "I can totally do that!!!! Do you want me to do that?!" No. But we did mention the Paste article about the topic. I told him my verbal score, which incidentally, was better than his verbal score. We talked about if I should take it again. I told him about N leaving and my crying. I told him my friends are my appendages. He smiled.

*

During the DNC, when I was walking down the street in Denver:
I was walking right by Virgin when someone yelled "Ali Pearl!" It was Jake. He was standing at the end of the long line of people in white shirts who were about to read Madison's speech from the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He asked if I'd read with him. So I went and got a shirt and a copy of the reading. At noon we all put our hands in the air. A few seconds later, a line of people that lasted two full blocks started reading: "Mr. President, I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve of them..." and so on. We ended with the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. It felt amazing. Jake also told me about LA and Radiohead. I told him about yelling at cops and protests I've been watching. I'm glad I ran into Jake and that we participated in democracy together in a very literary way.

*

I am feeling slightly better. But I guess Jake knows I'm sick cause he sent me "health" on facebook. Also his status is "Jake is repairing the em dash." He has issues with peoples' issues with the em dash. I don't know how he plans to repair it though.

*

I said, "I just make the same mistakes over and over and over again." Jake said, "Well you know how to avoid that?" Me: "Stop making the mistake?" Jake: "No, don't make the mistake to begin with." Me: "Jake, you're six years late on that advice." Jake: "I don't know what to tell you."

*

I met with Jake later that day for my paper and it was a good meeting. Basically I get to read a lot of cool philosophy and theory. He did an awesome analysis of Pulp Fiction to help explain something to me. He emailed Gillian to see if she could give me some good articles. He is my mentor and I would die if he wasn't.

*

Went to the CN office to work on issue 10. That was totally hilarious. Jake was being so funny. He kept doing all these different voices. Like, I'm only used to hearing him in one way, which is the mentor teacher kind of voice. But he was getting frustrated and kept insisting that everyone is out to kill him. "People are trying to kill me!" Mostly he was saying this because authors had double spaced after a period, which is not what you're supposed to do. Ander has yelled at me for that before. I told Jake I still do it and he got upset. "Only one space!!!" he kept chanting. He said fuck a lot. I found something we couldn't find and he said "thank fucking god!" We talked about semicolons to which he said, "Semi-colons looks like you tried to take a shit but you couldn't quite finish." I laughed so fucking hard at that. I laugh every time I remember it. We didn't get too much done but I learned a lot and it was really funny.

*

Except I did not want to wake up so I was 45 minutes late to the office. When I walked in, Jake made a comment like: thank god, I thought I was going to have to bail out of somewhere like a anarchist riot or jail or maybe you got stuck at a rock show. I laughed, plopped on the floor, and started reading... Jake gave me so much shit for not being into the Talking Heads. And said he'd give me their entire catalog of music. He also said some stuff about what he's figured out about me. He said he was worried about me. I told him not to be, that I exaggerate. He asked, so most of what you say is hyperbole? I said, yes because otherwise life is boring. His response was, so your life is primarily rhetorical? Yes. It is.

*

Something that happened today: I was talking to Jake about McCain and he was reading me this article and...
Me: this isn't happening!
Him: I'm not here.

*

I was in Jake's office when he took a call from a potential new professor[?]. Someone who was applying for a job at CU Denver. He got off the phone, then realized there was a mistake on the job section of our website. He picks up his land line phone which is a very old fashioned looking thing and slams it down on his desk repeatedly, then shouts "MOTHER FUCKER!" I laughed so hard I thought I might puke.

*

I kept swearing today because things were stressful and people weren't doing their jobs and Jake goes, "why don't you curse a little more? Fill your 'fuck' quote for the day." I told him to not bother me and that I was just frazzled. He curses way more than I do anyway. Here's some other topics we talked about: paper, bacon, English studies people, beards, losing money, and Einsteins. He believes that every single thing at Einsteins is made from processed cheese. Including the meat which he says is processed cheese disguised as meat. I don't think I can eat there again.

*

When Jake left today, he thanked me for all my work and said he now actually believes we can do this and says he feels a lot better after today. I said of course we can do it, we're amazing. He kept talking about committing violence against the copy center people and against himself. Walked out, someone said, "break a leg this week Jake." He said, " I might break two" and I yelled from back in the office, "you better NOT!"

*

I can't believe the last week has happened. And that it's over. I've never felt more a part of a community. I've never felt more accomplished and important. Jake did this for us. He made this all for us. So we could make something of our own. And find our place in this world of culture and literature and intelligence. He is the best man I've ever known.

*

I will wake up early tomorrow and do ten pounds of reading and writing and other school things. Because I will not let Jake down with this project. I will not.

*

Jake just sent out the happiest email to all of us. At the end it said: "I hope those of you who were there Friday night could not only feel that energy but also hear that in my voice. You’ve all made me so proud. You’ve rewarded five years of work to get to where we are today. I shiver to think of what we can do next."

*

I told Jake I wanted eggs and bacon, cause my tummy was making noises. He said it was easy to make. I told him I can't cook. He was shocked. Said, you're a writer, how do you not know how to cook? I asked how the two were even related and he said something about taking a nothing sentence and turning it into a tasty morsel. I told him I still can't cook and he told me not to tell that to anyone. I said everyone already knows that about me and he said, I don't care, don't tell that to anyone ever again.

*

When I asked for help, instead of saying no, he said yes. Because that's what he does. He says yes, pretty much always. And instead of giving up, he kept going. Except really that just entailed us talking about the things we talk about: ham, whiskey, how PCs suck ass, how Microsoft Word sucks ass, Marxist theory, how I probably party too much, course offerings, &c. He asked me a few things this time. Is my gentleman friend "California boy?" No. How old am I? 20. Is it weird to me that I basically grew up under the Bush administration and during a war? Yes, yes absolutely. Do the names of Hebrew letters mean anything in themselves? Most likely. Why do his students slack off and stop showing up to class? Because people are so busy and so tired and often uninterested in education. He showed me how he designs fonts with illegally downloaded font designing programs. Talked to me about budget cuts and the unfortunate financial state of our department. How he's going to have to raise $25,000 for CN next semester. How I am going to soap the car of my phonetics professor with the specific diacritic marks that we could not find after many attempts. "Have a seat." Dmg files and pornography. How we were both treated like a disease by our classmates when we were young. How that actually happened today in my lit class and I felt like an 8 year old back at Bradford where no one would talk to me or sit with me. I said, "I'm glad you were treated like a disease too." And when I left, he quoted Talking Heads, knowing I don't know them and need to. Smiling at my lack of a response and saying, "I know what I'm getting you for graduation."

*

"I love anything that comes off a pig."

*

I met with Jake today. He's stressed and grumpy. Which makes it harder to talk to him a little bit. He was good though. We talked about my paper and I basically just have a lot lot lot more to do. Because he won't accept acceptable from me. He is pushing and pushing because he thinks I can do more. Knows I can. And knows that the only way to get it is for nothing I do to be good enough. Which I don't take offense to. He is making me a better scholar and a better candidate and a better person honestly. Today he said, write things in a notebook. He said, "a notebook is a prosthetic extension of your brain. It remembers things so you don't always have to. So you can free your mind to make room for something else." He talked about the Talmudic tradition of learning and discussing and advancing and arguing and how I need to remember that when I'm afraid to write things down. He seriously is the most important person in my life right now. As far as getting me to the places I want to be with my career and whatnot. Every time we meet he says something profound that honestly changes my outlook. Even if in a small way. And when things get shitty, as they have slowly begun to do lately, I really appreciate having him around. Because I can be better. And he's going to be the one to see that through.

*

So I met with Jake. The first thing I noticed was that he scribbled out my intro paragraph, so I was worried. He literally did deface my paper. But the first thing he said was, "do you want the good news first?" I said yes and he said, "your whole section on narratology is fucking brilliant. I mean fucking brilliant. You are brilliant." I shit myself. piqbfpirueqthcp13uit-18p35gtc8piurgf813gtp3t4fp8rgfu OH MY GOD. Something I wrote is considered fucking brilliant by the most fucking brilliant and critical person I've ever met. I almost cried. No joke, no joke at all. Then he explained that I have to rewrite the commodification section and told me that my intro paragraph sounds like a ninth grader. He said the sentences in my intro don't want to be near each other, they're not friends, and they think each other have cooties. I knew this, however. And I know how to fix it so it's not a big deal. I think we're on the same level now, me and Jake. I think this is the most important thing I've ever written and I think I am going to be actually successful in this academic world. I cannot truly express how important what he said to me really is. No one has ever called something I did fucking brilliant before. And I knew it was. When I was writing it. I knew it. I can do this!

The view out the window at Euclid Hall last night. Our campus. In the snow.

No comments: