Mixed Signa: the Ivy League and Literary Success

Went to a conference today. It was two minutes from my dorm. It was good, but one of my worse habits is my need to compare myself to others and be like them. Not the best thing in writing. Most of the writers I look up to went to Ivy League. Think Kelly Link, Karen Russell, all the dead authors we’re taught about in college literature classes.The humanities chair opened up today’s conference by talking about Thorea. He loves Thoreau and says how he went to Harvard. He talked about the Lysium Circut and the American scholar. Afterwards he talks about how we cannot try to be our role models. We have to let our role models help us be our best selves. It’s a beautiful thought and despite the fact I know it’s true I can’t help but be puzzled by the fact that two hours later we have a keynote speaker who got his bachelor’s from Princeton.

These thoughts filled my mind because I presented my paper on magical realism that talked about Link, Russell, and Ursula K. Le Guin. For years I have felt that I have been fooling myself when I examine the lives of the writers who I admire. Is there any place for a low-income, first-gen with ADHD and mediocre grades in the literati? Or is she destined to always remain the lecturee, never the lecturer?


On Oscar Wilde

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray in 8th or 9th grade. My inspiration for it being that I liked Dorian in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, but at least I got something good out of that movie! I don’t know if I realized in 8th grade that The Happy Prince, in which I played a professor, was written by Oscar Wilde.

I would like to note that my glasses are askew and my name was misspelled on the site where I found this. I’m also 13. 

If it weren’t for Oscar Wilde I wouldn’t have known the word aesthetic before it became part of common language. I am not sure what he would think of that fact.

This age of ours, an age that reads so much, that it has no time to admire, and writes so much that it has no time to think. – Oscar Wilde from “To Read or Not to Read”


Quote of the Day

I was unwell yesterday, I keep on trying to schedule these well beforehand, but I feel it’s better to have them done on the same day, and not queued up. I don’t know why, it would make a lot more sense, since I’d be queuing the quotes.

“It seems odd, don’t you think, that the quality of the food should vary inversely with the brightness of the lighting. Makes you wonder what culinary heights the kitchen staff could rise to if you confined them to perpetual darkness.” – from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.

“Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain’t a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about–however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way–either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other’s shoulder-blades, and be content.”

– from Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Quote of the Day

“An avid reader is a person who really loves to read. What they love to read is really not important unless we’re going to start being judgmental about different kinds of books. I love to read, I read every day of my life, but I am not especially interested in new releases (except from certain authors) and certainly not bestsellers – what do I care what people I don’t even know like to read?” – bluesalamanders (in a LibraryThing discussion about “avid readers“)