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Thoughts From That Quiet Place

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Columns in Richmond, November 2011.]

People will be going back to school soon.

On Monday, one of my college roommates posted a couple of things to my Facebook wall, and they made me laugh until tears ran down my face. It reminded me that my old friends are only one of those far away things in my life that makes me miss undergrad so dearly.

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I think a lot of it has to do with college. The packing and moving and starting over as the leaves begin to change--it does something to me. There's magic in the new notebooks and the old books on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, with treasures of underlining and notes just waiting to be discovered. When Rob and I first started dating, I was taking a Victorian class and we used to sit down together with my used copy of an extraordinarily large Norton Anthology of English Literature and read what the people who owned it before me had written in the margins.

I try every time, but I can never quite put my finger on it.

And so, for the third time on this blog, I quote:

"If only one could come back to this quiet place, where only intellectual achievement counted; if one could work here steadily and obscurely at some close-knit piece of reasoning, undistracted and uncorrupted...then, one might be able to forget the wreck and chaos of the past, or see it, at any rate, in a truer proportion. Because, in a sense, it was not important. The fact that one had loved and sinned and suffered and escaped death was of far less ultimate moment than a single footnote in a dim academic journal establishing the priority of a manuscript or restoring a lost iota subscript. It was the hand-to-hand struggle with the insistent personalities of other people, all pushing for a place in the limelight, that made the accidents of one's own personal adventure bulk so large in the scheme of things." --Dorothy SayersGaudy Night


  1. I am beyond excited to go back to school. New school supplies, decorating my new apartment, FALL...so perfect.

  2. okay, that quote is too deep for me this early in the day, but i'm pretty sure it's amazing.

    also, wtf that you associate back to school with autumn??? i always started back in mid august and even for college in ohio, i still sweated my balls off until early october.

    and might i just add that i love the idea of you and Rob just going and being intellectual out on the quad reading the notes of your schoolbooks' past owners. that's so fetch, you guys.


  3. yeah this is the second upcoming fall I've been done with school (whaaaaat??? even grad school???? let me start plucking the grey hairs now...) and it's still weird. plus my fiance and I met during fall in undergrad so I am hardwired with the whole stalking-crush-in-the-library/on the wooded autumn path love thing.

  4. What a lovely post. And I'm beyond excited for fall and school since I'll be starting at university, I am nervous as well ofcourse but I look forward to it.

  5. You're so intellectual! I love it! I bet you looked super cute sitting there paging through your well-worn used book!

  6. That picture is gorgeous. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, too. This post is so awesome. <3


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