last friday was the calarts graduation. i missed the ceremony due to a brutal, otherworldly migraine. as i laid in bed, face spangled with sweat, wondering when i would throw up next, i began to feel rather sentimental about my tenure in the calarts mfa program. as a general rule, i loathe school. my whole life teachers and professors have tended to dislike me, and, in high school/undergrad, i often feuded with other students. (the most infamous was at GSU when i blew up at this vegan girl with braids feminism is about more than body hair and words!) but calarts, so i was told, was an institute unlike the rest. this was the home of womanhouse, the naked marching band, and pee wee herman. by the end of my first semester, however, i had finished the necessary paperwork to drop out. considering how warm and fuzzy i now feel, i thought it necessary to remind myself of my mental state in fall 2009. below is an unedited entry i wrote in my paper journal after my first seven days in the mfa program:
the first week of class was harrowing. met a few students who seem to "like" me or whatever while others avoid me altogether. i blame the latter on the bizarre conservativism of a few students and a late-night conversation about pornography. apparently word got round that i don’t think its unnatural to watch someone fucking or to want to be watched. when millet was asked about her infamous orgies, she responded in other words, i am not afraid of being glimpsed unaware.
thursday night was our first "visiting artist" series. wine and beer were served by a bartender wearing a faded calarts t-shirt. most of the students drank from flasks or 18-pks tucked in the trunks of their cars. by the end of the artist’s performance—he did a piece about the trans bar the silver platter—several mfa’s were visibly sloshed. i cruised through the room, consuming no more than two vodkas, stopping to chat whenever i could bear it. endurance in the truest sense: i have little to no tolerance for the wholesome. i didn’t drive 2,835 miles to stand beneath a half-lit moon discussing body politics as if women didn’t enjoying fucking or marijuana-use from the perspective “yeah but you have to wonder why someone wants that to begin with.”
friday morning B. sent an email to the entire program: hi! i’m house sitting tonight! want to come for some fun? its OK to bring a guest but DO NOT bring anyone you do not know PERSONALLY. when T. asked if i planned to attend “the party” i asked what party? rolled into koreatown two hours late, circled B’s house six times before locating a parking spot four blocks from the front door. walked inside helloooo? the living room and kitchen were completely empty, silent save a parrot which stared out from his perch hello, hello, hello. through the window, voices. we’re on the back porch. i poured myself a whisky neat then grabbed a bud light for m. who said i thought this was a--? on the porch: chinese lanterns strewn red and blue, a rickety picnic table where sixteen people sat blank-faced and silent. whenever someone did, by chance, speak up, the only response: uh huh or totally. not even a “dude” or “man” added for duration. after carrying the conversation for twenty minutes, i began to chain smoke. was the only smoker. B. said try not to blow it inside. hid my pack in m’s pocket, counted down the minutes till midnight, a “respectable” time to leave. on my way out the door, a girl named K. rushed over, tapped me on the shoulder oh hey wait i just wanted to ask are you on probation? i heard—. m. laughed, slapped his knee are you fucking kidding me?
the next morning, i met with my adviser for over an hour. she said i was an “autodidact.” wikipedia says: self-teaching and self-directed learning are not necessarily lonely processes. some autodidacts spend a great deal of time in libraries or on social networking websites. after the meeting, i hung out with m’s friends from claremont who, despite being history majors, were chill as fuck. we smoked, walked to a belgian bar, and bashed south carolina's lindsey graham for at least thirty minutes. on the walk home, the cutest boy i know called and left a message: you, me, probation. oh honey. fuck ‘em.