Festivity-Packed Friday

This Whitworth Lifeemail (1)

Don’t miss This Whitworth Life put on by our very own Nicole Sheets and her EL 347 Creative Nonfiction Writing! This storytelling event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in the HUB’s Multipurpose Room. 

Nine members from various facets of the Whitworth community, including the legendary Leonard Oakland, will read five to eight minute stories about a defining moment in their lives. Following each story, a panel of faculty members will provide commentary.

“My hope is that this storytelling event will add to Whitworth’s already robust sense of community,” Nicole Sheets says. “All of the storytellers have some connection to Whitworth; our cast represents students, faculty, facilities services, campus security, program assistants, administrators, coaches and trustees.”

Story readers will include:

  • Casey Armstrong, Whitworth custodian
  • Joel Diaz, senior sociology major and Whitworth security officer
  • Austin Foglesong, freshman English major
  • Mackenna Kuehl, senior English major
  • Leonard Oakland, Whitworth professor of English
  • Ken Roberts, member of the Whitworth Board of Trustees
  • Toby Schwarz, Whitworth professor of kinesiology and athletic coach
  • Annie Stillar, program assistant for Whitworth English department
  • Kathy Storm, associate provost for Whitworth faculty development

“Stories remind us that everyone’s a complex person, that we’re all storehouses of experience,” Nicole says. “Plus, stories are fun.”

The faculty panel will be comprised of Casey Andrews, Whitworth associate professor of English; Suzette McGonigal, Whitworth counselor; and Raja S. Tanas, Whitworth professor of sociology.

Then, head over to Westminster Round’s Christmas Party at 7 p.m., 10713 N. Nelson for food, conversation, holiday story-time, and a photo booth. Carpooling will be available in the HUB around 6:45, after This Whitworth Life. 

The First Snow

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As a southern California native, I have not yet outgrown my fascination with snow, and I hope I never do. So, I believe the first snowfall of Whitworth calls for a moment of reflection:

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.” –Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.” –Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“Before you love, learn to run through the snow leaving no footprint.”  Turkish Proverb

“I love snow, and all the forms
Of the radiant frost.”
–Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Song”

Be inspired.

Photo taken on my walk to school this morning.

Looking Forward to November…

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It is almost time to flip your calendars to November. And while you are at it, make sure to write down these upcoming events.

Kicking off the month, THIS Friday, Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m. Westminster Round invites you to their Harvest Party at 10713 N. Nelson (look for the jack-o-lanterns). Rides available in front of Westminster Hall at 5:15.

There will be marshmallows, a little bonfire, scary stories read by Vic Bobb, food, spiced cider and friends. Westminster Round encourages all English folk to come out for this.

Don’t Miss the Two English Endowed Readings!

Come see Melanie Rae Thon  on Thursday, Nov. 14th at 7 p.m. in the HUB Multipurpose Room.

Thon, Melanie Rae (Andi Olsen)[1]

Melanie Rae Thon’s most recent novels include, The Voice of the River and In This Light Now: Selected Stories. Her work has been included in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Anthologies and O. Henry Prize Stories.

And come back on Monday, Nov. 18th at 7 p.m. to the HUB Multipurpose Room to see Pádraig Ó Tuama.

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Pádraig Ó Tuama is a Belfast-based Irish Poet, speaker, and conflict mediator, as well as the author of two  poetry collections—Readings from the Book of Exile and Sorry for Your Troubles—and an album of Christian lament called Hymns to Swear By.

Closing out the month is the wonderful combination of Poetry and Pie on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Mind & Hearth Coffee Shop.

Enjoy your November! And finish off October strong by going to the Elective Fest TOMORROW! (See previous post for details)

November image from here.

Nelsonic Philosophy: Post-graduate Employment Edition (or “Dog-Walking and You”)

Whitworth English

Since graduation, Isabel Nelson (’12, above), has moved back in with her parents in Santa Barbara, been on eight different planes, done her first 5k, learned how to say “thank you” in Flemish, and gotten a job at a pet hospital. Since writing this piece, Isabel has gotten promoted. She still walks dogs on the weekends for the dollar dollar bills, but is also the hospital’s assistant administrator. She tries to order the right drugs for two clinics without putting either one out of business. Her favourite dog is an excitable Neapolitan Mastiff puppy named Coco. If you live on the Central Coast of California and have a dog, she has probably picked up after it.

Isabel recently submitted this latest installment of Nelsonic Philosophy, as well as the photos (including those below of the Philosopher “enjoying” a barge in the London canals, and with her sisters on a bridge in Bruges, Belgium).

Whitworth English

I have not done a lot since mid-May, when I graduated from Whitworth University (also known as “Camp Whitworth Fun-N-Prayers”) with two degrees I’m beginning to rethink. Doing a degree in Theatre was a lot of fun, tons of work, and allowed me to experience a learning environment where I was chastised for cutting my hair without permission. I got to take acting classes, tech and makeup classes, and a directing class which allowed me to forbid others from cutting their hair.

I also did a degree in English, with a focus in writing (or, if you ask my father, literature). My English degree was a lot of fun, tons of work, and allowed me to experience a learning environment where I was laughed at for my miserable attempts at enthymemes. I got to take literature classes, writing classes, and a writing consultant class which allowed me to laugh at others’ miserable attempts at enthymemes.

With these killer skills, who wouldn’t hire me? Anybody that wasn’t family, that’s who. Today’s guide will teach you how to navigate the exciting world of nepotism-induced post-graduate employment, provided that you don’t mind smelling like dog crap all the time.

Let’s begin.

Whitworth English

Step One: Get a cousin. Get her to become a vet. Get her to move to where you live. Get her to get a job near your house. Take as long as you need for this step and move on when you‘re ready; I’ll be working with a cousin I’ve prepared earlier.

Step Two: Lie on your couch and watch a lot of SNL. For best results, it should be seasons from long enough ago that the topics aren’t relevant, but recent enough that it’s not totally nostalgic, and actually it seems kind of weird that you wouldn’t just watch this season? This step is key, because it’s called research, dummies. If your parents complain that you’ve finished all the beer and it appears you haven’t moved since they left for work, justify it with the following phrases (feel free to create some of your own as needed): Comedy writing and stuff. Internships, y’know? Like, the humor… zeitgeist. Next Tina Fey or whatever. Then go back to your TV show.

Step Three: Right when you think you might be developing bedsores, start a walking regime. Walk everywhere, like an independent person-grub-thing! Maybe it could be like, that cool “thing” about you that you never had, you know? People would say “Oh yeah, she’s that girl that walks everywhere.” Okay, it doesn’t sound that cool, but you couldn’t make “Girl who wears hand-made fascinators” or “Chick with the eyepatch” work, now could you? Beggars can’t be choosers. Anyway, you’ll need this part for later, because you need to start developing calloused feet for when walking is all you do. Also, you’re not on the car insurance anymore.

Step Four: Send thoughts out into the universe, like Oprah. They don’t need to be defined. “I will get a job” is good, but “I will get a job without having to do anything about it” is better.

Step Five: Hopefully by now, you have sorted out everything with having a cousin that is a vet in the town where you live. If you haven’t, you should be ashamed of yourself. In fact, just get out. I can’t stand to look at you even more than I usually can’t. Don’t let the door hit you on your bedsore-ridden butts on the way out. Everyone else, you saw what just happened—let that be a lesson to you. You should be receiving a call from your cousin’s place of work pretty soon. Would you like a job as a dog walker? Of course you would. You love dogs! Nothing else is happening this weeken—wait, weekend? Eight in the damn morning on Saturday and Sunday? Then again at 3 in the afternoon? You’ve got to be kidding me…is what you will NOT say. You will say, in your best telephone voice “Cindy, I’d be delighted! I’ll be there at eight o’clock sharp.” “You’ve got to be kidding me” is what you will say as your tenth dog of the morning poops for the 3rd time.

Step Six: It’s eight o’clock sharp, and you are not yet there. You are on your way, cursing and grumbling. It’s important to be always late, so your boss knows who’s really the boss. Wear something cute and a lot of makeup, so all Da Cute Vet Boyz will notice you. If there are none of those, at least you’ll look adorable walking those six dogs at once like the animal-lover you totally could be, and oh no! The dogs are headed for that one guy in Santa Barbara who isn’t a stoner or a former sunglasses model and—wouldn’t you know it!—now you guys are tangled up in the leashes, trying to exchange phone numbers through all the barking. What a romantic-comedy kind of day you’re already not having in the slightest!

Step Seven: Become aware that in this rom-com, everyone else is wearing scrubs and doesn’t like you. Also they were on time and are doing their damn jobs, not staring around the room like the sort of gormless raccoon-eyed trollop that thinks a tank top and leggings is appropriate work wear. Meekly read through the safety binder, give a “who, me?” look when they tell you there’s no smoking, and go back through to the kennels.

Step Eight: Try not to vomit. There is enough vomit in this room anyway, so it would be kind of pointless. There’s also a lot of poop in here, but if you’re smart enough to keep up with the Nelsonic Philosophers, you shouldn’t be pooping uncontrollably in public more than once a fortnight. Don’t walk up and down the kennels in a calm-veneered panic, either—it will freak out the dogs and cause them all to lunge against their cages at you, crying and peeing. Get a little blue leash that’s about as long as your arm, make it into a slip leash, and get started. Don’t forget to bring a pen with you, because you will have to write down the consistency of each poop on the dogs’ charts so that the people with real degrees can do their jobs.

Step Nine: Hey, you’re pretty good at this! Look at you, Mrs. Holding It Together! So maybe you’re not allowed to walk more than one dog at a time. So maybe that forces you to walk each dog along the same route. So maybe you forgot to ask for keys to the back door and are left stranded in a shit-covered alleyway full of vagrants with a dog that seems to produce urine by absorbing the air molecules around it because surely NOTHING can have that capacious a bladder. You can do this!

Step Ten: Hahaha, of course you can’t. Walking one dog at a time when there are two dogs boarding in some kennels means of COURSE a corgi will escape (see next week’s edition for “Which Dogs Should Be Extinct?”) and run around the kennels and into the hydrotherapy center where it will try to attack sad, paralyzed dogs. Of COURSE it will do that again this afternoon. And again tomorrow morning and afternoon, and only won’t do it again the next day because it will go home (where it will probably pee on some dictionaries and write racist, semiliterate YouTube comments).

Step Eleven: Come home and cry big, sweaty tears. Cry about your feet, and about the way that your clothes and skin smell. Cry about the fact that you have to do it all again tomorrow. Cry at the idea of never being able to go out on the weekend again, and that your friends think you do a 14-year-old’s job. Cry about your feet some more. You will only get one day to do this, because your family will tire of your incessant blubbering and tell you to quit if it’s so damn awful.

See? All those papers you stayed up to write and tests you crammed for were worth it. You might not be able to use any of those skills here, but you’ll learn new ones (that is, if you didn’t quit the minute you fear-pooped). You’ll learn to wear running shoes and scrubs with lots of pockets. You will soon be able to read poop like a crystal ball: which dogs are healthy; which dogs are sick and need to be taken to the vet technicians; which dogs seem sick but only have “stress colitis” which is fancy talk for “nervous diarrhea.” You’ll learn how to use one bag to safely pick up two poops. You’ll learn to bring three bags when walking the golden doodle, because even with your double-bag skills you will need them. Most of all, you’ll begin to really, really appreciate cats.

Join us next time, if you aren’t dead in a ditch covered in golden doodle poop.

A Word From Annie Stillar: Program Assistants Just Want to Have (Summer) Fun

Whitworth English
Not to get hyperbolic here, but the English Department might having trouble finding its way out of a padded, self-adhesive envelope if it weren’t for the administrative and collegial talents of Annie Stillar (pictured above, with Sergei the skydiving instructor).
Annie has been at Whitworth for three years. She describes herself thusly: “The self-proclaimed runt/mascot of eight a$$-kicking, sports-dominating children. she likes happy hour, hates karaoke, and could tap dance you under the table. 26 going on 27, waiting for fellows to fall in line and offer her fruit and wine.”
If you haven’t checked out Annie’s blog, you’ll want to after you read her most recent post for Whitworth English Blog (she also submitted the photos):
I know what you’re thinking. Months off must be a total blast! Au contraire. Read on for a taste of my miserable summer.
Whitworth English
1) The Dirty Dash. A 4.5 mile mud run that includes chucking oneself over walls. I never liked sports OR being outside; for me to willfully jump into a mud pit was both liberating and newsworthy. Next year: I’m going, you’re going, we’re all going.
2) Musical Theatre camp. I spent weeks telling dozens of children to shut up and sit on their pockets (and teens to just plain shut up). We covered Disney, Sondheim, Gershwin, Wicked, the Roaring 20’s and my favorite, the Legends of Pop. Including but not limited to MJ, Elton John and Pat “Love is a Freaking Battlefield” Benatar. Need I say more?
Whitworth English

3) Skydiving, a.k.a My Hot August Weekend. I had all sorts of questions as we ascended to 13K feet: has anyone ever puked in mid-air? Passed out? Really? Like, lights out? Dang. It’s time to go? Let’s burn this mother down. As it turns out, careening towards earth at 125 MPH is totally awesome. My instructor is my new BFF after that long mid-air embrace. I asked how many times he’d jumped and he said this makes an even five. If he gets to ten they give him a free one! (Shut. Up. NOT HELPING, SERGEI.) However, after throwing ourselves out of the plane I was grateful we’d left no room for Jesus.

In short: skydiving is bomb. Tom Petty, eat your heart out.

4) Other, less noteworthy activities: the Avett Brothers, the Shins, meeting my new niece, adventures in community theatre, and the Stillar Family Annual 100% Natural Good-Time Lake Vacation Solution.
Good news: I survived. So did my family.

Welcome to Fall, everyone.

EL Professor Laura Bloxham On Baseball, Narrative, and Pippi Longstocking’s Hairbrush

Perhaps Dr. Laura Bloxham needs no introduction, but here’s one for good measure:

Leonard Oakland claims I was born in the Seattle Public Library.  Not true.  But I raised myself there.  I’m a graduate of Lake Washington HS (Go Kangaroos), Whitworth, and I have two graduate degrees from Washington State University.  I have taught at Whitworth and at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Laura compiled a reading list for 2012 (the list appears at the end of this post) and shared with us how the reading is going so far:

My reading this summer has largely fallen into three categories:  1) baseball literature; 2) reading group books; and 3) mysteries.

I’ve read Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, a long often painful and explicit novel set on a college campus.  The baseball sections are stunning, the life lessons redemptive.  Despite my despair about half way, I was immensely pleased by the ending.  John Grisham’s Calico Joe is altogether different as a baseball book and novel.  I’m not a Grisham reader.  But I am a fan of this tight narrative.  The baseball, as in The Art of Fielding, is much more than incidental.  There’s history and nuance.  This novel also has its redemptive elements.  But no easy victories in either novel.  I have a few more baseball treasures to come this season, including R.A. Dickey’s non-fiction work.

I’m reading with two groups this summer. For four summers I’ve read classics (Dickens, Eliot) with some young women.  This summer we’ve read Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.  The other group is some Kick Ass Women Faculty reading Kick Ass Women Characters.  We are reading whatever we want for our June-July gatherings and then in August we’re reading Thackeray’s Vanity Fair together.  So far I’ve read Pippi Longstocking (which was very kick ass once I got past her stirring the pancake mix with her hair brush) and three mysteries, Susan MacNeal’s Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Sue Grafton’s V is for Vengeance and Jacqueline Winspear’s Elegy for Eddie. 

Okay, so categories 2 and 3 crossover.  I am a few pages short of finishing Jeffrey Deaver’s mystery The Burning Wire, featuring Lincoln Rhyme.  And the one book that stands outside all three groups is Anne Tyler’s The Beginner’s Goodbye, which is a tidy and often humorous novel about grief and recovery.

Laura’s Recommended Reading for Summer 2012 and Other Mental

Vacations (36th edition) 

                  “Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?”

–Henry Ward Beecher

THE ALL-STAR TEAM

Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (story of William Dodd, ambassador)

Jeffrey Deaver, Garden of Beasts (stand alone mystery set in 1936 Berlin)

William Deresiewicz, A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

John Steinbeck, The Moon is Down (WWII)

Chris Cleave, Little Bee (harsh, brutal, but significant acts of giving)

P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberely (lots of Austen in-jokes)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853)

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (well worth rereading; 1868)

Christopher Fowler, Full Dark House (Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery)

“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”

–Italo Calvino

OTHER FICTION

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (her last novel)

Kathryn Stockett, The Help (bestselling novel set in Jackson, MS, 1963-4)

Charles Dickens, Bleak House (one of a number of classics I’ve reread this year)

Hannah W. Foster, The Coquette (American; 1797)

Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie (Native American/Puritan/Gender issues; 1827)

Fanny Fern, Ruth Hall (autobiographical novel; 1855)

Harriet E. Wilson, Our Nig: Or, Sketches in the Life of a Free Black (autobiographical novel; 1959)

Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills (class struggle; 1861)

The Magazine Novels of Pauline Hopkins (African-American writer; 1901-02)

Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)

“If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.”

–François Mauriac

MYSTERIES

Louise Penny, A Trick of the Light (series)

Michael Stanley, A Carrion Death (Detective Kubu, Botswana)

Henning Mankell, The Fifth Woman (Kurt Wallander, detective)

David Ignatius, Bloodmoney (espionage)

Alexander McCall Smith, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (No. 1 Ladies        Detective); The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Diane Mott Davidson, Crunch Time (cooking/catering series in Colorado)

Janet Evanovich, Smokin’ Seventeen; Explosive Eighteen

Jo Walton, Ha’ Penny (#2 in trilogy); Half a Crown (#3)

Mark Schweizer, The Organist Wore Pumps: A Liturgical Mystery (series); The Countertenor Wore Garlic

Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (2); A Red Herring Without Mustard (#3); I am Half-Sick of Shadows (#4)

Joanne Harris, Gentlemen and Players

Carolyn Keene, The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew)

Margaret Maron, Three-Day Town (links her New York and Southern series of mysteries)

“Never leave the house without a book—ever—even if you think you’re just going to the grocery store . . . .

. . . .if you’re stuck in a traffic jam or get a flat tire and you’re waiting for someone to come and help you . . . all kinds of moments in the day are reading moments.”

–Sara Nelson, “Marathon for a Reader,” Time, Dec. 16, 2003

NON-FICTION

Alfons Heck, A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika

Sara Miles, Take This Bread (communion)

 

Creative Writing Sampler: Katie (Rocketship) Daroff (’12) on Overcoming Pinterest

As the photo above suggests, Katie Daroff (’12) is good with a joke. She just finished a new piece of creative nonfiction called “Overcoming Pinterest,” which you’ll find below. But first, the facts.

Name: Katie (Rocketship) Daroff

Age: 23

Birth Place: Berkeley, California

Favorite Color: Pink

Life Goal: Become a crazy cat lady or write the next great teen fiction series

Greatest Accomplishments:

1) Becoming a Noble Dragon Slayer

2) Getting my cat off my laptop

3) Graduating

4) Making the U.S. Olympic Awesomeness team (none of the events are televised)

Favorite thing in her house: The Pirates Only sign in my living room.

Greatest Weakness: Writing personal bios. Check out my blog instead.

During the dark, dead, depressing months of winter, I made a mistake. While wrapped up in a super hero blanket with pink dinosaur slippers covering my half frozen feet, I logged onto my computer (of course this was after I completed all my work for the evening because I am responsible young lady). I typed the word “Pinterest” into the search bar. I requested an invitation to join the world’s largest online pin board. Unsure of how many online pin boards there could possibly be, I held back on being impressed.

My invitation came almost immediately from a woman in my parents’ church. I thought this was appropriate, seeing as she was the person who had first told me about this strange and mystic online world. Every time I saw the woman, she had something new and crafty that she had whipped up on display. She wore felt flowers in her hair with rhinestones that she “glued on herself” and knew 18 different ways to tie her scarf to make it look stylish with the dresses she had made herself. She had a ring she’d made out of a fork from her grandparents’ wedding silverware that was, she explained with a flourish of her hand, “much easier to make than it sounded.” I was thoroughly impressed with her, and every time I asked her how she learned to do something she simply stated “I saw it on Pinterest.”

I signed up. It sounded like the most wonderful place. It was a place with crafts but crafts that were so much more socially acceptable than the boondoggles and friendship bracelets I had learned to weave at camp. Honestly, I did not have enough friends to continue making friendship bracelets for much longer.

I had a case of crafter’s lust. I wanted to make everything and have it all be perfectly lovely. I pinned away hour after hour, always telling myself that once I got the supplies or learned to sew I was going to come back to that project, ignoring the voice of reason, who shook his head and muttered, “no you won’t.”

I pinned and pinned. March crept up on me. The long winter months were over. It was time to start the crafts requiring spray paint. It was time to remove my dinosaur slippers and get to work. Instead I continued as I had since Christmas, sitting on my couch, carefully selecting all of my future craft projects and with every click of the mouse muttering “I’ll start tomorrow. I’ll have time tomorrow.”

I found a tutorial for a bag that required no sewing. I thought, “I’ll do that someday, it seems cool.”

The days were growing longer and the voice of reason was growing less passive. “NO!”

It turns out that waiting until you have the skill to do the more advance crafts is not the way to get over crafter’s lust. The voice of reason had had enough of my shenanigans. I made the bag. It looked awful. I tried again. “Clearly,” I thought after more unsuccessful simple craft attempts, “I am out of my league.” I gave up. Maybe my friends wouldn’t mind too terribly if I made them each another friendship bracelet instead.

Creative Writing Sampler: “Too Old To Sleep” by Maggie Montague (’15)

Maggie Montague (’15), above, lounges at a park in Costa Rica, where she spent Jan term ’12. Maggie is an EL major (writing track) with a minor in Art History. She’s from San Diego, CA, where she’s spending the summer “working as a barista, writing, and hosting my brother’s indie folk band.” Of her writing projects, Maggie reports,  “I finished the first book of the trilogy and am now working on the second while scheming for the third.”  Her novel, A Terrible Blessing, is available on Amazon.com. There’s also a page for her novel on the Facebooks.

Maggie wrote this creative nonfiction piece, “Too Old To Sleep,” in EL 245. She also submitted the photos, including one of her with her grandmothers (and one grandpa in the background) and a shot of the remains of the blanket.

The sheets rustle as I roll back and forth, right and left. I reach for sleep, but each direction I go, sleep evades me. Behind my tightly shut eyes, the darkness seems to dance, taunting my restless mind. So I reach for something else, the ghost of a blanket from my childhood. It is nowhere to be found. At some point, I outgrew it. I have been told that getting older and more mature is the natural progression of life, but something in me is not easily convinced. There is something unnatural about letting go of home, of blankets.

I have grown, stretched, changed and changed back, but I am not alone in this. My blanket has matured, stretched, and shrunk as well. In its original state, my childhood blanket was blue and pink, but now the colors are faded beyond recognition. In the beginning, it was a good-sized blanket, you could even have called it respectable, but now it resembles more of a pillow than a blanket. It had to be folded and sewn to cover up the tears and gaping holes, which were left as evidence of the restless nights and days when I would hold it tightly against me. It used to feel soft and cool against my skin, but now it is fragile, ready to rip only to be sewn again. How did this blanket fall so far from its original state?

My hands still reach for it, though it is a million miles away.

It was my brother’s before it was mine, but it truly was always mine.

It was dubbed Nigh-Night, because I could hardly pronounce anything else.

It was with me when I was too young to crawl, and all I could do was lay there gazing at the squares of pink and blue.

It was a witness when I chewed my first piece of gum without swallowing it.

It was the only thing that could lull me to sleep on the hundreds of road trips my family took.

It was the soft comfort between my head and the hard glass of the car window.

It was left in multiple states, several preschools, a few churches, and numerous friends’ homes, but it always found its way back.

It was there when I awoke in the middle of the night too afraid of my dreams to shut my eyes again.

It was with me the night I became a grandchild without any grandparents.

It was my companion on my late night sleepwalking adventures to the refrigerator and back again.

It was there well past midnight when I refused to shut the covers of a book, clinging to the adventure, the mystery, the freedom, always assuring myself I would put it down after one more chapter, always lying.

It was there to soak up the tears cried over life and over death, the tighter I clung to the soft fabric, the less the heartache seemed.

It smelt like home, like family, like a deep sleep, like Pantene.

But now, it is millions of miles away, and I am too old to sleep.

Katie Carmella Dolan (’11) and Prof. Katie Creyts Featured In Spokane-Based Podcast

Q: Wait. Is Nicole using the EL Department blog as a platform for her own creative projects?

A: Well, it certainly seems that way.

Q: But this is still for the greater good and stuff?

A: Yes. Yes, I’m sure it is.

Rambunctious Vernacular is a Spokane-based podcast series in the vein of This American Life. I lifted (with permission) the name Rambunctious Vernacular from the homework of one of our talented undergrads, Josie Camarillo (’14).

Episode one (about 10:30) includes an interview with Katie Creyts, Associate Professor of 3-D art and sculpture at Whitworth, and EL and Theater alum, Katie Carmella Dolan (’11).

Have a listen! And if you’ve got story ideas, hit me: nsheets@whitworth.edu

(Sketch above from speartoons.)