So this was what artists did: Tamara looked up, looked down, moved her hand, looked up again. Choosing among the many slender, long-handled brushes she kept in a green glass bowl, Tamara dabbed a sheet of white wood with a dozen different shades of an earthy yellow she called ochre. When she hit on a set of shades she liked, she used a different brush for each color, holding as many as four brushes at a time in her free hand, cleaning each frequently with a wet rag.
-Ellis Avery (The Last Nude)

In general, I think there’s a lot of uncertainty about what graduate students actually do. Even being a graduate student myself, I’m not always 100% certain what my role is, how I should be spending my time. Things were much more defined for me in my first two years in my program; I took classes, read the canon and wrote a lot of papers. In the third year, teaching was added to the mix of coursework and research; the fourth year included much of the same, but with the addition of preparation for my qualifying exams. And then things changed again. Suddenly, after having jumped successfully through all these hoops, there was a lull: no more classes, more independence and just one big paper (or what some of us refer to as many little papers; the rule of thumb is that you can call your dissertation whatever you want as long as you find a way to write it) left to write.

It was only this morning that I started to realize that, although I’m technically still a graduate student, I no longer feel like a graduate student. I read Bon Appetit and The New Yorker after dinner, and I never do “homework” over breakfast. There is no longer any need for “all-nighters.” While I, of course, do work, the nature of this work is decided by me: I choose what books I’ll read, I establish the deadlines and, if I need to take a “personal day” (or 20) to get my thoughts in order, I can. Really, these days I see myself more as a writer–somebody who is putting the various pieces together and constructing a narrative. The construction of this narrative just involves a lot of detours; there are Twitter stops, lunch breaks and long moments of contemplation about dinner. There is also this blog and the internet as a whole, which reminds me not only that it’s important both to eat and live well, but also that there’s a wide and wonderful world of things that aren’t Slavic or dissertation related and that I should, when possible, take part in them, even if only as a shadowy spectator.

Which brings me to the point of this post. By nature and training, I’m a researcher (and maybe a consumer) at heart; I like finding things and sharing them, suggesting books, brunch places, bakeries, movies, etc. And so, every once in a while, I’m going to spread the “internetical” love and shower you with things that I find no less than amazing. Pretty pictures, maybe related, maybe unrelated, will be included. Words, also, will not be left behind.

1) Did you know that besides being a pretty amazing poet, Emily Dickinson had a fondness for baking? Coconut cake was one of her specialties.

2) I have no idea how this gluten-free pasta would taste, but, since it’s from the wondrous kitchen of Thomas Keller, I was more than a little intrigued.

3) Along with the Joy the Baker Cookbook, the library has been good to me recently. After months of waiting, I’ve finally gotten The Last Nude, which is about art and painting in Paris in the ’20s; the modern-day epistolary novel, The Illumination; and a novel that a friend inadvertently recommended about the Lapland.

4) I maybe haven’t mentioned that I’m going to Greece this summer (and Istanbul and New York, too!), but the Greek’s mother sent me this lovely video of Greece, which has made me even more excited for June!

5) I’m in love with Tamarind Chocolates from a shop dangerously close to my apartment.

6) When I was in Finland, I was thinking of all the things I wanted to do when I got home. Since baking was at the top of the list, I jumped at the chance to participate in a bake sale in San Francisco for charity–the very same bake sale that I decided not to participate in last year because of my dissertation.

7) On a similar note, I also decided to join the Foodie Pen Pal program, which means that once a month I’ll both mail and receive a box of goodies. I’ve always had a thing for real mail.

8) Ever since our trip to the Ferry Building, I’ve been dreaming of more Cowgirl Creamery Triple Cream Cheese; it has ruined me for all other cheese–forevermore.

9) Considering the weather has been so gloriously summery here lately, I’ve been thinking of things like seaweed salad and crab cakes. Oh, and maybe a Banana Tarte Tartin, too.

10) I come across a lot of blogs, but recently I’ve been especially enjoying two. The first is Kiss My Spatula, whose photography is endlessly gorgeous and inspirational. And then there’s the small fact that she can write about Vietnamese Iced Coffee one day and Rosemary Mint Lamb Popsicles the next; let’s just say I know a certain couple that would enjoy both. The second is Emiko Davies, who, much to my surprise (remember my own squeamish refusal to eat reindeer blood in the Lapland?), has recently been cooking with pig’s blood. Like I said, the internet never fails to amaze.

3 thoughts on “Spreading the "Internetical" Love

  1. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing all the suggestions:) I am really happy to hear you say that you are thinking of yourself as a writer–that is, I think, the very best thing about writing a dissertation. I remember that stunned feeling too, of suddenly finding myself able to organize my work however worked best for me, and the freedom for personal days (at the end of which, inevitably, I was always full of ideas and passion for writing). The beginning and the end of grad school are so different! Ina good way, I think:) Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. So much inspiration and looking outside the binders into the wide and wonderful world! Your sense of balance is refreshing.
    That bake sale and goodie exchange are truly intriguing me, and the cheese is indeed dangerously delicious.

  3. -Krug, thank you; glad you liked the links (Vendela Vida was obviously inspired by you!)! And I think we can't help but see ourselves as writers, especially when on DNTF. It's all we have to do, basically–besides bake and eat and walk and take pictures. Sadly, this weekend, I'm enjoying it all form afar since I think I have some form of the flu or something else that is nastily incapacitating. But I've got books galore and Netflix. The Greek is in D.C.

    -Moriah, thank you! Well, if you decide to do the bake sale, either this year or next, it would be lovely to have a bake sale buddy! 🙂 And I can't say for sure what these goodie boxes will look like since I haven't received mine yet, but the one I sent was full of things that I wouldn't mind receiving (go figure!). I did feel that being in Finland gave me more perspective; I was suddenly so much more aware of the internet as a world unto itself and of the various offerings of the Bay. It made me, to steal Krug's word to live by in 2012, much more grateful. 🙂

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