Copy Editing

Last night, although it held on until 2 this morning, was glorious.  There’s so much more to copy editing than quiet and the flick of thumb or pen against paper, even more than the good-natured debate about the merits of the Oxford Comma.

Copy editing, at least in the context of the University Register, of the University of Minnesota, Morris, means piles of musty papers leaning against one another in all corners of the office.  It means the smell of stale popcorn and the occasional crunch of the occasional SweeTart underfoot (leftover from the Activities Fair).  Copy editing means an office like a sauna; it means the main office and the smaller one take the fan in shifts, grudgingly lugging it back after two hours have passed.  It means ordering a pizza at 10 pm because we’re hungry and because all of E-Quality’s extra pizza was eaten before we knew it had been offered.  It means trooping to Higbies for coffee, for smoothies, for fresh air.  It means barely stifling moans of anguish at the appearance of another NASCAR article.  It means AP is God.  It means the combination of people’s surnames, scrawled across a whiteboard to uproarious delight.  It means actually finding an earring that, lacking a back, slipped onto the floor of the Student Center without my knowledge.

Eventually, perhaps, if you care to wait up until the tired paperboy walks the campus, depositing a pile of newspapers at every building, copy editing means a publication we can all read without cringing.

Excuses, Excuses

I’ve been failing with this project lately, and I want to let you know that I am very aware of it.

I’m busy, yes, incredibly so, but I was busy last spring running a campaign, and I managed to post then.

I’ve been having trouble thinking of things to post about, yes, but isn’t that the entire point of this blog?  That by writing even when I have nothing to say I will be forcing myself to move away from the idea of writing as glorious inspiration, and toward the idea of writing as mostly hard work, with spurts of glorious inspiration?

So here’s what I’ve been busying myself with when not blogging:

1. Learning to diagram sentences for my Grammar and Language class.  I always suspected that I’d enjoy this class, and thus far I’ve been happily right.  Learning the finer points of grammar is like math for people like me who are miserable at math.  Grammar has the structure, the right-or-wrong answer, the tidiness, the rules that math does, but without the general headache that seems to stem from crowding numbers together into an equation.  Additionally, as we talked about last week in class, much of grammar (unlike much of math) is instinctive.  We’ve all been using it since we were two.  We know what’s up.  Sure, some of the official names for things (predicate, adverbial, etc.) are unfamiliar, but the arrangement of sentences is innate.

2.  Gathering copy editing minions to do my bidding.  The first edition of the year of the UMM school newspaper (The University Register) comes out Thursday.  As I have been voted Head Copy Editor, tonight I will be huddled in the copy editing dungeon from 8 pm to 2 am using my red pen all over submitted articles.  So far, I have about 30 people willing to join me in this task, which is quite encouraging.

3.  MCSA.  Always and forever.  Besides my secretarial position, I’m currently in charge of planning the Fall Retreat, am serving on the election commission, chair the Student Services committee, and am the head student representative on the larger Student Affairs Committee.  Luckily, I’m passionate about this stuff.

4.  Work: Higbies (coffee counter on campus), Social Science Division Office, library Writing Room.

5.  Socializing.  Of course.  I mean, I haven’t seen most of these people all summer.  Plus, it’s senior year; I plan to leave UMM with as many friends as possible.

6.  Sleep.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes I sit in class and daydream about it.

7.  My birthday is next Saturday!  While I’m trying desperately not to think of the implications of turning twenty-two (aka being old, not having any more significant birthdays until thirty, etc.), I am planning a birthday party for myself.  I don’t think I’ve had a “friends” birthday party since I turned eight.  I remember that party fondly, although I’m thinking my twenty-second won’t feature a scavenger hunt with Lip Smackers for prizes.

Holly Movies

After the successfully classy wine and cheese party of last night, after four hours of study in the library, and after my second Cloud Cult concert (they also came to UMM my freshman year), I have picked my way back up to my room, dodging forgotten suit jackets and half-melted candles.

My map fell down again today, but rather than wresting with the sticky tack, I’ve left it on the floor, facedown.

I’m expecting a Skype call in a few minutes, and then, as it will likely be too late to do anything else, I think I’ll settle down with a Holly Movie.

They’re gracelessly named, but basically, Holly Movies are historic dramas that are usually artsy, and usually disliked by the rest of the world.  The New World is one such movie.  The two people I naively forced to watch it with me are no longer my friends.  I don’t know what happened there.

Anyway, happy Saturday night.  One day, perhaps, I will again have a television available to me, and will again be able to watch SNL.

Who’s Afraid?

Today, in a tucked-away part of the library that few know about, I discovered Virginia Woolf.  I wasn’t the first to do so, admittedly; others have been planting flags and sprinkling ashes across her since long before I was born.

I think I always expected Virginia to be revolutionary in an obnoxious way.  I thought she would be flinging Victorian hoopskirts and tatting and marriage away with both hands, hardly stopping to consider the craft by which she was doing it.

I was wrong, as I tend to be, and have found her to be masterful, both in substance and in writing.  It’s hard to explain, but her writing tastes good when read out loud.  Sentences like

“The place seemed tangled and matted with emotion”


“The window-panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass.”

you want to swill around in your mouth for a bit.

I know that it’s all very typical: Imagine!  A twenty-one year old female English major admiring Virginia Woolf!

Still, I can’t help myself.

The Last First Day of School

Today was my last first day of school.  I say that, not with confidence, as the graduate school issue is still very much up in the air, but because it sounds dramatic, and because I’ve been dreading this day for most of my life.

This morning I had yogurt for breakfast, and ate it crouched on our new couch.  The couch, compliments of the Salvation Army, is yellow with multicolored daisies.  It’s so ugly that it’s actually glorious.

Because two of my housemates also had 9:15 classes, we set out from Bag End (I kid you not; houses have names in Morris, and ours has been recently christened) together.  Jordan was chipper, despite having flown in from a summer-long stint in Norway yesterday.  He clasped coffee and led our small band down the cracked sidewalk.  Joey, freckles pale, pushed his bike.  He had been out late the night before.  I trotted next to him, trying to let the largeness of the day wash over me.

My first class was Grammar and Language.  This is the nerdiest class I’ll probably ever take, but it’s also one of the most valuable.  I consider myself, mostly due to my extensive reading, a good speller and grammatician.  But I don’t know how to diagram a sentence.  I don’t know the history of the English language.  I don’t retain the difference between “who” and “whom,” despite having Googled it several times.

I went home for lunch afterward, and then returned to campus for a 1:00 literary festival planning meeting.  Then came 20th Century British Fiction, aka Woolf Lit.  We’re reading just about every novel ever written by dear Virginia.  It’s a small class, maybe 20 people, so I hope that discussions will be lively.

Immediately following was my Senior Seminar course.  Senior Seminars at Morris are required for every major.  They vary, but in the English department, Seminar courses are themed, and students must write and present a 12-15 page paper following the theme.  My Seminar is Renaissance Romance, which I know absolutely nothing about.  Thankfully, before we’re expected to come up with our own thesis, we spend time reading lots of materials that familiarize us with the topic.

At 6 I had a Higbies staff meeting, and then I attempted to mow our lawn.  I got about one-quarter of the lawn done before the mower died, and resisted all rehabilitation.

I think tomorrow, once I’ve slept in and recuperated from OGL, will be a better day.


Sometimes, things happen.  Sometimes, in order to impress the class of 2016, you find yourself on stage, wearing dreadlocks, and talking like a pirate.  Sometimes you find yourself clapping the rouser as loudly as possible, shouting the lyrics at confused underclassmen.  Sometimes you must put on your best disgusted face as a boy pretends to throw up a mixture of oatmeal and water in front of you.  Sometimes, you must dance ridiculously.

The annual OGL/Community Advisor Extravaganza was tonight.

Skits were performed, songs were sung, school spirit was abound.

What did you do with your evening?