Back to Reality



Welcome to volume thirteen of my ever-continuing essay on life.  This piece has been entitled The Lincoln Experience, as I have moved to the dorm Lincoln Hall from good ol’ Thompson.  Actually, I have been back for some time.  All right, I’ve actually been back for two months, and am just now getting around to organizing this volume.  Maybe it’s the weather at this time of year or something, but like last year I have the urge to begin writing again as the temperature falls.  At least this time I had some foresight and wrote down dozens of notes so I won’t be doing this cold.  To give this writing more fluidity, I am going to put the date in which I wrote the notes as the date of the each entry.

Now a quick summary of the Fall of ’98 semester so far.  The major new player these last weeks has been Alex Rizko, a freshman from a suburb of Chicago (as it seemed most people here at Western are), who has been my girlfriend of some time.  I haven’t made it back to Thompson very often (now on the far side of campus), and there have been numerous changes.  Yet Collinsville, Tom and I are doing well and having some laughs along the way.  So far the last two months have been very enjoyable, and now it’s time to explain why…

September 4, 1998  Friday

It’s time to get back to reality.  Two Fridays ago I arrived back to Western Illinois University, eager to get my sophomore year underway.  Upon getting to campus we went to Lincoln Hall, my new home, to unload more provisions than the Pilgrims brought on the Mayflower.  As soon as I reached the 12th Floor, I went to Tom’s room, which is right now to mine, in the southeast corner of our floor.  He had arrived just before me, and then Collinsville appeared from his room, further down the hall.  He had arrived a few days before me to help with move-in.  Needless to say it was great to see both of them, and I was instantly starting to feel at home.

And what about my new home, you ask?  It’s very nice, a super-single, meaning bigger than other rooms with some furniture of a overstuffed chair and couch.  And it was a great view, mine looking east over the residential neighborhood just off Western’s campus. When I was moving in it was instantly noticeable how awkward the wiring is, and so there are a few wires stretching from one side of the room to the other.  Lincoln Hall is at the extreme southeast corner of campus, and it’s a long walk to the center of campus for classes.  Yet here it is a long walk to someplace wherever you live, so we;ll just look at the daily hiking as a way to stay in shape (I wonder if I’ll be saying the same thing in December…)

Here are some other quick gripes, to get them out of the way: 1) the elevators are the size of sardine cans, and sometimes don’t work very well.  2) The laundry room is in the basement, which makes L-day even of a pleasure when you have to go up and down thirteen floors.  The food is pretty good, and I think the three of us are very happy for having moved here.

In the beginning, two weeks ago, we were slightly worried about the quietness of he floor, and if you know anything about last year, our freshman year, you know we’re not used to that.  All of our doors were always wide open, and we freely walked in to anyone’s place to walk or whatever.  Of the three of us, Collinsville may be most regretting he’s in Lincoln, because he believes a lot more happened in Thompson.  He may be right.

That night, our first back, we went to the Pike’s brand new house, of which Tom and Collinsville are both a part of.  Collinsville rushed a year ago, and Tom rushed last spring.  Tom was there with his seventeen year old girlfriend Melinda he had once visited Western in the spring.  I was just happy–no, ecstatic–to be back in Macomb.

Then Monday came, and we had to be reminded of the reason we’re really here.  My first class was at ten o’clock; it was a Sociology 200 class taught by an ancient coot named Mathers.  He’s a backwoods hillbilly from the seventeenth century (his word, not mine!)  He also made it very clear, “I’m old, I’m cranky, I’ve never given an A on an exam, and if you get one you cheated.” Boy, I think I’m going to love this class.

Geography with Dr. Rieck was next on the list.  The only problem is the Tillman Hall, there the class is, is really really all to the way across campus.  Walking as fast as I could, I reached Tillman within the ten minutes allotted travel time, and walked in the classroom as the instructor read off my name.  As a bonus, anytime we’re late we get 5 points taken off our final exam.   This day kept getting better and better.

English 280 was at noon.  After going back to Lincoln to eat, I walked to Simpkins with Tom.  When we entered the room there was Collinsville, and I was thankful both were in this section with me.  I barely sat down and got my bag under my desk when Katie Looker walked in (yes, that Katie Looker).  As luck would have it she sat right behind me.  It might be a long semester.  But aside from all that, the instructor, Jerry Henson, is a really great guy.  And as proof, the class never runs more than half an hour, a rule of his.  Great guy. |

Geography might be a good way to wind down my day.  The professor discusses each continent and all of the aspects that entail each.  Sharon from the summer is in the class with me.

Tuesday is without a doubt my best day.  The only class I have is at one, which is Human Sexuality with Justin Iverson, who is a graduate student.  All-in-all, this could turn out to be a good semester.  Thursday I have an evening, two-hour lab for Dr. Rieck’s Geography class, and Sexuality again.  I can see the first Geography is going to be really tough already, but I should be able to handle everything else.

Now for the stuff that is not class related.  Since mid-July I have been working on my series of poems entitled The Edge, and have become increasingly interested in better myself as a lyricist and poet.  Roger Waters has become what I strive to emulate as far as general style.  Last Wednesday I wanted to find someone in the English department that cold give me some guidance as to how to refine my writing, and I stumbled upon the office of Tama Blanchard, which is just inside the English lounge in Simpkins.  I told her I was interested in pursuing a career in writing in poetry, and at first I thought she might be skeptical as to my ability.  She told me it was a very hard profession, sometimes without much fanfare.  I replied that I understood that, and described some things I had been working on.  I explained that many times we see people who are down and out, people that life has passed out, and we dismiss them.  I wanted to explain the pins and needles that a subject to such an outcome.  From that point she took me much more seriously, and said she had been just been sold on reading it.  Tama also explained to me that writers should look for mentors, and she might be a good one for me.  I left a copy with her, and then returned in the morning before Geography lab.  She told me, “You have a talent that some advanced students lack,” and she wants we in her poetry class next semester.  I had some questions about what the next step should be, and how I should gear my career.  She made a few points 1) read other’s works constantly; find an author you like , and take the time to make his style yours.  Eventually your own will come out.  2) When choosing a career , make sure it is one in which I have plenty of time to write.  I know that I want to wrote about people, so I will have to be a position to always be around them and “study” them.  College is going to give me a lot of material.

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