This is Ernie. Ernie is a cat. A cat has no self-doubt.

Last night a friend and I texted back and forth about the “waiting game.” All of our PhD applications are in and now it’s just a matter of sitting by while committees of people decide our fate. While texting, I was also checking out thegradcafe.com for information about wait times, acceptance/rejection ratios and general conversations about applying to graduate schools for Literature, Composition, and Rhetoric. I had made the conscious decision not to check these forums before getting my applications together. That was both a wise and unwise decision. Had I known that one of my schools only accepts one student with an outside M.A. I would have saved the money on the application. (A similar realization for my friend[…]

I occasionally wonder if I take my work seriously. Sometimes, when I’m researching or writing, I find the thread of a theme and I grab on for dear life, pulling, stretching, and, ultimately, tying myself up in knots. Then (and it always happens) I get a big “shit-eating” grin on my face and slice through everything like I’m Alexander the Great and my paper idea is the whole fucking world. I never wonder if I take myself seriously. I do not, and sometimes, that comes through in my academic work. I worry that eventually someone will ask me, “are you making fun of what we do?” Not really, but I can’t deny, that occasionally, I like to, as the French[…]

While I was in Seattle, I got a chance to do a little research at the University of Washington. Their library is huge and intimidating, yet everyone was wonderfully accommodating. In their Special Collection area I was able to go through two volumes of Japanese school readers from 1908 and 1903. Near the end of my browsing, with unlimited enthusiasm but limited Japanese, I came across this scene (pictured above) from “Momotaro” in one of the katakana readers:   I reads (if I translated correctly): The cart had treasure. The dog pulled enyaraya. The monkey pushed from behind enyaraya. The pheasant pulled the rope enyaraya. It’s a simple stanza that uses a familiar scene from a popular story to help[…]

I had started with good intentions, truly. But like all things that crash and burn, the flame of inspiration is the start. As I’m nearing the end of my time in the Masters program, I am beginning to look forward: to a PhD program, to the GREs, to the continued deferral of my undergrad student loans. I have also decided to aggregate my class posts under this one blog. From Introduction to English Studies, Indigenous Rhetoric and Postcolonial Studies, these three classes were outside the core of what I want to specialize in–late Victorian, non-traditional literature and fairy tales. Yet they provided me with a breadth of experience and stories that inform all of my work. They are sometimes rough[…]