alexandra ewing is on the internet.

twenty-something philadelphia-area online diarist comes home in the midst of a total breakdown and eventually makes good, to an electrifying soundtrack of '60s power pop.

it's the feel-good movie of the summer.

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~ Tuesday, February 11 ~
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Let it go

The motto at the old college is “My heart is in the work.” When I was there I thought about this a lot. When I applied, it was the sort of thing that made me certain it was the right place for me. When I read about the old college, I still get that feeling, and even though I know better now part of me still thinks “What if I went back?” I’m never going to have the college experience I wanted but sometimes I long for it anyway.

But: “My heart is in the work.” Is there a better motto than that? No dreary dusty Latin, just good advice to live by.

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Tags: up too late miserable 3a dt1657 the old college i find that i cling to the fact that i went to the old college as some kind of proof i wasn't always stupid even though i dropped out and obviously couldn't handle it so maybe i was but they accepted me in the first place even though i felt weirdly about that--i always felt like i cheated my way in because i got in off the waitlist anyway late night insecurities with alex let's make that a talk show
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~ Monday, January 28 ~
Permalink Tags: the old college don't get be wrong because i am deeply fond of the place but it is also a place absolutely not for me and i suspect not for a lot of the people who actually went there
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~ Thursday, January 5 ~
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Unexpected highlight of my day.

  • Counselor: Alexandra?
  • Me: Hi, hello, how are you.
  • Counselor: Hi, nice to meet. I'm [forgot her name].
  • (we settle in to her office that is a cubicle off the waiting room with no privacy)
  • Counselor: So. How can I help you?
  • Me: Um, well, I'm just looking to register for one class. My therapist said it would be a good start for me, and then later I can expand to more classes.
  • Counselor: Well, that sounds good! And you did really well on the placement test. You're in [something something math]. Where'd you go to school?
  • Me: Carnegie-Mellon.
  • Counselor: Oh! No wonder you're so good at math!
  • (I curse that invariably I perform better on basic math than on reading comprehension even though I have never been a friend of math)
  • Me: Um...
  • Counselor: So why did you leave?
  • (trying to be my most confident and least ashamed)
  • Me: Um, I had a nervous break-down.
  • (counselor stares at me)
  • Counselor: It is... (checks watch) 11:30. And I have seen 11 students so far today. And you are the THIRD to tell me you left college because of a nervous breakdown. Third! Three!
  • Me: ...Really?
  • Counselor: Yes! And those are just the ones who outright TOLD me. I don't know about the others. I can't believe it.
  • Me: I feel...
  • (momentarily speechless)
  • Me: I feel so relieved. That I'm not the only one.
  • Counselor: Oh, no. It happens all the time.
Tags: weight that i have carried for the last four years unburdened almost felt like crying from relief 3a the old college the between college
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~ Saturday, December 4 ~
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atomische:

Atomische : Faces of Holi / 2010

#PICKME!
I celebrated Holi once, three years ago. Afterwards, I wrote this in my journal:

I wish I had written about Holi right after I came back from it because  the energy was amazing. Holi brings you closer to God. Or the various  Hindu gods and goddesses, I guess. Several hundred people flinging  possibly-toxic (thanks Wikipedia) powder paint at each other, rubbing it  into faces and teeth and clothes and then a giant water fight. Chloe and  I couldn’t convince Gabe or Tara to go, so we went ourselves and fell  asleep outside during a massive delay in the event. When we woke up and  still things weren’t happening we went to Phipps and looked at orchids  and a Thai garden and the wedding area for an hour and came back to find  things in full swing. It was so welcoming, and you would throw paint at  a stranger for him to turn around and introduce himself before flinging  paint back at you. It was loving. After we got caught in the water  moshpit Chloe and I left and walked to Entropy to get stuff to drink. A  little boy in an Arizona State jersey, no more than three years old,  looked horrified at our clothes and hair. “What happened to you?”  he asked with wide eyes. “We got in a paint fight, it was fun,” I said,  and the boy’s head followed us as we walked until he ran away to his  parents. We sat outside and drank milk and watched pink and purple  stream from Flagstaff Hill. Chloe’s roommate Manasi walked by and she  discussed how she celebrates Holi at home, how it gets out of control in  India because little kids are willing to throw anything (not just  paint) ,and how at CMU we actually celebrate it a few weeks late to  coincide with Carnival. Then we all left and I came back to see my  roommates, who really don’t know how to drink because they do it in the  early afternoon and then are hungover at twilight, and they were upset  they forgot to go to “that paint celebration.” I showered, making sure  to get all the paint off the sides of the shower, and was still pink. It  felt like magic.

atomische:

Atomische : Faces of Holi / 2010

#PICKME!

I celebrated Holi once, three years ago. Afterwards, I wrote this in my journal:

I wish I had written about Holi right after I came back from it because the energy was amazing. Holi brings you closer to God. Or the various Hindu gods and goddesses, I guess. Several hundred people flinging possibly-toxic (thanks Wikipedia) powder paint at each other, rubbing it into faces and teeth and clothes and then a giant water fight. Chloe and I couldn’t convince Gabe or Tara to go, so we went ourselves and fell asleep outside during a massive delay in the event. When we woke up and still things weren’t happening we went to Phipps and looked at orchids and a Thai garden and the wedding area for an hour and came back to find things in full swing. It was so welcoming, and you would throw paint at a stranger for him to turn around and introduce himself before flinging paint back at you. It was loving. After we got caught in the water moshpit Chloe and I left and walked to Entropy to get stuff to drink. A little boy in an Arizona State jersey, no more than three years old, looked horrified at our clothes and hair. “What happened to you?” he asked with wide eyes. “We got in a paint fight, it was fun,” I said, and the boy’s head followed us as we walked until he ran away to his parents. We sat outside and drank milk and watched pink and purple stream from Flagstaff Hill. Chloe’s roommate Manasi walked by and she discussed how she celebrates Holi at home, how it gets out of control in India because little kids are willing to throw anything (not just paint) ,and how at CMU we actually celebrate it a few weeks late to coincide with Carnival. Then we all left and I came back to see my roommates, who really don’t know how to drink because they do it in the early afternoon and then are hungover at twilight, and they were upset they forgot to go to “that paint celebration.” I showered, making sure to get all the paint off the sides of the shower, and was still pink. It felt like magic.

Tags: pickme! random image holi religion is like paul rudd the old college
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reblogged via atomische
~ Thursday, November 18 ~
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Terrance Hayes won the National Book Award!!

The things that excite me:

After the ceremony at the ornate Cipriani banquet hall on Wall Street, an elated Mr. Hayes said he’s “bringing the National Book Award home to Pittsburgh” today when he intends to teach his noon class at CMU.

ETA: This makes it look like I think there is only one. I know there are more! I mean the poetry category in which his collection was nominated. Also, winning: Patti Smith! I am so pleased right now.

Tags: book terrance hayes the old college pittsburgh
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~ Wednesday, November 3 ~
Permalink Tags: the old college dr dog sondre lerche
~ Wednesday, October 13 ~
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Terrance Hayes is a National Book Awards finalist?!

I gasped. I gasped! I first read a few poems of his in high school, and then met a friend who adores him at PGSA, and soon after that went to college where he taught. He was on sabbatical the year I was there, but his wife was my favorite professor. A classmate, a wonderful poet, and I sat outside in the winter once—I think, had I stayed, we could have become great friends—and she explained that she didn’t want to get her creative writing intro classes out of the way like everyone else was trying to do because he had extended his leave and she wanted to be in his section, and I couldn’t blame her at all. He’s a great man—and now an NBA finalist! I can’t believe it. His family and the department must be celebrating in Pittsburgh right now. Here is the poem that started it all—”At Pegasus.”

(And a fact about Pegasus I only just learned:

The nightclub was among the places researchers from the University of Pittsburgh formed The Pitt Men’s Study, the oldest ongoing study of the natural history of the HIV. Two years before the virus was identified, patrons of Pegasus and other gay establishments were given free beer in exchange for giving samples of their blood. The Pitt Men’s Study was the catalyst for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

The more you know!)

Tags: pittsburgh terrance hayes the old college poetry
~ Wednesday, September 15 ~
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I feel like this has to be referencing something, but on the off chance it’s not, I really want hijacking a friend’s status to be a thing, especially if you use it to make awful lounge act sort of jokes that are all too-obvious punchlines and then finish it with a sign-off.
Anyway, this pretty much made my night.

I feel like this has to be referencing something, but on the off chance it’s not, I really want hijacking a friend’s status to be a thing, especially if you use it to make awful lounge act sort of jokes that are all too-obvious punchlines and then finish it with a sign-off.

Anyway, this pretty much made my night.

Tags: facebook the old college hilarious
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~ Thursday, July 22 ~
Permalink Tags: the old college reasons to live third eye blind
~ Wednesday, July 21 ~
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I sat down and tried to write something weighty about cleaning out my closet, a task I have devoted myself to for several days with little progress until an hour ago, but nothing came out. Maybe sometimes cleaning out your closet is just cleaning out your closet.

Tomorrow night, or tonight really, I am going into Bryn Mawr to see The Third Man. I am taking a class on it as well, and I am nervous—not because it is a real class, because it isn’t: it will be populated by the elderly, I am sure, and by people who know very little about the film, and I don’t expect to learn much. But it is the first time in months and months that I will be sitting in a theatre alone, or at least without a companion. In some ways, this makes me sad, because I had hoped when the film institute listed its summer offerings I would be able to drag a few friends to see this, to impress upon them just how much I love it, hoping that seeing the Wiener Riesenrad on the big screen would enthrall someone. (A few years ago, I attempted a viewing, and all but two people fell asleep, I believe. It was my own fault; I was careless and paid no attention to the time of day and the setting and whether or not people would be receptive, but I was so excited at the idea of people loving it that I let my enthusiasm get the best of me.) Mostly I am happy though, because there is nothing quite like entering a theatre where you know no one. It’s true that movies are a communal experience, and meant to be watched with others, which is the great shame of home entertainment and online streaming, but walking in and taking a seat alone when all you know is that the others around you, your faceless, nameless compatriots, want to see this too, is such an overwhelming feeling, and just as communal as a night out with friends.

Back at the old college, four nights a week the student activities board showed films for a dollar, three screenings each. The Thursday movies were usually recent indies, Friday and Saturday were usually recent blockbusters (mostly comedies and action movies), and Sunday tended to be cult films or classic sci-fi. At first I only attended the Thursday shows, and because of my schedule in the first semester, I always saw the last screening, which was at midnight or twelve-thirty. The Thursday films were always much less crowded to begin with, but the last showing was always dead. This was how I saw The Wind That Shakes the Barley: sitting in the middle of McConnelly, a large lecture hall, my feet propped on the seat in front of me, a small jug of milk and M&Ms on the fold-out desk, with three other people desperate to see this scattered among the other several hundred seats. Two of them were friends who had come together, sitting almost all the way in the front, and on the way out I staggered behind them, still wiping away the tears, eavesdropping on their conversation (said one to the other, “I don’t know if I saw that movie, because I spent half the time cringing and the other half crying”), and I grabbed one of the many excess copies of the student paper to carry over my head as I went outside into the rain to get home dry. It is a nice memory anyway—one I cling to, remember as a time when I was relatively independent and happy—but there is a sense of camaraderie that comes from experiencing the same thing, together. I hope tomorrow will be just as joyous.

Tags: film the third man bmfi 3a the old college
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