Aren't you glad I found another format for these?

Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, January 05, 2010 9:14 AM

Here's the dream I had last night.

Dream opens and it’s Thanksgiving with the family. We are in what seems like the windowed basement of a HUGE cathedral. The basement itself looks something like a hobbit home. Something happens (I think we didn’t have a lot of food), and the meal’s basically over as soon as its begun, and we’re all still hungry. I hear something above us and go to see what it is. I go up stairs that take me to one of the towers in the church. I see four or five women just outside of the tower. I know I’m several stories up, so this should be impossible. Then I realize that they’re flying. I know they’re magical, so I asked them to help feed my family. One of them immediately scowls and curses me. I beg the other women to please bless us and help us eat. The lead one takes pity on me, and reverses the curse and points towards the stairs. I scramble back down the stairs to see that the table was now covered in delicious food. I tell my family to come see, and they can’t believe it. They ask me what happened, and I flat-out tell them, “It was a coven of witches.”

I think this is where that dream ended, but it cut away to the whole family being in church. The preacher tells us to start a hymn, but things get out of control really fast somehow. Apparently, everyone wanted to do a solo…? Which is just ke-ray-zay. So all of the sudden it becomes Interminable Singing Sunday, and people are singing for hours and hours. One of my grandmother’s piano students gets up to play the piano, and starts talking about how she can play the clarinet and the saxophone, and that she will play those next (I have no idea if she plays these instruments). Then my mom, who never goes to church and rarely plays the piano, gets up and goes to play the piano while my grandmother’s piano student looks bewildered and then tries to sing. I’m pacing up and down the aisle, ready to get out, pondering whether or not I’m a pagan since I’ve seen a pagan miracle, but no one seems to take any notice. Finally the preacher regains control and says that the service highlighted two of the reasons why she left – disrespect and disorganization. The service ends, and we go into the sanctuary. I hear some of the younger kids talking about how someone has sold their drugs, and that they should make a pretty good profit. I fly off the handle about how they shouldn’t be selling drugs. I asked them whom they were selling drugs to and they said, “Young kids and older people,” which made me even madder. I told them they were going to ruin kids’ lives and this wasn’t a win-win situation.

Then I went out in the parking lot and people I knew from high school were there. I started talking about a good friend from high school who had dropped out and I had lost contact with, and immediately people began telling me awful lies that he had told them about me, and how I was an awful person. I kept telling them that the things they were talking about never happened, but they wouldn’t listen. I was starting to cry and yell at them when I woke up.
The end.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Saturday, January 02, 2010 11:14 PM

Why History? What was so appealing about it to you that you decided to get a graduate degree in it?

I've responded to this in a more general and idealistic way on both Tumblr and BlogSpot, but I cannot say my reasons were entirely general or idealistic. It's easy to look at my graduate degree as a natural extension of my B.A. in History. Even though I had more options than most other history majors straight out of college, grad school seemed like the most logical next step. So for a leap in logic, to get to the root of the manner, we must look not to the grad applications of October through December 2008, but to the Fall and Spring semesters of my 2005-2006 freshman year.

I came in the door of the advising center thinking that I was going to be a Religious Studies and, if I remember correctly, psychology double major. I had enjoyed psychology in high school, and religious studies was something that had fascinated me on a personal level, as I had begun losing my faith in high school. Between the two, perhaps I would have studied the effect of religion on people.

But after I took a history course and had been bombarded by religious and philosophical studies in my first semester of Honors, I realized that studying religion and philosophy was not a goal in and of itself for me, but could be a means to understanding other things.

I was definitely a liberal arts kind of person, and the one study that could envelop every single other liberal art, whether wholly or in part, was history. It's the all-purpose major. I think in the end, that's why I majored in it. I wanted to do a science or math-based major, but I saw my limits before I committed to something that would have ultimately been foolhardy for me.

Anyway, I am in grad school for history because I realized, as most people do either when they're applying for grad school or the moment they step through the door, that I had learned just enough to know I knew nothing. And I cannot stand knowing nothing.

I think that's why I'm here, anyway.

Ask me anything