Let us go then, you and I...
I got my M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in lovely, downtown Chapel Hill, NC, known alternately and equally correctly by each of the following descriptive monikers:
Within these miserably-designed halls did I reside in search of a Ph.D in 20th Century American literature, minoring in Russian/Soviet literature, concentrating on satirical fiction on the post-WWII period (I know..."ask me if I care?"). I finished my M.A. in May of 1997, writing a thesis entitled "It's a Good Idea, But It Won't Work: Redefining of Proletarian Literature through the Works of John Dos Passos, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison and John Steinbeck (no it's not a link to a text of it, only the library citation, so you can see I'm not lying). I also occasionally contribute diatribes to the local school paper as a hobby. Here are four of them:
Before coming to Chapel Hill, I lived
in Fayetteville, AR, an equally
charming place (situated halfway between everything else in the world)
which unfortunately tends to lose its luster after four years of trying
to get out. Although I find the memory of a $275/month rent for my wonderful
Reagan Street chateau (sniff...) and a cost of living that rivals Diogenes
to be considerable drawing points (as well as close proximity to those
fabulous Ozarks), it can weigh you down after a few years of indolent repetition.
But it ain't the Land of Milk and Honey, after all, is it now? It does
house a vast number of my favorite
people, though, so it certainly keeps my attention regularly. I could
be lured back someday for good, but it'd have to be a pretty good lure.
But, hey...I was born there and I grew up (emotionally) there, so it feels
like home sometimes.
I worked for a considerable period
of time (longer than I sometimes care to admit) at the Ozark
Brewing Company in Fayetteville, at which I made a great number of
my closest friends in the world, financed my first year of graduate school
and almost developed a pathological hatred for mankind, especially the
mankind that asks "What comes on the Ham and Cheese?" With the exception
of some...er, notable lapses in self-control and better judgment, this
year and a half was one that I can look back on positively, despite the
fact that I'd rather be buried up to my neck in a red-anthill than ever
wait tables again.
I actually did go to school in Fayetteville
for a while too (or so they tell me...frankly, those years are a little
hazy around the edges, especially that band
experience.). The dear old U of A
provided me with a home from August 1991 until December of 1993, when I
got my B.A. (Bad-Ass degree) in English
and History. I also developed an interest in all things Russian there,
thanks directly to my nearest and dearest professor, Dr. Janet Tucker,
without whose sage advice and conversation (and occasional cups of much-needed
tea...) I might still be in the doldrums of mere Anglophiliac literature.
Spasiba, Prafyessor Tucker! I wrote a little ditty called
Through Clenched Teeth: The Menippean Satires of Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut,
Jr., Vladimir Voinovich and Alek'sander Zinoviev as my senior Honors
thesis and that paper has a distinct resemblance to what I plan on dissing
on eventually. If you'd like to see an e-text version of it...get a life,
Prior to my return to the now-beloved, then-despised South, I spent a year at that shockingly over-priced yet reasonably edifying institution of higher book-larnin' known as Boston University in bee-yoo-tee-ful Back Bay Boston, Massychootsits. While better known for its hockey and soccer prowess (and now for getting rid of football...ptooey, good riddance) and its lunatic-fringe president, old B.U. wasn't a bad place to spend a year (and $26,000) developing a moderately post-adolescent version of myself and gave me a Jones for Bean-town that won't wane anytime soon if my return visit in the summer of 1996 was any indication. Keep my barstool warm at the Dugout, lads, and my season ticket application at Fenway is in the mail.