Sunday, December 30, 2007

East Coast Represent!

I've spent some time in NY and some time in DC and I can't shake the vibe that DC is cleaner, nicer and newer. But I also know that I need to like NY --everyone who's anyone is supposed to like NYC. And how can I make a statement about one of the largest cities in the world when there are so many different neighborhoods and cultures? Do cities really have a spirit to them? Or is it just our personal associations with them?

Will be back in Provo on the 2nd. Funny I've been gone so long.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


A bunch of kids from my theory class were trying to weigh the sincerity of compliments. And the validity of standardized testing. We all ought to be confident enough that we're supersmartypants and besides, it doesn't matter. But how do you know if you're smart enough? Compare and contrast.

Pro Con

Your professor thinks you're brilliant. Your professor thinks everyone's brilliant.

You got a good GRE score. Someone in your class complained about a 780.

Your friends love your writing. None of your friends are major journals' editors.

You do some things well. You don't do everything perfectly.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I Totally Don't Deserve This

I am mercifully deflected from dejection. Again.

Have You Noticed...?

that I apparently only post whenever there's a crisis. And crisis there always seems to be. I can't get my GRE scores. I know that they're already being sent to the school of my choice, but the school of my choice wants me to write them on the application and I don't know them. Maybe this is fate that I'm not supposed to go there. Or maybe this is just a good lesson on the importance of counting ahead the business days before deadlines. Dang. I hate to have all this worry in vain.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good Gravy Good Thanksgiving

I've done a solid half of what I set out to do this Thanksgiving Break. But mostly the half about watching Japanese animation epics. And only half of that. And I started my applications to graduate school.

But mostly and bestly, I spent a lot of time hanging out with my nephew and niece. We went to the park twice in one day, bought Christmas presents for a little girl without any presents at all, played Mario Party, watched The Incredibles (twice), cleaned up baby throw up, went to the mall, read The Flash's Book of Speed, had a birthday party, wiped fingerprints off the walls, surprised Grandma, learned 3 good knock-knock jokes (and infinite not-so-good ones), put up Christmas decorations and talked on the phone with Mom in Cambodia. Good times had by all (except, perhaps, the Bad Guys).

I'm sleeping here two more nights, but I go back to regular college life tomorrow. I've enjoyed my exotic trip into the world of semi-motherhood (or just more engaged aunthood?) and I really do see how important it is just to be there for someone. But it's close to impossible to get anything done.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

First Fight

My three-year-old nephew is having his first fight with God. He refuses to say his prayers. He doesn't understand why a Heavenly Father that loves him so much won't let him have a little brother or sister.

Frankly, it's an understandable complaint. My sister deserves to be a mother of whole nations and anyone would be lucky to have her for a mother. It seems pretty unfair, especially when we've all prayed and fasted and gotten our hopes up through two rounds of in vitro and nothing. Almost nothing.

There being a library of what I don't know about the reproductive system, I can't tell you how it works but somehow my sister has ended up with the morning sickness and no baby. She's been really brave about it. She tells me this is the one thing that she's put entirely into the hands of God and not worry about. She worries about a lot of things, is very independent and motivated, but this is something she's willing to go on faith on.

I haven't called my sister yet, I ought to. I wanted to send a condolence card, but Mom said probably not to, that my sister's just working through this stiff-lipped right now. I'm a bit upset, sure. Twice I've prayed in fervor for this to sort out as it ought to, and twice I've been frustrated. Okay, so maybe God has other plans, but surely there's nothing unrighteous about wanting more babies in our family? I, too, I guess, am working through this stiff-lipped, trying not to be disappointed in the omniscience of my God. After all, I know pretty well all sorts of philosophies of God not being Santa Claus and His knowing a lot better than any of us, and His will, not ours, so I can get through this okay.

So how do you explain all that to a three-year-old? I sent him a package with a hat I had knit and some chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. It's not a bribe to restore his faith in something good, but maybe it will support him as he gets through this wrestle, his first wrestle with angels.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poetry Reading

Any requests?

(Poems or treats: I'm thinking store-bought frosting and graham decide for what part)

Friday, November 9, 2007

When You're Hip...

Ah, yes.

This is what I'm talking about.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Good

I'm sick of complaining here. Here's some good news:

I took a practice GRE which make me want to shower, but now I know I can get a 600 without studying. Let's see if studying does me any good. But I'm all registered and signed up and everything, which means there's no going back. There is potential not showing up, but going back? Not a chance.

I've turned in my thesis proposal. I hope it gets approved in time for me to register for graduation. But it is one solid proposal. Woo-eee.

I got accepted for a reading series, which is scary and fun. I need to practice. And make cupcakes. eg thinks I'm not so good when I read my own stuff--I get scared and go too fast and am apoligetic for having written poetry, which reminds me: I could have submitted something not-poetry, but I didn't know that at the time. I'm happy, though. Very happy.

And it's a nice sunny day and last night I had a pretty good date and I think I'm going to go buy chocolate for my next class.

yeah, life is good.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

An Open Letter to My Future Family

Dear Eventuals,

I hope you don't mind the Beehive-y feel to this assignment. I hope you don't resent that everyone besides you has had the opportunity to read this long before your even existence. But if you do mind and do resent, you at least do and therefore are and so what do any of us have to complain about?

I wish for you all the best. All holiness and gratitude, all achievement and all comfort. I wish for you sensible, pleasant lives. But I'm not naive enough to believe that your lives will be all honeysuckle and backrubs (but let's have some of that in our lives, too, shalln't we?), because there never is any point to the untested life. But I can wish two things at least for you.

One is that we'll listen to one other. I hope that I can teach you something and that you'll learn the things I know from me. I don't have all the answers, but I have done a lot of stupid things and seen the results and, let me brag a little on this, have avoided doing many stupid things that have led to great heartshed in some of the less lucky around me. Let's make a pact: you come to me and I'll come to you. We'll offer up that which we have to each other and see how it fits in the holes we find in our lives, how it solutions our problems. Let's talk about it. If you can't accept a thing I say, don't find any value in it, then let you at least know where my loyalties lay, what I deemed important and why I was devoted.

Here is the other thing I can wish for you: I hope you don't doubt your incredible, ferocious abilities to do good in this world. This is a great comfort, but also a terrifying responsibility. Second-guessing your wisdom, your talents, your goodness will not do you any favors. It's not humility: it's fear of greatness. I'm not expecting all of you to become Nobel Prize winners--I'd still love you just as much--but an inch of good is far better than a mile of evil. And I am confident any of you will be doing far more than just an inch of good in this world. There is a lot of good that needs doing.

I'll try to be the sort of person I hope any of you would be. Not just for your sake, for my own of course, but if I expect something of you, it's because I expected it first of myself. I hope that when you meet old friends of mine or rifle through my journals that you find someone there you like. I hope that I am being brave enough, kind enough, hopeful enough to warrent your admiration. I'll try again when I slip up.

I'll love you more when you aren't just abstract, but I have a vague ghost of love for you already. This foreshadowing I'll seal for you in closing.

Mary Leah Hedengren

Things That Don't Really Matter That Much

Getting your wallet stolen, because you can cancel your credit cards.

Missing a test, because nice teachers will let you take it later.

Being late for an engagement, because the others are running late, too.

Getting locked out of your apartment, because you get to talk with the neighbors.

Chelsea poetry magazine folding, because at least it's not a rejection letter.

There's a lot of mercy out there. Everything will be better.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My First Translation

You've been warned.

Dmitry Merejkovski

How often I’ve wished to declare my love,
But I don’t know how to say anything at all.
I only thrill suddenly, strive forward... and stay silent:
As it were, ashamed--I don’t dare say a thing.

Your living soul is so close to me.
Like everything mysterious, like everything uncommon,
That all too frightening divine secret
Love seems to me to speak of it.

In us the better feelings, embarrassed and voiceless,
And all that is holy is declared by silence:
While glistening waves racket on the surface
The sea deep keeps its silence.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Things That Didn't Go Wrong Yesterday

I didn't get in a fender bender.
I didn't cut open my hand on a tin can.
My dog wasn't attacked by a Doberman.
My landlord didn't evict me.
My parents didn't get separated.
My trousers didn't split in the middle of my dance number on stage in front of several hundred people.
My hair didn't catch on fire.
I didn't lose my take-home midterm for Critical Theory.
My former companions didn't call me up to say that they decided to apostatize.
I didn't get shut down by a boy I liked.
I wasn't forbidden to play in a soccer championship because it clashed with my Punjabi traditions of women's roles.
My brothers weren't drafted.
I didn't get diagnosed with cancer.
I wasn't kicked out of my home for my religious beliefs.
The stock market didn't crash.
Terrorists didn't bomb a US embassy.
An untreatable plague did not strike major transportation hubs.
An asteroid wasn't discovered hurtling towards earth.
The undead did not raise to torment the living.
Godzilla did not eat Tokyo.

Other than that, everything went wrong.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Did you know the GRE is tomorrow?

I sure didn't.


What I'm hoping is that the computer GRE, which is offered year-round up in the SLC will be just as good. Otherwise...well, maybe I'll join the peace corp. Or something.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

And then...

Right when you're caught up, on top of everything, they hit you with the flu. And you discover that you can carve out 8 hours a day for napping. I'm going back to sleep.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Show Week

I finished my paper for Wednesday on Monday. I finished my paper for today last Thursday. I'm caught up in all my reading and have been studying economics for a half an hour a day for a week. Sudden burst of responsibility?

Show week.

Any Given Second is given for just a second, and so I read over my cereal (I mean, literally, although I am in the habit of reading cereal boxes over and over), debate Roland Barthes between applications of mascara, and check my planner eight, nine, ten times a day. I have no evenings. I have little in the way of late afternoons. Until Sunday night I'm not guaranteed much in the way of nights, either. I've got a lot to do: it's a show week.

And yet, some how...

How is it that when I'm doing more, I do more? I've been working on my portfolio, my thesis, keeping my room clean. I checked out the Fall Styles Lucky (thank you eg) and started reading one of those masterpieces of literature that has hijacked me in my ignorance and helped my VT companion with her Russian, sent a package to a mission friend of mine, started translating those Silver Age poets, work on my novel, workout every day. And this morning, I ironed the skirt I'm wearing. Over-achieving festival?

Show week.

Come to the show this weekend. I'm putting a lot of work into it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Hurrah, I'm caught up on my submissions!!

Now if only they would catch up on publishing me.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Art Sale!

So, cleaning out my room today I came across a bunch of paintings from high school. (Why haven't I painted since high school?) So I decided to get rid of them. (Ah, that's why I haven't painted since high school.) Nah, I think. Maybe Sarah will want one for her Wall. So I go by her house, it's 10:30 at night but maybe she's still up; it's a Saturday night, right? No answer at the door. And then so here I am.

Hey, I have a scanning option on my new, free printer. I can put them up on my blog. So there you have it: buy my high school artwork, the angst, and all proceeds will go to the Perpetual Education Fund, so that someone out there will get some good out of this.

The Rules:
Bidding for each piece starts at 1 (one) dollar. Bidding opens tonight, October 6, 2007 and closes Halloween 2007. Bidding will take place here, responses on this blog entry unless you want to offer vast amounts of money for a piece and are embarrassed about out-bidding my mom, in which case you can email me at mary.hedengren at with your huge offer. I'll mail you the painting if you live far away, but I won't insure it, because that's crazy. All unpurchased pieces will probably go under my bed, or behind the bookshelf, where they were before.

Now then, let's get this show on the road. Sorry about the lack of rotation. It almost killed me to get these images up at all. But I hear it's healthy to cock your head to one side all the time.

1. The Red Ox
This painting is based on Isaiah 1:3. Now biblical allusion, that's hip.

This is a cropped image of the hippo in a suit. I think, by profession, he sells cars.
3. Embrace
Ah, one of the popular "strange color scheme" paintings.

4. Teapot and The Whisper
This is a two-in-one. Yes you'll have to put it in a two-sided frame and hang it from the ceiling.

5. Disturbed
Yes, yes, it truly is.

6. Demon and the Rose.
I think this is based off a children's short story that was written in Spanish and in English. Who wrote that? I can't find it on google and I don't remember. But I did a bunch of these little devils in high school. In fact, I have two short stories featuring one of them.

7. Slouching
I don't think I have to allude to the deeply philosophical gyre-theory-spawning poem which inspiring this little piece.

8. Chartruse Angel
I think I painted this the month that I first found out about the band eels, which has nothing to do with this painting's resembling frontman E.

9. Blood Orange
Honestly, this is probably the creme de la creme. This one I did freshmen year.

Thank you and good luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I can Write a Blog!

Look at me blogging! Look at me not being asleep like the entire rest of the day!

Actually, sometimes I think I like the pain. No, not the pain, I hate the pain, but I like having had the pain; maybe it makes me empathetic.

I cut two classes, but I did put on a suit jacket and get a free pen from Mercer. Sweet deal

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Big Catch-up

Everything you wanted to know about me over the past few weeks. Much you didn't.

Not coming along as well as one might hope although I made a startling discovery last week: if one works on one's thesis, it gets done-er. Not to say that I've actually finished the proposal yet, but I'm getting pretty close to it. It should be done by tomorrow, at least in draft. If you see me, please ask why I'm not currently working on my thesis. It's almost mid-term and this is supposed to take 3 semesters. Er.

Social Life
I did it. The big step, the social faux pas: I asked a boy out on a date. Boys in the audience, please weigh in on this. Is it offensive towards your sense of gender roles? Does it take the thrill of the hunt out of dating? Then ask me first. Okay, that sounded desperate. Just because it turns out I'm not so good at the planning the date thing. The play we were going to go to is sold out. Can I convince him that an evening at the International Cinema will be as entertaining as King Lear in puppets?

Athletic Ambition
I ran in my first 5k of my life homecoming week. Which is surprising, because I was on the school cross-country/track team. Part of it was sort of exorcising (while exercising!) my demons of having been the worst CC team member. Ever. Another part of it was whomping my 30-minute goal to end with a finish time of 28:36. This is all due to my sister, who on that harrowing .1 mile of the race wouldn't respond to my pleas that I couldn't keep up this pace. And then I came sprinting in. And then 10 minutes later I was running around with my nephew on my shoulders. Which makes me thing that maybe I was more made for spurts than endurance.

Cultural Adjustment
I was offended in several directions by the book Wicked. I didn't see how all these sweet BYU co-eds could be so excited about a musical based on it. But then I listened to the soundtrack today. In my car. Parked. For twenty minutes. It's really good music and a lot of good themes. I read in the notes that the person who wrote the script departed generously from the book, which leaves me with the question: can anyone tell me the plot?

Mark's in New York and calls. Dave's in DC and doesn't (mostly). I was up at Emily's last Sunday and had lasagna. I still haven't sent Anna a thank you card for the birthday present she emailed. My grandma asked some questions in a circle tonight when I was over there and it occurs to me that she's getting really, really old. But then again, we had just flipped through basic cable channels, so it's understood. My parents are, as usual, great. We have lunch every day at school. There's usually great conversation and good study prep for my day's class discussions and also almost always really good sandwiches and yogurts. It's super fun. But then, I'm 23 years old and my mom packs me a lunch every day.

Sarah hasn't been answering her phone. This, in my selfishness, drives me crazy. Kjerstin says she'll go on a double date with me...but not this week, which means I have to ask someone out again. We did (Kj E and I) have a nice evening (night) of watching The Devil Wears Prada and discussing art and women's roles and many, many such things. I MLAed Kristen's paper and promised this blog. Chris and Katie and I went out to a depressing French film. It was Patrick's idea, but I guess he couldn't make it. I ran into Becca in the HFAC. In economics today I heard of a study determining how people choose their friends. It's, evidently, geographic location that matters most. So why do I feel like I barely know my roommates?

Literary Pursuits
I started my novel. The one I have to have done by next year. I haven't worked on in for two weeks. So, everything that applies to thesis also applies to novel. Nag me to success. (Incidentally, my novel is a murder mystery placed in a Hello-Kitty apocalyptic near-future. Those interesting in reading it, please submit a query and once I have ten-fifteen pages I'll give you the honor. But first get me up to ten-fifteen pages.)

I own a crock-pot now. And two Donavon Frankenreiter i Tune songs. And a polka-dot bedspread.

Okay, so maybe my academic endeavors, when left to myself, are in an abysmal state, but give me a dead line and, by golly, you'll give me a gold star. I had 40% of my grade detirmined in my rhetoric class last Thursday. In two weeks, I'll be up to 60%. By then, too, will be my economics midterm. It turns out that algebra, my old arch enemy, has reared again its ugly head. My one-credit is taking as long as its three-credit counterpart. But at least I can go a class period because of...

Someday, someone is going to ask me to write a book on writing. I've mentioned to a lot of people that the book with probably just be: "Read a lot. And write a lot." But there's going to be a doozy of a postscript. It'll be an expounsion on GK Chesterton's description of "how much bigger the world would be if we would become smaller in it ... you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers." I was feeling off, testy and frustrated. Once I ranted at someone's car for not letting me turn left...into the church distribution center. I fasted ad prayed for charity and continue to pray and I begin to see some results. It's so hard to keep myself the way I ought to be, but when it becomes less about me, then it becomes more about God.

Friday, September 21, 2007

this way

I'm listening to eels, classic sad haunting stuff.

I'm reading poetry, self-loathing stuff.

I'm hearing that literature serves a psychological purpose. People can solve tension in their lives through var carious living. The Illiad ends when Achilles realizes that there is pain greater than his pain, in Priam and my teacher says "this is literature. this is what it's supposed to do. we realize that actually, it's not just us who feel this way."

I read this way. Do I feel this way?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Best Birthday EVER

The ice cream cake. From the brand-name store. The basket of peaches for breakfast. The envelope. The envelope. The envelope. The envelope. A roomful of navy and leaf-green balloons. At 9:15 in the evening, the shout unexpected. The crowd full of strangers celebrating me.

I am twenty-three.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stress. Whooo-a-a-a-a.

So now I'm feeling:

a: maybe I'm not smart enough to compete in this game

b: maybe I'm not disciplined enough to compete in this game

c: maybe I'm no creative enough to compete in this game.

But then I remember:

a-z: I freakin' rock.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to Cool

I have the new computer.

I have the new apartment.

I have the new iPod.

I have the new shoes, the new backpack, the new haircut.

Now what do I do?

Please let school start soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Sarah, now I'm crow-eating.

I must admit, I started Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphosis skeptically, probably because I made the mistake of paying too close of attention to the stage directions and stage directions always seem a little, I don't know, snobby and controlling. I even started to bristle at the Midas as Evil Rich Man because, afterall, it is the Evil Rich Man who supports the arts, isn't it? But I now agree with you that this is a fabulous play.

1. Fun with form, especially the narration/chorus type thing, which I bet you are using in your poetry, aren't you? Aren't you?

2. It was sweet. Tender, you know.

Thank you for lending it to me.

I may bring it in, if you'll lend it to me again, when I take the Classics course this year.

To all else, I recommend it. And that's quite the change.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is the First Entry

I hope that it fulfills all your expectations.

Glad I finally got around to doing this.

More later.

Much more.