Books, Travel and Adventure, Wild Card

“Let Us Return to the Pilgrim’s Progress”

My blazing adventures in Greece have settled down to a simmering ember in my memory. The warmth of the sun, the taste of the sea in the air, the exotic languages– it all feels so distant as I shuffle from class to class in the rain and attempt to play golf with layers of jackets on. Yet life is not over, simply because I am no longer being spoiled by an incredible climate. Better yet, these last few weeks have been exciting! I love seeing my old friends and walking the campus of Wheaton College as a senior. Everything is once again familiar and comfortable. Somehow, though, these sentiments have not seemed important enough to put into writing.

But a friend of mine recently confronted me, saying, “You have a blog. That’s a real life commitment.”

And it’s true. I wanted to create a public space for my writing, not just keep a travel journal. I tried to recreate my experiences vividly so that my readers could enjoy a sense of escape from their reality (as entertainment is wont to do). My foreign adventures provided an enormous amount of material for me to work with. So now, I have a new challenge: how can I make my college experiences into worthwhile reading? Is there a way to engage an audience as a narrator living in the suburbs of Chicago, rather than at a 5-star resort in Greece?

I like a good challenge.

I am currently writing this blog in my ’18th Century Literature’ class (I’m also taking notes on a Word Document– don’t worry Mom and Dad). Let me tell you, if this class was not required for my English major, I would not be sitting here right now. Give me any book written in the last hundred years and I will read it in a week. Hand me a manuscript from 3,000 years ago and I will soak it right up. But I am entirely unconvinced that there is enough decent literature from the 18th century to fill a course syllabus. Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, William Wycherley… oh, please. We are now stumbling through Bunyan’s famed Pilgrim’s Progress. I know it is a great novel of the Christian tradition, but when it comes to personifying virtues and vices, I think the play “Everyman” is more engaging. And Dante’s Inferno certainly has a more interesting storyline.

There are only nine of us in this class: seven girls and two shy boys, all trying valiantly to stay awake as our professor reads us line after line of archaic-sounding text. The tables have been set up in a rectangle and we sit around its perimeter. “How do you guys feel about the literary heroism of this passage?” the professor asks. How do we feel? (The rain keeps up a constant rapping on the window panes). Ask me again later.

Thankfully, there is a much more engaging world outside of this small, fourth-story classroom. I will be off to the library shortly to work my afternoon shift. Buswell Library is slightly out of date; the computers are slow and the book selection is heavily weighted towards ‘Bible/Theology’. The atmosphere is comfortable, though, and my coworkers are wonderful. Linda and Cheryl are in charge of the Circulation Desk, where I am stationed. Linda and I gab about new books, her son’s baseball team, music, what creepy strangers have caused trouble in the library lately, etc. I always try to get a little homework done at the checkout desk, but that rarely seems to happen. There are too many opportunities to engage grad students about their thesis’ topics or recommend “fun reads” to bored freshmen (who have not yet felt the full brunt of a college workload).

Class is nearly over, so I will close this post as well. Now that I have breathed some new life into my blog, I will make sure it receives its regular word-nourishment. Have a blessed day!


2 thoughts on ““Let Us Return to the Pilgrim’s Progress””

  1. Debbadoo,

    Nice to have your blog back up.

    How do you keep your professor from reading it? πŸ™‚

    See you Friday and play well!

    Love, Dad

  2. So glad you’re back at it! I’ve been waiting for your “back to school” take on life….but during class!!!!! really, daughter! Do you know what this hour of blogging cost in real dollars πŸ™‚ You owe us big time πŸ™‚

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