Is the arts student reading poetry or is she reading you?

Next in our East Campus Archetype series: didn’t anyone tell this arts student that this is where the serious students hang out? The struggle of not knowing how to tell out-of-place creative types to take their poetry someplace else, presented by Betsy Ladyzhets.

You’re heading to the Law Library when you spot her.

She’s lying on her back in a patch of grass, notebook held aloft like some kind of holy artifact. Pens and books are scattered around her: ballpoints in a rainbow of colors, Sylvia Plath’s complete works, at least three different Shakespeare plays, and – does one person really need two different copies of Howl? Apparently, she does. She picks up first one, then the other, flipping through the pages and scribbling notes in the margins.

What is she doing here? you wonder, hoping you aren’t staring too obviously. Doesn’t she know that Kent is on the other side of campus? Can’t she go to Riverside Park if she needs inspiration from nature?

The other people walking nearby must think something similar, because they all shoot her suspicious glances as they pass by. Law students with heavy backpacks are writing trespassing charges in their heads, engineering students are calculating how much force it would take to pick her up and forcibly move her to the arts library or some other more suitable location.

The arts student flips around from her back to her stomach, opens a notebook, and clicks a blue ballpoint pen into action. She makes a couple of experimental marks, then shakes her head and mutters something. She clicks the pen again. And again. She turns onto her side, then her back, and then returns to her stomach.

This shouldn’t be so fascinating to you, but you can’t stop watching. You’ve never seen an arts student all by herself like this – usually they roam in packs, reciting poetry and shouting that Byron deserved better. You’re tempted to get out a notebook of your own and start writing down observations. But then, you do have that paper to write, and that midterm to study for … You have to resume your journey to the Law Library.

As you pass the arts student, by some strange twist of fate, she turns to face you. For a brief moment, your eyes meet. Her lips twist upwards in a grin, and her voice drifts across the wind to you – “I’m going to write about you.”

You start to walk faster.

Illustration via Bwog Staff