Archive for October, 2009

Make It Work

Everybody adores Tim Gunn. The impeccable taste, the constructive criticism, the matter-of-fact problem-solving, the reserved sweetness. He’s become known for his catchphrase, “Make it work,” usually addressed to some fool of a designer who’s trying to tie-dye lace or smock a bathing suit. But, and here’s the great thing– this is the best advice, ever, for everything.

An Exercise.

1. Think of any problem, obstacle, or frustration in your life. In great detail. Feel really sorry for yourself. Delve into the depths of your despair. Wallow. Whine about how you just don’t know what to do.

2. Make it work.

You’re welcome. Sincerely, Tim Gunn and Emma Cofer


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Oh c’monnn

On my very first day working at Interbrand, some laptops had been stolen the night before. “Wow,” I thought to myself,”That’s a bummer of an expensive problem. Some people must be really inconvenienced right now.”

Little did I know that I would become one of those people. See, the result of this failed security was that HR and IT have been trying to train all of us to protect our work laptops by stealing them and hiding them whenever they are unattended. The people with desktops are fine; those who have locks are, too. I made a real effort to get a lock when I started, but IT was out. So, I’ve been locking my ‘top in a drawer when I leave for the day. I’ve learned the hard way that it also needs to be invisible if I leave the building for lunch or coffee. The hard way is coming back to an empty desk, skulking over to HR, hanging your head, and asking nicely if you can have your computer back. Yep, you feel 5.

Today, this got especially out of hand. I got up to go to the bathroom. I was gone, oh, two minutes. Maybe three. THEY TOOK IT. Then, to add insult to injury, HR didn’t have it, and I had to wander the whole IBNY building, asking various cranky assistants who might have swiped my Macbook. Guess where I found it? HR. I had actually beaten my computer in getting to them! That’s because, as I explained, I had not abandoned my laptop.

The moral of the story? Wasting people’s time is not a worthwhile lesson.

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Stuff Emma People Like

#1 Hot Toddies


There is nothing Emma People like more than pretending to be British. Emma People also do this by spelling words the “correct” way (theatre, realise), much to the exasperation of their friends, family, and technological devices. But the hot toddy is the crowning glory of deliciousness and affectation. The EP’s benefits are twofold: she can order something unique and bypass the disdainful backup choice of vodka-tonic, and she can secretly drink tea with honey at a bar without being teased.

Perhaps it all comes down to the cool factor. Hot toddies are so uncool– evoking old, ruddy-faced men drying their Wellies by the fire– that they are, in fact, cool. Thus, Emma People can embrace culture and innovation, in a satisfyingly large, warm, and aromatic glass. Cheerio, mates!

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Leettle Prose Poems

A chance at happiness

The flash of movement three stories above my head, in the window of the brownstone by the public school, was orange and white. It was a cat, the fluffy kind that eat out of crystal in Fancy Feast commercials, and it pressed its smashed face against the mesh of the window screen. Outside the window, an orange leaf was caught. It was a fetching color scheme—the orange-and-white cat, the rusted screen, the leaf, the dusty red brick of the building. The cat wanted the leaf so badly that I knew this even though I am not a cat, and it looked both anxious and hopeful as it reached for the leaf. The leaf, of course, was freed from the screen, and it drifted down to the street. The cat stretched its whole self up, trying to peer down the sheer face of the wall, trying to find the leaf. I walked on when I saw disappointment. It seemed absurd that a cat should be disappointed. Its earlier expression of anxiety and hope was more appropriate. That is how I always feel; so must the cat. But if the orange-and-white cat is crushed by what it can’t have, then I don’t know how I or you stand a chance at happiness.


Conversation, The Couch, October 26th

I ask Franklin what I should write a poem about:
How ducks, who depend on humans for food,
are so quick to bite. I laugh.
They have everything, he says,
They can fly they can swim on pretty days
people line up just to give them bread.

I’m captivated, now, by the memory
of walking the loop around the man-made pond
in our college town, watching ducklings line up
when their mother honked. It was sunny that day
and the sky was clear. I felt silly
bothering small animals when I had nothing
to give them. I was the reason they were called
into military formation, the shadow
that was darkening their afternoon,
and when the smallest one
fell off the back of the line, into the water,
I laughed and turned to my side,
but I had come to the park alone.
The other ducklings stumbled in after him,
and three people with bags of crust and crumbs
moved towards the rock ledge.
I remember my resentment
as I resumed my walk. I remember it like new.


Being good at winning and its consequences

I dressed up as Jasmine for Halloween when I was eight, and so did my two best friends. We sat in a tent on Pink Jasmine’s lawn, wet from suburban sprinklers, moistening our synthetic harem pants. Pink Jasmine said she was the prettiest Jasmine. Purple Jasmine said she looked the most like Jasmine. I said I had heard their mothers say that I was the perfect Jasmine. They didn’t say anything, and we weren’t friends much longer.

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Now accepting applications for Vandy’s newest break abroad program, Vanderbilt-in-Vegas!

Experience the rich culture of Las Vegas while interacting with other Vanderbilt students with similar interests!

vandy students

Make new friends!

make friends

make friends 2

make friends 3

Sample regional cuisine!


Take part in local customs!

local customs

cuisine 2

Leave your comfort zone!

comfort zone

We offer a wide variety of courses for credit in a range of subjects, including:

  • Economics: Profit, Loss, Blackjack, and You.
  • Sociology: Deviant Behavior Field Study: Gambling Addiction, Alcoholism, and Exhibitionism
  • Chemistry: Mixology 101
  • Theatre: Theory of Cirque du Soleil

Apply now!



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One of my longest-standing college friends, Mr. Daniel Scott Wallace, has illustrated what is perhaps the greatest literary pun of all time. C’mon. We’ve all thought it. BUT HE DREW IT. This is reason #9837454786 why Dan is a really excellent person.

I present to you… Salmon Rushdie:

Salmon Rushdie

Oh, and this is the website where he’ll be posting more Danderful cartoons and doodles. He doesn’t know this yet, but he will when he reads my post.

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Oh no, I knew it. I’m a neglectful blogger. This hearkens back to my youth, in which I would constantly plead for diaries (usually adorned with sparkles and/or cats). Time and time again, I would neatly and masterfully craft my first entry. I would bedazzle the cover with stickers and sign my name on its inside. Then, I would forget about it for a few days and totally lose interest– until I saw a new diary, and I would insist that I needed it. “But dad-dy,” I would whimper, with exactly that Veruca Saltish inflection, “I’m a writer. And I messed up the other one.”

Now that I’m older, this foot-stamping and hand-wringing is done over hard liquor and/or wine, but that deadly gap still exists between idea and execution, between brainstorm and follow-through. In my better moments, this makes me a good leader: I tend to think big; I have infinite (irrational) faith in my own possibilities; I delegate well. In my worse moments, this makes me a total waste of space. Sheesh, I’m going to a freakin’ NYU MFA info session tomorrow and I haven’t written a poem in weeks! I seriously need a life coach. Or Mark Jarman.

Sidenote about MJ… he’s the best professor, ever. And a ridiculously good poet. If you’re still at Vandy, bust your ass and get into one of his classes. I think that’s what’s bugging me about writing, post-college. I’ve been so used to feedback about my poetry that I was spurred to revision, rewrites, and exploration either by pride or indignation. Now, it kinda drifts off into a folder of my computer to sit sulkily for months, like a forlorn dust bunny. See, even my analogies are suffering from my laziness. That’s a terrible analogy. And it’s probably been used before, which is especially embarassing.

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