Voices calling from a yellow road

Come Downstairs and Say Hello by Guster
 
 
 

 Someone, someone could tell me
Where I belong
Be calm, be brave, it’ll be okay

I went for a run last night right before the storm. It was the first time in weeks that I ran more than a mile and felt like stopping because I was tired, not because I was in pain. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to wheeze and feel like I wanted to fall over.

The whole time I kept thinking about this place. It seems hard to describe existing now only as a memory. A beach house on the marsh. The night air is stuffy, humid and mosquito infested. It’s dangerous to walk out on the porch without bug spray or maybe a death wish. But the sky was clear with so many stars, it was hard to focus on one place. So many stars spanning out over the marsh and toward an open ocean. In the distance there are muffled voices and music, but they don’t stifle the air. No, they make it feel more crisp, more real. And beneath the sky there are miles of tall grasses infested with insects and creatures, teeming with life. The lightning bugs are so many that they mirror the open night sky. They blink on and off ceremoniously. And there is nothing but dimly lit houses and just space.

I’d like to be there now. I’d like to feel that freedom. I’d like many things that are unlike what is turning out. What is so often the case. At times, the things I hear myself say seem dramatic. It seems everyone is making due. And how many times have I been told I won’t get my dream job right away? How many times have you taken a job that you have to convince yourself more into than you can out of?

The way of the world frustrates me beyond explaining. When I applied to school, it wasn’t really seeking out some dream and making it real. It was applying where I could afford and where I could get in. Honestly, I feel angry with the ideas so ingrained in me that I should dream big and search out these huge ideas. I think it could be more simple. I think people could be more honest.

So, here I am. Almost employed by a job I can’t quite find a reason to feel happy about other than it’s a job. And I’m ashamed to feel the way I do. I know so many people don’t have a job at all.  But the fact that I have to take a job simply because it’s a job makes me feel like I’m succumbing to something I don’t want to.

But one run can make me calm down, can make me forget that I haven’t been able to sleep for nights. It’s a rhythm I’ve been missing more than anything else. Mostly because it is the most free thing I have. There is nothing inhibiting my actions except the muscles and bones I drag along with me. And sometimes I have to even forget what they tell me. When my knee is aching on every step. When the pain puts a constant grimace on my face. I have to push through the last mile because I have the freedom to do so. And perhaps that pushing will only make things worse. It will make the pain grow and swallow my knee, shoot up my thigh and leave me hobbled. But at least it was my doing that made it that way. The air is abnormally humid and despite the tightness in my chest, it felt easier to breathe than ever before. Running in the calm before the inevitable storm. It felt nice to forget that there is nothing simple about the lifestyle I’ve stumbled into. And I yearn for a time where I may feel free to do what I really want to do. A liberty I’ve never truly had, but I miss it like I miss dark, humid nights watching distant lights turn on and off. I want to remember dreams and hopes like I remember that night on the deck. I want them to feel real, touchable, and innumerable.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Make me sanguine

Sanguine by the Avett Brothers..

paint the picture that I swore I heard

 
 
The Avett Brothers gave me a little vocabulary lesson today. Sanguine is to be cheerfully optimistic, hopeful or confident. Allow me to be upfront and say that I need this in every sense of the word, in every avenue of my life it seems. Don’t we all?
 
If I know one thing, I know that people teeter between stages of confidence and the unnerving bottom. Sometimes we’re neither here nor there. And sometimes, that area of grey is the scarier of the different places we tend to be.
 
Probably the Avett Brothers and Damien Rice are my two favorite lyricists. Both have this uncanny ability to make me feel like their heart has just fallen in my lap. As if the song gave them the ability to say these things that they wouldn’t normally. I am the type to bottle things up. I have an extremely bad ability to convince myself nearly anything sometimes. Because I think too much. Because I have the time. Because its innate. Because it’s a byproduct of the lifestyle we lead. Whatever it is, it’s a factoid into the makings of me.
 
I had two interviews this past week. I had such a confidence that my concern was what I would do if I were offered both, not that I’d be offered them at all. It’s funny how much these levels of hope and confidence can wane week to week, even day-to-day. I remember saying that I would be happy just to have a callback. Now what I want has grown, as it should. But it’ so easy to fill myself with doubt.
 
I have no doubt in my capabilities in getting a job. This whole process is reminiscent of applying to college. It seemed a crap shoot since nothing was definite. That’s what this seems. Arbitrary. The jobs I am actually qualified for seem uninterested. The jobs that I am in no way interested in or qualified for, want me. Tell me, can you explain how this works?
 
The conclusion you have to arrive at is that there is no order in this madness. There’s no order in looking for a job and certainly it feels like there’s no order to life really. We assign these moments importance or meaning, but do they really mean anything at all? Certain things are taught to us as we grow up. Girls are taught to believe in these inconstant and romantic ideas of love. We’re taught that believing in something is better than not believing at all. We’re taught to rebel and to obey when necessary. And all these things we learn, all these things that become second nature have no form expect what is given. Can you trace the meaning, can you find the reason why you follow these notions, these presets of how things should be? There’s something incredibly hypocritical in even saying this, since it seems to only be a part of what I was taught.
 
I feel at odds with myself and more often at odds with the settings of our world. Can you really say which is which? Is the world alienating you, or are you alienating it?
 
At times, I feel that I may never have an absolute in my life. And I have begun to believe it foolish to want that to be true. There is nothing constant. There is nothing that lasts as we wish it to. I think that is the tomfoolery we’ve all bought into. And, yet, I don’t want to give up on that still. There is a comfort in having things a certain way. A comfort in fitting these norms. Sometimes it feels like we’re rushing to these milestones not just because we’re supposed to, but because we believe that in those places we will find a security that gives a new status of growing happiness in our lives.
 
One mistake I think I’m prone to make is looking ahead much too often and making the little things into big things. A job interview isn’t an excuse to plan my life out and a kiss isn’t a reason to plan a wedding. And, yet, we do it anyway. We take these tiny moments and make them bigger than life. We are hopeful and confident that what we dream will come true. It’s hard to say which is better or worse since we are all striving toward that feeling of wholeness or completeness.
 
I think that there is only dots at the end of every line in life. There is never a period. What we want is the period. We want that defined ending, that absolute status, the comfort of knowing. I want that comfort on so many levels. But I am finding that in searching for it, it leads into this negative trend when it fails. I think I have to remember that life is three dots, not one.  To be sanguine not because I believe there to be some definite means to an end, but because it will make me see the present, appreciate it, and see the picture I know I heard.
 
Tagged , , , , ,

Sometimes what I feel has a difficult name

God is an American by Terrance Hayes

I still love words. When we make love in the morning,

your skin damp from a shower, the day calms.

Schadenfreude may be the best way to name the covering

of adulthood, the powdered sugar on a black shirt. I am

 

alone now on the top floor pulled by obsession, the ink

on my fingers. Sometimes what I feel has a difficult name.

Sometimes it is like the world before America, the kin-

ship of God’s fools and guardians, of hooligans; the dreams

 

of mothers with no children. A word can be the boot print

in a square of fresh cement and the glaze of morning.

Your response to my kiss is, I have a cavity. I am in

love with incompletion. I am clinging to your moorings.

 

Yes, I have a pretty good idea what beauty is. It survives

all right. It aches like an open book, It makes it difficult to live.

 

I do not know what it is in people that make us this way. Isn’t that the eternal question?  Almost every day I end up wondering that same thing. I wonder how people go on. I wonder why we continue to just do these same things over and over again. And, no, my thoughts are not original in this. And, no, you will not find some greater truth in reading this.

It’s National poetry month. The only reason I know is because I have been substitute teaching. Outside of the schools, I would be clueless. It’s becoming a rarity to like or to know poetry. I don’t claim to know or be able to interpret poetry in any sense.  What I can say is what I like. I liked Robert Frost because he has this tendency to sum it all up right at the end. He likes to leave you with the most poignant lines last. After reading those last few lines, the poem usually takes on this alternate meaning and reading it a second, or a third time makes it anew.

What I can say is that I like the way lines feel sometimes. I like how they can reach down deep inside me, echoing off my insides and reverberating through the day. A good line is always there. It’s replaying in my mind like the lines of a favorite song. And we all want that, us writers. We want that moment of instantaneous pleasure when we read. We want the lines to have a beat so when you read you follow along. We want there to be life in what we say, more life than we can sometimes feel or say. Every sentence has a feeling sometimes. It has a place and each word seems to serve some sort of purpose. Think of it like a puzzle. Think about the way it sounds when you pound the keys again and again forming these thoughts, keeping record of something. And maybe you are saying nothing at all, but you feel the beat don’t you? Can’t you hear it now?
There’s a difference in trying to write and writing. There’s a difference in being happy and making due. There’s a difference in disappointments and regrets. And there’s a difference in things when it ‘s anything, but negative.

What do you do when you feel like nothing is right? When the words don’t flow the way they used to. When you just can’t seem to get the things in your head out. When there’s nothing to do except convince yourself that things are really as bad as they seem.

Everything is what you make it. That’s what I used to say. I wrote about it in my personal statement once upon a time. I said that I had this ability to make any situation a positive or good one. Can I say that now? I’ve been so easily trumped. These ideas you create in your head, well they never come out right. It’s like painting. I used to draw horses. I would imagine how they looked in my head. Take pencil to hand and form lines, thin lines that followed an imperfect shape. They never performed as I wished them to.

So, here I am, feeling much like I have before.  Here, I am. I am trying to make things all right. Do I have to say what I think to make you care? Can you think your own thoughts, can you get me there.

And this is why you didn’t like poetry, isn’t it? It’s cryptic and unclear. It’s dense and pitiless. It’s this airy fluid thing that means nothing at all sometimes. And to think you thought it meant anything at all. To think you thought things could change. To think you thought.

Sometimes you have to let go. Sometimes, there is no grip to your step and things continue to slip, to fall, to be out of reach. And maybe, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Maybe there is nothing you can do at all. But what should you care then? That would make too much sense. It would all be too easy.

You’re searching for an answer. You’re searching for the plug-ins to this equation. All your life you were told things would be easy and all those times it was wrong. But you just found out now. You found this out. You found it out and you didn’t know how you could have been so gullible. So easily fooled into thinking that you deserved anything at all.

Life is this intangible thing that we all search to define. And you will tire like a swimmer constantly pulling their arms through the water. You will tire and it will feel half like drowning. Because the surface is no closer than the bottom sometimes. And maybe that’s what makes it harder. If you could just see what would come. If you could just be one thing-

You might realize that you are saying nothing at all. You might stop writing sentences that lead to no end. Sometimes the words are what is worth saying. Sometimes the way in which you say it means more than what you say. You ask now, “is that right” and the answer is no.

You feel exhausted and frustrated, don’t you? You’ve learned nothing at all. And this is somewhat reminiscent to a short story you wrote once. In the story you wrote absolutely nothing but gibberish and the professor thought you a genius. You, the reader, may think that now. You may think, she is a genius.

To get out what I want to say would be to define it, to give it shape, vertices and angles that I cannot find. Defeat is temporary, never lasting in your mind. It will fade. It will set. It will be done.


 

Tagged , , , ,

just words

Just my words, to be more precise. Here’s a post that holds nothing, but my own words. No songs, no pictures or art, just me. In my most simple form.

I’ve been reading more than usual recently. It’s the first time reading has acted as an escape instead of an assignment. In school, most of my assignments were reading, which is not atypical in any sense, but it was easier to read two 300 some page books a week when it was for an assignment. Now, I look at a thick book and honestly, I want to run. I will sit in my room and stare into space instead of embarking on that kind of challenge..at least usually. So what have I read? Just some books my friends have suggested. Over Christmas I read Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. That was refreshing to say the least. It’s the second of a space trilogy. I never considered myself to be a big science fiction fan, but the books I’ve read suggest otherwise. I guess Lewis may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and really no writer will be, but the philosophies he has are enticing and interesting. Much of that philosophy includes Christianity, and well, before you run for the hills…the reason it’s interesting is because it takes a common concept, often misconstrued and clichéd in our culture, and puts it in an unfamiliar landscape. The problems in these novels are things that you would expect when traveling to another planet. You know the usual, Americans wanting to harvest the resources of another planet..sound familiar? It’s not really about that as much as it is about people. What they do and why they do it. My synopsis anyway. These books have kept my interest because they allow me to see a beaten idea revitalized and anew. That’s a difficult thing to do in my opinion. The next in the series is That Hideous Strength which I am really looking forward to. (Nerdy)

 Next, was a book much different from the last. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. That book was exhausting at points. He reminds me of Vonnegut and Paulinuk as well as people like Kathy Acker and the all time exhausting narrative, Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. Although, Wallace was nowhere near that level of absurdity, his narrative is all over the place. I guess there’s a point, but the acclamation takes a few chapters. Some would say Burroughs was a genius and perhaps he was, but for a college student, he was a pain that encouraged me to never speak in class or b.s. exponentially when called upon.

The thing is, few of you have read these authors, and I would hardly jump the gun and grab one of these to pass the afternoon. Consider it a challenge to read Burroughs. Consider it exhausting to read Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut. However, I don’t want to make myself seem in conflict with this narratives. Reading each was a learning process and I will say that I have never read a book without some sort of positive experience or some sort of learning occurring. Brief Interviews..was suggested by a classmate after reading a short story I wrote. One, that I may consider posting, but I am hesitant as usual. Although the two are very dissimilar, they were similar in that there is a format of unasked questions being answered. The challenge was making it obvious what those questions were without beating them to death. Wallace does it in such a way that the questions really don’t matter. You could possibly guess what he said, but in terms of the book it didn’t matter. I can’t say reading Wallace helped my short story along all that much, but a good writer is a reader, at least that’s what they say. My favorite parts to the book were not the interviews, but instead the random narrative in between. They didn’t necessarily connect to the interviews, but they reverberated similar tones and messages in a different way. I’ve gotten into the practice of writing down quotes from books that I find compelling.

“There seems to be something death-tending at the very heart of all Romance (‘…that ever love story is also {a} ghost story…’)

The nice thing about quotes and lyrics is that they say it all.

So after that, I read two brief books a friend gave to me. The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. It’s sort of nice to actually be able to list off books recently read. These two were my first taste of escape fiction for as long as I can remember. It’s nice to get lost in words, to forget what time it is or what there is left to do. The Transall Saga is definitely young adult fiction. The first chapters, I felt a little snobby. I found myself guessing at the plot and laughing since the conflict happened in the second paragraph and continued to escalate at a rate I wasn’t used to. I guess a lot of books I read are slow-moving. They pick one thing and focus on it, analyze it, engross it. This book was purely an adventure for the character and after a while, me too.

The Island of Dr. Moreau was my first introduction to H.G. Wells. I know, an English major and I have hardly read anything at all! I give myself “tisk tisks” all the time for it. This book was really Frankenstein-like. I think for me the most interesting part was considering this book in relation to recent fiction. It’s much shorter and very thorough as to what the point is. Other books from that time follow a similar trend. Now, I think we are in this stage where fiction is either very flighty and exaggerated or very downtrodden, discussing how all is wrong in the world. Maybe that hasn’t change as much as the manner these things are explored. The tricky thing in writing is that everything has more or less been said already. So, the writer’s task is to find a way to say it to surprise, to entice, to make people reconsider. Isn’t it funny, that people have always been alive, thinking, eventually writing and reading, studying, and essentially trying to better things or figure them out. Do you find it funny at all that we are still looking for those same answers? That we have different ideas or phrasing left? It’s a funny thing to me, at least.

And there is Slaughterhouse Five which I finished yesterday afternoon. It really does feel great to say I’ve finished these books. Honestly, my track record for downtime reading is awful. If I start a book, I used to never finish it and if I did, it wouldn’t be for a couple of months. Read this one in a few days. I just feel good about that, okay. Vonnegut is interesting to me. This book was much more coherent than the other I read by him. At first, I felt similar to when I read Wallace in that it’s exhausting at first. Once you get past that initial shock of the narrative style, it moves quickly. So, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. This book is my father’s favorite. We talked about it a bit and in doing so, I realized how much more interesting it is to read and discuss than to just read. I love talking about books. I was that annoying girl in my classes that was always talking and always had something to say, even about Beowulf. Yeah, that’s me. My dad was talking about the idea of the book being that you don’t have control over your life. He teaches it in class and he asked them about free will and whether it really existed. As many of us would, the students defended the notion that they had control over their lives. And my dad brought up Japan in telling my friend and me the story. He asked if we thought that was those people’s will and I doubt any of us would say yes. I know in class I would have possibly argued that parts of our lives are choice, but there are certain factors we can’t control. But some things are as easy to believe as a man who time travels and is kidnapped and put on display in a zoo in Tralfmadore.

So, now I am reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and thinking about how all the books one my friend suggests are somehow about science or scientists themselves. And I was thinking about people and what makes them who they are. There are so many factors that the answer is indeterminate, but it’s nice to have those little things we can track or point to when we want to know why. I’m worried this will further my already irrational fear of submarines and drowning. Ironic since I spent many of my summers working at a pool. Writers love irony, just if you didn’t already know. And then I’ve got this exercise book for graphic design…

I’ve got a stack of books by my bed. I could always add more. My teacher told me when I decided not to apply to graduate school right way that this was the time for me to learn on my own. People ask if I miss college. I think the only thing I miss so far is someone to be there to give me perspective when all I see are chapters and words. The things right in front of you are the hardest to see.

Tagged , , , , , ,

I’m gonna build somebody else

  Symbol In My Driveway

Jack Johnson

This picture really only serves to appease the more visually driven people. A personal confession: I think I am not too concerned with how each post looks or what pictures to include most of the time. In fact, it is burdensome and makes me lose track of what I really wanted to do in the first place. Write.

It’s been a while. I could you could say I’ve been processing and reprocessing the things around me, the things going on, or more accurately the things that haven’t happened. I am neglecting to mention a trip to Florida and my first half marathon until now mostly because I don’t think anyone cares or should care about that. If you want to know, you could always ask. This is not what that’s for, or at least I don’t want it to be. I don’t want to be hindered by the number of views I have in a day, like the number of comments or notifications I can receive. It’s a moot point.

One thing I am never short of these days is advice. In all honesty, I always have advice for people and taking my own advice is probably the thing that happens the least in my life. Luckily, everyone sees the unemployed, struggling college grad as an easy target to unload advice and life stories on. The advice doesn’t go unappreciated, although I will say that this time has led to an increase in my already sensitive person. Yes, I often take things personally that I shouldn’t and, no, I don’t really like to admit that often. My most recent advisor was met in the local coffee shop. I was trying to leave since the place was closing, but he continued to quietly suggest things to do or not to do. He told me how he would hire someone and what he would look for. I walked away feeling slighted because, well, when you have to admit you can’t do it on your own…Here are the two points to take away. First, I am extremely stubborn right now and resistant to the idea that I may have to go back to the same summer job I’ve had for the past four years. Second, the man told me to write. He told me that he’d much rather hire someone who has been busy doing something, anything, and growing despite their unemployment. Naturally, I felt guilty. I’ve been reading and applying for jobs, but writing. That hasn’t been happening or coming as easily as it used to.

I could account for that in several ways. For one, I don’t have much going on. No one wants to admit it and once you admit it, it becomes an infection on your brain and perception of yourself. All these things become so exaggerated especially with the amount of free time I have. And the solution is to find something to do. The solution is to stop thinking about things in that way. The solution is to do something and find something to say. I’m not looking for more advice or an answer. I think I just want control over my life again. A foolish notion no doubt since there is no such thing. I guess I want the belief of control.

I just keep thinking about people. I think about how we all have those things that make the days pass, sometimes worth while, sometimes just time passers. School, work, God, family, children,  books, art, running…whatever it is, it’s what gives structure to a day, it gives meaning to existence and shape to what comes next. If you were to ask me what’s next, I wouldn’t know how to answer. In the back of my mind there is this festering notion that having a job wouldn’t make me feel much better about things. It would make things easier no doubt. It would stop the advisors, it would stop the persisting questions from my parents, it would stop that flag in the back of my mind always saying, “no money, no job, no life.” That’s a bit more dramatic than it actually occurs. However, as someone who often takes things personally, it is incredibly difficult to apply for twenty some jobs in a month and not hear back from a single one. Oh, I did get a rejection email today…mind you I also got an email asking for an interview to write for some website no one has heard of.

The other piece of advice the coffee shop man told me was to never send my resume in an email…now I had no idea how to break the news to him that most job applications are online and they encourage you to submit online. Don’t worry, I am sufficiently angry about the subject since I believe it makes it easier to reject mass numbers of hopeful applicants without ever seeing a face or hearing a voice. Most job postings now include, “no calls.” So that classic advice of following up with a call now looks like a, “no-no,” to me, the hopeful and often disappointed applicant. Let me just some up the job search process by saying, it sucks.

I now watch old movies where the hopeful applicant takes a newspaper, circles jobs, and goes in asking for an interview with such envy. Of course, I can still call and go in to ask for the job, but it’s drastically different. The job offer I may be getting is for a website. The editor is in Mexico. My position would be filled from my desktop computer at home. Tell me, is that surprising to you?

As a side note, the unfortunate thing for you, the reader, is that when I do actually write, I have a ton to say.

Sometimes, I think I belong in a different time. A time where this would be in a paper journal that no one would read unless I handed them that journal. Aspects of this period are so nice and easy. But I can’t imagine how people had confidence before. Jack Johnson, a pretty awesome writer and musician in my opinion, would have to gain confidence through concerts, not through Facebook page fans, or Twitter followers. As another side note, I make fun of Twitter pretty often. I’m just not sure that the whole tweeting thing is for me. There’s no one I would want to “follow,” in fact, I think it may serve as an ego booster since you can now base your popularity off the number of followers you can get on a social media page. That’s my point, I guess. The average person can have a blog or a twitter and they can write and say things that people find funny or interesting. And that person’s confidence would likely grow or diminish by the number of followers or readers they have. It’s nice, in a way. The average person has such a huge opportunity to feel like a bigger part in this world, but I feel nostalgia for a more simple period. A period where a writer wrote something and the merit wasn’t placed in the number of readers. Perhaps there is a flaw in my thinking, since even then, things were based off profit and the number of papers or books bought. My point is that I think there is a false confidence in these social medias at times. A side note to my side note about Twitter, I actually respect the creator a huge amount. Recent article in Vanity Fair, worth checking out.

 I guess, it seemed more simple when I could just write something. When I didn’t have to include pictures to entice a reader. Maybe someone will see this picture of my man, Jack, and be tricked into reading some blog about jobs? Jobs have nothing to do with Jack Johnson! Just listen to the song and that will make it a little better…The thing is, I just would like to walk into an office and ask for a job, not because I have a meeting set up, not because the editor liked my work, but because I am an unemployed college grad that really loves the work their company does…

The thing is, falling apart in life is a regular thing in ways. We act like it’s not when it happens. Because everything really is that awful. And we acknowledge that things will get better, but we want that right this second. And, no, no one understands. How could they? There are only how many people in the world that have the exact same problems as you, and you think you are alone? Not everyone can rationalize these feelings to the point that they disappear.

In Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, he always says, “listen..” as if the reader isn’t paying attention. They probably aren’t, but listen: it’ll be alright and I will too. Just have some faith.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Have I found you, flightless bird

 Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron and Wine                                                        …diving too deep for coins…

There are certain things that I keep forgetting, certain things I keep being too scared to own up to and just do. I have this terrible problem where I get incredibly embarrassed anytime someone reads or sees something I’ve created. In fact, sitting in the living room watching my dad read my post the other week was an incredibly uncomfortable moment for me (sorry Dad). It’s been the case for so long.

When I took guitar lessons, my teacher would ask me to show her what I’d just learned. I would begin to giggle uncontrollably and just stall as long as possible. My first guitar performance was for one person, quite the audience. I made him go to the other side of the room and look the other way. Yes, I am that bashful, embarrassed person when it comes to these things. It’s derived from this terrible problem of perfectionism. This random doodle above probably took me close to two hours and I can still find flaws in it. Two years ago, I stayed up all night doing this project called a digital narrative. I had to create a video and voice over explaining why writing was important to me. I created a still shot video for a digital narrative on my website ( I sound like I know what I am talking about. Don’t be fooled..) I cringed while I watched it..the timing was off, this shot is too close, this is too fast. My friends kept saying they thought it was good and I spent the entire time nitpicking for every error I could find. I guess you could say it’s a good thing, but it’s a hinderance. Instead of being excited or proud of this creative process, I am afraid to own these things I love to do.

I spent all afternoon looking through old doodles and my IB art book. If you don’t know what “IB” is, it’s unimportant. Just know that it’s what allowed me to graduate early and also where I learned to “b.s.” We had a sketch book where we were supposed to brainstorm ideas for projects. It was supposed to be completely research and planning. My teacher was generous in her grading since my five pages a week rarely consisted of that. More often they looked like this… 

Each page turned into a project of its own, similar to how this blog is unfolding. While looking through all the pages, I realized that what I write and create has changed and matured much more than I thought it had. The thing is, I have this little knack, this thing that I love. It’s where I just take a phrase, a concept and write it down. I start to trace the letters, again and again. The key has always been in how you form your lines, the thickness, the curliness, the short, staccato, jagged edges. That’s where the words come alive. Then they turn into these images, these corresponding shapes and colors. It turns into something totally different from when I began. That’s what my art book is filled with. Pages of these words I couldn’t get out of my head. Pages of word-art. Word-watercolor-art. I guess I’ll call it my style. We all have one, right?

So this word-art thing has become a hobby, an obsession of sorts. Every holiday is an excuse to use it.

I honestly love every second of it. I spent twelve hours painting a water-color for a birthday present last year. Maybe you’re thinking, “twelve hours, really? That’s a little much.” Despite how odd it sounds, there is something seductively calming about the entire process. It’s absolutely mindless and pure, devoid of stress. The way my hands follow a line, tracing it, making it thicker until it reaches this state of near perfection in my eye. If I stare close enough, I always find an imperfection, a place where the line meanders from the path I wanted. The thing is, I love this. And it has taken me an incredibly long time to say that. An even longer time to actually consider doing something with it. Looking through all of these random pages in notebooks in my room, I don’t see how I ever considered just forgetting this. Just making it a thing to do when I was bored, when there were holidays near.

So, are you asking, “now what?” Because I sure am.

There are lines, right. And you learn to walk them. Well, I think sometimes, you have to learn to cross that line. It’s the sort of thing you have to own, as they say. You have to want it. So this is me, trying to figure out what I want. I’ve got these pieces, but I’m not too sure how to make them work. There are so many venues, so many opportunities. It’s a nice feeling, but it’s the type of thing that’s made me want to play it safe in the past. What I’m supposed to do is get a job. What I’m supposed to do is find a way to pay some bills. It’s always been what I’m supposed to do, right. I think maybe I’m supposed to do a little something else. Remember that list I mentioned? The one that I said was next to my bed? Well, this will be a part of it. And this will be one of those things that I will check. Dreams are supposed to be unrealistic and hard to reach, right? These random little things I call word-watercolor-art, they’re part of this dream I’m formulating. America is the place where dreams come true..or is that Disney..either way I think it’s about time I stop walking this line.

 

Tagged , , ,

get over your hill and see

“After the Storm” by Mumford and Sons

Have you ever felt like you are responsible for stifling your own dreams? That perhaps the only thing stopping you from doing what it is you really want, is the person you see in the mirror.

Recently,  I have been stagnating. The list of things I want to do or should do is growing, but nothing seems to be checked or crossed out. The irony is that in a time where I have the most freedom to do all of this, I find myself not wanting to do a single thing.

This has carried over into most categories of my life. Running is probably the worst of them all. Running has been therapeutic to me in the past, but in the past month that feeling has been dwindling. It’s become a chore that I find more reasons to not do than to do.

Running is chalked full with variables. A single run can be such a feat. Because of wind, because of sleep, because of anything really. The amount of injuries, the tally of days I wanted to quit, the reasons to run, the reasons to not run, the time neglected to be found. To think I’ve been training for several months and all of that could be for nothing just by making one wrong move. One tiny injury.

For running being such a big part of who I am right now, I find it hard to say much about it. Maybe because it is not worth talking about at all, but there is always something to say I suppose. What I don’t want to admit is that I find an obscene amount of parallels between running and this stage in my life.

All of my injuries in running have been completely due to the way in which I run. I find that to be utterly profound. The fact that my ankles roll in on every step, the way in which my hips ache on ten milers, the over rotating, pronating, cramps, trips and falls. My own form cripples me. Certain shoes can fix parts of it, strengthening muscles, reducing miles, but the fact of the matter is that these problems are slightly unfixable. You’re body creates a step that you commit to as long as you walk. A step to break or build.

The trick when you run is to never look too far ahead. You want to focus on something nearby, a mailbox, light post, or house. You stare at it until you pass it, then focus your eyes on the next upcoming landmark. You never let your eyes stray too far from the dark tar beneath your feet because if you watch the horizon, you might not make it.

In Blacksburg, there was this awful hill near my house. It was hidden in some forgotten neighborhood two blocks away. If you haven’t been to Blacksburg, you should know that the are countless hills, the kind worth avoiding when running or riding bikes. Despite the steepness, I found myself mapping runs around  this one hill. Every time, a slacken pace, shallow breathes, and burning legs. But the top, the top made it worthwhile. Sometimes it feels like the hills encase you in Blacksburg, as if these walls were placed around the entire town. You can rarely see much more than the mile in front of you. But, there, at the top of that hill, you could see everything.

Sometimes it helps to look just two steps ahead. It helps to focus on the present, the next two miles, the upcoming hours. But it is so easy to become consumed with this mindset where you can never see anything, but the immediate. So much so that you forget what it’s like to see the whole thing.

All I can see is this hill in front of me, these things I should have done or should be doing. And it makes things seem so impossible, just like the way it feels when I get to the last mile of a run with cramps and aching legs. I would give anything to give up and walk sometimes. I would give anything to have a clear mind and the right view. But those things take time and instead of staring at this hill, dreading it, maybe I should push through it. Maybe I should find the time to do what I love and not forget what it’s like to see the whole view. That list that’s sitting next to my bed. I want to check the things off. I want to look back and think that I did something right.

It’s hard to get it right sometimes. Just like it’s hard to find the words to write or the motivation for that last ten miler before the big race. Sometimes, all you can help to see is those few feet in front of your thumping feet. And maybe there is nothing wrong with that at all, but when you forget. When you forget how to do those things you used to love, when it becomes a chore, when it seems like there is nothing but a list always in front of you. When you find it is just your own weaknesses that allow these things to never be done. It’s a terribly hopeless feeling.

The difference lies in the changes you make and the path you take. My path is structureless and out of focus. Sometimes, all it takes is one good run to reignite the fervor for training. To forget that these injuries are self-induced and that there is more strength in my own stride than I often believe. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

And while I’m struggling to find the words to keep this project afloat, find solace in this song. It’s a hope-builder.

Tagged , , , , ,

It Goes On

“It Goes On and On” by the Avett Brothers

Do you ever get this feeling, where you feel almost like the person living your life isn’t you? It’s never really for the same reason. Sometimes it’s fatigue. Sometimes you are so tired that you watch your body in it’s motion, completely detached. Sometimes it’s because you do something, and can’t believe you were capable of that action, surprising yourself in a way. Or maybe it’s this: you hear about people everyday doing things and it’s always been known, expected, determined that you would do those things too. And when you begin to fall into those roles, doing those pre-determined things, it’s always a funny feeling to see how your version of the “story” turns out.

So, here I am. I am an unemployed, post-grad, a tune well played these days. While I could easily spend all of my time talking about how awful it is trying to find a job, the long tedius process of being rejected time and time again, the long night internet searches, the desperate, “I’ll apply for anything I can get,” mood, etc. Most everyone has gone through this whether it was for the summer job, internship, career, or just a whatever job. It always amazes me how unimpressive a person can be on paper. It’s a very belittling feeling, to list your so called accomplishments in a Word document and get three lines down only to say, “that’s it?” Yes, that’s it.

Despite that discouraging moment, I’ve concluded simply that a sheet of paper is an unfair judge of a person. The challenge, I suppose, is to learn to market all your oh so wonderful attributes in as few words as possible. Oh the joys of job searching!

Well, here I am, unemployed, and well, struggling to continue doing what I enjoy. Something in the insecurity after college makes you question every aspect of your life. You wonder if you majored in the right thing. It’s too late to fix that really, but you wonder. You wonder why you decided to take Language and Logic to count for a math instead of doing something more practical, more marketable for that list you have to keep updating. And all those times you did things so you could, “build your resume.” Maybe that wasn’t as helpful as you thought it would be. Do you still love writing? Is it really what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? Well there isn’t much of a choice now is there. You play mind games. You convince yourself that there is absolutely no job right for you, so you better become brilliant over night and create the next Harry Potter before the bank runs dry. Yeah, this is the life I look at and think, so this is my life.

I’m not sure I am doing the feeling justice. There are these landmarks that we always knew would come, and they come more quickly than anyone ever warns you. High School graduation, pick a college, make a career, get a hott hubby, get hitched, make babies, get old, get bitter…okay not bitter, but we all know the story. Each time I’ve hit one of these landmarks, I’m surprised, not necessarily in a bad way. I am surprised because life is never what you expect it to be. And I am sorry to all those creative writing majors out there who recognize that last line as a cliche. Sometimes the cliches are the most accurate version of this thing we call life. Oh that sounds like another…

This is the first time I’ve written in a while and it feels too good to be true. I felt like a disgrace to my generation when I found myself yelling at the computer and frowning at this oh so confusing computer screen trying to follow through on my goal. I am more technologically challenged than I thought I was…and just as long winded as ever.

So, the writing bit. Let’s be honest, I was struggling with this whole theme thing. It seemed a little too self involved to just start a blog and write whatever my heart pleases. I needed some sort of confine, right? I mean, who will read this if I don’t have some cutesie theme or some really amazing thing needed to be said. I really have neither of those, at least I will not claim to either. My excuse for a theme is just lines. You all have them I’m sure. That line in a song, that part in the book, just that moment when the words come together perfectly and everything connects. My personal favorite moment is the way in which a song and lyric build to this perfectly constructed moment that it provides this sensation in you where you want to just close your eyes and sing your lungs out. It’s a moment that, honestly, I find hard to define. So, that will be my theme. These will be the song titles, the favorite lines, the exquisit moments, the, “you get me,” feelings we’ve all had. Some of these will be mine. Some of them will just be random songs I like, or books I am reading. But really, I admit that I have an overplayed list of songs in my head and books are harder to get through at times than I would like. So, feel free to help, to suggest, to try to change my taste. I could use a new playlist all around.  And that is the challange. The challenge is to use these random pieces and try to make something new, something in my own words. These are my thoughts. These are the notes I’m making about life, about the world, in hopes that I won’t forget how to construct a sentence, a perfect story, or how to recognize those pesky cliches.

Listen to the song, don’t listen to the song, but know that it’s the theme. Doesn’t everything go on? Most of us live our lives in this constant state of panicked motion so that we hardly have the time to breath, to blink, to just stop and see something. As we roll through the days, they pass in a manner never as we would expect, but exactly how they should. And life goes on, right?  We have to go on. There is something in the dwelling that makes us lose that secure feeling that the hecticness of each day provides. So, don’t dwell too long. Don’t let the words linger on the tip of your tongue, but do stop long enough to remember what it is you were hoping for. I am hoping that I will learn to write something outside myself and that one day, someone will think it’s a line worth borrowing, worth titling a blog over, just worth it.

…it goes on

Tagged , , , , , ,