Monday, January 2, 2012

Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie

I started this blog a year ago hoping it would make me write more. Really it just makes me angsty. So here is to a less angsty and what promises to be a much stranger year.

Yes, even if the zombies don't come.

A quick summary of this year's coming strangeness:
My best friend is getting married,
I will have a niece,
I will probably spend the last months of the year abroad.

And I know this will not be all. I've never been too good at resolutions, but I'd like to take all this weirdness and turn it into a better me. I am going to write more--not blogs, sorry, but stories and I am going to finish one. I am going to really get into a workout routine and get to a healthier place. I'm going to get a part time job and save up my money. But I am also going to have fun, even if it occasionally requires money. I'm going to take more risks, ranging from fashion to confidence and outgoing-ness. I'm going to read more books for fun. And get better at cooking. If someone recommends music, I'm going to listen to it more than once before making up my mind so I don't look back months later and think 'wow, why wasn't I listening to this all along' (I'm currently listening to The Civil Wars, one inspiration for the last one). I'm going to get better at French.

I'm sure there is more, and I'm sure most will fail, but these actually seem fairly realistic to me. The more difficult is figuring out my life for the next couple of years, a task I am far from completing. And besides the study abroad application with the impending deadline, I'm okay with that. I'm embracing the adventure. It is going to be a good year, I mean the Hunger Games movie is coming out, how could it not be. (Also Hallowed and the movie for Perks of Being a Wallflower hehe).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

...Just to let me down

(And now for an Out-of-State Elitist -esque post.)

Never have I felt more like I am in a dystopian world. And it isn't even a cool one with archery and hovercrafts.

Let's picture a world where a man is fired from his job for doing it too well.

As some, or possibly none, of you know the UO president recently did not have his contract renewed (read: fired). And no one is happy about this. My basic understanding--and it is basic--is that our President was fired for making the UO better. He took steps to assure our success, no matter future state academic changes, but this is apparently unacceptable because as a public university we are supposed to be on par with the other state universities, not above them. There are other issues too: the board did not consult the faculty before firing Lariviere,  etc.

I was not able to attend the meeting that happened earlier today, but the sense I got is that you do not want to anger elderly academics. Professors verbally attacked the board members and are demanding separate boards, one for each public university in Oregon. And Lariviere left the meeting to a standing ovation. Also this whole timing? Totally rigged. Why not wait until students have to go to class and are so swamped with work that they can't attend meetings or protests?

Normally I'm not one to be interested in politics of any sort. (I lack political efficacy--the most important term I learned in AP Gov). But this will greatly affect our university. Who will step up to take the place of a man fired for doing good? And when someone does they will never have the guts to do anything great themselves. This is seriously bad press; counter-acting all that the president did to raise us in national and international standings.

And really, you wouldn't fire Chip Kelly for making UO better at football than Eastern Oregon.

Anyway you probably won't here much more from me on the topic of the board's search for a mediocre president, but it was on my mind after the first 30 minutes of my history class was spent discussing the issue. It's a scary place out there.

In Other News...
Dead Week. Never has there been a more accurate title. Two papers in two days accomplished without my death.  Their quality? To be determined.

Christmas break in a week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You must be a girl with shoes like that

Two blogs in one week and it isn't even the results of the Halloween Dilemma yet. *gasp*

But I couldn't not post this.

I've never really thought of myself as a stylish person... but I've also never considered myself a shlub. Yeah, shlub. And college has reaffirmed that last one--I'm sure you've all heard my rants on the tragic leggins/sweatpants and uggs combo. But my style is pretty simple: v-neck, skinny jeans, and boat shoes or lace-up boots. Honestly it can be a little manly with the occasional flair of a lace dress or an orange trench.

I always strove to be low-key and slightly un-American. Don't take this as an insult, but frankly most Americans dress like, well in clothes I wouldn't be caught dead out of the house in. During my homework-avoidance Internet browsing I came across an article for college girls and how to fit in more in France (studying abroad). I like France, I read on. But then I came to the fashion section and had to post this:

"Mastering your Parisian wardrobe might be the single most important step in your French immersion, and it comes with a whole new set of rules. Brace yourselves, this might be rough.
No sneakers.
No North Face.
No sorority apparel. You might choose to stay away from all “apparel” (camp, clubs, sports, schools) for that matter.
No shorts unless worn over black tights. (This is totally in)
No clothes that could double as pajamas. Absolutely no sweatpants.
No workout clothes when you’re not actually working out. The French barely where athletic clothes when they are exercising (as noted above). They definitely aren’t decked out in Lulu and Nike when they aren’t exercising."

Um, these are my rules. Almost word for word. (But I do wear gym clothes to work out. I'm not trying to look good at the gym, I go to the gym to look good.) But I was flattered by this article, I mean, that is quite the accomplishment. The "dos" section was less spot on, but still good.

But really, why is it that the French know these rules, but the American girls that read Cosmo 12 hours a day don't? This should be common sense; you're in public, people.

Any way, had to share. Yay the French, we should dress more like you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

You don't ask for those Diamond rings...

The essential Halloween Dilemma.

Much like New Year's Eve, this holiday has infinite potential and usually comes nowhere close to achieving it.

I should really stop hoping. All the eyelash wishes and fingers crossed can't save this holiday for me.

Mind you, Halloween hasn't actually happened yet. At this you are all screaming to stop being so negative, but you don't get it, I know. All I can hope for is a good weekend and a good costume. But I want phenomenal. Selfish.

I had plans this year. I had an escape route. A fail safe. My fail safe failed.

And I have a midterm on Halloween. Curse you Mondays, you ruin everything.

What's even worse is that I got my hopes up at all. Now I will just think about what I could be doing--one thing I know I would enjoy, and probably remember forever. Even when I was little and Halloween was fun, it had its dark moments.

Tripping in the snow. Not having any friends to go with. The parkas over costumes.

Ah the costume back when they mattered more than candy--they still do, but I'm usually all dressed up with nowhere to go--and they were elaborate, well planned, and exactly what you wanted to be. A geisha, a goddess, a princess, a witch, even an enormous candy Kiss. (that last one was Rachel, not me).

Maybe if I dress up as a princess this year I will get my fairy godmother. Or a friend with incredible resources and wild abandon.

Okay, rant over now. So much for changing the focus of my blog.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Scarlet lips and Silver tongue, so easy to Believe

I'm looking for my voice.
So far it's pretty bland. But every once in awhile I start to hear it. It just needs more Tabasco, or even just salt. (see don't you like how I jump back and forth between metaphor, I can't even commit to three sentences)
But I've been reading a lot of Writer's Digest lately and it (as well as Bird by Bird) suggest having others read your work and give feed back.
So this is me taking a big risk and putting something out there that I would usually hide. Because I trust you (the three or so of you who look at this). My only request is that you give me feed back. Real feedback, none of this "it was good" or "I read it". That isn't helpful and quite frankly is probably a lie. So I'm going to try this, I'm going to post a little part of one of the billions of things bouncing around my brain and computer. I know I will never be a McEwan, but here's to getting better.

Here's to wanting your honesty, honestly.

Morrow wiped the fog from the mirror and leaned in. His damp hair hung in his eyes and his young face looked tired, even though he’d been passed out for the last two days. The long cut under his eye was still red and inflamed, although becoming more and more scar-like every day.

            “Are you sure it was an overdose?” he called out to his friend as he discovered a greenish-purple bruise upon shaving.

            “Yeah, you were still semi-conscious when I found you. Why?”

            “I’m all bruised,” Morrow called back, now turning in front of the mirror noticing bruises along his ribs and side, even the spot on his back above where his kidney would be.

            “That’s from the fight the night before you overdosed. Remember? That official seeming alleyway boxing ring?”

            “Someone gave me a kidney shot,” he said incredulously, still fastening his jeans as he walked across the living room to the kitchen, “And I don’t appreciate the sarcasm, Martin.” He grabbed a pair of scissors and reentered the bathroom.

            “Cutting yourself isn’t the answer!” Martin called without looking up from his magazine.

            “I’m not depressed Martin, I’m crazy. They’re different,” Morrow said nonchalantly as he began cutting random bits of hair.

            “You’re not crazy. Well, you are crazy, but unfortunately for me you are not medically diagnosable as insane—”

            The scissors fell into the sink with a loud clang. Morrow gripped the porcelain edges. His eyes closed too tight. The white walls around him shook and tilted as the nurse approached him with the syringe. Restraints held him flat to the bed.

            “Morrow?” Martin’s concerned voice penetrated the memory and pulled Morrow back into the reality of his brick-walled apartment. “Are you okay?”

            “I hate hospitals.”

            “You’ve mentioned that. But you’ve never told me why.”

            “And I won’t.” Morrow rubbed his eyes beneath the thick rimmed glasses before returning to the random massacre of his hair.

            “You look ridiculous,” Martin said, moving back toward the living room.

            “I’m not done yet!” Morrow trimmed a bit more and pulled on a t-shirt, careful to mess up his hair as much as possible.  

            “You look like hell,” Martin announced, as Morrow strolled into the room.

            “I’m stunning. I know it, you know it, everyone I pass on the street will know it in a minute; I don’t know why we even play this game Martin. Now, I feel like I haven’t eaten in two days, let’s go.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sleeping Just to Dream

I have thoughts.

Too many, if we are being exact.

They don't leave me alone. They pester me all through work; I've even found that I enjoy the mundane tasks because they allow me to daydream more. And sing. But I am a far better daydreamer than I am a singer. If I could make money daydreaming, well let's just say that's why I want to write.

My daydreams are like movies and I am the director. I can watch the same scene countless times with minuscule changes until I see it just the way it's supposed to be. I can even do this late at night or in the early morning when the daydreams mix with actual dreams. I look forward to this every night as I lay down. It is the mixing of my careful construction and my unconfined id. The ideas are replayed and tweaked, but still hold and element of unexpected and irrationality; like the actors I invented are improvising while still following my script. It allows me to discover what is plausible and what is just ridiculous, to get to know the characters, to discover the people. That's how characters go "Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it."

I've never been one to get ideas from dreams. Countless writers, artists, songwriters, etc say "I don't know I just woke up and it was there" or "I saw him/her/it/etc. in a dream." No, my dreams have always been too strange, even for the wildest of fiction. Sure one dream gave me a glimpse of the most beautiful person I've ever seen and lingering curiosity about the importance of moldy bread, but never anything beyond a humorous anecdote. I pity anyone who tries to "inception" my brain; my subconscious is straight insane.

But lately, really lately, that's changed. In the last week I have had four dreams that I wanted to write in the morning. They were still disjointed and odd, but they had a plot. And in every single one the characters and plot were wildly different. That's where the problem comes in; too many thoughts. My brain jumps from story to story so that on top of my eight plus started stories, I now have three more with less than ten pages and another just kind of looming in my head.

I would really like to just finish one. Preferably the one with over a hundred pages first. I want to do this. For real.

But at the same time I'm afraid I'll never finish anything because when I do, what happens next? I don't want to lose my characters. I don't want to face the inevitable rejection of the real world.
My greatest fears are failure and rejection, yet I picked a field that is 95% exactly that; maybe I'm a little masochistic.

I'm discouraged by the poems I read by my photographer and journalism friends, the blogs of family members, my Dad's articles. I know I'm not that good. I can't put my images into words. I can see it, but only because it lives in my head.

C'est la vie. I will go now to dream and revel in the hours that I have to be truly creative and completely in a world I invent.

But first I'll end with one of my favorite quotes:

"You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible...This is what separates artists from ordinary people; the belief, deep down in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away." -Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Come Pick Me Up

"The Truth About Elizabethtown" or "Elizabethtown Forever"
A post dedicated to Natalie Harris and Whitni Gardner because they are about the only ones who will understand it and even they might only understand half each.

I'm reading a book that I've read three times before, The Truth About Forever. You'll probably make fun of me for it because it is a teen novel, but although it is a story of a boy and girl, it is about a lot more. It's about grief. It's about not being afraid. And as I forced myself to put it down and go to bed, I realized its resemblance to another favorite of mine, Elizabethtown; a delightful and quirky movie that critics totally missed the point of. Critics wrote it off as an elaborate and unbelievable "meet cute", but in reality it is also about grief and moving on.

Now nothing traumatic has happened to me recently. I haven't lost a parent, as in the case of both of these stories. But I've noticed a theme within them and me. The deadly "I'm Fine." Two (three?) extremely dangerous words. Being "fine" is a glorious concept and a terrible lie. No one says "I'm fine" and actually means it. It doesn't really mean anything. It could mean "my world is falling apart", "I haven't gotten over the fact that I stubbed my toe this morning", or "I just really need to talk to someone, but I'm afraid."

Maybe this last is why I am writing a blog at midnight rather than sleeping. A blog is a sad excuse for someone to talk to. But the fact is I don't always feel like I have the right to talk. My world isn't crashing down. I don't only have one month left on my lease and no where to live. My boyfriend didn't just leave for two years.

My life is, as it's always been, rather cushy. But I still feel like I'm saying "I'm fine". Maybe I'm just waiting for a Wes Baker or Claire Claiborn to whisk me off into a land of honesty and Ryan Adams songs. Or a Kristy to dress me up and push me out there. Or a Chuck to hug me like he means it before dancing down the hallway to his bachelor party. Heck, I'd settle for a Kid With The Hair.

But the funny thing about this wishing and waiting is that lately I've been more and more content with staying home. Sure part of it is because I wasn't here for months and I just kind of like basking in the presence of my parents and dog. I've been happy. I got to spend over a week in Sun Valley with over 40 members of my family, just relaxing and swimming and playing baseball. But I'm still just fine.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I woke up with a swollen face, when it's supposed to be getting better. Or maybe it's because I won't let myself be totally happy. Maybe I'm Macy and I feel like I have to put on a brave, perfect face for the world. Maybe I'm Drew and I'm afraid that I'm a failure, a fiasco even. Maybe I really need a road map. Or a rusted sea glass angel. Maybe my heart and my hand need to be open.

I may not have a Wes or a Claire, but I have parents who love me and aren't trying to tap dance or make me quit what I love--even if they do encourage me to be practical. (They are, however coincidentally, are fixing up a townhouse). I have a best friend who I can talk to for hours and never run out of things to say or feel judged. I have a really cool job that although calmer than catering (the job I wanted to do this summer. Another coincidence? I mean Esta even has dark curly hair) is allowing me to actually feel like I am accomplishing things in the real world. I am blessed. And I should feel like it.

During a game of ImagineIff, I was asked which make-up product I would be. The theory of the game is to guess what the person would say about themselves. Most people said things like blush for me because I'm youthful, etc. I said concealer--the "I'm Fine" of the make-up world, the "let's smooth everything over and not let anyone know what is going on beneath the surface". I guess the fact that no one else said it kind of proves my point.

This blog makes me feel overly dramatic sometimes. And really confusing (I promise this all made perfect sense in my head before I picked up the computer). But I guess what I'm learning as I write this and reflect, is that I don't need a Wes or a Claire. I'd like one one day, but until then I can be one. Maybe not a Wes (man's friggen perfect.) but I could try to be a Claire. I could stop being a substitute person and find something better than an ice cream cone ("here's something nice to make you feel good that'll melt in five minutes"). If I want to watch Rukus play "Free Bird" as the fire sprinklers rain down or finally fly again, I'll be the one to make it happen. I'll go dance in the woods with one hand waving above my head. I'll wallow in the glorious misery for five minutes and then move on. I'll laugh and cry as I talk to someone who is gone. I will miss 60-B and Sweetbud Lane.

Now to make myself follow through. Now to fail big and be brave enough to stick around and have them ask why I'm still smiling. Now to not be perfect. Because flaws make things more interesting.