Not too long ago, I saw a gallery show by the amazingly talented Richard Faust, in which he had drawn small animals with fun patterns and accompanied them with cute, inspirational sayings. It’s one of my great regrets that I didn’t buy one, so I’m hoping he does another similar show at some point. But one of the pieces I remember most clearly said in big letters, “don’t should yourself.” Continue reading “Don’t Should Yourself”→
Bet you think this is going to be about the poetic lifestyle and how it relates to nihilism and slowly drives you insane. It still might go there. But that’s not the goal. The goal, if I’m being totally honest, is to update my blog: something I haven’t done in weeks, despite the promise I made to myself to keep things going. Continue reading “Poetics and the Meaninglessness of Striving”→
Tonight seems to be more about organizing and less about writing, and I don’t know whether it’s from a lack of creativity, the fact that I do nothing but write and my mind just gave up, or some reason I’m just not thinking of. Probably all of the above. And also none of the above, because it’s not actually possible to run out of creativity. It’s a finicky fountain of manic self-hatred and joy, but it runs forever.
Anyway, that’s what I started the alphabet challenge for, however many years ago I actually started it. Blogging is hard.
Beautiful People is a monthly linkup hosted by Sky and Cait, aimed at getting to know your characters better. This month’s edition is author-focused, so you get to know more about me! Yay! Just what a personal blog that consists of mostly me ranting and giving my opinions needs. Ahem. Anyway. Continue reading “Beautiful People: Author Edition”→
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had everything you wanted? The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect spouse, kids, dog. The book deal. The movie deal that sprouts from the book deal. The travel that comes with being a famous author. The successful coffeeshop in a tourist trap town. I think about that a lot.
I never thought the day would come, but I actually miss writing self-reflection papers. Don’t get me wrong, they were usually miserable excuses for assignments, and I don’t think I learned a whit about myself writing them, but as far as college papers go, they got kind of fun. Once I figured out that I would get an A literally no matter what I wrote, as long as I wrote it well, the world kind of opened up. I badly paraphrased famous authors, I turned everyone I knew into anthropomorphic animals, I spent three pages ranting about the term “corrosive” and how it applied my current college situation. I even parodied a self-reflection paper in a self-reflection paper. It got fun. Continue reading “A Smattering of Self-Expression”→
I was recently accused (for the twelfth time) of not talking about myself enough. I tried to argue that everything you say is really “about” you, in that everything is a reflection of you: what you think about a person/place/thing and how you express those thoughts shows some aspect of your personality, character, and thought process. He wasn’t having any of it. Which is dumb, because I totally talk about myself plenty. I think.
Either way, I wanted to write but didn’t want to research anything, and, as many an icebreaker game has taught me, there aren’t any good adjectives that start with K (here’s looking at you, Kooky Katie, Krazy Kristen, and Kind Karen), so here’s a list of some random stuff that could probably mostly be qualified as “about me.”
I hate icebreaker games. They’re inane and awkward.
My favorite kinds of movies are ones in which an underdog gets ahead through hard work and perseverance (e.g. Morning Glory, Never Back Down, Dirty Dancing). Bonus points if there’s a happy ending and/or the protagonist won’t put up with any drama.
I hate having all my toenails the same color.
Expensive art makes me lose faith in life and the rationality of humankind.
If my life were a romantic comedy, I’d probably be throwing Milk Duds at the screen right now. (That actually happened once. To a friend. Obviously. This one’s for you, Matty Flamhaff, you eternal heartbreaker.)
Asiago cheese bagels are my favorite food, especially when paired with a really good iced coffee.
I really hate talking about myself. I get about thirty seconds in and start to wonder why would anyone care? I’m not really that special. I don’t have anything to say if I’m not explaining something or providing some new, interesting revelation. Is this too much? This is dumb. And irrelevant. And then I take the time to convince myself otherwise and then thirty seconds later I repeat the process. It’s like one step forward and eight steps back. Blogging is supposed to help get me over this. Without turning me into some self-absorbed, self-obsessed dweeb.
I love 80s music. And 80s movies. Probably more than is socially acceptable.
There are exactly two people that I trust completely and don’t feel at all anxious around.
I believe that thrift shopping is a lifestyle and, if done right, a good lifestyle. You don’t have to pay a lot for clothes or art or coffee mugs. But, there are some things that definitely shouldn’t come from thrift stores if at all possible: underwear, bedding, stuffed animals, bath products, etc. You should always have a full and presentable set of dishes. You should always have a fuzzy blanket that’s only ever been yours. And you should treat yourself occasionally, because you can.
I expect the worst of people but hope for the best.
My perfect date would be a day at an amusement park, specifically one on a beach, like Cedar Point or Coney Island. There’s just something about the lights and the excitement and the sunshine and the smell, that lovely mix of sunscreen, sweat, fried food, and fish. I love it.
A while* ago, one of my professors asked the class what was the best gift they had ever received. Answers like car, iPod, and laptop were thrown around the room. [Distant humming: “‘Cuz we are liiiiiiving in a mateeeerial world…”] There were even a few interesting stories to go along with them, but most were sweet sixteen type things. My professor was starting to get annoyed. Guys, he said (and I’m paraphrasing here), gifts don’t have to be things. Of course, that was followed by a few blank stares and some confused blinking. I don’t remember the stories after that, but I know they were slightly more heart-wrenching than Ms. I-got-a-car-for-my-sixteenth-birthday and Mr. Laptop-for-graduation. But it got me thinking. What was the best gift I ever received?
I think it was for Christmas when I was little. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but it was during the window when my brother and sister both lived in South Carolina. I missed them pretty constantly (I cried whenever visits would end), and I’m sure it broke their hearts a little. (Sorry about that.) Anyway, Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve morning–I don’t totally remember), we get a call at around six in the morning. My dad answers the phone; it’s my brother. “Open the door, it’s cold outside.” And sure enough, my brother is standing in front of our house. He had driven all night to come see us for Christmas.
I don’t remember if I was actually up when this happened or if I just heard about it later, but it was definitely the best gift I’ve ever received (and my parents bought me a laptop for graduation–that was pretty cool–this was cooler). I feel like I should have a moral here, but I don’t really. Go out of your way to make people happy? Surprises are fun? I don’t know. I just wanted to tell the story.
*I finally learned the difference between “a while” and “awhile.” The first is an article followed by a noun, dictating a specific set of time. The second is an adverb meaning “for a time.” I’ll probably forget it again soon.
I’ve heard it said that you’re supposed to smile while answering the phone because the person on the other end will be able to hear it. I’m not sure if it works or not–after all, if you can’t see someone, how can you tell if they’re smiling? and how can I hear myself if I do it?–but it’s a practice I’ve adopted just for the heck of it. I mean, why not?
But this is a thing, though. We’re told to fake emotion so that the person on the receiving end will be happy. In a conversation with someone? Laugh at his jokes. Someone sits next to you? Smile and her and strike up a conversation. Stroke his ego. Make her feel comfortable. Be friendly, and maybe people will like you. But what if I don’t want to be open? What if I didn’t want her sitting next to me and spilling her life story?
I reached a point where I thought, “This is stupid. I’m not a smiley person, if people are going to like me, they should like me for me.” So, in an ill-fated attempt to find myself, I decided to stop following the social convention of smiling all the time. (I kept my phone smiling practice–old habits die hard, I guess.) It was a bad move for someone who has trouble finding friends in the first place. Shy and scowling? People tended to give me a bit of a wide berth. Sure, they eventually started to laugh when they finally realized that yes, I was actually kidding, and no, I don’t hate them all, and no, I am not planning their murders in my head. But do you know how long it took me to reach that point?
I suppose my point is that social conventions are there for a reason, no matter how stupid you think they are. And not smiling gets pretty lonely. Plus, smiling–even fake smiling–releases dopamine and serotonin (self-produced happy drugs) in your brain, thus lightening your mood a little. So here’s to smiling at strangers and putting up with a few life stories. Cheers.