Sunday, December 27, 2009

Writer's Block

Life is funny. Life with its curve balls...So, I have writer's block. I haven't written anything on the blog nor anywhere else since I finished my class earlier this month, showing me exactly why I'm getting my masters in the first place. To Write. To do what I love. Something that is all mine. Something that no one can take away or diminish. Something that, is controlled entirely by me. Muy. Me, myself and I.

How seldom do we have things like this in our lives? In this crazy world full of surprises and here is this gift just wasting away. Just waiting for me to do something with it. To hone it. To take it. to make it mine. So I think I'll start. Not like a New Year's resolution or anything because those never work anyway. It's like, the second you say it's a resolution you may as well just admit it's never going to happen. More of a life resolution. A promise to me and the world that I am going to stop making excuses. I'm taking control.

After all, if I can't have control over my own life, at least I can control my character's. Now I just need to get their lives down on paper...I think I'll start now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Junot Diaz

"You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway." - Junot Diaz (2008's Pulitzer Prize Winner)

Great story, very inspirational. I love this man...

More thoughts on him (and this concept on of not giving up) to come...

Friday, November 13, 2009

American Girl

“Growing up female in America. What a liability! You grew up with your ears full of cosmetic ads, love songs, advice columns, whoreoscopes, Hollywood gossip, and moral dilemmas on the level of TV soap operas.” - Erica Jong

I think about this quote a lot. I find it ironic that this was written over 30 years ago but seems to ring truer now more than ever. These things are ever present in our society. I mean, have our lives really become a reality TV show? It sure feels like it. Has this become the American Dream? And if so, what are we teaching our children? (I don't mean "our" children as in yours and mine specifically: think younger cousins, neices, nephews. etc) I have never been one for Hollywood gossip. I don't read US weekly and I'm usually the last to know whose dating who, who broke up with who, whose dating someone who broke up with the other one whose now dating someone new. (I really didn't mean to rhyme there; sometimes I just can't help myself) I'm also not a huge fanatic of these reality TV shows about D list celebrities.

One in particular that seems to be appearing everywhere right now is the one with that annoying "actress" from the Bachelor a couple seasons ago. I only know who she is because I watched the last few episodes of the season she was on (she won by the way) and I found her so irritating that it was impossible to forget her. Her voice alone...Anyway, I guess the relationship with her and what's his name didn't exactly work out (shocker) and now E has given her her very own reality TV show with her dad, who is apparently an actor although I've never head of him?? I caught the end of one episode (it comes on before Chelsey Lately) and I could not stop watching. Not because I liked it but more because I was completely fascinated by the fact that this person actually had her own television show and, that people actually watch this shit.

MTV's The Hills has created quite a different view of the "American Girl." One that frankly, kind of scares me. When we are being taught that all we have to do is wear designer clothes, hang out with semi-famous people and act like a total dumb ass to get our own TV show, where do we go from here?...This weekend I visited my younger sister in College Station, she's 21 and was getting her college ring. (Apparently this is more important than losing your virginity to Aggies) Anyway, some charming young gentlemen told me I looked like I was 15. I'll admit, at first I was a little shocked. I found myself speechless, (something that doesn't happen to me very often) however, after a little reflection I wasn't all that surprised. I mean, look at the 15 year olds these days?! Some of them do look my age - some of them look older than I do, and they definitely wear more makeup. If this any indication of our future, I'm not having children.

But seriously, I'm not completely bashing reality TV here. I'll admit that if I'm bored and don't feel like using my brain in any capacity, I will indulge in a little watching of The Hills. (I actually prefer The City, I'm more of a New York kind of girl myself) I guess watching people who are more overly dramatic than you are can be pretty entertaining. Not to mention it makes you feel a little better about your own soap opera of a life, but I do wonder about the lines that continue to blur between the Tween/Teen world and that of us adults. I'll never forget when my ten-year-old cousin told me about her trip to Mexico and how she bought a white swimsuit so she could show off her tan stomach. This was funny and slightly horrifying at the same time. Show off to WHO?! I wanted to're ten. Instead I of course played along like this was a completely normal conversation for a 24 year-old to be having with her. I perpetuated the situation because a part of me remembered that little girl in myself. The one who thought I looked pretty damn sexy in my teal one piece. (I didn't).

That got me to thinking, are things really getting worse...or am I just getting old?

Well, Until next time...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Relationship 101: The Ugly Truth

So, I heard some unpleasant stories the other morning regarding certain relationships of people I really care about, and it got me thinking about relationships in general. I just can't shake this feeling and this wondering of why we put up with so much? What's the point? Why go through hell and waste our time when we could be out being fabulous all on our own...

Okay. So I'm just going to come right out and say that I am probably the WORST person in this world to give out relationship advice. (Unless of course you are in a relationship that is a. unrealistic b. doomed to fail c. with someone that makes you crazy or d. all of the above) Normalcy is not really my forte. Maybe it’s a curse; maybe I do it on purpose. The verdict's still out on that one...However. I do believe that it makes me a credible and non-judgmental source for those of you out there that maybe know what I'm talking about here. If it's fucked up or unbelievable...I've lived it.

In fact, there's not much I haven't been through when it comes to relationships. And I just can't quite get back to the part where I put myself out there enough to believe all the bullshit that guys hand us these days. I mean really, who can a girl trust? Let's be honest, 99.99% of men are shitheads. to the core. We all know this. A good friend of mine (who is much better at advice than I am and much more blunt) once told me that every guy is a lying asshole, and if he isn't then he's just tricking you. So what do we think...can this really be the ugly truth? Is there really no one good left out there for us to find and love; someone who will not be a lying cheating douchebag asshole? I think there is.

I have to uphold the hope and believe that we deserve better, the best actually. I know too many smart, amazing, successful, beautiful women who depend way too much on a guy for their own satisfaction and happiness in life. I'll admit I was once that person. I'll admit I still struggle to NOT be that person all the time. But, what I do know is that it has to be possible to side step the jerks and find someone who adores you just the way you are. I guess what I am saying is that I'd rather be alone than to know that I am settling in any way shape or form. I'll be single forever before I'll settle, because one thing that I've learned from all the disastrous relationships I've been handed is that I'm still me. With or without anyone else. That's all anyone can ask for. Besides, if you don't know yourself than how can you expect anyone else to ever really know you??

And ya know what, let's get real... We ALL could use a little honesty in our lives. A little reality. I'm not writing this sitting here pretending like I'm a perfect angel who's never told a lie. I would never claim to be perfect. (I would never be that self righteous.) What I will claim is to know when enough is enough. If you are lying, there's a reason. And you aren't only lying and hurting the person on the other end of the relationship; you're hurting yourself. If something is meant to be, it should be easy. It shouldn't be a 24/7 job and it shouldn't be a game of who's better, prettier, more successful than who? It should just be about love, or the hope of finding and maintaining it. Plain and simple. Every day can't be a holiday, but when the sound of someone's voice on the other end of the phone makes you feel that much better and that much stronger, no matter how shitty the day's been, that should tell you something. See. When I think about it like this it's really not so complicated.

Relationships shouldn't be about titles or what you can gain from being with someone else. I tend to feel like we title things more for other people's sake than for our own. I'm not saying I'm opposed to titles. Eventually they do become...necessary. But, I mean, when did relationships become so public anyway? And why does everyone care so much? Everyone always seems to have an opinion. What's wrong with letting people be happy and free to figure things out on their own?

Am I contradicting myself here? I don't mean to. I just think that if there is any hope for all of us out there who feel a little pessimistic about the whole happily ever after thing, we've got to stop tearing it down and letting other people do the same. And why not just be straight forward in our relationships, instead of playing all these studid games. Just a thought.

Well, until next time...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

25 things to think about upon turning 25

Well, it's official. I am half way through my 20's and well on my way to the dreaded 30. I have now been 25 for exactly a week at midnight and I have to say, it really doesn't feel too much different from 24. However, it has made me reevaluate some things. I have this little "life" to do list I keep. It's sort of an ongoing list where I write down things I want to do or goals to accomplish. Anyway, the list just seems to get longer and the amount of items crossed off are very few in comparison. I thought about listing these things out here, but I've decided against it. It's not really the point I'm trying to make and these "things" are not what's really important. (I realize that makes the title a bit misleading, but I promise to share these goals as I accomplish them.)

Here's the problem...there are so many distractions! Everywhere. When do you have time to just focus on you, and what you want? Obviously there are people who have mastered this in the past, but it makes me wonder what you have to give up in order to do so? For example, with me, I want to write. Why is it so hard? There are thousands of stories and ideas floating around in my head daily and I can't seem to find the time to make sense of it all and put it down on paper. I fear that the vast majority of truly successful people are also the most lonely. It makes me wonder if success and happiness can ever live together peacefully. To have a passion and to be good at something is gift, but you really have to lose yourself in the task at hand in order to be victorious in this endeavor. And how do people do this with so many other responsibilities? 

Here's where the age thing comes into play. I mean, I'm not getting any younger and the amount of responsibility, as I'm sure we've all becoming increasingly aware of, just seems to pile up the older we get. All of life's annoying little "to do's" take over and the big picture gets lost. None of us want to look back on our lives with regret, but there are just so many things to be regretful about: We regret relationships, how we handled them or didn't handle them, losing ourselves in them...sometimes we regret even being in them at all. We regret friendships that we let slip away or ones that proved to be less than real. We regret not spending enough time with our families, taking people for granted, and we regret not taking advantage of opportunities, or maybe even taking too much advantage of an opportunity. But I think the things I tend to regret the most are the times I hold back from all of these things. The times that I don't say or do something out of fear or because it didn't fit into my current plan for my life...These times are countless. 

What I've come to finally understand is that there is no plan. I can make to do lists all day long and they will never be complete, because life doesn't stop. You just gotta roll with it and figure it out as you go. So, I've resolved to revise my list. Maybe I will even throw it out completely. Take a different approach. And while I still fully intend on accomplishing things on this list, I'm going to do it my way. I want to face life unafraid of circumstance or outcome. To simply live and do and grow and create. I want to figure out who I am and what defines me, and hopefully, where I fit in inside this crazy world of ours. 

I'll keep you posted on how that goes, and hopefully my late twenties will prove more productive, and less regretful, than my early twenties did. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ignorant Bliss

This appears to be the state I'm currently in. Things are happening, changing...things that will significantly effect me personally, but I chose to remain outside of them. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself. 

I gave my author's presentation tonight in class. For those of you who know me at all, you know that even the thought of standing up in front of a room full of people - all staring at me - seriously strikes terror into my heart. (Unless of course I'm drunk and singing Karaoke)  That being said I think it went well. My brain is sufficiently fried from work and class, but I also can't wind down. I'm afraid it will be a long night of thinking and overanalyzing for me. This insomnia is something I've come to know rather well. My body is tired, but my mind refuses to sleep. It's a vicious battle in which my body typically loses. 

Anyway, the topic of my presentation was this idea of writing in a "mock memoir" format, using Erica Jong's Fear of Flying as an example. A MUST read if you haven't already. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, I tried looking it up, but a definition does not yet seem to exist. Or at least not an official definition. However, simple context clues have allowed me to come up with a relevant definition: 

Context clues...
Memoir: a written record of a person's knowledge of events or of their own experiences
Mock: to resemble or imitate something very closely 

So...a mock memoir is simply a form of writing author's use that imitates a memoir in many ways, but can not be defined as memoir because it is loosely based on events or experiences of the author rather than being a completely accurate and factual account or record. 

In talking about and compare this mock memoir vs. memoir I thought about them in terms of fact vs. fiction, and all the grey areas in between. So where do we draw the line? You can't compare an emotion to fact. You can't really prove how someone did or didn't feel. So in essence writer's of memoir's could blur or embellish the truth about what they thought or felt with little protest. I guess this goes back to the idea that the "truth" really is in the eye of the beholder. I prefer to write in mock memoir as opposed to let's you take out the parts about your life that you maybe don't like or would prefer to "fix". This form of writing allows you to tell the almost true story. 

This is essentially what Jong does in her novel. Through the character she creates in likeness of herself, Isadora Wing, she explores the internal and external conflicts: love, sex, freedom, feminism, etc, that she has encountered on this journey to find herself and her purpose in life. I wanted to share a quote from the book that really encompasses all of these things into one sentence in such a simple and direct way. 

"I'm just trying to lead my own fucking life if I can manage to find it in all this confusion." 

I don't know about you, but I can totally relate to this statement. Side note: Speaking of life, I'm turning 25 in 5 days...oh the places I thought I would be at this age. Definitely not here. It's funny how, as children, we grow up believing that our lives will turn out a certain way. We begin meticulously planning our every move, unaware that all of this planning will get us no where. Yes, as children we are in this constant state of ignorant bliss, and we can't wait to grow up. Then when we finally do we wish we could stop time right in its tracks. Maybe even turn it back a little. If we could just do certain moments over we wouldn't take them for granted this time...Yep. We didn't know how good we had it as children. The whole world and our whole lives in front of us. Right at our finger tips. All we had to do was jump. 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, for now, I'm going back to this state of ignorant bliss. There are just some things I would rather not know. The future's not going anywhere. It will come, but I'm not going to let it loom over me. 

Until next time... 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Times are hard for dreamers

A picture with this saying on it was sent to me via facebook by a friend who understands and shares the same ambitions and idealistic desires as myself. Something that seems to be a rare find in these days...In times of economic crisis such as these it is hard to hold on to our dreams. You question your own aspirations because the goal can seem a bit to high to obtain. But you continue to ask yourself, why not? 

What makes successful people a success? I think you have to find something to be passionate about and then pursue it as if your livelihood depends on it, even if it doesn't. (Especially if it doesn't). You can dream all you want, but nothing is going to happen unless you make it happen. Figure it out. Easier said then done, true. But if other people have accomplished these things, then why not me? What makes them any different. I would argue the only difference is that they've figured out how to make their dreams a reality simply by doing. Let's all take this challenge and ask ourselves what we really want out of life, and then stop wasting time. 

When I think about these things it always takes me back to something Mark Twain said in regards to this very subject, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." So take risks. Without risk life is not really worth living. It is the unknown, although terrifying at times, that leads us to places we have never imagined. We are always making plans and writing down lists, but maybe a little spontaneity is in order as well. Life is too short to worry too much about plans. Life just happens. Remaining stagnant is not an option. 

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my all time favorite movies, which will remain nameless for purposes of not spoiling the quote, but is one that in it's own way really does make you think about life. And more importantly, question how you live. 

"All I know is, if you don't figure out this something, you'll just stay ordinary, and it doesn't matter if its a work of art or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something... new, and there it is, and its you, out in the world, out side of you and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it... and you know a little more about... you"

Until next time...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome to The Unexpected Scholar!


So I'll be honest, I'm not really a scholar of anything. I actually got the title from my friend Renee who started calling me "her little scholar" when I decided to go back to school and get my Masters in Creative Writing. I looked up the formal definition of the word. 

1 : a person who attends a school or studies under a teacher : pupil
2 : a person who has done advanced study in a special field 
3 : a holder of a scholarship

So I guess by definition of 1 & 2 I am technically considered a scholar, who knew? While I won't claim to be an expert on the subject of writing, I will label myself a dreamer. In my journey towards continuing my education I've discovered there are a lot more of us dreamers out there than I thought. Those of us who refuse to believe that a steady paycheck from corporate America once every two weeks is all we need to be satisfied in life. 

Perhaps this was the way of our parents generation, but not ours. Networking and the invention of the world wide web have taught us that thinking outside the box is where true happiness resides. Or so we hope. In thinking about this I've found that the first step to obtaining this state of bliss is to admit you're unhappy, and then do something about it. 

It's amazing how many people you will find that share the same crazy unimaginable dreams that you sheepishly cling to. I have a friend who wants to be a movie writer-director-producer, one who wants to make documentary films and another who just simply wants to "make pretty things". This is truly a comfort to me on the all too frequent occasion when I tell people that I'm getting my Master's in Creative Writing, at which point they stare at me with a blank expression for several minutes before inevitably asking what the hell I'm going to do with a degree in Creative Writing. The answer seems rather obvious to me but I can't tell you the countless times I've received that question. 

Okay, so maybe it is a fair question. Remember, not everyone thinks like we do. It's a good thing too, because if they did we wouldn't be able to appeal to the masses who can't think for themselves and need our creative minds to help them see outside of the box. Or the cube in most cases. Now I'm not knocking everyone who works in a cubical. Sadly I am one of the unfortunate souls trapped between 3 and a half walls 5 days a week. Most of us are. I'm simply suggesting that we ask ourselves why? 

What's the purpose of this blog, you're wondering? Well who said there was one? I guess it's in the eye of the beholder, as most things in life are, but I'm turning 25 this month and  am at a point in my life where I feel things beginning to turn, to change. I see this in a lot of us in our mid-twenties, as we are forced to let go of our college days for good and give in to what everyone calls "the real world", whatever that means. 

And well, we're always hearing about mid life crisis' but what about a quarter-life crisis? Because this is a very real thing that really just doesn't get enough attention. Especially with our generation who tends to play a little harder and longer than our parents did. (most of them anyway). When is it time to say goodbye to the bar scene and prepare to start playing house?

Until next time, I'll leave you to contemplate that question.