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.