The Mind of a Wavering Future Author

How is that every time I think I know what I want,
I don’t?
How can half my life be devoted to one thing

Books

And one thought can upset an entire dream?

I want to write

yes

But what to write about? What for?

I could be a screenwriter,
A writer of films.

I’ve always loved movies. Why not?

I could write children’s books,
the next J.K. Rowling.

I like kids. Kids like me. Why not?

I could write textbooks,
The How-To of life.

I hate textbooks. Better job security. Why not?

I could write reviews for a magazine or paper,
Ebert for a new age.

Maybe they’ll give me free things. Opinions are nice. Why not?

I could be a film director, photographer, artist,
But just maybe on the side.

I don’t know enough about those things to do them for a life.

I could work in a bookstore,
Just to get me on my feet.

What if I end up liking it? Owner of a bookstore. Why not?

I could be an editor,
Of a magazine or for publishing.

But really that’s not writing at all.
And what I love is that I love to write.
And despite all these questions, that’s what I want to do.
But how do I know if what I’ll write is right?
Will it make me happy
Forever?

And if I finally do decide on a job, where will I be jobbing from?
Probably in the same place
Where all the jobbers go.

What about books? That’s what I’d always planned to do,
Is it bad to have these thoughts,
To feel like I’m cheating
on my dreams?

And what is it about college,
where you’re supposed to

Find yourself,

that makes you question

Everything.

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Back To School

Back To School

Paige’s Pages: A Literary Work #3

“No Title.”

Blue Bus Stop 2

Photo credit: uketeecee

Night had just reached the tips of the horizon as I arrived at one of those dusty glass bus stop enclosures. The brisk night air was just cold enough to make my body wrack with tiny shivers. And there I was, thinking the bus must be late, despite the white numbers on my phone assuring I was early.

Looks like someone left a keychain on the worn wooden bench. As I stared and wondered if they’d really miss it, more people showed up. The stop was now a gathering place for groups of two, probably all on their way out to some party where they’d drink and shout at other twosomes until they couldn’t anymore. I was taking notes on my phone.

The bus to the restaurant arrived and the lights on the inside glowed like a traveling beacon of a guaranteed good night. I was squished between a significant number of men in cheap cologne and a few girls in tight jeans – must’ve been too cold for tight skirts. My laptop leaned precariously on my knees as I struggled to keep it upright and out of the lap of the guy in the peacoat next to me. Some talker in a leather jacket was informing the three guys surrounding him about this certain fish that tastes like steak. I’m a vegetarian.

Creamy tomato soup: one of the few marked non-meat meals at Panera and that night’s dinner of choice.  A woman’s cackling laugh drowned out the clanking from the kitchen as I sat down to write. Some pseudo-couple next to me talked about quitting a job.  A single mom ignored her daughter as she ran off to the pointless wrought-iron handrail in the middle of the restaurant while I peered across at the elderly man seated in front of me.

He was alone too. His fingertips tapped against the edge of his generically-yellow coffee mug, a golden wedding band snug on his ring finger. He finished his food, but wouldn’t leave. Meanwhile, Boyfriend tells Girlfriend, “You can’t let him control you like that. You need to decide if this is worth it or not.”

Elderly Man folded his napkin up into a tight little square before pressing it to his wrinkled lips. He broke from staring out into the dark night and we made eye contact for the briefest of moments. I smiled, contemplating the softness of my baguette and the comparative alone-ness of Elderly Man and myself. Boyfriend said not to “base your life on someone else’s perception of you.”  I thought that was good advice.

Elderly Man slowly gathered up his things to leave as someone pulled up in a shiny black Volvo, their headlights piercing through the window and into me. I took my turn looking out into the night, and I knew through the darkness and glass that Mystery Driver could see right through me. And that gaze stuck in my chest as I willed myself to see past the tinted windows and the glossy sheen of midnight blue and the spotlight of headlights cast only on me. And it hurt.

And as the car pulled away and I pulled away, I turned back to the blinking line on the glaring white screen and began to write.

To Be, or Not to Be: 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Be an English Major. Ever.

The year is almost at a close. My last final is tomorrow morning and I am rushing to get everything done. All this finals stress has forced me to reevaluate my decision to become an English major. In my limited experience, being an English major sucks, and writing papers for every class isn’t as fun as I might have thought. So if you’re thinking about choosing English as your college major, here are some things you may want to consider:

1) There’s no real way to study. If someone knows how to condense down three centuries worth of literature onto a 3×5 index card, please share your wealth.

2) Valuable skills, but no jobs. Not unless you want to be an English teacher or … nope. That’s it. Job fairs, help me out here.

3) You’ll never get into grad school. Have you heard of our GRE? We like forcing you to recall obscure lines from poems throughout time and be able to identify the title and poet.

4) If you aren’t familiar with Shakespeare or Greek mythology, you’re screwed. Allusions? That’s like Harry Houdini, right?

5) T.S. Eliot. Enough said.

6) You will be forever stereotyped as a really weird theater kid or a stuck-up hipster. I just like reading…

7) No one understands you. Honestly, no one understands how time-consuming English homework can be. Plus, we talk funny.

8) You get the oldest and dirtiest college building on campus. And no windows. Unless you go to a liberal arts college. Then you might get windows.

9) You don’t get nearly enough printing credits. They realize we live to write papers, right?

10) First question everyone asks after learning your major: “Oh. So are you going into teaching?” No.

But hey, there’s always this…

(Note: English is actually the coolest major you can possibly have, and you should definitely be an English major. I’m just a bitter college student at the end of a long and painful finals week. Disregard this entire post.)

Why SparkNotes is Heaven and Hell

The spring semester is winding down, and I’ve had to make a few last-ditch efforts at getting some work accomplished in a timely manner. What with April being the busiest college month in existence and my recent decision to add on more credits to my current load (currently 21…don’t ever do that. Ever.), I’ve been scrambling around trying to keep track of all the work I have to finish.

Like I mentioned in my deadlines post last Friday, I’ve got a pretty huge research paper coming up. And because of these new credits and all the extra work I’ve been doing, I’ve had to put that paper off for much longer than I probably should have.

And while I’m generally a huge advocate for academic honesty and the like, I needed a little help. Now, I don’t view using SparkNotes as cheating per se, because I wasn’t going to use anything from the site – I just needed a little spark to ignite my own idea.

And while I was feeling guilty about using SparkNotes – which ultimately ended up being for nothing as they didn’t even have an entry for the poem I was researching – I found it very hard to concentrate. I think you can figure out why…

sparknotes

A sample SparkNotes webpage. Also, my artistic talent exemplified.

SparkNotes is absolutely littered with advertisements and quizzes and polls for things which they must think their audience wants to see. Honestly, I just wanted to see a lengthy analysis of the poem I was looking for. Even if there are nicely written entries on the site, they become engulfed in a sea of Bieber with no chance of standing out to easily distracted procrastinators.

They do have some very well put together articles, I’ll admit. I’m not sure who writes these or analyzes all these works, but they do a tremendous job – probably one of the reasons why I tried going there for help. But if they actually want to help and not just appeal to an audience for traffic (note: advertisements are fine with me when they’re not overly distracting like these), then they need to focus a little less on hairstyles and a little more on literature.

Moderately Meditated: Weathering the Weather

It’s amazing what the weather can do for your mood.

It seems like only a few days ago ice crystals were forming on my skin as I made the long trek to my morning class. My entire face would be pink when I arrived, despite my best efforts to deter the wind’s effects with a scarf. I often considered the social acceptability of wearing a full ski mask in public.

Maybe if I had one of these…

Winter seemed to drag on forever, even as the calendar made its switch, the weather decided that cold needed to stick around a little bit longer. I was dreaming of the day when I didn’t have to bundle up in layer upon layer of clothing, put on snow boots, and reexamine why I chose to attend a college so far from the Equator.

All I’ve wanted to do since the first snowflake fell is read a book outside with a glass of iced tea and get lost in a world with no bothers at all. I’ve wanted to sit in a bookshop with my laptop, surrounded by the smell of printed paper and café beverages, and write something. Anything. Winter had made it so that I barely had the will to get out of bed in the morning, let alone write something worth reading.

But the winds have shifted, my friends. This morning brought chirping birds, bright sun rays, and the ever annoying boom of skateboarders wiping out in the parking lot near my open window. Yes. Today will be a good day.

And while I may not have the time to write anything creative today (that isn’t for a class) besides this blog post, I will go to bed tonight having felt well-motivated and productive with healthy doses of Vitamin D absorbed into my skin. I will have felt the warm relief Spring brings, my mood greatly improved.

And when I awake tomorrow, it will be raining.

Dang.

Fish, Love, and Companionship

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one.”*

Which here means, fish.

Well actually, I suppose he’s not dead yet…

Let’s start over.

It’s a curious thing, the almost-death of a pet fish.

You know death will come eventually, but when a fellow life-form shows signs of distress, you want to help – fish or not.

The relationship between a fish and its owner can be a little complex, though. Fish are not animals with which we humans can cuddle. We cannot hold them, pet them, or let them sleep in our beds – all the signs generally associated with human-to-pet love.

And yet, we become quite attached to them, don’t we? At least I did.

They’re something to be nurtured and cared for as you watch them grow. Your fish becomes your little companion.

And really, who can resist that face?

And really, who can resist that face?

So when something seems off, naturally, you become alarmed.

I’ve had my fish for about a month (a betta named Hemingway), and during that time he’s overcome quite a bit of adversity: being originally stored in a small bowl, then being transferred to a more spacious tank, adjusting to dorm living, and surviving the six hour drive home and back for spring break.

This fish is indestructible.

But after a decently regular weekend, he’s begun to act a tad strangely. He wouldn’t eat for two days and he wouldn’t move from one spot for the whole of Sunday. Honestly, I was a bit concerned.

I tried just about every remedy I could find and yet nothing seemed to cure him. I went to bed last night praying I wouldn’t wake up to Hemingway belly-up.

This morning was better. He actually ate today and has been moving around his tank more. Although he still doesn’t seem quite himself, I remain hopeful.

Despite my feeling utterly helpless, I think this situation shows the kind of lengths some people are willing to go for those they care about. Some pet owners may have been a bit more gung-ho about giving Hemingway a one-way ticket to the ocean, but I, now that I have him, cannot imagine a life without my bright little companion, and I would do anything to keep him happy and healthy. That’s what love is, right?

 

*A quote by the wonderful Lemony Snicket