Saturday, February 28, 2009


This is the point where I realize that editing is a really long process. A really long process.
My class today was extremely enjoyable, however, because of that realization. It really demystified the editing process for me and made it seem like a lot of fun because - as everyone should probably know by now - I am somewhat of a grammar nerd.
We went over sentence-by-sentence edits today amidst other topics, and I want to go learn the grammar rules and etc. now! I have some books on it, but I have not had the time to crack them open yet. Now, at least, I have an excuse to! Hoorah!

Anyway, besides that, the word I got today was thither. These assignments are a lot more interpretive than others and involve a little more editing - which makes me feel more "artsy" as a photographer, haha. I really enjoy it so far because it is a challenge that I'm embarking on [every day!]
When I first started thinking about the word, I was heading out to get my hair cut. As we passed the miniature forests, Da made a comment about the underbrush and how you can see it in winter. So I thought that I would journey out and get that for thither because when I think of it, I think of fairies and forests and mystical things. [I saw a BRB sign by the way, haha! It was amazing - the construction workers put it up in the middle of Redmond. If only I had my camera!] But then, when I got home, I realized that thither might be something completely different. I knew that I wanted to use the dead roses from Valentine's Day in something, so I grabbed them and went through the elaborate process of making a makeshift tripod in my stairwell to take this photograph. Ah, books and a step stool and cropping skills... quite nice when combined in the right fashion!

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Friday, February 27, 2009


I used Word Nerd today and got this word. I was almost going to find another one - it was so difficult for me to think about where to find this word (I am not a dog owner, nor did I have a thought towards embodying this verb). For a while, I thought I should just do another downward dog pose from yoga and call it a day.
And then, I started cutting.
All the little college packets that I collected in order to save paper/have fun craft items to work with have now been cut up or recycled, making it much easier for me to start my new mission of collages and decoupage! Hoorah! However, I still have about 20+ magazines in a box that desperately need to be shown the same treatment. Hmm... long weekend, perhaps?
Anyway, I got some really great pictures and captions, so I just grabbed a large slab of black paper and started strewing them around and... WHABASH! There was the hound I was looking for.
An attractive black and white dog photograph - now attached to all the eye-catching college mail that many many many colleges have sent me [even after I had gotten accepted Early Decision and sent in everything, geez]
Anyway, aside from that, today was a Thursday schedule, so we danced around trying to figure out our assignments and thanked our lucky stars that there were no tests and/or crises today. We still got to watch the Spirit Week video and Madame Sanchez was our sub in French [a Filipino woman who had coached my Highland tennis team - how time flies...]
As well, last night I wrote the monolithic sum of 1256 words in order to do the re-writing assignment for my editing class tomorrow. It was crazy! I don't know how I churned out that type of word count every day during NaNoWriMo (but then, of course, the point of NaNo is really to churn out as much crap as possible; for re-writing, you actually have to think)
That accomplished, I realize I have been spending gregarious amounts of time on myself. Quite refreshing, actually, but I am not sure how long it will last... hopefully throughout my lifetime, but who knows?

Which leads me to the question: what have you done for yourself today?

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Oh My Goodness! SYNTHESIS!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Photojojo has given me the excellent [and probably totally obvious] creative idea that connects words with pictures! Ahaha!
I previously was going to do a story based on a picture [which sounds cool, but is actually pretty high maintenance for someone like me who has a lot of story ideas bubbling around even without external stimuli] but the newsletter for this week presented the opposite effect: The Picture Dictionary.
You choose a word (an abstract one, generally) and then take a photograph which represents it. And, as it happens, I have a copy of Word Nerd [and a ton of writing prompt books that also involve word-y things] that would be perfect for this assignment! Brilliant!

Perhaps you are wondering why I am writing at 9am on a Thursday [or maybe when I read over this, it will make perfect sense, who knows?]. Well, we had an unexpected snow day come down on us last night, so school was canceled - which is both good and bad. Good because I need the rest and recuperation; bad because we have one less rehearsal. Oh well, it comes.

Today, aside from the excitement of a free day, I wanted to give out my impressions of viewing the Darius Goes West movie for the second time with the cast actually there. First of all, it's still an awesome documentary! I was really impressed by how many people it attracts time and time again. The Sammamish theater was packed top to bottom, and they said that it was the same at the 1pm showing as well. Though I had already seen the film, it reminded me about all the different issues facing this world and how we can actually help out; no matter who you are, there is a way to help. For Darius, it is getting to the 1 Million DVD goal, which would help people learn about Duchenne muscular dystrophy and aid in finding the cure (which is much closer to happening than people think - I know that whenever I think about curing a disease, I believe it's way off in the future, but no!).
Anyway, the best part of the night was not [at least for me] just the film itself. It was the fact that the filmmakers were there to talk to and question and say "goslabi" with. As a stupid side note, I love Southern accents (oh, Georgia boys...) and these guys were always cracking jokes ("cause you know, he's always hanging out at the gas station" - haha) and making the entire audience laugh. It makes sense because the point of the movie was actually not to be a downer, as many documentaries seem to be, but to raise awareness for a bevy of different issues [accessibility for disabled people, Duchenne, the freedom/lack thereof for someone in a wheelchair...].
All throughout, I kept thinking that this would only happen in America. Since we were talking about it in bio, oddly, I also thought about cystic fibrosis and other diseases that need a lot of care and attention. And, well, it made me really grateful. Grateful because Life is a precious gift, and sometimes I can't even believe that so many people exist on this world without having to go through some hardship like that. But, in the end, it's only a hardship if you treat it like one (similar to awkwardness) - if you try your hardest to be as great as you are, there should be nothing in your way. And that's their mission, and a mission I can totally agree with.
Aside from all the serious stuff, there was a "goslabi" eating contest to raise money [through pain!] and they made a lot of cash just from doing that. Aidan was running around all over the place, and Mindy Leffler gave a great talk about the current research (which really made me hopeful that this might be cured or the quality of life improved very very shortly). Overall, it was just a great night and I hope that their message will continue to reverberate until this disease is cured, these places accessible, and these dreams realized.

Unfortunately, I had no camera/got completely nervous after the movie let out so I did not nab a picture with any of the guys. Darn it! So, instead, my picture today is of the word:

Childhood - (noun)
1. The state or period of being a child.
2. The early stage in the existence of something.

This was not drawn from
Word Nerd, but I just thought it fitting [perhaps because Duchenne affects children or perhaps because my dad made pancakes before leaving this morning; either way, it's quite representative today]

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It's Always Darkest...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I believe that this week is Speak's "darkest." Cancellations, illnesses, and the juggling of stricter performances with prop finding and tech meetings are all attempting to pound me into the ground. Yet I put my faith in that dawn that will inevitably come; how to drag it into being is the real task.
So today was generally productive school-wise. We watched Waiting for Godot [hoorah!] and took notes in biology, finished up projects and watched The Daily Show. We squirreled away our smiles for the end of this short Wednesday - though I was hard-pressed to bring one about as we filed into the gym for our senior picture.
It was such a horrible experience to be stuffed into the center of the bleachers with a bunch of rude jerks [who kept stepping on people and standing up and making general asses of themselves, ugh]. They had prescribed that we all wear bright clothing, but there were so few people who did [I garnered a small victory by having a yellow highlighter-colored sweater]. The photographer took many many many photographs, which I could probably expect, but he kept telling more and more people to put down their hands or that we were too blurry or something else that was wrong. It was all student-induced, which is why it bothers me. People need to either behave or be out. Oh well, though. Ms. Bennett says that it was actually better than average - haha.
I finally felt in control again this morning; I am trying to remember that fleeting time when I did not feel as if there should be more and more assignments for me to do. I think the difference between being a junior and being a senior is that you know what needs to be done, and when, as a junior. So you do it. As a senior, you know there are assignments due, things to be done, and other items - but rather than finding this out way in advance, you are forced to do it the morning before its due date. I'm not sure if this is a function of senioritis, laziness, or poor planning though I assume it could be all three.
Anyway, hopefully this afternoon will prove nicer than previous. I am trying to shake the sleepy doldrums from my shoulders and put together all my work before running off to the gym for some exercise and then going to see Darius Goes West again - this time with the cast in tow. Then, perhaps then, I can start to edit for the next editing class [I feel horrible for not even looking at it!] and working on long-term projects for IB. Who knows? Maybe I'll just sleep.

Also, the picture above is the year of my graduating class. '09! '09! '09!

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I Know, I Know...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

(...the picture above is one that I took in my mini-photo shoot yesterday - I just came home and I definitely don't have time to create a new one. So sue me, if thou canst!)

Here are today's highlights:
New dawn, new day, but what is to come of it? A soft rain falls from the grey-tinted sky.
We are shepherded through hallways and stairwells, governed by bells... they close our fate with the sound of a closing airplane door. Ding, ding, ding, ding...
My age wears on me today - well, I'm not sure. The negativity and criticism falls from my lips and my fingertips; words are thrown by others in a cloud of furious smoke. I wish I could take it, but four months seems like an extended torture sentence.
Am I being an angst-ridden teenager? Perhaps, yes, and definitely. I feel the crush of
Speak setting down upon my waist and hips, tightening my shoulders and holding on with all possible defiance. The love from my lower back may heal us all. If only, if only...
Laughter is the only solution. Rehearsal provides the much-needed reprieve; a high school just as crazy but not so serious. Ah, if only, if only...
We glide through the water, freeze in the murk, then push ourselves forward as if we were doves on land. Aerobics without the air. Now, returning, we are land-locked and heavy. Soft thoughts and soft hands... adieu.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Time for the therapeutic part of my day.
I wrote 750+ words this morning in order to keep up with my Goal of the Month(s) [because I realized that I didn't write anything for it yesterday and that I probably shouldn't count the 500+ words I wrote from the previous day as part of the day after that... Convoluted? Yes.] Though most of it is crap, it spawned an idea! The creation of... J's Writing Master List!
I am going to start a list of my story projects and their levels of completion (something tells me I've made this plan before... but never got around to it; ah, well). From that list, I can see what feels like it needs to be written - and then will know what needs to be edited or sent to the crypt.
I believe in that the quote about writing [the author of which I cannot remember for the life of me] which states that your apprenticeship as a writer is 10 years long. But I used to think that it meant taking 10 years to produce better and better work or to hone your skills into that magic fantasy place of Great Writer-dom (though being prolific doesn't always mean being prophetic).
Alas, I have slowly come to realize that is not the case. It is true, in part, that creating/editing more and more work makes you a better writer, but that is not all. I believe now that those 10 years are employed in finding your personal writing style - toying around with the ability to sit down and work on a piece or free writing or waking up at an ungodly hour to get your day's fill. That style will carry you on throughout the rest of your writing life, and those habits will help produce that Great Work that all writers aspire to create. At least, that's what I hope.
Though I have rounded out my 10 years [started at age 4 or 5, now am age 17 - 12 years, holy crap!], I am only now realizing the truth in my style. I have changed habits in my personal life so many times over the course of high school that I believe, now that that's all sorted out, the groove for my writing life has suddenly appeared as well. And I'm glad of it.
I realize that I need structure - I need lists and notebooks and frames and categories. But within that structure, I need liberation. The ability to draw maps on the middle of the page, and no lines to bar which direction I can craft prose in. I need space and time - a limit, a goal, a word count that will allow me to both produce and react to my production. And I need experiences. I always love to take writing classes and read writing books (if they're free form, that is) to get the notes on others' journeys through writing; I also love to just do something out in the world and then write about it later. This is my niche.

So, I guess that was again my emotionally prevalent ranting. Not much action in the writing life saga. To accompany this, here are the day's highlights:
Boredom dulls even the expansive wit.
As the school bell rings, I imagine the classrooms forming around me - all are an amalgamation of the exact same thing. Sure, there are different carpets, male and female teachers, chairs with backs and no chairs at all, but all things rest on the indiscriminate apathy of tests and busywork and cop cars cruising for truant kids. Only biology class provides some reprieve: fly genetics are the sujet du jour.
I leave my car keys and water bottle in the girls' locker room, bashfully ask an administrator to open it for me, and gather up my stuff. Thank goodness for the new lock which Da ran out for last night - the last one was two tugs too far into the land of frustration. The faint sweat smell reminds me of volleyball, which was disastrously funny despite (or maybe because) the orgasmic noises of the other teams as they scored. Yes! YESSS!!!
Madame is gone and I idly overhear the others as we toil to finish her mountainous grammar exercises; they discuss unfair teachers and oral presentations... and make me realize just how brief four months really is. Rather than wishing for a slow transition, my senioritis rips out like a dog without a leash and barks at me, "Let me OUT! OUT OUT! OUTTT!!!" Ah, to be an Interlake Saint in a too small doghouse...

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Back in a Flash

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I've been kind of feeling like I'm missing the forest for the trees when posting this blog lately... more focus on emotion and less on action makes a dull read. So, now that I have time, I am going to return to writing about the week in detail [hmm... maybe I should have a recap day, comme Things I Love Thursday on Galadarling - sounds like a good idea!]
So let's go way way way back....

Monday -
Day off that let me recover (emotionally and physically) from the harrowing past week. Took some deep breaths with a kind substitute instructor at Yoga Centers; realized that the world is not all about me. Decided to wallow in the beauteous white light rather than letting the darkness get to me.

Tuesday -
Complete and utter dejection at returning to school. Though I was sick throughout the week and barely did anything at all, I felt like I had escaped. And then Tuesday happened. There was very little makeup work (thankfully), but by the time I hit drama class, I had tuned out of the world of school once again. Issues with rehearsal plunged me further into a hole that is only four months deep - I will be clawing desperately for the open air until then.

Wednesday -
During school: made up all my work and got a head start on the weekend's.
After school: a mad dash to Sammamish, which proved unnecessary because all I had to do was drop off an order form and meet the guys. Production meeting at TacoTime [worked out surprisingly well - although it was just planning for what we actually have to do].
Went back to Step class; the teacher's mic had gone out however, so it was pretty difficult to hear. I was amazed (again) at how difficult it is! I stayed for an hour and was dying afterward. But it felt really great to be doing exercise intensely again [tennis starts in a week, actually]

Thursday -
Realized that tennis starts in a week; decided to gather up as many people as possible and go play tennis on Friday.
Volleyball for an hour and a half was amazingly fun (I suck at volleyball, so it was quite nice to be playing around and not have people angry at you for messing up).
Rehearsal was mainly hotseats [where you put someone, in character, at the front in a "hotseat" and ask them any questions you like - it's almost like a mini-psychoanalysis of the character, really interesting] However, some cast members were concerned that they were under-rehearsed, so I stayed for another hour and a half to give them some extra time. Thank goodness that I didn't have so much homework that night!

Friday -
Substitutes, substitutes, substitutes. Five out of seven classes were with teachers that were not regulars; it was insane. Finished up a lot of work early on in the day, but then I had my English oral. I think I completely bombed because I got Hamlet - ack, oh well.
Playing tennis after school with the whole gang really cheered me up though; we played for three hours (until the sun went down, basically) and then I drove home and immediately left to hang out with Kita and Mr. Waymon. Fun times, fun times... until some jerks egged my car as I was dropping off Kita. That day really was up and down.

Saturday -
Righting the Craft was an amazing class. It connected English class to creative writing for me in a way that I had never had the vision to think about. Vincent Kovar, the teacher, based his lessons off of the idea that theme was central to whether the piece was well-written; he argued that theme rather than realism was what made you pick up a book and want to keep reading.
From this, I have decided that I will finish and edit my pieces (I feel actually excited to edit rather than in dread - just a little timid that I will do it 'wrong' or some nonsense).
After the class, I returned home and again went out with Kita... and Quinn, and Waymon, and Milan. We went around to Redmond Town Center and TacoBell and other familiar haunts.
Riding home, however, I hit a piece of roadkill and it really shook me up. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I don't know why, but the one thing I keep thinking about is that it was hard. Death sets in and the soft fragile animal turns into a hard mass of... body. I wish I didn't have to think about it.

Today (Sunday) -
I was completely and totally productive today. I had (and have) a lot of busywork that needed to be done and I finished half of it - before launching into my Ultimate House Purge. But that was enough for me!
I realized quite quickly today that people hate to change. I started cleaning out the kitchen and almost immediately got yelled at - for cleaning! And I'm a teenager; I should be anti-work in all forms... Oh well...
But our house is much nicer now; more organized, at least, if not completely finished. Next weekend, Phase Two will commence and we will have our big haul to Goodwill and the dump.

Now that I have finished the Week in Review, I have decided... it makes too long of posts. So, instead, I must just remind myself to write about the action and not just the emotion of the day - no matter how tempting it might be to vent. Well, at least I'll have the memories of this week forever.
[Oh, and my photograph today is a candid cat picture from earlier - this is the cat that hates cameras, mwahahaha]

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Semi-Automatic Learning

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Today I attended Righting the Craft - a class on revisions - and guess what? I actually want to revise! Throughout the class, we gathered many writing exercises that help you unlock your own work (it's very similar, actually, to analyzing published works in English class - I just never thought of applying the same principles to drafts of mine).
Aside from that, I realized that I probably should finish some of my work before it can be edited. Therefore, my new Goals of the Month are going to be: finish a story at the end of each month and edit at least 250 words per day. This is alongside the 250 word generative writing exercises; sounds like a good plan to just become an overall better writer and reader, I think.

When I'm feeling more awake, I think I will document some of the class, but for right now I am just going to show off this picture of my desk in all its glory. Enjoy!

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Ups & Downs...

Friday, February 20, 2009

I feel. I really do.
I'm not sure why, but today has been one of changing emotions. I felt so good just to be at the end of the week and having accomplished something with my cast and having worked out most days of the week... then it came crashing down when my oral spiraled away from me and I realized there were more issues with Speak and I overate without realizing it at Dairy Queen. Oh, and my car got egged. Great, isn't it? Gah...
So, I returned home and opened my email to balance my own self and I received another TUT from the Universe. Those messages are really helpful to me - they just keep encouraging me to realize. Just to realize. To acknowledge. To hope, to dream, to understand. And, best of all, when there is something wrong, I really try to clear my head and work on it after reading one of those.
I am grateful that there are little things that make up for it. Like playing tennis for hours. And laughing with friends who really understand you. And just... feeling complete. Even when you're not because no one can ever be "complete" as it were. The world spirals into an art form, and that's where we deliver up our souls.

The picture for today is a plain one. Something that was taken yesterday amidst arm flailing and other oddities; it is my closet of wonders. What might you find?

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"Our Love Don't Have to Change... No It Don't... Have to Change..."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I wish I could photograph sound, because I have been listening to John Legend's first CD [Get Lifted] over and over again in my car, at my house and in my head... My goodness, so much soul music! It preserves me emotionally.
There is really little to say otherwise. Here is the latest on my Goal of the Month Plus+ plan.

“Jeza! How are you doing? What’s going on? I feel like I haven’t talked to you in ages…” Leo’s voice rang with excitement and Jezabelle could almost feel the phone vibrating in her fingers.

“Leo, when can I fly down and see you?” she responded, covering her head with a corduroy pillow.
“What’s up, babe? Man in your life? Or are you just homesick?”
Whenever she spoke to him on the phone, Leo’s voice was perched somewhere between ADHD and springing puppy; even when he was concerned, she could hear the excitement leap from his throat. She wondered if that was the reason he had married so early – Sylvia could keep him at bay whenever his emotions got the better of him.
She breathed out a tired sigh. “There’s no one…”
“So is that the reason? No one is the codeword for ‘I’m lonely and need to hide on my friend Leo’s couch for three days’?”
“Can we make it three weeks?”
“Sorry, babe, we just can’t keep a downer in the house for that long. You’ll mess up the sheets if you cry for three weeks!”
Jezabelle snickered, wondering why she had ever moved away.
“Well, if I can’t invite you in, what else can I do for you? Set you up an e-profile? Find you a blind date? Mix up an airborne love potion that will make all men fall at your feet?”
“The last one would be nice.”
“Cheer up – you sound like a wet cat.” Now he was really getting concerned.
“No, Leo, I’m fine… I just need to see people that I actually like, you know? There’s no one around here for me and I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels…”
“Well, why not take a vacation? Go to the beach, meet someone, have a torrid romance… and then decide whether you want to come back home or not. Couldn’t hurt, could it?”
Leo’s ideas were always so childlike and simple – she wondered why she couldn’t think of them. She mouthed words of protest, but he wouldn’t take any of them.
“Take a few days, seriously. Get out of the house and don’t tell anyone where you’re going.”

The picture for today is of my billowy sleeve (can you tell I love these thrift store finds?), the red beret I wore today and my lucky bracelet. It is a testament to getting my tripod back - oh Gloria, how I missed you.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That's it. I've been converted.
Heathy (a long long time ago) sent me a sampler of three types of loose leaf tea, and so I asked my dad for the best Valentine's Day gift ever: a tea ball.
So I have now opened both the Darjeeling and Earl Grey teas, smelled their deep aroma and gazed at their dark brown leaves... and was thus converted. I am now going to switch over to loose leaf tea completely once my bag tea runs out. Ah, Heathy and her strange intuition of teas...

In other news, everyone is dying from sickness and we lonesome souls brave the school days with our fallen comrades in mind - apparently, my Super Cold took out nearly half of my friends (including Joshka, who hasn't gotten sick in 5 years...) Oh well; get better soon is all I can say.

And, I have decided not to up the ante for my word count until this weekend. After my revisions class, I will determine what I want to work on the most: revising my novel or writing 500 new words every day? That is the task for this Saturday.
Then, and only then, will I know my true destiny...

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Take Me Away From Here..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can you believe it? It's been a month since I've started writing 250 words a day. My Goal of the Month document now has 7500+ words in it [actually, since I write way too much sometimes, it has 12,200 words in it thus far]. I am on top of the world! And, I believe, I am going to start writing even more... to 500 words a day!
But that I will decide that this evening.
Once again, I am waking at 5am and hopefully will go to bed on time tonight at 9pm. This schedule has changed a lot of things in my life - I no longer watch TV nor do I have the same needs as everyone else when it comes to waking in the morning. Granted, I still forget some things, but I feel a lot more capable than I used to. And so, last night, I realized that I need to do another purge.
I am going to intensely clean the house (including places that aren't mine to tend) and find everything a place - including Goodwill or the landfill. I believe I can either sell or store the tiny television that I never use, separate myself from some childhood toys (or, better yet, turn them into craft objects) and tidy up all the places that have gone to hell in the last few weeks. Time for a change, right?
I also think that I want to buy some new clothing. Not sure exactly why, but maybe because I have been losing weight I want to treat myself. I don't want to call this a goal, but I think I will take it on regardless: when I lose 7 pounds [one pound more than I have already lost], I can buy 3 items of clothing (from the favorite thrift stores or Northgate).
Happy month-long journey!

Also, I don't know why this is my photograph for today. The angle is almost a mirror of yesterday's - one looking up and the other looking down. I think I was just sick of looking at cast photos.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

I feel like such a whiner. Though I am still fairly down, I have buoyed myself up on a raft of progress and am no longer spiraling into terror. Hooray?

So I must now list some "magical cures" for sudden depressive flashes:
- Take a walk
- Narrate your life [preferably as you walk, with a friend on the phone or next to you in an equally depressive situation (I heart you, Charlotte)]
- Write out all your feelings... in different forms... again... and again... and again...
- Do something spontaneous [like driving somewhere completely foreign and getting lost]
- Failing that, do something crazy in your own home [like dancing and mouthing the words to old Britney Spears or other trashy pop songs]
- Call your friends
- Read Christopher Moore [Fool is a really great book - not yet above A Dirty Job for me, but awesome nonetheless]
- Do crafts
- Make a list of things that you're happy with in your life
- Work out [and leave all your frustrations in the gym]
- Sleep really early
- Sign up for something, make a new plan, work on something completely different [hooray random class sign up at Hugo House!]
- Put off all your responsibilities for later
- Remember that God and the universe provide and care for you; your incompleteness is not a fault, but an opportunity

Hopefully these ideas will keep my little raft afloat for a while. I really need to get out of here.

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My Self

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I wish there was a reason to cry. Because then it would make sense and I would be able to - without guilt, without fear of my own emotions. I would be able to express without thought, without judgment. But instead there is no reason. There is the sound of my breath as it moves in and out of me. There are the soft melodies and notes that make up the universe. There is the feeling of remembrance that I want both to shirk and to embrace. There are the sirens.
And the heavy weight behind my eyelids, telling me that I am about to let go, about to release... that tyrannical feeling that indicates a misplaced mood. I don't know how to explain it. I can only make metaphors to its existence. The hazy sun behind a white sky. The skinning of the raw pelt. Saying goodbye to your father for the last time.
I have no reason to cry and yet it lurks there, a pressure in my skull, the untapped desire.

I am scared that the apathy is coming back. I am scared of the depression I used to feel... the way it would make me seize up, a paralysis of thought and action. I am terrified beyond words that it might be coming back to hit me again. I didn't want the experience, but now that I know what it feels like, I want to run from it.
When I last had this feeling, my solution was life-changing. I embraced God in a way that I had previously never thought about. I gave up on the purpose of things. I just don't think I can do that again...
Please, someone, fix me.

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Everybody Knows - John Legend

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I am in love with the beauty of the universe...
Happy Valentine's Day.

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A Midsummer Night's... Whugh!?

Friday, February 13, 2009

That was amazing!
I always forget the rush I get when performing... Anything, even if it sucks, is just so much fun.
Tonight was the first presentation of A Midsummer Night's Dream and I played Hermia. We messed up a lot of Act III and a lot of our lines were flubbed; I started coughing during the final bit and was about to cry... but my costume was amazing! And people were actually enjoying it! Most everyone I talked to thought it was really funny and well done - granted, a lot of them knew that I'd been sick for the past week so they let me off the hook (I guess that audience forgiveness schtick was true, never realized...)
I am having such a bipolar feeling about the performance... I know that I was intensely angry and spiteful when I first came to rehearsal, but once we got down to the final minutes beforehand I felt so incredibly happy and we looked amazing [the props were great too! I don't know where they came up with half the stuff though...] Then throughout the play I was sweating bullets about where we were and what lines we had missed. But finally, at the end, so many people were there to celebrate us that it just felt amazing and great and wonderful and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow! Ah!
Well, I must now rest my voice again because that cough set me back light years on the road to recovery. We go in at 12 tomorrow and are definitely going to go over Act III. Hopefully tomorrow's shows are going to be a million times better - I just need to have water and tea nearby at all times!

Also, the photograph is of Hugo and I in costume [courtesy of Elaina], practicing Act V. At that time we had too few chairs and no replacements, so I sat on his lap. Not awkward for me, but I think he was floundering under my weight... Curse you, weak men who can't support average-sized women!

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If you're interested in more theater-related posts, check out the photographic journey of my production of Speak and it's write-up.

Reflections on a Busy Life

I was listening to Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father again today, and I started to realize how all of his values have been shaped.
The messages of his campaign are quite similar to the life lessons he wrote about throughout that memoir; his beliefs as contrasted with those of Malcolm X and the ideas imparted to him by father, grandfather, mother, half-sister and workmates. And that makes me think... what will we see in retrospect?
I really want to write my dad's memoir. I don't know how, but that is what I want to do. Even if it's crappy, terrible writing and the book is short and there is nothing of real interest in it, I believe that his life needs to be put down - if not by himself, then by me.
I want to do that, in fact, with my own life as well. And my life as related to Heathy's. And whatever happens to me in the future. I am a habitual note taker, list maker and plan shaker [ah, rhyme] and I actually do want to know all the gorey details once I've passed the threshold of "youth" and moved into "adulthood."
But for right now I don't know what that means.
I am being shaped, am not yet shapen. I am as a form in wax [though Hermia may deny] with leave to be figured and disfigured as suits the whims of others. I will be disappointed, I will feel loneliness - and they will shape me. Obviously, the reverse is also true.
So for right now I will live my life, make some note on the fact that A Midsummer Night's Dream is opening tonight and I'm still throat sick but muscling through. I will recount my experiences in a character's body [Hermia] and will write down all the trials and tribulations which feel so necessary at the moment. I will find myself in the cracks between pages so that, when you put it all together, I will become whole. Like a mosaic or a house of cards, because youth is both fragile and beautiful and I want to grasp every minute of it.

No matter what, I am going to take the time out of my busy hours on Earth to record this story.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am beautiful. And sexy. And confidant and independent and loving. And a great friend and a potential girlfriend, wife and mother. I love myself. And I need to hear it.
This week has been an absolute self-esteem crusher. We aren't even at the pinnacle point, and yet I am feeling battered and cast to the side. So I'm taking this post not to be vain, but to be real. To give myself a little attention. Because yesterday I had no time and the night before I was too tired and the day before I was sick and in pain.
Why am I so beautiful?
Take a breath. Look at all these moving parts of mine. Look at the joints that hinge forearm to upper arm, thigh to shin, head to neck... think of the skill necessary to give me this soft brown skin, these dark brown eyes, this raucous curly black hair. What art created these ten fingers and ten toes? Exhale. Let it be known that we are all amazingly beautiful for the bodies God has given us. We are so beautiful. I am so beautiful.
And I am in love with every single part of this beautiful body - the cracks of my skin, the pimples, the relative frailty, the wilds of my hair... I love it all.
I realize, and I hope everyone realizes someday, that we need these words every single day. It will save us a lot of pain and doubt in the future.

Love yourself, love yourself, love yourself.
Because sometimes it is really the only thing you've got.

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Just Checking In

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hi! I am really tired today so... bye!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Today, I got sick.
Really sick - I still can't talk without sounding like a golem or some other fantastical creature that eludes my recollection at the moment. I'm doing better now, but I really hope that this throat thing goes away by this Friday [a.k.a. when we're opening the play].
Although, a good consolation prize was the fact that I got to stay home and do absolutely nothing for today. I listened to Barack Obama reading Dreams from My Father [an audiobook version which I downloaded two days ago] and watched The Daily Show online. I got to sit around and sleep and marvel at the fact that snow delayed school for one hour - and that it was truly unexpected.
And this time off made me re-realize one other thing. I... am a hopeless romantic.
I have half a piece of red velvet cake left and I haven't eaten it, so instead I decided to photograph it. And those are the photographs that you see today - that piece of uneaten cake that makes me think of everything lovey dovey about Valentine's Day coming up and the strong red tint of it in the bright daylight against the white of the frosting which is creamy and delicious and... only a completely hopeless person would find such entertainment from half a slice of cake.
On another note, I lost another 1.8 pounds, which means that I'm at 138 and well on my way to 130. I am hoping that these changes will keep me going until I get to my ultimate goal (120 lbs) but for right now I'm going to be a little lax because of my illness. There will be time to exercise and keep on plan, but for right now I think I might just bite into all the sweets I can without reservation - comfort food.
Seriously, though, I bet that slice won't even taste as good now.

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Just Visiting

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jezabelle threw her needles across the chair and hurled herself down after them. The faint scent of his cigarette breath was still on the pillows. She tossed them away and sighed.
She was lonely.
There was no other way to say it, no sugarcoated term to make everything better - all the girls had figured it out by now and she just looked like an idiot whenever she denied it. "Have a date for Valentine's, Jez? Going to find that special someone this year?" No no, she would say, dropping a stitch and picking it up almost without thinking, there was no one in her life.
She snatched up the lime green pillow and looked at its fibers. Woven, something like tweed or another one of those fabrics that she rarely clutched between her fingers. They had kept the smell of him quite well, though she didn't know why. Maybe he'd laid claim to them when he started sleeping in the living room rather than their double bed. The perfect life she would no longer have.
Jezabelle's fiance had come and gone, leaving only a few blackened stains in her carpet. It wasn't like she'd had a chance to really recuperate. She had resolved to try dating again a few weeks after they broke it off... and then a few more weeks after... and then a month...
She bundled her knees up under her chin and sat with her eyes fixed on the knitting closet. Was this the consolation prize? The Charmant Knitter's Guild where she found nothing but happy mothers and young sweethearts? Where no one was without a man for more than two weekends? She glanced over at the knitting needles and the line of red yarn trailing from them like a stain.

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More writing and stories are also available for your reading pleasure.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crazy days and doing plays - I probably got more physical with the boys than I ever have today. Ever. And that was not necessarily a pleasant experience; I think I have sustained a few injuries to my lower jaw and the side of my foot... but hey, I guess that marks me as an actor.
Anyway, today's picture is of Nicole being picked up by Kayla and traipsing around the kitchen because it was just so much fun! There are a bunch of other pictures on Facebook, but I liked this one the best.

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Old Photos...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yeah, I know, I'm a lame-o, but this photo fits my thoughts tonight. A flash of color, a spark of light - and behold! A bunch of Sharpie colors intricately arranged on a rubber band. Courtesy of Sophia's house. Hooray!

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

This is my -ish idea about Midsummer. I don't know why I would write a poem... but hey!
Also, Darryl the test-taking penguin, made a debut today - and hence his face is immortalized now forever. Forever.

Either side? It will displease.
These wheezing wedding words were thrown,
Upon the ground where no man's trail,
Would seize upon this sore unknown,
Of lover's flight through hill or dale.
Now, when all is quite begun, those wedding words would oft appease.

Soft by day and cured by sense,
Neither I and neither you, in this sordid avenue,
Could predict their fancied flight,
As caution marked the morning dew.
Those lovers fled by blackened night,
But found no savior waiting hence.

And upon their fated stroll,
The lovers, wearied till the dawn,
Slept near the end of shallow day;
Their sleep did not decide to fawn,
And cast the poor man others' way.
Only our hearts' softness takes the toll.

Now followers, quite black and blue,
Were struck to trouble in the shift,
From one to other craggy cliff,
And, in their callous mocking, sift,
Between thoughts and desires quite too... stiff.
And all with only such a problem as to woo.

And finally, that fair prayer resides,
Amidst the heart and heat of escape,
The sweetness it does not parade,
As jealousy does shed its cape;
Only joy comes when love is bade,
And they were each as much in love - and more besides.

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More poetry is also available for your perusal.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Those cats. Sometimes they just do things so perfectly that all you can do is take a picture.
Today was the first day of finals, but it was pretty relaxing - however, I realized that IHOP is really harsh about letting you order off the kids menu when you're older than 12 [stupid people who pack their food with calories and then won't allow you to have a 'smart option']
Something strange that I learned about just today: young transsexuals. More specifically, the youngest operation for a transgendered person happened in Germany; a boy became a girl at the age of 16 after having taken hormone therapy since she was 12.
The psychologists believe that she was completely ready and serious, and I think that whatever her choice should be hers but... it just makes me wonder. What do we mean by 'sure'? Because walking into the girl's locker room and feeling better in tight jeans doesn't necessarily mean that you are really a girl on the inside. There are a lot of factors that play into it that I just can't comprehend.
Since I am not transgendered, I have no room to speak really, but where does the line draw between 'tomboy' and 'transgendered'? Because we have such an opinion of womanhood based on society that I don't know sometimes if psychoanalysis can tell you what that distinction is. I really wish the article had gone more into depth about the brain reactions than just the surface level interview - I want to know! Do they feel like they have the female parts even without them? Is there something chemical in them that is different than a regular man or woman? What do they think of themselves? So many questions!
Anyway, I hope that the girl feels more comfortable in her true skin now, rather than having to deal with that for a longer period of time.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In all the days of my stringent Goal of the Month to write 250 words per day, yesterday was my failing. I simply completely totally forgot about it all. So, instead of panicking and jettisoning the entire thing, I am resolved to write 500 words today. Aha!
As it stands, I think I am going to wait until 2nd semester to start any new workout program. I am having a lot of trouble with doing it in the morning because I have never been one of those 'happy risers' and I usually have a ton of other stuff to do during this time anyway. The other thing I need to make sure of is that I'm going to bed at 9pm and waking up at 5am. I have been going to bed 10 minutes late and waking up ten minutes late for the last few days and I just don't like it.
In general, plan revision is a lot easier for me these days. I used to just cancel everything I was doing or let it fade away if I was finding it difficult - now I actually feel pretty guilty or angry if I don't do things. But that's another story.
I've started reading another book [I used to read like 3 books at a time and I think that I can get back into that] called Brain Rules. Since I am a nerd at heart, I am reading introductory psychology texts - not classroom level but just 'interested' level on basic brain functions. It's fascinating! I miss reading a lot... I read National Geographic yesterday and started the other two books the day before. Soon I will be able to read again - very soon.
Anyway, I guess my credo is still the same as when the Dalai Lama said at his Seeds of Compassion festival in Seattle - "whatever you choose to do, be serious."

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Monday, February 2, 2009

I wrote this yesterday after watching Why We Fight [a documentary on the military industrial complex]

In the darkness, he wanes. A lone and standing figure, gun in hand, helmet strapped securely under his chin.

There’s something great about the way he stands – the blood-streaked reality that is his livelihood falls away under the thought that maybe he would be a good marriage candidate, maybe he would be able to protect me if anything happened. But then the questions come and you forget about it. Look on him with both your eyes questioning: there is then no turning back.

I was not a young girl when I realized that it was all a sham. That the crisp blue pants and fitted shirts were not the mark of a young boy running around under his father’s strict wishes, no. They were his. And he would walk formally through the reeds and try to find the other boys in their eternal game of hide and seek.

“Bang!” he would shout. Then he would dodge to the side with galloping strides. The four horsemen could not measure up. “Bang!”

I watch him now on the crest of the hill as the valley sinks low in the evening light. I send up a prayer for his safety, but the listening party sends him down into the darkness and I back into the warm glow of the lamp as it flickers.

“Don’t worry about me,” he had said. Almost an adult now, he could make his own decisions. He didn’t need anyone to tell him that he was making the right decision – he knew that with all his heart. I just couldn’t understand.

I would make lines in the flour as it dropped from the open bag, spelling his name in spilled ghostly letters. My fingers would come away chalky, but usually they were cleaned by the time I had finished crying. Cookies baked in sorrow are nothing but disgusting lumps.
I wrenched myself awake after he parted over the lip of that hill, onto a place where no one knew his name or his favorite comic book or the girl he had asked to prom. I was dripping with sweat, looking to see if I’d bothered the empty space where his father used to lay. I sighed.

Every morning was a new headache as the neighbors asked me whether he was coming back or where he was. I tried to make my life not all about him, but somehow every scarf I knitted and every phone call I made were in hopes that he would come back and tell me that he loved me and what was going on with Auntie or Mo?

I still saw him behind my eyelids. Even as the TV went black and the phone rang ominously, I could still see him there. Waving his fingers around like a child. Then he smiled brightly at me, drew his L-shaped hand up next to his face and shouted. “Bang!”

When I answered the phone there was a strange man on the other end of the line.

“Ms. Rojan?” I nodded, but then caught myself and answered “yes?”

“I am sorry to have to inform you, ma’am, but your son was killed in combat.”

My mind blanks out after that point.

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More writing and stories are also available for your reading pleasure.

5 Hours

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Five hours until I am supposed to go to bed and I have... a lot of stuff that I want to do before then. So, this probably will be brief. Probably.
I have lost 3.8 pounds! And I am pretty happy about it because that gets me back to my original weight of about 140. That means that, (knock on wood) if I continue in the way that I am going, I will get down to 130 [my goal weight] in no time! Hooray! I am glad to see that all my changes and choices are naught for naught (haha).
And hence this week ushers in the new exercise plan I was talking about yesterday and as well a new treatment of myself. Right now I am supremely freaking out about a lot of stuff so I think that giving myself exercise time will at least get the blood flowing instead. Who knows?
As of this moment, I have started reading again. I am now reading the book A Golden Age which is about the split between Bangladesh and Pakistan [it starts out very sad] and listening to a book When You Are Engulfed in Flames which is completely different [and started out with worms burrowing in someone's leg]. Eventually, I might review them... hmm.
And last but not least, I got my headphones back! And that's why the dramatic glossy product shot of my Sansa Fuze and Skullcandy headphones is my photograph for today [natural lighting is my weekend best friend]. I love them. *sigh*

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