Monday, May 21, 2012

What Makes Me Feel Like a Writer

1. I always carry my journal with me, so that I can jot down interesting things that I see or hear in my neighborhood, on the train, at school, at the gym, etc.

2. I'd rather write than go to a ball game or a party. On the other hand, I'd also rather get three cavities filled while being forced to watch a Mob Wives marathon than go to a ball game or a party.

3. Writing is a way for me to express all the feelings and thoughts that I don't have the courage to say out loud to other people.

4. I was willing to accept it when I realized that I would never be a singer; I realized it when I didn't get into a singing group that I tried out for in college (the members were not shy about letting me know that my voice was not as good as theirs). My voice cracks at the high notes and I start to sound like one of the Chipmunks. I stopped singing after that audition (for the most part). I was willing to accept it when I realized that I would never be an athlete, seeing as how I can't walk onto a field or a court without getting hit by the ball. That's why I stopped trying out for sports teams when I was younger. But I'll never accept a life without writing, because I'll keep writing even if I never get published.

5. Like I've mentioned before, I feel happiest in bookstores, because I get to be in a room full of other people's stories and ideas. And being in a bookstore makes me imagine what it would be like to see my own book on one of the shelves.

6. I'd rather spend money on books and writing paper than makeup, which may explain why I am thirty-one years old and I still don't know how to wear lipstick. That's why I don't wear makeup. The few times I've tried wearing it, it always ends up looking like a five-year-old who's just eaten three bowls of sugary cereal has put on the makeup for me.

7. There's no guarantee that my dreams will come true (even if I try to make them come true), or that I'll get my happy ending. But the good thing about writing fiction is that I can make my characters' dreams come true and give them happy endings, although I try to do it without making the stories sound like an episode of The Brady Bunch or Full House (the cheesy music they always played on the latter show when the characters "made up" always drove me nuts).

8. When I got my first rejection letter from a literary magazine that I submitted a story to, I actually felt pretty good. I felt proud of myself for finally putting my work out there, even if it didn't get published. I thought of all the other successful writers whose work I'd admired; I knew that they had all received their own share of rejection letters. I realized that it was better to try to make it as a writer than to just talk about becoming one. (Sounds obvious, I know, but how many people do you know who talk a lot about how they want to write a book but never write anything?)

What about you? What makes you feel like a writer?

Side note: Here's a funny video of teachers dancing behind unsuspecting students. This is just more proof of how much teachers rock!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Sometimes when I'm bored, I'll Google old friends, classmates, and acquaintances to see what they're up to these days. I suppose it'd be easier to find more information on them if I just joined Facebook, but that would never be a simple decision for me (because I have this irritating ability to make everything complicated).

For one thing, if any of my current/former students tried to friend me, I'm not sure if I would be willing to accept their requests. Either they might find something on my Facebook page that would get me in trouble, or they might see how boring my life really is and say, "Wow. Now that's just sad. All she needs now are a bunch of cats and some wool sweaters," or "She always seemed like a nerd, but this just confirms it."

I didn't go to my high school reunion, because a) I wasn't really excited about seeing the people who made fun of me on a regular basis, a few of whom thought it was hilarious when they made me cry; b) I don't really want any of them to see me until I make a bunch of money, drop another dress size, or marry someone really handsome (which I will totally rub in the faces of all the people who ridiculed me for not having a boyfriend in high school, so THERE!); c) I thought I might revert back to the person I was when I was a teenager, and I like the person that I am now better, even though I still like listening to pop music that makes everyone else cringe. (Except for Justin Bieber, because even I have to draw the line somewhere.)

So I rely on Google to find out what everyone else has been doing. Here are a few things that I found out:

I found out that one of my classmates from high school did an independent film where he goes around half-naked in several of the scenes (though it wasn't a porno).

Several of my classmates are still living in the same town that we all grew up in.

One guy was arrested, though I'm not sure if it's the same guy I was friends with. The article I read described someone with the exact same name and same age, and he lived in the same area that the guy supposedly moved to.

I went to summer camp when I was fourteen, and there was a boy there my age that I had a crush on. We wrote letters to each other after camp, because we lived in different towns. I found his obituary through Google. He died young, in his twenties. I still have the letters that he wrote to me, and now I'll always keep them.

Several of the girls that I went to high school with now have children of their own, some of whom are going to the same schools that we went to.

There was a guy that I had a crush on in college who saw me make a fool of myself at least eight different times (because I also have this irritating ability to say stupid things, fall down, and wear weird outfits that look okay when I try them on in the store but end up making me look like I just graduated from clown college when I go out in public). He's married now, to a woman who looks like she could be a model and probably never trips over herself.

I also Googled myself, just out of curiosity. I found an article that I wrote for the college newspaper when I was an undergrad. I found my name in the listings of faculty members for two of the schools where I worked as a part-time instructor. I also found online reviews of myself on those despicable Rate Your Professor websites, which were obviously created by students who know nothing about teaching (if they spent even just one week as teachers, they'd take those sites down because then they'd know just how difficult teaching is and wouldn't create sites that let students bash their teachers). I did find a couple bad reviews about me, but I found a couple good ones too. I only visited the site once, though. Why give them more traffic anyway? 

Googling myself and all those people made me realize how much has changed over the years, and how much my own life has changed. Despite all the information that Google can provide, I'm not sure if I would recognize most of those people if we passed each other on the street. I wonder if they would recognize me.

What about you? Have you ever Googled yourself or people that you used to know? What kinds of things would you not want people to know if they Googled you? What kinds of things would you want people to know if they Googled you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blogger's Block, Part 2

I didn't blog at all last week. There are several reasons why.

1. I found out that the Kardashians are going to be around for at least three more seasons. For the love of God, they're NEVER GOING TO GO AWAY!

2. I've been working a lot of extra hours at my website job; last week I worked twenty extra hours. That was in addition to my regularly assigned hours, as well as the time that I spent on teaching responsibilities. After I was done working, all I wanted to do was lie face-down on my bed and not get up except to eat chocolate.

3. Some guy really creeped me out on the train recently. It's not like that's the first time I've ever had a weird El encounter. There were the people who (on three separate occasions) told me that I was going to go to hell. There was the guy who ran his hands through my hair, and another guy who ran his hand down my arm. There was the guy who took off his pants because I made the mistake of glancing in his direction. Disgusting jerks like that make me wish that I could just walk everywhere, except I've had some scary encounters on the street too.

This guy asked me what time it was. After I told him, he leaned forward and said, "You know, I was telling my friend that you look like you would make a really good wife someday."

I thought, How does me telling you what time it is make you think that I want you to propose to me? Because I DON'T! I really need to stop wearing a watch. Out loud I dismissed him coldly by saying, "Look, I'm just trying to read my book." I could have said a lot more, but there were children present and I'd probably have gotten in trouble if I swore in front of them.

4. I've been watching way too many episodes of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. I can't help feeling appalled and fascinated at the same time by these people who see nothing wrong with keeping their kids out of school, letting them dress up (and dance) like strippers, and marrying them off at age 16 (though some of them start looking for husbands at age 14). One of the teenage grooms said that he liked the fact that his bride was a virgin who didn't even kiss him until their wedding day. He said, "I want something new. I don't want something used."

5. I've been spending a lot of time at the gym, because it's a good way to blow off steam. I get kind of distracted by all the cute, muscular guys at the gym, though, which has made me embarrass myself on more than one occasion. For example, once I was walking into the gym and I saw a cute guy working at the front desk. I was watching him instead of the door, and then I ended up getting my shoe caught in the door. As a result, I ended up with a hole in my shoe and a sore foot. That was almost as embarrassing as the time I fell off one of the exercise machines because I was checking out a guy who was lifting weights. I guess a women's gym would be less distracting, but then I probably wouldn't go to the gym as often. (Just kidding. Well, not really.)

6. I did actually get a lot of fiction writing done last week. I usually write out my first drafts longhand in journals. But then I write out the second draft on the computer so that I can do revisions more easily. The problem with working on the computer, though, is that it gives me access to the Internet. (I wonder if writers got a lot more writing done when they only had typewriters.) The Internet is the number one reason I procrastinate. I spend too much time watching Youtube videos, like the one about the lion that tried to eat a human baby, because the baby was wearing a hoodie with black and white stripes. (The lion must have thought the baby was a zebra.)

7. I've been having trouble sleeping lately. Even though I've been working overtime, I often find myself unable to relax when I try to sleep. On the other hand, it might have to do with the fact that a new couple moved in next door. They're very - er - enthusiastic. Sometimes their enthusiasm wakes me up at night. It's one thing to ask my neighbors to turn their music down, to ask them if their parties will end before one A.M. on a Tuesday, or to let them know that everyone can hear them fighting with their significant others on the phone (or perhaps they're yelling at the people on the 900-hotlines). But how do I ask this couple to be quiet?

All this and more is why I didn't get any blogging done last week. Even though I have spent several years juggling two (or three) jobs while attending graduate school full-time, I also spend a lot of time procrastinating. I think it's because sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the work I have to do. It's easier to just waste time watching reality TV shows that reinforce negative stereotypes about women (seriously, are there any shows out there that show women in a good light? Or would anyone even watch those shows?) or read weird news articles, like the one about the mother who is apparently addicted to tanning and was arrested because she let her five-year-old daughter go tanning too.

True, I did get a lot of stuff done last week. But I kept procrastinating about writing a new blog post, because it felt like it was one more thing that I had to do. When you stop doing something for too long, it becomes that much more difficult to get back into the routine. And then you end up accomplishing nothing. So I need to stop making excuses and stop procrastinating. (But I'm still going to go to the gym on a regular basis, because it's, um, good for my health and all that.)

What about you? When you procrastinate, what do you do? How do you stop procrastinating?