Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How strange it is to be anything at all

In psychology there is a thing called imprinting. This is basically the period of time after an animal/being is born, when they fill in the gap of certain info they require to survive. With Greylag goslings (which are a baby kind of geese) they imprint who their mother is during this time. Basically they'll imprint the status of "mother" on anything that moves. You can consider me an expert on this subject, because I recently aced my psych exam :) The psychologist Konrad Lorenz conducted experiments with them, and after they were born they imprinted on him, he was their mother and they followed him wherever he went, looking for guidance:

I wonder if I were a Greylag gosling, and after I was born I sat in front of a mirror, opened my little geesy eyes and saw myself. Would I follow my reflection around as though it were my mother? Would this make any sense? They have been known to imprint on ships, even.

I'm sad because I miss my best friend, who has moved upstate. I don't believe in replacing friends, there is only one slot that she has filled, and it's impossible to replace her. I thought I would be able to visit her, but I was supposed to go with someone and for certain reasons i'm afraid it might not happen.

I'm sad because I miss a girl I knew at Hunter, who I just found out has overdosed and died. I felt I knew it was coming, and I could have helped her. I knew that her brother had died several years ago, and whenever I talked to her I just knew there was a sadness hidden. I probably couldn't have helped, but anyway, she was such a sweet girl, and deserved a better end than this.

I also miss my old friend Craig, who has joined the army and is in Iraq. We talked on the phone a few minutes ago. There was static, because there is a war going on, and there is a lot that seperates us. A female operator warned us we had only a few seconds left to talk. We said our "I love yous" and then the operator cut us off.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Autumnal Equinox

So yesterday was the autumnal equinox, marking the official beginning of Autumn. It makes me excited because I love this season and vow to celebrate the beginning of it in all ways possible (leaf hunting, hot tea, pumpkin carving, harvest parties etc.) It happened at exactly 5:51 AM and I was awake at that time. It always bugs me when I passively live through events of importance (like when I slept through that mini hurricane).

This photo is how I feel right now, taken by this talented photographer:

People always try to set me up with very literary guys, and in particular, writers. I only rarely get along with these types of people. Aren't we all, at the end of the day, sick of ourselves? We want to come home to someone with a different perspective.

The main thing is that writers are strangely selfish. They go places, hold conversations, form friendships, even (in some cases) sustain entire relationships just to get writing material. Am I making a sweeping, ridiculous, generalization? Maybe...

But I'm terrified that someday I'll reach a point where people are no longer people, but only social experiments or research. I don't want to end up where fun times, friends and romances are just an excuse to have something to write about later. I don't want to befriend a psycho so that I have an interesting character, or dump someone for a plot twist.

Everyone in my life has been in my writing in some form. How could it be any other way? Even my childhood sweetheart, even the drunk homeless man who once insulted my shoes and then spit on me. You're all there. E-mail me and i'll show you how.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sugar Cubes

Love should be allotted out to people, and measured out like sugar cubes. That way they could be neatly stacked up, in some cold austere ware-house, until they were shipped off to various pharmacies. People would line up to get their prescriptions filled. The cubes would taste as sweet as the ordinary sugar variety, and would crumble if enough pressure were applied, but they would cost a hell of a lot more.

This was taken upon returning to the city from a holiday in Boston. It makes me feel all dreamy and cozy, until I spy the little Verizon logo. Grr.

One of my guilty pleasures is that I'm crazy about self-help books. I guess it's not so much of a guilty pleasure, seeing as I find myself really proud of it. I love books about positive thinking, finances for a young woman, establishing a career, oh and of course, dating!

I just finished reading a book about the science of love, and I'm so crazy about this stuff I swear i'll write a self-help book myself one day (when i'm old and gray and very happy)

I also started reading 'The Know-It-All: One Mans Humble Quest to Become The Smartest Person in The World' by A.J. Jacobs. You may have heard about his having read all 23 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The book so far is very funny and informative in a quirky way. He also edited the compilation: 'Equire presents: What it Feels Like...' which includes riveting accounts of what it feels like to, be shot in the head or walk on the moon for example. Is that neat or what?

So I'm proposing a photography treasure hunt, with an open invitation to participate extended to everyone, friend or foe (though I would prefer friend.) The objective is to find every item on the list (however you interpret it- feel free to be as creative as you like with interpreting) and then photograph it. If you decide to do it, e-mail me what you come up with and it will be posted in one collective thing.

The List

1. blueness
2. war
3. the future
4. the past
5. opposites
6. something where it doesn't belong
7. religion
8. romance
9. new york
10.peek-a-boo (something/someone trying to hide)

:let's say end of the year

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Reflections on a decade of writing

I went to Teaspot this evening to brainstorm ideas for my next short story. I sat with my pretty mac in a dark corner and drank about four cups of 'Suns Up' tea (which tasted like flowers and peppermint) until almost 11 p.m. I started writing about a guy who has to work in the servers room of a company (James took me to the one at his office and it was pretty nifty). But then I thought: Why can't I stop writing from a male point of view? The last 6 or so stories I've written have been from male perspectives. I initially started doing it so I could stretch my writing muscles and flip the coin, but now i realize there are so many reasons I keep it up:

1. The majority of amazing writer's I've read have been male
2. I'm sick of writing about what's familiar, or of writing a story that's secretly my own life- writing from a male perspective forces me to be completely seperate from the main character.

I wrote my first book when I was ten, my second at the age of 12. They were most likely the worst things ever written in the history of time. But they had a plot, characters, and enough words that came together to total almost 200 pages each. I keep them locked up in a trunk (where I keep all my other shameful things) for fear of anyone actually reading them.

Now, a decade later, after countless hours of writing and 7 writing workshops, I feel as though I'm worse off. For the life of me I can't come up with a plot idea for my next story that is not:

1. cliche
2. already been done
3. unbelievable (not unbelievable as in "Wow, this story is unbelievable! but unbelievable as in "Oh please, that could never happen)

People always say that when they write, the hardest part is cutting out stuff. For example, a girl I knew would write a dozen+ pages for a paper that was only supposed to be 3-4 pages long. Now for me, I have the exact opposite problem. I feel like every line I write has to be perfect and as concise as possible. Every word seems to take effort, it drains me. I'm afraid of rambling on too long about stuff no one cares about. How was I able to, 10 years ago, produce such massive amounts of writing, and I now have to bleed myself dry for a lousy 10 page story?

Long story short, I need to find a plot, a good plot, one that will keep me up at night wondering how I can keep it's machinery well-oiled.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Whoever saves your life is responsible for your welfare forever

I found this photo on a writing prompt blog and just love it. It prompted me to write several story beginnings involving; a superstitious stripper, a man who talks into the telephone when no one's on the other line, a kid being followed to school and a ride in an elevator that changes someone's life. I can't clearly see any connection to the photo and the ideas that sprung from it (except maybe the telephone thing).

So I'm awake at 5 a.m. after writing most of the night and watching Leave It to Beaver. (I lead a wild life.) Now in this episode Beaver and his brother Wally are at the dinner table with their parents and want to discuss a secret with each other, so they drop their utensils so they can crawl under the table every time they need to exchange a message. I wish someone would drop a spoon on the floor and crawl under a table to talk to me. It reminds me of a scene in Love Me if You Dare which, by the way, is a fantastic film. In the scene there's a little boy and a little girl who show each other their private parts. Now, when I was little I never got to do anything like that.

I went to Borders this evening to catch up on reading. I started doing this recently because I've outlawed myself from buying books or magazines, so instead I go there for a few hours and catch up reading magazines and new fiction. I read the first several chapters of some books by Chuck Palahniuk. I got completely sucked into Choke, a novel about a man who makes money by pretending to choke in restaurants. The Chinese motto: Whoever saves your life is responsible for your welfare forever, being the motivation behind this. He also attends sex addiction group therapy meetings to try to get laid. Through an enormous exertion of self control I resisted buying the book (even though it was on sale!), but am headed to the library as soon as I wake up tomorrow to check it out. My ears perked up a while back when I heard that throughout Palahniuk's 2003 book tour 67 different people fainted while listening to him read his story Guts. It's pervy and revolting and amazing and you have to read it. But if a boy's intestinal tract being sucked out of his butt while he's masturbating underwater is a problem for you, maybe don't read it.