Archive for the 'Writing' Category

First day of a new year

What did I do today? Well last night around 2am I finished Marked. I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about the book. I decided to read it because I really enjoyed Twilight. Twilight had it’s issues, sure, but it was a story that I could really get behind. It was paced well, it had a good cast of characters (maybe a little Mary Sue, but even so), and I didn’t have a lot of reasons to complain about the writing.

Marked covers all of maybe 5 days in 300 pages. It was terribly slow getting started and all I wanted was for it to start going somewhere. You know how as you get closer to the last pages of a book, you start wondering how it’s going to wrap up everything in time (I felt that way about The Diamond Age)? Well as I neared the end of the book I started wondering if it was going to go anywhere by the end. The climax was hardly worthy of a novel and all I wanted was to see the story go somewhere. So there’s a sequel, in fact there is a whole series of books that follow this one. I don’t know that I want to go out and buy them because I was so disappointed by this one, and yet I want to see where the series is going. Decisions, decisions…

I slept in and downloaded a bunch of movie trailers.

  • I think 9 looks pretty cool.
  • Dragonball might not be as bad as I initially thought (and Emmy Rossum is in it)
  • Fast & Furious must be better than the last two movies because the entire original cast is back.
  • Fired Up looks legitimately funny.
  • I watched Gran Torino and it was amazing. See it if you can!
  • He’s Just Not That Into You looks like a great adaptation of the self-help book for women. I want to get it and read it actually.
  • Inkheart might be good. Dunno.
  • I missed Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and I wish I had had a chance to see it when it was in theaters. When does it hit DVD?
  • I watched a bunch of others, but I really don’t have much to say about them. [shrug].

I’m going to try to finish Let the Right One In tonight so I can watch the movie tomorrow. It’s okay, not what I was hoping for but an interesting read nonetheless. I seem to be on a vampire stint recently. That’s another thing I disliked about Marked: vampire is spelled vampyre. I’m know it’s a legit way to spell it, but it distracted me from the text every time I saw the word.


New Years Resolution

I have never once followed through on a New Years Resolution. This may be due to low willpower or the fact that I’ve never really wanted to follow through on any of them, but I want things to be a little different this year. I want to write every day for one month. It doesn’t need to be January, but I’m going to try to make it January. If I fail I’ll try February. I’ll have 12 shots to do it, so I hope I succeed.

Why do I want to write every day? I was thinking back to my senior year in high school when I went on a trip to Mexico with my AP Spanish class. It was suggested that we keep a journal, but I thought I was above that and I didn’t bother. Now looking back I have some great memories, but I know I must be forgetting things. If I had written things down, even just a list of things I did that day, I could reread it and remember everything that had happened.

I don’t expect any of my months to be terribly interesting, but I want to see if I can. Plus I will be traveling quite a bit this year, so it will be good practice for the future.

I’m not sure if I want to do it in a pen and paper journal (which I am horrible at, I think I type faster than I write at this point) or if I want to blog it or if I want to do it in my iPhone. I may have to find a good journal type application for the iPhone. Or I can just use the notes feature.

Will anyone but me want to read this? No, probably not, but this time I’m not doing it for them, I’m doing it for me, and I think that is why I might actually be able to last longer than a week.

One more resolution, next year I need to go to a real New Years Eve party on 12/31/09. Think I can do it?

Death Cab For Cutie – The New Year

So this is the new year.
And i don’t feel any different.
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance (in the distance).

So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

Subway Face


That I have been looking
For you all my life
Does not matter to you.
You do not know.

You never knew.
Nor did I.
Now you take the Harlem train uptown;
I take a local down.

Langston Hughes


I do not regret the things I’ve done…

So I need a place to compose my thoughts. The irony is that I need to compose my thoughts about writing, by writing, when in truth I don’t like writing very much. I don’t know where this dislike for writing originated from, but as far back as I can remember I had trouble putting my thoughts down on paper. I don’t seem to have a problem with speaking, which befuddles me because that is also personal expression in words. I have a strong grasp on English: my vocabulary is extensive and I have a good handle on grammar and style (I have The Elements of Style on my shelf).

I don’t have any trouble forming an argument or communicating complex ideas. I am able to think analytically and I make powerful connections between different ideas. I say this because it’s true, and I don’t often give myself credit for it. Many of my professors would say the same thing about me and thoroughly enjoy having me as a student. I contribute meaningfully in class and am an active learner. I seek out knowledge regardless of the grade. One professor in particular believes that I am more than capable of acing my papers and seems to have much more confidence in me than I do.

This semester I have been unable to put pen to paper. I don’t know where the source of my mental block comes from, but the inability to start ruins any shot I have of doing well. I love the material and I’ll actively seek out and read literature that it alludes to or that alludes to the work. I can have a conversation about the works, compare and contrast them, and, if we were having a conversation, I would find passages to support my arguments. If there was another person there that wanted to talk about it, I would do it.

Why can’t I do the same thing by myself. Do I need a sounding board? Do I lack the confidence to say anything with certainty, so I say nothing at all? Am I afraid of being wrong? With another person we share the conversation, I give my view and they give theirs. Hopefully my view changes as I learn and see more and I am able to develop a deeper understanding of the work being discussed. When writing a paper, however, I am supporting arguments on my own. Often times I feel that I can’t support the argument that I’m trying to prove, and I get frustrated. The obvious topics seem too simple, because to me they are obvious, and I often assume that proving them in a paper would be stupid. Maybe I try to hard to prove something that can’t be proven?

In any case I feel generally overwhelmed when I have a paper due, for no apparent reason. I know it is due, and I will actively avoid working on it or thinking about it. I spend more time avoiding the paper than it would take to write the paper, and writing the paper isn’t difficult. I don’t have trouble doing the writing, I suffer a strange innate aversion to it. I can’t really describe it, but it is completely debilitating.

This problem isn’t new. It struck me in high school and has raised its ugly head several times since I’ve been in college. So far this semester I have missed two papers, a presentation, have not started on a paper due this week, and have not started a history research paper that will also be due soon. After ruining two weekends in a row with stress (and not doing the papers anyway, and losing countless hours of sleep during the week) I decided that it wasn’t worth it.

“I never liked writing in the first place,” I told myself, “I just thought it would be good to be good at it.” And it’s true. I do desperately want to be able to write papers fluently and with ease. I want the B.A. in English literature because I want to be recognized for my hard work and interest in the field. It was almost within reach, but I can’t seem to do the papers. It reached a point where I had to wonder why I bothered taking the classes if I didn’t want to do the work and I was ruining my ability to enjoy life in the process.

I take the classes because I want to be guided through the works by someone who has read them before and can expose nuances within the text and other background information that I would not pick up on otherwise. It isn’t unreasonable. Honestly it also isn’t unreasonable for them to require that I do outside work to contribute to my understanding, such as writing a paper. The purpose is not only to assess my understanding of the work, but to help me learn more about the work by asking me to support an argument or idea through the text.

I know it isn’t unreasonable. I know why I should do it. I don’t have an issue with that, I simply am not able to complete the task. And often times I have no problem with the consequences. I will accept massive point reductions on papers and hand them in during the last week of class to avoid failing. I will take a C in the class because I didn’t hand in a paper worth 25% of my grade, even though I aced the rest of the course. I know many people would look at me and tell me that I’m insane for wasting an A like that. But the truth is I can’t seem to write the paper by the due date, or sometimes at all.

I don’t know what I’m going to tell my professor at our meeting tomorrow. I know that she doesn’t want me to withdraw or fail the course, and is willing to do everything she can to help me write the papers. The prospect is so promising, but it doesn’t address the larger issue: even with all the leeway in the world I am still going to have trouble with the paper.

Somehow this is going to come out to be about 1250+ words. That’s five pages, double spaced, size 12 font. That’s longer than any of the papers I have due. I put thought into this (although obviously not the same kind of thought that I would put into a paper). It seems like the paper should be so easy (and as I say that the fear creeps over my shoulder again and infects my chest) but I can’t seem to do it.

I’m scared that this extends further into my life than I realize and that it will become a serious issue at a job. I’m afraid that I will have to try to conquer this demon when there is much more on the line than just a grade. I’m afraid, because even with all this anxiety and fear, I have no desire to change. I don’t want to do extra work, I want to coast along and graduate with ease. I want my senior year to be simple and straightforward. I want to get a 4.0, like I know that I can. I don’t see any of that happening if I keep going for the lit degree. My chest tightens when I think about the work and I relax when I think about dropping the classes. If that isn’t a clear indication of how I feel, then I don’t know what is. My biggest fear is that my feelings are wrong and that I’m going to make the wrong choice and regret it for the rest of my life.

I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.” – Rory Cochrane

Second Semester Junior Year

It hit me last night that I’m starting the second semester of my junior year in college. Looking back four years lands me in the middle of high school. I though I’d never make it out. I have a blog from June of ’04 which is the oldest blog I can still find online. Reading some of those entries, I see that I am very much still the same person that I was. At the same time, I am so very different from the lonely, scared boy from my past. I think the last four years have been a great period of growth and development. I know more about myself than I did before, and I hope when I look back four years from now, I’ll be able to say the same thing.

A few temporal developments: I got my wisdom teeth pulled (all four) and am on the recovery, I went skiing the weekend before and got strep throat, I now have a head cold, I still owe two papers and a project from last semester, and I am currently missing a roommate that I should have. I’m not really bummed out about the roommate bit. He’s a complete stranger and I’d rather live alone than with a stranger. But I’m not really alone; I have five other suite-mates (and I think one of them has been eating my peanut butter). My old suite-mates are abroad in London (I’m going for spring break) and my old roommate is co-opping from home.

I’ve spruced up this blog a bit. I added a bunch of links to things I read and I started sharing items on Google Reader again. I subscribed to a diverse set of news sites in an attempt to keep up on current events. We’ll see how that works out for me in the coming months. I also started twittering again. I think twitter would be more useful if my friends also used it, but since they don’t, I’ll just keep updating anyway. I should really set some daily and weekly goals for twitter and my blog. Discipline could really help me make this a healthy habit.

I want to start taking photos again. I haven’t posted anything new to Flickr in months and I really feel like I’m wasting my pro account. I wanted to be really artsy with my account and have a cool professional feel, but I don’t think I’m ready to dedicate that kind of time to it. I have a lot of other hobbies and demands on my time. Maybe I’ll try doing the Flickr 365. I think it’ll go alone with disciplining myself.

I should also start using again. I don’t really favorite or use a lot of sites that don’t produce daily content. I just don’t need them. There are a few posts on blogs that I really like and would share with the world though (Wizard School being one of them) so I should actively try to add those.

So far my goals are to blog twice a week, twitter twice a day, Flickr once a day, good news and posts, and read the news every day. On top of that I want to start reading again and spend less time watching TV and movies. I have a lot of books that I never read and I need to get through them. Another goal is to read extracurricular books and write journal entries about them so that I think critically about what I read. And do all my homework! This sounds like a lot of work…

I think I can do it though. Maybe I’ll stop after a week, but I need to work on discipline and following through. This is self-improvement (and screw you Chuck Palahniuk fans who say “Self improvement is masturbation”).

Ten weeks later…

It was early August last we talked. Life was going slowly and I had lots of time for simpler things (like blogging). In the interim I have started school, gotten back into ogame, been stage managing a show, working, meeting girls, and living life. All good things. I’m sitting in class right now learning about Walt Whitman. I’m not really paying attention, but what can you do.

I was once again inspired to write by Coding Horror. You know, get on a schedule, write every time, get better at writing. All reasonable goals. Will I do it? I don’t know that I have a topic that I want to talk about. Writing is about being inspired, and more often than not I am clearly lacking in inspiration. So if you don’t hear from me soon that might be why.

I wanted to post because I found some neat videos that I wanted to share. They don’t really need to be shared though. I don’t know that anyone would ever see them here.

I got rid of AIM. Not got rid of, but I decided I didn’t want to use it anymore. I’m now using google talk. I like it. It’s based on open standards (jabber). Check it out and get an account, it’s good stuff.

Hmmm, that is all.

Random Grab Bag

read over my old blog. It was a lot better than I gave it credit for being. I used to think all those links and images I included were stupid, but it turns out it really made it nice to look at. I actually covered some good stuff. I’ll have to work on doing more stuff like that.

Also, I need to separate my posts. Right now I just sorta pile everything into one giant post. I need to have a “cool stuff on the net post” and then save my “introspective post” for later in the week. I can even write it when I want to write and then submit it a few days later. Write loads of posts in advance so I can just keep publishing even if I’m too busy to write. That, my friends, is brilliant.

Also, shorter paragraphs. Newspapers and other print media does it, I should too. One huge block of text can be daunting for a reader. Basically what I’m saying is I hate my style. Good job me.


I saw this a while ago, it epitomizes my feelings about most things men do

in my conversations I’ve stopped going above and beyond when people ask me a question. I don’t answer the next question I know they will ask. I want them to ask it so we get a nice back and forth. And if they don’t want to know more, they can move on. I leave a little hook so they have something to ask next time. I think this is particularly important when talking online. Even if you have no more questions you can think of to ask you can leave a few hooks so they have something to ask when they’re done reading what you have written. I am refining my conversational skills. Sometimes you can say more by what you don’t say.

this is new york, there are no rules

insults in another language

Yep, overall random post. Figured I’d throw this stuff out here before they became too dusty.


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