Friday, September 28, 2012

Paradox of Choice

I am currently in my second year of college and and I have to say, sadly, that the reality of all the choice that has been inevitably thrust in my path has me feeling paralyzed.

Right now I cannot say where I will end up in the future. That's the damned scariest thing about wanting to write as a career. I'm sure this same feeling applies to many others seeking a degree in the Humanities. It's so objective.

However, last night I was reminded of the things that make me feel fulfilled, and I know there are others out there like myself who are willing to forge a path in the artistic world which may also provide them the means with which to sustain their lives. I was reminded of this as I browsed the Hiking pages on StumbleUpon. I found that a man in Australia has actually made a living taking people to the most exotic and beautifully mountainous areas of the continent to rock climb. He's also made an exceptional amount of money simply by writing about his experiences and taking amazing photographs, advertising all of it on his blog:

This is the kind of person I look up to, I've realized. Not some money-hungry man who made it into the Forbes 100 or a famous businessman from the big city. Yes, it would be great to have money constantly rolling in, but are these men and women enjoying their lives, and do they benefit emotionally from the work that they do? I don't want to make money at all costs, I want to make money in a way that benefits other people. I want to do work in my life that makes someone a Romantic - someone who, without seeing my work, wouldn't have been inspired to do with their life work that made them happy, just as I am currently doing (currently working on in school) for myself.

I'm not in school to become a doctor. I'm not in school to become a nurse, an accountant, or a chemist. A police officer, a pilot, or a construction worker. Students who are in school to become one of these things are taking the kinds of courses they know will land themselves in those very careers. I'm in school to receive an English degree, and as far as I know that means I'm in a paradox of choice, as Barry Schwartz puts it. I have so many paths in which my life can venture, and all the choices have me paralyzed and, yes, scared as hell.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Future Home

I think that with a garden and a library I'll be happy in whatever home the future brings me to.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Brilliant But Lonely"

Pancake City at 9:30pm, Tuesday
            With the accents in this diner as heavy as they are, it seems as though I’ve just taken a long trip into the Deep South rather than the 5 minute drive it took to get here from campus.
            The smell of pancakes and coffee would be enough sensory detail to tell me where I am with my eyes closed—but if not the sound of clinking silverware on ceramic dishes would be the dead giveaway. The human sounds of lively conversation and laughing take away the sense of loneliness that usually accommodates small town diners like this one. The way that the lively conversations are so poorly juxtaposed with the black night outside the window to my right reminds me of going to football games at my old high school—when all the lights were shining on the stadium like an artificial sun, with such brilliance that the darkness surrounding the stadium was uncanny—the darkness enveloping the stadium forgotten until the game was over and it was time to go back out into the loneliness to find my car. As long as it’s night time, a place like this will always make me feel lonesome.
Since the weather is particularly chilly for this time in September, I cannot help but notice that the man at the bar is dressed in a way that is comically inappropriate. He’s middle-aged, and slender-looking under his combat shorts and short-sleeved spider silk Hawaiian shirt, which is complete with a lime green baseball cap. Earlier I caught him staring at me from across the room, where I sit at this faux-wooden booth, jotting down my descriptions of this diner in mad red ink. It’s funny how this ink should appear mad in my eyes right now, or that the darkness outside the windows of this diner should make this bright diner seem lonely by default.
There can be so much emotion and movement in the middle of so much darkness.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Adjusting to Fickle Places - Erasure Poems

My latest bit of homework for a Creative Writing class I am taking this semester involved having to take away parts of an informational text by crossing out bits to create a poem of the leftover words. Out of the 5 "Erasures" we were assigned I was most pleased with the results of a National Geographic magazine article. From the article "Outer Banks" issued last Thursday, on September 13, I created the following Erasure Poem:

To explain why I’ve been hit by a passion for walking down a
Dusty road after I’ve seen a lot and I’ve lived deeply,
Nothing seems sweeter for me than what is personal.
Even though I’m usually scattered around trees
I bought a house here.
Something about the capriciousness of the weather suddenly
Served as a reminder that at any moment the fickle will
Fling you into the sky.
I’m not going anywhere for a while because
When there’s no hurricane, life is at its best.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Chase That Happy"

Burn all your inhibitions!
What are you—18, 20 years old?
What is it you want most in this life?
Is it to be inadequate, or to just get by with a set amount of effort?
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Is it a hike in the park? Is it a jog at sunset following a difficult day at college? Is it biking across
campus when you’re almost late for class?
Why not use activities such as these to propel you to work towards what you want most in life?
What is nagging at you, constantly building in you that you have yet to unleash?
Is it a novel you’ve been working on? A screenplay? What about learning to play guitar, or
mastering the chords to that favorite song of yours that you want to impress on your girlfriend or boyfriend?
What in God’s name is keeping you from that?
Where have your dreams gone?
What hinders you from putting pen to paper, mouth to microphone, fingers to fret?
Don’t kid yourself: We all want something most keenly in this life.
Where is what you want?
What is it?
The world is your oyster and you cannot tell me it’s too late.
You have dreams, as silly as that must sound; we all do.
More than ever, we are a generation with more sources for exploration, more opportunities and
mediums through which to achieve our dreams.
In the words of Ze Frank we must, “Chase that happy!”
Why oh why do we dream so much? We’re like children that know no bounds—fantastically and
monetarily. Why can't you and I just be normal? Why can't we just stay happily (mentally and physically) at home when we have leisure time; get wasted, forget what happened the night before; get tattoos and show them off to everyone we know—use them to tell the exciting things about ourselves that we’re too afraid to voice? Or is it just that everyone else in our class is abnormal in their fantastical and wayfaring tendencies also, but they must keep it to themselves because they do not have a mutual friend with whom they can be comfortable enough to tell that they aren't alone in their weird tendencies?
We all have that itching tendency.
We aren't the only strange ones in our classes. I just know it. But I feel like it all the time. More
so now that college is so forthwith in accepting normals—“mundanes”. We are people, like those apparent mundanes. But I think that in the minds of those of you who hear me now, the ones that understand what I’m going on about, your souls are scattered in multiple places around the world, and we have to keep dreaming about those places which are around the world, because it is only there—traveling there and seeking our scattered souls in the process—that you and I may ever find peace.
If you may have a fantastic feeling about something important to you, but then life happens, it’s
impertinent that you chase that happy, no matter what they may entail for you.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"The Forest Burned, And I with It"

night I stepped
gingerly through a burned black forest.
Masses of tree trunks lay
in mounds below my feet—the scent

burning wood
overwhelmed my entire being,
seemingly dampening
every other unyielding sense.

the dead of
the forest the debris and ash mixed;
the dead remnants were small,
so that I was drowning in them.

Ash from the
burning trees overwhelmed intensely.
It was so strong that I
began to itch, to twitch, writhing

pain for so
long—Until my body was melting.
Organs liquid within—
                     my heart mixed with the ashen trees.