Wednesday, November 30, 2011

List Short Story

So, I'm now in this creative writing class. And I'm not quite sure what to make of it, because we're writing fiction. I've never in my life written fiction. I can tell you what happened to me. But this whole fiction thing is a whole new land. And it's horribly scary, because I feel like a fool writing it. Like I'm hyper-dramatic, or not funny at all. I like writing in my own voice. My stories. I think this new thing will probably be good for me, but it's going to take me some time to adjust.
Assignment number one was a list short story.

7 Questions My Therapist Never Asked
1. He never asked who brought the first casserole. So he never heard about my neighbor, the one who runs over my garbage can when she’s late to work, showing up on the front porch with a green bean casserole. He never heard about that casserole sitting in my fridge for nine days until I gave up, dumped it down the disposal, and returned the Pyrex dish.

2. He never asked about running away. So he never learned of that time, when I was five, that I ran away to the play fort in the back yard. And he never learned about Mama convincing me to move back home by talking about how sad the cat was, moping around, refusing to play with yarn or meow or even run away from the dog because it missed me too much.

3. He never asked how many tea bags I put in my tea. One or two. When I the tears cease to flow, I remember what I learned long ago, that “if we had more to drink we could make tears”. So I pour the steaming water over two tea bags and wait for the tea to steep so the tears can come back.

4. He never asked about distance. So he never knew that, sitting on his red couch, I was 2437 miles away from the place I was born, 1722 miles away from my Kindergarten classroom, 240 miles away from my first job and 54 miles away from the people that meant something to me. And he never knew about the distance that had become so infinite I could never heal it.

5. He never asked about my irrational fears. He never knew that I’m terrified I will drink too much soy milk and the genetically modified soybeans will give me cancer, or that I will become so poor I have to live in an apartment with rats. He never knew that I deeply fear I will one day wake up without things to write or say or think of feel. That I will wake up empty and I will never find anything to fill the emptiness.

6. He never asked me why I couldn’t reach for the tissues. Maybe he didn’t need to. Maybe he knew that reaching for the tissue would have been the final blow of defeat. Or maybe he was too distracted by the tears and the words and the pain to notice the untouched tissues.

7. He never asked me “what if?” That was the question I asked him. He was never willing to answer. I simply couldn’t. So that is the question that haunts me, hanging limp in my mind.

What if?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Jacket

Today, I'm starting something no one ever thought I would. Serious snowboarding.
By serious I mean more than once a year.
I signed up for Rec. Skiing this term, because I'm a senior, and I decided I'm only going to take classes I want this year. So I'm currently in an English class, a history class, a history-English synthesis class, two math classes and debate. I finally dropped photo so I could take creative writing. I opted against science and French.
And I'm in Rec. Skiing.
So I'm going to be up at the ski resort 2-3 times a week. And for the first month, I expect to be sore every single day, because I tend to fall a lot.
Serious skiing has prompted some purchasing. I had a snowboard. I had boots. That was it. So we ravaged the closet for gloves, hats and the like. We took a trip to REI for snow pants.
While we were there, I suggested I should get a parka. My mom had tried earlier to convince me to wear her seal skin parka that my dad bought her decades ago. Apparently, "it's a great coat. It's seal skin, so it's really warm and dry". I reminded her that A) I'm a vegetarian, B) Fur is no longer socially acceptable, C) Even if it were socially acceptable, I am too young to wear fur and D) Only one-percenters wear fur on the ski slope.
So at REI, I got my new favorite piece of clothing. I love it more than my black Friday boots. It's my Patagonia down jacket. I will wear it for the next 20 year. It's also beautiful:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Run-Ins with Security Officers

The other day, I had a run in with a security officer. Authority figures really aren't my thing.

I was downtown shooting so I can finish my photo class and finally just be done with it. I guess I was north of down actually. I'm not really sure where I was. I saw a few giant water vats. The ones with cool staircases going up the side, and I wanted to take pictures. So I parked in a nearby parking lot and went for it.
There were lots of fences, and lots of signs saying NO TRESPASSING. I figured as long as I stayed on the public side of the fence, I would be okay. I had spent a good 20 minutes shooting and had about 70 pictures when a guy came out, on the other side of the fence.
I put on my cute routine. "Hi!" I waved.
"You can't be here. It's homeland security. You can't take pictures over this fence. They'll confiscate your camera."
"Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't know. I'll leave now."
"Yeah, you're probably on camera, so hurry."
"Okay, thank you. Have a good day."
I walked as quickly as I could across the field, gripping my camera as tightly as I could. I had just made it across the field when two security officers pulled up. I decided to make the first move.
"Hi, I'm really sorry. A guy across the fence just told me I can't shoot here. I'm leaving."
"Yeah, you can't shoot here. Can I see your ID?"
"It's in my car."
"Okay, let's go get it."
So, he walked me to my car. On the way over he tried to figure me out.
"You in college?"
"No, I'm a high school student shooting for my photo class."
"That's a mighty nice camera for a high school student."
"It's my dad's."
Grunt.
I don't think he would have believed me except, we got to my car. For the first time in my life, I was glad I drive a Lexus.
I grabbed my drivers license, and was sure to also flash him my school ID. He wrote down my name in his little notebook.
"Okay well, normally I would confiscate your camera and arrest you. But I think you're young and don't know what you were doing. So I'm going to let you go. But first we have to go through your pictures and delete all the ones you took across the fence."
So I lost some really great pictures. But I got to have Thanksgiving at home with my family, and really, what more could I ask for?
I should send Homeland Security a fruit basket.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quote Sunday

Today's quote comes from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I read this book on a whim last Sunday and it ended up being the perfect book for my AP English final, so that was pretty awesome.
Hurston is a pretty haunting writer. Janie will haunt me for a long while yet.

"The years took all the fight out of Janie's face. For a while she thought it was gone from her soul."

It's short, but I think we all feel like that sometimes. Not for years, but for periods of time. I feel like that. Sometimes I feel like the Universe beat me and the spark, spunk, flame, fight - whatever it is you call it - is gone. And I guess I love this quote so much, because I'm not sure the universe can take away my fight. I don't think anyone can unless I let them. Sometimes it disappears, and sometimes it needs to vanish, but I think it stays in the soul until evicted by the owner.
I think I'll keep mine.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Champion

So REI was a fail.
We went to Ruth's Diner to get breakfast to make up for our failure.
On a whim, we went to gateway and Anthropologie after.
At Antropologie, I was made a black Friday champion.
I got these boots:

Originally, they were listed at $288. I got them for $65. I love Black Friday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

I've been un-grounded for Black Friday. Yes.
Last year was my first Black Friday. My best friend slept over. We got up at 4 and went to REI. We got there about 4:30 and realized there wasn't another soul in sight. So we stopped by Target, felt disappointed, and went back to stake our claim at REI.
A little before 6, other cars started pulling into the parking lot. There were only a hand full of us, and we had an unspoken vow to stay in our cars as long as we possibly could. Then some dumbass car pulled up and it's passengers got out. So we all had to get out and wait in the cold for an hour and a half. Luckily, we had blankets.
There was a tent pitched outside the doors. We all assumed it was a sample tent, because, after all, it was REI. So we were fairly shocked when it started to move. Someone screamed. And soon enough, a couple people emerged. REI Black Friday campers. All of us had a good laugh about that.
The doors finally opened, I got my gift card, and bought myself a parka at a great price.
Today we're going to REI again. I love Black Friday. I love being young and enjoying Black Friday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trifle

I made trifle for thanksgiving. Whoever said I wasn't a domestic goddess?

Thanksgiving

Today is my first vegetarian Thanksgiving. It's going to be surprisingly hard to forgo turkey. It's a custom. I think I'll cheat the whole vegetarian thing a little bit and eat the stuffing. Even though it will be cooked inside the turkey. I can do Thanksgiving without turkey, but I just can't skip turkey and stuffing. I'm only human.
I guess the thing I'm most grateful for this Thanksgiving is all the super stunning people in my life. I know I've been going on and on about them, but humor me one more time.
In last line of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden says, "don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."  Holden gets it; attachment and vulnerability are scary because I run the risk of getting really really hurt. But, one thing I've learned the past few weeks, is that it is entirely worth it. Because attachment and vulnerability also mean that when the universe comes crashing down, I'm not standing alone. It means texts and calls and emails and cards will come in because people care. Usually it feels like they care more than they should. And sometimes I need people to care more than they should. I need those people who will ask "is there anything I can do?" and who check in with the most sincere "how are you doings?"I need the reassurance that the phone will be answered for the millionth time whenever I need it. I even need the people who say "I'm praying for you", because even though it makes me defensive, it's the most sincere way they can say I care about you.  I'm really good at pretending nothing hurts ever, but sometimes I feel really fragile. And I need people who love me because I'm secretly fragile.
So this Thanksgiving that's what I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for the legion of people who always deliver exactly what it is I need. I love you all so much.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

That whole school thing

The term ended yesterday. I didn't do so well on attendance this term.
I've had two full weeks of school this term. By full week,  I mean a 5-day week. That's right. TWO. Oh, senior year.
Next Monday, my first 5-day week since September 23 starts. It's going to be rough.

ps. Big suck. No India trip for Hannah. Long story. Not a happy ending.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kelly Clarkson is on my black list


I've always had a secret affinity for Kelly Clarkson. She's my rock out while cleaning my room music. Kelly Clarkson and The Killers and sometimes Maroon 5. I can clean to those the best. Because for some reason it's more fun to clean when you're singing along to a song you know every word to at the top of your lungs.
So, I was kinda excited to download her new album. Then I saw a song titled "Don't be a girl about it". Then I listened to said song, and Kelly moved to my black list for life. It's so incredibly sexist. Dear Kelly, why the hell are you writing sexist songs? You're a woman. Why did you write a whole song which sends the message girl = bad, weak, petty, whinny, dramatic, selfish?
This song makes me so incredibly mad. I want to kick her.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vulnerability

Okay, so PLEASE, take 20 minutes and watch this video. It changed my life. Not in that cliche quote way. It legitimately changed my life. A dear friend showed it to me a little over a month ago. I've been resisting posting it, because it felt really personal, because it really affected me. I'm ready to share it. [Not that it's mine to share, but still, you get my point] I think this is really really really important.

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

"This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee --and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place I believe that says, "I'm enough," then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quote Sunday

Today's quote comes from the infamous Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, because it's a quote that changed my life.
"So many people enter and leave your life! Hundreds of thousands of people! You have to keep the door open so they can come in! But it also means you have to let them go!"

Like I said yesterday, I'm in that spot where I almost have be a grown-up and it's scary and sad and painful. There are so many wonderful people in my life. People that I don't ever want to let go of, but that I'm going to have to pretty soon. And things will never be the same. I'm really not good with eternal change and eternal goodbyes. Like the most excruciating thing you can do to me is say goodbye forever. (Guess where that comes from). Anyway, the first time I read this, I promised myself I would make sure people would leave my life knowing how much they meant to me. I know I have to say goodbye sometimes, and no matter the circumstances of the goodbye, I want people to know that I loved them, that they helped me, that I am better for our relationship. I'm not very good at this. It requires vulnerability, which is not a strong suit of mine, but I try really hard to let people know they've been important.
Come June, I think I'll probably have to write about a billion letters to all the high school students and teachers who I love. I'm going to miss my life. Things will never be the same. Good things are coming, but saying goodbye will still rip my heart out into a billion pieces.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Longings of childhood

The other day I came across a list my friend had written on her blog about all the simpler things she missed about childhood. My friends and I, we're in the spot where we're almost grown-ups and all of a sudden we're not sure we actually want to be, because we're starting to see that being a grown up is scary business. Anyway, her list made me cry and inspired me to make my own.
Things I miss about my childhood:

  • Getting in trouble meant a time-out. 
  • Being a friend meant playing on the monkey bars together. 
  • Not caring enough to even brush my hair in the mornings.
  • Being able to cry when I felt sad, wherever I was and whatever was going on.
  • People asking what your favorite color was, not what you were going to do with the rest of your life.
  • Big decisions were things like deciding what color to paint your paper-mache fish.
  • The first six years of my life when I only wore dresses.
  • Scone Cutter after dance classes.
  • Biking to swim practice on summer mornings.
  • Playing in the mud in the little tiny pond up at the cabin.
  • Hours and hours spent playing pool games
  • Courage meant going down the waterslide head-first.
  • Integrity meant admitting to eating that cookie when Judy wasn't in the kitchen.
  • Trusting that everything the adults told me was true and correct and safe.
  • October trips to Hawaii, because school could be missed.
  • Jumpers and shiny patent-leather school shoes.
  • My dad reading me The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  • Bedtime stories about Puddleglum and Fiddly-Wog.
  • Recess and P.E. classes. 
  • Birthday parties kids style.
I could go on forever, but I think that's enough for now. Growing up is kinda hard.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maternal Instincts

I have no intention of reproducing for 15-20 years. And even then, we'll have to see.
Here's the thing: I'm really not a kids person. Maybe it's the fact that I'm 17, but I just don't have the patience. I can love and play with a child for about 45 minutes and then I'm done. And maybe that patience will come with time, but I just couldn't do that whole mother thing until I knew I was ready to be patient with a child through it all. I would have to be in a spot where I knew I could love a child no matter who it was going to be. I'm really not good at that whole loving people for their faults thing. There are too many people that I have an absurdly hard time being around. And I know that's my problem. But I wouldn't want to have a child until I knew I would love that child for being what he/she was supposed to be. I don't think you have kids because you want to. You have kids because your ready. And I'm not sure I'll ever be ready.
[Of course, I know you're never really ready, because no matter what you do, you don't win at parenting. But I mean, ready in that you're ready for it to be hard.]
So the funny thing about that is that I have obscenely strong maternal instincts. Like show me  a human under the age of 3 and I will be demanding to hold/play with it. It's almost a physical compulsion. I'm not sure I'm okay with this whole strong maternal instinct thing.
Yesterday, I was playing mom with my little cousin who's staying with us this week because her parents are in New York. Anyway, I had her in the car seat in the back, and we were talking and such. I had this moment when we passed a cop and I looked down at the speedometer and realized I was going under the speed limit. I never drive under the speed limit. I'm always 5-10 over the speed limit. Even when I'm not thinking about it, I just am. I couldn't understand why I was driving so slowly, and then I realized, it was because there was a child in the back of my car. There goes those pesky maternal instincts again, protecting the child.

Maybe I should give this whole feminist thing get up and get married/pregnant in June when I turn 18.

The Dishes


So, my mom always freaks out after dinner that we will leave her in the kitchen to clean up the mess all by herself. Admittedly, it's happened a few times for several consecutive years. So, as a solution, we all have our unofficially assigned chores. Sam clears the table. Lorin rinses the dishes. Judy packs up leftovers. I put the dishes in the dishwasher. Pretty good system, right?
Wrong.
Here's the thing: I'm busy. I usually have hours of homework to procrastinate. So after dinner, I often bolt down to my room to put the dishes away later. Which is fine. Except that I usually forget about the dishes. Which leads to my dad poking his head in my room at 11 saying "don't forget to put the dishes in the dishwasher" or worse, it leads to me coming upstairs to go to school the next day faced with a pile of dishes. It's infuriating.
I want a house elf.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Changes

This blog is a measure of my procrastination.
It gets really prolific when there are lots of things I don't want to do.
Notice that I've been blogging every day lately. I don't intend to stop anytime soon. Maybe come December I'll slow down. But for now, it will probably remain a daily activity. Maybe I just really really hate college applications.
For example, tonight I really don't want to study for my BC Calc final tomorrow. As a nice alternative to studying, I redid my blog layout. I like this one. 
But answer me this, does it bug you that you have to click on each post individually to read it? That you can't just read through the whole thing unless you go to the sidebar button and click classic? Is it okay to change this? 
It had been almost a year on that format. I think it was time for a change. Nevertheless, I would appreciate approval.

PS. I love this book. And this quote.

I'm really not looking to get married now, but....

You know that friends episode where they wear wedding dresses all day?
This one:


I have abolutely no intention of getting married in the next decade. I'm not planning my wedding. Really, I'm not. But I do have a minor obsession with Anthropologie's wedding line BHLDN.
Maybe it's a major obsession.
But look at these shoes:





And these earrings:

And these gowns:



But most of all, this gown. I want it. Very much. I would get married in this. I would get married as a child bride in this. I would rock underage marriage in this gown:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Joy Triggers

About a month ago, a friend posted this article about joy triggers on her blog. It is one of my favorite things ever. Maybe even an idea to live by. "It makes sense that human beings can't be "on" all the time, that a little bit of pleasure now and then helps you do the harder things in your life." Something I've learned is that having little things to look forward to, and small things to be grateful for makes even the worst days entirely bearable.
So, here's my joy trigger list:

  • Nick at night playing hours and hours of Friends
  • The people at Starbucks who know my name
  • Deep conditioning my hair with fancy deep conditioner
  • My Sundance Catalog rings
  • Colored G2 pens to write with in my journal
  • Nicholas Kristof's blog and articles
  • Window shopping at Anthropologie
  • Satellite radio channel 36
  • Dior mascara
  • Penn Law sweatshirt
  • Favorite chapters in favorite books
  • 5 minute $5 pedicures
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Colbert Report on Hulu

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today is a big day

Today I am turning in my early decision application to college. I hear back December 15, and if I get in, I have to go there.
And what do they have to deem if I am a worthy applicant? Not much:
- Grades
-SAT score
-2319 words worth of essays
-3 letters of recommendation
-Common App information. So they know my social security number, but they don't know what my favorite book is. They know what year my parents graduated from college, but they don't know what my biggest fear is.

I hope they let me in anyway, but if they don't, everything will be okay. I have back-up plans.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning


Amidst hours of conversation, someone who loves me very much said to me last week, “Hannah, we have to punish you to teach you anything.”
I thought about this one a lot, because it is so absolutely true. I’m rarely willing to fully listen to what others are saying. I always insist that I know better and that if I’m wrong, I’ll figure it out my own way. It seems like I’m only ever willing to listen after I’ve screwed up and ran out of all my own options. I can see there are some obvious flaws in this approach. If I try to learn all the difficult lessons by myself, then I’ll have a miserable life. Yes, there are experiences that must be my own. Some turn out to be incredibly important. But not all experiences are worthwhile. If I continue to live this way, I will eventually just be beaten and there will be nothing to be gained from the beating. So one thing I have to change is that I have to be willing to learn from others. I can’t be so bent on learning things my own way and on ignoring the other voices in my life. I’m got to start listening more carefully to those around me, because I want to save myself the pain.

That was realization number two of last weekend. Still more coming.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quote Sunday

This week I finally got along to rereading The Razor's Edge and I was kinda disappointed. It still explored all the wonderful earth-shattering topics it did before, but this time, it didn't make me feel. It was like Maugham was forcing his point on the reader. The plot felt like it was hammered out to say what Maugham wanted it to say. It didn't feel natural. There was nothing organic about it. But, that being said, there are still little tidbits that bring me immense happiness. It's funny because I read the book almost slogging through it, but every 25 pages or so I would find a quote that changed my world the first time I read it. And it would still mean a lot. But those quotes felt so familiar and comfortable amidst a book that had let me down.
So, quote number one is an old favorite:
"Almost all the people who've had most effect on me I seem to have met by chance, yet looking back it seems as though I couldn't but have met them. It's as if they were waiting to be called upon when I needed them."
I love this one because I think we all feel that. The people who I love the most, it seems like I never should have developed a relationship with. It seems like a few tricks of fate led us to be close. Yet, I can't imagine who I would be without them. I wouldn't be me. I would be a different me. And I don't think I would like that me as much.
Quote number two is a new favorite:
"If you feel like telling me I'm a damned fool, don't hesitate. I wouldn't mind in the least."
I love this one because I don't think I let people tell me I'm a damned fool enough. I insist I've got it all figured out when clearly I don't. Who does? I think life would be simpler and happier if I let more people tell me I'm a damned fool.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Princesses

Lots of things make me angry.
One of those things is when a girl over the age of 12 (and that's being generous) is obsessed with princesses. Because you know what that says? It says, "the only value I see in myself is my ability as a wife. I hope some man will someday choose me to be his wife because otherwise I will waste away."
Luckily for me, lots of other women hate princess movies too. Sometimes, when I get angry at the rampant sexism, I read feminist blogs.
I think that every girl over the age of 12 who professes to like princesses should have to read 
THIS ARTICLE, and then we can talk about princesses and good role models.


"Ariel of The Little Mermaid, who is another character that I’ve had deep resentment for since childhood. Ariel, other than being in the movie responsible for rekindling popularity for the princess narrative (the last princess movie wasSleeping Beauty in 1959 [which failed to make a large profit]), gives up her voice. For legs. And a vagina. So that she can be with some guy she doesn’t know. "

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Contrarian

Last Friday I had pointed out to me that there are dangers in setting myself up as someone who rejects so much because when I push the boundaries, things eventually crash and burn big time.
Initially, I was super resentful of this accusation. I like having spunk.
And then, I thought about it. This whole weekend has been an exercise in putting aside my defenses and allowing myself to be vulnerable. And you know what sucks about that? Being vulnerable is super painful and super uncomfortable. It takes so much strength to keep those defenses aside and let the pain sink it. But I did it.
So I thought about it. I came to the conclusion that there was one giant gaping hole in my theory of life: I don't get to break the rules. I should be following all the rules, not because I value obedience (I don't), but because it's how to show respect and value for things. My behavior generally sends the message "I don't care about anything", when in reality, there are lots of things I care about very deeply. So the confidence and feeling that I'm important is worthwhile. But I'm not invincible. Along with confidence must come humility and general respect for those around me, and I lack in both those categories.
So no, I don't think being a contrarian and being spirited is inherently wrong. I actually think it's a fairly good way to be. But if I'm going to continue on that path, I must develop a higher respect for those around me, a firm adherence to the rules and a general attitude of humility.
That  is realization number one of the weekend. There are lots more.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

I have the best friends in the entire world

Just so we're clear, I have the best friends in the entire world.
Best friend number one has been called 31 times this week (I counted). She answered every time. Even though she knew it would be a conversation about me and what I was feeling and would be draining for her.
Best friend number two just sent me this email:
If you need anything to cheer you up, ponder things like these: 
You could always be living in Greece, where if your life were already in turmoil...you'd be in Greece. 
If you wanted to go to the moon, I would build a rocket ship for you, that would fly you up to the moon in five minutes. You'd get to the moon, have a vacation of dreams and eat funny ice cream. You'd also be ages away from any stupid earth problems. You'd only have stupid moon problems.
And. You don't eat meat, so you're a better person than most people, in my book.
Also. I will defend your honor to the death. Expect that always
Yeah, I definitely have the best friends in the entire universe. No question about it.

PS. There are many other people in my life who I love very deeply. I don't want them to feel downplayed. They mean the world to me. Somehow, I ended up with people who will stick with me through anything, care about me no matter what, and love me more than I deserve. For that, I thank the God I only believe in sometimes.

Pss. If you've texted/called me the past few days, I haven't ignored you personally. My phone is off and will remain so until Wednesday. Long story.

Iniquitous Quote Sunday

Today's quote comes from God of Small Things which is one of the most well-written books I've read. It's the one that made me cry on the plane. It's pretty freaking beautiful. Actually, it's a masterpiece. I'm amazed at how brilliant Roy's writing is, and how it is so brilliant on so many levels. It's one of those books you read and then you write a thank you note to the person who introduced you to the world that lives inside the pages.

"The secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don't deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don't surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover's skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don't. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won't. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn't. And yet you want to know again."

Every time I read this I think of East of Eden and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Razor's Edge, because they are without question the books that have most profoundly impacted me. I know I say this all the time, but every single time Sam Hamiltion dies, it kills a little piece of my soul in the best way possible, because every time I start the book, I'm a bit convinced Sam will live this time. Somehow, if I wish for it hard enough, Sam will live through the book. That is the essence of a Great Story.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Us Against The World

This song makes up for the horrible music video. I can't stop listening to it. Love you, Coldplay.


ps. Yesterday I seriously considered running away to Australia. A one-way flight to Sydney costs $1230. I have just enough saved up to get there and have $300 left to get a place to live and a job. If worst came to worst, I was considering sleeping on benches. It's Australia, so it's always warm, right?
Upon further reflection, I decided to stay here and do my best to clean up my mess.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Laying Them Down

So I posted this quote a month ago:
" 'Lay em down, Sethe. Sword and Shield. Down. Down. Both of em down. Down by the riverside. Sword and shield. Don't study war no more. Lay all that mess down. Sword and shield.' And under the pressing fingers and the quiet instructive voice, she would. Her heavy knives of defense against misery, regret, gall  and hurt, she placed one by one on the bank where clear water rushed on below."
And I just can't, to save my life, shake this quote from my mind. It's been following me like a ghost. Every time I think about it or read it, I can feel everything becoming more okay, almost physiologically. I love the imagery or laying your weapons down alongside a river. There's something wonderful about the juxtaposition of big antique weapons and a clear flowing river. Like you can't enjoy the river until you put down the weapons and allow yourself to be vulnerable. But I also love the instruction. Stop fighting the universe. Stop trying to beat the fates. Lay down all your "would have"s and "could have"s and accept what is. Stop feeling the feelings that harm you. Let them go and make room for tranquillity. Trust that eventually things will work out. Find peace with what is and what may be and your inability to control everything. 
In my journal, I made a long list of all the things I'm laying down. All the things that I have to let be what they are and accept them. All the things that I refuse to let control the future. All the things that I can't undo or change; that aren't worth regretting. And I feel strangely, remarkably, hugely at peace with my world. Right now. As it is.
Sometimes, I wonder at the ability of a complete stranger to change my life. Thank you, Toni Morrison.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Extreme Bucket List

One of my guilty pleasures is browsing for trips online. I love finding travel companies, tours, and trips that seem like they'd be the most exciting or enriching or enticing experiences ever. I think I was hooked on international travel the first time I left the country 5 years ago. Don't worry, I haven't lacked for adventure. Since then I've visited 17 countries. India this spring will make 18. Am I lucky or what?
Anyway, National Geographic is my favorite place to find a new trip. Here's my top 10:

1. Dive Glacial Melt, Iceland
2. Horseback Rides through the Loire Valley, France
3. Dive the Yucat√°n's Cenotes, Mexico
4. Bungee Jumping, New Zeland
5. Road Bike from Alaska to Argentina
6. Swim with the Great White Shark
7.China and Russia by Railway
8. Road Trip to Salinas, California
9. .A Night in Ashford Castle, Ireland
10. Chocolate Boutique Hotel with my Best Friends, England

I think that when I turn 30 and inherit, I'm going to quit everything I'm doing with my life and go on lots and lots of adventures. When I run out of money, I'll resume normal living.
Sorry potential children, no college for you. I'm going on adventures.