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Heh heh, about that last post

A few hours after my last post, I fell off my bike and shattered my elbow. It was a five hour surgery and now I have 14 screws and 2 plates in my arm.

 

So now this is what my days look like:

 

-I wake up and try to shower and eat breakfast with only one fully operational arm. This usually means that my hair doesn’t get washed very well, and my cereal bowl sits in the sink, unwashed.

-I watch netflix or nap. Every four hours or so, I take medicine and do arm/wrist exercises.

-My fiancé is done with work and I can see him. He checks on me and fusses over me and I feel loved and sory for not being able to do more for myself.

-I want my arm back and a job

 

Yeah.

This is what my days are like now

I moved to the same town as my fiancé, so we can get accustomed to being in a short-distance relationship before we get accustomed to the even short-distance relationship of marriage.

I figured getting a job shouldn’t be too hard; it’s a college town and a lot of students have moved out for the summer.

 

Here’s what my days are like now:

-I wake up with a slight sense of panic because I don’t have work to go to.

-I guilt myself into applying for a few more jobs online before I even shower and breakfast

-I don’t know what next to do as far as job-hunting, so I guilt myself into writing. I think this is because my mind considers writing the most comparable thing to having a job (there is still a part of me that would really like to make money from my creative efforts)

-It’s midday and I feel like I’ve done work but haven’t been productive

-I try to keep myself from going crazy by biking into town or reading my mom’s book (prepping to beta-read the sequel, almost feels productive) while waiting for my fiancé to visit

-My fiancé visits! Now I can enjoy myself without feeling guilty

-My fiancé leaves, and I try to write again before going to bed

-Sleep, repeat

 

I’m going to go crazy.

 

Post-graduation life

So, you might be wondering what my plans are.

 

I’m kinda wondering what my plans are too.

 

I have some idea. I have housing and enough savings to keep me in Rexburg for a few months, even if I don’t find a job. But I intend to find a job, of course. There is still the possibility that I’ll be invited to do student teaching for Seminary. If that does’t work out, I’ll just find something else. I hope to do some creative writing in my free time. Tomorrow I’m going to submit three short stories to my school’s literary journal. This is my last chance to submit undergrad work– probably the only real chance I have to get published for a while.

 

As far as personal projects– I don’t know how much time or energy I’ll have for them, but I do have an idea for an artwork that I can do. Also, even if I don’t publish anything, I have this goal to write a collection of short stories for myself, which I can design and arrange and print out for myself. If those things start to bore me, I might move on to making more podcasts.

 

What else… um.

 

I guess… That’s mostly it now. I can’t see very far ahead. I’m not sure what I want for my future. I want to do good things though. I want to create good things. To what end, I’m not sure.

Nearing Graduation

So… it’s been a while.

The biggest stress hasn’t been the schoolwork, but figuring out what I’m going to do after I graduate. It’s been hard coming up with solid plans. I have recently had some comfort in deciding that going home was going to be my final option, and I have enough money saved up that even if I don’t have a job guaranteed by the end of the semester, I can still stick around and look for a job. Something’s bound to come along. If not, I’ll just burn through my money as slowly as I can and go home when I can’t stay any longer. I’ve finally decided I’m willing to risk that to have a chance at becoming independent and move out of the house.

The unknown still scares me.

 

I’m beginning to feel that in so many areas I am above average but not exceptional. My art is good. It should be; I put a lot of time into art. But what I produce isn’t really worth money. I’m beginning to think the same of my teaching. My writing too. I’m still going to submit to Outlet. I promised myself I’d do that, and I have nothing to lose by it. However, I think I’ll feel better if I stopped thinking about my writing so much in terms of publication anymore and make it a hobby again. I’ll continue to write (and draw) for the rest of my life. For now, that writing’s going to be for myself and maybe friends and family. Future kids, maybe.

I’m content with that decision, but I know at some point I’m going to wish for a kind of greatness. I want to be great. Is that wrong? It certainly isn’t restful, but I suppose I didn’t sign up for restful. When is it ever enough?

 

I love life, by the way. In my studies I get to see some of the best and worst of humanity– through study and fiction. It fascinates me. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough. I want so badly to take that learning and my own thoughts and experiences and do something significant and worthwhile, something great.

 

I guess I’m just a youth with starry eyes, but I hope some good will come of that.

Follow-up on the Goal

So… workshopping your story is like ripping out part of your soul and handing it to someone else, then trying not to bleed too much while they critique it. Poor little story.

 

Because I care about my story and because I want my story to be good, I’ve taken in to the Writing Center twice, Writer’s Workshop once, I’ve had two people from class workshop it, and I’ve been to my Creative Writing teacher three times. Every time I go, he finds something new that needs work. That’s good. I wish the other resources were as helpful as him (I feel bad going to him so much, since he’s only one person and has an entire class of people to help out). Still, it gets hard, and sometimes it feels like the story will never be good enough.

 

I just want people to like it.

 

It was due for class yesterday. We turn in three stories during the semester. Once I get this one back, I’ll see what fixes I should have made to get a better grade, then I’ll workshop it with a good friend of mine when she comes to visit, and eventually I’ll submit it to the school’s literary journal, Outlet.

 

I know it seems strange that I’m going to submit something after my experience last year. I hated submitting my work. I didn’t think I should submit anything unless I truly that it was worthy of being published, which I didn’t. This time will be better because: a) I like my story better, b) I recognize this will be my last opportunity to submit undergrad work, c) I’ve already gotten a rejection letter before, so it won’t be a new experience.

 

Besides, I’ve got to work toward something. I need to have some sort of ambition, or I won’t get anywhere. I still don’t know what’s going to become of me when I graduate in April. Publishing is not the goal so much as feeling worthy and having the courage to submit the thing. That’s no small thing. It’s hard to have courage when the story never seems to get done, only closer.

 

If I were to get what I want, really get what I want, I’d be able to share the story with others and they would laugh, meditate, find understanding and clarity in the story, and ultimately end on a high note, feeling better about life. A lot of short stories I’ve read end on a low note, which I think is rather mean. I know there are disappointments in life, but I think there are more happy endings than we really believe. At any rate, I want my readers to enjoy the story. Laugh and meditate. That’s going to be the goal.

 

I’ll give you more updates on the story later. It’s called “Cracked.”

The goal

By the way, I think I should tell you that I’ve made it my goal to submit a short story to my school’s literary journal before I graduate.

This is a story I’m writing for my Advanced Creative Writing class. We’re to write three short stories this semester, and they all have to be “literary.” This means no fantasy or sci-fi and it means the work must “deal with the profundities of the human experience.” I never much cared for “literary” fiction myself, but it’s worked out pretty well so far. I think this could be one of the best short-stories I’ve produced– as far as craft and value– while still being fun. I’ve workshopped it with different people, and hearing them laugh is what gratifies me the most. Yesterday in a Writer’s Workshop, I was told that the ending was satisfying and that I paint well with words. O_O

I still have work to do, but I want to the story to be in it’s best form. Then I want to submit it for publication. I have to take this opportunity to submit undergrad work while I can. Wish me luck.

Happy 2015

I think I’m an old soul in a young body. No wonder I love life so much.

 

I’m once again in the swing of things. I’m finding opportunities to expand myself here in my school experience. It’s still difficult to consider post-graduation life when I have to work so hard just to keep up with my current workload. I have my dream calling, teaching Gospel Doctrine class every other week, and I’m writing a story for my Advanced Creative Writing class that I actually think is kind of good. I’m tired already, but I think I’ll be a better person because of this experience.

The tricky part is knowing where to spend my energy. Everything I want to do, I want to do well. Trouble is, there’s a lot I want to do. I want to be good at writing stories, good at my schoolwork, good at teaching. And so I shall be.

2014 Quote board

I like expressing myself in a private journal. Unfortunately, if I happened to create a good turn of phrase, I’m the only one who gets to enjoy it. These are some quotes I wanted to keep from my 2014 journal.

 

– I like to think that God appreciates a little witty commentary.

– Fate owes me chocolate.

– I confess the term ‘misanthrope’ came to mind.

– Stupid leaky tear ducts.

– I think becoming an artist of any kind requires some part of you to die.

– I don’t want to question the universe, but I would suggest there are a lot of missed opportunities for a good laugh by going about it this way.

– It would be nice if the muses took day shifts and left me alone at night.

– Life as a funny way of bending dreams, you know?

– I cried myself out of saltwater last year.

– Creativity: I go to a world that doesn’t exist and remember things that never happened. Then I come back and try to craft something of value.

– Clearly, I don’t know how to coddle an opportunity.

– Then I’ll be able to peak people’s interest before saying, “Well, there’s my diploma. So long guys! Venture out of your student housing sometime and find me if you want to see more!”

– I’m not envious. I’m just experiencing a friendly sibling rivalry with God’s other children, because he’s calling them to work and telling me to sit and wait.

– Talent with shaking hands and weak limbs.

– It’s a sad memory. And yet… not one to be sad about.

– I’m content to be a daisy among roses.

– I define a cynic as a dream who got cracked when reality hit her too hard.

– You would have thought I was watching Pride and Prejudice for how mushy I felt.

2014 Review

As I  doubt anything significant will happen between now and the end of the year, I think this is a good time to review 2014.

 

It’s been a reasonably significant year.

During school: I was involved in volunteer work– first a facilitator and then a coordinator in the Inspired Learning and Teaching Gateway Seminar. I took a Creative Writing class, which has helped shape my work. I also took a Senior Seminar and know what writing an eighteen-page paper is like. I also served in a church calling: Relief Society instructor, a responsibility I enjoyed. I spent time with friends and worked hard at school.

Summer: I did a some more volunteer work, seed collecting and weeding in Waterton Park. I spent time with extended family, had an adventure during a canoe trip, watched some performances at the Cardston Summer Theatre, went to the Ogden Temple Open House, and to the Open House for my two dear friends.

The rest of the year: I did some work for a ward member along with my brother. I’ve completed five colored art projects, one podcast, and one audiobook. I started five different novels, but  finished none. I completed rough drafts for six short stories (all of them inspired by or based on folktales and other literature to varying degrees), but all will require extensive work before they are done and polished.

 

All and all, a pretty good year. I wish I could have done more– or finished more, rather– but can’t complain when I stand back and look at everything.

 

I have no idea what the coming year will bring, but that’s a different post.

 

2014 Compilation

From the attic

My family doesn’t actually have an attic. But I was looking through some of the stuff I left packed away in my old room. I discovered an artwork I’d done… three or four (possibly five) years ago, but never shared. I think I didn’t like it. Which is silly. It isn’t that bad.

 

Bedtime Stories

 

 

They’re supposed to look wrapped in a sunset. Mother and daughter, reading.

Both my parents read to me. Dad read bedtime stories, picture books– usually Dr. Seuss or Graeme Base. Mom read Howl’s Moving Castle to us– two chapters a day after school. My sisters and I have read to each other. Just yesterday, Lori and I traded off reading It’s a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison. We’ve listened to audiobooks together, and I’ve even made a few audiobooks and a podcast myself. There is value in reading aloud and sharing stories.