My Writing

All posts in the My Writing category

Blog theme? What blog theme?

Published April 21, 2013 by pipsqueak

writing is the hardest thing ever


to my 44 followers: thank you so much for honoring with me your attention. I am extremely grateful to you.

lately, however, I have been posting less and less. and I’m not sure what to talk about. Being, as I am, a college freshman with neurotic tendencies, a penchant for veganism and sweets, little to no good advice to give, and… I don’t know. Facing the question of “what could I possibly have to offer?” is a tricky thing, and I’m not sure what to say to myself in reply.

I guess I started this blog so that I would be forced to write things. And write I did… badly, but often. And in the time-honored tradition of sitting at the proverbial typewriter and bleeding, I count that as a victory. But lately I’ve been thinking too much, doing too much, and being really unfocused in general. That’s the thing about college: you’re so busy doing a zillion tiny tasks that the sort of meditative attitude required to let thoughts bubble up from the grab bag of your unconscious can be drowned by anxiety.

So I’d kind of been just writing about… whatever. But as much as writing exercise is great for you, I think that if you don’t have anything to say, there’s no point in trying to say something. As with any art form/thing you can do, you should probably only devote yourself to writing if you have that you are burning to tell the world.

And I do. Because I’m a human who lives on this planet, my life is interesting and rich. But I’m still figuring out what sentiments I want to communicate and how best to transmit them. And for this reason, I would like to say that this blog has been and will probably continue to be a wordy sandbox that doesn’t have much in the way of continuity and common themes. I started out with a rant about the pseudointellectuals at Philosophy club, wrote some poetry about depression, reviewed some books, wrote some less sad poetry, and then kind of froze. I’m still at a loss for what my voice should be. I’ve decided to try to keep writing, though, without too much worry about focusing on one subject, and see what happens. This post is evidence of that.

So thank you, followers, for bearing with me and reading, and I hope I will amuse you as I continue to feel around for what I should be doing. I hope to post more frequently. And if you find my unfocusedness annoying rather than edifying, I will take no offense if you unfollow.



Dream Triage (or: I’ve got 99 problems and they are my career options)

Published March 26, 2013 by pipsqueak

all hats and no naps makes jack a dull boy (via vicki caruana)

Today I felt so frozen with indecision and anxiety that I just shut down. I crawled into my bed, the possibilities for my future whirling around my head, and realized that I just can’t do everything I want to do. I just can’t.

I want to do so many things, after all! I want to direct movies, go on tour as a musician, start a non-profit, run for office, plan amazing queer dance parties, write a series of novels, go traveling, be a baker of tiny cupcakes, be a scientist on a boat floating through Antarctica. In all my dreams, I am super good at what I do. In fact, I exceptionally wonderful. I’m some sort of Natalie Portman-style wunderkind, writing beautiful poetry and feeding adorable vegan cupcakes to my crew of Arctic explorers as we circumnavigate the globe.

I’ve been a chronic dabbler my whole life, trying out every hobby and taking the most unrelated smattering of classes I can, searching for the perfect subjects for myself. And everything gives their own pleasures – the bubbly jubilance of dancing, the hard-won satisfaction of writing, the cool thrill of puzzling out a math problem. It’s great to try things out, and I’ve had a lot of fun.
It famously takes about 10,000 hours to get really good at something. And like all Plucky Young Things, I want to be really good at something! Life is hazy and directionless and difficult sometimes. If I’m going to slog through all that, I at least want my struggles to build towards something. I don’t wake up in the morning and think “gosh! how can I make myself even more milquetoast today?” Life is hard enough without the guilt of your wasted potential hanging around your head like a murky, smelly fog.

Some people are naturally really excellent at everything. You know the type, those intuitive geniuses? They treats new concepts like a Rubic’s cube: they turn it between their hands while staring intently and murmuring “hmm…. I see…”  for about two minutes and then toss it on the table, solved.

(via nj)

That’s not me. Nope. I’m the two-steps-behind student. I’m the one who gets hit in the first 25 seconds of the dodgeball game. I’m not naturally good at anything. If I’m going to make myself good at something, I’m going to have to basically slam my head against the books for multiple hours a day, for weeks on weeks on weeks. Then I might manage to get a vague feel for it. And I still have to exert massive amounts of effort in order to get any sort of finesse. This means that I have to be careful how I spend my time. I know I can go after something wonderful – the goal of learning to write powerfully and beautifully, for example – with everything I’ve got. But I don’t have time to pursue all my other dreams with equal gusto. 

I propose a sort of Triage system for dreams. I will allocate time carefully. I like writing. It seems to be my primary interest right now. So I will spend a good amount of time on that. The nice bit about writing is that it allows me a lot of flights of fancy. If I can’t pilot a boat to Antarctica, I can write about it. The other things I like to do will receive attention, but necessarily less attention, since I do not plan to pursue them as a lifestyle. This time that I’m spending on writing is time spent well, because with each clunky sentence and stillborn idea, I get a little closer to getting better at something that I care ab0ut. I want to one day write something beautiful. Until then, I will try again and again. That’s all I can do.

Put fingertips to keyboard. Wait.

Published March 4, 2013 by pipsqueak

You rummage through the storage space in your cranium, looking for some pertinent truth. You can’t really think of anything to write about. Sure, you have feelings, problems, but none of them feel distinct enough to discuss. None of the compulsions are clear enough to act on. You think of yourself as a writer. You’re supposed to have stuff to talk about. You feel a bit impotent.

And then, one day, you find a spark. Finally.

It could be anything. The sullen glance from a grubby toddler in the food court of the mall. An rerun of 16 Candles. The brush of a stranger’s fingers against your bare arm. An advertisement in the newspaper. A splotch of sunlight on a car window.  Whatever it is, it left an itch.

You feel that the Elusive Spirit of Creativity has left you with something, a tightly-curled seed. It throbs in the back of your head, a complicated compulsion needing to be expressed. It can’t just be laid out and pried open. No no no. The subtleties, the nuances of the precious idea will be lost forever. You need to cultivate it, give it time to grow.

So you plant it in rich black soil of paragraphs. You labor with patience, even though you still aren’t sure where you are going. Come out, beautiful thought! You need to be heard. Please allow me to arrange my humble letters to contain you. You make sentences, choose words, and realize they don’t fit the invisible contours of the thought within you. It’s more than words, this thought, and you have to chip away at the rough edges, add more. It’s like Michelangelo cutting away only the marble that isn’t the angel. You have so many words, you just need to lay them out and then prune the unnecessary ones until it’s perfect.

Sometimes the writing feels like you are playing Ouija with your own special ghost. Your hands float between the keys. You form words compelled by a force you don’t understand. Writing is generative, and sometimes new ideas spring from old. You are determined to make it, to give voice to your idea. You isolate yourself from the outside world, insulating yourself with scattered papers and long withdrawn periods and increasingly neglected hygiene. If you are able to birth this concept into the world, it will have been worth the now very palpable throb of loneliness in you.

You will never quite say what you meant to, although you may come close. The words themselves reshaped your ideas even as you typed them out, and now you aren’t sure exactly what your thought was in the first place. The thought is writhing within you, changing constantly. Some subtle witchery of your subconscious occurred between conception and completion. What you do have is a collection of words you don’t quite recognize as your own.

Still, it’s done, you guess. You send your writing out into the world and are surprised at what people see in it. You can’t be too concerned, though, because the questions raised while you wrote the last piece are now beating their wings against the inside of your head. It’s time to go back to the keyboard and let them out.