Saturday, March 27, 2010


Apparently there are other flying objects in the blogosphere (unmanned and otherwise). And one of them landed on my blog this past week. Haleyknitz, who blogs The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Object. She didn't say if she liked Neon Trees' "Animal," but she did say she liked me. In fact, she gave me a blog "award."

Now, the apron makes me a little nervous. Nervous, but still flattered. Thank you, Haleyknitz, for stopping by.

There was a list of questions that came with this award, that I believe are meant to be answered in one word. And we all know how I love lists. Here it goes.

Your Cell Phone? beat up (pretend that's hyphenated) 
Your Hair? short
Your Mother? quilt-y
Your Father? smart
Your Favorite Food? steak
Your Dream Last Night? twisted
Your Favorite Drink? Diet Coke
Your Dream/Goal? Phd, Mrs on the side
What Room Are You In? it's a studio apartment. . .
Your Hobby? craftiness
Your Fear? stairs
Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? PhD
Where Were You Last Night? CTA
Something That You're Not? patient
Muffins? poppyseed
Wish List Item? speakers
Where Did You Grow Up? Utah
Last Thing You Did? watch Man v. Food
What Are You Wearing? pjs
Your TV? Hulu and Netflix
Your Pets? Sophie
Friends? family
Your Life? good
Your Mood? wouldn't you like to know
Missing Someone? always
Vehicle? feet, CTA
Something You Aren't Wearing? socks
Your Favorite Store? bookstore (any bookstore)
Your Favorite Color? depends on the day
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? tonight
Last Time You Cried? after I laughed
Your Best Friend? Anna
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? church
Facebook? right now
Favorite Place To Eat? Nevins

Thursday, March 25, 2010

my friend Josh

I see a theme developing here. Hmm. . .

So when I'm home alone, I keep tucking bobbypins into my bangs (to keep my bangs out of my face). The result is Barbara Walters-ish, Hilary Clinton-ish, I'm too young to die-ish.

This was not the point of this post.

Josh and I were 19 together, but more importantly, we were 19 in London together. If you think that sounds like the beginning of a Jack Weyland novel, well, it probably is. Maybe I should write it. But not this time.

Eight years ago, I was 19 and in London for the first time. I love London. Love London. Will always love London. Am scheming ways to have someone pay for me to go back to London.

Again, not the point.

Josh and I took a stroll down memory lane. Except it was with Josh, who always stops to dance and sing on random street corners. And in the process of tripping down time, we came up with the name of another guy on the study abroad. We were chatting on Facebook, so once we figured out the last name, we both looked him up and found a photo album labeled "London 2002." I tabbed through the photos, not suprised to not see my face in any of them--Unnamed Male and I didn't hang out, except at the dining table in my flat where I quizzed him on what a [something] major was doing on a study abroad with a bunch of theatre and English majors.

Photo album. I was happy just idenitifying the places, when Josh asked if that was us in a picture in front of a castle. I had already passed the picture, so I went back. And it was very clearly Josh--because in my mind, Josh is 19, and, well, there were only four guys on the trip. But I couldn't decide if it was me. I'm pretty sure I was 19 once, but was that me at 19?

I studied the picture for a while. And I'm honestly still not sure. As much as I love London, as at home as I feel in that city, that trip feels foreign now. Except

I've been remembering things lately, stories from that trip. There are a few stories I always tell--reading Shakespeare aloud, Kimball insisting that the only thing worth indulging in was food, seeing Ion performed in a black box theater--but there are smaller stories, and, more importantly, real people that I connected with a long time ago.

I friended Unnamed Guy, with a note that said, "We went to London together eight years ago."

Unnamed Guy wrote back.

a picture of Josh and me, 19 and in London

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

my friend Jim

My friend Jim has excellent taste. In everything. Books, movies, clothes, music. Everything that matters.

Jim has a blog, which is one place I turn for cultural enlightenment. And when Jim tells me to listen, I obey. And when something Jim says is this good, I pass it on.

Thanks Jim.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

this won't make sense. but you didn't come here for that.

I've always thought of myself as a sad person. Not depressed--although I've definitely been there--but sad. Not happy. I can't, well, for lack of a better word, spaz out in uncontrolled joy the way Lauren or Anna can. And sometimes I want to.

I was so excited yesterday to hear Stephen got into med school. So happy that I started crying as I walked down the street. So happy that I started thinking about what this would mean for him and his little family. And then, because I'm selfish, I thought about what this would mean for the extended families. And then

Well, you saw what happened. I started worrying that Stephen will successfully enter and complete med school, while I'm waiting to get into a PhD program. And suddenly--or not so suddenly--I'm worried that I'll die alone, without a PhD to keep me warm at night.

People talk to me as though I have this figured out. BA, MA, MFA, Chicago. And I really want to scream, "This wasn't the plan." And then whisper "Dammit," just for the drama.

If I'm being honest, a graduate degree was never the plan. I thought I'd get married by the time I wrapped up my BA. And this isn't why I'm sad--that's just who I am--I'm actually pretty satisfied with my single state of existence, even though everyone tells me I shouldn't be. But how else would I have been able to veer so completely off-track and still be headed forward?

I keep trying to erase this post, because it's not coming out the way I meant it to. I'm not sure what I meant, but this sure as hell isn't it.

Here's the thing: On Valentine's Day, I was in stake conference, listening to talks about love and commitment. And while the entire stake went googly-eyed sitting around me, I realized that I can't worry about that marriage relationship right now. It's distracting from what I want to do right now, what I'm supposed to do right now, which is write. Write, dammit. Since Feb 14, I've been more satisfied with my life than I ever have been before. (Some of that might be because I discovered TNT's Leverage, but I'm chalking most of it up to this realization.)

So the sadness. It's not really sadness. It's being serious and a little shy and probably too invested in this world I'm trying to create for myself. I used to be so ready to take on the world. And now I feel like I've been disappointed enough, I've taken my dose of humility, and I know that rushing the world doesn't mean that you'll meet the life you were expecting. You have to meet the world halfway--which means both of you have to move.


Joshua Radin just sang, "I should know who I am by now." Funny. I was just thinking the same thing.

from The World to Come, Dara Horn

Remember the story you learned as a child: When the hour arrives for us to proceed to the next world, there will be two bridges to it, one made of iron and one made of paper. [. . .] The wicked will run to the iron bridge, but it will collapse under their weight. The righteous will cross the paper bridge, and it will support them all. Paper is the only eternal bridge. Your purpose as a writer is to achieve one task, and one task only: to build a paper bridge to the world to come. (84)

words are hard

and I'm distracted.

and I'm at work. But I've had a hard time focusing since, oh, 8:45 a.m. when I got on the bus to go to work. Work starts at 8:30 a.m. (Don't worry, they're flexible).

The news: Sven will beat me to Dr. Jenkins. Or, my brother is smarter than your brother. Or, Sven got into the U's med program. Placing bets on how long before someone buys him one of those baseball hats that are half-Y, half-U.

I already fulfilled my promise to buy him this when he got into med school. The power of positive thinking.

Prior to this news (which I got in bits and pieces last night from various family members), I was already aiming for the U's PhD program in Lit and Creative Writing. Third time's the charm, right?


Anyway. Before I do that, I have to take the GRE again. Not the GRE Lit (which I killed). The GRE GRE. I've already abandoned all hope where math is concerned. Two grad degrees in English don't really facilitate math skills (said the "accounting specialist"). But the verbal. I did okay last time. This time, well, I want to kill. So now I'm reviewing analogies and antonyms and sentence completions (doesn't scan, but oh my). And super-sizing my already-healthy grasp of the English language.

I have learned one thing:

words are hard.

Forget multiple choice. I'm going to go write me a poem.*

*After I return to my regularly scheduled job. Spreadsheets, here I come!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

happy endings

I like them. I know I'm supposed to relish the tortured artist, this world imperfect is kind of vibe, but (right now) I just can't do it.

I want a happy ending.

I've watched a few movies recently that promised to be artistically inspiring. I suppose they were. In fact, I'm positive that for most people they were.

I just wanted my happy ending.

This is the point in the conversation where I usually yell at Lauren for not appreciating a story line or a narrative arc or a performance or. When I tell my students that "I didn't like it" isn't a valid response to a conclusion. You have to speak in paragraphs, people. You have to say why you didn't like it.

There are no happy endings.

Aislin had that written on her wedding cake: "There are no happy endings, because nothing ever ends." Luckily, these movies ended. Unluckily, they didn't end happily. I've taken to watching a TV show with a fairly satisfying contained arc each episode with love and hugs and do-good-ness abounding. Happy.

But artistically unsatisfying.

I know this isn't fair. I don't write happy poems. I don't want to write happy poems. But I also don't believe that my poems are leaving people hanging. Especially when they're expecting a happy ending.

I shouldn't expect a happy ending.

Lower my expectations. That's the answer. Or watch movies where everything ends happily for the good and not happily for the bad.

Who decides good and bad? Or happy and unhappy, for that matter?

Unhappy: killing off the main character for no apparent reason just because the movie is over.

Really unhappy: giving that character an unnecessary head wound.

No head wounds in my poetry. I'm safe for now. And off to finish the night with something trivial. Which isn't happy, but probably also won't end.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

things we need to talk about

I have been putting this off.

See, there are stories I can tell you. About losing my keys and finding them in the fridge. About the worst haircut, and how it resulted in the best haircut and a conversation about how all art needs a solid foundation before you trash it (she was talking about hair, I was talking about poetry). About recording poetry for my workshop, and the shock of hearing yourself reading your poetry. About the greater shock of my prof putting the damn thing on repeat.

About the branch president signing up on Facebook and friending everyone and the serious pause I gave, because I refuse to change what I post.

About five really good poems this quarter that I now need to find homes for.

About some of the greatest friends in the world sending me the greatest mail in the world. Real mail. Remember what that looks like?

About the candy bar that will change your life. And not just when you go up a few dress sizes.

About the sheer madness of working with numbers when you don't like numbers but everyone thinks you must like numbers. Also, your boss calling you "Mom."

About the weird shift from first to second person in this post.

About the weird shift from first to second person in my poetry.

About needing answer several emails, which have been put off with this blog post.

About giving up Diet Coke for Lent, until I remembered that I'm not Catholic (and the waitress brought me my weekly Diet Coke before I could tell her no--and then I refused to give it back).

Really I should be writing right now. Not a blog post. But actual real-live letters. Or better yet, real-live poems.

Or maybe I should just take a walk.

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