Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tongue Tied

Now Playing:
  • Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence
  • Eagles - Hotel California
  • Pink Floyd - Welcome To The Machine
  • Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
  • Santana - Black Magic Woman
(Pandora chose to be sentimental right now)*

Last day of Creative Writing 1 was today.

Funny thing, last time I had a super awesome English professor was for ENC1102, the summer before Junior year began. Alex Perez was his name. There has never been a greater hipster than him.

In his twenties, spoke to us about Radiohead, Bob Dylan was his favorite musician, talked about and showed us terrible/awesome films and fiction, read us great poetry**, talked about every single freaking implication regarding the poem The Second Coming just because I brought it up, and did a dozen other things that solidified him (and economic's Charles) as The Coolest Professors Dual-Enrollment Ever Had.

(Plus he hung out with James Franco once--but that's just a bonus. He'd be awesome without that little piece of history).

It was he who made us read the short story The Things They Carried (not the novel), which for some reason stayed with me throughout these last two years. I bring this up because we read the first few sentences of that story in CRW2001 today. Not the whole thing (about a paragraph or two) because we didn't have time, but enough that I had a brief flashback to Summer 2011.

I don't know what impression I give in this blog, but I'm actually not someone who regrets being socially awkward. I mean, it's annoying a good chunk of the time, but once I can reach familiarity with people, I manage to get over the awkwardness and I can shrug it off. That's the case for most people, but I want to emphasize the fact that I usually don't think fuck being awkward sucks so much whyyyyyy meee.

Until I have to express gratitude, that is. Then I don't know wtf to do.

Then being awkward sucks so much whyyyy meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

In ENC1102, we had a final essay (I can't remember what the hell it was about--it might have been analyzing a movie and I wrote about The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly) which was due the last day of class. A lot of people turned it in early and some at random throughout the morning. Everyone left right away. We had no class, after all.

So you just showed up and gave the paper in to him, then promptly ran out the room.

And I've gotten used to saying to certain professors, "Thank you for everything," as a farewell. It just seems like the only appropriate goodbye.

So when I turned in my paper, I remember I exchanged a couple of quick words. He was sitting on the computer and had a pile of papers beside him. I don't know why I went in alone because I had classmates nearby, but I ran in without company, handed in my paper, said one or two words, waited for his response, then quickly added, "Goodbye, Professor. Thank you for everything." Then walked out.

And maybe I'm paranoid, but I think I saw him pause for a moment right after I spoke. Like maybe that wasn't the right thing to say, or it was out of place, or whatever.

Well the one time it would have been more than appropriate to say Thank you for everything I didn't do it. Because I don't know. This whole class has been weird. It has been really weird. I hated reading my work out loud, but I was so happy when the class analyzed the oddness that was The Magic Trick and the terribleness that was The Puppeteer. I loved critiquing people's fiction, but I hated whenever I was asked what I thought about in regards to poems. I hated being really mean about people's fiction, but I loved that my advice and opinions were always deemed valid and sometimes even insightful.

But it wasn't a mixed bag. I didn't partially hate the class and partially love it. I completely and totally loved the class and everything that came with it. I loved the hour and a half bus ride leading to it. I loved walking around downtown half an hour before 5:40 p.m. I loved sitting there laughing and understanding and analyzing. And I really liked my classmates and their insights/works. I think I'm going to miss it.

Today, when it was near the end of the class, my professor went around the room asking people what their plans were now that the semester was coming to a close. He kept emphasizing to keep in touch, to send him fiction, etc, etc. I was one of the last ones he asked. He remembered I'd applied and been accepted to FSU, and he reminded me that he knew people there. He told me to email him later so he could send me  a list of names for future reference. He said to make sure to mention him while I was up there. (Connections!) And to send him work in the future, of course.

When it was time to leave, I was one of the few people who had the final project portfolio ready since I can't turn it in next week, so I sort of lingered by his desk while people exited. A couple of my classmates gave their projects to him and then a couple others started saying goodbye to him. I was trying to think of something smart to say the whole time I was making my way to the front, but I couldn't figure out what words to use. I've never really had a class that completely uplifted and influenced me, and I wanted to be grateful for it in a way that wasn't corny but also not totally dead. I don't know--it felt like I really needed to give a good thank you, it's been a great experience.

So I gave him my folder and before I could say anything he said, "You're going to keep in touch right?"

And I said, "Yeah! [Pause. Stupid smile] Thank you."

Then I ran out.

Thank you.

Wtf was that? Thank you for what? ELABORATE YOU SILLY GIRL. THAT WAS VAGUE AS SHIT.

Jesus christ, Thank you for everything might have been stupid, but it would have been a little more.

Worst of all: how. But. Keeping in touch. But I can't even. How do. Wat.

I can't figure out how people form friendships with professors. How do you get to a point where they're not just your teachers but also your freaking mentors?

Oh shit. I just remembered. I've been tweeting about this, but I might as well write it here: He gave me free books.

Last Wednesday, he came in with three books in his hands, all which were collections of short stories from different years. It was 5:20 p.m and there were only three people in the class (Ralph and I are always the first two for some reason), so he was like, "perfect, three people," and he gave us each one copy. My edition says New Stories from The South: 2000 - The Year's Best. The other two were from the years 1999 and 2006.

We held onto them for most of the class without using them, then near the end, a girl who got a copy asked, "Wait, what do we do with these?"

And he said, "Keep them."

And I was like, "o_o O_O :O :D 8D."

But the girl paused for a moment, and he said it was okay to give it away if she didn't want it. So she awkwardly held it out and was like, "Does anyone want it?"

And I don't know why I leaped out from my chair and said, "ME ME I WANT IT."

She held it out for a second before saying, "But you've already got a book."

(That had nothing to do with anything Dx)

She ended up keeping it in the end, but our professor noticed my idiotically childlike reaction. At the end, when he was exiting the room, he turned and said, "Do you want more books like that?"

I said, "Yes!" as kind of like an involuntary reaction.

And as he was walking out the door, he said, "Just come to my office then."

But I didn't. Granted, schedule got in the way (stupid high school classes and their evil time) but even then... If I'd gone, what would I have said?

Yet it didn't even matter. He came to class today and gave me a long short story collection and a small little booklet filled with poems.

So that's why I should have said a better thank you. Because of the three books, and all the advice, and all the times I was asked for my opinion, and all the little offhand but important "because I know you're a serious writer..." comments.

I've got a lot of things to worry about as soon as this post is finished. With graduation approaching, my head is exploding with all the paperwork and school-related-worries.

But right now, even though I want to kick myself for the social awkwardness and inability to express gratitude, I can't help but feel nothing but content for the last half of my senior year.
~Becky

*Except for the last song. I've just had Black Magic Woman stuck in my head all week.


**I don't remember much of the fiction or poetry he gave us. I'm certain we read My Papa's Waltz -which oddly enough, we also read in creative writing a few weeks back--but I also especially remember this opening line to one of the poems we went through in class:

"When I see a couple of kids
And guess he's fucking her and she's
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise."
 - from High Windows by Philip Larkin

I think next to the entirety of The Stolen Child by William Butler Yeats, those lines are my favorite pieces of poetry ever.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alternatives

The day before the bombings in the Boston Marathon, I was reading through the book Escape From Camp 14. Every couple of hours, I would stop and check the time in North Korea. It's so and so hour. Prisoners in the political camps are waking up. They're in the fields. Someone is being beaten for falling behind at work. A child is dying from malnutrition. Kids are being punished for the deeds of their grandfathers. In the underground prison, someone is being tortured. Screaming. It's time to go to sleep. Guards patrol around. Every day is the same. Maybe there was an execution today.

I do that sometimes, when life sucks or it's one in the morning and I can't sleep. I close my eyes and I try to imagine what is happening in another country, through the eyes of another girl like me. My mind always drifts to places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Uganda, or Venezuela, or Mexico, or Syria, or Pakistan, or, recently, DPRK. With the latter, my stomach twists and turns because I want to reach out. I want to do something. But I can't--or more likely, I won't. And I'm left with these thoughts of, what if I was there? How much would be different? What would I fear, what would I love?

A sick twisted part of my idiotic childish self wishes DPRK would attack someplace so we could declare war. And invade. And get those people out of the camp. And win the day. Because that's how the world works, right?

When the bombings happen, all I heard about was testimonies of people. And I tried to imagine what it would have been like if I'd been there. Not running, maybe volunteering. Or cheering for people. Just another day.

And if I'd survived, how much would I have imaged all the alternatives. If I hadn't volunteered that day, if I hadn't gone walking down a particular street--all these things that no one can change and that was just one possibility of a thousand.

It hurts to imagine alternatives, but I guess it's human nature to do so. We always want to go back. We feel so helpless in the face of the present that we go crazy thinking of the past, or the world where everything was different.

I don't really have some deep thoughts or insight on what happened. I, like many, find hope in the fact that only one or a few people are responsible for the bombings, while many others were running to help those who were hurt. I won't ever lose my faith in humanity, I think.

Maybe I'll always try to hold onto hope, despite those inescapable "what ifs".
~Becky

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Universe

Now Playing:
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
  • Pink Floyd – Fearless, Hey You, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)
  • Tom Petty – Mary Jane's Last Dance
To say I’ve spent the last few hours trying to think of a speech will be a lie. I’ve actually been thinking about me and my twisted relationship with relationships.

I think the progress of friendships has gone kind of backwards for me. This is what’s supposed to happen: friendship is easy when you’re a kid. You run, you play, you love each other because cartoons are the best thing ever and homework sucks. Then middle school rolls around, hormones kick in, and you find your voice and your differences. And sometimes your friends and you are one, and it’s childish fun at one point, then total chaos in the other. Wartime catastrophe doesn’t hit till high school. Then the fights are big. You scream, you yell, you say you’ve been best friends forever and now you’re “changing.” The friendships that hold are great, though. They’re deep. Rooted. They keep your heart beating even in the worst of times. (Useless note: Giselle has me paranoid, I can’t tell if that’s the right “worst” or if it’s “worse”).

When I was little, I didn’t have friends. Not one. The school I went to—co-owned by my parents and relatives, created by my grandmother—had a little over 100 students, grades pre-k to 6th. I didn’t have any friends at all for the first few years of my life. I sat alone at recess, was always late to class, and never wanted to go to school.

It wasn’t until later in third grade that I made friends with a girl named Erika. We were best friends. Every now and then someone else would drift in and out of our friendship as a temporary third Musketeer. But at the core, it was just the two of us. Those were the years of drama. When we were together, we were inseparable. I wanted her to be my sister. But sometimes we clashed because I took my stories too far, and I was a sensitive little girl who cried at everything. There were a ton of fights, both moral based and emotionally driven, and some tearful and dramatic reconciliations. One time we went months (or weeks—time is slower in my memory) without talking, then, against everyone’s opinions, became best friends again.

Erika was my friend through mid elementary school. When I came to America, I had Carolina, Grecia, Montserrat, and then Maria Gabriella and Chabely in fifth grade. It split. I could get into ugly fights with Carolina. Sometimes with Chabely.  Huge battles between Monserrat and Grecia vs. Carolina. But Maria Gabriella and I stuck together without shred of battle. She and Carolina were simultaneously my Best Friend(s).

Then we went to different middle schools.

(Maria Gabriella and I eventually reunited again in high school, and it’s just about an easy friendship as it always has been).

So…middle school. That took a turn for the worse. I’m not done living my life, but it’s been the suckiest years so far. That happens when you make friends with one of the most beautiful girls in school because she’s new and you two ride the bus together. The first waves of bullying (not to her, to me) and sexual harassment (not to me, to her) and fights (all from me, for her) came with that friendship. Sixth grade, Ayelen called me her sister and I did the same. Then I met Erika, not the same girl from before, but oddly enough, also from Quito, Ecuador. We liked to pretend we were cousins. There was also Alex, Maria, and Lauren, who were with me during a couple of classes and all together during third period, dance.

Middle school friendships took an ugly turn. There was a balance at time. Boys were friends not enemies. Mario and Antuan, Jose—who remains the funniest guy I’ve ever known—Manuel, Piggy.

And Karen spent a lot of time with me too. We were in the middle of “best friends” and “good friends.”

But sometimes hanging around Ayelen (pronounced Ashlyn) was more trouble than it was worth, and I always wondered what it’d be like to break off that friendship. But she was sweet and energetic, and her outsider drama kept school interesting. It was a nice friendship with Erika, but she took a turn for the promiscuous when I was in seventh and she was in eighth. During that time, I was under the delusion that being sexually or romantically active was “bad” and “immoral” because I was judge-y as shit. But it didn’t make me hate her, I just missed her. 

(Like Erika, Ayelen was a year older than me, and she left to the high school I am attending now and spent two years there. We reunited once, when we had Geometry honors together. But then she left after her sophomore year, and I wasn’t sad. I was happy that she was still her flirty, go lucky, unabashed self. And that I was somehow taller than her.)

With Maria, Alex, and Lauren (or whatever the hell her name was), we went gossipy mean girls to Maria because Lauren hated her (don’t know why). No fights to her face. No fights with Ayelen or Erika. Everything was either hidden or internal.

After Lauren drifted, Maria and I grew closer.  She was my third (technically fourth) best friend. I wrote The Night Kingdom for her. She wrote Violet for me, and, a year later, Labels. When she moved away mid seventh grade, I wasn’t even sad, I was just angry. It wasn’t fair to separate us.

What I regret the most is the way I treated Maria while hanging out with Lauren. And that I never took a photograph with her. As far as I know, she doesn’t have a facebook, twitter, or anywhere I can find her. But even if I could contact her, I fear I wouldn’t know what to say. So instead I hope that one day, when/if Enkindled With Chains (novella) is published, she’ll find it somewhere in a bookstore and see her last name belonging to my character, the professor. And she’ll know I never forgot about her.

A string of friendships happened simultaneously in seventh grade, starting with an oddball anime-loving girl who wore a military jacket and carried her hair down at all times. On Valentine’s Day, Steph pulled her hair back in a ponytail, went to school without a jacket, and a pink little lacy necklace around her. She was even stranger on Valentine’s Day, and the next day, she claimed not to remember what had occurred during that 14th of February.

We had math together and she invited me to an end of the year party. I was excited for eighth grade. Then I got yanked out of Ruben Dario and sent to an A+ school with preppy kids and nice lawns.

Eighth grade there were no fights or resentments. Again there’s a list of names I can pull out, but there was Valentina, sixth grader Salome, and up and coming rockstar Danny (Daniella). And the best friend. Yaziris. Crazy and odd. Skipped class when she wanted but wasn’t a trouble maker. During middle school, I liked showing people my writing, so she read Still Life (back then called The Band) and jumped up and down like a maniac when Kim (named Jane) and Logan (named Kyle) kissed for the first time. Because I was innocent, it too was a really innocent book in terms of sexuality. I couldn’t show or even imply the possibility of two characters having sex. But underage drinking, drug abuse, and suicidal themes? That was okay.

I was still speaking to Maria during eight. Through the phone, but especially through snail mail, which I will always miss. Yaziris and I wrote her a novella with dual narration about a girl (named Erica) and a boy (Adrian) in a facility for suicidal teens. I actually don’t remember the name because it wasn’t typed. Yaziris started it in a piece of paper, which we stapled to a composition notebook and sent it off to Maria through the mail. I could be mistaken, but I think maybe it was called The Apple Tree. All in all, it was a sweet little romance. Quirky and funny with dark conversations. Whiplash moods in every scene. Black comedy. In return, Maria sent me Labels.

With Yaziris cheering at my side, I began to plan my first dark, gritty, epic sci-fi novel. Redemption. However, in the lose leaf papers, Yamazaki Hitomi was eighteen, her father in his forties, and there was a love triangle. In the summer I realized forty was young, love triangles sucked, and war was no place for a kid. She was twenty-seven when ninth grade began. Yaziris left to Puerto Rico. There were emails for a while, to her and Maria, but they stopped too.

High school. There’s so many names, so many groups, so many people whom I can call friend or at least “close acquaintance” that trying to list it here will make everything explode. And aside from one little bit of drama that sprouted out from last year to this then ended in a whimpering poof of a candle’s flame, everything’s fine. There are people who have their own dramas, their own fights. They’re entering that angry stage of drifting and uniting. Finding each other and tearing apart. Some people move, some others come. And even the ones who say, “I don’t care” are smack dab in the middle of the fights and the tears. It splits between the artistic kids and the dual enrollment kids. No fights for me. Mild arguments on behalf of others, but never a fight.

It’s easier now with most people. Easy laughs and happy conversations. I shout a lot in the cafeteria because it’s the only way to stay energetic over the wave of chatter. I’ve turned to being more theatrical with friends and more conversational with acquaintances. I won’t name anyone because it’s too imminent. I can’t detach myself and observe them. And I like looking back at my friendships. There’s nostalgia—the happiness that lulls me away to the most peaceful of states.

I’ve been trying to figure out what changed since the battles of elementary, through the suppressed anger of middle school, to the mild easy content of high school.

And it’s because I grew indifferent. I stopped fighting back.

I think that’s meant to be some sort of triumph, but it isn’t. Because in growing indifferent to fights, I didn’t realize I was stumbling into shitty friendships and not pulling away because, meh, whatever.

There are two right one.

One, the pathological liar. The one in my school, not the chick from the roleplaying forum who apparently had everything: hot incest, bad incest, rape, abusive step father, neglecting mother, gang affiliations, liberated sex life, underage drinking, drugs, cutting, several suicide attempts, etc.

But the school one. Infuriates me. And I’m not the only one. There are people in this world who try to be philosophical and succeed. Then there are people who try to be philosophical, are horribly cheesy, but it’s cute and true to an extent. Then there are people like her, whose philosophical musings make me want to barf out rainbows. And that’s not to mention the way in which she holds herself in class. Everything she does—overloaded attempts at being funny, quirky, and a tortured but intellectual soul—do not go unnoticed. When my classmates complain about her, I can’t help but agree. Even my English teacher gets annoyed at her.

And she’s been terrible to me. Because I’ve been upset about things then bitched at by her, because she’s Never Wrong and I have no right to be anything but tragically yet beautifully sad or happy-go-lucky.

She’s the one who was a bitch to a girl who lost her mother, because she “didn’t like her attitude.”

Because when you lose your mother, you have no right to be disagreeable. Apparently.

Yet I laugh with her. We were super close in sophomore year and I worried about her life and her made-up past. I worried about it so much I sometimes remind her of things she said because her past sometimes doesn’t match with her present. But hey, we don’t question that.

And the second. Also met her in sophomore year. Used to give me cookies for my birthday. Always worried she felt worthless because we share the same plights of Bad Student Syndrome. Her parents are crazy, punish her for odd things. In brief conversations, I’ve come to realize moving about was not a good experience for her. She longs for the friendships that lasted years, since you’re a wee toddler to a Big Kid.

But she’s aggressive, and I’ll never know why. She throws insults my way. She threw little rocks at my face once. It’s like she’s my baby cousin, Martin, ignorant to the weight of her words and actions, simply carrying on until morality evolves into her being.

It’s little things that keep me attached to her. Little things like the cookies she used to make. The worries she shares while she drives me to college or home. The encouragements she threw my way so I would apply to UCLA or Berkley so I wouldn’t go to a school with Stupid People. The fact that my profile picture on her phone is a photograph of a fountain pen and a notebook.

And when she insults me, it’s not a big deal because I don’t make it a big deal. Most of the time, I make a joke, shrug. The other times, I’m passive aggressive against the two of them. Observe a conversation that took place in AP Economics between Pathological Liar and Me.

“Hey Becky…do you ever feel like…the world’s just spinning out of your control?”
“Nope.”

And I hummed a happy little tune to myself and kept on scribbling down notes.

So if I can have friendships that come easily, without pain or conflict, why do I remain with people so prone to throwing me into anger?

And what was it about Friday that broke that streak?

Despite what I said yesterday, the words of that girl didn’t make me question myself in terms of “I am nobody. I have nothing worth saying.”

It made me question the reasons behind holding theses…whatever relationships. Why have I done that? Try to hold onto something that can’t even be called a friendship?

Writing this has calmed me down from all the anger I felt yesterday. I don’t have hateful words stuck in my throat anymore. There’s no weight on my chest. I want to shrug my shoulders now and say, “well whatever. It passed.”

But I have to stop. I don’t ever want to drift to elementary me who fought about every little thing with the closest friend I’ve ever had, but I don’t want to have to go through little bursts of anger because I forgive infuriating people and find myself constantly pulled back to worthless friendships.

I don’t want to be incredibly dramatic, but I also am content where I am now with the people I’ve met. I know it’s the happiest I’ve ever been regarding acquaintances and friends because names keep popping up in my stories. There are names and personalities influenced by those around me, written into my fiction as a secret little display of admiration.

So why let two people ruin that? It’s time to let go.

I’m frightened about college because I don’t understand the pattern. What comes after carefree friendships with constant joy during adolescence if what started it all were erratically dramatic but epically complicated and triumphant friendships of childhood? Do I go back to square one, except this time it’s blissful solitude rather than painful loneliness? It seems a possibility, but I doubt it. I doubt every possibility popping into my head.

I guess it’ll depend where I am in the next few years, or who I turn out to be.
~Becky

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Human Spirit and Our Future

Now playing:
  • Led Zeppelin - Bron-Yr-Aur
  • Three Dog Night - One
I've been up since five because of a volunteer thing, but now that I'm home and I'm fighting off sleep, I'm trying to come up with ideas for the speech. This video that John Green made a few days ago has been kind of stuck in my brain for a now. It's about the book Escape from Camp 14, which I will hopefully go out and find later today.

This is the video, which I recommend seeing because John Green always does a pretty good job at introducing thought provoking ideas or discussions with just the right hint of inspiration. I have a couple of problems with some of his earlier novels (first two, basically), but he's a great writer, and it shows in almost everything he does.

Anyways, I guess I like the fact that he acknowledges that the human spirit is fragile and that no one is born with some profound wisdom or moral values regarding the human spirit. And I want to speak about it too.

But how?

I told my parents about my idea yesterday (write the speech and have Anthony read it for me) and they seemed actually really supportive. I'm glad that they see value in my writing and don't need me to be up and showy about it to be proud of me.

With that conversation, my mom told me I really should write about the future because we're graduating. Reminiscing about the past is just a little overdone and either way, nothing can be done about it. It's done.

So I'll keep the focus on the future. And I want to reference the fragility of the human spirit.

But what what what can ever be said? "We're fragile. We'll make mistakes...BUT PUSH THROUGH BECAUSE SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION."

(I'm sorry I keep going back to that. It's just the phrase that pretty much encompass everything wrong with uplifting speeches).

This feels like I'm writing a How To Guide on the skill of being pretentious. I know ten years from now--or wait, no, like, two years from now--I'm going to read back on this and cringe. I'm sorry Future-Becky, but I want to try. I don't know why.

Maybe I'm really shallow like that.

Alternative: giving advice is silly. Instead, I ask them for a favor.

(That sounds even sillier--I'll forgive myself for this eighty years from now)
~Becky

Friday, April 12, 2013

Crafting Something Meaningful (and possibly failing)

Now Playing:
  • Pink Floyd - The Great Gig In The Sky
  • Billy Idol - Don't You Forget About Me
There's no such thing as a valedictorian at my school. Why? Apparently a kid committed suicide a few years back because he didn't quite reach the top (or maybe this was a rumor--I dun know) so the whole title was eradicated.

Not that it makes any sense now because there's only one kid who is going to Stanford and is basically higher than 1% of the class (IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE). He's pretty much the definition of valedictorian and no one can or will deny that.

It also sucks because there are probably kids who've been gunning for that position for ages. According to my AP Environmental teacher, years ago there was a kid who--since he was probably in sixth grade--dreamed of being valedictorian, studied like mad to get to the point, and a month before graduation, was promptly told the position doesn't exist. That sucks.

But anyways. Point is: there's no valedictorian, so there's no mandatory speech from this mystical person. I think the only one who's going to be forced to make a speech is the student council president, and I have no clue who that girl is (I know her gender, at least?) so that's not important.

Plot twist: turns out at a senior meeting (that I missed because American Lit is more important) it was announced that anyone can submit a speech. The top three best ones will be read at the graduation ceremony.

A lot of people think it's stupid, and I guess I agree to an extent. I think it's an important tradition to have the valedictorian speak out to his or her fellow students. It breaks my heart a little bit to know this won't happen, especially because I know the valedictorian and he's smart in a very non-pretentious way. A little corny, maybe, but really down to earth. I wanted to hear what he had to say and now I doubt he wants to make one.

But seeing as how there are very few people who actually want to do it, and seeing as how I will (hopefully) in the (far off) future make a living as a writer, I think I want to try.

This could backfire. One, I suck at reading out loud. If my creative writing class was graded purely on our abilities to read work out loud, I'd be failing. Not even a D. Straight up F. It ain't nerves. I've danced in front of crowds and can usually wing my way out of presentations. But reading my work out loud? HAHA.

Two, I get discouraged really easily. This morning, I was discussing the possibility with a friend and a whatever-she-has-been-maybe-friend(?). The last girl isn't exactly a nice person, or a particularly good friend 80% of the time. Since I met her sophomore year, she's sprouted so much insults my way I wonder why I've stayed with her for all this time. (That's bullshit, I know why. It's because she's not a Cartoon Mean Girl set on world domination; we're all riddled with insecurities, flaws, hardships, and so much material for sympathy that I can't ignore it and hate her no matter what). This morning was no different. It's going to sound like I'm making it up, but she was kind enough to let me know I've never accomplished anything and lived an inexperienced high school life, and so, I had no business making a speech. She said that asking who I was to anyone on the street would elicit the reaction, "who the fuck is that bitch?"

No. Seriously. Word for word. It sounds like I'm making it up. But she said that.

And after sitting there tongue tied, regretting buying her a birthday present, trying to spin it into something funny--as I always do with her--and only coming up with a response when I was halfway to class, I figured maybe I didn't want to do the speech. I wanted to just forget the whole thing because all I could imagine was my classmates staring off with the light of their eyes dimming, the teachers checking their watches, the entire first row bobbing their heads away while locked in a feeble struggle to fight off sleep. And me stuttering through the whole thing so that not one word was understood.

But then I remembered I'm really not going to see any of these people again as soon as graduation lets out, so, meh.

The biggest problem of all isn't impending embarrassment, although it's not unrelated to that.

If I do write a speech that doesn't suck, and if it does get picked to be one of the three, and if it does somehow become understandable to my classmates (either because I actually read it clearly or because I get Anthony* to do it for me) then I don't want it to be boring.

I don't want to tell them that this is the time for mistakes, or that screwing up is inevitable and we can push through and survive, or that success is a road not a destination (barf). I don't want to tell them that they have to believe in themselves, how it feels like we walked into high school yesterday (because fuck no that was not "just" yesterday. It's been a long fucking time). I don't want to spin it around and make it about my experience because I feel like that's only a privilege the valedictorian should have. And either way, I want to say something that will actually  make them think for a little while. I doubt I'll have some long lasting impact on their lives, but I want there to be some sort of meaning, even if it's for all of ten seconds.

I want to avoid all cliche--especially quoting something--but I know they're not all bad. So a balance? Avoidance? I want to say something (hypothetically--I may not actually read out the speech) but do I have anything worth saying?

I don't know what'll happen.If I can think of something smart, then maybe I'll go through with it.
~Becky

P.S: Good news, I finished my first screenplay ever. It is fourteen pages long, for AP environmental science, terribly cheesy, but apparently, not as impossible as previously imagined. After Ataraxia (85k, bitches!!! it's actually not that impressing compared to other writers) I'll head to Hurricane Girls (and Anne's story, of course).

*He's a politician in the making. He'll have to get used to this eventually.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Now Playing:
  • Pink Floyd - Nobody Home
  • The Beatles - Carry That Weight
  • The Who - We've Got Fooled Again and Pinball Wizard
  • Ten Years After - I'd Love To Change The World*
There's so much crap I have to get through or my acceptance to FSU is gonna get revoked (DON'T FAIL X AND Y CLASSES) but this needs to be documented.

A girl in American Literature go the idea a few weeks ago to put together a little packet from the writers in the class so we could analyze it like we do all other works. My professor had us send her some of our works, which she printed and stapled together for everyone in class.

My work didn't get too many comments, except maybe from a girl who didn't like it because she thought it was "gruesome"  for some reason. I found that a little ironic considering there was a story in the packet about a serial killer cannibal who almost raped a girl. Mine was just about a jerk father, but what do I know?

The hilarious thing about today's class only occurred because one of my classmates was just so goddamn proud of his short story. It's not a bad story, and I liked the voice well enough, especially because he seemed to be trying to pull a J.D. Salinger, but it got really...really silly.

I've never seen anyone analyze and praise their fiction so much. I understand being humble is not inherently a good thing, but this guy was all over the place.

"I switched the tenses because I thought it was a really skillful and efficient way to..."

"And then this line right here, *I walked away feeling like twenty dollars* it's so brilliant! Because like you know how you say *I walked away feeling like a million dollars* well not here, here it signifies all about..."

"It was so controversial the original ending. Because that's how life is, y'know? Nothing happens? Shit just stops? That was the brilliance of the piece..."

"[After he reads us an entire section, which, btw, no one else in the class had done] See I just love that paragraph, it's so perfect."

"And this is my favorite line, because, god, if I could say it to a girl--I should say it to a girl: *She smiled as she spoke, the most adorable form of multitasking*. Isn't that great?"

And he went on how all writers pretty much write from their experiences, and how he really wasn't in a good place when he wrote that story, and how it's such a reflection about himself as a person, etc, etc.

When it was my turn to speak and I said I don't ever write about myself because I'm really freaking boring and I think there are more interesting stories out there he eventually picked up the conversation again and tried to defend himself.

"Oh well yeah, it's not exactly about me, because, like, I don't live in a hotel room..."

Sigh. Oh child.

Like I said, he's not a bad writer, and I didn't exactly dislike him for the constant praise he gave himself. It was just so odd. I'm kind of glad my face was hidden away by a computer, I couldn't stop laughing.

He did seem to like my Magic Trick story, which brought me a little "hooray!" because people in the class thought it had a good voice. That made me all happy; I'm usually srsly worried at times that the story's too boring, but it's proven to be rather surprising. I'll see where it takes me.

*~*~*~
On other news, I'm writing my first screenplay because of AP Environmental. My friend Giselle (same one who found this blog because I DON'T KNOW STOP IT) managed to draw out and write a pretty brilliant storyboard so I'm following it as I write. My formatting is all over the place, and my dialogue is intentionally corny but it may not be coming out as *intentional*, so I've got my shares of problems. Either way, it's keeping me busy. I'm at 85k on Ataraxia, wrote the traumatizing scene involving Sonya, and am planning a sci-fi story called Hurricane Girls (working title).

That last one's also meant to be a screenplay. Basic premise is: Two girls in some far off planet, system, whatevez, encounter a desolated, non-functioning spaceship. The girls don't have names yet, so for now they're Blue and Red, and they don't meet till a little while into the story. Blue, as a proficient mechanic, gets to go around getting the systems back online and fixing up the power sources. She activates the Artificial Intelligence of the ship (probably called Hamlet from an old attempted story of mine) and sees if she can get the whole thing functioning.

Meanwhile, Red is off being whimsical and stuff, and she accidentally finds out that the spaceship was originally meant to search and find The Earth That Was, but the mission went south before it even took off. Red and Blue know very little about Earth, just that it was the origin of all human kind but was eventually abandoned for more sustainable worlds. It's been hundreds of years since anyone's been back there.

(Then my antagonist might be something called The Guardian but I'm not saying much on this bit because it might get cliche as shit. So I guess we'll see!)

That idea was originally completely different. During Spring Break, I saw The Breakfast Club for the first time and was really tempted to write about two complex teenage girls bonding and interacting with one another. Then I got hit with the science fiction side while listening to Pink Floyd's Us and Them.

I like it more as sci-fi.
~Becky

P.S: YES! SQUEE! I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS SONG FOR FOREVERRRR SINCE I SAW THE BOYS DON'T CRY TRAILER. AHHHHH
(by that I mean the last song on the now playing)
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.