Thursday, November 20, 2014


Perspective. It's a weird thing. I'm typing this awkwardly, trying not to put too much pressure on my left index finger because I burned it this morning (along with some bacon) and even with the sensory information, it's kind of hard to process. It feels like I haven't slept in days, and granted, I don't think my sleeping schedule's been quite as stable as it should have been, thereby contributing to this...limbo state of awareness.

Last night, I was up until midnight trying to get more words into my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm reaching such an important moment--about to introduce a new character--so of course I'm moving forward slowwwlyyy. It's an uphill crawl.

At around 12:30 I heard sirens, and cherry lights flashed through my window. I went to bed. Then the emergency alert system siren started going, and that creepy monotone voice rang out. I figured there was maybe a fire or something up my street. I didn't get out until I heard my roommate head out to the living room and go check through the windows.

A game of telephone started, through social networks. Someone with a gun, no, someone fired a gun, by the sweet shop, no, by Landis, no, by Strozier library, no, in Strozier library. The emergency alert text message didn't say shit, just to get inside, lock the doors, don't go anywhere.

Signal suddenly went bad in my dorm room. I couldn't get any texts out or even any calls. I considered trying to get a message out on twitter or email--any way to contact my parents and say hey, if you hear any weird news about FSU, don't worry about me, I'm fine.

But my parents don't really have social media accounts, and no one was reporting anything. It took my dad two days to hear about Robin William's passing, so there was no way he or my mom would hear about a gunman at FSU before I got the chance to tell them.

So I went to bed at one something in the morning, set my alarm for ten to have enough time to shower and leave for my afternoon class, and then fell asleep.

I woke up at 8:30 with a dozen phone calls and messages and emails. Because I've bragged about falling asleep at the library and spending nights there writing essays and my own novels, my parents flipped out. I don't know how they found out at seven in the morning when there were barely any reports going around, but once they did, they texted me, called me, left me messages, called the hospital to make sure I wasn't there, called the front desk of my building to send someone up here and knock on the door, checked by blog and twitter.

And I was asleep. I woke up in enough time to call them and tell them I was fine. And to explain my silence.

Thank god I woke up before 10, or they might already have been on a flight heading over here. And then they might just have strangled me if they found me totally unharmed, just confused, and without valid reason behind my inability to answer phone calls.

Sooooo never assume the best, prepare for the worst.

It's been a weird day. My roommate and I woke up at around the same time to hear slightly more detailed news. Social media's been freaking out this entire time, and there's been slapfights with some reporters and some newspapers--but I don't even know, something about ESPN and something about New York Times picking fights. I'm too disoriented to understand.

I got emails from the front desk (dude who knocked on my door and didn't get an answer; he told me to call my mom), from the emergency alert system, an official statement from the university, and from two of my professors (Women in Lit and Zombie Film). My fiction editor even emailed everyone and asked if we want to move tomorrow's meeting to another place, like a cafe outside of school grounds. I know everyone's frightened, but it seems people are also afraid it's going to happen again within 24 hours.

My roommate went to the vigil and they did the chant, but she said it sounded lifeless, and it was so surreal. Her mom apparently kept asking her if she was okay, if she's about to panic, if she thinks she's going to cry.

And we're...okay. We're just okay. Like we've been tranquilized. 

I went grocery shopping since class has been cancelled, and on the way back, the bus passed the library. It's been sealed off by the yellow tape, and there's half a dozen news vans crowding the parking lot and adjacent street.

I'm seeing people in tumblr and twitter talk about how they could have been at the library, how they had to study or write a paper but decided to get food, how everything could have been different.

Yesterday, for my nonfiction class, I workshopped an essay I wrote about the death of a classmate back in senior year of high school. My critique group liked it. They said I did a good job at discussing the conflict between feeling too attached vs. too indifferent at a tragedy that's in your proximity, but not directly affecting you. They liked that it wasn't melodramatic, but still had a somber tone. They told me it would have also been nice to get a closer look at what I was feeling and going through, even if I didn't have any answers to the questions I posed.

Which got me to thinking: how do I react to this? I'm trying to put everything in some kind of perspective. I live down the street from the library, it's the one place I've gone to in the past because it's so serene and safe, my classmates were terrified and hurt by this. Even if only the gunman--so far--was killed, how different could things have gone? Not to mention this is the kind of crazy shit I obsesses and wonder about on a monthly basis. (No, I'm not kidding. I really do go through the occasional paranoid "what if?" scenarios). And now it's happened. And I'm safe, but others weren't. do I react?

I have no clue.

I still feel a few degrees separated from it, as I did back in 2012 when the other thing happened at my high school. I'm just not sure what I'm suppose to be doing or thinking. I kind of hate that I worried my parents so much, but at the same time, it's nice to see all the people that care. I got messages from Ren, Maria Gabriella, Emzy, and my brother, and this kind of hilarious twitter exchange between Giselle and me:

It might hit me later. Maybe I should go to another vigil. Or have Carla over, since she was suppose to be working the morning shift at the library today.  She's okay, but she'll want to talk.

I don't really know what to do.

But I hope you're safe, sound, and happy.

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