Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Are Sneakers and Sports Bras Necessary?

Today I went on a bike ride around the cute neighborhood across the street from my house. Now before you get a picture in your head of me wearing a pair of fancy sneakers, exercise shorts, and a sports bra while hunched over my handlebars and grunting, I guess I should clear a few things up.

I am not serious when it comes to exercise.

I tend to forgo the proper shoes and just wear flip flops. I ride around leisurely (not huffing and puffing) noticing the squirrels with acorns in their cheeks, the men repairing dilapidated roofs, and the shapes of clouds. I listen to the music on my phone, but I don't wear earbuds--I just let whomever is around me hear what I'm hearing.

I'm sure in comparison to the other folks in the neighborhood, I look like I'm 12 years old and like I don't take my "workout" time seriously. Everyone else I saw today was wearing an actual workout outfit, actual Nikes, and a stern expression--like if he or she didn't burn the proper amount of calories, life simply would not go on. Me, I looked like I was just pondering a Wednesday afternoon, one hand on the handlebar of my beach cruiser and the other reaching out to grab the breeze.

Does this count as exercise? I'm sweaty as I type this, and I feel relaxed. It definitely counts. So why does everyone else act so serious about a simple walk, jog, or ride? Am I just weird for watching the squirrels?

Or are they weird for ignoring them?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In Bloom.

In elementary school, one of my science projects involved playing different kinds of music to flowering houseplants and noticing whether they preferred rock n roll, classical or rap. (They loved the classical tunes the best!)

I think that's when my love for flowers and plants first appeared.

So, I've decided on a new project: I'm going to grow some flowers. I mean, I've always craved flowers around me (to the point where I even bought a bouquet for myself at the beach over the weekend) so why not foster my love for them and grow them?

Tonight I met my friend Teresa for a drink and we discussed venturing to a plant nursery this weekend so I can pick out some hearty blooms. I'm excited.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life: Another Mini-Story.

Long ago, when I had a MySpace blog (remember that?) I wrote about the night that I bought a vegetable that seemed to be a zucchini, yet ended up being a cucumber when I started dissecting it on the cutting board.

This is a metaphor for life, I wrote at the time. Things are so surprising. 

Well, the other night it happened again. This one was even weirder if you can believe it.

I was at the Poetry Society's final evening of the '11-'12 season. I ventured to the powder room before the show started and the lights were off. It was pitch black in the restroom (which is a single) and I groped for the switch. No dice. The light remained absent.

Ok, I thought to myself, I really have to pee. So I dug out my keys and turned on my little flashlight that dangles from my keychain. The light, although small, was enough for me to tend to my business and wash my hands afterward. I shined it at myself in the mirror.

I look like a ghost. 

I don't know what made me run my hands over the wall again when I was on my way out the door, but I did, and I found yet another switch. There's two? I thought to myself, flipping the other one.

You guessed it--the room flooded with light. The other switch, the first one I'd checked, had been nothing but a fan.

I was embarrassed at my own silliness but also inspired. Life has been pretty strange lately, and I felt like the incident was showing me that, yes, sometimes you have to use the little flashlight to get you through a problem. But the big light will show back up if you search for it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Overhearing Young Writers.

I was in the book store yesterday and without meaning to, I eavesdropped on a conversation between two young girls who were sitting at the small table next to me. They were interviewing each other for the possibility of sharing a dorm room, I realized, and were therefore sharing personal information -- their majors, their family values, their credit card ownership or lack thereof.

One girl said that she planned to become a journalism major. My ears really perked up then.

"Broadcast journalism?" asked the other girl.

"No, print," she responded. "In print, you can really say what you think. I want to write for magazines. If I get an internship I can find a decent job right after college."

Then she remarked how she also wanted a family one day. "I don't want to give my WHOLE life to writing; I want a husband and children. But I want a career too," she mused, like any modern woman.

It took all of my decorum not to pipe up and say something. But I didn't want these girls to know that I'd been listening. Anyway, what would I say? That writing is effing hard work, and she probably won't get a job right after school? That if she REALLY loves writing then family life might be placed onto the back burner a while? That magazine writing isn't all "saying what you think?"

But no. As adults, we make a pact with the youth. It's just the way we make a pact with small children that we will not spoil their ideas on the moon being made of green cheese, the possibility that wild animals can be friendly, or that toys do come to life at night.

It's my responsibility to let these 17-year-old girls find out their own truths, through trial and error, just the way I did. Everyone's truth is different.

I, for one, still like the idea of petting an animal in the wild.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Drivel: A Memoir.

I just googled the phrase, "How to avoid writing chick lit."

I know. I'm a jerk.

But the thing is, I'm working on writing my memoir and I'm afraid it's going to turn into chick lit. It's a romance (of sorts!) after all, and it's in my (womanly) perspective and, well, I just worry about it.

Because what I really want to write is awesome literature.

Go ahead and laugh. It's fine. I understand how silly I'm being. Really. I'm a snob when it comes to books, though. I don't read chick lit. Or vampire novels. Or any wildly popular anything. I try to take the less beaten path with my reading choices. (Uh, magazines don't count.)

So you see, I'm worried that my memoir, which is still in the early stages, won't ever become anything more than a beach read for giddy gals. I've sought out advice on how to avoid this from actual human beings as well as the internet. They have recommended similar things.

Talk about the human condition.

Have massive character development. 

Use literary "themes."

It's enough to make my head swim. It's a weird feeling, worrying that you may not be a good enough writer to compose something worthwhile -- something you'd want to read yourself.

Then again, all first drafts are bad, right?

I just have to keep trucking. And trucking.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Life: The Unplugged Version

Tonight I wrote in a real journal. Like, made out of paper.

It was the first time I'd written in my journal in over three years.

I used to keep a regular journal--so regular that I called it my diary. I wrote most every day from the time I was ....six or seven? Then in my mid twenties I stopped writing so much. I have no idea why I stopped writing so much. I still write poems, I'm still working on a memoir, and I still love to write. But the urge to chronicle my life became more and more unnecessary as the years trucked on. Perhaps I found other outlets. I was a bit of a loner (believe it!) when I was younger. Perhaps my diaries were a form of friendship, someone to confide to.

Tonight I sought out that lined paper again and filled up four pages. I wrote about what is going on in my life right now--career and personal. The truth is, I've been feeling out of sorts lately with all the changes I've brought on myself and brought on by other stuff. I decided that writing it all down would help. My diary never judged me when I was a young, insecure teenager. It probably won't judge me now that I'm an adult.

A sheet of paper is good like that. It listens.