November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
Six months ago I started this blog to write about my novel. Tonight, I sit down and open up my chapters one by one, and I can’t stomach them. I am sorry to say this. This novel was conceived mostly by me, but also by my teacher and writing friends. I don’t mean to trash mass market novels, but I think my novel reads like a dime-store novel. I’m not even sure I love the plot. The idea behind the novel will never escape me: redemption through fire. Paradox excites me. It’s not intuitive that we should love those who’ve thwarted us, but it’s truth.
In some ways, I feel like I am writing a breakup letter to my novel. It wasn’t a waste. I have sixtysome pages–and even more of notes–of my novel written. Hours upon hours, and hundreds of dollars were spent in consultation of the book. I loved (almost) every minute of those sessions, and I know I’ve gained a better understanding of character, of genre, and the general process of writing a book. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up to work with a seasoned literary consultant, and yet I read my pages and recognize that it’s not really what I want to produce. It was me six months ago, which strangely enough, is not exactly the me of today. Maybe I’ll come back to it. But for now, I think I’d rather try my hand at short stories and essays. And now I’m going to geek out and quote Dumbledore (sorry, I watched HP last night): “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Whether or not I ever become published, I want to be known for who I am and not what I do. Some people label me as a writer, which I’m flattered by and I suppose is a fine way to describe how I spend some of my time, but I don’t want it to define me.
Also, I’m still learning. Writing a book is an incredibly difficult thing, and nearly impossible when the author doesn’t know quite what she wants to say. And so goes the paradox of learning: the more you know, the more questions arise. The world keeps expanding. Maybe it’s just the whiskey and ginger ale talking but I don’t think so.
It wouldn’t seem right to sign off without mentioning a most excellent Thanksgiving weekend with the Durbins. 16 hours in the car with bd conversing and listening to the BBC presentation of LOTR, playing a new board game and laughing at the absurd sentences formed, knitting a hat for my beautiful new niece, talking geneaology with jd, running eight miles in the freezing cold…
Yeah. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Wishing everyone full bellies and happy hearts.
November 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
Every Minnesotan loves the first signs of spring: the persistant green stalks of grass poking through the dirty snow, the knobby buds on trees, the puddles of water that used to be snow. I love the great metaphor of spring: a new beginning.
But there’s no denying my love of the first snow. Waking up to a world blanketed in white is like waking up on Christmas morning and I can’t wait to play. Winter is upon us, and that first icy precipitation brings the promise of getting stuck at home leaving the Target errands for another day. It brings the promise of power outages so that candles will have to do. It brings the promise of communing with neighbors on the sloppy sidewalks. We trudge together to the corner store for eggs and milk and, on this day only, talk about the beautiful snow. No matter the first official day of winter. The first snow marks the advent of a season of romance: of books on the to-read list and hot coffee, of movies and red wine, of bundling up for ice-skating in the city, and skiing in the forest.
I am entranced in this world of peace and quiet until the snowplows come barging through the streets. And even so, the sound of plow scraping against concrete and asphalt also gives us the promise of making it to the store, to the library, to our friend’s house. But not to worry; the snow will fall again.
Winter is here. Let the great romance begin.
November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Here’s sunglasses for you and an ipod. Just lay your head back and open your mouth.” Enya is now singing to me and two women–faces covered in masks–peer down at me and stuff my mouth with cotton. One says to the other how she prefers Alvin and the Chipmunks to Harry Potter. The drill begins, and the voices of the women–the dentist, her assistant, and Enya–are drowned out.
I walk down the sidewalk of 7th and Nicollet and a taxi cab driver yells out of his van…in French. I have a light jacket on and I’m hot but it’s November 9th.
In the last week and a half I’ve been on six (or eight, depending on who’s counting) dates. (Yes, Mom, with the same guy.)
And I have to ask myself, am I dreaming?
No. The dentist was real. Very real. Indian Summer is actually happening. And, Ben Durbin is not a figment of my imagination.
I haven’t blogged in a while, and not for lack of news but rather for lack of knowledge about blogging etiquette. But you’ve already read a number of my life’s ups and downs, and so I will share this bit of good news with you too.
A few months ago I met Ben after church. Over the last seven or eight weeks, we’ve been eyeing each other, thinking about each other and sharing small conversations here and there. He asked me out a few days before Halloween, and my heart did a little leap in my chest. It’s as if I’m watching a rose blossom in time-lapse: it’s happening now, and so fast, and it’s beautiful. But how much do I share? A relationship is a private thing, and yet this is real. A number of our dates have been in community (halloween parties, ultimate frisbee, an international community dinner, a birthday party) and that’s important to us. It’s only been a little over a week but it’s also been an unforgettable, incredible week. bd has been an answer to prayer, a gift. And for that, I am grateful.
November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
I have a plan. I think about my novel, and I read sections of it and I just groan. Tonight, while at Black Sheep with Forest, Alex, Stephanie and Wes, we came up with a short story idea and I’m excited about working on a different project. Forest’s idea for me is to write this short story, then go back to the novel. If I’m still feeling ugh about it, go back and write another short story. I like this plan.
But I have other plans too. Now that my life is settling down a bit after a crazy hectic summer with work and marathon training, I want to pursue a few things over the next year. It’s my last year of being in my twenties, and I want to go out with a bang. So, my goals include: 1) taking a Somali language course, 2) teaching citizenship (again), and 3) hiring a personal trainer. I realize with work, writing, maintaining relationships, and these new goals, I’ll be busy. I know it’s very American and it can be dangerous to not stop and take the time to just be, but my late grandpa Johnson said, “If you want to get something done, ask someone who’s busy.” It’s true. I just seem to operate better when I have more going on. I’m sure in a few months I’ll be looking for a break, but I’m looking forward to new things.