Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Night (Final Draft?)

When Frederick woke up that morning, he wanted her.  He made his bed neatly and brushed his teeth for two full minutes, thinking about her.  He could hear Debussy following him around campus, as he refilled his pencil with lead, as he dropped coins in the slot and made copies, as he raised his hand in his Ethics class.  He chewed on his sautéed carrot slices at lunch and thought of her hair, rippling like the ridges on the carrot slices.  He scrubbed his hands in the bathroom and the soap reminded him of her clean smell.  Everything about her was clean and smooth, and he wanted it all.

Frederick grew up in a quiet home with a hidden mother and a timid father.  They were hidden and timid when he came home from the hospital, when he learned to walk, and when he moved on to the 5th grade.  They were hidden and timid when Frederick discovered himself one Sunday alone in the bathroom during his 14th birthday party.  Frederick hid his tears in Chemistry class when Selena Rodriguez came too close and he felt a swelling down below his belly button and Mrs. Matthews couldn’t hold in her laughter.  He also hid these tears from his mother and father.  He hid them in the locker room and hid them at home in his pillow. 

Somehow these tears forced their way back into Frederick’s body, because there grew a bubble of hate in his chest that only expanded as he finished his teens and moved on to his twenties.  As he learned to control his fevers, his hatred inflated.  He hated his desires, his filthiness—he hated Frederick. 

His parents were the same.  He kissed them goodbye before school and sat down to dinner with them at night.  The world was the same.  At restaurants, he would order scrambled eggs, but if you asked him what kind of eggs you should cook him, he would say he didn’t care.  But the bubble of hate was still growing.

When he met Leah, he knew.  He held the door open for her in the art building so she could hoist in a giant sketchpad.  “Thank you,” she said, and smiled at him.  He recognized her from his economics lab.  Her voice was deliberate and soft.

Frederick adjusted his backpack and pointed to the pad.  “Drawings?” 

“Yes, just a few,” she said.  “Not great or anything.”  He lifted the cover of the sketchpad at her nod.  An orange covered with beads of moisture.  A portrait of a woman—her mother.  He flipped to the back, carefully, sliding the thin paper between his two fingers.  The last drawing was of a naked man.  His private parts were shaded over with pencil. 

“Aren’t you in my economics class?” she said. 

He looked up and nodded.  “My name’s Frederick.”

“I’m Leah.”

Leah and her white dresses, her Christmas lights lining the walls of her bedroom, her habit of swinging her legs underneath her chair while sitting in class.  Once, downtown, they had passed a homeless man on the corner.  He had asked for some change, pausing the cigarette before his mouth, peering up at Leah from the depths of his tangled hair.  She mumbled in bewilderment, a deep red blush creeping up her neck to make her appear masked. Frederick grabbed her hand and hurried her away.  The frozen trees crackled above them, mimicking Leah’s rushed heels.  He gazed at her face—pure shock, beautiful shock.  She excused herself, embarrassed, and cleared her throat, dismissing the situation.  But he was entranced by her clean simplicity, much as a child and a music box.  He wanted to be that clean, with Leah’s help, of course.

He took her out that night.  Leah wanted Thai food and he didn’t complain.  After he ate the spicy Thai food he always felt full and spotless as if Leah were inside of him, fitting into his skin and pushing all the dirt out through his pores.  The booth was lumpy and frayed, and while Leah spoke slowly of her 2D design professor, her lips like slices of peach forming the words perfectly, she squirmed from the waist down.  Frederick coveted her tiny movements.  He couldn’t see, only felt with the tip of his kneecap, once, her smooth leg under the table.  “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, and cleared her throat.  He thirsted for her.

At the end of the night, Frederick pulled the car into the dark driveway of her house.  Her father had decorated the roof with miniature glowing reindeer.  He made a sluggish ordeal of shutting the car off, taking the key out of the ignition, and unbuckling.  Leah sat still and intelligent in the passenger seat, her hands in her lap, placid as a Thanksgiving snooze.  He took one of them on impulse.  She had beautiful hands.  Her palms were plump and the lines defined.  Her knuckles rose smoothly like grassy knolls.  Her fingernails were tiny moons of silk.  They tasted of seasoned salt as he quickly kissed them, following her arm up to her shoulder as she looked at him, silent and motionless on the leather seat.  He paused in front of her face.  Molecules hopped back and forth between their noses.  He wanted to be clean, he wanted Leah to scour him inside and out. 

She put her hand to his chest and pushed him away.  One slow push.  His eyes grew wide.  His mouth was dry.  The click of the door handle, then her slow voice, “Not yet, Fred,” and she glided inside after she shut the front door, leaving him stranded in her soapy scent, his car filling up with foamy bubbles that overcame him.  The Christmas lights twinkled from her window.  There was clean, white snow all around.  He stepped out of the car and buried himself in it.  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Night

When Frederick woke up that morning, he wanted her.  He could hear Debussy following him around campus that day, as he refilled his pencil with lead, as he dropped coins in the slot and made copies, as he raised his hand in his Ethics class.  He chewed on his sautéed carrot slices at lunch and thought of her hair, rippling like the ridges on the carrot slices.  He scrubbed his hands in the bathroom and the soap reminded him of her clean smell.  Everything about her was clean and smooth, and he wanted everything about her.

He took her out that night.  Leah wanted Thai food and he didn’t complain.  After he ate Thai food he always felt full and spotless as if Leah were inside of him, fitting into his skin and pushing all the dirt out through his pores.  The booth was lumpy and frayed, and while Leah spoke slowly of her 2D design professor, her lips like slices of peach forming the words perfectly, she squirmed from the waist down.  Frederick coveted her tiny movements.  He couldn’t see, only felt with the tip of his kneecap, once, her smooth leg under the table.  He thirsted for her.

At the end of the night, Frederick pulled the car into the dark driveway of her apartment.  He made a dramatically sluggish ordeal of shutting the car off, taking the key out of the ignition, and unbuckling.  Leah sat still and intelligent in the passenger seat, her hands in her lap, placid as a Thanksgiving snooze.  He took one of them on impulse.  She had beautiful hands.  Her palms were plump and the lines defined.  Her knuckles rose smoothly like grassy knolls.  Her fingernails were tiny moons of silk.  They tasted of seasoned salt as he quickly kissed them, following her arm up to her shoulder as she looked at him, silent and motionless on the leather seat.  He paused in front of her face.  Molecules hopped back and forth between their noses.  He wanted to be clean, he wanted Leah to scour him inside and out. 

She put her hand to his chest and pushed him away.  One slow push.  His eyes grew wide.  His mouth was dry.  The click of the door filtered into his ears after her slow voice did, “Not yet, Fred,” and she glided inside decades after she shut the front door, leaving him stranded in her soapy scent, his car filling up with foamy bubbles that overcame him.  He was suffocated by her long after she was gone.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Hit Me

Music is like fiction.  It's all about tension and release.  Music isn't interesting if there is no conflict.  Even in Palestrina's music, harmonically perfect music, it's there.  You can't have music without the V, I.  You've got to have the cadence.  Conflict, suspension, dissonance, anticipation--all these things make music perfect.  

You can't have the relief without the tension.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jane And Her Mother

She started biting her thumbnails again that day.  Her mother had long kicked her of the habit, she thought, but it crept back in as she paced in slow relay from the dresser to the bed and back again.  She was always slow, methodical, levelheaded.  Instead of ditching the bus with a cry and escaping to the mall after school like her friends, she came home to her mother and brother to pull weeds or set the table.  Instead of crying, she would steady herself and sit quietly on her bed until it passed.  She would do these things this evening after she told her mother she was pregnant.

She rehearsed in her head.

“Mom, I’m pregnant.”  Too direct, I shouldn’t start with the news, she wouldn’t even listen to me after that.  “Mom.  I need to talk to you.”  She’ll probably just continue watching the news and say, “…Yes…Yes?  Sorry, the news is on.”  Like I don’t know the news is on.

“Mom.”  I’ll sit down next to her on the couch and wait for her to turn the news off.


            “I need to talk to you about something.”
            She won’t even raise an eyebrow, probably, since she would consider it proper of me to come to her with a problem.  She will probably feel proud of herself.  “What is it?”

            “Well…”  No, no, no, no stumbles allowed.  I can’t give her any chance to feel like this is her conversation.  “You know I’ve always been a responsible person, Mom.”

            She will nod but not say anything.

            “And it’s because of you, you know.  You taught me to be responsible and to take care of business.”

            A swift nod, probably.  At this point she is expecting the worst.

            “And you’ve always been there for me in times of trouble, you know?  You’ll help me through anything, right?  You’ll make it okay?  I’m pregnant, Mom, I don’t want to be but please can you just make it okay?”
She stopped herself.  She looked down—her hands were clenched around her abdomen.  This is ridiculous.  She would never help me.  She didn’t teach me anything.  She didn’t teach me to be responsible and take care of business.  She would never be there for me in times of trouble.  She would never help me.

            She will hate me.

            She breathed in and out.  Walking downstairs, she didn’t hide her thumbnails.  She stood in front of the TV. 

            “Mom, I’m pregnant.”

This was an assignment on imagined dialogue.  Once again, I did it on my way out the door.  What is happening to me?  


Monday, September 8, 2008

Uncle Rob

My mother’s brother.  He’s the one that would be missing at Thanksgiving some years, and the table would be a decibel quieter.  For years, he’d bring a friend to gatherings—Stacey.  We all loved Stacey as kids.  She was loud, inappropriate, wrestled with us on her hands and knees.  A perfect match for Uncle Rob.  He was all those things—except he didn’t wrestle.  He was aloof, sidetracked most of the time.  We realized when we grew up that he usually didn’t know what to do around the youngers.

He and Stacey would cackle together and she would chide him like a wife of decades, but no, they weren’t together.  My little brother asked her once, “Why don’t you live in Chicago with Uncle Rob?”  She and Gramma hooted and Stacey bent down, put her hands on his shoulders, and said knowingly, “Would you want to live with your Uncle Rob?”  Conrad’s nose squinched in his laughter, “Ohhh, no way!”

It was in our early teens when we were allowed to learn that Uncle Rob was gay, and everything made sense.  His elbow-nudge jokes with my mom that made her sob with laughter, the solid way his gut hung over his belt, his vowels and elongated s’s and emphasized t’s…of course.  We nodded solemnly to our parents as they told us to not to discuss it, Oh no, we would never.  And at that point, we never would—it was a satiating, correct puzzle piece to our secret, starved wonders about our Uncle Rob.  He had been a smoker for twenty or thirty years and spoke in raspier tones each Christmas.  He celebrated his choice of Fiji water that one year at the ranch and never passed up a fart-joke opportunity.  A conversation with my Uncle Rob was a kind of unholy privilege that you received secretly every two years.  It made sense that all of this unholiness would culminate in such a fact in our Catholic minds—Uncle Rob was gay.

And we loved him.  How could we not?  In spurts he would tell us jokes or hug us and absentmindedly give us candy.  There is a picture of us playing Monopoly that I keep in my journal.  I am about 5 and Uncle Rob is thinner.  The look on my face is crazily gleeful because Uncle Rob was there, playing with me.  He was my special uncle.  I remember finding this picture in a baby album a few years ago.  It was right before my mother and I were supposed to fly up to Chicago to stay with him during college visits.  I was nervous about the trip and about what kinds of things I would find at Rob’s apartment.  So I picked up the picture and stuffed it in a book.  Why I did this is still unclear to me.  My attempt, maybe, at creating a history with Rob, a loving, endearing childhood friendship that never existed.    

I know, I know, the last paragraph is weak.  I wrote this today right before it was due and I had to scurry to print it off and get to campus on time.  That is the worst way to work and unfortunately the way I do many things in my life.  Maybe this semester will be a turning point on that field for me.

Family Woman,


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The gang was trekking to Alaska.

Well, it was not really a gang, rather a gang of something, a gang of superiors, a gang of spirituals, a gang of the eclectic searching for experience.  They all wore backpacks, except for Lucy who wore a crocodile purse, and in them they carried tools.  Benjamin a hammer for the way he liked to make squirrel stew, Micah his mother's face on a coaster she had made, Gabe a recorder to summon the blessings of heaven.  Marge carried used loose-leaf because she could only brew her words on scrap paper, and Clint carried an old baseball from the days of his father.  Lucy carried weapons--a shark's tooth, a switchblade, a rifle.  The others whispered about broken glass and how the bag was a real crocodile in disguise.  They were all seeking souls, seeking fulfillment of a life, as they would find, that only allowed them to carry the selected necessities.  Of course, the necessities they carried now would change over time.

I really want to develop this.  I see Lucy here as a great character.  There are so many things left unspoken for in this blurb--what more about Micah?  Gabe's name connection?  Why the weapons?  Why the scrap paper (thanks Peggy)?  How admiring was Clint really of his father?  These things are all tools, but tools for what exactly?  And what are they really seeking?  A new beginning, perhaps.  And all because the instructions told me to write for ten minutes, mimicking Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried."  


Friday, August 29, 2008

A Phony Pose

There was a picture of my brother Dan on my old phone that always confused me.  The upstairs of our house looks like this: you walk up the stairs, and to the right is my mom and dad’s room.  Across from you is the bathroom my brothers and I share.  If you venture down the hall to your left a bit, the end of it splits into three rooms—my room, my brothers’ room, and the office.  I took this picture at Dan’s request.  I was standing in my room and he in his, and he stuck his head and nothing else around the corner of our two rooms.  The picture is merely his head floating in a sideways manner—not floating, maybe—rather, like the Romans defeated him in battle and stuck his head on a stake in the wooden trim outside their bedroom, as a warning to any foreigners and as a boasting to any natives.  I suppose, with the Romans, it could also work vice versa.  It doesn’t help that imagined battle cause that his tongue is stuck out and his eyes are googley.  Dan, at 11, ingeniously and unknowingly brought the ancient world into this piece of writing. 

He is always doing things like that—things that I have a hard time believing because he has been considered semi-dull-minded by my family and I (and his school) since his birth; things that probably aren’t even true.  Not that Dan’s knowledge of ancient Roman culture even has the merest possibility to be true.  But in that moment, through the savvy glimmer in his eyes and the placement of his tongue; the pale Sunday afternoon sunlight shimmering through the window of the office in the background; my brother’s illegal Myspace page pulled up on the screen of the desktop, or some other site equally forbidden to my brothers; Dan almost seems as clever as a college professor. 

I remember taking it and laughing at the ridiculousness of this pose that he threw together at the last second before the shutter snapped.  Ever since then I have always done a double take when I scroll through the pictures on my phone.  That phone is in the trash bag beside me now.  Soon the picture will be solely in my mind, but no less phony.

This was our assignment to describe an image we had in our minds in great detail.  I guess when I started writing this, it ended up a lot more substantial than I had planned.  I've never been able to write about descriptive details without pulling some sort of hidden meaning from them.  I can't wait to learn more about how to start a short story.  Off for a great weekend of camping!  I'm also hoping to do some writing out there.

Not laboring on Labor Day,


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Nonfiction Part

Today we read our Personal Intros for the class.  It was really exciting because my teacher is from Omaha!  We talked about it.  Since he didn't give us any guidelines for this assignment (write a personal introduction--one page), I did what I wanted to do.  As my first writing for the class, I wanted to make it incredibly good but I didn't have the time to edit it as much as I would have liked.  Here it is:

My Person (al Introduction)

Here I sit on my “can I get the cheapest one” firm twin bed in an apartment room that is slowly and cozily becoming my own.  I just moved in here.  I just moved in to this stage of my life.  In some ways it feels like my first week of college.  I’ve been here for a year, but I’ve never devoted all of my time to things I am in love with, until now.

As has anyone who has ever taken a class in the humanities or health education, applied for a customer service job, or taken advice from a guidance counselor, I have found it entirely impossible to tell anyone about myself.  Who am I?  How did I get to where I am?  Who influenced the person I am today?  What are at least two skills that make me special?  These questions lead me to one thing only: lying.  Lying prettily. 

The most I can do in the situation of this assignment is not to lie, but to give you a few scrawny details about my life.  I am Omaha bred and Alaska bound.  Recently I have been twisted by tightening feelings of homesickness and panic that I will never be at home again for an extended period of time.  My mother is an English teacher and frustratingly savvy.  My stepfather is a drummer and is always researching careers in hippie-dom.  Conrad and Dan are my little brothers—Conrad the sly one who talks like a grownup and Dan the green teen who hides his acne with his hair and taught me a new game where he pretends there is a mosquito on my face and then punches me.  As a family we dream along with my stepdad of salmon fishing in Alaska and starting a tradition of oyster stew on New Year’s. 

My father is difficult but in a boring way and sent me the same Valentine’s Day card two years in a row.  But we are working things out.

I am not a born-again Christian, but an all-growing, all-grateful one.  I believe in Evangelism but only a little bit.  A recent struggle in my life has been sticking to my Catholic roots while being highly involved in a Protestant church.

One thing I can tell you in earnest that has been a part of me all my 19 years is music.  Through it I reach that point of indecisive, luminescent, breathless exuberance like being surrounded by only clouds of a silvery-bluish color and feeling as if you are rising to an unknown but utterly happy destination.  Through it I plunge through ragged tendons of heartache down past my knees and ankles.  But it always rescues me again.

Aside from these details, I can only think to tell you what I’m doing as I write this—a less warped insight into my person.  My decorations are hanging out on the floor in a pile as they have yet to be hung up—figurines scavenged from dumpsters, a foam robot, a crossed out doodle I found in my best friend’s room, the ball of blue painter’s tape we peeled from the border on the wall when we repainted our dorm.  My laptop is hot on my legs and I have to pee but I have no intention of getting up to fix any of that.  I have gone back and forth worrying if having the window open in my room is really a terrible hindrance to the air conditioning in the hall.  There is a collection of Hitchcock tapes on my bookshelf that I have never seen, and a collection of books the shelves below that I have never read.  I am comforted by the smell of my roommate painting her toenails in the next room.

I rub my eyes for the two-hundredth time.  I take a sip of the lukewarm water on my nightstand.  I go to sleep.  I look forward to the morning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Things First

"This is in the wrong notebook with the wrong pen.  The wrong color too.  Writing is like answering my notebook's plea to be filled, to have its points asserted with pressure the way a pen does, to reflect something, anything, even if it is a reflection on itself.  Paper is good, pens are good.  The tools of so many years."

Last night, after reading a bit of "The Writing Process" for my Intro to Fiction class, an ambition pushed past my numbing tiredness and coughed this up on paper.  Peggy gave me the idea to publish stuff to Blogger from my class, so I thought I would only start with the first thing to be created since my first day yesterday.  I see a million things I could edit, but you get the version in the raw.  Kind of.  I think there is something better and more organic about that.

Choir is back.  As I listened to my friend's story of how she just changed her major to music and saw the earnest glisten of excitement and complete, relieved joy in her eyes, I thought of my toils last semester and of the feeling I got singing again yesterday--a feeling of purpose and solidity, a kind of rising up into the air with each inhalation at the end of a phrase, a connection with God where I thanked him with every gracious part of me for showing me my duty and place in life.  Not everyone knows that and I believe I do.  

The coffee is great and the catbird is chirping,

Friday, August 8, 2008

In Two Month's Passing,

I figured it was time to blog again.  Well, I figured that a long time ago, but the summer found me somewhat constipated on the blogging front.  Whenever I miss a long period of time, I always feel like I have to recap everything, and then I get overwhelmed. That means that almost every post I make has a "recap" feel to it.

The other day, I joked with my stepdad about how he is a man of many unsolved mysteries, or, rather, unattempted ambitions, such as salmon fishing in Oregon or making oyster stew the family's New Year's tradition.  He laughed but responded with genuine trying words, and today we sat outside for a while planning a salmon-fishing trip for next summer.  As it turns out, the Kenai River in Alaska is a hot spot (or cold spot) for catching sockeye salmon, apparently the most delicious salmon in existence.  God never ceases to tickle my world with little signs, it seems.  I have been, bit by bit, shooting for Alaska next summer.  I hope to get a job singing in a chorus or something of that nature (haha, nature) in a city and camping my brains out the rest of the time.  Now my stepdad is working on fulfilling his fishing dream for our family, and the road seems to point to Alaska.  If I lived there next summer, I could easily meet them for a week and we'd all camp and fish together.  A lofty goal but one with a ladder.

I can't even try to describe to you what the summer has done for me.  Those of you who went through it with me have probably heard a portion of it in some roundabout way, or perhaps directly.  I can't even describe it in my own journal.  It's been an accumulation of people I've met, the biology class I took, the opportunities and avenues I've been dropped off at by some of the best companions I've ever known.  It's been the summer of a lifetime, and it's led me to strive for dematerialization at its very best. 

Another loft, but with God as my sturdy ladder, there's no way I can't reach it.

Breathing deep,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Old Man And The Tree

There is a tree across the way at the summer home.  It’s a forlorn creature that looks as if all its hands have been cut off.  But the wounds dried up long ago—but not in a healthy way, the round patches parched and no longer struggling.  A few twigs dangle off the limbs, the sullen, brown leaves are tufts of mangy hair on the old man who rides his bicycle up and down the street all day.  They do resemble each other, the old man and the tree.  Perhaps it is the reason they pass each other, the man with his methodical pedaling and the tree with its slow, stooped hunch to arid death.  The man would like to see a being like himself, lurking through time with him, watching the molasses hours with him.  When the old man stops his visits I will be convinced the tree is dead.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Almost Nothing Could Be Better

This is coming to you live from the porch of 1317 Anthony St.  It's early morning and rainy, a cat cuddling kind of morning much apparent to Tigger who is snuggled like a puzzle piece next to my blanketed leg.  What life has sparked from this porch and this house in the elementary steps of summer!--a brilliant kind of poetry and meaning festering in the corners of my mind, the house, Columbia itself.  I can't help but think that everyone is feeling this.

Even though only a few of my goals have been attempted, I feel no shame or disgust at the lack of commitment I so often have and am now having to goals.  I think goals in general are a way for me to get my butt moving, in an all-around way, or maybe to attack something specific for a while and then feel accomplished, but they aren't really a means to get themselves accomplished.  Kind of like the 10 Commandments.

This time that I have now-a-week is beautiful.  Even the stresses living on my own presents--ants, cockroaches, preparing more than one food item at a time--these things are fun.  They fulfill "living on my own"; those are the things I was excited about because it would serve as "see?  I really AM independent!"  Of course I am not completely.  But in all forms, I will never be.  

Even these stresses...last night I had a dream that I was in the supermarket with Amanda and she pointed out some bagels--packs of three.  And I was so upset, "packs of three?!" I cried, I was so worried when in real life I had bought a pack of six bagels, the smallest I could find, worried they would go to waste and I would waste money on them.  And here there was a pack of three, three bagels, all along.  How infuriating!  This was all in my dream, but I believe dreams reveal things, affirm things.  More reassurance that I am worried about running out of money for food.  Money worries me in a masked kind of way, in a way that I spend it fervently but grow increasingly panicked in spurts during the week, very uneven.  

Candace is here for a week--a week which is almost up, sadly.  I have placed on her the crown of inspiration to me and she never ceases to polish it on top of her now lushly stubbled head.  I am proud of you Candace!

I have decided that, for me, crushing is like sneezing: it pops up all of a sudden, builds to an intense climax, and resolves leaving me feeling refreshed and accomplished.  Although I never
 say "excuse me" for crushing.

Floating on the breeze,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Some More Summer

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table!  Isn't it amazing.  Having counters, tables, outsides and a new security.  I love home.

All I can think about is in about a week, when it will get hectic and wonderful.  Club Drage 2008 begins in T-minus 8 days!  I can't wait for just eating eggs, writing on the white board, playing the piano, and sitting at the table together.  I also can't wait to retreat to my room when things get too crazy.  Not that I am predicting a time, but I just want something to happen so I can quietly perform the simple action of just going into my room and BOOM being alone.  I half expect a tiny chorus of angels quietly humming Mozart's Requiem in the corner of Hoops's bookshelf while I celebrate staticky solitude.  

The white board will be a signature of our household--despite it being present in households and dorm halls worldwide.  Every morn, I shall scrawl--with the glorious ease of dry erase markers (don't you just love them)--the word of the day, today's weather, and something creative, like a quote or something.  We're also going to try to memorize a Bible verse as a house every week, so that will be up there for viewers as well.  So exciting.

I am making it a point to write a lot this summer.  Even with this potential...probable...change in major, I can't give up my writing.  All I'm thinking about lately is singing--rather, all I'm thinking about focusing on lately is singing--and then last night I watched "Becoming Jane" and fell in love with the image of writing once again.  The good thing about falling in love with this image is that there is actually substance underneath it that I can fall into, plush, luscious...pluscious....substance.  These flawed--or desirable--notions of pure, passionate love that Jane Austen has recently impregnated me with can be abated by the fact that it's gotten my pen moving again, in a creative fashion, something more than just journaling.  It feels wonderful.

Keep me accountable for my goals this summer, dudes:
-exercise daily or at least every other day
-read---an amazing amount
-write (both fiction and song)
-learn a piano masterpiece
-learn a voice "masterpiece"
-Project Vocab--sticky notes 
-eat healthily
-Season and Trilogy Summer! (Lost, Grey's, Office, Matrix, Indie, Anna, Jones, Star Wars, Godfather, Arrested Development, 30 Days)
-watch the rain on the porch with a silky cup of coffee 
-celebrate beauty, life, earth.

Looking up,

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Wheel Continues

So here I sit, Memorial Union, encapsulating my title as Student with full vigor and gusto as I blog on my Macbook drinking Starbucks.  Even though it's finals week and I should be re-writing my 10 page paper, I feel the need to reflect on my semester in blog form.

The semester's been full of "issues."  Discovering God for real, re-attaching to my Catholic heritage, getting through a break up, finding a job, making plans for the summer, making an amazing friend Breezy, and struggling toward my real vocation.

The most monumental thing for me has been--and is continuing to be--deciding whether or not to major in music.  Even just typing about it now I tear up--something undefinable about how all my emotions are so tangled up in this one thing, this universal message, this movement of the larynx and vocal folds that enables my one true love: singing--that just makes me cry.  All this semester it's been a battle--The Practicalities Of Life vs. The Passions Of The Heart.  

It wasn't even like I "found" this overbearing love for music inside of me.  It's like...the beginning of this semester, it just casually was there in front of my face, an obvious thing that seemed was always present in my vision.  I mean, it wasn't even a surprise to me that it was there or recognizable all of a sudden--there was no sudden.  More of a milk in the fridge type presence.  Delicious milk of Soul Seekers.

What was the surprise for me was realizing that I could just do music.  As dangerous as it sounds to me, as nervous as it makes me---or should make me...really, all I feel when I think about doing music is the overwhelming urge to cry with relief, the relief that I will be doing something I for sure love that isn't a mediocre replacement that I have to work to love.  

I have set aside the summer to decide.

All I want is peace: peace with being Catholic, peace with Keith, peace with my job, and most of all, peace with my highest inner desires for ever-present music.  Peace with my own will.  

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Wheel

So I guess I haven't decided.

And so it turns.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Alone in 227.

As of late, it seems that everything is working out for me.

Conclusions I have come to: 
I am under this morbid curtain that by dropping my music major, I will no longer have "the in" at the School of Music.  But I have failed to realize that I will still be taking music courses.  I will still go to the FAB a few times a week.  I will still sing in McKee on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  And maybe more.  I will still get to take great courses like Music History--emphasizing the good of my world in every aspect!  Writing, history, hilarity.

I will NOT be on the outskirts.  At least not for where I am now.  Fist pump!

Also, by doing a J degree (as my stepdad so fondly calls it), I will be more apt to helping out society and communities around me than with music.  

I was so worried this week about not being able to do Summer Choir because of a possible job conflict.  I mean, who would hire me: "I can work for three hours between this time and this time..."  Followed by a plethora of scowls, I'm sure. 
So I asked my boss at Tiger Calling Club if I could (for the 2-5 shift AAAALmost oh-so-perfect) if I could work through my 15 minute break and leave early so I could get to Summer Choir on time.  And he responded with a casual, "Yes."
Sooooo relieved!

God has totally provided!  

Another--Chris Nelson from the Omaha World Herald gave me the opportunity to do some out-of-state stories this summer!  Wunderbar.

Life is on the better side of okay when I focus on schoolwork and God.  I'm still in a lull but getting closer to finishing/starting my paper and closer to the summer is slowly bringing me out of it.  Thank God for that.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Upcoming Academia:

Informal Proposal due Wednesday, April 9 (which I turned in yesterday)
Voice songs memorized by Monday, April 14
Martin Luther "On Christian Liberty" read by Monday, April 14
Nutrition Test on Monday, April 14
"Short" Essay kind of due by Friday, April 18
Carmina rehearsal Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, April 22, 23, 24
Carmina Burana on Friday, April 25
1st Draft of Final Paper due Friday, April 25
last day to turn in "Short" Essay on Wednesday, April 30.  


My final paper is due a week after that, then finals, and then on May 16, I'll be moving into the Drage's!  Wow.  End of my first year in college.  Hello, surrealism.  

In other news, summer choir is going to be fanTAStic.  I'm predicting.  Last summer there were 16 people.  SIXTEEN.  How terrifying yet invigorating.  We are doing music from a Renaissance composer, which is perfect because of how much I've been loving the Renaissance lately.

Also--I got an email from Dr. Crabb: "I'm expecting you at the awards ceremony on April 22."  Wahhhh!  Does this mean what I think it means?  Me, a simple freshman?

Calling tigers,

PS. I've also began thinking about switching to convergence journalism due to all the advice I'm gaining from talking to journalists at my job.  Funny.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back To School Blogging

While driving to Breesi's house Friday, I listened to this interview on the radio with a middle-aged woman (Libbie) who took a year-long road-trip adventure to "find herself." Before she left, Libbie's girlfriends threw her a going-away (apparently this story used a lot of hyphenated words) party, and one of her friends got her a box of Peeps. Libbie was wise and thought Peeps were repulsive, so she decided to keep them as companions on her journey across the US. She named them cute P names and strapped them in her passenger seat. She took pictures with them at funny places and used them to bring up conversation with strangers whom she never would have met had it not been for the Peeps. A while through her journey, she had to replace the original Peeps with new Peeps because they were falling apart, but she still has the original Peeps.  
The point of the story that I really enjoyed was how she figured out that she needed to end the adventure. She flipped on the Wizard of Oz one night at the part where the Wiz is flying up in the hot air balloon away from Dorothy, and Dorothy is crying out, "Come back, come back! Oh, how will I ever get home?" Glinda says, "Why, Dorothy, you've known how to get home all alone. Just click your heels," blah blah blah. It's pretty shruggable that she came the whole way and figured out that she didn't need anyone else or anything else (i.e. her journey) to help her find herself, but I like it all the same. It's like the end of an episode of Scrubs. You can go to the webpage here to read about it, or just click this baby to listen to the podcast version of The Story. It was really pretty cool.
While long ago I had adopted Libbie's taste in Peeps (that is, none), I
still get them every Easter from my parents. This year, instead of giving them to my gobbling brothers, I decided to put a few in the microwave and then save the rest to make a diorama with Breezy. Inspired by internet America. For now they are festering in the shoe-box until we make use of them.
An interesting thing happened just now--I wrote this and I didn't know I was going to. I typo-d "breathed" and went from there almost automatically. Anyway. -She breathed into the window pane and smudged her nose up against the glass--ew--it was instinct to back away from the car window even though there was no way her exhales could reach me; I surrendered to it. Her eyes were wide as she struggled for my attention--and more, my approval, an older, chaperone part of me she saw in someone who had a separate life they left to come home on spring breaks and labor days--a nemesis, but of one to gain favor. I remember when it was me on the other side of the glass, me pining, me straining, me clenching my teeth in willpower to force elders to like me and say I was "mature for my age." Me, still yet pining, always pining, for others' attention. Me, almost taxable; me, independent of spirit...but my independence was lost forever, squashed under the flat, solid sole of my starvation to be noticed.

In other news, it's back to school and as weird as ever, for multiple reasons. Hopefully God will give me the focus I need to get to the summer.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Octatonic Fever

Lately, I have been listening to Third Eye Blind non-stop.  Inside the music of Third Eye Blind, I get this desire to create--a seemingly interminable desire, to mold the licks and melodies that are catchy and that jab you in all the right places at all the right times.  Not an incredibly celebrated group of composers in the world of fine arts...but that's how I get when I listen.

The last line of "The Road Home" is getting me reeling: "There is no such beauty as where you belong."  Where the hell do I belong?  How I wish and wish and wish that life were just sitting in bed listening to Eric Whitacre and singing in University Singers and talking to Dr. Crabb.  How can I be a journalist when there is such a thing as music?  This is what I think sometimes.

But how can there be just music when there is such a thing as reality.  And really, if I were to do music all my life, what could I do?  Join an opera thing.  Conduct a choir--but I wouldn't want to conduct high school because high school kids don't give a shit, and I wouldn't want to conduct elementary school because they could never be good and I could never go into the depth I wanted to.  I could perform...but how?  Where?  For whom?  If University Singers was hiring sopranos right now for 30,000 a year with benefits, I would so apply.

But there are other levels: there is the service level, the writing level, the business level.  There are so many levels of my own aspirations and my own expectations that I don't even know where to start.  I am afraid not only that it will be too late to start over but that I will be too tired or okay with just settling.  

How do you even know when you've settled?  With anything?  How do you know when something is the best you're going to get?  And should we even settle for the best we are going to get?  

I mean, really, is the principle of being human striving for the impossible or indulging and developing into what you are?

My thoughts are going in circles.  I know I have thought about this before.  Re-reading my own postulations makes me start to think I am the type of person who never goes far enough into finding the answers to her questions.  I think I just enjoy asking them and thinking about them.  But this is discouraging and makes me fear that I am like this in all endeavors--socially, religiously, academically.  

Despite the cloudy vibe of this blog, I actually had a great day.  I will miss Omaha this summer.

Do re mi,

Friday, March 21, 2008

And now I have been elated and am trusting in God that this is the right thing.  It is the middle of the night and things are looking up--I have support and God is always there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Beginnings Of A Spiral

The existence of the world baffles me.  My respect for people has always been high, my love of people and the way the world works has always been fiery--I've always been fascinated by culture and society and Earth.

But I seem to put my trust in things that let me down.  If someone I thought was so admirable and noble, such a role model and a future-seeker--if they can let me down this monumentally, where does that leave the rest of the world?  If I love the rest of the world and people in it so much and thought I had found the upper end of things in a person who ultimately disappointed me, then what am I supposed to think about everyone else in the world?  Sure, people are human.  Sure, it's a beautiful thing.  But that means everyone will let me down.  No matter who I find.  So does that mean I should stop trying all together or let it be okay to get hurt by someone who I thought was the best?  Because either way, people are human and people will let you down.

It is funny how the "people are just people and they are not perfect" argument can be used both ways, in defense and in accusation.

I've been watching the 3D animation version of The Pilgrim's Progress here and it has made me think about things.  I can't tell if it is meant to be a slight mockery or a genuine adaptation, but it makes me think all the same.  

Things like how God never lets you down.  [So it is said.  And I guess God has never let me down...but it's hard to put a finger on it.]

And ideas like how people get caught up in the wonders of this world and suffer in the end.  [It is confusing to me because of my ultimate love for the world.]

But it seems like these ideas are coming into my life at the exact right time.  Also, Breezy has come into my life at the exact right time.  Sometimes it feels like things are working out...and most of the time it doesn't.

Daily jumbled,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who Now Will Be My Rewarder?

We are signing the lease on the apartment tomorrow at 8 in the spanking a.m., thank GOD.  I am so ready to not deal with this anymore.  I am so ready to not try to win people over anymore.  I am so ready to stop hounding my roommates and stop being a nagger.  I hate naggers and I'm becoming one.

In other news, I have Tiger Calling Club training today.  They tricked me into thinking this was a campus job.  It is a campus job, but the locale is not on campus.  It is downtown.  Thanks, Reynolds Alumni Center.  But I am glad I got the job, at least.  Hopefully it will take my mind off of things.  It might be interesting, talking to old Mizzou-ians.

We are singing this song in U. Singers called Valiant-for-truth.  It is about Mr. Valiant-for-truth, who has endured many pains in his long life and is on a sort of quest to do God's bidding.  He receives a summons to cross this river into what I am assuming is the afterlife.

"I am going to my Father's, 
and though with great difficulty I am got hither, 
yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble 
I have been at to arrive where I am.  
My sword, I give to him that shall succeed my in my pilgrimage, 
and my courage and skill, to him that can get it.  
My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, 
that I have fought his battles, 
who now will be my rewarder."

The sword--I wish it could be given to me.  I wish I could succeed Mr. Valiant-for-truth in his pilgrimage to do God's bidding.  He is talking about this pilgrimage of a journey to the riverside, but we all know that it is a symbol for life itself.  Life is a pilgrimage.  

And my pilgrimage has not been Valiant.  Toward God or anyone.  

Life pretty much sucks right now.  But I hope it is not over soon and I still have a chance to take the sword.

10 points for Gryffindor, 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Infernal Readings

Dante is a hero.  He goes into the underworld and comes back up.  But what else does he do?  Does he even need to do anything else?

Seeing the underworld is so important for characters--and characters are based on us, based on humans.  Isn't it important for us too?  Is there always an otherworld that we must journey to?  And if so, do we always get a guide?

So what is my otherworld. 

It doesn't necessarily have to be an underworld.  It can be a fantastic place, as they of the Classics say.  A place where magical, unrealistic things flourish.  My it this little situation that I have on my hands currently?  It could be.

A) When I first stepped through the veil of greenery into this magical land, it was through the fantasies of the late hour during finals week--coffee inducement, sleep deprivation, Memorial Union, cramming, pancakes: these would all influence interpretation, would they not?

B) The excavation of my otherworld, which we will call Allegory, was done through the intricacies of cyberspace--dangerous?  Fantastic?  Ambiguous?  I do think so.

C) The climax of my experience pfrancing around Allegory was only the culmination of all of the bizarrely perfect nights, days, mornings, afternoons, conversations, commitments, looks and favors Allegory had served me on a silver platter--in which, of course, I indulged and gave back--and is this climax undoubtedly a symbol of a real life Too Good To Be True?  Hmm.

D) The exiting of Allegory could only be fitting for something so unreal and so beautiful--a completely unexpected abrupt red light, or an explosion, maybe?  An explosion of reasons?  Could it only end this way if it were too good to fizzle out?

There is a slew of lessons I could take away from my otherworld; but I have no idea which one is THE one.  Of course I will come out changed, of course I will come out different...but is the lesson to become untrusting?  Is the lesson to rearrange my priorities?  Or is the lesson to be patient?

I don't know.

Despite the sarcasm in this post, I'd like to think the lesson is to be patient.  In the meantime, I've also been adjusting my priorities.  It's hard to go to God first (sorry, Glob), but it's about time I try to really figure this out.

At least I found a way to incorporate the big ideas of Dante into my own little life.  Even if I don't find the solution.

"There is no such beauty as where you belong."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blog blog blog.
Ah, PWN3D again.

This sucks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wowzer Bowzer

Wow, it is amazing how much better I feel after having video chatted with Candace tonight.  I just remember how great she is and how much connection we have.  We are starting a webcomic--why didn't we think of this sooner?  What could be more fun?  Rhetorical.

Talking to Candace made me remember that life can be carefree (or carefreeER) if I let it, and simplicity is not an impossibility.  Just being around her, even if not materially--just talking to her--just reading her words--it always makes me motivated to be the best I can be.  I feel SO much better.  My mood has perked up immensely in the past 2 hours.  Even roommate snips are nothing now (and they have been a lot more than nothing lately). 

Ah.  My own room.  I can't stop dreaming about it.  I can decorate it how I want, I can watch the TV I want, I can play the music I want, I can turn the lights off when I want.  And there will still be someone there when I wake up--just across the hall.  I'm stoked to use the bathroom in the kitchen--I'm stoked to go back and forth between the toaster and brushing my teeth at the bathroom  mirror.  For some reason that is just exciting to me.  I'm excited to take a nap in the living room if I want and make mac n cheese and brownies every night.  I'm excited to have people over.  AH!  What a life it will be.

With lifted lull,

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Duel?

Part of me just wants to start every blog in traditional blogger/Epicurious article style: "Have you ever listened to a song that has brought back a string of memories?  Well, for me, that is Explosions in the Sky."  But I refrain.  HA!

I thought it would be easier with my parents when I left home, but it has just made it harder.  My dad just doesn't understand that sometimes I need things explained to me.  I don't understand taxes.  I don't understand most of the officialities of the world, as a matter of fact.  I don't understand the child support situation we are in.  Any time I ask a question about it, my dad immediately starts to talk to me like I am a child in that up-tilting, eye-bulging tone of voice.  Immediately!  He rarely gives things a chance.  He rarely trusts anyone else's opinion.

And I'm going to have to deal with this conflict between my mom and my dad for the rest of my life.  Let me ask you this: who is going to walk me down the aisle at my wedding?  It may seem like a simple question with a simple answer at first.  But--my stepdad has been the dad.  My dad has biologically been the dad, but my stepdad took over his role when I was 4.  Would I want my blood father to be there for the big moment?  Would I want my fathering father to be there for the big moment?  Which is more important?

How do I do this?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Way It's Been

There is tape all over my room.

Pieces of masking tape, dangling from when we tried so hard to cheaply shlack the Christmas lights to the purple walls without having to buy 3M Command tape. No matter how many wads of tape we slathered across the wires, they fell down eventually. Now our walls are littered with the left overs. And Lis's loft ladder and the corner dorm floors and our dresser drawers and sometimes I wake up with a ring of tape around my wrist...and the whole room is like a tacky, crude pointillated painting of the enhanced imagination of the youth suffered during claustrophobia.

The tape is maybe an accurate representation of myself...of my mental habits lately. I've been sticking to things that aren't new or exciting or invigorating. I've been grappling to things that are constant and always there for grappling--budgets, factual regurgitation, to-do lists, housing Management. Worrying. Analyzing. It's a chronic cycle in my life--the intellectual stimulation persists fervently for a month or so, always leading up to something big, always in preparation for something--and feels like it could never leave!--and it dwindles like it could never (I always think it could NEVER), and it spirals into me like what I thought was impossible, and it settles viscously somewhere in the lower part of my gut to reveal the things that are always there for me to think about. And those things are a big, bland bore.

But like I said. It's a cycle. It'll come back.

I have this seemingly innocuous symptom--maybe of some mentally clogging virus--where I can make the greatest, most incendiary conversation with notable people, and I am relaxed, and it comes naturally; but eventually, when I get to the point where I truly care about what they think, how they see me, when I am conscious about keeping up this conversation--this is when I choke. And I can't think of a damn thing. And I force it. It happens all the time. I'm afraid of it. When all I really have to do is find the security and serenity I had in the first place with these people, when I didn't care about the image of me flashing before their eyes, when they weren't expecting or depending on the conversation. I just have to reach that point again.

I guess I'm working on it.
Maybe it is all part of the cycle.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

In The Room (Garage)

Turns out the Pentagon is interested in this spanking new material that absorbs 99.955% of light that hits it.  It's called "Blacker Than Black" (kind of like how Keith likes his coffee).  According to a commentator on NPR's "Good News, No News, Or Bad News?" it is Bad News if they start using it in warfare and the President says to Iraq, "We're gonna get some blacker than black on you!"  Yeah.  I agree.

I am sitting here listening to NPR--something I used to do every Saturday last summer.  It's a trip--to sit here and listen...just like sitting at Montclair's front desk from 8 to 3 and having my coffee and bagel from Bruegger's while soaking in world news and This American Life.  

Speaking of This American Life, the host, Ira Glass, is totally coming to Mizzou the day after my birthday.  And shucks, I'll be in KC.  Experiencing other home-related things such as my mother.  

Now I am listening to a broadcast of Carmen.  There is just something about classical music that calms me and makes me thank God for my classical training.  I feel like I understand so much more about music because of the classical appreciation I have built up.  I learned the most interesting things in the Medieval Music lecture yesterday.  I never realized how much influence the Catholic Church had on EVERYTHING.  Such as the power of three.  Such as the "devil's interval," the tritone.  I also learned that a "musician" was considered someone who THOUGHT about music...and people who played it were just crazies.  

My morning is great so far.

Just around the riverbend,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It is a usual occurrence for me to develop elaborate, bordering-on-impossible plot lines for every mildly amusing or odd scenario I find myself a part of.  Example: today, I finally got ahold of the manager at the Comfort Suites in Schaumburg, and after a hot-toned explanation of my exasperating situation with my camera charger, she informed me that it was already sent and signed for--at 34 Albany Drive in Columbia, MO.  

I don't live at 34 Albany Drive?

There are no worries here.  But I got to thinking...what if the person at 34 Albany Drive isn't in my choir posse?  Is it one of my fates that I trek to their house (preferably in a snowsuit with a canteen and some beef jerky)--not merely to reclaim my camera charger, but to meet them and talk to them?  I could end up changing their lives, or they mine.  Someone could even film it.  Kidding.

An ingredient that this awesome time of my life needs is schoolwork and learning--I've taken a bit of a break and I think it's time for me to get back into the swing of things.  I can feel it in my bones!  A yearning for learning.  I love the feeling...
like that one time, Keith, when what I wrote about being human affected your was such a powerful feeling.

I need another one of those.  That means work.  Which is fulfilling.

Where in the world is,

Thursday, February 7, 2008


When I see old people waddling down the street in complacency, I feel almost like I should bow down to recognize the great things they've done, the experiences they've had, the life they've shared with the world.  They are like plump vessels of knowledge just passing by like it's no big deal.  Think of all the things they have lived through.  They've all been like us--and they survived.  It is reassuring to think that probably, because of how my life is now, even if I don't make it as a journalist, I will still probably grow old and get to putz around in all my knowledge of life.  

Or maybe I won't.

As the crow flies :), 

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

O! What A Beautiful Morning

I love being awake in the morning.

When I got here, my favorite thing about college was my tiny coffeemaker.  It still is. 


Sunday, February 3, 2008


Materialism on the Internet is so easy!  And affordable!