ThoughtsOfAnEnglishMajor

My thoughts on life.

Archive for the category “Career”

My Imaginary Friends Are Mute

I have some tragic news to tell my handful of followers. It is something that has haunted me for months now…writer’s block. (Dun Dun Dun)(Camera quickly zooms in on a woman who is unknown to the audience sporting a confused and scared face.)

Yes I have fallen, yet again, to the monster that lives in my blank word document; it seems to be a recurring theme for me. This pattern of having a month of strong ideas, creative characters, interesting and diverse scenes to only be pushed aside by two months of nothingness is starting to get old. I mean, seriously, you would think that creating a piece of fictional magic that envelops the reader in the world of the author would be easy, right?

Since November, I have wanted to write a novel. One that would incorporate a character going through immense changes of self-discovery, treacherous emotional warfare, experimental love, and finally a huge cathartic release of the soul. However, it is much easier for me to describe the type of book I want to create rather than the book itself. I have had at least twenty of thirty complete story ideas and have written pages upon pages of dialogue, scene, and character descriptions only to be left wanting more.

I think I have built up too high of an expectation. I have created this idea that there is an American classic sitting somewhere in my head, and that it is my job to get it out. However, nothing I write is living up to my own harsh critiques. As a result, my entire creative process has tuckered out from exhaustion like my ten year old dog that has hip dysplasia.

Hopefully, by the summer’s end, I will have more of a focus, more of a vision, as what this book will involve, and I can begin my writing and kill this writer’s block.

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Dance

I am starting off this post begging those few loyal followers to forgive me for my tardiness in writing new posts. The last two weeks were finals, and I seriously had to commit to my studies.

With the closing of the year, I am feeling so many different emotions. I feel like a pregnant lady in the mall who finds out she has to start shopping in the maternity section. At first though there was only one looming feeling that has been anchored into my heart. Sadness.

Over the course of nine months, I have gained so many new friends. I have grown more than anyone could ever imagine. I have changed. So much so, that the group of friends I have surrounded myself with have ultimately changed my life. and I couldn’t imagine my day-to-day life without them. To begin to think about leaving them was something I was dreading. And so the emotion-packed excursion began.

First, one friend trickled out. I wasn’t that sad, not because I didn’t care about them, but because their leaving was not real inside of my head; it hadn’t set in. Then another left and another and another. With each friend, the emotions rose. However, it wasn’t until my hour-and-a-half drive home that I broke down and started to bawl. Then, a song came on my ipod that seemed to change my thinking.

Now, call me corny or cheesy, but I believe everything in life has a great meaning and purpose. The song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack seemed to be translating that great message. Yes, I know it is about leaving the one you love and hoping the very best for them. I know; I bought the song. But, in this situation, it seemed to be applicable to me and my posse.

I realized that in four months time I will be right back to listening to stories that will cause me to cry with laughter, and telling stories of my own summer adventures. I will continue to grow and live life, as will my friends. I want them, not to be thinking about me, but to be enjoying one of their last summers as young adults. I want them, pardon the expression, to dance. Yes, I will miss them, but I know that four months will fly by as fast as first semester.

Do I Mean Something to the World?

“I have learned that you can go anywhere you want to go and do anything you want to do and buy all the things that you want to buy and meet all the people that you want to meet and learn all the things that you desire to learn and if you do all these things but are not madly in love: you have still not begun to live.” 

-C. JoyBell C.

I mean something to the world.This sentence is what we all long to say one day. It is the thing we search and long for in our lives. We go looking for this sentence in colleges, our jobs, our families, our travels. We always are wanting to know whether or not we will even matter 20 years from our death. We try, even in our passing, to be remembered, to be known.

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”-Albert Camus

I was thinking about this concept last night when a friend was trying to figure out what she will do in her future. Should she stay in this major? Should she switch? Should we all just become homeless people in California?( I personally would like that.) So after a conversation, tears, and just a time out from life, we were able to at least calm her down and help her realize that it was going to be ok. But then that statement popped into my head, I mean something to the world.

Here is my dream; it may sound silly or ridiculous to some, but here it goes: I want to live in San Francisco, Chicago, or New York. Really, as long as it’s a big city, I’ll be fine. Although, I like San Fran because its warmer. I want to work in the writing world. What facet of that world? I don’t know. I would really like to work in publishing, teaching, public relations, maybe marketing, or some other job I’ve probably yet to discover. I want to write a book. Quite honestly, I would like to make enough money from that to where that’s all I did, but I have to be a little realistic.

“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don’t value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it’s been sung? The dance when it’s been danced? It’s only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature’s highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and wilfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we’re expected! But there is no such place, that’s why it’s called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can’t arrange our own happiness, it’s a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.”-Tom Stoppard, The Coast of Utopia

I was asked last week by a family member why I liked English, why I liked writing, why I wanted to create novels. I couldn’t answer them until after my conversation last night with my friend. I realized that, for me at least, writing is how I am searching to mean something, to be remembered, to have an influence on others lives. For me, it is how I am happy. My career will be a major portion of my adult life. I have to be happy with what I am doing. I have to accept I am who I am. I like what I like, and that I will mean something to world even if it’s not in the capacity I originally thought.

Poetry: Friend or Foe?

Language is power.

This semester I am taking a creative writing course that is divided into two sections: fiction and poetry. In the beginning of the year, the class had to write short stories, develop characters, create tone through adjectives. In this second half we are writing in stanzas, keeping rhythm, and focusing on the ambiguity behind the idea. In a week from now I have to turn in a poem that will be critiqued by the class in front of me. Oh, did I mention that I am not allowed to speak during the critique?

My relationship with poetry could be compared to the relationship between a cat and a dog. Poetry always barks at me, threatening me with its rhyme scheme, feet, stanzas; it scares me. It is a world full of ambiguity, raw ideas, and great analogies that can sometimes span half of a page. Meanwhile, I am the cowering cat, stuck in the corner, with its back arched and hairs on edge. I hiss at its presence. In short, it’s not for me.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.  ~Ray Bradbury

I am a guy who likes making ideas come to life in the reader’s mind. I am a guy who likes facts, occasionally mystery, but mostly the broad range of reactions a person can have to a single event, to a fact. I love constructing places with their grand arches or luminous ceilings. I enjoy creating full, round characters who have personalities so their own that even as I write I don’t know what they will do.  I like being able to envision an entire world based on a single character and how they react to that world.

Poetry is not exactly my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I believe poetry can have all those things listed in the above paragraph. However, I find that I cannot be as open in my creativity when I am thinking about if this word stays within the pentameter or whether my stanzas have a visual flow.  If I am being really honest, it’s simply because I am too lazy. If a story pops into my mind, the world seems to create itself. I just happen to be the first witness. I really cannot take credit because for me it comes natural.

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.  ~Sharon O’Brien

As a youth, I would spend hours in my room playing by myself. I do have siblings: a sister eight years older and two brothers about ten years younger. Due to that gap in ages, I was raised as an only child. Meaning all those things you did with your sibling I did by myself like riding a bike, playing in the sandbox, going to the playground, messing around in mud, but most importantly, playing pretend. That ability to foster an entire world just to entertain yourself comes in handy when you have to choose hair color, height, or building size.

I will end this post with my pathetic attempt at poetry:

Tossed like the ocean, battered and broken.

My thoughts only matter when they are spoken.

I’m not a lyricist or a great poet,

but I will admit it; I will own it.

Wish me luck next week!!

I Deserve A Break

Um..I think I am just going to write this blog later. I can always work out tomorrow. I could probably wait a couple of days before I NEED to start studying for the exam. I deserve a break. These thoughts, or thoughts like them, run through my head all day now that I am on my own. Procrastination is something I think many people struggle with in their day-to-day lives. So much so, I am pretty sure the American Medical Association declared it a disease(Don’t quote me on that). Whether or not it is a medical issue, doesn’t seem to dampen our moans and groans when it hits us in the face; when it cause us to stop everything we’re doing.

“Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow.” ~Gerald Vaughan

So what are the symptoms of this silent killer, you ask? At first you are extremely motivated, in fact, you would never know that some evil was lurking around the corner. However, once you are content with actually doing the work it is too late for it is nothing but a lie that your body believes. Second, while starting the project, you start thinking about how long it will take to actually finish the task in its entirety. After working very hard for thirty minutes, you decide that you should reward yourself for putting your name at the top of the page and remembering the date without looking it up. So, the social networking sites grab your attention and hold it for ransom. Two and half hours later, once you’ve found out Theresa’s baby’s name, the type of tattoo Jimmy got, and the color that your aunt chose to paint her living room; you can move to picking out the “right” song to help you work faster. As if  John Legend is really going to help you solve the Calculus problems. And so, the cycle will continue and continue until there seems to be no hope.

Children, you can stop crying. Random woman in the street, you can stop screaming. Mob, holding pitch forks and fire, you can get back to other mob things because I found out the secret thing preventing the procrastination monster from making you another victim in its path to world domination. The trick is to fight fire with fire. Although, water with water would work too. We need to procrastinate procrastination.

Whether you or I like it or not, we are nothing more than our minds and our will power. So if procrastination takes our will power, our aimless minds are left there to fend for themselves. So procrastinate procrastination by allotting the same amount of time you would normally visit the social sites, watch T.V., trim your fingernails, or whatever else you would do. However, do it all at once after you’ve accomplished your task instead of taking “breaks” throughout. That way you still get want you want, and I find it relaxes you right before bed which translates to more sleep.  It also helps when you’re not stressing about all the things you failed to do because you were to busy looking at what J. Lo was doing on her Wednesday afternoon.

I am no doctor, but I believe this tip will help you; I can say this because I have applied this trick to my life. Although, I am writing this blog at 4:30 in the morning instead of doing a Biology lab due later in the day. After all, I do deserve a break.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”~C.G. Jung

Do you want fries with that?

For the first blog I thought I would share an experience that occurred last semester at one of the dining courts on campus. About three friends and myself were all grabbing lunch and about to leave the table when an elderly man came up and asked if he could join us. We, being the gracious students we are, smiled accordingly and made small talk with the gentleman. After five minutes of conversation, we found out that he was actually the oldest faculty member on campus and that he worked in the math department. Then, it was time for him to get to know us and so the nightmares would begin.

The man went around the table listening carefully to each word that my friends were saying. He smiled as they told him about their biology classes, he nodded as he heard news of the physics test, and he even chuckled at one who made a very bad math joke. After all the science/math/engineer students had given the man their life stories and aspirations he turned to me.

“And what is your major?” He asked offering me a smile.

“Well, actually I was seeking a biology degree, but I recently switched to the College of Liberal Arts and am now an English major.” I stated returning the smile.

There was a pause. A silence overwhelmed the room. The old man was thinking of what to say and the anticipation for his words could not be greater. Then looking directly into my eyes with his withered face, cold eyes, and now smile-less mouth he said, “Do you want fries with that?”

Shock. This is what the body goes through after a trauma. The idea that the amount of damage to your body could be so great that your body simply ignores the pain/suffering is an adaptation I find truly remarkable.How can this be? How can this old man be blatantly making fun of what I’ve chosen to do for the rest of my life? Is this legal?So my body went into shock. The room started spinning, the lights dimmed, and everyone started laughing at me; it was like a poorly written dream sequence out of an independent film.

As we were leaving the table I was determined to not let the decrepid man’s opinion become my reality. However, his words fluttered in the back of my mind; they liked to land on my shoulder and whisper into my ear. I guess I will be working at Burger King. Although, I hear that McDonald’s really treats their employees well. So I slipped into a depression that lasted the whole of two days.

I ate more ice cream, slept more, and even did assignments earlier than the day before they were due. During this “Jesus and the desert” time in my life I did a lot of soul-searching. I found out that I didn’t care about old man mountain, that I didn’t care about his or anyone elses’ opinion, that I didn’t care if I made one thousand dollars or one hundred thousand dollars. The only thing I care about is being happy and what better way to be happy than to be surrounded by words that offer escape, redemption, power, and a sense of reality to a culture consumed with technology.

“Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.” -Walt Whitman

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