Thursday, July 31, 2008


Perspective can often be a hard thing to come by. It's something that flits in and out of our vision, never staying long enough. Unfortunately, when it does show up, it always seems to be too late. It's a daily reminder that would truly be useful. Instead it seems that its only at the the end of the day, after the fact, that it makes its presence known.

Stephanie over at Greek Tragedy (a wonderful writer whom I'm terribly jealous of) is in the midst of an awful situation. Her husband has several heart problems - all of them very serious. From everything I've read on her blog I have no doubt that both she and her husband will be able to move on successfully but I still worry for her sake. Keep your thoughts with her. She needs every thoughtful comment she can get right now.

It's things like these that make me realize, not only that there are areas of my life in which I might be doing better, but how truly frightening it is that we so quickly lose the focus, the clarity that tragedy and misfortune bring. Our culture has become so desensitized that it now takes shocking amounts of blood and wreckage to stir us into action. It's become all too easy for us to just change the channel, turn down the radio, fold up the paper, and move on.

I cant even begin to imagine what Stephanie feels like right now. I know that if it were me and the man I love I would be collapsing in on myself with fear and worry. Just considering the idea of something happening to him makes me ache in places I didn't know I had. There are too many instances where we don't know the true value of things until they've left us for good. And when it really comes down to it - it shouldn't require a loved one in the hospital or in the ground to compel us to live each day like the gift it is.

Let this be my resolution to always always live each day with passion and gratitude for all the wonderful things that have come into my life (especially the amazing man who is my match in every way).


P.S. If anyone has any thoughts on this matter - I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Car Wash

I'm not sure what exactly I did to piss off the fates today (maybe it was me bashing the Fortune I got) but something is just not lining up for me.

Today I had to wash the family car. This is where it begins. I have a fairly sketchy history with appliances. I've set my fire alarm off with my toaster (more than once), I've managed to break several CD players, I've gotten very close to making my microwave spontaneously combust, and I've flooded my kitchen with the dishwasher.

God knows how I got it in my head that I'd be safe at the car wash. Now I'm generally kind of a low maintenance sort of girl (read: lazy) so I'm used to the automatic car washes - the kind where you just sit there, do as the lights say, and enjoy watching your automobile get sprayed with rainbow colored goo. However now that I'm living with my mother again (I'm pretending to do that whole "college" thing) I have to go use one of the manual car washes per her request/demand. Yea - these are the kind where you actually have to get out of the car. That right there is trouble for me.

So off I'm sent to the car wash with enough quarters to buy myself a new laptop and enough towels piled up in the back that I cant see out my review mirror. Great fun. I pull into my little hallway/covered parking stall thing, all the while trying to verbally psych myself up for whatever it is I've been drug into.

Now maybe in other states these car washes aren't so bad but I live in Logan and we're about six years behind the times up here so the car washing technology of this particular place is definitely not up to par. The quarter accepting thingy is permanently rusted to the ground, a hand turned mechanism, and completely eroded of all its directions. I have a timer flashing red numbers at me that I don't understand and a long black wand that I'd rather not touch. Needless to say I'm pretty much scared shitless at this point. However since I like to think of myself as fairly capable and of decent intelligence I decide to suck it up and tackle this whole 1990's car washing thing.

I insert my quarters.
I wait patiently for the little numbers to change.
I carefully pick up the black wand.
Still waiting patiently....
Still here.....

Nothing happens. Great. Of all the little empty car slots (and they're all empty since I'm the only one here) I have to go pick the faulty one. In retrospect I wish I had left at this point.

So I put back the black wand, stroll out of the stall, and look around for someone to help me. No one in sight. Go figure. As I turn back to look at my car I realize that my black wand - useless only seconds ago - now has a nice little stream of water coming from it. Aha. I knew I could do it. I jog back over to my car but by the time I get there the water has stopped. What the hell? I pick up the wand, shake it a few times, tap my quarter machine, and very carefully peer into the end of it.

When this kind of thing happens in movies the whole audience is gripping their arm rests, covering their eyes, and asking aloud why is it that people do such ridiculous things in movies? I am the poster child for this kind of bad luck/stupidity/sheer ignorance. Just as I get close enough to really get a good look the stream starts up again. But this time its mixed with some kind of soapy liquid. Fortunately my reflexes kicked in and I kind of did a little spastic jump away from the opening. Not so fortunate was I to think to let go. Instead I held on and got sufficiently drenched with some kind of nasty car cleansing mixture. Immediately following that was another burst of water that left me running for my car door. I didn't make it before the dryers turned on.

When I got home this is what my little sister said to me:

"Why do you look like a rat that someone came after with a blow dryer?"

Never again.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fickle Fortune

Interestingly enough I seem to have bad luck with Fortunes. Fortune cookies loathe me and as soon as they see me coming they rearrange themselves, pushing their meanest, most unappealing, and literally heartless fortune to the surface of their little colony where (without fail) I choose it. I don't know why I thought a fortune telling website would provide a different outcome.

"You will be imprisoned for contributing your time and skill to a bank robbery."


I don't know whether to be flattered or paranoid. What are the odds of me being framed for robbery in Logan, Utah? On a scale of 1-10 that's like a negative 34 right? And even if I were to put any significant amount of time and effort into a robbery - Fate, I'm sure, would see that I made no profit from it whatsoever. While all my accomplices flee to their luxurious leather seated jet with cash in hand I will certainly be the one left sitting on the sidewalk, cuffed to an unflattering lamppost, undoubtedly covered in that exploding purple ink. Thrilling prospect here - really it is. However - the all knowing Fortune Page would beg to differ and has now officially rooted my distrust in StumbleUpon - from whence it came. Not only does my glaring pixelated fortune say I'll be involved in a robbery but also, apparently, that I'm going to do time for it. Lovely. Every girls' secret fantasy - 15 years in prison without time to even spend the profits of your escapade. Why is it that I can't have one of those nice, flowery, sugar-coated fortunes? The best fortune I've ever had I think was one that said "Buy the red car." And since I would never buy a red car (or yellow) as its just asking to get a ticket - which always reduces me to tears - I was rather displeased. So now I'm tempted to go raid my local grocery store for boxes of fortune cookies in search of just one good humored fortune. Just one.

I'll let you know how it goes.


A New Face!

Just a quick note here - the blog is undergoing some designing changes so if things get a little crazy for a bit rest assured that the posting will continue, however the previously bad color schemes will not!

Thanks for everyones patience here.



In the end, even though I usually refuse to admit it during the process, I'm always grateful for change. Amidst the mini panic attacks, the midnight teeth grinding - which i still refuse to believe I do by the way (regardless of what my dentist says) - and the compulsive ebay-ing, I always come to realize that the change is a good thing. It's so strange to look back just a few months and see how little decisions snowballed into a far greater and unexpected effect than you ever might have though they'd have. In this minuscule little droplet of time I've left my old job, changed cities, found a completely wonderful man whom I truly love, reconnected with my family, and for the first time decided to single-mindedly pursue writing as a career. And I somehow found time to build this little blog.

Even though its been fun the past few weeks watching my life follow this capricious little route, much like my puppy does with his own tail, I also have to admit to being mildly terrified that one of these decisions will lead me down a path I don't want to go. A recent conversation with the boyfriend (who shall henceforth be known as "J") went something like this:

*Some previous discussion about me choosing a career as a writer*

me: I'm just worried that things will all turn out wrong.
J: Well, seriously, what's the worst that could happen?
me: I could put out four, five, or six books - have them all fail miserably, be behind on my degree, have no way to pay for said degree, and ultimately spend the rest of my life making minimum wage working at Hot Dog On A Stick.
J: Damn.
me: I know right?
J: I have faith that it will all work out for you.

Which is something I'd really like to believe but never quite seem to get my butterfly net around. However as much as I worry I still cant help but be happy - I love my new life and the people in it and now certainly seems like as great a time as any to wrestle with my writing. So that's what I'll be doing - and contrary to popular belief I actually am doing it! (Writing, that is.)


Sunday, July 27, 2008


The odds of the average person becoming even remotely successful at what they consider to be a worthwhile pursuit are slim, if even that. We all have a cynical, frustrated, alter ego that frequently reminds us that there are already plenty of brilliant pianists, dancers, painters, and writers, "and why should anyone give a damn if you can do it too?", it likes to say. Why - when so many other decent people have tried and failed - should the red carpet be rolled out for you? What makes you so worthy of the end results we all desperately wish for? I imagine its a combination of things. It probably consists of a mixture of dedication, relentlessness, severe self criticisms and ultimately some prescription drug abuse. It starts with dysfunctional families, grade school disturbances, and an overeager ability to withstand pain. We all have that deep, underground, barbiturate -like desire that gives us something to think about on cold bus rides homes and an excuse to stare off into space at family dinners while making everyone else remarkably uncomfortable.

Mine is writing. For me it's always been one of those things that I'm not really excited about until I'm actually in the process. I'm like that with movies. I'll stand and sway back and forth in front of a ridiculous amount of DVDs claiming all the while that I have nothing to watch until I finally just pick one - whining that I don't really even want to watch this particular one - and twenty minutes later you'll find me immensely enjoying the film that I, of course, didn't want to watch in the first place. Yet, despite my anxiety over the matter, I always come back to writing. Even when I assure myself that I'll be far better off going into medicine or education I cant ever completely shake the idea of writing. I wish I could say I was one of those children that came up with fantastic stories to share at reunions and holidays, impressing family and friends with my brilliant creativity, with everyone nodding their heads in assurance that I would certainly be the writer amongst them all. I wish I could say I was the acclaimed second grader who won the school contests and received gold stars for every little poem she put out. However I really wasn't - I mostly just read and made efforts to be the top of the class when it came to swinging on the monkey bars.

But still, even without these tidbits to reassure me when I'm certain that I'm an absolute failure at it all and should immediately give it up, I find myself thinking that while many writers are destined to do terribly we cant all be - otherwise nothing would ever be written. I still find myself referring back to the legends of how King, Grisham, and Clark got their start. I remember that they didn't go to college to write, that their books aren't the most profound and all encompassing of literature, and that many of them didn't do well the first time around. And I remember the multi-million advances some of them got. Yes, I'm aware of the arrogance of it all, but for some reason or another the starving artist lifestyle has no appeal to me.

I'm quite thrilled that after all the negativity and cynicism that prefaces the decision to become a professional writer there are those of us who are still able to tell everyone else to go to hell - that we will do whatever we damn well please - and then we'll write it all down. When it really comes down to it, even though I know what the odds are of being a successful writer and I'm fully aware of the serious lack of health insurance that is traded in for the obscure (if not dubious) title of writer, I also know that if I don't try I'd never forgive myself. I'd rather write six books - fail miserably at all of them, gain thirty pounds off of cinnamon sugar toast and strawberry cream cheese while seriously contemplating a move to Jamaica than never try to write professionally.

So all in all, frustrating as it may be, and difficult as it remains, writing is really the only thing I want to do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Difference

A lot of the time it becomes easy for us to lose focus on the things that really matter. Some people are blessed with the ability to become decisively narrow minded when it comes to the things that they believe make the difference. Others are not so fortunate. We twist and we turn and we let the current sweep us downstream because for so many its easier to do so than to admit that we arent doing, arent getting, and arent being what we want in life. It is so much simpler to be a sheep. There are far too many opportunities for procrastination - opportunities to chew more grass and spit it back out in the form of reality tv, prescription drugs, and the 4 a.m. trips to the freezer for that dwindling carton of double twist brownie frudge that you'll guilt yourself over later. The truth of the matter is that its easier for us to accept that we never really tried to go after what we want then to face the possibilty of doing so and failing. Many of us never even get far enough to let ourselves be open to the things we want. We instantly dismiss any and all thoughts that might condone for even a second that we are capable of having such things. And maybe for some people that works. Maybe for some its alright to ignore that ever prevalent ache that comes with not moving forward. The nervous energy that comes from standing still. But fortunately, for some, its simply unacceptable to let themselves remain idle. These rare individuals among us are the ones who continue to toil day after day, in situations in which they often find no appeal, for the sake of something that holds truer meaning. These are the people who refuse to give up or give in even when if it means they have to push a little harder or hold out a little longer than they would have liked. Yet, when asked about the source of their dedication, you might find these individuals to be as troubled as the rest of us. No speeches about perseverance or the meaning of hard work - just the honest truth that some things in life are important enough to make you get out of bed each day. It's these things, in the end, that truly make the difference and its these people that we all might strive to be a little more like.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Practical(ly) Lost Art

It's unfortunate that in our society the technological advances we make often serve neither function nor form but a loss of passion; a laziness that has quickly rooted itself within our daily lives. We used to be a country built on the inventive, creative, and persistent foundation our forefathers had laid down for us - yet now we find ourselves a stressed, overweight, and largely unhappy people. The very creations we had once stared up at in wonder are now merely unappreciated background; time and dedication lost to the ages. And in our pursuit of these new technologies that minimize and materialize our day to day interactions we have also lost many great forms of art.

One such form comes not by canvas, nor playhouse, not by ink or by paper but instead by a firmer hand and a nobler pursuit. The great downfall and only true lamentable quality attributed to art is its lack of practicality. Art cannot cook your meals, it cannot remind you where you set your keys, and it will not listen to your complaints about gas prices. As a student of its history and a lover of its progressions I can attest to the joy that comes with the creation and preservation of art so please don't misunderstand my words as a criticism but rather be happy to learn that there is a form of art that retains its usefulness. Hidden in forgotten fields and vacated barns you might find a surprisingly pragmatic form of art. Consider it archaic if you must - call it a lost art even, but only a few have that undying technique that allows them the end result of cruising through town in a newly restored car.

It's not something you might think to label as art at first glance but even the most removed viewers of the local car show can tell you otherwise. For many its a relentless love - and one I might have remained innocently oblivious to but for a recent discovery. There is a complex and intricate beauty that comes along with the otherwise negatively viewed profession that spills over into this addictive hobby. Most of us remain blissfully ignorant (read: scared shitless) when it comes to our cars but these enlightened few have a painters hand with an extra bonus. What they create is for many not only a glorified sense of nostalgia but a truly accomplished work of art because we and they can live out small pieces of our lives inside it. There isn't a painter on the earth that can claim that.

While it would be arrogant of me to claim that I know anything but the smallest details included in the vast amount of work the restoration of a car entails, I will say this: I've seen the work, the end results, and the joy that can be achieved from this particular pursuit. And if anything, anything at all, is meant to be labeled as art surely the shine of new chrome, the smell of fresh paint, and the feel of the wind on your face qualifies. Even if it has to compete with a bowl of fruit.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Open Minded

The thing with a small town is that you can never really know just what you've gotten yourself into. Every small(er) town has unique qualities that, along with its inhabitants, define its very essence. Its not uncommon for small communities to be based around a trade. The midland plains of the U.S. are peppered with these capsules of time, akin to a walk down memory lane, most of them are centered around farming and agricultural professions. Logan, Utah - a growing settlement with a population of just under fifty thousand - happens to be one of these towns. Its defining attribute being that its also home to one of the states' finer universities. As a result Logan is a stark but interesting contrast of the educated and simple-seeking. Those who have seen and done and ultimately chose to retire to a more unassuming way of life. Amidst various complaints of its minimal shopping, small-minded religious fanatics, and unreliable snow removal services (complaints often hurled at small-towns that remain unnoticed in large cities) there is a peacefulness to Logan, encouraged by its more refined residents, that might otherwise be ignored. Those of us that might be too quick to judge Logan by its slow-moving, if archaic, pace would be sadly mistaken. The remarkable thing with Logan, and many other small towns, is that it tends to unfold for its residents in ways that a larger, impersonal city cannot. One might be reminded of Edward Abbey's belief that "You can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamn contraption and walk." In the same spirit a small town can quickly make a surprising impression on its visitors but only if they express the willingness to be impressed upon. In that respect we might all do well to be a little more open minded.