Friday, December 14, 2012

Insomnia and Divine Intervention

I am now at the end of the semester. Please, hold the applause. It was nothing. I was hardly involved.

In all seriousness, though, friends. I'm sitting on my aunt's couch, done with finals and not feeling particularly sick. And I'm really not sure how I got here.

Because, here's the thing. Dinner last night was the first decent meal I've had in two weeks. I've been emptying out my fridge and, for the last few days, I've been living off cheese, tortillas, and oranges. Also, one ill-advised pie shake.

But, because that isn't bad enough, I haven't really been doing well in the sleep area either.

I go to bed. And then I lie there. And think about filial piety. The morality of white lies. Unicorns. British poets. (Byron was a creeper, guys.)

I have tried every trick in the book. I count backwards from a thousand. (Sometimes in Chinese, because maybe that helps? Somehow?) I listen to soothing music. I listen to really boring documentaries, which invariably turn out to be really interesting. I count sheep. I twist my brain around itself while trying to figure out eternity's lack of a beginning. (Tried so hard to understand the Big Bang. Failed.) I write apocalyptic short stories in my head.

It doesn't work.

What works for me, as it turns out, is crying. If I can cry, then I can go to sleep. Maybe it's a chemical thing?

So I lie there at two o'clock in the morning trying to make myself cry. Be sad. Be sad. Usually I can talk myself into it, but two nights ago I ended up rereading the death of one of my favorite characters ever and then watching Bible videos.

A couple times I head to the living room to nurse my insomnia without disturbing my roommate. And almost whenever I do another one of my roommates is out there. Teaching themselves a Jack Johnson song on the guitar. Watching a Korean drama. And I end up reading to them, or we talk about things (I can never remember what) while I force myself to yawn. Is insomnia contagious? It think my apartment caught it.

All this to say, what with my lack of my sleep and actual food, the fact that I got through finals without a break down means two things: There must be a God, and He must love me.

Oh, and guys.

I'm going home!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unicorns are Totally Real

Sometimes I just crave adults. I realize that I am now twenty, which makes that last sentence a little suspect, but true nonetheless. I certainly don’t feel twenty. Twenty(s) is when people get married. They start being mature. They get jobs. They talk about politics.

Friends, I still blow bubbles regularly. I’m about a hundred times more likely to read a food blog than a political article. And a few nights ago, when I couldn’t sleep, I spent a half hour coming up with ten reasons why unicorns could totally be real.

Let’s not be hasty in our application of the term “adult,” huh?

Anyway, as much as I adore being at college, being surrounded by people who are in this thing they call the prime of our life, I sometimes feel like walking up to my teachers and begging them to talk to me. Not about essays, or tests, or anything that has anything to do with whatever it is I study in their class.

No, I don’t want help with the assignment. I want wisdom. I want someone to tell me a story that comes from experience. Preferably someone who has had more than twenty years of experience. I want my English teachers to show me things they wrote when they were my age, and invite me over for dinner. I want them to tell me about their lives and ask me about mine.  I want to go up to them and say, “If you knew me, and knew what was going on with me right now, not only would you not assign this essay, you’d take me out for ice cream and lend me a few really good books.”

But I don’t. I don’t annoy my teachers with my craving for the influence of people—but especially women—older and wiser than me. And thus far I haven’t gone in to talk to any of the school councilors. This is partly because I don’t think craving adult supervision qualifies as therapy worthy, and partly because if it does, I don’t really want to know about it.

So instead I blow bubbles, read food blogs, and wonder about unicorns.

I don’t need therapy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Irony Department

Have you ever watched any Inside the Actor's Studio? (Youtube it.) It's this collection of interviews with actors. They tell their lives story and talk about movies that they've worked on. At the end of the interview they're always asked the same questions. Stuff like, what's your favorite word? What's your favorite curse word? One of the questions is, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? George Clooney said, "I'd like him to say-- Come on in, Rosemary's singing, Nat Cole is playing piano... they're singing Always."

Now I've thought about this and come up with several answers. First of all, I'd really like a hug. Seriously, if I make it to heaven, I feel like a hug will be in order. I'd also really like to hear, "The library is this way." But recently I've been thinking that, before the library, I'm going to need to go see the Irony Department.

There are irony offices in heaven. Officially they're called the Irony Department, or ID, or (because they just think they're so clever) Id. There are probably different divisions in the office. You know. Like maybe they have one for dramatic irony, one for situational irony. I'm not sure. But I am pretty sure that the offices are largely populated by writers. Because you can't really be a writer without taking thismuch pleasure in other people's pain. (Or THISMUCH. That works too.)

Betcha that Jane Austen is there. And Jonathan Swift. Every snarky writer that ever lived, they all get together and plot about how to make the world poetically miserable.

These are the people who sit up in the clouds on their swivel chairs and say, "You don't like that person? Really? Then you should run into them every single place you go." Or there'll be an intern who'll say, "Hm. Marissa just studied six hours for her test. You know what we're going to do? We're going to have her know everything on the test--but she isn't going to read the directions right, so she'll get a B anyway." And then the guy in the cubicle over says, "Hey, why limit yourself? Might as well have that happen on two tests on the same day, right?" And then they both rub their hands together and cackle evilly. You have to have an evil laugh to work there.

They like to tell themselves that they're in charge of God's sense of humor.

I hate them. I want to work there when I die. But I hate them.

Maybe they already know that I want to work there, and all this stuff, all the irony that keeps popping up, is hazing. They mess with me a ton now, and then when I die, when I charge into the office, and demand to know who thought that was funny, they'll tell me very innocently that all that was just training. You know. So I'd have some idea of what it is that they do there.

I've been thinking about it recently, though, and I'm pretty sure I've found the person who got it worst from Id. Lot's wife is the grand winner. Not just because getting turned into salt sort of stinks, but because the irony wasn't even clear until the Sermon on the Mount. Because, you see, now Lot's wife literally is the salt of the earth.

...Ba-dum ching.

I'm going to go work on my evil laugh now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Camel Humps

I've developed a sort of fascination with my finger joints. I mean, look at yours. They're a few pieces of bone sewn together with skin and cartilage. And they move so easily! Without squeaking! Which puts them at a definite advantage over many of the doors I've encountered lately.

This is what happens when I go to college. I can't decide if it's because I get so tired that I'm a little fuzzy in my skull or if college pokes the monster that is my curiosity and the beast doesn't like being approached. So I get curious, and interested. In everything. Maybe it's a self-preservation mechanism. I'm being fed all this information and my mind is like, well, as long as it's here...

Listen, say there is a landslide, right? And there are some houses on the land that slid. So House A slid down onto to Land B where House B used to be. Who is responsible for removing the house? Most of the people I've asked roll their eyes at me, especially when they find out that it's purely hypothetical.

Was the Star of Bethlehem literal, or is it a methaphor?

Did they build my school at the top of a hill for the metaphorical value (you know, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid), or was it just general cruelty?

What are camels humps made of?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Notes From My Phone *typos included in the spirit of authenticity

“Failure is a part of life. Not my life, but, you know, some people.”

“Have you been asking any of your hipster boyfriends if they’re selling a bike.”
“but I want a hipster bike!”
“I haven’t had a hipster boyfriend in like two monthes now! I’m going clean!”

Pr 6058 A68828 C 461999

Modernization and tradition, interpersonal relations, and between the living and the debt.

It’s funny how any negative feelings can suddenly become homesickness. Physical pain, anger, lonliness, it all turns into this organ hollowing desire to be laying on the grass in my front yard and hear my calling me in to dinner.


Only kings, professors, and madmen use the royal we.

Razors. Olive Oil. Baggies. Beans. Nuts. Tortillas. Canned Soup. Fruit. Yogurt. Feta.

No matter how far the human race advances we cannot seem to get over our obsession with shiny things.

1 c brown sugar
½  sugar
1 T vanilla
1 c butter
½ t salt
1 b soda

My dad wrecked three cars growing up. He paid for one of them. I don’t know if it was the first one or the last one. He spent a summer at Zions in 103 degree weather, digging holes to make up for a few moments of confusion that ended in the dismemberment of two car doors.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mailboxes, For Your Information

Once I directed friends to my house by telling them that I was the second duct-taped mailbox down the street on the left.

This is no longer true. My neighbors replaced their embarrassment with a more sturdy stone model. My mailbox, however, remains, though the tape itself has been replaced several times. The tape is going through a blue period right now. This is impermanent—Dad says that he’s going to buy orange for Halloween and red or green for Christmas.

According to my mom our mailbox has been on its last leg since we moved here, about seventeen years ago. I can’t remember it then, only its present incarnation--a rusty pole upholding a teetering grey box with a rounded top, covered in tape. My first memory of it is when my little sister’s friend scribbled, Come down and play, on the side of it with a rock.

You can still see the remnants of the writing slanting across its increasingly faded exterior.

Mom bought a new shiny red mailbox, but its still sitting in our garage. As residue from her less feminist days, my mom insists that putting up mailboxes (like stringing Christmas lights) is a man's job and Dad has steadfastly refused to put it up. 

We're unable to determine if that is due to his general disinclination to fix/repair/install anything, or the defiant pride he has in our mailbox's similarly defiant ugliness and absolute refusal to fall to time or weather.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Insecurities, Why I Will Never Be a Heroine... Oh, and a Book List

I was asked for book recommendations a few weeks ago and felt utterly overcome with responsibility. What if you didn't like the books I recommended? Or, like always happens every time I recommend a TV show, I've forgotten something in them that will make you very uncomfortable? Or I leave a book out that deserves its place on my shelf of favorites? And what if I make my favorites sound worse than they are by trying to be honest about them? And what if I'm no good at reviews?

I have overcome these fears by not thinking about them. Which seems to be my new approach to fears and things I don't like in general. What's that you say? Avoidance? So?

Thus, in no particular order, here are my favorite books.

Peace Like a River: 

Told from the perspective of a little boy, Rueben, I love nearly all the characters in this book, particularly Rueben's sister Swede. But I think what makes it one of my favorites is that it's a book about miracles--about the mercy and attentiveness of God--that doesn't get cutesy or preachy. Instead, it's a story in which miracles occur and largely go unnoticed, or freak people out. The downside of this book is that, like so many others, the ending feels rushed.

How to Kill a Mockingbird:

You all should have read this in high school. If you were deprived of that opportunity, go pick it up from the library. If you used sparknotes or intuition to get by on the tests, go pick it up from the library. And if you read and thought, "That was nice," but it didn't make you laugh or cry hard, go pick it up from the library. That's all.

The Elegance of a Hedgehog: 

I adore this book. I love this book. I recognize that this book is not for everyone. It's plot is slow to start, and slow to pick up. It's a book that is largely concerned with people and ideas and, so, will dwell on them for quite a long time. Also, there is this side plot concerning suicide which can be thematically disturbing. And while we're being completely honest about things I don't adore about this book, I have to say that I thought the ending was the product of either a lazy writer or a lazy editor.

Those things honestly sound worse than they are. What I love about The Elegance of a Hedgehog is it's main character who intelligent, funny, and utterly unorthodox in the world of fictitious heroines. I also think the language is soul-stirringly immaculate. Truly, this book is worth reading if only for the vocabulary boost. I think we often read, or participate in any kind of art really, because we want to feel a certain way. When I'm stressed out I listen to cello music, and read this book (and, yes, eat lots of chocolate) and I feel better.

Howls Moving Castle:

This book is nowhere near the quality of the other books I'm recommending. There is nothing in this book that I feel the world at large should become aware of. The language is entirely adequate, the characters funny, interesting, but probably not deep. I'm recommending this book not because I think it is a triumph of modern literature, but because I like it and because I think you can't always be reading triumphs of modern literature.

Howls Moving Castle is a fantasy book about a girl who gets cursed--and turns into an old woman. Which, yeah, pretty much stinks. But instead of buying a new wardrobe of lavender and lace and feeling sorry for herself--which is probably what I would do--she runs away from home and becomes a cleaning lady or an evil wizard. And this is why I will never be a heroine.

The Book Thief:

This is one of those books that I'm pretty sure everyone has heard about. In fact, I think all of these books might be this way. Or maybe I just love them so much it's difficult for me to imagine it's not. The Book Thief is a product of genius story telling, gorgeous language, and brilliant character development. It's narrated by Death and takes place in Nazi Germany. And it is one of two books I have ever read and thought, "That was the perfect ending."

Go read it. Now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My Metaphor

In US History I read about how some of the founding fathers thought of God as a clockmaker.

You know. Like, He made the universe. Maybe He tinkered with atoms and quarks at His work bench--the God particle came to Him in his sleep and woke Him with a flash of sheer brilliance. He smoothed out the dark satin of space, started the mechanical movement of the stars, compressed and carved a few worlds and then dusted his hands off and walked away. Said, "Well. That was fun. What else do we do around here?"

Maybe He went and created a few other universes. Maybe He took a really long nap. Or went and listened to an extremely long angel concert. But he definitely walked away. Because why else would there be starvation? And war? Why else would children be abused, and families be broken up? Why would politicians be corrupt, and everyday people be nasty?

If God were still around, these things couldn't happen. Or so thought the founding fathers. Their God was a perfectionist, intolerant of anything that wasn't as good as He was.

I thought about this for a long time. Having been extremely sheltered, my experiences with the world's evil and heartache is extremely limited. So I admit to being unqualified to explain why God allows bad things to happen to good people. But, you know, my lack of qualifications haven't really ever stopped me before.

I'll admit that what bugged me most when I read about the founding father's was not, as my friend pointed out to me, that the men who wrote about "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God" did not, in fact, believe that God was around. It was mostly that they had a metaphor for how their God worked, and I didn't have one for mine.

I confess it. I'm an English major at heart. (I'm actually trying to decide if I want the rest of me to be an English major, or whether I want to isolate the impulses to my thoracic cavity. Thoughts?)

After a great deal of thought I have come up with my metaphor.

My God is an orchestra conductor.

I don't know if you've ever been in an orchestra. (I haven't. I was in a band--school band. I'm not cool enough to be in a non-school band.)

An orchestra conductor gives you music and says, "Hey, listen, things will work out best for you if you follow this music." He can't make you, of course. But he suggests it. He'll help you out if you come talk to Him, and explain the difficult passages. Sometimes He'll give you hard music just so that you'll struggle with it, learn from it, come talk to him about it.

But sometimes He won't be able to explain things to you. How can He tell you what a violin bow is supposed to feel like in your hand? How can he explain how to speed your breath up or slow it down in time with the music?

He won't fix your problems with the other orchestra members either. Sometimes, in the middle of the performance the brass section will trip, slip, and tumble, messing up every other instrumentalist there. Sometimes there will be one musician struggling. Does he stop the show? Does he kick them out?

Sometimes. But he orchestrates everything and everyone. He is mindful of them all.

That's my God. He's stands at the front and begs everyone to watch, pleads with them to be good to each other, to make each other better. But he can't--or, maybe, he won't--play our instruments for us.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

If the World was (were?) Just

I have a job!

I spend several hours a day busing tables and smiling really big. I say "Aloha" and "Mahalo" and "Are you done with that?" You don't have to have a very big vocabulary when you bus tables.

Applying for jobs was a painful process for me. I felt extremely judged. Every time I went into talk to someone I stood there awkwardly and tried to think of something impressive to say. You know, something like, I can lift three hundred pounds. And tame lions. 

Somehow my GPA wasn't quite cutting it.

Working is exposing me to my woeful ignorance, which is never a comfortable feeling. Nothing they taught me at school makes me any better at balancing silverware. I am really hoping that busing isn't my life's calling. Because I kind of stink at it.

It isn't just that my job shows me all sorts of things I don't know. It also starts poking holes in things I thought I did know.

I mean, I always knew that I didn't know anything about how the internet works. But I thought I had a basic grasp on Newton's laws of motion. Not, a rocket science, I'm going to fly a monkey to Mars level. But a function in the everyday world, have a general idea of how to throw a ball level. But here's the thing--I can't figure out the mechanisms of a cart.

You would think that moving a cart should be fairly straightforward. You put wheels on something and it moves. But apparently carts can be broken. Not as in a wheel falling off. As in... it no longer responds to my understanding of Newton's laws.

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

...Guys, does that not mean that a cart should move in the way you push it? No?

My whole life has been a lie.

(If the world was just, carts would move in the way you push them. I'm just saying.)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I watched The Young Victoria yesterday. Again.

Every once in a while I get the urge to watch a "bonnet movie." You know, a movie where all the women wear beautiful dresses, and all the men wear high boots. Where everyone is witty, and the stakes are purely interpersonal. Where it's clear from the beginning who is going to fall in love, so any angst suffered along the way is throughly enjoyable. This happened sometime last January and to satisfy my craving I got on Netflix and watched Bright Star. I was less than pleased.

A similar urge ceased me sometime last summer. Once again I consulted Netflix. I found The Young Victoria. And it was love.

If you are a guy, this may be a good time to bow out. I don't know that this is a guy movie. Unless you're a guy like my dad--who called me, several weeks ago, to inform me that when I got home we were going to watch all of the six hour Pride and Prejudice and do a textual analysis of it in which he would prove, once and for all, that Lizzy did not fall in love with Darcy for his money.

But, if you're not a guy, or if you're a guy like my dad (in which case we should talk), let me tell you what I love about this movie.

There is your normal run of good things--the script is smart (though not fast paced), and the acting ranges from inoffensive to excellent. The film is beautifully shot (mostly), and the score is lovely.

But I've got to tell you, what I really love about The Young Victoria is Victoria.

I have thing for smart heroines. If my smart heroines are also powerful and deeply flawed, then I am completely sold. (it's the perfect combination of things i am and things i wish i were. i'll let you guess which are which.)

Victoria is strong. This strength saves her from a childhood full of hurt and in which she was denied any power at all. However, this same strength is detrimental later in her life, as her stubborn streak makes her unwise. I love this. I love that the best parts of her are also the worst parts. It's something I recognize from life.

I have to talk a little bit about Alfred too, because I love him almost as much.

I like Alfred on his own. He seems basically kind, and extremely smart. When I fall for him, though, is when he's with Victoria.

He is supportive while having his own opinions, gives good advice, loves music, and is nice to her dog. He is saved from perfection, however, by something like pettiness, which is a flaw that we as viewers are prone to forgive. If he were cowardly, or (heaven forbid) humorless, it would be more difficult. But pettiness is forgivable and even lovable.

They make me happy.

And while we're talking about things that make me happy (which we should definitely continue doing, because it's a great excuse to not fill out job applications) I should mention Humans of New York.

I stumbled across this last week with the assistance of facebook and an excellent English teacher. (thanks jackson.) And it just makes me smile. And want to go to New York. And take up photography...

Go check it out.

...No, seriously. Why are you still here?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Martin Luther King Had a Dream. I Would Like One.

Well, friends. I'm home.

I've been thinking, in the midst of my sickness and general post-finals exhaustion, and I haven't got a clue what I want to do with my life. I met people at college who knew what they wanted.

Thayne is going to study stars--the details of this may not yet be ironed out, but there are definitely stars on his horizon (that pun was just for you, mom. because i love you).

Lexi is doing animation, and pretty much has a job with Disney and Pixar already. (on an absolutely random aside, have you seen the trailer for the new pixar movie brave?

a movie about a fiery, curly-headed, arrow-shooting heroine? so there. i love pixar. also, i decided about four months ago that i'm scottish.)

Holly is going to be a fabulous English teacher, Kelsey will illustrate, Darian and Jacob are doing something with electrical engineering.

They all know what they want. They have visions of their future lives in their heads. If they're anything like me they can already see it and carry on imagined conversations with future colleagues who are, no doubt, awed by their work and intelligence.

I, on the other hand, am just beginning to realize that the future--that is, post-college life, is actually a reality. At all. There will be a point at which I am no longer in school, and I will have to find something to do with my time. And, in all likelihood, my life will not even remotely resemble the various imaginings I have set forth for myself--all of which include me doing something fantastic and amazing, like curing cancer. Except that I have no pretensions to any skills even remotely related to science, so more of the humanities equivalent of curing cancer.

I have never thought realistically about my future and so, when realism imposes itself over the frame, the canvas inside is absolutely empty. I've got nothing. And suddenly the idea of life after education becomes mildly petrifying.

It isn't that I thought I would die after college. It's just I didn't really realize that I would keep living.

I need a dream. A point. A striven-for place, thought, job, goal, way of being (enlightenment is too vague to be life's ambition). I need something to yearn and work for. If only for lending a sense of purpose.

I need a dream, guys. Anyone have one they want to lend me?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

You're Just Jealous You're Not Johnny Depp


“At least he’s not trying to kill Napoleon.”

“Despite your class’s initial success, it fails for the following reasons. I will explore these reasons by focusing on your ultimate failure as a human being.”

“Basketball’s fun. Especially when you’re destroying children.”

“Darn it, she’s talking about mushrooms—now I have to talk about mushrooms—and we can never get married.”

“Talking is what you do when you have nothing to say.”

“We do dig up graveyards. Some people really don’t like us for it. We do it nicely! We put them back! Sometimes…”

“That’s not to say pregnant women are incapable of… deep passion. That is… I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Seriously? You have the gall to say hi to me after putting me through heck? I will punch you. I will throw a baby at you.”

“You’re just jealous you’re not Johnny Depp.”

“I am vertically challenged.”

“The phoenix: a symbol which has recently been made famous by Harry Potter. To which all roads lead. What is Tolstoy but a forerunner, a precursor, to Harry Potter?”

“He’s a business major, but I like him anyway.”

“She burned her toads.”

“Have you had diet gingerelle? It’s an abomination.”

“Saying you don’t like Orwell is like saying you don’t like oxygen. It’s irrelevant.” 

“I went to buy Nutella and tampons. If that doesn’t spell bad weekend I don’t know what does.”

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I have things to say....

     I'm almost entirely positive.


My brain quit on me about a week ago. After three essays. Before the next four.

            A profound and preparatory apology to my professors.

My teeth no longer hurt. Thank you for those of you who proffered sympathy. It was appreciated.

                  Those of you who were skeptical of this ailment (dad) need to expand your imagination. My  
                  strangeness knows no bounds.

It is spring here. There are blossoming trees. They're pretty.

And they smell like fried fish. With undertones of hot dog.

     I do not appreciate this.

I got a book yesterday. And spent this morning in conversation with it.

             I stood up four essays for my date with the
         book. They're probably still puttering around  feeling sorry for themselves.

The book was Chocolat. It was worth alienating the essays. It will probably not be worth failing my classes for.

But since when was prudence a virtue?

I ran for the bus today. And caught it.
   I consider this to be a mini miracle.

        I like mini miracles. I appreciate them.

I was wrong.

       I didn't really have things to say.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Teeth May Be Afraid of Heights

There's weird thing right now. In my mouth. My teeth hurt. But only when I jump. Or walk down stairs.

I can eat carrots, and apples, brush my teeth hard, push at my gums. My teeth are fine. But walk down stairs? Spare us! It's like my teeth have suddenly developed a fear of heights. Or gravity has been gravely offended by them.

What does gravity have against my teeth?

Actually, while we're on the subject, what does gravity have against me in general?

My random tooth aches are one among many random pains I have been experiencing recently. Like, on Tuesday, my feet decided they were done with me for no apparent reason.

Fine. They might have had a reason. I wore heels that day. What? I felt short when I woke up. (does that every happen to you? my dad laughed at me when i told him that, but he's a guy, so he might not count.) So I wore heels. Not I-have-a-date-with-my-little-black-dress-heels (i don't own those kind of heels. or that kind of dress). They were more like I'm-wearing-jeans-oh-look-at-that-I'm-three-inches-taller-heels.

But of course that was the day that I forgot my class was in the library, so I walked across campus twice in ten minutes. And then my writing teacher decided we were doing a "writing marathon"--this thing where you go to random places and just write. Places that, of necessity, are all over campus. So I spent another hour walking.

Oh my feet. They ached. I don't appreciate when repercussions for my vanity are physical.

On a happier side note, sitting in an elevator and writing with three other people is awesome. The weird looks. The awkward and unsure movements of people who want to press the buttons that are directly above your head. The cramped legs. The bumps and bruises. The part where you crack up because you're pretty sure you know that guy.

Everyone should do this. Possibly once a week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Went Running and The Front Fell Off

We're being random and throwing transitions out the window in this post. Just so you know.

I went running again today. This is the part where you're proud of me. You should be clapping right now. I went running. Aren't you impressed?

Was this the first time that I've gone since the last time that I told you about it?

Um. Yes.

Did I last longer than five minutes?

A little. Maybe.

Am I going again tomorrow?

You know what, I really don't want to talk about this anymore. Moving on.

I have something for you. It's a youtube video.

What? I'm cheap.

We watched this in our writing class. Our teacher turned to us afterward and asked with a totally straight face, "Was there anything wrong with his argument?"

That made you smile, right? Good. We can be friends.

But only if this makes you feel soft inside: After her father's death Emily Dickinson wrote to her friend and mentor (a Mr. Higginson), "I am glad there is immortality, but would have tested it myself, before entrusting him."

I wonder if she spoke like that. Is it possible for language like that to come to a person as naturally as speech?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

People Will Talk

More quotes for you, my friends. I was saving up for the end of the semester... and then I realized this was already going to be a giant post. So I'm giving it to you now! Happy Sunday.

“I held his hand… He held my hand too! It was a mutual thing.”

“I’m going to be a doctor and really rich. I’ll buy Starbucks, and Google, and possibly a small European nation.” 

“I’m sorry if you think I offended you.”

“The reason academic debates are so fierce because the stakes are never so low. Pettiness never so high.”

“I thought it would settle down, but there was too much intertribal warfare among the linguists.”

“Tolstoy’s books can be used as doorstops and weapons.”

“God didn’t retire.”

“Hate to see you go—love to watch you walk away.”

“She didn’t want to have a date with me. Stupid girl. I hate her anyway.”

“God loves all waffles. Great, small, and holey.”

“I wasn’t making a joke. You’ll know when I do because it will be followed by total silence."

“My boredom distracted me.”

“It’s as if there’s a crack in the ice, he falls through, and is decapitated. Something like this.”

“OK. I need your pants.”

“You know if you’ve lived in the Middle East. Or Phoenix.”

“We’re brought up to believe that there are no stupid questions. You’ve spent enough time at a university to know that’s nonsense.”

War and Peace is not a metaphor of pineapple. That is pithel.”

“That has to be true. I’m certain it’s not, but it has to be, because it’s so great and psychedelic.”

“No, it’s a pizza that rolls around and crushes skeletons. You get to decorate it. It’s illuminating.”

“I know my wife and I are on the right track when she doesn’t take me seriously. I throw my temper tantrum and she pats me on the head and says, ‘Want a cookie?’ ‘No. Maybe.’”

“A year ago, I looked like a drug dealer. Well a year ago I was a drug dealer.” (Said during fast and testimony meeting.)

"My atoms ache."

“Balloons are evil. You don’t know it until they’re all over your floor. They’re like peanut butter that way.”

“Men insist on the independence that requires total attention from others.”

“I am very, very suspicious of these people who say they don’t watch television. These are people, I think, who are not to be trusted.”

“You can’t redeem zombies.”

“An hour later I heard our baby crying and I wouldn’t get him. I was like, ‘I know this trick.’ There’s a zombie waiting down there.”

“Give into jealousy. Throw a temper tantrum. Throw a shoe.”

“Hey there… insert suave, manly, piano-relate pick-up line here.”

“When Martha Stewart speaks the world listens.”

“It’s nice to see your… profound forehead.”

“I am running for President and my platform is self-interest and an indifference to the common good.”

“Sometimes I’m funny.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Thing About Time Machines

So, thought:

If you went back in time what could you really tell them?

Me: "One day, in the future, we'll have machines that fly in the sky."
Person in the Past:"What's a machine?"
Me: "Um... It moves. By itself. And it's metal."
Past Person: "How will metal fly through the air?"
Me: "It has an engine."
Past Person:"What's an engine?"
Me: "It's this thing... that makes things move... with gas..."
Past Person:"What's gas?"
Me: "Old dinosaurs. In the ground. Except now it's liquid."
Past Person: "What are dinosaurs?"


Me: "You can talk all the way across the world to people through phones and the internet."
Past Person: "What are phones?"
Me: "They're these things you talk into, and people who aren't there hear you."
Past Person: "How?"
Me: "They send out, like, waves or something?"
Past Person: "Waves?"
Me: "Um. Yeah."
Past Person: "What's the internet?"
Me: "....I have no idea."

When we finally invent a time machine ("What's a time machine?") may I be the first to not volunteer to be the first one to go back. I think the best I could do for them would be a hot air balloon.

Me: "The heat. Pushes the balloon up. Because heat rises."
Past Person: "Why does heat rise?"
Me: (getting into my time machine) "Listen, the earth goes around the sun, put cream and sugar in a bag of ice and shake it up, and standardized tests are going to destroy the world, OK?"

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Dad Laughs at Me

I'm really enjoying my beginning writing class.

It may sound snobbish (it probably is snobbish) but I don't feel like I've learn anything new about writing yet. I mostly just appreciate the opportunity it gives me to write, often for writing's sake. It isn't something that happens as much in other classes. In my other classes we don't pull out our writing journals and write furiously for a few seconds and hope that it's coherent.

I've missed that. The feverish brain-to-pen writing and the hope that there is a complete sentence or two in there.

On Valentines day we were supposed to write about how we knew someone loved us. Love in an unromantic way, my professor clarified. This is what I came up with:

When I'm having a truly terrible day, one of those I-hate-the-world-why-did-I-bother-getting-out-of-bed days, I call my mom, and then I call my dad. My mom comforts me, sympathizes, understands, and tells me she loves me. My dad laughs at me. That's how I know he loves me. Because he reminds me not to take myself to seriously, that the world isn't all bad, and getting out of bed was probably a good idea, even if it doesn't seem like it just then. He tells me that hard things are good for me, that I can figure it out on my own. All these things, which rankle my woebegone soul at the time, later remind me that my dad thinks I can do hard things. He thinks I'm smart enough to figure it out on my own. And he loves me.

(i know you love me too, mom. next time i'll write about you ok?)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Crushes on Characters and Social Scripts

If people are defined by their relationship to the world then I may have some very serious problems.

Me and the world don't exactly hit it off. We have communication issues. And possibly a personality clash. That's OK. I see it as a sign that both me and the world have personalities. Which is good. I guess.

I just felt like telling you because I've been feeling minorly anti-social lately. Not majorly! Just minorly. I think I'll marathon three seasons of In Plain Sight, wrapped in my ugliest hoodie and most comfortable blanket, feeding my crushes on fictional characters, and making muffins on a Friday night minorly. See. Nothing to worry about.

You think I have problems now, huh? Yeah, so does my peer mentor.

I should probably stop typing now. What is really scary is that I probably won't.

Maybe this is why I have crushes on fictional characters. They don't judge me. They never think I'm weird for having crushes on them. That must be why I love them. Well, that and they totally rock. No real guy has anything on Rory Williams, because they'll never be endearingly dorky in the same way, or wait for their girl for two thousand years. No real guy has anything on Marshall Mann, who knows random facts about the invention of danishes and would take a bullet for his best friend.

How can a real guy hope to measure up? The only advantage he has is that he's, you know... real.

My friends are going through boy drama right now. She likes the guy and he doesn't like her back (probably?), the guy likes her and she doesn't like him back, or she can't decide which guy she likes. Or some combination of all of the above. I'm sitting on the sidelines enjoying the show. But, I admit, every once in a while I wonder if I'm supposed to be participating. It's like someone handed out the social script before I got here and now I'm twiddling my thumbs, wondering if I'm missing my lines.

I was talking to one of my cousins about this, relating my friends' dramas and talking about how I'm enjoying it. We were in the car and she turned around to look at me. "Marissa," she said, "you are not supposed to be watching. You're supposed to be doing." One of the guys I'd been talking about passed and I pointed him out to here. "He's cute," she said.

"Yeah," I agreed. "He's a really nice guy."

"No. He's cute." Then she tried to set me up on a blind date.

Dear person who hands out social scripts. I don't appear to be on your email list. Please rectify the matter before I do something truly terrible, or omit to do something terribly important.


Monday, January 23, 2012

You're Welcome

I’ve been thinking recently about the peculiar kind of psychological damage that comes from being the daughter of college professors. (i am peculiarly attached the phrase “psychological damage.”)

I started thinking about it when my Tolstoy professor (i love my tolstoy professor) was telling us about how his daughter’s history text book makes him want to tear out his hair and rent his clothes.

He said that the textbook makes things too neat. Everything in history (in textbooks) was pre-planned, and happened exactly the way he was supposed. He said, “The textbook is like, ‘George Washington got up in the morning, then he was at the Delaware, and now we have a constitution!’ And I’m like, ‘No! It didn’t happen that way! Well, it did, but it didn’t really.’” And his daughter, his lovely middle-school-er, looks up and says, “Dad. I don’t care.”

Ah, those words.

I have said those words before.

So I mentioned it to my dad today. He said, “What blessings!”

“I didn’t say I resent the psychological damage,” I told him.

And I don’t. Not really. Most of the time it makes my life more interesting.

Like this one time last semester. I was walking across campus and came upon this saran-wrapped statue of an America Indian. I stood in front of it for five minutes thinking, “What does it mean?”

Is it a condemnation of modernity? The U.S.’s treatment of Indians? Capitalism, ensuing materialism, and its binding affect on individuals?

I walked away without coming to a conclusion and was still thinking about it in my class when my teacher said, “Hey, did you guys see that they wrapped up the statues for spirit week?” Apparently there was some concern that a rival school would come spray paint them.  Part of me felt stupid for spending time thinking about the significance of modern art that was not, after all, modern. But most of me enjoyed it. I mean, if my parents weren't professors I probably would have missed out on thinking about the symbolism of a saran-wrapped Indian. 

Heaven forbid.

 As a side note: how much are we expecting saran-wrap to help? If I drove all the way down to a rival campus to spray pain their statue, I don’t think saran-wrap would be very deterring.

Not that I would ever do that. I snuck two loaves of Jewish bread into a no-eating zone of the library two days ago, and felt really guilty about it. Is it sad that this is the extent of my rebellion as a college student? I didn’t even eat the bread while I was there.

I seem to have dropped the thread of continuity in this post. Not that that’s unusual. It is why I’ll never take up knitting, though.

You drop threads in knitting, right? Or is that crocheting? Or… something else?

And is crocheting the things you do with needles or balls and wire loops in the ground?

Wow, the thought process in this just keeps deteriorating, doesn't it? I’m going to stop now. This is what happens when I get less than eight hours of sleep. If I ever pull an all-nighter I promise not to write a post the day after.

You're welcome

Friday, January 13, 2012


I don't like running. I never have.

In elementary school my friends and I played freeze tag, boys against girls. The boy I liked then always chased me as soon as the bell rang (ah, elementary school) and tagged me before anyone else. Once I asked him why. (i wasn't just fishing for confirmation of affection, i was also distracting him from my friend who was attempting to un-tag me.) He told me, "Because you're slow."

And I was. I am.

Over Christmas break I went with my cousin to a special store for tennis shoes, and all other things running. They had her run on a treadmill, analyzed the way her feet hit the ground, and brought out six paris of shoes for her to experiment with.

It made running look cool. Like when you look at those special blenders they demonstrate at Costco, and suddenly cooking is so much cooler. Because--Look! You can make smoothies, and soups, and world peace in that thing. They never mention the clean-up. I bet it's killer.

In any case, that trip to the highly expensive tennis shoe store convinced me that I should like running. I was meant to like running.

So yesterday, in a fit of self-righteous productivity, I went running. I don't think I lasted five minutes.