Monday, September 19, 2011

Journalists, novelists, and literary creativity

Title translation - basically just my random ramblings.

I love having a blog. My necessity to fill it shows that I am a creative and inspired person. Maybe not in the visual arts – I still think I suck at drawing. But words. They do something for me, the way music notes used to (and maybe still) do something for me. But the difference is, I have to be taught how to shape notes, either in composition on a page, or through an instrument. I have a vision in my head of how something sounds but I don’t know how to make it happen, to bring the sounds to life. But with words, I have them in my head already, and have nothing to do more than to write them down. They just work for me. Sometimes, I have an idea in my head of what I want to write but the words don’t sound right. That’s just called writer’s block, and I get over it. All the ideas that float around in my head need to come out somehow. I’ve already shown that the consequences of repressing them are decreased focus, obsession, and even loss of sleep. It’s important. Creativity is somehow necessary to my being.

I’ve been thinking how journalism and novels aren’t so different as people might make them out to be. They need to be grounded in some way that makes them believable. Even the most fictitious story, in which the author makes up an entire other world or language (like Lord of the Rings), feels real because the characters feel real. So much rests on character development. Journalism and novels both need quotations. People have a way of bringing things to life by injecting themselves into it, because we’re not all the same. But the big thing is that truth can be found both in the news and made-up stories. Journalists tell the truth about what is actually happening in the world: concrete events, places that HAPPENED in real space and time. Novelists tell the truth about what is actually happening in our minds. No one person is alone in this world. Someone else somewhere must have a similar belief to any given person. Novels speak of the human condition. That’s a kind of truth. Yes, the story may be made up, but the feelings are real and have to have come from somewhere. And both novels and news have a duty to their readers: to inform and entertain. I remember seeing a quote on, of all places, a stupid free bookmark from high school or something. It said, “You become a writer when you stop writing for yourself and start writing for others.”

Of course, no novelist or journalist can ENTIRELY write for the public. They have to write because they like it. Even some portions of their writing can be pure self-indulgence, and that’s ok. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I gave myself two minutes

So I tried out for the equestrian team yesterday. We were asked to walk, post trot, two-point at trot, and reverse directions. Pretty simple. I thought it went "okay" although I couldn't tell if I was on the correct diagonal or not - haven't posted in a while. Also, the instructor who told us what to do while we were in the ring was really hard to hear, and I missed the direction to do two-point. I was still pretty hopeful.

I didn't make the team.

In the past, a letdown like this would have meant tears, calling myself worthless, getting ready to give up on the activity I "failed" at (which was usually music), and feeling absolutely crappy for weeks. Not today.

I gave myself two minutes.

Two minutes to feel bad, two minutes to want to cry, two minutes to feel sorry for myself. Then I started to think of the next step. If life doesn't give you a way, you have to make your own way. What was my own way to get to ride horses? I'd remembered looking up a barn just a 10-minute bus ride away from campus where you can take private lessons. I came up with a list of questions to see if the barn will fit my needs and if so, I'm going to take English lessons there every other week. I'll also see if I can get myself some voice lessons every other week. This way, I'll get to do BOTH the things I want for a reduced cost and reduced time commitment. It actually works BETTER. Then next semester, I can try out for the team again if I want. Or if I like doing things this way, I will just keep doing it.

Part of me feels like I've been to so many auditions and have had so many ensembles or audition judges tell me "no" that I've gotten used to hearing that word, or not seeing my name on a cut list, that it's stopped hurting. But the other part of me knows that feeling like a failure doesn't do ANYTHING for me. Today the sky ripped open and rained lemons. Today I made the best lemonade recipe ever. Soon, I make my own refreshing lemonade.

It's the equestrian team's loss. I'm a hard worker, I'm willing to learn, and I love horses.

"Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." 

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's been a rough start, but it doesn't feel like it

3 weeks down, 12 to go. And let me say that the new semester/year/major has been off to an interesting start. And if you look at it from the outside, you might be tempted to say it's been a bad start. But it feels better than the facts sound put together. Here's what's gone on so far:

Week 1 of 15: Got a job working at the campus dining hall: was told I'd be on cash register. Felt happy! Now I won't be broke.

Week 1.5 of 15: First shift at said job. Was made to serve food instead of working register. Hated it, but sticking it out.

Week 1.75 of 15: Was told to wash dishes during second shift. Quit job.

Week 2 of 15: Made reservations for a weekend at Ocean City, Maryland. Was excited!

Week 2.25 of 15: Auditioned for an a cappella group, felt okay about how I did, worried because my voice cracked due to plant allergies.

Week 2.5 of 15: Someone else from a cappella auditions said she got an e-mail for a callback. Got no e-mail. Did not get into group.
Decided to try out for local student-run newspaper, The Daily Collegian. Thought it would be good for journalism experience.
Went to an equestrian team mixer. Everyone was so nice!

Week 2.75 of 15: Found out I didn't make the newspaper.
Also, found out that my hotel reservations didn't go through. No OCMD.

Week 3 of 15: Went home anyway. Went to Renaissance Faire and Hersheypark. Had fun!

Week 3.5 of 15: Had placements for ballet club. Did terrible across the floor. But got close to turnout on my first try!

Week 3.75 of 15: Came home to find bathroom flooded. Dorm suite toilet overflowed. Huge fans are now blasting in our common room and blowing our posters off the walls. Literally.
Was placed in beginner ballet class. No surprise.
Took a bus to the local dance store. Bought ballet slippers and a leotard. Excited and happy!

To come later: meeting my theater club "family" for dinner tonight, PSU vs. Alabama tomorrow, equestrian team tryouts Sunday (WISH ME LUCK! Heels down, toes up...)

Last year all of these setbacks would have had me reeling. But this year? Nada. I don't know, everything just feels...better now. Is it because I switched majors? Or did thinking about switching majors give me a fresh perspective? Whatever it is, this is the most I've enjoyed life in at least a year. Setbacks? Nah. Challenges and learning experiences? Yup. I've got plenty. JUST GO FOR IT.