Monthly Archives: July 2012

An Address to My Friends: A Preemptive Explanation and Apology

(This post is specifically directed at those readers and followers that I have a personal relationship with—primarily my collegiate peers. However, this doesn’t exclude any applicability to those outside of that category, only that the implications—especially to my internet acquaintances and followers—will be different, lessened, or simply non-existent.)

Dear Friends,

Depending on how well you know me, or how closely you follow this blog (since this blog is much more efficient and informative way to stalk me via the Internet than the Facebook), you are already aware of the emphasis I’ve been placing on writing and chasing my ambitions for the future. If not, scroll through a few posts on this blog before proceeding; you’ll understand quickly to what I’m referring. While I have certainly failed to achieve as much as possible this summer, I’ve written two short stories with a third in progress, begun planning for graduate school, started studying for the GRE, and maintained a decent presence on this blog.

However, shortcomings this summer and inevitable aspects of the coming fall semester has left me with a grim realization: I am going to be terrifically busy. Between studying for the GRE this next month, beginning applications for graduate school after completing the GRE, working as a Resident Assistant, continued writing/blogging, and the anticipated high amount of homework this semester, I will have little time for much else.

As I recently discussed (read here), my bane has been, and will be, the discipline and focus necessary to bring my abstract dreams into reality. I expect this next semester to be no less difficult, if not more challenging, given all the demands on my time. Therefore, this coming semester will require a stronger resolve and increased sacrifice.

And therein is my reason for writing to you now. If everything proceeds according to plan in the following semester, my social time will be significantly reduced from previous semesters. Before I solidified my dream, I had the freedom of doing whatever whenever (within reason), but I simply cannot live like that anymore.

With that said, I will not disappear. I have always, and will continue, to hold portions of the weekend for socializing, relaxation, and other non-demanding activities. An easy way to burn out is to fail at providing for breaks from a rigorous schedule.

Furthermore, I’ve never been one to focus well within the comfort of my room. I find myself too easily distracted by the contents of my room, and too easy to fall into naps. Similar to previous semesters, the majority of my time outside of class will be spent at the library or the coffee shop. While there are moments when solitude is required for efficiency in studying, writing, or homework, I thoroughly enjoy spending hours with friends working on various academic studies. Basically, if you need me or want to spend more time with me than weekends, come by the library or coffee shop. Better yet, bring some homework and join me.

I promise now that I will do my best to not neglect spending time with any of you, but I cannot allow my dreams to slip away because I fail to devote the necessary time. This applies to both my writing and ideal choice for graduate studies. However, I am not too naive to know I will fail, at some point, to devote the proper time and attention to my relationships. Therefore, I beg of you now, with full knowledge what’s to come, to forgive my failings these next few months. I would ask for understanding from you as well; I will fail at times, but I can guarantee I will be trying my best.

Each of you is deeply appreciated and has improved my life in ways you may never see.

I expect struggle and difficult this coming academic year, but I also expect nothing short of greatness. Nothing is achieved without challenge, and I wont accept anything less.

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Make Good Art

Today, while being distracted from writing the current short story I’m wrestling with, I happened across (via Twitter) the most fantastic video I’ve found to date. But, I mean that on a personal level. This video may or may not click with you. I think it’s a great watch for anyone and everyone, but it simply made my day.

The follow video is Neil Gaiman’s address to the University of the Arts 2012 graduating class. He is the author of books like Stardust and Coraline, which have both been made into movies in the recent past. Also, he is well-known for his comic strip The Sandman. He’s won numerous awards for his literature. Basically, go read his stuff after you’re done.

Watch for yourself before I spoil it with commentary. This is worth all 20 minutes. Please, especially if you have any desire to be some form of an artist (music, art, writing, etc.) this is a must watch. But I fully believe this applies to everyone. Not only inspiring, but quite funny as well.

 

Make Good Art.

For me, this monologue embodies everything I’ve built my life around in the past few years—everything I’m striving to be. All my goals, all my hopes, all my dreams can be summarized in three words: Make good art.

You can call this tacky, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a tattoo. However, the permanence of tattoos and my current lack of full independence has prevented that so far. Even still, I said on numerous occasions that if I ever found something meaningful enough on a deep, personal level, I would love such a memorandum. Three words, “Make Good Art” carry with it everything I stand for, and everything I hope for the future. Obviously, I wont make a rash decision today, or tomorrow, or even a year from now. I may never get that idealized tattoo, but if I ever were to, this would be it. I say this only to demonstrate the weight of this speech on a very intimate, and personal level.

As many of you know, I am working towards a Bachelors, and eventually Masters, in Social Work. This field of study has been fantastic, and it lines up with and supports many of my fundamental principles. I sincerely look forward to a career in social work.

Yet, I cannot help but wish I could start over. For several months now, I’ve wondered if I should have pursued a journalism major. I was turned away from a writing major for financial reasons, which is highly ironic given my current field of study. And this has left me, not necessarily with a regret, but a lump in my throat. I wish now I had at least taken some journalism classes. Thankfully, I woke up in time to take a two writing classes, one last semester and one this coming semester, but I can’t help myself from wishing I had done more. I often feel I wasted a great opportunity to develop my writing, my dream, by not accessing these opportunities.

They scared me away because of money. A common preaching point of mine has been to chase your dreams, regardless of the financial returns or losses. Chase your dreams. That’s why I loved this quote from the video:

Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it except as bitter experience.”

I have a goal, a dream, a mountain in the distance: to write. I know the journey will be difficult, full of mostly mistakes. Many times, I wont even know the direction I’m headed, but I can see the mountain top. I will reach that peak, one day, some day.  But until then,

Make good art.

“Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong—in life, and in love, and in business, and in friendship, and in health, and in all the other ways in which life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art.”

—Author Neil Gaiman

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It’s One of Those Families

You know or have heard of families like this: a family that shares in a common talent. For some, it’s the shared athletic traits, others it might be intelligence, and for some, like this one, it’s singing:

I’ve probably posted this video before on various social networking sites, but it’s worth watching again. And again.

 

By way of an update: I started the third short story today. As I have academic studies also occupying my time, I may miss my scheduled deadline on this one though. I could easily ‘finish’ the story in time, but this one has all the potential to be misunderstood if it’s not carefully crafted. As the set due date draws closer, I’ll keep you updated.

Thank you all.

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Do They Make a Pill For That?

And by “that” I mean, motivation and self-discipline.

“Keep on going and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”   – Charles F. Kettering 

My last summer short story is due in two weeks.  I head back to school in three. The summer is drawing to a close, and I can’t say I’m too upset by that. It’s been a long and difficult summer, at times. It’s hard to maintain a structured life for myself here. This past semester, I was able to stay on top of things and ahead of may deadlines because of the structured environment. At home, it’s too easy to just do nothing and waste the day away with largely meaningless activities. Which I’ve done more often than I care to consider.

On applications and in interviews, they always ask for your weaknesses. I’ve always struggled to identify my weaknesses but not out of some vain pride. Rather, I would contend it’s much the opposite. Regardless, I have often had trouble trying to figure out what to write or say. Not any more.

This is something I’ve always known about myself, but never realized to word it like this: one of my greatest weaknesses is my extreme difficulty in forming new habits that aren’t easy to adopt. I’ve been aware of this for sometime, but this blog and this summer have illuminated this to a new degree. I had the potential to accomplish much more with my time than I have, and, for that, I’m ashamed.

To my credit, I HAVE accomplished some things. This summer, in many ways, has been an improvement from where I used to be, but I realize there is and was room for more. Therefore, I’m left in an awkward state of shame and contentment, which—to a certain degree—might be healthy. Who knows, I’m young and foolish still. But tomorrow is a new day, with new opportunities, and a chance to improve.

“You couldn’t get hold of the things you’d done and turn them right again. Such a power might be given to the gods, but it was not given to women and men, and that was probably a good thing. Had it been otherwise, people would die of old age still trying to rewrite their teens.” – Stephen King

Turn These Diamonds Straight Back Into Coal

Here’s another song for you:

The Stable Song by Gregory Alan Isakov.

This song is beautiful. The music is compelling, and the lyrics are brilliant. Give it a listen.

And here’s the lyrics if you’re interested:

http://gregoryalanisakov.com/music/the-stable-song

 

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