The sound of fingers hitting key. The excitement to share something: a story, a vignette, a metaphor, an idea. The daily ritual of writing it all down. When I lived in Spain, I got into the habit of writing five observations a day. In college, I kept a narcissistic livejournal that I updated obsessively. It didn't matter what I wrote. What mattered was that it was always a part of my day, and a part of my day that I enjoyed.
That said, here are my five observations from today, August 31, 2009:
1. It's okay to slow down every now and then. Last week I panicked when I realized that, for the first time in three years, when I woke up in the morning, I didn't have an immediate task. That is to say, my only responsibilities were to eat, get dressed, go to school, and generally just let things happen.
Let things happen. That could be the best possible parable for writing a good story, and yet for me it is the most difficult. How does one just stand aside and let an experience develop? It's hard not to meddle, not to email out cover letter after cover letter, insisting that yes, I'm a terrific barista, or a fantastic afternoon tutor, or goshdarnit, I do love answering phones. I find it takes an entirely different kind of courage to just wait. To accept help when it is offered. To understand that it is absolutely legal to study something simply because you can, and because you think it is important.
Here are the things I am letting happen:
my first semester of graduate school
the search for a new housemate
internships and job opportunities
direction, in general
2. Two things that help me relax:
and Zoe Keating's One Cello x 16 album.
Walking around Lake Merced listening to her amazing looped cello is perhaps the most relaxing exercise I've had since returning from my trip.
3. Mitchell's Ice Cream is the best use of well-earned calories in San Francisco.
4. Example of a writing prompt I can get behind: the Six Word Memoir, a project of SMITH Magazine. I discovered this while proctoring level tests back at Kaplan, and was amazed at the community of writers it has created. The stories are economic, artfully depicted and really fun to write. Try it out!
5. The California State University system has had to increase fees 32% this semester. Many of our classes have been cut. There are 24 furlough days on campus this year, which means that on these weekdays, the entire school is closed. No class, no student services, no work hours. A disheartening introduction to the world of graduate school. One lecturer said it best: "If you want to know the way I really feel about this, and what is actually going on, I'll happily send you some information. But in the meantime, we're here now, so let's accomplish something!"
Damn straight. I'm going to accomplish something by letting things happen, and watching my fingers as they hit keys.