Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twelfth Week

What are you grateful for right now?


AIM instant messenger, adidas running shoes (so comfortable), highs of 67 degrees, old friends, Sugarfree RedBull, felt-tip pens, go-with-the-flow type days, and Wildberry popsicles. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

dreamer's disease.

Yikes, I have been a lousy blogger. Things have actually been busy for the first time in a while, and apparently I let myself get swept right up along with all of it. No complaints here though, the eventfulness has been nice. Wish I could say the same for the weather, though. Today is another gray day; I will do my best to power through, holding steadfast to thoughts of warm winds and sunshine.

It's a quiet Wednesday morning here, and I am giving myself permission to have a slow start. I have my creature comforts: my calendar of to-do's, my Venti Iced Green Tea and my keyboard - the current translator of my mind. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have so many things written down so far this week, and so many of them scratched out! Productivity puts me in a good mood, it's a shame how often I procrastinate. I have my newest iTunes Genius playlist (a new guilty pleasure, I have so much music, that I have greatly appreciated one click of the mouse to achieve a full, original list of tracks.) iTunes software is getting better, slowly, although it still bothers me that they list all artists by the first letter of their names instead of recognized a first and last name and sorting alphabetically by that. Does this bother anyone else? Like, I have "The Honorary Title" which is listed under H, but then I have "Holly Brook" which is listed under H instead of B. That has always irritated me, and being the obsessive person that I am, I was tempted to go through my entire library (which is a hefty 6,500+) and rename all artists "last name, first name." Don't worry, I didn't. But I wanted to.

Thanks to my brother, (the most avid reader I know - it's impressive) I have recently gotten hooked on a trilogy of books by Cassandra Clare called "The Mortal Instruments." Written in limited omniscient perspective (she explores the thoughts of several characters, but always one at at time, and the majority from the main character's, Clary, perspective.) It's about these half-human, half-angel people, called Shadowhunters, and their constant battle protecting the "Mundane" world from all demons who wish it harm. Clary starts the series off as a "Mundy" or a normal human, however quickly finds herself overly involved in the world of the Shadowhunters, a surprise and concern of everyone in her immediate surroundings. My best description of the series would be that it is entirely enthralling. The end of the first book, honestly, was greatly disappointing, but the second bounces back, and the final novel was released yesterday. I haven't cracked the spine yet, but I am dying for a solid few hours of free time to do so. My reason for loving it? Protagonist Jace, with his brutal honesty and biting wit. He's a real asshole, and it's hilarious.

Other news? I have been moving forward in exciting and positive directions of my job search, which is, of all things, a huge relief. The hardest part of looking for work is when things are quiet. I also just finished downloading and upgrading my Pro Tools software to Pro Tools LE 8, and if I can judge the newest version by it's interface, I'm going to give it a thumbs up! Alas, software that looks nice doesn't always work as nicely, so I will have to wait to give it a full review after usage. I guess I'm just happy that the upgrade installation went off without any issues; I always hold my breath when updating Pro Tools - feels sort of like a game of Russian Roulette. Except maybe not as dramatic. But if Pro Tools crashed my computer, that would feel like getting shot.

Last week's question, as seen above, was interesting. My first reaction upon reading was "Redbull" as a funny, yet truthful answer. However, I forced myself to do a little more soul searching before answering, and I am quite satisfied with what I came up with. These questions are truly therapeutic, giving me specific things to think about, always promoting self-reflection. And after facing up to some less pleasant thoughts, this week's question is a nice refresher:

"What are you grateful for right now?"

My answers will come with the card, whenever that spark of creativity decides to show up. I'm not planning on rushing it, so we shall see. Here's what will keep me going through this week. And like my Grandpa says to me every time we speak: Keep laughing, keep smiling, and never, ever give up.

Album of the week: "Chase This Light" by Jimmy Eat World
Song of the week: "Giving it Up for You" by Holly Brook
Quote of the week: "and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company nowadays." (A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Self-Evaluation, AP

My mind often tends to wander. So often, in fact, that I am really not sure if I am ever fully mentally present. It was during my last concert experience, where I went to see Flogging Molly at the Verizon Wireless Theater, that I realized something about myself.

Whenever I'm in public situations, especially ones where there is a lot going on, I often find myself thinking about how easy it would be for someone to kill me. For example, at a concert, in the middle of a crowded mosh-pit where people are pressed up against you, there is loud music, lots of flashing lights. No one is really paying much attention to anyone around them because the focal point is in front of them, about 5 feet up in the air. Someone, hypothetically, could stab me right in the stomach and be able to drift away from me before anyone took any notice of the vast amounts of blood seeping through my clothing. Or maybe I would pass out on them. It makes me nervous to be around hoards of people I don't know. Also, whenever I'm in a mall, I think about all the different places someone could be waiting to shoot me. Balconies, stairwells, clothing racks, all excellent hiding places for snipers. Open spaces, like streets and outdoor shopping plazas make me just as nervous. My mind is constantly trying to make plans of escape, or prepare my body defensively, because I think about all the different places someone could jump out of to assault me.

I was telling my friend, Allison, about this, and after I finished my lengthy explanation, I simply said, "So yeah, you know what I'm saying? Like do you ever just think about that?"

There was a pause, and then, "...uh, no."

I started laughing at this point. I didn't know why I expected her to agree with me. "Oh yeah Elle, I think about people stabbing me all the time."

However, Allison, being the incredibly sweet, good friend that she is, continued with, "But I mean, you're just being cautious. You are just a cautious, aware person."

To this, I replied, "Sure, cautious. Or maybe just neurotic and paranoid, but we can go with cautious."

I then proceeded to apologize ruining all of her future public encounters.


The upside to this? Robert Pattinson agrees with me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

elemental.

I'll be honest when I say that my second week of writing has passed by entirely uninspired. Translation: I have written nothing worth while. I know it should be an accomplishment to touch pen to paper, but I am also the type to get overly frustrated when the images and feelings in my mind do not translate properly. It could be one word off, there could be one particular verb or adjective that isn't correct, and it would be the warped wood in my foundation. It all comes crashing down.

Instead, I decided to share a little of something I wrote a little bit ago. It's not anything in particular, just a scene that I had in my head. I did my best to focus, to take my time, and really bring out the little things. This passage is all about the details.



The simple plink-plunking resonation of raindrops on the gutters was the only sound that held my attention. I had to keep very still, so the rustle of my hair against the cotton pillowcase wouldn’t overpower the balancing tones outside my window. My respiratory system had already presented a challenge and I tried to control it; inhaling with the plinks, exhaling with the plunks. My eyes fluttered shut, growing weary of staring at the same asymmetrical splotch on my ceiling, a residual stain from a previous leak in the attic above my bedroom. It was easier to listen with my eyes closed.

Taking away a sensory distraction, I could now differentiate between the water hitting the gutter itself, and the rain falling into the standing liquid that rushed down the pipes. Now, the drops were plinking, plunking and plopping. The rhythm in my mind changed entirely with this new addition; I was now musing the sounds in 3:4 time, rather than the traditional 4:4 of which I usually thought. What a different this change made! By simply submitting to darkness, my evening had gone from a predictable, steady rock ballad to an intriguing, elegant waltz.

The only problem with this alteration was that I seemed unable to breathe in 3:4 time. I shifted my focus to the downbeat, the “one” in a triplet of “one-two-three, one-two-three,” breathing in and out consequentially. This took some getting used to, but allowing my mind to concentrate on something so simple, something so basic to me as breathing in time, was freeing. It was bliss, this waltz; my mind settled with ease to the graceful, calming sway.

My body shook to life with an involuntary twitch of my left foot, throwing my rhythm off, and allowing a stumble in my otherwise untarnished mind-dance. My eyes blinked open, feeling an undeniable change in my physical space, and the plopping sounds disappeared. One body spasm and the entire song had changed again, if not ceasing completely. I moved my un-calloused hands up to my forehead, resting them along my hairline and my elbows pointed in a parallel fashion up towards the ceiling. The stain was still there, even more ugly and distracting as it had been previously.

A small, defeated sigh crept out through my softly parted lips, as gravity pulled my elbows back down towards the bed, causing me to roll over on my side. I pulled my knees up closer to my chest, and tucked my right arm underneath the pillow. As my hand traced cool sheets underneath, I concentrated on the smell of the freshly washed linens. The scent was light and airy, a complete contrast to the atmosphere just outside. A fabric softener labeled 'Summer Breeze' or something like that, a tasteless joke for the dead of winter.

I tried with absolute desperation to find my waltz again. However, the rain had shifted, the wind picking up and moving it against the roof, and my harmony was lost. It shattered against the shingles in cut time now, racing against my irregular, uncertain breathing. The noise was too fast now, too sharp. My soothing plink-plunks had rasp and haste about them, causing the uneasy sensation and anxiety to well up in my stomach, coursing tension through my veins. Squeezing my eyes shut, I gave a last ditch attempt to find my calm, but it was long gone now. Wind lashed against my windowpanes, and my mind struggled against the negative inclinations presented by this deluge.

I was not ready to think again. I was not ready to wrap my mind around the lack of direction, the vast nothingness that my life had catapulted into. I couldn’t imagine how to even begin finding a new path, not after the one I had been so steadfast on simply vanished from right under my feet. No, I was not prepared for this at all. Still, it seemed even the elements knew that it was time to face up to where I was now; no longer allowing me to hide, bemused in a waltzing fa├žade. The rain cracked against the window, and my dance had turned into a march. The prevailing issue with this was that my steps had no destination, and an indefinite march was a dreadful notion.

Monday, March 2, 2009

getting out of bed takes courage.

Week 01 writing prompts are finally in completion, and it has been a truly fascinating experience. From each prompt, I learned something new, felt a shift in my own narration, and re-organized a preceding notion. The most powerful thing about writing is what you learn along the way.


From the first exercise, writing about my day, using only nouns:

Email. iTunes. Mom and Dad. Ultrasone headphones. Felt-tip pens. words. sentences. doodles. Mac Pro. Pro-Tools. Monitors. Displays. Electricity. Bedroom. Quilt. Comforter. Book. reading glasses. Silence. Lamp. Candle. REM cycle.

From the second, a little introduction to my mind:

I obsess over the color red. It's everywhere to me. I add it in when I think something looks dull, it's always the first one I think of when color is mentioned. Vibrant, lively, and you don't need a lot of it to make a powerful statement. Red.
I am obsessed with documenting my life. I keep everything - movie stubs, pictures, airline tickets, cards. I want to remember all of it. Truth be told, I am afraid of forgetting. I am afraid of forgetting who I saw "Ice Age" with when I was 14. I am afraid that I will forget what my grandmother's penmanship looked like. I worry I won't see her face in my mind, hear her accent and the unique inflections in her speech. Details fade, they get washed away and it terrifies me to sit idly by while time labors forward, bringing with every new second, another distraction.


a: I walked up to him, looked right into his eyes, and smiled politely. He turned my world upside down for two years, and I let it all go. I turned and walked away, my head held high.


week 02 prompts are up, and I'm excited to continue. Good start to the week, I think.