Sunday, March 30, 2008

Let's give it a try, shall we?

I've been reading a lot of memoirs (for class mostly) and I think I may have stumbled upon the reason everyone tells me I'm 'world-weary' or an 'old soul'.

"I think it's important to note that [there] might be a cultural and generational phenomenon of plain old-fashioned burnout.
[...] We grew up in a world in which the surface of the thing is infinitely more important than the substance - and where the surface of the thing had to be "perfect," urbane, sophisticated, blasé, adult. I would suggest that if you grow up trying constantly to be an adult, a successful adult, you will be sick of being grown up by the time you're old enough to drink. I got tired of trying to be that kind of adult. I don't think I was the only one. I couldn't imagine what the hell I was going to do with myself once I attained "success," but I couldn't give up the panicky need to achieve it either."

You know, maybe I should write my own memoir. I wonder if I could make any money at it. Money would be nice and god knows I love talking about myself to a random abstract audience whom I never have to face.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Halftime Baby!

Well I've finished Scene 6 of 12 and I'm on page 69 (hehe) of 126.


Its roughly hewn, it needs to be sifted and sculpted and well, basically rewritten entirely, but I have the the blueprints.

Well, I mean half of them...

I was kind of hoping to have an entire draft done by the end of spring break (which is monday) butttttttt that just didn't happen. I'm at least pleased I got to some concrete milestone.

God I wish there were more of those in life, don't you?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Piano Lesson

There is one place in the world that I can go when I feel overwhelmed, confused, nearing the apex of my anxieties and doubts of myself. It is in the dark warm corner of my parents living room, seated at the old piano, my fingers resting gently on the cool familiar keys, whose pression responds to my fingertips with delicious recognition.

When I'm there, the whole world melts away. I can only really play a few songs for memory, songs I taught myself as a girl, and sometimes the passages come and go, but when my heart and my body meld, they just pour out of my fingertips and for once in my life, serenity is simple and effortless.

Thoughtless muscle memory unlocks something miles deep inside of me, to the place that no one has ever touched, and when that music comes breathlessly I feel like it's my heart singing.

I love that piano. It's old and probably out of tune and sometimes the keys stick a little. Its full of dust and it's wise.

Last night, in a terrible fit of paralyzing stormy thoughts, I sat down to play and I kept hitting traps. Passages I couldn't remember. My fingers felt frantic, amnesiac, like strangers, as if all the energy and weight inside them had flown out. Nothing felt right. I touched key after key, searching for the right note, determined to find it, determined to get through that song. But I couldn't. I sat with my eyes closed and my hands resting on the keys and I felt completely lost.

I abandoned the song that would not come, and I played some low and mismatched chords I made up as I went along.

I went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night with the sheets twisted in knots close around my body. I'd thrown the comforter completely off. I was shivering.

When I woke up this morning, I silently made myself breakfast. I read the paper. I glanced at the work I'd done the night before, still sprawled out on the dining room table. I pulled a blanket around me and I walked into the living room and sat down at the piano.

I put my hands out to play a different song, afraid to tackle the same as the night before in case the loss of memory was permanent. That's what kept me tossing and turning all night. I can't bear to lose that song, that song in particular. It was the first love song, and the only one.

But anyway, my hands took over and I played it. With a few mistakes but I played it through and by the end I felt the door unlock.

I knew I couldn't lose that song forever. Its too much a part of me. There are some things that get inside of your bones. And they'll never leave you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh Jesus!

That's all I have to say.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lost in Translation

I work much better once it gets dark outside so I usually leave a bulk of the bare bones translating until evening and then I work until I get tired, usually

I light a few candles and shut myself in the dining room facing the giant wall of mirrors.

I go into the world of this play which is profoundly dark and lonely. Extremely lonely. It really sucks the warmth right out of you. Especially this one character. This one guy. Leslie. He really gets to me. He creeps me out. He just, I don't know, I don't like getting inside his head. He's intensely fucked up and he works it out in ways that I find really disturbing. He's not killing people or anything, nothing like that. Nothing criminal. Just...unsettling. He's falling off the edge.

Especially tonight because I'm working on scene 4 which is mostly made up of his prolific monologues. And all my candles keep mysteriously burning out. I'm starting to think this play is haunting me.

I finally start getting a headache from staring at the computer screen and the shitty lighting reflecting into my eyes. I go upstairs and lay in bed, staring at the ceiling my parents had painted with a glow-in-the-dark starmap of the day my sister was born - it used to be her room - and I lay awake for a long time. Last night it was hours. I just can't chase away this loneliness and my mind races through hundreds of snapshot memories trying to pull my own self out of Leslie. I know it sounds weird, and by morning I'm perfectly fine again. But boy am I having trouble falling asleep.

As for my Brit History Thesis...well I just don't want to work on it. I can't make myself do it so instead of doing nothing, I work on Sallinger. But man, I just may take a break and dive into 16th century literature because that Koltès is really getting to me.

And I'd like to get some sleep!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Spring Break Plan

ok, so I'm sitting in my parents living room and mapping out 'the plan'

SO my basic everyday schedule will involve the following:

- wake up at 9:30
- bike to the gym
- shower
- help pressure mom to actually get the things done around the house that she claims I am here to do, that she always claims I am here to do, that she will forever put off so she can force me to come home to do said things...
- 3-4 hours work on one or both thesis projects

to this I can add some social activities, including of course seeing a few plays with my mother so she doesn't feel neglected...

today I am going to set up camp in the living room with all my books (which I had to lug home in my bags - which were subsequently 8 lbs overweight which cost me an extra $25) and then make a list of goals with mother dearest so we can ACTUALLY get things done.

I have GOT to stick to this plan. Otherwise I will have insurmountable mountains of work awaiting me when I get back to New York and back here when I come back in June.

Alright! Go team!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


What a strange unsettling day.

First I got to spend the first two hours of it watching Leaving Las Vegas in my Disabilities Studies course, which - in case you haven't seen it - is an INCREDIBLY disturbing (because its true and terrifying) glimpse into the last weeks of a violent alcoholic's life as he drinks himself to death in the company of a fragile and sensitive prostitute played heartbreakingly by Elisabeth Shoe. The only good thing about that whole part of my morning was my delicious breakfast from the cart on 9th Avenue. Mmmmm coffee with vanilla creamer and a croissant with eggs and bacon...all rendered nearly inedible by the image of man shaking violently from withdrawal as he drinks two bottles of vodka in the shower and screams at the top of his lungs, and a prostitute being gang-raped (sorry: spoiler!)

Anyway, then I came home and instead of doing any work - like for example my history thesis proposal that was due a week ago - I went back to bed. Then I woke up to man the ticket table for V-Day and I ate a giant cup of frozen yogurt, trying to make myself feel less guilty about putting off my proposal.

Then I went to class and my professor, who I admire and let's face it am half in love with, looked really disappointed when I AGAIN didn't turn anything in. Even though I dominated the conversation in class, still, I could feel him avoiding my eyes as he referred to other people's proposals. I felt so terrible I bolted out of that room as soon as he ended the lecture. He saw me in the hall later and he didn't say a word. I was afraid to look at him, I felt so guilty. This is probably all in my head, I don't even know why I'm so obsessed with pleasing him. He's just one of those teachers. And he's a man. I wish that wasn't part of it but I know it is. Why do I always have this insane approval-seeking compulsion with men! Its so Freudian it's disgusting, I don't want to be a cliche. Besides, Freud is a douchebag. Ok not a douchebag, a narcissistic patronizing misogynist. Potato potato.

Anyway I just kept telling myself for the rest of the day that you can't please everyone. Which I know is true. But still. If I can't please my British History professor, who can I please?

Then I went back to my room and attempted to actually write the damn proposal but the minute I crack any of those books open, my mind reads two sentences and says 'forget it.'

I went to the grocery store. I bought some tilapia and vegetables. I came home and cooked it. I went to the gym. I took a long shower. I tried to persuade my mother not to email people on craigslist about apartments for me.

And now I'm here. It's 2am. I don't have a proposal. I don't have an apartment. All I have is the light in this room and my clock blinking at me. I should probably just go to bed. I hardly got enough sleep last night.

I'm thinking about going to a support group tomorrow that I found on the internet. I've never been to a support group. I feel incredible anxiety about it. I feel compelled to create some new identity for the meeting, but I know that would defeat the entire purpose of going at all.
My name could be Grace, or Delilah, or Heather. I could work in publishing. Marketing. I'm a writer. I'm professionally neurotic. I don't have a problem. I can stop anytime if I wanted to.

Here's to wednesday!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Thesis Crunch

So we finished the Vagina Monologues, it went so well and we raised over $2300 dollars for charities I love and admire.

Now I have my life back and I will be splitting my time between translating my play, writing a history thesis on the devolution of gaelic societies of Scotland and the channel islands in the 16th century, and working out. I'm also hoping to reconnect and patch together lost friendships so I will have a solid support system when I graduate. I have lost touch with SO MANY people I was so close to, and that should end right now if it can.


Its crunch time my friends.

Luckily I already have the soundtrack all worked out: it will be a random mix of two albums: Goldfrapp's Seventh Tree and Weightless by Katie Herzig.

I'm also heading home for two weeks on March 12th. I'll spend a couple of days in Ashland at OSF and then splitting my time at my parents house between writing my thesis projects, and helping my mom sort through her rooms full of hoarding that have accumulated in the last 10 years. It is going to be IN-TENSE. It has to be done though. At least there won't be too many distractions I suppose. I'm still debating whether I should pursue coffee with a certain someone. I kind of want to but I'm wondering if I shouldn't? I'm not thinking about it too much for now. He's probably too busy anyhow.

I actually could really go for one of his haircuts too.

Oh and I got my headshots! I think they are pretty, I mean they look like me. Its hard to be objective about that, but I think some of them are really pretty. I'm too embarrassed to show them to people however, so if you want to see them you'll have to ask. And I'll probably have to think about it for a while.

I feel good though. Even though its all ending so fast and I have no idea what I'm doing. But you know, besides that : )