By Corinne Flax
July 23, 2005
It's 11pm, and I'm sitting in my room trying to be productive, even though I just spent nine hours at work I'd still like to get something done today other then making hundreds of icey cold drinks for parched Fairfield County residents. I'd really like to be engrossed in my Steven King novel, but instead I'm trying to be productive. Productive, what a disgusting word, like reproductive but without the fun connotations.
Part of me thinks I should be getting a start on my begging for recommendation letters, another part of me wants me to start writing a story. It's so hot though, and the moon is nearly full, which makes me want to go sit on the porch and watch the night. This doesn't even take in the fact that I need to shower, make my bed with fresh sheets and go to sleep, since I've got to be at work tomorrow morning at 930am.
I feel incapable of making up anything fictional, and further incapable of explaining why I ought to go to graduate school in pursuit of a masters. All I feel capable of doing is sitting very still and reading. Even taking a shower seems like a chore, and yet I'm sure I'll end up taking one in the end, even though more and more showering seems like an act of futility. After all I just end up going to work and reeking of coffee, getting mocha and chai on my arms, and in general making a mess of myself.
Now that I've gotten started writing I can feel myself loosening up. I'd say the toughest part is always the beginning. Getting myself started is so damn hard, it's like pulling teeth. First I have to choose perfect music to listen to, then I have to make sure I'm comfortable. Comfort is not just about room temperature and chair positioning, sometimes I have to change my clothing and adjust the lighting. Then I have to wait until a wave of creative energy comes over me, and I hate having to stop before I'm ready.
When I'm writing it almost becomes an automatic process. I get started and I begin to feel more and more mechanical. My parents taught me how to type when I was in third grade because my hand writing was (and is,) so messy. Essentially I want to write faster then I can using a pen and paper, and so I end up writing on top of myself all the time, leaving out letters, punctuation and sometimes whole words. Typing has been, for almost as long as I can remember my favorite method of communicating my feelings and ideas.
Despite all this it is so damn hard sitting myself down and writing the important letters that must be written. Sometimes I marvel at the amount of time I'll take getting something so simple and important done as depositing my pay check, making a list of grant requirements, or making an appointment to get my car checked out. It takes me only minutes to get on top of making plans for Friday night, but when it comes to the next few years I seem to get very stymied by the sheer scope of the planning required. At the store I work at they try and make the schedule two weeks in advance, and trying to plan my life a whole two weeks in advance is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
In case your interested- I'm listening to Old World Underground by Metric, and I did write a draft of a letter asking for recommendations.
July 22, 2005
R is for Recommendation
Summer is just the sweetest time of year that has ever existed. It's July, the tide is high, skies are blue and clear, and I'm fairly sure the fish are jumping. It's so hard to not feel the vacation vibe when you live in a beach town. This morning I got up and immediately felt drawn to the outdoors. When I should be sitting inside drafting letters to my college advisors begging them for recommendations I was walking around listening to the new Spoon album, and to top it all off I went swimming. Time is evanescent and fleeting, but I seem to be unable to quite harness it's potential for hard work.
Right now I will make myself a promise to draft at least three letters begging for recommendations next week. When I say begging I mean it. Unfortunately for me I don't believe that my advisors are going to be particularly forth coming when it comes to advocating my next step; graduate school with a focus on education. I'm not sure if I have the terminology correct on that, but hopefully my meaning has shown through. Essentially I want to learn how to be a great teacher. I want to learn how to teach children not just simple concepts like addition and how commas work, I want to be able to teach them how to be part of the world that surrounds them.
As an undergrad I studied art history and did just fine. I certainly didn't excel, since names and dates are hard for me to remember and that's a big part of what history is about. At the same time I easily picked up concepts and the descriptive style of writing that is necessary when discussing art. I was not just a slightly above average student however, I was an exceedingly vocal, sarcastic, and somewhat caustic student. I wrote long rambling papers and missed classes frequently, but always did my readings and had tons of stuff to say when I showed up to class. I'm not sure if there's any reason my advisors should recommend me for anything at all, let alone stewardship of America's children, but I need these recommendations.
The only hope for me, I think, is going to be to throw myself into the lion's jaws. I am going to have to write my advisors and apologize for not being a nicer student, not having an easier time, and for being such a class cut up and clown. I will say that I'm sorry I missed two weeks of classes because I had pink eye. My goal will be to let them know that I had a lot of growing up to do, and unfortunately I did a lot of it in their classes. I will put all my hopes and dreams on display before them, outline the glowing life I want to set up for myself, and pray they are interested in helping me out, even though I don't know why they should be. If they won't give me recommendations I'm not entirely sure where else to turn, although I do have a few ideas. It's sad when your past impetuousness backs you into a corner.
July 20, 2005
No no no no!
And now a brief moment of immaturity.
No no no no! I refuse to grow up. I don't want to move out of the house. Worrying about insurance, car payments, what to make for lunch, where to wash my clothes, who I should see as a doctor...barf all over it I say. I refuse to chose. There could be nothing less interesting then paying my own taxes. Managing a portfolio for myself seems deathly dull and dry. I refuse to have adult type responsibilities to go along with my adult type accessories. I'll give up the car and use a razor scooter, if that's what it takes.
You may be wondering what is sparking this decidedly immature tantrum. I just signed up for the I made a list of the things I'm going to need to get before I can send in my applications. Transcripts, reccommendations, test scores, personal statements, filled out application, many many checks made out to various institutions. I am imagining this wall of paperwork that I'm going to have to deal with. It looks like a tidal wave or an avalanche of papers embossed with professional and institutional looking headlines.
Why is it so hard to do these things that I know I have to do, and that I really (I think) believe I want to do? I don't want to live at home until I'm thirty. And unless providence smiles down upon me and someone decides to start paying me for just being me I'm going to have to get out there and start getting some more education under my belt. It's just not in me to work sixty hours a week at jobs that mean less to me then my collections of necklaces. Eventually it would kill me, and that means I need a (marginally) professional job. At least teachers can wear jeans to school, and they get to hang out with kids all day which keeps them young at heart...right?
When it comes down to it I want the best of both worlds. I want to be able to have the privileges and freedoms that come along with being an adult, without all the hard work that needs to be done in order to have the money to take advantage of all that freedom. In my dreams I have a beautiful apartment, a life full of friends and outings, and absolutely no job to speak of. Probably that would get boring in the end, but wouldn't it be nice just for a while? Of course its an impossibility, of course it's a self indulgent dream and the reality of being jobless would probably be more akin to the disinterested floating of a jelly fish then the lusty singing of a meadow thrush..but still, I dare to dream. If anyone wants to hire me to just hang out please let me know, I'm looking for a position that involves a whole lot of lying on beaches drinking mojitos. Until then I guess I better start asking people for recommendations and cracking the GRE test booklets.
July 17, 2005
Bad Mood Blues
Again I am forced to bow to the incredible powers of technology. I am actually writing this in a moving vehicle, although obviously I am not driving. It's about 10 pm, and we've just dropped my sister off at her NYU dormitory after returning from Alaska today. My father is sitting in the front seat chatting with the driver, and I'm in the back watching New York recede into the distance as we cruise along the West Side Highway. God its good to be back home, even if we haven't made it there yet.
I've been awake since 4AM this morning, since we had to catch a 6 am flight out of Juneau. My sister was able to sleep consistently for both the two hour long flight from Juneau to Seattle and then the five and half hour flight from Seattle to JFK. Even my father, who hates traveling and is a notoriously poor sleeper managed to catch three or four hours of shut eye. For no obvious reason I remained wakeful for the majority of the time, and consequently I'm feeling rather poorly. Not only was I completely awake I was completely useless, finding myself unable to read, write, or watch Spiderman II for the second time on an airplane. (Unrelated note, I've seen both Spiderman movies on airplanes and I don't think it was an ideal setting.)
There are other factors contributing to my truly vile mind set. Perhaps it's because I haven't eaten since this morning around 11ish, which despite the time difference, was about eight hours ago, and therefore my blood sugar is low. It could be that we had to drop off my sister in NYC before driving back to Connecticut extending our travel time by at least an hour. It could be that I'm listening to The Cure and they tend to make me moody. Whatever the cause is right now I'd like to throttle my father, knock the driver out of his seat, and run away from the scene of the crime at full speed.
I'm feeling inadequate for the tasks which lie ahead of me, and which I of course have set for myself. In six months my sister and I intend to move in together to either Manhattan or Brooklyn. Today for the first time we started to set out the parameters for the apartment search, and I am feeling daunted to say the least. This is an apartment search which I will be going on alone as my sister will be studying in Japan for the next six months or so. The discussion of the apartment brings up the fact that I will also be applying to graduate schools, attempting to transfer to a Starbucks located somewhere in Manhattan, and in general attempting to hold my life together.
Put on paper it doesn't actually seem all that hard. All I've got to do is find an apartment, switch job locations, and get into grad school, also perhaps take the GRE. It doesn't sound like that much does it? So how do I explain away the morass of self pity and self doubt I was drowning in only moments ago. When I started writing this I felt like a lost lamb with a broken leg. In my head I was comparing myself to those around me and finding myself lacking. I felt awkward, unsure, lacking in all follow through, and somewhat contemptuous of the idea that I would ever be able to achieve any of the goals I'd set for myself. Now I feel better, even though I'm still not in Connecticut yet.
It boggles my mind that other people go through the same bouts of self doubt and distrust that I do. How do we survive as a human race if we are so prone to maudlin moments? What are the outlets that other people have to deal with their own built up insecurities? What did I do before I wrote everything down? Whatever the answers to these questions are I'm glad I didn't just sit here in the back of the car stewing over how ineptly I've managed my life, turning my worries and fears over and over again like some sort of fetishized object. At least by putting down my fears I can put them into perspective, things have a way of looking bigger in the dark. The light of reason (that's pushing it but still,) tends to make things look smaller, if not better. Boy I sure do love my laptop.
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