Your Smile On Fire

...from the song Xavia

April 2008 - Posts

  • on death

    So let's talk about sympathy cards.


    Um, they're kind of rotton? They all say things like, may the memories of happy times see you through the rough days ahead. Nice sentiment... I guess. But really, I mean, I'm not exactly an expert in this area because no one close to me has died, but it just seems like... like that pain never really goes away. I mean yeah, people mourn and grieve and then somehow go on with their lives but I don't believe for a second that the hurt goes away or that you just stop missing that person. And I like to hope that after a while the memories do become reassuring and you can think of them in a happy way, but at first?


    At first doesn't it seem like all they'd be are little knives stabbing your heart? Or something less graphic, I think I watched too much House today.


    But back to the subject at hand. Even though I've never lost someone close to me in death, I imagine that this quote from Becca's essay ("Big Shoes") must sum it up pretty well....


    I measure my grief over her in bad days and not-so-bad days.


    That must be right. It sounds right too me. Death leaves everyone in its wake reeling, so affected by it even if they didn't know they would be. It stuns us. It's the ultimate shock... so difficult for us to comprehend that someone who was there just a day, week, month earlier is no longer with us. It doesn't seem right, does it? It doesn't seem natural. And I have to believe that this isn't how it was supposed to be; I have to believe that death was not god's purpose for us, that there's a reason it leaves us so dumbfounded, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. It's because it wasn't supposed to happen and it's sad, too too sad, too too ultimate, and we don't know how to deal with it.


  • happy happy things because i don't want to think about the sad sad thing

    Hi friendlies.


    Let's talk about something happy, okay? Because I don't want to talk about the sad stuff and there is always plenty of it and especially now. So things that are making me happy right now:


    • the music I am listening to... a playlist of songs that are wonderful. right now it's sara evan's 'born to fly'
    • texts from friends (right now, becca and michelle)
    • my room being the perfect temperature right now, which is amazingly rare
    • not going back to sleep this morning after I took taylor to donuts
    • my novel-in-progress, even if I'm not looking forward to the huge whopping dose of SAD in it and am trying to look for ways to get around it... and finding none. people will just have to deal with it.
    • the unread (and new!) sarah dessen book on my shelf (lock and key) which I am not going to read until I finish the mommy myth because I'm trying to read more nonfiction (even when the print is teeny tiny tiny)
    • having the colbert report, the paper, and the hills on dvr
    • the fact that 'bubba shot the jukebox' just started playing. best. song. evar!
    • finally starting to watch the star wars trilogy. yes, I realize I am woefully late on this one
    • that john and hank didn't stop making videos at the end of 2007
    • my bn member card! (thankyoumom)


    In other news, have I mentioned my tiredness? Well I am. Which is weird because when I woke up at four I wasn't tired at all, then when I woke up again at six-forty I wasn't even that tired. But now I'm getting tired and thinking a nap, how yummy.

  • i hate that this bothers me, but it does

    **note** most times when i write personal stuff in here i end up taking it out but for some reason i think i want this one to stay up


    I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to be Valedictorian. I knew it wouldn't happen, of course, because there were the Wades and the Claires and the Keegans and they were all in Science Olympiad and taking math classes over at the high school when they were in eighth grade and I did neither of those things. But still. I wanted it. I also wanted to be on the Honor Society, the Acadec team, take AP classes, and edit the yearbook. None of those things happened, though I jumped into them all ferociously in ninth grade. I took Acadec and was on yearbook staff and planned on the AP classes I would take later on, not knowing that later on I'd be quietly homeschooling.


    But mostly my vision was this: I wanted to graduate from BR and I wanted to walk with Kelsey and Keegan and Lacey and all those other people I'd known forever. I wanted to smile and get my diploma and laugh and cry goodbyes. I wanted my family to have a party and celebrate my graduation and I really really really wanted someone to give me Dr. Suess' Oh The Places You'll Go. My family used to talk about having a party too; I kind of think that as I got older and kept on the same omg-she's-reading-before-kindergarten path I'd been on, my family started being really proud of me.


    I mean not like they weren't proud of me before. But I always had - and in fact still have - this idea in my mind that I was somehow counted on to be something for my family. I was going to do more than just get by. And this is happening. My aunt Donna printed up my HuffPo article and sent it to my grandparents. I went back to visit after Red came out and everyone was so proud of me, saying congratulations and I could see in their eyes that they were kind of surprised. In their eyes I was still that five year old who loved to watch Barney but suddenly they realized that I was grown.... ish.


    But there was no party. There was no Valedictorian, no Honor Society, no yearbook editor or Acadec team. Instead there was me, quietly doing my work, silently graduating a year early and not even bothering to go to the ceremony because it was two hours away and what did I care anyways? Those people I was supposedly graduating with weren't people I knew or cared about, weren't people I had spent the last decade with. They were strangers. So instead I graduated silently. My dad bought me a used car and I enrolled in community college, nobody ever gave me the Dr. Suess book, and quietly, dutifully, began the next step in my life.


    The things I had wanted to happen though, hadn't. Most people didn't even know I had graduated or that I was going to college. My family knew but it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't like I had wanted it to be or like it would have been if things had gone according to plan. And now my friends I was supposed to graduate with are getting ready to graduate in a couple months and I won't be there. I helped a girl here with her humongo graduation party and never had one of my own.


    And why? Because I just didn't see the point. Who would I invite? Why would it matter? Everyone I wanted to invite was a state away. Nothing had gone according to my master plan. And that's supposed to be okay, right? I mean, look at me. I'm ahead of the game. By the time my friends graduate I will be finishing up my first year of college. I have actual publishing credits and am shopping my novel. I'm way ahead and that should make me happier than it does. But the reality is that I look at my friends who are getting ready to graduate and having it be this whole hoopla - choosing their college, going to the graduation ceremony, saying goodbye to friends, and I miss that. I hate that I missed out on it, I hate that I care so much.


    And I hate that, as with everything else about me and my life, that milestone of graduating high school completely flew in under the radar. Nobody even noticed. A few of my friend's friends graduated last year, same as me. And I was with her when she talked about not knowing what to get her friends who were graduating but she had to get them something. And I'm sure she did get them something. But she didn't even give me a card. Nobody did.

  • weird or not?

    I spent six hours on homework and studying today. And I still didn't study as much as I wanted too but after six hours I just had to do something else. And right now I am thinking, as I often do, about friendships.


    Specifically I am thinking that when I ordered a bunch of Red books to give to the important people there was one very important person I left out. I'm not going to say who it was, but I knew she wouldn't read it and that parts of it would offend her, so I didn't give her one. She did not see how big of a deal it was for me to be published like most people did and she didn't ever buy the book. And I'm pretty sure when I write my own books she won't read those either, except for the parts I send her.


    And this doesn't bother me. It seems like it should because she's one of my best friends, but it really doesn't. Is that weird?

  • ick, homework

    Hey I'm sick of homework.

  • i am tall and skinny with dark hair. and, erm, that's it.

    I think it's safe to say that I hope I never ever ever ever have to pick someone out of a lineup.


    Because honestly? I would be terrible at it.


    I thought of that after seeing the current poll my friend has up on her blog, something about which part of a person's outfit you notice first. (I did not answer the poll because my answer would be something like, "I am a dodo bird and unless you are actually wearing a chicken suit, I probably don't notice." And why wasn't that an option!? I mean, she knows I read her blog. I think.)


    But anyways, I never notice what people look like. Not in any detail anyways. I think one time my cuzzie asked what the guy I liked (at the time) looked like. And my answer was something along the lines of, "um, he has dark hair and it's curly and he's tall. I think." She looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "but what does he look like?" But come on, I knew he was cute, I'm just not the best at noticing or describing people. Honestly. The way I describe my sister is something about her being tall and her hair being brown. Oh, and she's skinny.


    You have a visual now, right? I would post a picture but EVEN THOUGH EVERY PICTURE OF MY SISTER IS BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE SHE'S AMAZINGLY PRETTY AND PHOTOGENIC, she would think whichever picture I chose was stupid.


    My noticing of what people look like seems to boil down to three things.

    1. If they are tall or short (and sometimes I say tall when they're really just regular height).

    2. Hair.

    3. If they are really fat or really skinny. If they are middle-of-the-road I don't notice.


    Sigh. I don't know why I'm taling about this. It's not very interesting. I just like calling myself a dodo bird maybe? (Also, have no idea if I have ANYTHING at all in common with the dodo bird, it just seems like I should.)


  • grief industrial complex

    Did anyone see The Colbert Report Wednesday? The interview with Mitch Albom? Because I so want to join the Grief Industrial Complex*. Is that wrong? I mean it just has a really really really awesome name.


    *NO, I am not comparing myself to Mitch Albom.

  • in list formation

    1. My keyboard has magically fixed itself! I guess the cure was to reboot my computer FOUR TIMES.


    2. I might have a job soon. Which would be wonderful. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


    3. Today I was thinking about memories and one in particular. I was remembering something that happened when I was in fourth grade and all the sudden I thought, wait a sec. How do I know that really happened? What if it's just part of my imagination?


    What if all my memories are just part of my imagination?




    4. I'm really sick of everyone in my family being sick. Just letting that be known.


    5. Um, I bought Ashlee Simpson's new CD? I never really listened to her music before I moved here and all the girls were talking about it so I started to listen to it too (peer pressure?) and now I actually really like it. Usually I go for songs with good lyrics but most of her lyrics seem to be nonsense, so it's good that the beats are happy.


    Hm. I guess some things have rubbed off on me? Like before I lived here I probably never would have watched The Hills (which I now am practically addicted to) or listened to Ashlee Simpson (though I still don't like the Spice Girls) or, uh, hm... I guess that's all I can think of? Odd.

  • stupidkeyboard i vroken..argh11

    My keyboard has a problem. I have to hit every key very deliberately for the words to come out correct.


    Otherwise evreything ocmes out all mangld up like tis and ho wcan I wo on m novel wen my keybarod isn'twork oin? t's so weird. I'm no sure how to fxit... anyone have any dieas?




    although acualyl is an inerestng way to wrte. If only people cold really understand i. My parents and sster are nthe living oom. They want e ot e in here also but insteadi'm tryingo figure out what is rong wit this keyboard.


    MY profjcisona opinion is thta i is broekn.I'm notsure how  ca go on lik his witha kabaorud that works aswell as ts onedoes. Seriously. It's ging t ruin my life.. what is with theis? The keys arewoingthe compuer screen ust isn't nshowingthe right letersand smetims thespace bar isn't orking. Eerythingi sall messed up. Boo.  think If I did th olechcen peckng mehod of ping it ight work better.


    Um apparly not.


    Lalala.  watched he Papter today, myenw favori sow. ell, except forthe office ad maye TheHils. Ag. orr you guyscan't read this. rety sadof me to post a blog tht no oe can read. maybe y ybaord will fix iself!!


    I doubt it. todlea.

  • to do this summer: see friends

    So I know the semester doesn't end for me until June. (I know, so far away!) But considering that I'm getting impatient now that Becca's semester is over (or almost over...?) and Lisa just did that post about how she's out of school for a little while too, plus the fact that last time I talked to my cuzzie she said (most emphatically, might I add, even though it was only over msn messenger), "you need a FRIEND," and that I needed to get out more and go to parties.


    Um... okay... whose parties? Going out would be a heck of a lot easier if I had people to go out with. You know, people I actually wanted to go out with and who wanted me around.


    But I digress. All that has got me thinking of what I want to do this summer, which mostly includes lots of traveling. Word to the wise, this is what happens when none of your friends live in the same hemisphere as you. (Okay, okay, so hemisphere is stretching it. But it may as well be another hemisphere.)

    • I want Sarah to visit. I have to drill this into her head and get her to come out here!
    • I want Mich to visit. And I want to visit Mich. MEET HER FRIENDS! Yay!
    • And it goes without saying that I want to see Braddles and Maddies and go out to Arizona.
    • Also I want to finish the novel I'm working on now, or at least get a good part of it done.
    • Get a job! (Actually I'd like this to happen ASAP so that at least I could spend my money on books and stuff even if I don't have people to hang out with.
    • GO FISHING! And no, this is not summer-specific. I want to go fishing soon. Even maybe try ocean fishing? Fun.
    • I don't think the English class I need is offered during the summer (except from like 6-9 at night, which I so don't want to do) but if it were I would want to get it over with. So, summer classes?

    Yes, I realize I can't visit everyone and get a job and take summer classes. I know that's a stretch and all those things take time and blahblahblah. But I can try, right?


    Really. I want summer. And it's not even that I want to be done with school so soon, it's just that I want to see my friends.


    Maybe I will be a hermit like Emily Dickenson. Just live somewhere all alone with, like, a bunch of cats or something. And no people. Just me. Okay kidding, I would go crazy. But I'm just saying... it's maybe starting to look more possible than I'd like?

  • .sigh.


  • books i don't like

    Hello friendlies. I'm sitting on my bed, in my jammies, listening to my mp3 player. WHICH IS NOT AN IPOD. But anyways.


    I really have nothing to say, I just feel like writing.


    Oh! Speaking of writing! My new novel-in-progress is up to... uh... 7,237 words. And it is going okay. I mean I'm having a lot of fun writing it but I don't know how good it is or if it is really just all sucky and boring.


    Also, I did solve the book space dilemma, by pushing my Nancy Drews to the back and putting some hardcovers in front.


    Hardcovers in front of my Nancy Drews: (in case you wondered)

    • An Abundance of Katherines
    • Sense and Sensibility
    • I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You
    • Red
    • If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?
    • The Year of Secret Assignments
    • Girl at Sea
    • Better Than Yesterday
    • Define "Normal"


    Sigh. I just spent too much time reading Meg Cabot's blog, which I actually enjoy even though I don't enjoy her books. And I can't ever pick up her books either, because it's the sort of thing where if I start reading it I can't stop even though the whole time I'm going why am I reading this, why am I reading this?? Ha sorries. I know there are a lot of serious Meg Cabot fans out there.


    So just for fun? Some other books/authors I don't enjoy.

    • Meg Cabot
    • Gossip Girl series
    • Better Than Yesterday isn't so great
    • Nicholaus Sparks (or however you spell it)
    • The Hobbit
    • Sweet Valley series
    • Ender's Game


  • book space, quickly disappearing

    Okay friendlies, we are reaching critical mass. Which is a phrase I am apparently using incorrectly because according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, it means "a monthly bicycle-centered social movement." But in my case "we" means my bookshelf and "reaching critical mass" means is this close to not being able to hold all my books.


    Case in point: (which I am using correctly) Last night when I was cleaning my room I went to put Crimes of the Sarahs away and IT DIDN'T FIT. Which was crazy because things had all fit all nice and cozy before, right? So I looked at my shelves, remembered I bought a new book, and thought, crud, I'm losing space. And really losing space when you count my new book and the one I'm supposed to be getting in the mail soon. And so, because I am set against getting rid of any of my precious books (even Crimes of the Sarahs, which I am only so-so about), I laid in bed last night pondering the situation.


    And I think I might have a solution. If I push my Nancy Drews back then I can put some other books in front of them and voila! Another small shelf of book space. Except that it might look kinda silly and I really don't like doing that, so maybe I will just put the Nancy Drews up in my closet? I really don't know.


    And it's not like I have a ton of books either. It's just that the top shelf of my tall bookcase is full of notebooks (yes, full, yes, notebooks) and the one below that has yearbooks and binders full of writing and a pile of Psychology Today so I really only use the bottom three shelves for books, plus a few shelves in my other bookcase. Yes, I'm sure this was boring to all of you, but oh well. I'll report back once I solve the book space problem, lol.


    OH, and PS, if anyone wants to read about bicycle-centered social movements, go here.

  • a rant on fluffiness.

    Okay. I have a few things to say tonight.

    1. Remember how way back when I said I wanted to do a post on the bible and religion? Do you also remember how unlike the many prophecies in the bible, that never quite came to pass? Um, well. I am still working on it and still very much planning on writing it. The problem is that because I care about this subject more than any other, I really really want it to be good and well thought out and well written and overall the sort of post on the bible and religion that doesn't polarize people, which talk of religion/the bible tends to do. I'm trying to avoid that. Also it might be more than one post because there is a lot I want to say.
    2. I am on LIPSTICKING, with a wonderous quote about kindergarten and growing up and Kelsey, who I don't actually talk to all that much anymore (cue sad face; she is an awesome person), but who is turning out to be exactly who she always knew she would be, which is awesome. (Haha actually we're both turning out to be exactly who we knew we would be. Amazing.)
    3. I also have plenty to say about the re-release of the Sweet Valley High books and the controversial (and, um, awful?!) move of them changing Elizabeth and Jessica's size from a "perfect" 6 to a "perfect" 4. Puke. I'm planning on posting this particular rant both here and over at Page Numbered, which if you don't already know is my book blog that I am totally loving.
    4. And NOW for today's post, which is something I've been thinking a lot about...


    I know I don't exactly write high-brow stuff. I write about teenage girls and crushes and friendships and the little insignificant moments in life. I write about wanting to grow up and not wanting to grow up and all that stuff that I'm facing or will face or have faced.


    I write young adult. And, okay, you can call it fluff if you want to. I know that (assuming my books see the light of day), I will never write something like To Kill A Mockingbird or anything else that makes everyone stop and think. I won't write anything that changes the lives of so many people and I won't be standing up and accepting the Pulitzer or Nobel prize. And I know, I know not everyone thinks the fiction I write is worth anything.


    But here's the thing: call it fluff or nonsense or whatever you want, but I have to believe it isn't. I have to believe, for the sake of my sanity, that my words can hurt or help or change someone. I have to believe, and I do believe, that my words have power. Power that not everyone is going to see, but power nonetheless.


    I have this notebook, purchased at Borders (R.I.P. and please don't die) for more money than I'd like to admit. Some spend $300 on a new pair of shoes, I buy a few sheets of paper for $15. But anyways. In this notebook I have quotes from books. By far the large majority of these books are fiction, mostly young adult, and exactly the sort of stuff that is considered fluff. I've got Maureen Johnson and E. Lockhart and Sarah Dessen and many others that you probably haven't even heard of. But the thing is... those lines, the "fluff" words in that book? They matter to me. They're lines, words, passages that spoke to me, that hurt or helped or changed me somehow. Honestly (and you can think I'm being kooky here if you want to) I think that words have this power. I think that everything we read has the ability to change us, to mold us just a little bit or help us see things in the right light. And I think it has that ability whether its nonfiction or fiction, classics or young adult - as long as it hits someone in just the right way, it's worth it. It matters. Mostly what I have in the book are quotes that capture emotions, that assure me I am not alone. For example, these few lines from the ARC of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which I love love love:


    It didn't matter that in her heart Frankie knew she was smart and charming.

    What mattered was that feeling of being expendable. That to Porter, she was a nobody that could easily be replaced by a better model -- and the better model wasn't even so great.

    Which meant that Frankie herself was nearly worthless.


    Or this one, from The Truth About Forever:


    You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it's reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.


    I'm not sure quite how to transition from here and all I'm really trying to do is selfishly defend my own writing and maybe it is fluff and maybe it will never matter to anyone, but I don't think so. I think there are moments of realism and relatability and I think that it matters in a very small way and I refuse to think that what I want to do with my life and this great passion that I have for words and storytelling and creating characters that are real is entirely superficial. I have to believe it matters.

  • need.... sleeep....

    Excuse me if I am a little loopy. I am very very very very very tired. Honestly, it's like I'm a zombie or something. I woke up this morning, went to school, went to Wal-Mart and Taco Bell, came home, watched Reba and Sister Sister, went to the post office, and now here I am.


    And I am very tired. I almost sat in my car and took a nap before I drove home from school, but instead I did not.


    Also I didn't write at all in my novel last night because I was just too tired and thought maybe if I went to bed at a reasonable hour I would fall asleep at a reasonable hour. This would make sense, right?


    Wrong. I fell asleep at about 12:30, which really, people, is actually not that late for me because it always takes me forever to fall asleep. So that was fine and dandy... until I woke up again at 1:30 and didn't fall back asleep until 3:30 and got up at 6.


    Last night I got 4 hours of sleep.


    The night before that? 4 hrs.


    And before that it was 4 hours.


    Before that? Yup, 4 hours.


    And I realize some people can do this, can thrive just fine off of 4 hours of sleep. I wish I were one of those people (for the dual reason that I hate sleeping and also that seems to be all the sleep I'm getting lately), but I'm not. And it's not like I'm going to bed at 2 in the morning or something. It's just that after I go to bed I'm laying there for 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 hours before I fall asleep.


    It is wearing me out!! Hopefully tonight I can sleep!!

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Oct. 15 [going to work soon] [two school essays due; majorly nervous about both] [remember when i wrote that short story where the girl said "majorly" every other WORD practically? ha]