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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thankful for weakness

Tis the time of year once again where little children trace their stubby, disproportional hands and fill them in with colors of fall they’ve probably only seen on TV. ‘Cause like, really, who goes outside anymore?

E-mail inboxes are filled to the brim with cheesy holiday e-cards, sentimental powerpoints and seasonally appropriate jpegs. It’s the official beginning of the season of cheer, family, and graciousness. So we post about it on our blogs and facebooks and twitter, citing happy holidays, delicious turkey day, and a generous seasoning of “I am thankful for ___” lists. Because no first world country would be complete without the smug sense of humility that comes from verbally expressing thanks for concepts as everyday to us as running water and sterile turkeys.

What sort of person would I be, then, if I didn’t continue the tradition? There must be something I’m thankful for, and it shall be publicized to show just how grateful of a spoiled brat I am!

After tedious minutes of deliberation, and notching off the regulars (family, friends, internet) I realized that ultimately there is one thing that we as an entire species should be thankful for.

Weakness.

As a member of the modern homo genus, I am thankful for the absolute pitiful nature of our human condition. We are some of the neediest, most inept, frailest creatures on this planet, and for that we have reached awesomeness.

On the top of the food chain, predators are judged only by their abilities. Their strength, their cunning, their natural weapons such as claws or teeth or poison. They tend to live alone, or at most in small groups with single leaders and intra-pack competition. On the other hand, there exist the prey, the swarm animals who live as one humongous organism, like ants or flocks of birds and schools of fish. Each individual only does their part, and if the path of the group causes that individual to die, so be it. The horde lives on. They have strength in sheer numbers, and each member is simply a piece of the bigger picture.

I AM SUCH A MEMBER OF THE FOOD CHAIN

But humans have neither the abilities of the predator nor the hive mentality of the prey. We have no sharp fangs or long talons or toxic barbs. We can’t run very quickly, or jump very high, and we have no chance at flying or surviving in the water with our flaccid limbs and sensitive skin. We can’t be proper hive animals either. Each one of us demands to be noticed, to stand out in some way to somebody, and no sort of hive can survive with such selfish individuals.

The only thing that saved us as a species, the one key component that no other animal can even try to compare with, is our desperate need. Physical needs to be part of a group that can stand a chance against the stronger predators. Emotional needs to be wanted and supported by someone. Too weak to be predators, too selfish to be prey, we latch onto each other because we physically can’t survive alone, and emotionally can’t stand to lose one who cares about us. All of our innovation, successes, and world domination have come from the existence of our grand collection of countries filled with people living together. Which grew from cities of people working and interacting with each other. Which grew from villages with families and trading. Which grew from two humans meeting up and realizing they had to do everything in their power to keep each other alive, so that they could live together, hunt together, and share emotional 140 character tweets with each other.

Cheers to being pathetic.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Sprinting my way through a marathon

NaNoWriMo is, once again, kicking my ass, and I am now 5,000 words behind where I should be. Cue tears of panic.

Then I recall that today is the first day of Fall Break, and besides work my only scheduled obligation is roaming through the house in my pajamas and fluffy slippers, munching on a lemon cream cheese tartelette and playing video games. Glorious. Time for a word sprint!

:: word sprint \pronouncation: effffff\: n. 1. an allocated period of time in which an individual attempts to make up a nauseating amount of words in NaNoWriMo by furiously hashing away at his/her keyboard like Shakespeare’s monkey. “Goodness, I’m so behind in my novel I better have a good word sprint tonight” 2. a mad mental dash to the writing goal finish line immediately followed by a stiff drink and/or period of comatose. “Boy I sure hope this word sprint comes with scotch.” 3. v. a cruel method of torture used by the ancient Greeks to punish young children that didn’t use proper grammar. “You’re going to word sprint today or it’s the end of your life as you know it!

Overall, a grand old time. However, there is a bit of an issue. Let us display the problem with a fitting image.

As exciting as it is to finish up a “novel” and gripe with fellow writing peers, it’s always a bit of an uncomfortable experience to spew out on paper what really goes on in your mind. Maybe it’s not a direct verbalization of your innermost thoughts, and it might not even be the darkest of desires and secrets.

But it’s you. Every word that is typed/jotted/scribbled/scratched out is something that comes from the dusty mess upstairs, and once you put two and two together it doesn’t always turn out pretty. Often times, it’s downright disturbing. By living vicariously through your characters in the world that you’ve created, at the end of the day there’s a whole lot of space in between the lines, and it’s all full of you.

And truthfully, it’s not all that flattering.

It’s like looking at those mirrors specifically designed to magnify your pores. Have you ever seen yourself in one of those? You think that your skin is creamy clear and baby butt soft, but one look at those concave mirrors has you running for the hills. Might as well scream Bloody Mary in the bathroom at night to bring out the deformed and twisted reflection you didn’t even know existed.

Of course it’s not all that bad. Writing brings out the whimsy in me that my not-five-year-old-self has forgotten. It allows me to twist and adjust parts of this world into something coherent and understandable, rather than overwhelming and jumbled. There are heroes and living myths and magic and triumphs for the good and honorable who beat down the evil doers and monsters.

Slightly jarring though, when the monster turns out to be part of you.

Ah well. C’est la vie. Time for a matcha latte and more sprinting!

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Writing, tea, and how to beat insomnia

Remember how way back when on my last post I talked about how busy I had become? Made excuses about not blogging because of how much stuff I do? Implied that the world around me would implode if I added anything else to my to-do list?

So I started NaNoWriMo again.

Only my second year taking on this daunting challenge, and I’m already behind. It makes me sort of glad the word count widget isn’t running yet, because then the whole internet could see just how much I’m not writing. I don’t know which one is more shameful: complaining about how busy one is and then adding more onto that pile, or voluntarily adding to the pile with things you end up not doing in the end.

All in a day's not-worked

But no! I refuse to sit down and be lazy! This novel will get written~! (And maybe even shared this time around. Who knows. I may find some bravery in me yet.)

If I schedule things correctly, I should be able to complete my grown-up-person obligations (school, work, teaching) and then somehow cram in enough time for the symptoms of my peter-pan-syndrome (dallying in novel writing and making rubber cement balls). Pumping myself full of caffeinated tea to fulfill this schedule can only bring positive consequences. And build character!

This brings me to a surprisingly obvious fact about insomnia I just learned: if you act busy enough to forget the fact you can’t sleep, it’s basically as if you tore down the walls that divide the week and have one huge 150 hour work day with an 18 hour sleep marathon at the end. You’ve ignored sleep for so long that it comes crawling back to you like a neglected spouse who just wants to cuddle.  That, my friends, is productivity.

It is also why I need to buy a new tea pot and restock my Earl Grey. Donations will be accepted with a mad grin.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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