Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Break From Writing...Which I Spend Writing

Why are there no decent coffee shops here? All I wanted tonight was a reasonably funky-looking joint with a cool atmosphere where I wouldn't have to navigate through 25,681 pseudo-intellectuals with $200 emo-wannabe haircuts clutching their Grande Non-Fat Half-Caff Iced Mochaccinos With No Foam, A Shot Of Espresso, A Twist Of Lemon, And Dressing On The Side, Please. Apparently, such a place simply does not exist! And what's a girl got to do to find a good Sugar-Free White Chocolate Steamer in this town, anyway? You'd think a place with this many Mormons would be capitalizing on the non-caffeinated market and offer you more than just hot chocolate or - ooooooh - peppermint hot chocolate (but only for the holiday season). But no. I settled for the Barnes & Noble Cafe because at least their hot chocolate is made with Godiva chocolate, and if I'm going to drink something too sugary, it might as well be made with the good stuff. I sat down and, coffee shop (sort of) found, I pulled out my laptop and began to work.

First I wrote an overdue online post for my English class about The Role of Writing in Preserving the Arts and Humanities. I didn't post it, since I didn't feel like paying for internet for a two-second discussion post, but at least I saved it and got it done. Then I pulled out the last draft of my play and re-read it, taking care to connect with the tone and pillage nice-sounding lines at will. I have NO idea why I hadn't thought to do this before. And then, tired of being stared at by some older dude who also had a laptop and maybe thought because of this that we were kindred spirits, I actually relocated to the library. For the first time in my life, I actually stayed until the library closed.
I've more or less been working on rewrites and nothing but rewrites for the past 6 hours, and I must say I'm very happy about that. You would not believe how the script is improving! I can hardly believe it myself. It's really quite liberating.

It's times like these when I remember that I actually do enjoy writing - the process of writing, not just the finished product. In fact, I think I enjoy the process better than the finished product. Maybe that's why I get so angsty when I feel like my process is blocked, as it has been for the past, oh, year. But now, oh! I wasn't sure about this when I decided to really get back into it, because for some reason I thought it wasn't good that I "lose" hours and hours when I'm really writing. A six-hour writing binge (or would it be a writing purge?) is not all that uncommon for me when I'm really working on something. And I think I was afraid of something I can't define. But I was sitting in my Doctrine & Covenants class on Monday, thinking about my future and next Summer, and I swear it just popped into my mind that I needed to write. Now. And now that I have my power cord back and I'm not in complete shock over my dad's health issues, I understand that that was a very wise impression I had. I'm happy about it.

Quick update on last post: they discovered today that most of my dad's intense symptoms were in fact caused by a virus inhabiting the tissue around his heart (who knew you could even get those?) - or rather, that he did have a minor heart attack and some issues causing it, but that the virus was intensifying them. Which alerted them to the heart problems, allowing him to get a needed angioplasty before any major damage was done. One of those "blessing in disguise" situations. So he went home from the hospital yesterday, very tired but well on the road to recovery. He should spend the next week or so sleeping and doing puzzles, and then he'll slowly return to normal. Hurray!

And now, the day-dawn has risen and it's back to work!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Day That Will Live In Oddity

My father had a heart attack this morning. My mother rushed him to the hospital because he was having severe chest pains (for the second time in less than 12 hours - the first time it was ruled most likely nothing to worry about). The doctors checked things out and decided to give him an angioplasty, which is less invasive than other, scarier heart-related procedures, and now he'll be hanging out at the hospital for the next few days. They say he should be completely back to normal in about one month to six weeks.

The weird thing about this though is how it really wasn't a big deal to me until, like, 10 minutes ago. My mom explained everything to me this afternoon in this kind of breezy, matter-of-fact way, casually mentioning letters grouped in 3 like EKG and ICU, and I guess she just made it sound like something so everyday that I didn't treat it like anything that far out of the ordinary.* It occurred to me to send him a Get Well card, mostly because I had one hanging around (a little while ago a good friend broke his leg and when I bought his card I found this other one I thought was too cute to pass up), so I got my sister and brother-in-law to sign it and I wrote a sarcastic message I hoped would make him laugh**. We drew some pictures to go along with it (a broccoli labeled "your best friend" and a tub of lard labeled "hates you") and I sent it off. My sister was so normal about the whole thing, too. It was like, "A get well card - oh, that's nice." Sometimes I don't know if my family really knows how to freak out. I'm not sure if I want them to learn.

So I was going about my day as if nothing strange had happened at all, and then suddenly it's 10 minutes ago and I'm alone in my room and I'm listening to Cat Stevens' "Father and Son" and I look over at this funny note I got from my dad with the package that arrived today and maybe I'm just a sucker for a moment, but I think it hit me. But it's strange. I never feel the easy way that people describe other people feeling at these kinds of times. Not sad or scared or anything, just...significantly weirded out. I mean, it's not that I thought he was invincible, though I think in a way fathers are always invincible, but certainly he was unstoppable. And now he's in a hospital room, which is wildly different from a hotel room, and what is the world coming to? And I realized I'm not going to be able to get any rewrites done tonight. The play is so inextricably linked to my father, though not in the obvious ways most people will think it is, and I just don't know how to rewrite when he's not what I wrote right now. Does that make sense? There's a certain helplessness to that, because the rewrites have been expected for so long, and I didn't get anything done over Thanksgiving break, and I didn't get anything done when I got back to Provo because I left my computer's power cord in Oregon and there's my whole life on this thing (I got the cord back in the package today). And now I just don't know if I'll ever get this damn thing done.*** Certainly not in time for it to be staged in February as planned, unless I have some sudden flash of genius. I just hate that.

I came to this realization, and I stumbled blindly onto MySpace, where I found I'd been contacted by some boys I thought I'd never even think about again. These "Hey, remember me?" messages just sitting there. And when all the rest of your world is a little off-kilter, something like that seems absolutely bizarre. Instead of, "Oh, him! I remember him!" I'm thinking, "Is the whole WORLD not what I thought it was?!?" I wandered into the living room to get my bearings (my bedroom is far too chaotic for sense-making), looked into a mirror, and realized my nose was bleeding. I believe that was the point at which I began swearing aloud. Luckily no one heard (don't you judge me, Provo!). It's just that it's all coming at the end of such a strange day, what with my laptop being dead right when I needed it (I had to actually call two stage managers because I couldn't get to my email - and I hate calling people!), and then we really had the single strangest performance of King Lear to date today. I was crying onstage, then laughing so hard I couldn't move backstage, then everyone was just off and doing these weird things they'd never done with their characters before, and at one point I honestly thought the backdrop was going to fall on my head... I can't begin to explain the strangeness of the day. I just finished all my sugar-free chocolate and I still don't feel like life is normal again.

It's times like these when finishing my homework seems just unfathomable. But I guess that's life. A girl from my old playwriting class once said, "You still have to pay the bills the day your mom dies." That's one of my favorite things I've heard.

*Lots of people think I get my acting talents from my dad, because he's loud like me and likes to perform. But judging from the way my mother calmly ended our phone conversation during my dad's first problems last night, most of it's got to be coming from her. Mom: "Oh, hey, I'm sorry but your father's kind of sick and I've got to take him to the doctor now. Sorry to have to end the conversation early." Me: "Oh...OK then. Tell him to get better, alright?" Mom: "I will. And I hope you can finish the rest of your play alright." Me: "Oh, I'll be fine." Mom: "Okay. Bye then. Love you." Me: "See you." And my father was standing there with his chest and his arm hurting like crazy, having trouble breathing. My mom's talking to me and getting her things together at the same time; she didn't sound stressed at all. I'm telling you - I'm pretty good at what I do, but my mom's a freaking genius.

**Much of my childhood was spent keeping my parents suitably entertained so they wouldn't notice that I wasn't actually helping out around the house, so I've got a pretty good read on my dad's sense of humor.

***Mormon readers: feel free to pretend I just said "darn". "I just don't know if I'll ever get this darn thing done." Or flim-flammin', or whatever you prefer.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Effects of Eating a Krispy Kreme Donut on Hypoglycemic Blogger Girls

So tired. So tired. I can't really...I can't really... What happened to two hours ago? I couldn't stop laughing. My roommate made fun of me. I kept flipping the blinds back and forth. Somehow I was dancing to Kelly Clarkson in my room. It was great. I even got some writing done, though I can't remember any of it now.

Words are hard. I seem to be wording the mixing up the. I swear I'm not high. Was that two hours ago? Or stoned. I'm not stoned. Just some low blood-sugar. Can't stop adding extra d's to every wordd. Good thing I've got a delete button.d My head kind of hurts. I'd been dso good. And then there they were. I put one in the microwave and then it just tasted so good. And now. And now. And now...I'm tired. I'm never writing when I'm like this again.

And yet I just really want another donut...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

" Remember the time you drove all night / Just to meet me in the morning? / And I thought it was strange you said everything changed / You felt as if you'd just woke up." - Bright Eyes (First Day of My Life)

As I was watching BYU's production of The Seagull last night (which was incredible by the way, and I officially heap praise upon all involved), I had a most interesting epiphany. Ever have that feeling like you don't know where you've been lately? It occurred to me that aside from a few notable incidents, I haven't really been where I was for most of this semester. I don't know where I've been going, but it's someplace else entirely. And now I think it's time to come back.

I have the most peculiar feeling, like I'm waking up even though I haven't really been asleep. I'm sitting here in my room, listening to an odd-yet-natural combination of Bright Eyes and Johnny Cash (the hopeful ends of both), and I think I might even be able to get back to really writing again. Which is good, because it turns out Eric is expecting those rewrites after all so he can hold auditions. And here I'd assumed we could both just forget about it and it'd be like the writer's block never happened. Shows what I know.

I suspect that my swearing habit is returning. This is slightly troubling, as my friend base is predominately comprised of conservative Mormons who I believe have a reasonable expectation not to hear unsavory language from the people they care about. I try to censor myself, but in order to do it faithfully (meaning you don't use substitute words when you really mean the real word) you have to reword entire sentences so that the bad words don't have a place anymore. And that's hard to do when you're really upset! On a related note, I wish more people used cool replacement expletives like "flim-flammin'," "consarn it," and "Laws!" How much more awesome would that be? "Zouterkins!" is so much cooler than "Darn!"

Salty language aside, November is already looking better than October. In the first two days I got to hang out with a really cool friend at a grocery store and then fulfill a life-long (okay, weeks-long) dream of playing the Beast from Beauty and the Beast in my stage combat class. Sword fighting + Beast growls + Ryan's Gaston voice = soooo sweet. AND I think the number of people from church who actually know that I exist is rapidly growing. This is good news, because for all that I've always said I'd choose invisibility for my super power, it turns out being invisible is not that great of a feeling. Oh! Oh! And after over two months in my care, I've finally given my Betta fish a name! I now call him Roger Dorsey, and if you know where I got that name from you're officially cool.

Here's a picture of him. He looks very little like the Roger Dorsey he's named after, but I like it anyway. I think it suits him. After cleaning his tank today, I've decided that I'm going to buy him an algae eater. He could do with a friend who'll clean up after him; a Felix Unger of his very own, if you like (I'm just full of extra textual references today!).

So, so far my grand awakening has led me to quote more Bright Eyes; swear a little less even though I want to swear a little more; impersonate a large, hairy man-beast; and give my fish a name. If that's not progress, then I don't know what is!

Update from the last post: I still haven't figured out how to draw Brenda, nor do I know how Chester will evolve from a cow, but I did draw some sweet-looking leaves with my oil pastels so I feel a little satisfied for now at least.