[REVIEW] ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING BY RAY BRADBURY

Dear Reader,

Remember when I watched that video by Ariel Bissett and was convinced that I, too, needed to buy a typewriter? Well, in that same video, she recommended the book “Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury. She said she loved to read this book whenever she needed motivation to write. So I requested it from the library because, just like how I’m a sucker for books about books/reading, I’m also a sucker for books about writing.

“Zen in the Art of Writing” is actually a collection of essays written by Ray Bradbury that were published in his lifetime. He talks about his processes and inspirations. He has essays about Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles–about how they came to be as well as what they have continued to be and mean to him. He also just has a lot of anecdotes from his childhood and even adult life that really prove just how weird of a character he was.

And I mean that as a sincere compliment. After all, everybody knows that the weird ones are always the ones to change the world.

Before picking this up, I had never read anything by Ray Bradbury. We didn’t have to read Fahrenheit 451 in any of my high school English classes and I had never even heard of his other stuff–though I understand now that his other work was extremely successful as well.

But I devoured this. It was a pretty easy read because of how short it is. All of his essays are so compact and he doesn’t really stray from his main point–which is something I tend to worry about when reading something written by “one of the greats.” Bradbury is a bit different, though. His writing isn’t overtly flowery and his vocabulary isn’t super complicated or outdated, even. He wrote about his editing process, so I know he has one, but his writing reads more like a stream of conscious thought. Even so, when he does use larger words or phrases something in a more poetic fashion, it doesn’t seem out of place. In fact, one of my favorite things he does is using multiple beautifully-stated examples or metaphors to explain something. It is how he thinks. It just comes across as authentic.

Like I said, I checked this book out of the library, meaning I had to resist marking the pages. I do plan to buy my own copy, though, so I can highlight, star, and underline to my heart’s content. For the time being, though, I decided to take notes on my typewriter of certain quotes or sentiments I liked. I might even make a post later of my favorite parts. It’d be too much to include here, though, because my notes go on for pages.

At this point, it probably goes without saying that I rated this book 5 stars. It’s one of my new favorites and I’m so excited to not only reread it, but to share it in my future classroom. There were so many passages and lines that I wrote out because I know they can benefit students. There are a few entire essays that I want my future classes to read, but there are also so many quotes and sentiments I want to share with them about writing and editing and reading and living.

In this book, Bradbury talked about why we read–and why we read what we read. About science-fiction, he said “It’s not escapist, it’s essential; it’s problem-solving.” He also talked about why we write. Everyone has a story–and just like how there was only one Shakespeare and one Dickens, there is only one of every single person in the world.

“You, the prism, measure the light of the world; it burns through your mind to throw a different spectroscopic reading onto white paper than anyone else anywhere can throw. Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. Make your own individual spectroscopic reading.”

Everyone is a poet, he said. This is clear when you get them talking about something they love–when you see their passion burning through them in front of your eyes.

Of course, everyone has their own story and their own things to share, but they might get caught up when they try to communicate. Language trips them up. So it is vital that we learn the tricks of the trade–you must learn technique so you don’t trip when you try to run.

God that man was a genius. Not only was he great, but he had the power to make everyone else feel like they could be great, too.

Sincerely,

Sammy

READY PLAYER ONE & SOME THOUGHTS ON MEDIUM

Dear Reader,

This morning I watched the trailer for Ready Player One and I got chills. The story is about a boy living in a world that exists primarily online–in The Oasis–rather than in reality.

I listened to this book during the spring semester of my sophomore year and was obsessed. It began during my workouts–to motivate me to spend more than just twenty minutes on the elliptical–but I ended up playing it constantly. I had it going as I walked to class, as I did my laundry, even as I worked on my Big/Little reveal shirt in our suite, while in the company of others. One time I found myself at work much too early, so I took a few laps around the library and continued listening to the story. I laughed out loud at times, and even gasped when they mentioned Hamilton, Ohio–a town I visited almost weekly while on campus.

The story was so captivating and thought-provoking, and by listening to it, I really saw it play out like a movie in my head. So you can imagine my extreme excitement when I happened upon the trailer this morning.

Like I said–chills. I think this story could be beautifully translated into a movie. I think a lot of stories could. It all felt so real and magical in my head, but seeing the Oasis and the adventure on the big screen could be truly amazing. I mean, we have so much at our disposal to make these sci-fi and fantasy stories come to life. It worked well with Harry Potter–YEARS ago–and with Fantastic Beasts, we were shown how much more can be done to tell the story now. And tell it in a way that does the original work justice. Perhaps tell it in a way that it was meant to be told.

This got me thinking about medium. Again, I just recently mentioned Edgar Wright popping up on the screen before Baby Driver began and thanking the audience for coming to see his creation–the work that he wrote and directed–in it’s intended form. He was talking about coming to the theater, of course, but it also spoke about the medium he chose. Baby Driver had a great storyline with vibrant characters and could be made into a play or a novel or even a cartoon, but it excelled as a live-action movie. And maybe Wright can’t draw or chose against a novel because he wanted the audience to hear the music (which is integral to the story and the experience), but this story that only existed in his head, he had to get out in some form. This form was cinema, and it worked beautifully. And I don’t think it’d be the same in any other form.

Still, going back to Harry Potter, some books excel on the big screen. And some certainly don’t–I’m looking at you, Eragon and Percy Jackson. So whenever I see that a favorite book of mine is being adapted into a movie, I’m first excited because I think of all the possible routes they might take, but I’m also worried that they’re going to screw everything up.

But people are always going to make books into movies and classics into graphic novels and stories into musicals and so on and so on and so on. One of my favorite books, Noughts and Crosses, was made into a graphic novel and is supposedly being turned into a show on the BBC. Another favorite, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, already exists as a novel and a movie and is currently being adapted into a musical–starring the understudy for Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen (I took quite a winding road when I discovered that one night).

It’s just interesting to think about the way the artist intended to share their story. Take Shakespeare–all of his plays were meant to be performed live and watched by crowds of people who experienced the story together. Now his work has been adapted into movies and graphic novels and is most often read–even further, dissected–by high school- and college-aged kids across the country.

I like that, though–that variety. I do like consuming art the way it was intended, but I also like seeing the different elements that each medium can add to a story. Even listening to a book vs. reading it can evoke different emotions or mean more or less to different people. When a story is great, I’m always interested in seeing all the different ways it can be told–even if I end up liking one significantly more than the other, which is often the case. Warm Bodies is better as a book, Thirteen Reasons Why is better as a TV show (though still not a favorite), Newsies is better as a movie, and Hamilton works best as a musical–which might be most surprising (yet most agreed-upon) of all. But I’ll still test each one out so I can experience the story in new ways and come to my own conclusion, really finding out what resonates with me–and then I can talk to people who have very different opinions and learn even more.

I still need to read the books of movies I love like Catch Me If You Can and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I still need to read Game of Thrones and Valerian before seeing them on screen. And maybe one day I’ll watch Shrek: The Musical on Netflix, since I love the movie so much. (I’ve heard the musical really isn’t that bad, but I want to come to my own conclusion.)

So I’m excited to see Ready Player One in theaters. I’m also excited for when Crazy Rich Asians comes out, and if they ever decide to turn The Night Circus into a movie or Netflix series, the first emotion I’ll feel will certainly be excitement as my mind reels with the possibilities.

But if they ever made Bojack Horseman–a show I love dearly–into a live-action film, I would want no part in it.

There’s a line, I think. And some things just wouldn’t work.

(But maybe I’m wrong.)

Sincerely,

Sammy

FIVE REASONS WHY I BOUGHT A TYPEWRITER

Dear Reader,

When I woke up on Wednesday, I definitely did not think I was going to buy a typewriter. I had never thought about purchasing one before, actually, but I started to after watching this video. I spent the morning researching everything about typewriters, reading reviews and articles about where to buy them from, and going over my budget to see if I could swing it. At the end of it, though, I figured there were way more reasons to say yes than no.

[ONE] NO SCREEN: I spent the entire day on Tuesday behind a screen. It’s kind of impressive when I look at how productive I was able to be without even leaving my house–or the couch, for that matter–but I went to bed with bloodshot eyes and a pounding headache. Still, I need to set goals for myself if I want to improve my writing and make progress on my novel, and doing that always adds screen-time to my daily schedule. Writing by hand is out of the question because of how easily my hand cramps and how illegible my writing gets, but typewriting is the perfect alternative.

[TWO] FOCUS ON WRITING: The other benefit is that I can completely unplug. When I write on the computer, there are so many distractions–especially since I’m on Google Docs. Any time a random question pops into my head, I can just open another tab and look for the answer. Whether I end up on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums List or looking up why the QWERTY keyboard is set up the way it is, it’s way too easy for me to get sucked down rabbit holes.  With a typewriter, I can just play an album or put a playlist on shuffle, leave my phone charging in a separate room, and type for a bit, distraction-free.

[THREE] SLOW DOWN: One major reason why I started typing everything over writing down my thoughts by hand is because my brain moves so much faster than my pen. It’s much easier for me to ramble when I’m typing–I can write 1,000 words on a subject I’m passionate about without even breaking a sweat. But sometimes this is a disservice. This writing isn’t good by any means. It’s drawn-out and filled with tangents and by the time I’m done, I’m miles away from where I wanted to go.

When I’m forced to slow down, though, my writing improves. I choose my words more carefully and I stick to the main point. The added benefit of using a typewriter is that I have more stamina when it comes to typing than writing–even though it does require more force to push down the keys than what I’m used to with a computer. This adds to it as well, though, because it makes me want to write better. If I’m going to go through the whole process that involves everything from loading the paper to manually starting each new line to resetting it when the keys jam, I’m going to punch each key with conviction.

[FOUR] IT’S VALIDATING: Along those lines, the whole process makes it worth it. There’s something validating about the clacks and dings and something beautiful about having something tangible at the end of it. I can start the day with just thoughts and ideas and watch as it forms into something I can hold and say, “look at what I made today.”

[FIVE]: IT’S SO PRETTY: All of these reasons can be summed up to the fact that I think a typewriter will help me be more productive, and this one is no exception. I spent the entire morning researching which typewriters are best for beginners and capable of heavy use and I ultimately decided on one from “We R Memory Keepers” that I picked up from TJ Maxx for a total of $170. It’s brand new, mint green, and definitely a splurge, but it was easily the best deal I found.

So many people on the internet shared their bad experiences of purchasing typewriters from sites like eBay and Etsy. Some sellers don’t properly package and ship them and spent weeks trying to negotiate prices. I considered getting one from a reliable source like TypeWriters101.com–I considered the funky-looking 1966 Royal Safari from the Space-Age era as well as the pale blue 1960s Brother De Luxe, but I didn’t want to spend that much money or wait weeks to get it. I wanted to start writing immediately.

I think it’d be really cool to eventually buy one that has history attached to it, but for now, the one I have is exactly the one I need. It might not be cool and vintage, but I love the way it looks and it certainly gets the job done. When I look over and see it sitting on the desk, I’m drawn to it. I want to write. 

Ray Bradbury said “The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me.”

Now I’m excited to do the same. 

Sincerely,

Sammy

THE BOOKS I READ ABROAD

Dear Reader,

I always try to make reading a priority. This is a lot easier when I have more free time, but even when I have free time, I don’t always devote it to reading. I haven’t read nearly as many books this summer as I would’ve liked–although I will argue that I’ve been productive. I’ve been trying to write and organize some things and I’ve actually left the apartment on occasion to go to the rec and work out. Big things are happening.

It’s funny, though, because I had a lot less free time in Europe, but I spent the majority of it reading. Wifi wasn’t always available (or reliable), but I had three books in my bags that always were. Also, while I enjoyed the people on the trip, it was exhausting having to constantly interact with people. I would often slip to the back of the bus or up to my hotel room when I needed an escape.

God I love books.

I started chipping away at The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern at the beginning of the trip. The storyline is really intricate and seems pretty convoluted at first, so I would just read a few chapters before bed while I stayed in Luxembourg. At the end of the week, though, we took a six-hour bus ride to Switzerland.

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This was heaven. I claimed the last row of seats, sprawled out, and read the last 200-or-so pages.

I really don’t binge books like this that often. The only books I read in one sitting tend to be graphic novels or short books that I need to finish for class. The Night Circus was completely different for me.

The story jumps back and forth between time and tells it from multiple different perspectives, but once you get to the point of the book where you’ve figured it all out–and once you get to the point where all the side stories are reaching their climaxes–it’s hard to put it down.

I was completely captivated–and I’m sure the people around me would’ve noticed my occasional audible reactions if they weren’t asleep or had headphones on. I wouldn’t have cared, though. I was nestled up against the window so the falling rain would be in my peripheral and didn’t take my nose out of the book until it was done.

The writing is so vivid that I saw it all playing out like a movie in my head, but I think that it would work so well as a series because there are so many twists and turns–it wouldn’t be hard to ensure that each episode has a cliffhanger or two. I would love if this turned into a Netflix series or something. In this day, we have so much that could ensure that it would be visually stunning and truly magical.

Of course, that’s a risky thing to wish for because I would hate if they screwed it up–Eragon and Percy Jackson fans were pumped for their movies, and those certainly didn’t live up. That’s the risk when you have a book that good–and The Night Circus is that good.

It’s definitely one of my new favorites and is a story that’s going to stay with me. After I put it down and went back to the real world, I felt like I could see the beautiful things in life so much clearer. It might’ve been because I was in Europe and seeing cool sites anyway, but a week after I finished it, I was walking around Prater in Vienna–not a circus, but an amusement park. It might have reminded me of this book because of how old it is and all the history it has, but I was walking around, thinking, there’s definitely magic in this air.

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While in Luxembourg, my friends and I went to an English bookstore. I picked up a book called Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and knew I had to buy it after reading the back. Ultimately, it’s a story about a girl who travels from Sweden to the US to visit a friend. She ends up in a town in the middle of nowhere and ends up opening a bookstore.

First of all, I’m a sucker for books about books. I think most booklovers are. When books you already love are mentioned, you gain a connection to the story and the characters that are talking about them, and when books you haven’t yet read are brought up, you get more books to add to your reading list. Plus, the protagonist that loves books more than people is too relatable.

Second, I knew I had to buy it as a memento from the trip. I’m constantly trying to build my library, and when I put this one in my classroom, I can say that it’s a book that I bought while I was studying other school systems and learning how to be a better teacher, which I think is cool as hell. It also at least mentions travelling/Europe, so it’s relevant in that case, and it’s translated from Swedish to English–which I also think is cool.

As for the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again, though, this is in part because I’m a sucker. The story begins by describing the main character as too plain to be a protagonist and too focused on stories to have a life of her own. This immediately sets the book up to be relatable, and then when everything that you would expect to happen happens, you just feel comforted.

There are enough secondary storylines and gems within the novel (book recommendations, fun anecdotes, good quotes) that I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything by spelling out the pattern.

Young woman moves to small town and falls in love with the life she ends up living there. She opens a bookstore, makes friends, and falls in love. That’s the dream. That’s the cliche, and it’s all set up from the beginning that her life is not like a book–but then, obviously, her life has to end up as a story worth telling.

So I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t rate it 5 stars or even recommend it to everyone–I told Sarah to read it and she decided she was done with it within 100 pages. It’s pretty lengthy, and while it drags in some places, I would say it even leaves a bit to be desired. Still, I liked it. And I liked that I read it abroad. I’ll look at it on my shelf and think back to buying it in Luxembourg and reading it in the Swiss Alps. I smiled like a goof at some of the pages and decided almost immediately that I would love to own a bookstore one day. It’s not for everyone, but I was entertained and even a bit inspired. That’s a good read by my standards.

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Around Christmastime, I bought Where’d You Go, Bernadette and was really excited about it because I had heard how smart and funny it was. So I started it in January–around the same time that I also started a classical mythology class that turned out to be way more demanding than I had figured. That was the main reason why I put the book back on the shelf after finishing “Part 1,” but the reason why I never went back to it is because I just wasn’t that interested.

I certainly saw merit in the praise it received. I thought the characters were really well developed and the writing was great–everything was smart and funny all around. I guess I just didn’t see the point of the book, I guess. This is kind of funny now that I’ve finished it because I can see it clearly now–and I can see why I was so uninterested. Though there is a driving plot in the story, this novel is so much more about what it has to say, now what it has to tell about what happened.

The story is about Bernadette, a wife and mother, who disappears, and her young teen daughter who is trying to find her. The story is told from letters and emails from multiple characters and direct narration from Bee (the daughter), but because Bernadette’s voice is still present throughout, you’re not worried that she’s really gone or won’t be found–or, at least, I wasn’t.

So even though the plot summary may make it seem like it’s a gripping mystery, that’s probably not the best expectation to have. It’s more a story about family and love. Bernadette is neurotic and has crazy standards for success and it’s interesting to see watch as everything comes together.

It really is an enjoyable read. All of the characters are super intelligent and Bee is so lovable–even when Bernadette isn’t. I’ll definitely be rereading it, though, and I’m excited to see how I see the story with the new perspective I now have because of it.

God, aren’t books great?

Sincerely,

Sammy

WHO EVEN FOLLOWS THIS THING ANYMORE?

Dear Reader,

The only consistent thing about me is my inconsistency, that’s for sure. But it’s final’s week in my life currently (well, the past three weeks have basically been considered “final’s week” for me), and I am a terrible procrastinator. Fortunately for me, I often procrastinate schoolwork by working on passion projects.

I’ll practice guitar or listen to covers I think I might be able to pull off one day. I’ll write handwritten notes or journal entires. Sometimes I’ll work on my teaching portfolio or browse Pinterest to see what I could implement in my own classroom. And just now, even, I finished listening to Logic’s third album, “Everybody,” and then read some articles on what people think about him–side note, LOTS of people hate on Logic. I don’t really care, though. I like his message and I like the way he tells it. Good enough for me.

But this blog is very much a “passion project” for me. I’ve never tried to make money off of it (lol could you imagine) and I haven’t been consistent in my posts for QUITE some time. But I still keep it around because every once in a while I feel like writing a blog post.

That being said, I really feel like I’ll be utilizing this more once the summer hits. So I thought I’d just make this little update post for anyone out there who still checks in on me every once in a while.

MUSIC: Music is one of the things that continues to inspire and motivate me. I’ve gone kind of crazy with making playlists this year (pushing on 90 in total, so says Spotify) and I’ve certainly pulled the occasional accidental all-nighter because I got wrapped up in finding new shit. But I have a lot that I want to share and a lot of half-written blog posts that I want to eventually publish. There’s one in the works about my favorite albums of all-time, and another one of my all-time favorite covers from The Voice that I can’t stop listening to. I also just have a lot of admiration for people who know SO MUCH about music. So, while this certainly isn’t going to turn into a “music blog,” you can definitely expect that in these next few posts.

SCHOOL/TRAVEL: Every semester I get more and more into my major–English Education–which is a good thing, of course. It’d be pretty concerning if I became less interested in it over the years. But in a little over a week, I’ll actually be leaving for Europe to take a two-week course that compares different education systems. Now, this blog also isn’t going to turn into my professional development in that realm (that’s for a separate corner of the Internet where I reside), I will be visiting four countries in two weeks, and then hanging out in Vienna for another week with my family. So, you’ve seen me in Hilton Head. You’ve seen me in Gulf Shores. Get ready to witness me taking on Europe.

TV: Netflix has sort of been killing it with the originals lately. I, along with everyone else, finished Thirteen Reasons Why and definitely had some thoughts. I really don’t know if I’ll post all of that, though, because my journal entry about it ended up being over 3,000 words. You guys don’t want to read that. I also watched BoJack Horseman before that (LOVE, btw) and am now watching Girlboss which makes me want to get bangs and steal stuff. So who knows, maybe I’ll share some opinions on these shows in a bit. Critical thinking can happen everywhere, y’all. Don’t let our hierarchy of culture tell you that we need to bash good television and praise art that makes us feel nothing.

 

LOVE LIFE: 

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READING: Lastly, I’m hoping to read a lot more this summer than I have thus far in 2017. Last semester I was going strong all the way until the end, but the motivation just hasn’t been there lately. However, I did just give a speech on the importance of reading and as I was talking I was just thinking, “shit I need to start practicing what I preach.” So, if anything, this blog might start being book recommendation and review heavy. But, hey, could be worse, right?

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m twenty-years-old and the world’s lookin bright. If you’ve been following me for a while and like what you just read, I’m happy to have ya around. If you’re bored out of your mind and wanna leave, no scrape off my nose. I’ll probably have to delete this thing or make all the posts private when I start looking for a teaching job in a year and a half, anyway. So let’s live it up while we can.

I mean besides, it’s not like the internet is forever or anything.

Sincerely,

Sammy

Why I’ll Never Be Tan

Dear Reader,

A lot of my friends are very into spray tanning right now. I totally get it–your skin looks clearer, your teeth look whiter, your muscles look more toned. Plus, it’s not like they’re using tanning beds or actually harming their skin. They’re just getting spray tans once or twice a week so they can feel a little more confident. I’m really not knocking it.

But the other day they were talking about how they have to plan their workout schedule more meticulously because they don’t want streaks, which could come if they sweat a lot on the same day they go to the tanning place.

This reminded me of my junior prom. I had gotten a spray tan earlier that day and decided, that night, to watch the second-to-last episode of The Office. To this day I am still so thankful that it wasn’t the series finale–otherwise my face would have been royally messed up. This episode, however, just jerked a single tear that ran down my cheek–and freicken stained my face.

Remembering this, I made the comment that I probably couldn’t spray tan regularly because of how often I cry. They looked at me kind of funny, maybe a little skeptical too, and asked, “Really? You cry that often?”

And yeah, I cry at least once or twice a week. Sometimes if I’m in a weird spell I’ll notice that I’m crying daily, but those only come around every so often. I really don’t think it’s that bizarre, though, because as I thought about it, I realized that I cry way more because of the lives of others than because of my own.

In fact, more often than not, I cry at the lives of fictional people. When Callum died in Noughts & Crosses and Anna and Elsa grew up without each other in Frozen and Clay discovered that he forgot his own son in One Tree Hill, I shed an absurd amount of tears. And even after the screen was off and the book was closed, I cried. I would just think of these storylines and feel such an overwhelming sadness.

Ugh, especially Clay. His storyline messed me up for days.

These stories just grip me. And these damn writers know just how to work it. The stories they create grab a hold of my heart, and sometimes they’re nice to it and I leave feeling fuller or happier, but other times they just toy with it. They squeeze it until I think it might burst–and I have to remind myself that these are all characters, being manipulated by their writers.

Still–Clay was in such a state of stock when his wife suddenly died that he blocked out his son for six years.

I’m seriously starting to cry again. But it probably doesn’t help that “When She Loved Me” is currently playing from my Spotify.

Jesus, maybe I do this to myself. Maybe I just surround myself with really sad shit as a subconscious way to access these emotions I don’t normally feel.

Or maybe not. Who the hell knows.

But I was thinking about this because I came across a quote the other day that said “you can’t protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

I don’t do it intentionally. It’s just that not a lot of sad things have happened to me–and I’m truly lucky and grateful for that. I don’t even think I cried when my parents sat us down and said that my mom had breast cancer because we knew her chances were really good–and she’s doing great now! I’ve never lost a loved one (touch wood) and can count the funerals I’ve been to on one hand. I’ve never been dumped or cheated on or had my heart broken–but I’ve also never been in love. And no one’s ever been in love with me.

The other day my friend was telling me some of the stuff she’s been through–stuff I could never imagine happening to me or having to deal with.

And now I’m watching Thirteen Reasons Why where all these teenagers are complaining that the teachers have no idea what they’re going through, and I think I’m about to be grouped in with all of them. Because high school wasn’t really hard for me, but it wasn’t easy I guess either. The biggest things I dealt with were my ADD and self-confidence stuff, but that’s all child’s play. I didn’t really see bullying or peer pressure or rumors getting out of hand. I just sort of floated by.

I think I’m still just kind of floating by. I don’t want a ton of bad shit to happen to me or anything. I understand I have a really cushy life and I’m thankful for all the things I could be taking for granted–the fact that my parents are still alive and together. The fact that I have a sister who is my best friend and a family that is overall supportive. I have friends and I get good grades and I have hobbies and interests.

I cry a lot, but I’m not sad. Or maybe I am.

But I’m also happy, I think.

At this point it kind of just feels like a default setting, and I’m just waiting for it to change.

Hopefully one day soon.

Hopefully this isn’t one of those “careful what you wish for” things.

Hopefully I don’t look back at this post and cringe at my glaring privilege.

Here’s hoping.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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FINISHED.

Dear Reader,

This post is probably going to be pointless and is being written for no audience whatsoever but I need to get it out there for my own sanity  because I’ve reached the point of the semester where I feel like I’m completely losing it.

I can’t finish anything.

This, of course, is a theme in my life and has been since I can remember. My brother used to relentlessly make fun of me by listing off all of the projects I started and never finished–the books and songs I would write, the neighborhood newspaper I tried to get going, the web series that only ever reached the planning stage, the store that my sister and I would man. I was very young for all of these weird ideas, but the point still stands: I can’t finish shit.

I have written so many blog posts in the past few days. Some are about serious stuff, others are just updates, but all of them are left unfinished.

Of course, that’s the least of my worries at this point because there’s all of my schoolwork that goes unfinished. In fact, it is RARE for me to complete a course without missing an assignment. And even when I have the opportunity to turn the assignment in late, it always remained unfinished. Even when I write or meet with the professor during the editing stages and ask for an extension or whatever, it still never gets done.

I have books on my shelf that are half-read. I have my daily calendar that tells me what historic thing woman have done on this day still on February 6th. I have a loose budget because I can’t bring myself to finish hounding out the details. Even now, right this moment, I am laying on my unmade bed with a blanket over me because I can’t bring myself to put the clean sheets back on the mattress.

And I don’t know what’s wrong with me and I know it’s nothing new but what really irks me is when I go to the doctor’s and they give me the survey to check up on my ADD and I read the question: “Do you often start tasks but quickly lose focus or become easily sidetracked?”

Because it’s kind of a tricky answer. Yes, but I don’t just forget about the task I was doing first (well, not always). I just get sidetracked with another task or another project. I remember when I didn’t write a final for one of my classes freshman year because I was writing my novel. And then this summer I didn’t bother editing my poor draft for the journalism class I was in because I wanted to make a medley of Sia’s songs on the piano.

So I don’t know if this is ADD or just a terrible habit of abandoning projects or just who I am as a person but it’s so annoying and I don’t know how to fix it. Even now I’m reaching the point of just giving up on this entry and moving onto something else, but I’m going to push through.

And I just wonder what it would be like if my life had focus. In the general sense, I guess. Or if I could just keep the focus, but that sounds like ADD, doesn’t it? Except I take my meds–I even just recently upped the medication–and the problem remains.

So I know this is weird to publish. It doesn’t paint me in the best light, but it reveals a lot about who I am. And it certainly doesn’t have a point. No inspiring story or happy ending here. And I’m not even asking for help. I’m not saying, please give me suggestions on how I can change–because I don’t know if I can. I don’t know that there’s anything anyone can tell me to do that isn’t the obvious “get your shit done” answer.

But anyway, I think this is the ending. There. I’ve written one cohesive (eh, debatable) post and I’m going to publish it so that I can prove to myself that I can finish at least one thing to completion. And then maybe that’ll inspire me to finish more. And then maybe I’ll finish the “if we were having coffee” post and the “I don’t know what do in this situation” post and I’ll start blogging again. And then maybe I’ll change.

Or maybe I’ll just forget I’ve even written this by the time I wake up tomorrow.

I guess we’ll just see.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. I just titled this and it seems super dramatic if you don’t know the context, but I’m just saying “finished.” Like, one thing down, twenty to go type of thing. Jeez I hope no one takes it as something more serious lol

“Finished.”

Jesus.

PPS. I just typed “unfinished” in Google Images and “unfinished bridges” was the first thing to pop up and it just made me laugh because at least I’m just like a stupid student who’s not getting stuff done but it’s not detrimental to society or anything. Like who the hell is this guy who just didn’t finish this bridge?

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THE HEAD VS. THE HEART

The head and the heart are not friends.

Maybe they will be one day, but for now they are not. Not for young women, at least.

The brain nags while the heart tempts.

It persuades.

She’s a crafty devil, the heart, and the brain is the annoyed older sister who rolls her eyes when you, the unsuspecting parent to them both, are duped once again because of ‘feelings’.

And maybe one day these sisters will be on the same page.

But you are young.

So every time a new boy or girl plays their games, and every new time you fall, the heart weeps and the brains says “I told you so.”

Then you repair.

And then it happens all over again.

Young girls must learn to listen to their heads and their hearts, as they are often at war with each other.

Mine are as well, but not in the same way.

See, my brain is a mess.

It’s been described as scattered before, which is really quite fitting, though horrendously overused.

Thoughts often lose their way in my brain because there’s not always a clear path. And when there is, my brain doesn’t always have the power to keep the thoughts, well, on track.

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This is a problem, as I’m sure one could guess. And the solution?

Drugs.

Adderall.

Half a tablet, by mouth, twice a day.

But the heart doesn’t like the medication that the head has been prescribed.

It never has.

It beats ferociously in protest, which only startles the head even more.

Am I dying? the head will think. Surely, this is the way I go.

All logic is lost when the heart loses control because the head becomes singularly focused on one thing, which maybe is the point of all of this.

Maybe it’s just the medication doing it’s job.

Except the heart hates the medication.

After all, it’s the medication’s fault this is happening.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome would never be part of my vocabulary if I didn’t have to take adderall.

And I would never have to take adderall if the brain could just focus.

So the heart hates the head.

But alas! the head remarks. Heart palpitations didn’t start out of nowhere when the diagnosis came at age 15.

Remember when your dad dunked your head in ice cold water to slow the insistent beating?

Remember the episode you had during your freshman year of soccer tryouts when you were simply standing by the goalpost?

Remember pulling the hands of AJ and Abbie to your chest, long before you would grow boobs, to show them how insane your heart was acting?

Remember, remember, remember? The head cries, as it pulls the memories like weapons from the vault of repression.

And the heart grows heavy with sadness as the head makes connections.

Because see? the head states. You’d be going crazy with or without the meds.

This hurts the heart, as the truth so often does. But the heart swells with it’s rebuttal, wounded but not yet defeated.

It lets out cries of passion. It throws a fit of rage. It screams until it aches.

I am worked tirelessly, all because you, you dumb brain, can’t function properly!

It kicks and it wheezes, beating faster and faster.

It’s your drugs that send me to dangerous speeds day in and day out.

The head starts to throb, unsure of who is the logical recipient for this anger.

And one day, it’s your drugs that are going to do me in! Because a brain can function if it’s scattered, but a heart can’t pump if it’s constantly being attacked.

The head hurts, because it is hearing the words coming straight from the heart.

The head controls it all. It thinks, oftentimes too much, about what is happening in the body, and it’s aware of the possibility of irreversible damage.

The head is too sad to cry, while the heart is sobbing and shaking, unable to control it’s weeps.

But they continue to battle, because every day the brain justifies the meds and every day the heart tries to fight them off.

Young girls must learn to listen to their heads and their hearts, as they are often at war with each other.

Love vs. logic.

Hope vs. pain.

It’s the battle that’s been written about forever.

Who will win, the head or the heart?

My insides have never quite fought this battle, but their own version rages within with each passing day.

Who will win, the head or the heart?

Which outcome would be better?

Which symptoms would be worse?

ADD or POTS?

Only time will tell.

THIS TOXIC WORLD WE LIVE IN

Dear Reader,

I think about this photo set a lot.

It’s from a TV show called Shameless that I still have to watch but is being RAVED about by everyone I know. I just saw the pictures on Tumblr one day, but it’s stuck with me.

“Renaissance women weren’t forced to starve themselves into an anorexic fashion industry marketing version of female sexuality.”

A lot of my friends are starving. One of my friends is a model and she confessed yesterday that she doesn’t eat as much as she should. We were having a casual conversation when she brought it up, and it slipped in almost unnoticeably because that’s so normal.

She’s also pre-med. She’s extremely smart. She’s funny. She’s edgy. But sometimes she doesn’t eat.

I have another friend who “pulls the trigger.” Again, it’s so casual when she talks about it. Sometimes it’s just when she talks about drinking, she’ll say she pulls the trigger in the bathroom of bars (meaning she causes herself to throw up) so that she can rally and drink more.

I once said to a group of friends “sometimes when you end a night of drinking by throwing up, don’t you feel like, well at least all of those calories are getting out of my body.” It’s a pretty relatable thought, actually.

And then we have my sister. She’s a freshman dance major. She’s an average height and a perfect weight. She’s got just enough of a booty, great calves, flat stomach, and is proportional everywhere else. She’s not a size 0, she may not be tall and super thin, but I’m envious of her body. Plus, she dresses well, can do her makeup like a boss, and is clearly the hotter sister.

This weekend after her recital our mother told her that she would be such a better dance if she lost weight.

She agreed.

She agreed before the thought even escaped from my mother’s mouth, because it’s a thought she’s had many times before.

It just makes me so angry. Everyone I talk to–and me–we know better. We know that we’re healthy and that we should love our bodies and that we shouldn’t think these thoughts.

When I went home for fall break and everyone told me how good I looked and asked if I lost weight, I knew it was toxic for them to say that. Because the reason why I’m losing weight is because I’m eating less. Because I’m off campus and I’m a poor (and frugal) college student. But I know that if I get enough positive reinforcement, I’ll continue to not eat as much as I should. I know that if I’ll keep challenging myself to go longer without eating. I know I’ll start to accept the growl in my stomach as a victory cry and I’ll start looking at food as the enemy.

I know I shouldn’t, but I know how slippery the slope is. I know how easily the brain can be manipulated and how, even unwillingly, the body will follow.

I’m not writing this as a cry for help. I’m starting to meal prep again and get back to working out and set my aim to be healthy.

I just hate this society. I hate that girls are going to extreme measures to live up to an unrealistic beauty standard. And I hate that we all know it, too. But we’re duped anyway because of the constant reinforcement from society that we should look a certain way. Because for every “body love” message I see, there’s ten pictures of thin girls–happy girls–that I want to be more.

I might write more on this topic later, but I just needed to vent. I think I’ll check out Believarexic and Winter Girls from the library this week. Just for more reinforcement.

As for now, though, I think I’ll make some spaghetti for dinner.

Sincerely,

Sammy

“JUST SO YOU KNOW, I CHECK YOUR BLOG LIKE EVERY DAY.”

Dear Reader,

My sister sent me that lovely text this morning. But when I replied, “aww bb” she said “ya but it doesn’t even matter cause you don’t POST ANYTHING ANYMORE.”

Ouch.

But okay, u right.

The thing is, I’ve thought a lot about random blog posts I wanted to write. I read ten books in September and there’s one in particular that I’m dying to talk about. So I thought about doing reviews, but then I could never just find the time. I have two other “journals” (I suppose) that I try to write in and I guess this blog just sort of became neglected.

So then I thought about writing a post called “something’s gotta give.” I actually wrote part of it during one of my lectures, which is kind of ironic because in part of it I was talking about how I was becoming a good student.

And it was just during this time of beautiful clarity where I felt like the pieces in my life were all coming together. I was working out with my friends and exercising daily. I was eating better. I was sleeping more. I was caught up on all my homework and I was enjoying all of my classes and life was just really good.

Then I lost that freakin’ notebook. And my life took a little bit of a spill. (I really want to stress how little the spill was, though, because I am very very aware that many people have things a lot harder. My life is still very very good. Everything is relative.)

I’ve actually been losing a lot of stuff lately, which really pisses me off because I can’t afford to be this much of a hot mess anymore. I lost my brand new water bottle that I got maybe two weeks ago. I lost my favorite pencil (which doesn’t seem like a big deal but it absolutely is and it’s like a $2 pencil). I can’t seem to find my headphones right now, which sucks. And I also couldn’t find the book I need for class today.

I’m also skipping a class today, but it’s to work a shift for my friend who drove home because her best friend from high school’s mom committed suicide last night.

I think I might write about suicide pretty soon, because it’s been on my mind a lot. Not in the way that I’m thinking about it for myself–I’m actually very mentally healthy right now and I really don’t like seasonal depression is going to be an issue for me this year. Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx that though.

But suicide has just been everywhere. My friend had to fly home for his cousin’s funeral a few weeks ago. My friend at school lost his best friend the week before classes started, and the suicide note was written to him. I’ve been noticing all of a sudden how many friends of mine have the semicolon tattoo. Beautiful, hilarious, intelligent and kind friends of mine. And it makes me wonder whether or not they see that. It makes me realize how little I know about what truly goes on in my friends’ minds.

So, I don’t know, I guess I’ve been a little down lately thinking about all this stuff. And every time I try to write about it, the post just gets depressing and I hate that I bummed myself out by thinking about what everyone else has to deal with because it feels like I’m, I don’t know, mooching off of feelings? Or like I don’t have the right. I really can’t articulate the strange shame I feel, but I never finish writing it thinking, “this is good. I’m gonna publish this.”

So there’s your post, Sarah. (lol)

Sorry I’ve been a little all over the place lately. I don’t really know where my head’s at. And I guess sorry for no longer using my blog to figure that stuff out. I feel like it just got too repetitive. Like how many times have I written about why I started this blog? Or how many times have I said “I’m writing for clarity!” It was boring me, so I’m sure it was boring all of you.

Wow. I really don’t want to post this.

This is the kind of thing that I end up deleting and immediately trying to forget about.

But, what the hell, let’s just hit publish.

I think I just want Sarah (or whoever else) to log on and think, “oh wow, she wrote today!”

Sincerely,

Sammy

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