Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summer Resolution

Note: I actually wrote this two nights ago, but my internet was being screwy, so I couldn't post right away.

I’m really not very good at this. For someone who claims to be a writer, I don’t do a very good job at putting out material for you people to read. (You've heard this before...) And for as boring as my life sometimes seems to me, I have done so much since my last post. I’ve seen a few movies, read a book, made some new friends. Taken an extensive, midwestern road trip, gotten pulled over and undergone several sobriety tests. I underwent an arduous decision-making process as far as my grad school choices; I decided on where to attend grad school in the fall! (Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana for my Master’s in English: Creative Writing!) I’ve made some more new friends… I’ve gotten closer to my brothers. I’ve found a kindred spirit in a 2 ½ year old. I’ve dogsat two dogs. I’ve been to two amazing concerts in the last week—the Fleet Foxes last Wednesday night and Josh Groban last night. I gave my number out at a bar for the first time.

(I just realized I made myself a handy little list of things I MUST write about. Even if you lovely people do not see all of it, some hardcore writing needs to happen. That was the purpose of this blasted blog in the first place. This shall be my summer resolution.)

In the meantime, I’ll write about the moon, because it was the moon tonight that made me stop in my tracks and just…enjoy. And as soon as I was done enjoying, I thought to myself, I want to try and write about this. I say, “try” because there is really no way I can convey just how amazing the night sky looked when I came home tonight. But like I said, I’ll try.

I got out of my car and realized my street was unusually bright. After a few seconds reflection, I realized all that light wasn’t coming from the dim street lamp on our corner, but from the sky. I looked up and was awed by the huge, perfect white orb surrounded by a patchwork of dark, cottony clouds. The moon had found an imperfect hole in the thick cloud cover, but the clouds moved so that the bright sphere was obstructed now and then by grey wisps. Aside from how incredible the sky looked, the night was unusually cool for mid May in Texas, and there was a delicious breeze blowing. The moment and the way it felt physically was just too wonderful for me to ignore and just walk inside my house, so I stood and leaned on my car for several minutes, just watching the clouds and the moon. Eventually I became aware of the odd sensation that someone was watching me. I looked toward our front door to see if someone was there. Then I looked across the street and was startled by a pair of small, glowing eyes. A neighbor’s cat was camped on the curb and watching me. I was startled out my lunar reverie and decided that maybe I should take this as a sign to go inside. By the time I reached the front stoop, the cat was already gone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My sister shared this blog with me today and I laughed out loud. I'm passing the gift on.

the relief of inspiration

I hate admitting this to myself, and indeed to the world. Or at least to the handful of people who read this whenever I post a link to my blog on facebook...
I love writing. It's what I want to go to grad school for in the fall. It's what I want to do with my life, even if I'm not at all sure how that will play out.
My problem is that for as much as I love writing, when I have free time, I very seldom feel like sitting down and writing. Heck, I have thank you notes that I keep forgetting about. I really don't know if my problem is lack of motivation or inspiration or if I'm just plain lazy. I do know that a writer is supposed to want to write all the time. We're supposed to love being alone, and recording and emoting. Unfortunately, I have just never been this way.

I miss having classes and classmates to inspire and motivate me. I miss having an impetus to write. I hate that I seem to need it, but without it I have not had that push. Well, I had a moment last night where that changed and it was just plain exciting.

After work last night, a few friends and I stuck around to watch Tangled. Afterward, my friend Flo and I drove around and talked and listened to some Mumford and Sons, a group of extraordinary gentlemen who never fail to inspire. I don't know if it was the balmy night, the music or the camaraderie, but approximately a quarter into my drive home, I was seized with a physical urge to write. My fingers literally both ached and itched to move pen across paper. Words and phrases streamed into my head and I couldn't remember them fast enough. At first, I thought maybe I'd just try to remember it well enough until I got home and quickly write it down there. But I was afraid I wouldn't get everything. Sometimes when I have sudden bursts of inspiration or if I hear someone say something that I find interesting, I save it in my phone as a draft for a text message. However, in this case, I just didn't think that would be sufficient. So I plunged my hand into my purse on the seat next to me, my fingers searched wildly for a pen. I found one quickly, and I grabbed an old Sonic receipt from the floor. I decided I'd park somewhere for a moment and write everything down. I pulled into an empty Whataburger parking lot and parked beneath a dim streetlight. And while it was fairly short, I scribbled out several lines of a poem. I breathed out a long breath when it was done; I felt a sort of physical relief and just sat for a minute or two, listening to the distant drone of the cd playing. Finally, I started my car and headed home.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

You Again

Today at work, two older ladies with permed white hair came in dressed in colorful jackets. They chattered to each other between the door and where I stood at the concession counter, selling movie tickets. They reached the counter and stood for a few seconds, smiling at me expectantly.

"Oh!" one of them shouted. "Nance, what are we seeing again?"

"Um, You... something... You There?"

"You Again?" I supplied.

"There it is!" the first one shouted triumphantly. "Great, we'll have two for that. Can we go in now?"

I told them they could and pointed them in the right direction. They took their ticket stubs and disappeared around the corner. Eventually the two ladies reappeared in the lobby and sat on a bench to wait and talk.

I helped several more groups of customers and when I looked up, "Nance's" friend was leading another woman by the hand toward me. This new woman had dark tight curls and skin the color of milky coffee. She wore thick, wide glasses and had two deepset wrinkles around her mouth when she smiled.

"Hello again, Miss--" she squinted at my nametag, "--Katie. Could you please tell me what it is we're seeing again? I just clean forgot. That's what happens when you get old." I reminded her of their movie and she shouted to her friend across the lobby, "That's right, Yooou Again! Not me. You Again." They laughed at her joke and then she indicated her new friend beside her. "Now this lady doesn't know what she wants to see... I think she should see what we're seeing, You Something, but I thought I'd bring her up here to you kids and you could do your thing and sell some movies!" She sounded excited, like she was bringing me the opportunity of a lifetime.

Her new friend finally spoke up, "Well, I was going to go see Wall Street, but is this other one good?"

The first woman began to make her way back across the lobby, but turned to quickly put in her two cents on the subject, "Oh that ones' so serious! You want a comedy, don't you?"

I told the woman in front of me that I'd heard very good things about You Again and that Wall Street wasn't for another hour. I kept to myself the fact that You Again also seemed to be the current favorite for the Over 60 demographic.

"I could use some laughs," she said hesitantly.

"She said it's called You Again," the first woman loudly informed her friend on the bench again.

I suppressed a grin, but the woman in front of me smiled warmly. "Yes, I'll have that one then. That You Again. What a couple of sweethearts..."

I gave her her ticket and she wandered slowly over to the bench where her two new friends sat. The three of them sat and laughed together, and eventually they shuffled up the ramp to their theater.

After that encounter, I had a warm fuzzy feeling that lasted me for at least the next hour. When it wore off, I munched on a handful of fresh, salty popcorn and I hoped that one day I might be 80 and outgoing enough to make friends at the movies.

Mumford & Sons, White Blank Page

Transcribed from earlier in the evening--

I'm having one of those moments that you just need to write about and here I am with a pen and a half blank sheet of computer paper, so I am going to do just that. It's 11:20 on the first night of December. I'm sitting with a friend in the upstairs office at work; the closing tasks are done and we're listening to music and for the occasional thud and clatter of a movie "dropping" out in the booth hallway. We both smell strongly of popcorn and we're each curled up in our own black leather swivel chair. It's been a long day and it's nice to just sit and be still for a while. My friend's thumbs flit furiously across the screen of her iphone and I hold a clipboard across my knees, scribbling.

There's a thin, silver cd player on a desk in the office and we are blasting the new Mumford and Sons cd she bought at Walmart late the other night. Up until this evening, I'd only ever heard their more popular song, "Little Lion Man," but this whole album is quickly getting under my skin... I'm slowly coming to the decision that I'll have to make my own late night stop at Walmart on my way home from work.

The lyrics I'm catching, along with the singers' throaty, gravely, melancholic voices--and the late hour are making my eyes a little watery. It is also safe to say I have a newfound love for the banjo. And I'm remembering how much I love the fiddle. This night and this moment were simple and uneventful enough, but they'll stick with me for a while.

P.S. I went to two Walmarts tonight and finally, at the second Walmart I found their last copy of the cd. I also looked at the tracklist and found track five, the song that had stuck with me the most as we listened and the title was too perfect-- "White Blank Page."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus at the mall

Here is a video my sister actually showed me a few days ago. I'm one of those annoying people who's ready for Christmas in October...sometimes earlier. Now Thanksgiving has come and gone, Advent is here and anyone who objected to Christmas music and festivities too early in the season doesn't need to worry about it now. If you weren't in the mood or ready for Christmas, you will be after you watch this.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent. Day 1

Today was the first Sunday of Advent, four weeks in the Liturgical year set aside for prayer and reflection in order to prepare for Christ's arrival on Christmas day. Advent has always been one of favorite times of year. Granted, when I was younger, to me Advent meant preparing for Christmas in a more material sense. The first Sunday of Advent was also the day that my dad allowed us to start playing Christmas music in the house, which was exciting in itself. This year my brothers and I were excited because my dad put up our outside Christmas lights on the day after Thanksgiving, as opposed to waiting for the first Sunday of Advent as he usually does.

As I've gotten older and gone through year after year of Catholic education and watched my Theology teacher mom decorate Jesse Tree bulletin boards and plan prayer services, I've begun to appreciate Advent for what it really is--a time to prepare my heart for Jesus' arrival, as well as the coming Liturgical year. My faith has always been important to me, but it is not always something I am particularly vocal about. Also, as I've gotten older, I have found myself pulling away from my faith somewhat. I have noticed this especially during my last couple Advent seasons. I fall into a similar mindset as when I was younger; that is, I focus on the secular, material side of the season and often forget that Advent is more than a time for Christmas music and shopping, evergreens and peppermint. In fact, it is meant to be a time for sacrifice, something that very often gets lost in the shuffle of the pending Christmas season...

The point of this rambling blog post? While I do love preparing for Christmas in all its festive and material capacities, I am realizing that something is missing right now. This Advent season I am going to "find religion," if you will. All over again. Well, maybe that's a little extreme. I want to rediscover Advent. I'm not sure exactly how to go about doing that, but some simple prayer might be a good way to start. I'll keep you posted.

Here is a link for Pope Benedict XVI's address to those gathered in Saint Peter's square for the first Sunday of Advent--