Thursday, September 23, 2010

Help Me Advertise

Hey, please visit this treasury and leave a comment on your Etsy could help me win free AD SPACE! :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dead Lines. Or deadlines...

It looks like my thesis won't be finished in time for that new, much sooner deadline that the school only recently informed me about. I guess that's all right with me because I'm just not ready. It is frustrating because I am ready to start my life and I feel like life keeps on keeping me back.

But, in order to make that claim, I guess I have to ignore some of the huge advantages I have had. Even though I complain about money, I have a lot more teaching experience, and subsequently a lot more paying work, than a lot of other people in the same position that I am in. Also, I will take 4 full years to finish graduate school, but I spent a year in the middle pursuing scriptwriting in the communications department. It was definitely worth it to me to take time out to have some new experiences! I would like to explore more in that field too, so it didn't hurt me but rather helped me to see more of my dreams.

Overall, I am happy with the experiences that I've had as a grad student. I'm disappointed that my "graduate experience" is not ending as soon as I'd hoped, but I'd rather be good and ready before making my presentation. ...And I'm not good and ready yet. I am determined to be ready very soon though. Keep me accountable!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why I Have Writer's Block: According to a Non-Student

I miss being an undergraduate college student. I have come to realize that I cannot really write productively outside of a classroom. I didn't realize this would be a problem until I started this ridiculous thesis writing project. I was such a good writer when I was in the undergrad program (sigh). I think it was because I had time to get all the cobwebs out while I was in class, and then once I got home I was more able to get the important stuff out. Today my friends and I were laughing about my undergraduate classroom style. I used to never listen in class and at the end I'd emerge looking like the star note-taker with a finished paper (usually for another class) in hand. There's nothing better for productivity than ignoring someone who's talking to you....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing Strain

It's been a while since I've posted anything to my blog, so now that the semester has begun, my posts will begin in a flood. I am so much more inclined toward writing and creativity as the semester goes because writing suddenly becomes my sole professional activity. I am writing, I am teaching writing, I am reading writing, I am revising writing, I am grading writing, I am defending writing, so I might as well also write for fun. Why bother doing anything else for fun when I am already using that part of my brain pretty actively?

My writing schedule is pretty strained at the moment. The thesis is taking up 90% of my writing time. It's going well. Well, it's going alright. Well, it's sort of going. I am not super optimistic, but I am pretty sure that it's going to be done. I am excited--in a way--to actually be at the point of writing a thesis since I am currently starting my 8th year as a college student. I have been geared toward this huge writing project for my entire life, it seems, and now that it's finally in process, it's ridiculous that I should be allowing a desperate writer's block to interfere (although sometimes that can't be helped).

But here I am poking my head out of my thesis writing mess just to say hi, and let everyone know that I am still alive in here!

My Claim to Fame

It's funny how I still operate in "semesters" while so many of my counterparts just operate in endless years counting down to their 2 weeks' vacation. (And that's another issue which I shall address at another time!) I am happy with my semesters, with my 17 weeks of life and then switch. I have never been a huge fan of "change" and yet my dislike for sameness is almost greater. I can't stand the frustration of a life devoid of uniqueness and adventure stretches before me like a straight road (the dreaded straight road so lamented by the books of my childhood! L.M. Montgomery taught me to appreciate the new adventures life calls for periodically.)

There is nothing more nerve-wracking and yet strangely exciting about walking into a new classroom to meet a new group of students. They are all unique, fresh minds that I have yet to impart knowledge to. I look at their faces--some of them bored and indifferent, some of them nervous with previous English experiences echoed in their expressions, everyone different--and I wonder whose lives I will touch, whose thoughts I will impress, whose minds will I change? The odds are that few will be changed by me, that some will even fail the class and never look back, or pass the class and never look back! But for the off chance that even one person might be interested in what I have to say and might walk away with a lesson that they will keep for ever...for that, it becomes worth it to me.

I remember parts of my college career, especially parts that are long gone and teachers that I only had once or twice. I remember one sentence, one piece of advice, one bit of encouragement, one day, out of how many hours spent doing work for that course and sitting in that classroom? But the key is that I DO remember. I remember when Patrick Reichard said, "Who are you quoting?" and I realized that quotation marks were a stylistic choice in speech and a rhetorical indiscretion in writing. I remember when John Flannigan said I should write something that matters to me, not something that shows off that I can write, when we were talking about the assigned essay prompts for my application to the University of Chicago (which I never submitted because of that conversation). I remember when Lizbeth Bryant said, "Unpack this statement," and I pondered over her meaning for days. Once I understood what it meant to "unpack" a statement, it's become a critical aspect of my own writing process. I am unpacking things all the time now, and I understand exactly why it's important. And there are many more...

So, even if someone remembers one thing, it is how my instruction may help me live on in the minds of my students. It will be my claim to fame for the future, even if I leave no other footprints behind.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Romantic Can Be the Real

I am happy for those who still romanticize the world, though they look down on my for my tendency to realize it ("realize" being here an operative, to make real, for such must be its derivation.) Believe me, I want to romanticize, but I have learned that nothing is romantic, nothing is as we imagine. Nothing quite lasts the way that the romantic whole of a story or film lasts: on the bookshelf, collecting dust, rotting from within, but always able to recall as a unit, a sacred bubble of whole, completed romance. But I have always had a secret desire that the romance of life could realize itself...and somehow you are making that come true for me! I love you, Nick Kamm :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Analyzing Songs

I was listening to Rachael Yamagata's "Quiet" today and noticed something that I have often noticed, definitely articulated on occasion, and felt to be true. I think the song proved it to me again today and now I want to share.

In the song, she says over and over, "I don't expect anything," but this repetition shows her expectation to be more of an issue than it sounds at a first listen. She isn't trying to convince him that she expects nothing, she is trying to convince herself.

I know because I've done this. "No it's okay, it's going to be okay. I'll be fine." We say these things with the hope that our saying it enough will turn our words into our truth.

Likewise, the repetition of a vow of sincerity sounds like insincerity trying desperately to be sincere.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August Layout Change

I am depressed by the autumnal colors of this post, but instead of thinking of it as fall-like, maybe I should think of it as sunset like. It could be warmth, not summer's end. And the books aren't depressing at all :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

sunlight becomes you so

Sometimes I feel like a celebrity in my sister's photography portfolio. It's fun :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Merci à Tous (Toutes) pour l'ensemble de vos Retours

This capture is astounding. I need to find out what lens was used for this and make an investment. This photographer did a fantastic job with this shot!

Monday, July 5, 2010


Lately I've been thinking a lot about my career paths (again). I have come to the conclusion that no matter how frustrated I am with lack of money, I absolutely love my job! I wish I could do it full time, and honestly, I can't wait until I can. Teaching has become something so fun for me. I have realized that when I go to work, I don't say "I'm going to work," I say "I'm going to school" because I just don't feel like my job is work. I feel like my job is both fun and fulfilling. I just wish it paid me what I need to survive. I'm not really complaining though. I guess many people can't say that they love their job, and even if they do get paid right, they might not enjoy their work as much as I do. I am very happy with the way that my life is with this job of mine. Often I feel like I'm going crazy, but I think it's all part of the game.

I really learn a lot from my students. Sometimes it's like I'm still in school...still a freshman, apparently!...but still in school. I love it! I love to keep on learning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July Layout Change

Well, it's a new month my blog has a new layout. What do you think? :)

Sharing Thoughts

Sometimes I love being alone. When I am alone, I live a different life from the one I live in another's company. I know that I wouldn't enjoy a life of solitude, but I would also not enjoy a life in which five minutes to myself was impossible.

When I walk a short distance by myself--from my car to my classroom, from a parking lot to a store, from one end of Home Depot to the other--my footsteps sound different to me. They play a staccato tap that beats time to an internal series of thoughts. Not music; I am not musical inside in spite of my enjoyment of music from other sources. I see things that I wouldn't have seen had I been accompanied, I think things that I wouldn't think, I feel things that I wouldn't feel. For so many years I have wished to share these moments with someone, wished sincerely that someone could see and feel and think what I do...experience it with me! But now...

I have begun to realize that I value this time as my own. I no longer wish for people to understand each individual thought and feeling as it comes to me. I hope to appreciated for the quality of my thoughts, be loved because of the understanding that my thoughts are private but beautiful...but if my thoughts are never shared in a common thought, I am content with that. To share my thoughts in writing has been my greatest dream, and after 25 years of unshared thoughts, I have come to realize that writing is my only method of sharing my thoughts. This will remain my only channel.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'll Adapt Rebecca

This week I read Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Of course I watched the Alfred Hitchcock film of the 1940s--you know, the over-dramatic rendition featuring the world's class-act drama king Lawrence, SIR Lawrence Olivier.

I had never read the book before. (Mainly because the only copy for sale at Borders, up until this year, was a paperback featuring red satin and "Rebecca" written in gold a cheap romance novel one buys from the grocery store. Once a brown-back copy appeared on the shelf, I snatched it up immediately.)

When I read the book, I knew where it would go. I knew what the ending was because of that film. I was disappointed the whole time because there was no suspension of belief. I had an intrinsic feeling all along that I knew exactly what was going to happen next. But you know...I still enjoyed the book. I was disappointed that so many things could not be said in the film that were said in the novel. That's they way of films sometimes...for all their visual dialogue, there are things that they miss! I am always in flux between the two.

However, I feel that I could capture the novel in film better than whoever did it in the first place. I think a real reader needs to write adaptations. Instead of the English majors shrinking in fear, we need to take charge of writing adaptations. We need to capture the spirit of the novel for these filmmakers.

Who adapted The Count of Monte Cristo? Alexandre Dumas would have died had he seen that film.

And what about the almost happy ending in Lawrence Olivier's Wuthering Heights?

What about the way that Gilbert went to war in the Anne of Green Gables movies? WHAT?!

Well, anyway. In my Rebecca, Maxim de Winter isn't a cold bitter man with a theatrical though passionate love. He is real and deep and brooding and suffering. (And that's not my Maxim, that's du Maurier's Maxim.) Heath Ledger could have been Maxim. The quiet, unnamed protagonist is simple and plain and ordinary, but must be played by a powerful actress, though not a beautiful one. Rebecca is Megan Fox: aloof, gorgeous, evil.

There, have fun filmmakers. Call me if you want me to write the script. I can do it in 6 weeks. I expect hefty compensation. Believe me. My writing this adaptation is critical for the film's success.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

red : one

red : one
Originally uploaded by MichelleCox<36
Please enjoy my sister's new photography project. She finished her 365 self-portraits right as I am beginning mine. Her new project is a color project! Follow her :)

Blogger Boredom

I'm crazy. I can't be satisfied with the appearance of my blog for longer than 5 minutes. I have decided to force myself to be satisfied with one layout for at least a month. There really is no reason for the continual discontentedness! I will be satisfied with my abstract dandelions this month.

The month ends in three days anyway...ha!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekends, Worries and other things...

The week has been a long one and I am glad it is nearing its end. I don't like being without him and look forward to his weekend returns. I have lots of work to do and lots of things to concentrate on all the time, but having extra time to myself doesn't make it easier to get them done. Usually I start feeling melancholy and lonely for him instead of feeling more able to focus. I suppose this is something that I will learn in time. I'll figure out how to focus instead of getting distracted by feeling lonely, I'm sure...for now though, I am still living for the weekends! I am so glad to see him today. I've been counting down to today since about Tuesday...and it's finally THE WEEKEND! :)

In addition to this week being a complicated mass of things going on and me being distracted, I have also made some interesting decisions this week. I've decided that I might go back and get my high school teaching license...just to be more diverse. I would love to get my PhD and be a professor, but I need to first figure out if I have that drive within me. My struggle with the Master's thesis is making me wonder if I do. Maybe my big problem is my tendency to question myself about everything! I don't know...but I guess I need to figure that out too. Eventually.

Meanwhile, I must complete the work that is before me and worry about the future in the future. Worry is a really bad excuse for laziness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Writer's Block

Writer's block is the worst thing that can ever happen to me, and it happens to me all the time. When people think writer's block, though, I don't think they are thinking of exactly what I'm experiencing. Even when I think of writer's block, I picture something a lot more elevated and impressive than what I am going through.

Writer's block happens to writers who are in the throes of a beautiful composition, an impressive work of art that is about to become a novel of mythic proportions. The writing is going well, the story is flowing with ease, and suddenly the writer is stuck for a word, stuck for a statement, stuck for...something...that puts a hitch into the beautiful tale.

Yeah, writer's block isn't that glorious at all.

Writer's block, as I experience it, is a black out period. Sometimes the period lasts for an age, a whole portion of a lifetime. Writer's block is more than a missing turn of phrase, a hesitant description, a hazy thought that cannot materialize itself into words. Writer's block is, for me, a complete mental breakdown of writing frustration. I cannot write what I must write, I will not write what I must write, I can and will write anything else but writing that is productive and useful. I will write blog posts explaining writer's block, but I will not--no, I utterly refuse--to write my thesis. I cannot imagine writing that important document, cannot remember what it is about, cannot fathom what was so important about the topic, and do not even want to write about it, whatever it is. Writer's block makes me despair for my life, my hopes, my dreams--which are ever and always writing--and causes me to imagine that there is no life for me, after all, since writing is all that I do. When I say that I am suffering from writer's block, the word "suffering" is aptly chosen. Suffering is an understatement. And writer's block is an understatement.

The Thirteenth Tale

"...silence is not a natural environment for stories. They need words. Without them, they grow pale, sicken, and die. And then they haunt you."
--The Thirteenth Tale

Writing is an important part of my life, whether I am physically constructing a piece of writing or not. I have recently finished reading a gloriously well-written novel from 2006. I was surprised by it as it is rather new for my taste, generally speaking. I was impressed by the subtle ability of the author to string words together, to paint a picture of characters worthy of my notice, to draw me irrevocably into a story that plays itself before my eyes like a delightful film I can't seem to turn away from. A story of this power serves only to remind me of the deep, burning desire inside of myself: the desire to create life out of ink on a page. Reading books--well, reading a well-crafted book--almost makes me wonder if, by some chance, film really is not my niche, not my calling, just a cop-out after all...

The book in question is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Some moments of the book inspire me delightfully, setting my heart into a flurry of anticipation, not only for the characters, but for writing itself, for books, for storytelling, for my own future. The inspiration offers me renewal. While reading, I become reunited again with that elusive yet vital part of my being: my writer.

"A good story is always more dazzling than a broken piece of truth."
--The Thirteenth Tale

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How Love Changes Everything

I've been thinking this weekend about how there is a huge difference between what I want and what love makes me want. I wouldn't call it a disparity that upsets me, either. I like who I am in love even if it's different from who I am without love. All in all, I enjoy the self that I am in love. Sometimes I let my dreams go, and sometimes I forget some of the things that I once considered to be of vital importance, but in my happiness, I often realize that those dreams don't matter so much anymore. I mean, sure, I still would like to make films, would like to travel and have adventures, would like to change my life on whim (not that I do that...) but when I weigh out the importance of these dreams, they don't really hold up to the more important aspects of life.

Lately I've been thinking about how much more important some of those dreams are by contrast. If I was in the position where I had to make a choice, I would choose love.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thinking About Dreams

Summer is a season of hope and dreams for me, but as I grow older, I find many of my dreams to be stale. Without dreams, I lose the essential part of myself that makes me "me." But, when I dreamed those dreams as a child, a teenager, even a young adult, I dreamed them with the anticipation of their eventual fulfillment. It disappoints me now to see how anticlimactic life really is. When will the fun, long-awaited part of it begin?

I would sound like a fool to say that life hasn't been beautiful, that it hasn't been filled with all of the elements that make life what it is: lessons, heartbreaks and love, memories of joy, adventures, and people who will never be forgotten. This is not the part that makes life sad for me, this is the part that makes the sadness of life bearable. It is impossible, though, to deny the sadness of knowing that certain dreams may not come true, especially those dreams that I still seem to hold out hope for. There are little things that I've always wanted, deep inside, and reading about them just doesn't make the cut anymore. I'm a terrible case of dissatisfaction sometimes, but where I once was content to dream and chose dreams over life, I am not unfulfilled by empty dreams. It seems useless to dream endlessly of certain things that have not occurred, yet without dreaming, I am not me.

So how do I keep the two happy without upsetting the delicate balance of each?