Uta Hagen--

"We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Worries, Sorrows, and Regrets

I'm posting this a little late as I didn't really know what I wanted to talk about today.  I debated talking about the shooting in Colorado, but decided against it.  But I guess this could be somewhat related.  I just decided to talk about worries, sorrows, and regrets.  Because nothing says "summer" like that, right?

Saturday we honored my Uncle Drew at a bike ride and after-party that raised money for his two sons' college funds.  I looked for pictures of my Uncle Drew to include in my reflection and found that I didn't have that many of my own, none that I really WANTED. 

Ever since Jimmy died (almost two years ago), I've tried to live my life without regrets.  I've tried to live every day to the fullest, and do as many things as I'm given the opportunity to do.  I've tried to get a taste of everything life has to offer (that's legal, anyway).  One of the outcomes of this was that I started taking pictures.  Lots of them.  I took pictures of my grandparents, my parents, my military family members, my cousins that I hardly ever get to see, my baby cousins that only stay little so long. . . But there are some people that you just think you'll always have the chance to do things with, to laugh with, to hug, and to photograph.  Drew was one of these people.  I regret with every fiber of my being that I do not have a recent picture with him.  The most recent one I can find is from 2009.  I had just turned 13.  Now, if you didn't already guess, I look a lot different than I did three years ago - heck, I look a lot different than I did one year ago. 

I don't really know where this post is going or what the point is.  But I guess what I want to say is, live like you DON'T have a tomorrow.  Treat every family gathering like it's your last, or someone else's.  Take NOTHING for granted.  Tell people what you want them to know BEFORE they're on life support. 

I haven't really touched the worries and sorrows part, have I?  Yeah I didn't really think this post through before I titled it.  I know they say not to title things before you write them - but I do with blogs because it gives me a purpose to stick to.

But anyway, worries and sorrows.  I worry a lot, which sometimes leads to regret.  However, I'd rather look back and say "I wish I hadn't. . . " than to look back and say "I wish I would've. . . what would have happened if I did?"  But when I look back and find myself saying that latter, I feel sorrow.  To me, regrets and sorrow kind of go hand-in-hand.  Regrets are never a good thing to have - whether you regret not studying as much as you could have for a test or if you regret not going to a family reunion or whatever.  They make you feel kind of lousy.

And this post isn't going anywhere, and I forgot what I was going to say.  So:  Live life to the fullest.  Believe in yourself.  Love yourself and others.  And. . . yeah.  Live it up.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Procrastination Expert

Soooooooo.  I'm blogging today from my desk, where I have been sitting for the past 20ish minutes trying to figure out what the bleep I am doing for my AP history summer assignment.  I have read over the handout my teacher gave me at the end of the year I don't know how many times.  His instructions, I feel, are vague at best.  He gives us ideas for things to read for in both books that we are supposed to compare/contrast, but he doesn't tell us EXACTLY what to read.  Which bothers me.  I'm not sure if I'm reading the right thing, you know?  And it's starting to freak me out because my goal was to start my paper by this Friday to get enough of a start on it so that I could turn it in by August 3rd (that's when it's due - not the first day like a normal teacher, although we do have MORE stuff due the first day as well). 

Anyway, I'm starting to panic.  I haven't started reading the book for my English assignment, and I still have a long way to go in my writing exercises packet for history (also due August 3rd).  It dawned on me last night that we are already half way through July.  What.  The.  Bleep.

And as much as I'm freaking out, I can't help but procrastinate.  I can't help it.  I'm an expert at procrastination.  But the thing is, I don't do anything productive when I procrastinate.  Literally, my excuse today was: "Oh!  I need to blog today!  I'll start reading Democracy in America later today!"  Yeah, that probably won't happen. 

But I know I need to.  But I also want to write REALLY BADLY, but every time I open up a document, I just . . . can't.  I don't know what it is.  I can't find the words.  Not to mention, I start thinking about all I need to do. 

It just doesn't feel like summer. : ( 

As I read this over, I really start hating life. BLEH.  So I think I'll leave this with a line that I've been using a lot lately:  I DON'T WANNA GROW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I had a moment of panic last night because I realized that we were getting into the double digits of July.  And for any student, this is kind of a scary thing.  Because once you enter the double digits of July, it seems like summer is over - even though it's nowhere near that!  I realize how much work I still have to do before school starts back and it sends me into a frenzy.  And then I realize that I don't have much time to spend with family and friends, and that pains me.

I feel like students aren't allowed to be kids anymore.  My little sister starts kindergarten in the fall and they won't even let kids bring in treats for their birthdays!  If they do, the snacks get sent home with the kids in their backpacks!  Know why?  Because they need to fit the lessons into the day.  OH.  MY.  GAWD.  Kindergarten??  I'm pretty sure that in kindergarten, I didn't learn anything other than how to cut on the lines and color inside the lines.  Give me a break.

But it starts there and it just keeps getting worse.  There's the pressure of knowing what you want to do in college from, I kid you not, the fifth grade.  Career day?  And then in junior high they put you in classes that impact how ready you will be for AP classes.  And in high school, you start taking AP and Honors classes to get you ready for college.  Freshman year seems like no big deal, you still have FOREVER until you go to college.  But come sophomore year?  Panic.  I'm 16.  I'm supposed to plan out my life?  Right now?  I know that I want to write, but there's not exactly a degree that assures me a publishing contract.  I want to do something that makes a difference, but I have no idea what I want to go to college for.  English Major?  Creative Writing?  Journalism?  I have no idea.

But my point is, high school is supposed to make up the best years of your life.  It's supposed to be a time of freedom and figuring out who you are - and who you want to be.  It's supposed to be a time to make mistakes and learn from them.  It's supposed to be fun. . . and I'm feeling the exact opposite.  I don't think we're ready to "grow up".  It's scary.  But we have to.  But, again, I'm 16. . .

This has pretty much no point to it, other than for me to get a little bit off of my chest.  And plus, I forgot it was Tuesday and had no idea what I wanted to talk about. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

E-books vs. Print

I am going to try my very hardest to control myself in this post.  My feelings on this subject are very, very strong.  *I should put a disclaimer that I am not going to hunt you down if you see things differently than I do.  This is the 21st century and we are Americans, so ya know, freedom and technology.  I just might, ya know, hold you accountable for things. . . more on that later.*

So anyways, today's topic is e-books versus print books (thanks for reading the title).  My side, obviously, is print.  But, being the open-minded individual that I am, I will look at the pros of both sides of this argument and defend the side I have chosen.

Now, being a reader, I see the up-side of e-books.  They are convenient, relatively cheap (especially if you compare them to hard-back books), and they're ready to read within minutes.  You can carry multiple books with you without the pain of lugging around heavy books.  The devices are usually light and the screen can be adjusted according to the light in which you are reading.  All of these things can be useful.  They're also environmentally friendly - in the sense that they don't use paper.  

As a writer, though, I refuse to give in to the e-books.  Here's why.  The publishing industry is dying.  Literally.  More publishers than you would believe are becoming "electronic publishing only" meaning the authors that are fortunate enough to get a book deal are only being published via e-books.  I could also preach to you about how there is nothing that could compare to holding a new book and smelling the fresh smell; or wandering the book store and happening upon a new book that you hadn't heard of.  But I won't because most people aren't so attached to books.  But as a writer, let me tell you this: If I wanted to see my work on the screen of an iPad or a Kindle or a Nook or whatever, I could easily just put my own file on the device.  There's no sense of accomplishment in that, to me.  I do have friends that have published electronically, and while they were still very excited to be published, I couldn't help but wonder if they felt a little. . . disappointed.  I dream of the day when I can hold a book that is my own, with my title and my name and my author bio and my story, and say, "I've done it."  I just don't feel I could do that with an e-book.  I couldn't sign them.  I guess this could be closely compared to self-publishing.  Which, if that's the route for you, go for it.  But when I publish, I want it to be because I earned it, and because someone else out there thought my work was good enough to hit shelves - real shelves, not virtual ones where dust and love and trinkets will never collect.     

Okay, so now let me tell you the instance where I would consider buying a device to use for e-books.  One instance alone: textbooks.  Textbooks are not my friends.  I feel that if schools would use e-readers in the place of textbooks, a lot of money could be saved.  You wouldn't have to replace them every time a new version was printed - which can be as little as ONE PAGE different - instead you'd just have to download the update.  You wouldn't have to worry about students damaging the books or losing them, because trust me, a student will NOT damage or lose an iPad. Plus, I feel more students would do their homework, because they wouldn't be lugging home 4 or 5 heavy textbooks a night, but one small, light device.  But other than for textbooks, I will not consider an e-reader.

I have made it my mission to do so.  I buy my books from bookstores.  I buy real books.  I do so because I don't want my industry to die.  And if you have an e-reader, like I said, I'm not going to hunt you down in your sleep or anything.  I just might hold you accountable if I never get published - or if by the time I do, the only option is electronic.   And at that point. . . well, who knows?

I came across a book the other day that I really wanted to buy.  But it was only available in an e-book version.  Period.  No print version available.  Anywhere.  It made me sad, not only for the author, but for the readers who stumble across this book, ready and willing to love it, and then they don't have a chance to unless they succumb to the electronic books.

So, I am for print.  Period.  Well, except for textbooks.

Go read something.  (I could go into how important reading is and how it should be encouraged more, but I won't. . . not today, at least. ;) )