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First anniversary

So, turns out today marks my first year since I registered with WordPress. I got an achievement for it and everything.

This blog has changed a lot over the year. At first it was deep and depressing and then it was day to day and then it was A to Z and then it was a bunch of things and now it’s…whatever this is. I guess just whatever I’m feeling, approximately once a day.

Jeez, not the best blog theme, is it?

I’m sure I will start up Conversation Starters and Short Fic Friday and other stuff soon. I’m just in a weird place and not ready for that sort of thing yet. It’s been a time. Not necessarily a bad time or a good time, just a time. And that time has required a lot of energy.

Anyway, before the notification that I’ve spent a year here, I was going to write a post about happiness. I’m writing a novella around the theme of happiness. What makes us happy, how do you find happiness and keep it, etc. I am working on it because it’s a problem I’m working on in my personal life as well.

I find it frustrating that my happiness is dependent on my surroundings. I wish I had an inner peace that could just let the outer stuff go. I want to go to sleep generally happy no matter the circumstance. Maybe that’s a lot to ask, but I find myself overly emotional (both positive and negative emotions) over events, people, etc. in my life. Minor things can make or break a day for me. I wish I wasn’t like that.

How can I make my happiness independent from the situation that I’m in? Is that even possible? I guess I don’t mean happiness, just peacefulness. I want to be peaceful.

Of course, I’m about the worst candidate for “peaceful” ever. I bounce my knees and move my hands around constantly. I can’t stand silence, because I get tinnitus, and I don’t like darkness, because I get visual snow, which I just recently learned isn’t something everyone has. Meditation makes me jittery. I’m even stressed out in my sleep–I grind my teeth so hard I’ve broken four night guards.

I guess it’s a good goal to strive for, anyway.

This blog has always been tied someway or another to introversion, and this is no exception. Introverts spend a lot of time doing introspection, and maybe this is what this new leg of my journey is about. Introspection, concerning happiness and peacefulness and a general sense of love. Not a bad new year resolution.

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The introvert alone

So often, we speak of introverts out of their natural habitat. Today, we journey into the unknown to observe an introvert in the wild.

As we approach the nest, be sure to keep quiet and hidden.

Ah! A female introvert, going about a daily morning ritual of yoga with coffee. She seems to be spending the day just as she likes–no work today.

Look–what now? She is settling into position on a couch and browsing the internet. Such calm beauty! And now she chooses a book. The hours fly by.

Dinner time, already? She puts on light music and begins to flutter about the kitchen when–NO! Disaster strikes with the sound of a ringing phone!

My friends,  the biggest danger to the introvert is destruction of habitat. A single phone call or doorbell can turn the introvert’s quiet space into an infestation of humans! Alas…as she chats on the phone she discovers it is her friend, another introvert. She invites him over for dinner, having had the whole day to recharge.

They share a meal and watch a movie. Truly, nature is a mysterious, wonderful, beautiful thing. Even the smallest of moments can be a wonder.

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A shelf of unread books

When the Used Book Superstore opened up two miles down the road, I began buying books by the dozen. Books I’ve never heard of, in genres I’d never read before. Classics, like Gone With the Wind. Collections of Shakespeare and the full Sherlock Holmes.

I don’t think I’ve read a single one of those books.

When I began working at the Globe, my trainer told me that if you walk by the arts section, there are always bins full of books you can just take. They’re books they’ve already reviewed or have decided not to review, and instead of tossing them they just let you take them. Advanced copies! Unpublished gems! I would take one every day, maybe two on Fridays.

I haven’t read any of those books, either.

It’s not that I don’t like reading–I LOVE reading. It’s just that it takes up a lot of time. I used to devour books, but now I read them at a snail’s pace. It took me six months to finish Life of Pi, only reading snippets while on the subway.

It’s not that the books are boring, either. They’re on subjects I like, like poetry, art, religions, even on writing itself. They’re fun fiction stories with grabbing back covers. I just haven’t gotten to them yet.

And so, I have a shelf of unread books. Well, shelf might be the wrong word…it’s more of a full bookcase. I have four (!) bookcases in my bedroom at home: one for my absolute favorite books, one for books I loved as a child, one for miscellaneous books and Harry Potter, and one for books I’ve yet to have read.

It’s a disease, really. I’m addicted to hoarding books.

I recently made myself admit that I wouldn’t ever read half of the books I have acquired, and donated about 15 to the library. At least there, there’s a fraction of a chance that someone will read them, as opposed to my room where the chance is practically zero. My next book won’t be Art: Unraveled, no matter how cool the cover looked while walking past the arts section.

I don’t know why I do this. I don’t hoard anything else. I go through my closet at least once or twice a year. I never buy anything I know I won’t use, except books.

Maybe it’s because I want to be a writer, and books fascinate me. Maybe it’s because I want to be the kind of person who reads everything, even though I just don’t.

Well. Maybe this summer I’ll be a big reader. If I have time, between work, Nano, blogging, German (am I still pretending to learn German? I haven’t practiced in so long), cooking, and everything else. Well, this is why I never get through books. They’re low on my priority list, even though I love them.

I think I put things I enjoy at the bottom of my priority list too much.

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Catching up on Farmers Markets, summer….

Training Day 1 complete! I can already tell she’ll be a great co-op.

As I transition back into freelancing and new girl transitions into the Globe, I am being less bittersweet and more confident. This is going to be a good, new change.

I start, basically, the day after I leave. I’m covering a farmers market.

I love famers markets. So lovely, fresh, green. People walking around in sun hats, kids walking around in bare feet licking ice creams. The one in my home town offers homemade empanadas as well as fresh-picked strawberries. I like the infamous Haymarket in Boston, too, though that’s less wholesome and fresh and more…Haymarket.

For non-Bostonians, buying something at Haymarket is equivalent to buying a carton of milk that expired yesterday. It’s probably fine today, and will probably be okay tomorrow, but after that it’s a fifty/fifty shot between okay and diarrhea.

Ah, well. I’m exaggerating. Either way, this isn’t like Haymarket. This is a small town market squeezed into the library’s front lawn. This is a market full of fresh fish and ripe tomatoes and all-natural soap.

I love farmers markets. Such a lovely atmosphere full of hard working craftspeople and farmers.

They’re pretty introvert unfriendly, unfortunately. The whole idea is making conversation, approaching people, bartering. I always feel a bit bad when I enter a tent and then don’t buy anything.

Perhaps, like how I dreamt yesterday about the Introvert Boutique, it would be nice to have an Introvert Farmers Market. Though, I suppose that would just be Whole Foods or some other supermarket.

I’m just being silly. I’m excited for summer, I’m excited for farmers markets and sundresses, I’m excited to get back into my favorite version of journalism.

Really though, I’m excited to have more time free for writing and blogging, especially with Camp Nanowrimo coming up. Anyone out there a nano-er?

If not, check it out my friends: https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in

 

Also, this is my 200th post. Thanks for reading:)

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Loving English’s flaws

English is flawed, which is perhaps why I love it so much. It takes skill and patience to make words say what you want them to. It’s easy to use one wrong word and have your sentence get thrown completely off track.

The common grievances are the “there their and they’re” sort of thing, how read and lead and read and lead rhyme, how you drive on the parkway but park in a driveway…these are just failures of the language to be easy.

I barely want to touch on how dumb spelling is. Acquire, believe, calendar, cemetery, eighth, embarrassed, guarantee, license, maneuver, privilege, receive, rhythm, vacuum… what the hell, English?!

Worse than spelling is grammar. How do you write it: Douglass’s or Douglass’? I never know. Do you say “Aerosmith was” because it is a singular band, or “Aerosmith were” because the band comprises of more than one person? When do you use lay vs. lie vs. laid? When do you use “that,” and when do you use “which,” and when do you use “that which?”

Mostly, I long for a more extensive language. Why, for instance, is there no stronger word than love? Why does romantic love and parental love and friendly love and familial love and object love and concept love all fall under the same category of love? The word that I use to describe my feelings toward pizza shouldn’t be the same I use to describe my feelings toward my loved ones.

However, I do appreciate this flaw in English, as it is this flaw that allows us to be creative. Since the beginning of writing it has been used to romance others. People use sonnets when a simple “I love you” just won’t do. The limit of “love” allowed us to create metaphors, to amaze our significant others and parents with stories and rhymes and humor and heart.

If there was a word stronger than love, we’d just whip it out when things needed to be more serious. Like a strong swearword, it would be a simple, common way to show emotion. The overuse of the word love lets us get creative, and it is this creativity, this drive to work harder to prove the extent of our indescribable love, that shows just how loving we are.

In the end, I love English. Warts and all. I do wish spelling and grammar were easier, though.

“Conscience?” Really?

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Lucky and busy

I’m lucky. I am. In the dying field of journalism I’m getting work left and right…in fact, too much. I always feel bad when I have to cancel something or decline an offer, but it’s sometimes necessary in order to assure the work is the highest caliber it can be.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember I’m lucky.

I covered a fashion show this morning, to be written by the end of the week. I just accepted an offer to cover a meeting on Thursday due on Friday, on top of a graduation ceremony I’m covering Friday night. Not to mention the two other stories I have to get done by next Tuesday.

I also have to get back on track with German, and figure out a plot for the D&D campaign I’m supposed to run Monday. Not to mention the fact that I had planned on doing Camp Nano in July, and I haven’t even begun to think of a novel idea!

Busy is good, but also overwhelming. Being lucky is good, but also brings guilt. I wish I had more time to read Life of Pi and ride my bike and play ukulele and finish my TV shows, but at the same time I’m glad I am using those things for fun when I can, rather than to halt boredom. It’s better to want to do something than to do something so much it’s boring.

I am glad I’m taking these assignments, because they only take a few hours out of a week and give me money I can use for the things I like, not to mention experience.

Like I said, it’s hard to complain when I know I’m so lucky. Lucky to be doing well in a weakening, overcrowded field, lucky to be able to live with my parents this summer without worrying about rent, lucky that we live so close to Boston, lucky that all this has worked out.

I think back to this time last year—I was a line cook at Chipotle. I worked eight hour shifts rolling burritos and wishing I were somewhere, anywhere, else. However busy I get, I have to remember that I like my job, and that’s rare. I don’t groan when I have to go on assignments; I love it. I don’t even whine when I have to wake up early in the morning. I like my job, however busy it makes me. It took awhile to settle on that fact, but it’s true: I like it. One day I will find the ideal balance of work and life. One day I will know myself better and know exactly how much I can handle. Maybe today is not that day, but as of now being busy is okay.

I mean, hey. It’s better than rolling burritos at Chipotle.

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Young intelligence

I am constantly amazed at what children can do. When I was a kid, I always got annoyed when people underestimated me, so I try not to act too surprised at children’s intelligence. Even so, it is certainly easy to assume they don’t know much.

Maybe it’s because sometimes kids do stupid stuff. When a two year old shoves a bean up his nose, it’s hard to remember that he’s pretty smart.

But then again, I do stupid stuff too. Maybe I don’t shove beans up my nose, but I still hit “reply all” or lose the phone that’s in my pocket or accidentally use body wash when I meant to use shampoo. I think that’s why it’s easy to forget that kids are smart: because I’ve lived way longer than they have and I’m still pretty stupid.

Kids are smart, though. I just learned of a boy scout troop consisting of 9 year olds that are building prosthetic hands for kids in Haiti. My five year old cousin is learning to code at preschool, and knows all the ins and outs of Minecraft. I mean, this is stuff that I’d have trouble doing!

Not to mention my two year old cousin who can navigate an iPad and even find his favorite songs, even though he can’t read.

A while ago, I did an article on babies learning sign language. They were hearing babies who were at the age where they wanted to communicate but didn’t yet have the vocal control to do so. They could learn to sign “milk” and “hungry” and “more” to their parents at 5 or 6 months old, far younger than they would be able to say the words aloud. This cut down on frustration and crying for everyone involved.

Kids are so smart. I’d love to have one of my own someday, to help them learn and grow. I have a feeling I’ll be doing far more learning than teaching.