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We are collapsed in the act of just being here

January 2, 2011

I try not to set big goals for myself every year. I just have a tendency to let myself down when I do.

My goals for 2011 are modest:

  • Get a passport
  • Get my driver’s license
  • Stay on track to graduate next spring
  • Read and write more
  • Eat healthy/Be more active

I bought myself a moleskine. I thought it was time I had a “real” writer’s notebook. Let’s hope this inspires me to do some real writing. I’m also participating in the blog a day challenge here on WordPress. The idea is to beat writer’s block and write every day in 2011. Themes are posted, but they’re completely optional. Today’s theme involves writing about your greatest accomplishment of 2010. I doubt “not giving up on myself even though I fail epically at life” really counts as an accomplishment, but hey, it’s the little things.

I’m looking forward to the year ahead. I am eternally optimistic. At least until I’m not. I’ll be 25 in about two months and the thought of it terrifies me. It’s hard not to feel pressure to have a certain kind of life, especially if the one you’re living now isn’t what you would call optimal. 25 is young and I’m in no rush to settle down (in any sense), but I would like to have some sort of focus. I’d like to finish school already just so I’m not tethered to the city anymore. It’s not a great climate for starting a life or a career, but finishing school is my top priority. I can’t do anything until I do that. I know I don’t want to start grad school right away, but I’m looking into programs and schools and figuring out my options. I know I worry constantly, but I have the feeling everything will fall into place. It’s just that the lack of autonomy, privacy, and opportunity is driving me nuts.

Next semester I’ll be taking four classes: Literature of New South Africa, Television Culture, Images of Resistance, and Literature and Globalization: Women and Post-Independence Narratives. The scholar in me is flipping out in awesome. The unmotivated and frequently depressed loser is not looking forward to an honor’s class when they fucked up their final papers this past semester. Oh, well. Eternal optimism. Fresh starts.

I’m finishing up Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated. It’s the second book of Foer’s I’ve read (the other, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I read this summer) and my gripe with it is the same as my gripe with the other. He writes like he’s in love with the sound of his own voice. Don’t get me wrong, some of his language is amazingly beautiful, but mostly he goes on and on. He’s nestled stories within stories and while it’s an interesting technique, it only serves to make me feel as if none of them are really being told. I don’t get the feeling that’s his intention with the narrative technique, so I’m unimpressed. I read The Secret Lives of People in Love recently as well, which is by Simon Van Booy. He’s another author who employs amazingly beautiful language. Yet, with Van Booy I get the sense that it’s because he’s so in love with literature, language, and love itself that he writes the way he does. Both men deal with some pretty purple prose, but with Van Booy it’s pretty forgivable.The next book on my short list (I’d like to try to get a few books in before the spring semester starts) is Sabina Murray’s A Carnivore’s Inquiry. It’s the story of a young girl awakening to the fact that she may be a serial killer. Dark subject matter, but I dig psychological thrillers.

I guess, for the next few weeks, I just want to live. To not feel so run down, so sad, so stuck. I want to be out, enjoy the city, read and write and listen and think. The best feeling in the world is to look ahead to a clear calendar and not have any obligations.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 2:45 pm

    I have a friend who is way into Jonathan Safran Foer’s writing. I haven’t read his work yet, though EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE sits on my shelf waiting. I heard from her that she looks up to him and his style of writing, and while that’s good and all, because imitation is definitely how one learns to write properly (I have done it when I was younger, but with Brian Jacques REDWALL series.), it might not be the best thing. I agree with you that the language may be beautiful, but sometimes the meanings get lost so quickly in such flowery prose. It’s hard to find a balance, though. Sometimes you don’t want to use any metaphors because you can’t but you need to, and other times you have to use metaphors but you really don’t want to – such a terrible time in deciding if you are faced with either situation.

    Anyway! Creating goals that are baby-steps is a very good practice~ those modest goals are simple yet will give you a big pay-off when you get them done. I know things will work out for you. 🙂

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