Saturday, January 31, 2009

Do what you LOVE!

I just read a book called Homeless Bird for my ward book group. It's the story of this girl from India who has a lot of unfortunate things happen to her. She is in an arranged marriage at the age of thirteen and then is shortly widowed. (Apparently the marriage was arranged just so that a dying boy's family could take advantage of her dowry.) Without giving the entire book away, I will just say that this girl is amazing at embroidery and she eventually makes a life for herself with her work in this artistic field. She is completely amazed when someone offers to pay her to do the thing she likes to do the most.

I am a huge proponant of this concept, as you are probably all aware. What is really the point of living if not to do the things you love to do? Life isn't all pleasure, of course, but a person's profession effects every other area of life. If you hate your job, it is inevitable to hate your life. Sure, you can have fun on weekends and enjoy a good movie sometimes at night, but how often can you really separate from your work? The stress and anxiety or exhaustion and dissatisfaction carry right over into family relationships. I've seen it over and over in the lives of people I know.

It just seems so much better to me to pick something you really love from the beginning and pursue that course, even the cost of sacrifice.

I refer to Paul and myself both, as you might expect. I have thought a lot lately about our unusual goals in life. My husband has known for years that he wants to go into the field of psychology and in the last year he has been dead set on counseling psych, since that's a pretty practical route as far as psychology goes. The problem is, though, that counseling isn't really what Paul loves most. He has a real passion and natural gift for understanding people and especially personalities. This is what he really, really, really wants to do with his life. He wants to be a professor, teaching psychology to students and researching personality and temperament. I can't help but think that whatever else he could possibly decide to do with his life, he would always long to be doing that. I love him too much to not want this for him as well, even though it does mean that we still have to be in graduate school for years to come.

And I'm not completely altruistic in this either. I want to be in school longer myself, to learn how to be a good writer and good singer, as I intend now to take voice lessons as well. I have a lot to learn and there is nothing more that I want in life than to be really great doing the things I love. I really have to learn a lot before I can be great.

Years of hard work and study will make it possible for Paul and me to spend the rest of our lives doing the things that we love. At some point, someone is going to start paying us for it too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm a vindictive person.

I happened to be in Orem a few days ago and I walked past a building that used to house a scuba diving shop. It had become something else and I was really elated by this. My first thought was, "YES! They're gone out of business!" But they probably actually haven't (and have just moved to a new location), and it was a really mean thought anyway.

See, I have a vindictive streak. Back about two and a half years ago, I was hired to work at said scuba shop and I quit after four horrible days (and a few brief hours before that). I had been desperate for a job at the time and had been wandering around Orem, going into businesses to ask if anyone was hiring. The scuba shop was just random and I was hired rather quickly. What a mistake that was!

In the first place, the business was family-owned so that there was no real ethical code that I could see, and certainly no need to treat employees with anything resembling respect. I was taught literally nothing at all about what I was supposed to be doing and then was screamed at repeatedly for not doing my job. The owner was so volitile that I didn't feel safe in his presence and I was in trouble if I wasn't "busy" even though there was nothing for me to do. I spent eight hours a day mopping the floor over and over again because the man swore he could see streaks in it. And when I was paid, he gave a dollar less an hour than he had promised.

I finally blew a gasket on that fourth day and confronted my boss. I said that either he was going to start teaching me what he wanted me to do and stop yelling at me every second or I was going to walk out and never come back. He said nothing was going to change on his end, so I left.

Thereafter whenever I drove past that stupid shop, I wished (usually out loud) that it would go out of business and leave that horrible man high and dry. I don't know if vindictiveness has actually gotten me anywhere, but it sure was satisfying to imagine someone despicable actually having bad things happen to them for a change- you usually never see that in real life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Deep wells of the soul.

I was talking to a friend of mine who I have known for years and she was telling me about this crazy episode of her life before I knew her. She had been taking a medication and stopped and the withdrawals threw her into a temporarily insane mental state. The drug has since been proven to be dangerous for adolescents, but at the time no one knew what was going on. It was frightening and would leave scars on her forever.

The reason I write about this is because I never knew about it before. In all the years we have been friends she only mentioned to me a few times that something bad had happened to her. And having her tell me about it made me realize that people are like deep wells and you never know what is really inside of them or what has happened to them. I was wondering about all the girls at church or the people in my classes and what kind of sad or terrible things have happened to them that they simply don't talk about. You just never know what a person has experienced and sometimes understanding helps you to love a person better and to not be held back from sincere friendships. How can you know if you don't try to get to know someone?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall"

I realized as I was working on the planning stages of my new book that my interest in writing is really the human interest. I delve into the workings of the soul and I desire to portray people in a realistic way that will be like a mirror for my readers. They will find themselves in the pages and perhaps learn something about this condition we are all in. We are all so different, many individuals with unique combinations of traits and experiences. Yet deep down we all just the same. I want to somehow find a way to communicate that.

This is a lesson I needed to learn. I always used to believe that there were so many good reasons why I couldn't be friends with so many people. I was too quiet for them. They were too fashionable for me. I was not into the same things that they were. They wouldn't want to be seen with someone who was overweight. Etc, etc, etc.

None of those things matter at all! People are beautiful and I'm so blessed to now have more friends (and a variety of kinds of friends) than I have ever had. It's all right if I am not like someone. The walls we construct between other human beings are only ever imaginary.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The smell of paper.

Yesterday we had a game night with some friends from our ward. One of them is a writer and he has just given his first completed novel to an editor. He also gave me a copy of his manuscript since I'm a writer too and he hopes to recieve valuable feedback.

I haven't actually read his work yet, but I got excited holding a completed novel in my hands. (Not to mention that alluring smell of paper that any book lover cannot deny!) There's something so encouraging to me about seeing that someone else has done it and it makes me feel like I can too. Publishing isn't the mark of a good writer, as I have disdainfully expressed in a previous blog. However, I still confess that I am a dreamer by nature and the dream of making money from my writing never quite goes away. More important than monetary gain, though, is the outreach of a published work. How can writing influence people if they can never have access to it? Literature has tremendous power to influence humanity and I want to be part of that.

I guess writers need other writers because we can remind each other that what we are attempting to do is indeed worthwhile. And besides, it's fun!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The gods of the rain forest hate me for being the paper monger.

Oh, my. Out of four classes, I have two which don't require the students to buy a text book. I was thinking, "Yes! I can save hundreds of dollars!" That was until I went to the computer lab and printed all fifty pages of readings for the next class period. Saving money or not, it is tedious to stand there watching each page print out one at a time. At this colosal rate, I will use my 200 free pages in a week and a half! And if I print things at home, it will be ridiculous to be buying a new print cartridge every week!

It's all just seeming a little extreme to me.

But let us take a moment to rejoice that after this semester, I will be all finished completely and forever with General Ed classes. It gives some reason to all the madness......

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Buses of doom!

Well, Paul and I are just about fed up with the public transportation system in Provo. We were thinking of holding off buying a car and just taking the buses around. (Paul working on campus, that is.) But after about two days of tromping around in slush and water without waterproof shoes and spending literally hours standing in the cold at bus stops for buses that never quite show up. I was so fed up yesterday that the first thing I said when I actually made it home was, "Oh, we are getting a car- as soon as we possibly can!"

Aparently, UTA wasn't prepared for all the snow or they probably have some other excuse, but it was RIDICULOUS! It was miraculous that I actually made it to class today. Sheesh!

Anyway, that is my latest rant...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A bleak look at my pathetic health.

I tend to be thinking about things a great deal and I realize that occassionally I should write about the things that are actually going on in my life. I just don't want to always be writing that I felt sick today, yet again, because that just couldn't be all that interesting to read. Paul is pretty used to my stupid health, but I wish I could actually go a few consecutive days without feeling terrible once. I usually feel quite sick for at least a couple of hours every day. I don't know why, but it can be severe and it is just something I have to live with.

I'm actually going to see a doctor today because (who's surpised?) I have yet another infection. This one, I think, is a kidney infection, although I'm not expert in the differences between infections. If I get stressed, my blood sugar shoots up high and all it takes is a few hours of high blood sugar for me to get all kinds of infections. It's pretty crazy how that happens.

While I'm out, though, I'm going to get a haircut. I think I will have three or four inches cut off so I can have nice new hair for school tomorrow. No more frizz ball for me!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Learning to stand.

Yesterday at church I was holding my friend's baby. He's four or five months old and is still just tiny. He kept wanting to stand up and I held him steady while he practiced shifting his weight.

It occured to me that human beings cannot develop on their own. A baby needs someone to hold him up while he learns to stand. Not only does he need the physical support, but he needs the trusted hands of someone who will support him in the emotional areas of his life.

We don't really change even though we grow up and become physically independent on many levels from other people; we continue to need the emotional support of other people. Thinking of it from the other direction, we all have tremendous power in the lives of everyone around us. We can fill the basic human needs for love, support, and firm dependable relationships in other's lives- or we can think only of ourselves. . .

It's easy to become self-absorbed, especially when I don't feel well. One of my goals for this year is to make a conscious effort to think of other people. I can always do more to be a better friend and to build my family relationships. The support I can offer may be just what someone needs to learn to stand on their own feet in some area of their life.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm trying to fortify myself for the coming week. The first day of school is Wednesday, and I feel anxious for it to come. At the same time, I'm already inwardly groaning at the workload I know I will have. Readings and more readings, papers to write, and algebra problems.... No offense to you math people out there, but math pretty much sucks if you ask me.

I love school, though, even if I have to take certain classes against my will. The experience of learning is simply invaluable. I tried the life of just working a low-wage job for the first year of my marriage. Frankly, it didn't remotely satisfy me. I just had to get back to school. I love the feeling that my world is growing, that my perspectives are expanding. There is so much to learn and I just don't see how I can write about life if I don't go to school to learn about it. Considering that most of the people in the history of the world were illiterate and had no opportunity whatsoever to recieve an education, I am filled with gratitude at the opportunities of this day and age- and in this country.

Yay for school!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On publication.

I'm on the trail of a new writing project and by that I mean that I have to do a whole lot of research. That is a large part of a writer's life and the other large part is simply the work. I have lost all my faith in talent, since that seems to be rather peripheral. I could list a whole lot of talented people who don't research and don't take the time to work hard. So they get nowhere.

I don't necessarily get anywhere either- not yet. But I plan to. I don't care so much anymore about publishing. All that being published means is that someone at a publishing company thought that your work would sell. That's it. I've read books about publishing and that seems to be indicated over and over again. You convince the right person that people will buy your book and you're in. It's not a measure of how good your work is or if the publisher even likes it.

I've come to an understanding with myself that monetary success is not really my goal as a writer anyone. Learning to speak to other people and expressing myself in a way that can reach others is a much better goal. Of course I'm working on a book, but I will not gauge my success on publication. Isn't that missing the point?