Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Neon Green Chuck Taylors

One of the classes eating up my time this semester is Creative Writing. It's actually pretty cake, it's just intro and is kind of a fun nothing class. For this class I have to keep a "writing journal" - different from my regular journal, or an online journal (which is also known as a blog) - and write in it at least 10 minutes a day. This is probably the most helpful thing the class is doing for me because it's forcing me to get into the habit of writing regularly again. However, because I haven't really been writing, I sometime have a hard time coming up with something to write about. To cure this malady, I went through my old writing journals (they seem pretty standard in Creative writing classes) for inspiration in the form of old prompts/exercises/formulas etc. Among a lot of drivel and some useful bits I found an poem, pasted in, that Sam Clarke wrote about me.

Sam was a kid I met at Writers@Work- a week long writing workshop thing held in the summer. They had a program for regular adult writers and also one for high school students. I went to it at least two summers, as did Sam. The poem he wrote about me was nothing like you would expect (certainly not a love poem) - it was about my hand. We had done a workshop earlier that day in which we were supposed to write about someone's hands in this certain formulaic way. He hadn't written his poem. We were hanging out later that day and I was giving him crap for not writing when that was the point of all of us being there. He said that he couldn't think of a hand to write about. I offered him mine, left it on his ankle and moved on to another conversation.

The poem he wrote (I don't have it with me as I'm writing this) was fairly decent. I was super flattered and amused by it. I asked him for a copy the next year and it still makes me smile when I read it.

Every now and then I wonder what happened to Sam. I don't honestly remember much about him. He was kind of a skinny, pale kid with dark hair. He wore chuck taylor high tops that were bright green. Not kelly green, or grass green, but bright, neon, highlighter green. They looked like they should glow in the dark (they didn't, I asked him). He played the clarinet, I think.

Of all the people I met at W@W, Sam is pretty much the only person I really remember. Maybe it's just because he wrote a poem about me. I recall we got along well though, and I like to think that he was a brief friend from that little sliver of my life. I wonder if I were to track him down if he would remember me at all.

It's kind of funny how some people stick with you. Even if you just knew them for a week or so.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Think Happy Thoughts

This week is a very special week. That's right, kids, it's Vasculitis Awareness Week. As most of my long time readers (what are there, 2 of you?) know, I have vasculitis in the form of Wegener's Granulomatosis.

I already told my story here last year, so I wont go into it again. I gave y'all links if you don't know about it. I do have awesome news though! Last week I went to the doctor for my bi-annual visit, just to make sure nothing scary is coming back. Everything checked out, no surprise there. The good part is that Doc told me that he only needs to see me once a year now.

Ok, that doesn't sound like such a big deal, does it? But that's really just about as close to a clean bill of health that I can get. I'm pretty damn happy to be seeing my doctor 50% less frequently. Not that he isn't nice, but, you know.

Other good news is that I am only about 6 months away from being in full remission for 5 years! Super excited about this! Thus the exclamation points! I mentioned this to my doctor and he said, hesitantly, that it is possible that I won't ever have a relapse. He didn't have any statistics to quote me, but there are some cases with WG that people go into remission and stay there for the rest of their life. It's a slim chance, but it's a chance just the same. Let's hope that I'm one such case.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Buckle your Swash

It be international talk like a pirate day, maties. Hoist the Jolly Roger and bring forth the rum! Arrrr!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mmmmm Pi

On my way home from school today I was thinking about π and the arbitrary nature of things. Π is a pretty important number. It pops up over an over in mathematics concerning the relationship of things in nature. It’s also an irrational number. Strange that something so important would be irrational.

But why is it irrational, really? Yeah, it can't be reduced to a simple fraction and has all those non-repeating decimals, but really, what it all boils down to that π is 3.14 blah blah blah because we have arbitrarily assigned our number system to be based on 1.

What if π was our basic unit? How would that change things? If our number system were set up so that π=1, or rather that 1= the Circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. For one thing, circles would be a lot easier. It could be done. Or rather, it could have been done. Once upon a time when whoever was inventing numbers and math, what if they saw that π was an important number and decided to base the entire number system on that?

One only means one to us because that's what we believe. It's what we've been taught, that's the significance that has been assigned to that particular unit by society, by people. It could have just as easily been assigned to π. If π had been assigned as our basic unit, as 1, it wouldn't actually change the world we live in much at all. Ok, it was totally fuck math, but we'd be used to it by now, and we'd have a totally rational number to explain the relationships of circles.

I wonder though, if that's how we saw the world - where π was the basis of our number system, if we would See things differently? I think this is something to think about while staring at the ceiling and just letting my mind wander. It's kind of a mind-fuck. Sadly, I don't have time. I have to do stuff for school.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gardens

When I reach the stage of my life when I need a wheel barrow. It absolutely will not be red.

Furthermore, it will in no way be glazed with rain. And there will certainly not be any white chickens.

Take that William Carlos Williams!

Nothing would depend on a freeking red wheel barrow if he hadn't said that it did. Four bloody words at the beginning of that poem and all of a sudden it's so bloody brilliant that it has to show up in every single English/Writing class.

It's worse than Wallace Stevens and his blackbirds.

Maybe I'm just grumpy because I didn't get to sleep much last night.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Teach a Man to Fish

I'm pretty sure that my eighth grade English teacher came into the library where I was working today. I didn't talk to him because I was busy helping someone else, but I would have liked to say something.

He wasn't even my actually English teacher. He was a student teacher, or something like that. He basically taught the second half of the class while our actual teacher sat in back of the room doing who knows what. We spent a lot of time reading/studying Watership Down and we also did poetry.

Jeff Baird (that was his name, and I'm totally ok with using it because a- I doubt he'll ever run across this little blog o' mine and b- he deserves some credit) was really the first teacher I had who really influenced the course of my life. Mr. Baird did so by encouraging me to write and making me think that the silly peoms I wrote were any good. It's pretty much soley because of him that I ever thought I could write.

Granted, I'm not some famous authoress or anything. It would be fun to say "I'm a famous poet and it all started with this one great teacher." Who knows, maybe some day I will be able to say that. But Mr. Baird's influence is none the less prevelant. I mean, I am majoring in English with a focus on Creative Writing and I am a published writer, even if it is just in silly little lit mags.

Anyway, seeing him made me think about the impact some teachers have. I'm incredibly grateful for the encouragement I recieved from him. I hate to use a worn out cliche, but I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for that class and this amazing teacher.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Running, Jumping, Climbing Trees

The problem with going on adventures is that I get busy doing that and can't find time to blog about it. This wouldn't really be a problem (because living life is better than writing about it any day) except my readers seems to get cranky if I don't post often enough. It's both flattering and annoying.

Anyway, this last weekend I was as far from my computer as I can get, sort of. I went camping at Dead Horse Point with a bunch of friends. It was a lot of fun. I learned something about myself: my idea of camping is not exactly compatible with other people.

When I go camping, I like to take as little as possible and spend as much time as I can hiking and exploring. Especially being where we were, with Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands and Arches right at our fingertips, my ideal weekend would have been getting up early, having a quick breakfast, packing a lunch and hiking until I couldn't walk and then doing it again the next day.

I understand that it's a little unreasonable to expect a group of 8 people to really be able to do that, but this weekend was almost the complete opposite of that. We did manage to get up early, but then it took 2 hours for us all to make and eat breakfast each day. Breakfast tended to consist of something elaborate and messy (albeit delicious) that used up every dish we brought. Then some of the people I was with couldn't handle hiking more than about 5 miles a day. I feel like I spent most of the first day hopping from foot to foot waiting to get out hiking and then being disappointed by the silly little walks we went on.

That's a little bit of an exageration, but it really was frustrating. At some point I decided to take a zen approach to it all and just go with what the group wanted to do. I was still a little understimulated, but I managed to have fun anyway. It was sort of neat to do the more touristy side of Arches- we usually don't bother with all that. It was also kind of nice to force myself to sit still for a while and just do nothing while everyone else was dinking around. Plus it's always rejuvenating to get down to southern Utah.

Here's the whole gang: