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If this is the only thing I am good at I will keep mining the words. I will hack at them with what mental strength I have that my arms do not share.

Everywhere is ugly. The ocean turns ugly, the palm trees turn ugly, the most beautiful old cathedral turns into yet another building you have to walk around to get to where you want to go.

Picture the male university professor. I have him stuck in my mind. He is tall, bearded always, shabby but neat, well spoken. He leans against the front table in the room, always, he sits there listening, nodding, looking for more people to tell him what they think morality is and is it real or did we just make it up and is there a god and what do you think about what this German philosopher had to say 500 years ago please give me 12,000 words double-spaced by Friday at midnight to my email.

I miss him, this authority figure who had all the answers and so many more questions. Your brain would never travel that far down a path otherwise.

I was 17 when he announced to the class full of college freshman, “There are two very strong writers in this room.” I don’t particularly know why he needed to say it — doesn’t that make the other 50 people feel bad? — and of course he went on to point us out — doesn’t that make us feel bad? — me and another girl, both of us quiet little mental philosophers who enjoyed listening and reading more than anything else.

Something Sylvia Plath wrote in her journal made me stop and think, I am listening to her, reading is listening. Writing is speaking. Hello, hello.

I want to write a book. I want to make a movie. I want to learn guitar and make music. These things are beautiful to me, like old cathedrals.

He tells me I don’t need to be so hard on myself. (Trust me, I’m not.) But what if that effort, that little mental push, is what draws the line between the successful author and the professor?

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At forty he speaks with the mouth of a 16 year old and it is not good anymore. Not because of age but because of repetition. He is saying different things but with the same tone, and it is all meaningless and a waste of trees. But who are we to judge? Does anything matter? Is it only important because life will keep going after we all die? If not, what other reason is there? Maybe she is not a believer but is searching for some kind of enlightenment.

It is only good until people have had enough of it. We are filled and then become empty again.

In my dream I am a witch with a broomstick.

Count the lines in the corner of her eyes. Can you read them like tea leaves?

God did not do anything. Sit down. Look at everything that has been built and destroyed because of us. We will go on making things until we cannot even when other people have had enough of it.

 

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The words are piling up again. They tend to do that, even when I type and type to set some of them free. But usually the only words that end up spilling out of my fingertips are meaningless, useless; just like the words I spoke to you.

What can I say? Should I say anything?

I saw you today. It was from a distance but not so far that I couldn’t have walked a bit faster or thrown your name into the wind to catch up to you. I was with my friend, so maybe that’s why I stayed quiet. Probably not. I wondered if you would remember me, after all these years, after all those other faces with names. I found that just watching you cross the street made me thoughtful, made me appreciate the world and the people in it. I still want to be like you when I grow up, but in my own way, of course. Quiet and loud and wonderful and appreciative and vulgar and thoughtful. I don’t think growing a beard would work on my face, though. But that’s ok. I was never a beard person.

The words keep spilling out. Is this what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it? Maybe. I don’t know.

Lately I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with the people I love. Sometimes I forget how much I appreciate certain people when a lot of time has passed since we last spent time together. And I can’t really say more than that, not in a way that would be meaningful and not cheesy. Maybe: I love you?

Is that it? Is that all? Is there more? Of course there is.

What are you doing right now? What did you do today? I have so many questions. There are so many answers. Slowly, slowly, we will find them. Together or apart. Acquaintances or friends. Words or no words. 

1. Don’t ever wave at cars without the driver/passenger of said cars waving at you first. Otherwise the person driving won’t see you and you’ll end up having waved at a car. This is an important life lesson.

2. Nope. I still don’t like babies.

3. In High School you’re told to choose what you want to be when you grow up. In College you’re told to pick a major that will help you become what you want to be when you grow up. Then you graduate and do whatever the hell you want. People find themselves in places they didn’t expect to be back in High School, or even in College, but it turns out alright.

4. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t over-think it.

5. I think the sort of music people listen to matches the beat of what’s usually going on in their heads.

6. Every day that you’re hesitant about doing something is another day that passes you by. Life rolls on. Keep moving.

7. Make it happen. The days of waiting for someone else to do it, or, “You know what’s a good idea?” are over. Who’s going to do it if you don’t? No one. Exactly. Or, someone else will steal your great idea and become super famous and successful and happy. (Probably not.)

8. Life rolls on. Keep moving — but slowly enough that you head in the direction you truly want to go.

9. Know when to get out of the way.

10. Can we (we= everyone on the entire planet) please stop (over-)using the following words: “gentrification”, “millennials”, and “creatives”. I must have missed the please-use-these-words-every-other-sentence-in-order-to-sound-hip/intelligent memo. Stop. Just stop.

1. The only person who needs to believe in you is yourself.

2. If you hang around cool/interesting people who do cool/interesting things, you just might become one of them.

3. If you say yes to everything you want to do, and you say no to everything you don’t want to do, you will eventually find yourself in the place you want to be.

4. Try not to be one of those people who get excited about getting unexciting jobs.

5. Why is ending a phone conversation so difficult? It looks so easy in movies, people say cute things and hang up. In real life, you have to be all: Person #1: “Ok, good talking to you.” Person #2: “Yep!” Person #2:”Talk to you later.” Person #1: “Ok!” Person #2:”Ok, bye.” Person #1: “Bye.” No! Why?! No!

6. Finding something that you are truly excited/motivated about is the best feeling — sort of like finding a purpose for your life. If you’re not excited about what you do, do something else!

7. If you think hard enough about anything, it becomes very strange. Like bowling, for instance: throwing chunks of rock down lanes of super-waxy wood and knocking things down. What? Who thought that one up?

8. If it feels like everything in your life is changing, you’re doing something right.

9. If you spot a guy randomly carrying around a guitar, stop whatever it is you’re doing and follow him. Trust me.

10. There needs to be a hand signal for “Don’t smoke that’s gross”, or, “I was only staring at you because you’re polluting the Earth”. This is why everyone needs to learn sign language. Think how useful that would be!

Today I was talking to my friend about graduating college – a thing he and I both are going to experience here pretty soon – May 5th, 2013, to be exact. He was telling me his post-graduation plans, and I was keeping quiet about my own. I don’t really know yet where I’m going go, what I’m going to do. I also told him that the more college classes I take, the less intelligent I feel.

I think there’s a lot of different ways you can take that statement. It can mean that I’ve realized how unintelligent I am, or how bad at college I am – But that’s not what I meant.

I meant that the more college classes I take – the more information I take into my brain, the more subjects I get exposed to, the more history I find out about, the more people I learn about that I previously didn’t know existed – the more unintelligent I feel. I’m graduating from college soon, but I don’t feel like I know very much at all.

As my graduation date approaches, I’m beginning to wish I would have double-majored. Or took a third minor. Or majored in Theatre, or Linguistics, or French, or Biology. I’m not done learning – I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I know enough – like I’m intelligent enough.

Sure, I could keep going to school for forever – for the rest of my life. Maybe I would do that, if it didn’t cost thousands of dollars per year. But people don’t go to college to learn, they go to get jobs.

So, in order to keep learning, without going to college – what do I do? How do keep experiencing things in my life  which will improve my understanding of the world? Or the universe? How can I feel like each day is improving the person that I am?

Do I just have to find a job that I like? That makes me happy? Do I just use my college education for what it’s meant for: getting a higher-than-minimum-wage-paying job?

Do I travel? Do I meet and talk to new people as often as possible? Do I read books and blogs and listen to podcasts and radio programs and watch cool movies?

What do I do?

Once they had me that scrap of slightly-thicker-than-normal paper with my name on it, what do I do?

The best and worst moments of my life have been when cute boys have smiled at me.

I was sitting in my beige SUV with the engine on, getting ready to leave school and head home for the day. Music from my iPod was already flowing through my speakers as I pulled the seatbelt around me and clicked it in.

Looking up and through the windshield, I made eye contact with a student passing by. A boy. A blonde boy. He wore a blue stocking cap over his shoulder-length hair. He smiled at me.

I looked away. Then, back. He was already past the front of my vehicle. Gone.

I shifted into reverse and backed out from my parking spot, wondering. Who was he? Where was he? I couldn’t see him anymore.

I shifted into drive, heading in the direction he had been walking: away. Away from the school, away from the parking lot, away from me. I slowly drove past one car, and another… searching for him with my eyes. Then,  there he was. Walking to his car. Our eyes met, again, and I quickly looked away. Again. Again, again, again.

Who was he? Why did I look away? What would have happened if I hadn’t? What if I had smiled back? What if I had stopped my car and jumped out?

Driving away, doing none of those things, I wondered.

I thought about the potential in that moment: sitting there, watching the boy smile. I thought about all of the small moments of potential that have passed me by. I thought of that boy who had passed me by, and I him.