So, I've decided to write a book about my vacation. It's kind of a silly idea because I really can't even write a good essay yet, let alone a coherent series of structured accounts with strong themes and ideas woven throughout. Maybe I'll just call it a pamphlet in order to mask the certain inadequacy that the thing'll scream at the reader.
The thing is, this vacation would certainly make a decent book. It's got a good, strong number of main characters (5 is a good number,) drama (Will Dr. Habib make arrangements with Dad over the phone about what classes Dad can teach in the fall?!), conflict (definitely more later), and character development. At the least, it's interesting because it's about me (you can all groan here.) On this trip, my family has gone back East and visited some old relatives and family homesteads and Great-grandpa's slowly-collapsing farmhouse on the hill. We're facing important challenges and opportunities for growth and I'm also trying to learn while observing. It's a good time to develop, and so why not examine it through writing?
The trip isn't over yet (we've still got two more weeks on the road,) and I'm constantly and furiously typing notes into my iPod Touch and then e-mailing them to myself. "Listening to NPR tales of Afghan bullets and rain begins. It pelts the windshield harder and faster until the smell fafts in through the vents. Cows quickly trot over a green hill as a herd. Lightening scars the sky. The road fogs with splash and disappears from sight. Hammering down on the windshield. It breathes in for a moment and we pass an RV. Still raining but at least we can see."
Stuff like that-- means something to me, probably not to you yet. That's not the point. I've just been keeping notes about what I've been experiencing.
I guess the whole point of this post is this: What should I be looking for and specially aware of as I'm on this trip? How do I find my themes? Do I wait until after or look for them now? And how do I take notes and observations without artificially guiding what's going on? How do I keep it real?
We're getting married Aug. 16th in the Logan, UT temple.
We're not having a formal reception, but we are having a big party the night before; if anyone wants to come down let me know and I'll get you directions.
And then we leave for China on the 20th. Crazy... We're so excited. Wedding plans are crazy of course (my mom's in Pennsylvania, which means I've been planning my own wedding), but everything's finally coming together, and I'm excited to only have 3 weeks left (we've now been engaged for 5 months; ugh).
I miss you all! I have a true blog floating in my head that needs to be written; we'll see if I get it done before leaving for China. And I'll definitely write from China. Hope you're all doing well!
- Ironing board
- Cookie mixer with extra beaters (what is the right name for that thing?)
- TONS of picture frames
- Glass cookie jar
- A few flower vases
- Lots of clocks that don't work but are probably easily fixed (for someone able to do so. . .)
- A stand-up lamp and a table lamp
- Some canned food
This just gives you an idea. Travis wants an empty house soon (we're getting nervous about how much will actually fit), so if this stuff isn't gone in a few days, we'll take it to D.I. Give me a call or e-mail me if you want to come by and I'll tell you how to get here. We're on 113 S. 3rd E.
Enjoy your first week DONE with finals and school for a while!
I went for some paper towels so that the pseudo-EMT student that showed up could wipe up the blood from the man's head. Apparently he'd hit it on the way down. I did help, is my point, but really, what could I do? He's dead. He'd been very dead for over 10 minutes, and he had been building up to this moment for fifty years every time he had a burger instead of a salad. There was absolutely nothing I could do, and so I did what I had to do and made sure more competent people than I were around to care for the dead man and then I left.
I thought about later while I waited for my Scantron results at the testing center. As I slid my red bubble sheet to the student across the table on the way out, I realized I should have studied more. I didn't though. I scraped across the carpet and stared up at the LCD TV to look for my results. 11 out of 16, 73%. Heck. As trotted down the rounded yellow stairs out of the testing center, I thought about how heartless Scantron machines are. They don't care if you are trying (kind of) but really busy. They just mechanically process right and wrong, binary ones and zeros. That's the thing-- they just don't care. Sliding my hand off the end of the flat stair rail, I laughed at myself and my complaints about heartlessness.
Well here she is...Samantha Gene Sobczak.
I got induced July 9th and had her in 5 hours--hurray for fast labor! (Like Sarah, my iPod never made it out of the bag.) She weighed 8 pounds at birth and was/is super healthy, so we made it out of the hospital in about 24 hours. If it weren't for the nurses waking me up every two hours in the middle of the night to take my blood pressure I might have stayed longer and enjoyed the yummo hospital food.
So I don't have a cool blog (I don't even have wedding pictures printed yet) but I think Austin has more pictures on Facebook. (Which I also don't have or know how it works. At least I have a cellphone.)
Wish I could come up and show her off to everyone. Pregnancy really was worth it.
And then I walked up the stairs into the MC by the wooden handicap tunnel where some person had spray-painted, "LOVE," referring to the Ron Paul rEVOLution. No better way to promote your favorite candidate than vandalism, I thought. My legs were queesy as I pushed up the stairs, two at a time.
Bruce had been fine. Later that day, I walked to the top of the green hill into the tent where they were keeping him. The rock had hit him above the eye, not in, and he was bandaged up and fine. Bruce looked up and said, "Hey Matt. I'm okay. It's alright so I forgive you."
I was able to push the sick embarassment from my stomach as I shuffled through the metal-framed door of the Manwaring Center. It comes back every time I think about the clumpy rock and Bruce's blind scream.
Two weeks is not that long. We can do homework that means nothing to us and play on our computers later, alright? So stop whining.
1804 - Nathaniel Hawthorne was born, American writer (d. 1864)
1845 - Near Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau embarks on a two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond.
1855 - In Brooklyn, New York, the first edition of Walt Whitman's book of poems titled Leaves of Grass is published.
1865 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is published.
1910 - African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match sparking race riots across the United States.
1946 - After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule, the Philippines is granted full independence by the United States. July Fourth is known as Filipino-American Friendship Day.
1997 - NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
Deaths (Does anyone else smell a conspiracy?)
1826 - John Adams, 2nd President of the United States (b. 1735)
1826 - Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States (b. 1743)
1831 - James Monroe, 5th President of the United States (b. 1758)
Oh yeah, in 17-something, a bunch of people got together and signed a piece of paper that I hear is kind of important, I think. But seriously, what’s more important than the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah joining Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam, Karachi in 1887?
Some random white girl
my biscut divine
thy crispy flake
thine filling intake
smelling like bread
thou dost fill my head
with thoughts divine
thou art sublime
better than cake
thou cannot be fake
mock if you will
but I'll get my fill
with a biscut
Writing assistants superb
talents rock the blog.
. . .
Chan is thrice a bigfatliar.
blasting out of Hulk, smashing
heads, he stepped on cars.
. . .
Chan spit slime, beat chest,
roared, and squeezed poor Rexburg down
into black grease spot.
. . .
Eric sucked up grease
to spit at the universe.
We hid our faces.
I love Jami's contests. Here's another short one: Friday is a holiday. Here's the contest. Name the holiday, and we'll let out Tomorrow's seminar to prepare for three day weekend.
One question. Ready? What holiday is it? Not a trick question, but hint for Matt: Day that California succeeded from the Union is not the answer. (You did that when you elected the Kindergarten cop. Whoops. I hate political quips. Sorry.)
2)The more simple and close to perfect observation the better.
3)Seventeen syllables; three lines; five, seven, five.
4)The first line usually names the subject and other two lines illuminate with concrete sense detail.
Like I said, the more simple the better, though you can stray from nature once in awhile as in example below.
Matt's useless detail:
"Girl sits on lawn with rolled-up pants.
Cute." Matt walks on by.
But, nature haiku are better--
Moon rolls through storm clouds
If I could catch a moonbeam
tonight, I could fly.
Moon moves through white clouds.
I could reach and catch the moon.
Tonight, I will fly.
(Whoops. Too close to metaphor)
Though A good night anyway.
Travis, thanks for loaning us Jami. We took good care of her, fed her, and got her all calmed down about Philly. You've got to love us. (Except for Matt, who was teaching her how to swear and quizzing her about the differences between Crack and Meth--HIS idea of getting her prepared; but Dan and I got a strangle hold on him. Really. Don't worry. She's all set, but for the packin').
And except for Crystal making fun of my green soda. ("It's just not what I would expect you to order," she says.) Next time I'm buying a purple, tie-dyed Mountain Dew with tadpoles floating in it, Crystal. So there.
But, really, what a treat. There just isn't anyone I'd rather go to dinner with than WC people--past or present (even those who have temporally defected). Julie (and Leanna?)--Next Thursday for seminar and then to dinner? (Why? Because last time moi did not have time to grill Julie about her writing and/or life. Why? Because someone was pushing moi out door of Wingers to go see The HULK. Oh, sad scene: I reached back to Julie, crying out in anguish, "Julie, David, Help me. Save me." Ah...but wait; that's another story.)
However, we need to kidnap Chan and take him with us on Thursday, as he's so hungry he's making up fake contests he can win to get food, as well as panhandling on Main Street and wandering in and out of Seminar to grab some of Kiersten's birthday cake (flat, light brown, no frosting, no candles--just sort of plain ol' biscuits). Hi Chan; Bye Chan. Is he alright?
I'm going to fill in blank spots about my life next Thursday(maybe) and will need a huge banquet afterward--with good friends--to wash it down. GOODNIGHT. I have now stayed up 75 minutes past time, but I'll bet I still beat Nate and Crystal. They're so easy.
No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap. ~Carrie Snow
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.
~William Shakespeare, Macbeth
The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late. ~Charles Caleb Colton
Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience - unless they are still up. ~Ellen Goodman
Consciousness: that annoying time between naps. ~Author Unknown
Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. ~Clifton Fadiman
Dawn: When men of reason go to bed. ~Ambrose Bierce
If a man had as many ideas during the day as he does when he has insomnia, he'd make a fortune. ~Griff Niblack
[S]leep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~Thomas Dekker
People who snore always fall asleep first. ~Author Unknown
When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep, and you're never really awake. ~From the movie Fight Club, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk
The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg - Her Dream
Nothing cures insomnia like the realization that it's time to get up. ~Author Unknown
All men whilst they are awake are in one common world: but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own. ~Plutarch
I'm not asleep... but that doesn't mean I'm awake. ~Author Unknown
It's at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull. I don't know if anyone has ever pointed out that great attraction of insomnia before, but it is so; the night seems to release a little more of our vast backward inheritance of instincts and feelings; as with the dawn, a little honey is allowed to ooze between the lips of the sandwich, a little of the stuff of dreams to drip into the waking mind. I wish I believed, as J. B. Priestley did, that consciousness continues after disembodiment or death, not forever, but for a long while. Three score years and ten is such a stingy ration of time, when there is so much time around. Perhaps that's why some of us are insomniacs; night is so precious that it would be pusillanimous to sleep all through it! A "bad night" is not always a bad thing. ~Brian W. Aldiss
Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep, by any stealth:
So do not let me wear to-night away.
Without thee what is all the morning's wealth?
Come, blessed barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
~William Wordsworth, "To Sleep"
The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more. ~Wilson Mizener
In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge. ~Colette
Early to rise and early to bed
Makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead.
~James Thurber, Fables for Our Times, 1940
It appears that every man's [or woman's] insomnia is as different from his neighbour's as are their daytime hopes and aspirations. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things. ~Dorothy Parker