Thursday, March 12, 2009

I've Got No Write

So I had a great moment today. And by "great" I mean "it felt like my insides were forcibly removed through the navel, stomped on, and then shoved back in". Or perhaps "like my soul was ripped from my heart and rubbed against asphalt for a while, before being dipped all raw and oozing into boiling water".

I realized that I am not a writer.

That might sound dramatic, and rightfully so. But it came as a shock to me. There I was, preparing myself for another Thursday full of classes, my mind drifting. I was thinking about how tired I was, due to the sheer amount of YouTube videos I had watched the night before. This led me to consider just how much time I spent online, which led to my blog obsession, which led me to wonder whether there were any out there that I followed and hadn't checked recently. This led me to think about Emily Wing Smith, which in turn made me reflect on the last time I saw her, at her book signing in Barnes and Noble. How cool is it that I know a published author? And then I remembered that when she signed my copy of The Way He Lived she asked if I wrote, and I answered yes, and she wished me the best of luck in my own writing.

At that moment, I stopped what I was doing and stared at the wall in front of me. Because just then, I knew I had lied. I had given a gut answer that didn't hold true anymore, and that fact make me want to curl up on the couch and listen to Radiohead's "No Surprises" until there was nothing left of me but an empty shell, where all that remains is the chocolate outside of a Cadbury Caramel Egg, sucked void of all creative spark (embodied in this case by sweet caramel goodness).

I think this is my first large-scale identity crisis. My entire life, I was The Writer, capitalized and all. From kindergarten to 5th grade, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would stand up straight and say "I'm going to be an author!" with all the pride I could muster. True, back then it sounded more like "I'm gonna be an authoh" because I coulnd't say my r's, but the conviction I had was worth a thousand words. Even after I decided to be an English Teacher in 6th grade, it was just the paying gig, my service to humanity while I wrote on the side.

That dream is dead now. I haven't really written in years. I did take a Creative Writing class to try and reignite the flame, where I wrote a killer essay (man, can I write an essay, even if it is technically "creative non-fiction"), an acceptable poem, and one disgustingly mediocre short story. None of them had passion. None of them were artistic and beautiful, things that all writing should be. They were just words, and I was merely throwing more subpar material into the world.

This blog was partially meant to resuscitate my writing. But even within the casual confines of blogging, I've struggled to find a voice. It seems that you can't write well unless you know your style, and mine is still nowhere to be found. The tones of my past posts are erratic, and you can almost visualize my woebegone wanderings as I grasp at genre. Am I humorous? Am I a poet? Am I a deep thinker, with new observations about the world around me? Nope. I'm not even a journal blogger, with mundane specifics of my day.

So that's the question I vomit on the screen, my words as stinky and almost as worthy of disdain. Without being "a writer", can I write? Is there a glorious resurrection in the future for me and my work? And is that passion for the pen even still within me? If not, can I regain it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

They're trying to "Fix Me"... a.k.a. my lame attempt at a punny title involving a Coldplay song.

This is my saving grace at work. I used to listen to Project Playlist, but I got so sick of the songs I picked. Change was needed. Something new and fresh was needed. And that something was Pandora.

Listening to Pandora is fantastic. It's almost what I imagine a honeymoon would be like, but with fresh music instead of fresh marriage. Right now in my life, I prefer the music. But that doesn't have anything to do with what I am trying to say, so moving on...

There's only one problem to this system. As you might know, Pandora creates "stations" based on a musical artist you choose, playing music by the artist and similar musicians. This is a perfect system if you want to find new things to love, but sometimes the all-knowing Pandora can shove music at you. Like what they're doing right now with Coldplay.

I know most people will hate me for this, but I'm lukewarm when it comes to Coldplay. I really like "Don't Panic", and I'll jam to a couple other songs, but I don't go all weak in the stomach when I hear their music. Before you organize an angry mob (*cough* Kelsey *cough* Kate *cough* Paige), know this: I do appreciate and recognize their contribution to modern music. They just don't fill me with unhibited joy and passion, and I'm OK with that.

But according to Pandora, I should be completely, utterly INFATUATED with Coldplay. They show up on every single station I listen to. My Andrew Bird station? Up pops "Green Eyes". Badly Drawn Boy? Even more. And on Ben Folds Five, Coldplay is seriously every other song, which really confuses me because I don't connect those two bands at all. And I haven't got the heart to click thumbs down, an action that feels like ultimate rejection. I don't dislike the songs, I'm just apathetic.

The only issue is variety. What a glorious word, representing all the beautiful choices and possibilities this world has to offer us. With variety, we can expand thought and create enlightened minds that think outside the box. With variety, we can accomplish more than anyone imagined. With variety, we can RULE THE WORLD. So come on Pandora. Expand your horizons and reach beyond the Coldplay universe.