Writing Memoirs

Today I began a five-day intensive course on writing memoirs. So far it has just been a lot of creative, free writing where you create stories on the fly from a random list of words. I am having a blast.

My teacher sounds exactly like Anjelica Huston (probably because they are, in fact, sisters), and I have never done so much random writing. It’s very liberating to just spout out whatever comes to mind first.

I even tried my hand at stand-up storytelling. Kinda like stand-up comedy meets improv. A new experience.

My stand-up story was about how the Dalai Lama was walking along one day and met a roly-poly and turtle sitting on a rock, debating on the best way to use a calculator to determine the distance to the moon. The Dalai Lama said that the answer was love and joy, and he offered them sushi. He then felt bad because sushi was very close in food groups to the turtle, and so he decides to take a sabatical from religious life to reasses his views on cannibalism.

Probably not something I’ll pursue in my future writing. Unless I can think of something clever for his sabatical. Any suggestions?

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It’s Official

Today I officially accepted my position as a secondary school social studies teacher in Alabama!

I’m not sure what the next two years will bring, but I couldn’t be more excited to find out. I love the idea of living in Alabama, getting a true southern twang, teaching history to high schoolers, and making a difference in someone’s life.

If I change the trajectory of even a single person’s life over the course of the next two years, I will consider my time as a teacher a huge success.

I don’t feel like I am joining Teach For America under any illusions of grandeur. I know my classroom wont be as sterile as in Freedom Writers or Precious. I don’t anticipate any moving speeches or standing ovations (though I do anticipate lots of tears — hopefully at least some being of the proud variety). And I know that I will be heading into the hardest two years I have yet to experience (though at the moment I have a difficult time imagining things more stressful/challenging than they are right now).

I am actually rather proud of myself for walking into this with my eyes open. No romanticizing things — expect maybe living in the bayou. I’m definitely shamelessly guilt of romanticizing that one. I already envision long solitary walks with my trusty camera, taking gazillions of pictures and filling my head with tons of stories set in the Deep South. I literally can’t wait to live there.

But I am thankfully empty of rosy-hued imaginings of teaching. Probably because there aren’t enough details to wrap my imagination around. I don’t know the specific grade level (could be anything from 7th to 12th), nor do I know the specific topics (could be anything from the beginning of time to the present day).

And I think lacking in grand visions of a clean-cut, perfectly attentive, adoring classroom will probably do me the most good. Let’s just hope I can keep it that way.

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My Life Has Been Irrevocably Altered

After about eight months of desperate longing and saving and more longing, I decided that it was officially time to purchase myself a nice camera. A real camera. A camera that takes pictures in incredible quality and has an adjustable focus and adjustable shutter speed (basically, adjustable everything).

So on Saturday, Val and I drove to Best Buy and walked to the camera section of the store. A salesman approached.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes. I want to buy that camera. Please.”

I think he was a bit taken back by my abruptness. Easiest sale he’s ever made.

But hey, when a woman knows what she wants, she knows what she wants.

Of course, then I had to send another sales guy to the back to find my sales guy because I’d accidently pointed at the wrong camera.

The salesman came back with my camera in a beautiful box.

“Do you need anything else? I would actually recommend getting a lens flare—”

“Yes, I’d like that too. Please.”

I was so excited that I was having a hard time being polite. I just wanted to hold my camera. Because it was already mine, naturally.

The human bond with her camera cannot be explained. It’s like magic. Only cooler.

The sales guy continued to hold my box while we walked up to the customer service register. I was a bit irritated that he wasn’t letting me carry it. It’s mine!

But of course, he was also helping me out. The in-store price tag read $849.99, and I was pretty darn sure that the online store price (and the price I was quoted when I called in that morning) was $798.99. And not a penny more. The sales guy was going to relay this information on to the customer service lady so that she’d give me the discount.

Which was nice of them. Except that I’m fairly positive that if I hadn’t said anything, they would have taken me for the $50. Uncool.

But they couldn’t because I didn’t let them — though they made that money back and more when I purchased a warranty package.

All in all, my price tag for the visit was just baaaaaarely under four digits. I’ve never dropped that much money on a single purchase in my entire life. My car in high school didn’t even cost that much.

The swipe of plastic that followed felt very satisfying.

And now, I am the proud owner of a beeeeeeaaaautiful, brand new Canon Rebel T2i.

Woohoo!!!

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Defensive Dancing

Last night was a good night with friends. It was girl’s night, and we went out to Campus Corner (an area north of campus full of bars, restaurants and little boutiques) and got our dance on.

And we wore heels. A rare — but oh so fun — occurrence.

A word of caution though. High heels may make for great legs, but they are subpar when it comes to dancing. Well, excellent for dancing, but subpar when it comes to walking the next day after dancing a bunch the night before. My feet are sooooooore.

But it was so much fun. So worth it.

There’s just something about dancing. I love it. Not the silly grinding with no rhythm stuff though. That’s lame and takes zero talent. I’m talking the salsa dancing, shake your booty (appropriately, of course), fast footwork stuff. The “to hell with trying to be sexy, I just want to dance” stuff.

Now that’s what I call a good time.

The problem with going out dancing, however, is that certain people– namely those with a Y chromosome– tend to get the wrong idea. When some guys (and I do saysome, because not all guys are this bad) see a group of girls move at any faster tempo than a sway, they automatically start thinking about how they should go over and interrupt their good time with a little male companionship.

I have no idea where these ideas come from. As I may have mentioned before, my “sexy dancing” skills are completely lacking. I don’t think there’s possibly an inappropriate way to interpret The Sprinkler. That I’m aware of.

And yet someone always manages to do so.

Way too many college guys seemed to have skipped class on the day they covered “The Correct Way to Pick Up Women.”

My “favorite” is when they come up behind you and just start grinding on you. No hello, no “Would you like to dance?,” and almost always no rhythm.

Since when does that ever sound like a good idea?

Oh hey! Maybe she wont notice that I’m all up in her business! Or maybe she’ll be flattered that I am completely abandoning all social norms and initiating completely inappropriate contact while she’s having a good time with her friends!

So not cool.

Anyway, dancing last night was fun. Constantly running away from guys was not.

That being said, I still love dancing. Probably always will.

I went to bed last night pondering. If only there was a way to solve this predicament…

And then today — as if in perfect answer to my soul searching– I found this YouTube video.

Brilliant.

I will be practicing this fervently until the next time we put our dancing shoes on.

Creepy boys, you have been warned.

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. . .

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”

-E.B. White

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Snow Day at OU

A text message from the university woke me up at 6:55 a.m. today. It read “Due to inclement weather, the University of Oklahoma will be closed today.”

Naturally, I ran to the window immediately.

Snow?! I love snow!!!

This is what greeted me.

Hardly counts.

I went back to sleep. Maybe it would get better later?

Nope. By now the roads have completely cleared and the snow is patchy at best. I can see the sun.

What a disappointment. I’d rather be in class right now.

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Yesterday’s Turn of Events

7:30 a.m. — Wake up. Immediately remember that today is the day I hear back from Teach For America (TFA). Burrow further down in my covers for a second, working to calm my roiling stomach.

8:00 a.m. — Go to the gym. A rather infrequent event that I hope to turn into a regular Tuesday/Thursday routine. It feels amazing to just up and run for a while. I need cardio back in my life.

11:00 a.m. — Meet someone at the Student Film Production Club (SFPC) equipment closet to check equipment back in. SFPC responsibilities are officially back in full swing.

1:30 p.m. — Report to work at National Scholars Office. Pick up kid at the Honors College and walk back to the north end of campus while trying to convince him that OU is awesome.

2:30 p.m. — Back at the office, I log in to my email address. I’ve been on edge all day, but I’m not expecting to hear from TFA until the late afternoon, so I don’t expect anything.

I’m not emotionally prepared for the first email that greets me.
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Filed under Future Plans, Senior Year, Teach For America