October 30, 2004

I am but one small instrument...

Rejection is probably going to be a big part of my life if I ever really do pursue a career in writing. Writers - even the best of them - get rejected all the time. I bring this up because I recently submitted some poems to the Mid-American Review's unpublished writers issue. I did so knowing that I probably wouldn't get accepted. I was write. My self-addressed, stamped envelope came back to me in the mail yesterday with a little rejection form. The editor was nice enough to jot down a little note in red marker at the bottom. I wasn't surprised at this outcome but it had the same effect as other rejections I've gotten. I simultaneously get the urge to give up on writing altogether and to devote much more time and effort to my work. If I'm really serious about this I do need to devote myself to it more. I should write something everyday. At least a few times a week. If I want to go get an MFA in Creative Writing, I need to start working on stuff that's good enough to submit for a portfolio.

Which brings me to another topic. School. More precisely, why this school is being dumb and won't let me pursue the academic course that I want to. On Thursday, I met with my College of Communications advisor for the first time after being accepted into the journalism program. She looked at my transcript and noticed how many rhet courses I've taken and asked if I'd thought about being a rhet major at one point. I explained that I was planning to do a dual degree and she told me that the university has put a moretorium on that right now. There's a chance they might be doing away with them all together. After I was done with her I went to see my advisor in the English department and he told me the same thing. He advised that I get my case together and go into the LAS office and explain to them why I should be allowed to do both majors. He told me to tell them that I'm only two classes away from meeting the degree requirements for the Rhetoric degree. So next week I have to go in and attempt to plead my case. What I'm going to do if they so no, I have no clue. I guess that's all I'll write for now. It's Halloween weekend, which is awesome. So enjoy that. And don't forget to vote.

SONG OF THE MOMENT:

Halloween - Alkaline Trio

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October 26, 2004

A redirection

I'm basically writing in here to redirect people (whoever actually reads this) to a new poem I wrote that's in my other blog. So here's a link to that, if you don't know the address. I was walking from class to work today a line popped into my head that I thought sounded cool even though I didn't really know what it meant exactly. So when I got home, I jotted down this poem. I'm not even in a poetry workshop this semester or anything! Aren't you proud?

On a side note, I just got an email informing me that I officially got into the College of Communications for Journalism, so that's pretty kick ass. A good start to a week I thought was gonna kinda suck.

Anyway, read the poem and enjoy. (And the most recent story too, if you haven't looked at that).

SONG OF THE MOMENT:

Tonight I'll Take What I Can Get (Acoustic) - Dashboard Confessional (free downloand on the website!)

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October 25, 2004

Short and Sweet

Two quotes I've found recently and enjoyed"

"Love ainít the answer nor is work,
the truth alludes me so much it hurts.
But Iím still having fun and I guess that's the key,
I'm a twenty something and I'll keep being me."

-jamie cullum, twentysomething

"People are bastard coated bastards with bastard fillings."

-dr. cox, scrubs.

SONG OF THE MOMENT:

"I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" - Colin Hay, Garden State Soundtrack

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October 21, 2004

I'll be your best kept secret and your biggest mistake

Just a warning: that title has nothing to do with anything I'm about to write. I'm pretty sure of it. Although I don't really know what I'm about to write, so maybe in some way it will.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I've written anything and that's just one reason why I suck. Some stuff happened. Some of it was crazy, some of it was stupid, some of it was a lot of fun, some of it left me with a really sore ass (that was the time I slid down the stairs from the third floor of my house to the second). There's a lot to think, talk, and write about but I think most of it is best left for other venues.

I went home this weekend for the first time in 2 months. It was the longest I think I've ever been away from home but I really think I could have made it all the way to Thanksgiving without going. Two things drew me out of the cornfields and back up to Chicagoland: 1.) at party at Nick's apartment at Northwestern and 2.) My aunt, uncle, and cousins coming in from California. Mike and I were going to go up for this party and then he was going to drive back down on Saturday. Me and Mike turned into me, Mike, and Holler. That turned into Me, Mike, Holler, and Carrie. Which turned into Me, Mike, Holler, Carrie, Jodi, Kordik, and Rob. It was good we all came because I'm pretty sure a lot of the Northwestern people (excluding Nick, who's used to our shenanigans) were freaked out by our craziness. Personally, I think a toilet paper mummy with aviator sunglasses is a perfectly appropriate part of any apartment party. We got some strange looks for that one though. Matt and Steph were there though and that was awesome. It felt almost like old times. It's always great to see them. I hope they come down to Chambana sometime this year. The night ended with me driving back to VP at 5 a.m. and us eating breakfast at Simon's and hanging out at the Hockensmith's for the better part of the morning and afternoon. I left briefly to go vomit in the bathroom of the Children's section of the Villa Park Public Library. No, I was not hung over, I was ill. I spent the rest of the day studying (::gasp::) and laying around listening to music. I went bowling with Dave, Jon, and Mike Black briefly which was fun even though I didn't bowl well. I studied a little more and then went to bed early. Everyone in CU went to see Team America without me. Boo.

Sunday I got up and went to church when I got back my mom was baking me oatmeal cookies to take back to school. How awesome is that? I went to pick out a pumpkin with Ralph and Marcus at Tim Musachio's church. We went and had Portillo's (my second fix of the weekend) and then to Aunt Jan's to visit with the Sullivan's. The girls are taller and smarter. They will never cease to amaze me. Uncle Tim played guitar all day long, which was awesome. I love listening to him play. It was really good to be with family even though one part didn't show up...actually I'm happier that they didn't.

I drove the Taurus back down on Sunday and Carrie rode with me. The drive went by quickly. We talked about relationships and stuff. I told her about how all the high school couples from our group feel apart. She told me a little about her and Paul. I bought Combos like I always do when I drive somewhere far. When I got back I watched Orange County with Mike instead of studying. Great decision. Best line: Jon Lithgow to Colin Hanks, "A writer? What do you have to write about? You're not oppressed. You're not gay."

Having a car here this week is great. I've been driving everywhere and spending way too much money. It's been a good week. Tuesday I pigged out on B Dubs and listened to the new Jimmy Eat World Album. It's pretty kick ass. Kind of similar to some of the Static Prevails stuff in some ways. Goin out tonight and tomorrow is "Tails" the costume party at APX. Should be good times. You better watch out or the mafia (aka: Rachel, Carrie, and Me) will put a hit out on you.

Here's a new little feature I'm going to include in my entries from now on....

Song of the Moment:

Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy (Acoustic) - Fall Out Boy (from the "My Heart Will Always Be the B-Side to My Tongue" EP

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October 6, 2004

There is nothing - there is risk

The title of this entry is a phrase you've probably seen before if you've looked at my facebook profile or my away messages in the past couple days. Lately I've been coming to realize how true these six words are. The first time I saw them was on the online journal of my brother Ralph's college roommate, Steve, who left the US to move to Australia shortly after graduating college. It was a big risk to say the least. The word never really took any significance for me until I realized the source.
Second semester of my freshmen year I took my first creative writing workshop here at U of I. I got into a class with Michael Madonick, who was recommended to me by Steve. While I was taking this class, the relationship I'd been in for the last two years was falling apart. One day in class Madonick brought in an essay he had published in the Florida Review and read it aloud to the class. It really resonated with me because it was all about, or at least mostly about, a failed relationship of his. I think I want to share a part of it here. If you want to read the whole thing sometime, ask me about it. It's called "The Box." This part describes an encounter with critically acclaimed novelist Richard Powers, who teaches here.

"Just last week I was walking down from the mailboxes in the English Department and I saw Rick Powers coming up the stairs. I gave him some shit about something or other. I like to make geniuses laugh, it puts me at ease. Anyway, he stops cold on one of the stairs before he reaches the landing and he looks up at me, something that I'm not used to from him, he looks up at me as if I'm the genius, as if I didn't graduate from high school 94th in a class of 107, as if it was my evil twin who took five years of first year Spanish. Powers looks up at me like I know something, like I haven't been thinking for months of writing to Lorrie, my old best friend. He looks up at me and he says, you know there's a woman I want to ask out but the last time I asked her out she said she was busy, she said she had research to do. Now I swear he's looking at me like I am the guru of love, like I know something, like I'm not the youngest child. He asks, what should I do. Rick Powers is asking me what he should do. I can't believe it, a MacArthur prize winner is asking me what he should do. Me, I'm still wanting to send irises to someone who dumped me twenty-four years ago. I want my friend back. I look at him, this situation may never happen again. I try for all I'm worth to summon up whatever fortune-cookie wisdom I can muster. I raise my left hand, I what the fingers splay like the feathers of a water-bird, the anhinga, who needs to dry its wings before it can fly again. I milk this moment for all its worth. I say Rick, it's just this simple, there is nothing - there is risk. He moves back a little, like he didn't expect it, and as I look at him I'm wondering where it came from myself. He looks right at me, the genius does, and he says, I like that, I like that, Mike. He walks away."

I've realized recently that this is pretty sound advice to live by. Without risk, what do we really have? It sounds cliche but nothing great has ever been achieved without something being risked. I think most decisions in life can be made by weighing what you stand to gain against what you'd be risking. A few people have heard me say this lately probably, but I really believe it. If something is worthwhile, then it's probably worth the risk. I really hope I can bring myself to live by my own advice. Or rather by Mike Madonick's, which is a scary proposition if you know him. There are so many things I want in life and I know I'll have to risk a lot to achieve them. But I'll just try to remember six little words: there is nothing - there is risk.

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