the autobiography project

It might seem silly when I tell you to “write your autobiography.” You’re not famous, you don’t feel worthy, you don’t think anyone would care, or just plain simply, you don’t think you need to or even want to for yourself. But you should! One day your memories won’t be so sharp. They’re already starting to fade. As it is, we make up so much of our memories anyway. It’s better to get the ones you remember out now rather than keep them inside until they shape-shift, warp, and disappear.

I keep a diary, but I’m not always “good” at it. It’s not organized. It’s not about my day or even about significant life events. There are redundant entries and lists and notes about lectures or events on reading and writing. Just a place really for me to dump my thoughts. But a few years back, when I had some free time on my hands after college, I decided to write it all out, chronologically, by age/grade, starting with birth.  I want to remember my life, both the agony and the ecstasy.  What started out as a few bullet points per year now has all of my memories racing at me at once. i can barely write down the outline before the next bullet is hitting, and as i write each sentence from the bullet point, things get clearer and clearer, until i am facing the past and moving forward wth my future at the same time. handwriting it is making it more personal, and now it will be in my diary forever. I also now have the opportunity to see patterns, and learn from the past, as well as see the direction I am heading in the future.

I never want anyone to read my diaries. They showcase the good, the bad, and especially the ugly. They are all mine, but they are sacred to me, no matter how messy or muted my life is, I have a place to explore it, and I want to put it to good use. In addition, I freewrite, use journal prompts… etc. I spend hours exploring the internet looking at diaries and bullet journals and art journals and planners, and I will probably never share more than a page or two once every few years of mine. But that’s okay. I like my journal the way she is. Unpredictable, like me.

journaling/planning crisis

I just put into words for myself why I vacillate between paper and digital with planning and journaling etc. To break it down for you, I spent most of my school years (grades 6-senior year of undergrad) with a paper planner. I then had a year off from school, and once I started my first semester of grad school, I was into OneNote. But even as someone who uses ON, I don’t even use it to the best of its capabilities (I’ve seen some amazing spreads on tumblr!). I use a standard “notebook” and keep my to-do list in it, about a week or two at a time, and erase as I go. It mostly works for me but here are my issues:

  • I wish I could keep the old lists, but that involves moving it over into another page or notebook, and using up the space (I don’t pay to use this program so I have limited space). [Also this isn’t so important as my “lists” don’t always consist of anything important – just menial tasks for that day].
  • I tried to keep a paper planner where I would write down important things that got erased, but I fall off the wagon with this a lot.
  • When using only a paper planner, I dislike that I cannot easily “move things around.” My friend suggested using a pencil, but it doesn’t feel fancy enough, and I’ll never go back and rewrite with a pen if I want it to be more permanent.

 

These are very first-world issues and very specific issues to me. Usually by the time I write about a problem publicly, I have already went through every possible solution. This digital/paper problem bleeds into my journaling life too.

I like to journal, but the thoughts roll out fast. I type them so that I can get it all out, but then I wish it was written in my notebook. I often find myself transcribing into my notebook whatever I wrote in my computer document. This works well unless I have written a large amount of typed pages, or if i begin to self-edit as I copy into my journal.

My family got our first computer when I was six, in 1996, and my computer time was very limited until college. I was used to writing everything by hand be it a journal entry, a short story or poem, or homework (unless it was mandatory to be typed). I am a millenial and I love my technology. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I also adore planners, art and written journaling, bujos, the works. I don’t want to give up my love for either digital or paper but my time is not unlimited. I think we make time for things we love, and I definitely do make time for these things, but perhaps I could make more. Especially for the journaling and art journaling.

Tell me how or why you journal or plan the way you do.

White Teeth; Zadie Smith

I just finished reading White Teeth for my class on Narrative Structure. Goodreads is full of mixed reviews. There are those who find it brilliant, and those who find it boring. I am the former. I underlined and circled and notated so much. I was reading four books at the time, (White Teeth, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and Bird by Bird) but kept coming back to this one.

Here is my favorite passage:

“A neutral place. The chances of finding one these days are slim… The sheer quantity of shit that must be wiped off the slate if we are to start again as new. Race. Land. Ownership. Faith. Theft. Blood. And more blood. And more. And not only must the place be neutral, but the messenger who takes you to the place, and the messenger who sends the messenger. There are no people or places left like that in North London” (378).

I know that this place might be impossible to find. I know that might even be the point of this passage – that such neutrality is beyond our grasp. But I like to work towards the future I envision. I don’t know what I’m trying to say except for this book spoke to me, and made me think, and comforted me, and hurt me, and I know I am late to the Zadie Smith show, but I’m glad I tuned in.

not a review, a meditation

There is a saying: the cure for anything is salt – sweat, tears, or the ocean.

 

The ocean is full of secrets and dreams. it has the power to cleanse, to heal, to pull you under. They say salt – the kind in tears, sweat, and the ocean – is everything. The ocean is beauty. To quote Andre Breton, french surrealist of the twentieth century, beauty will be CONVULSIVE, or not at all. Synonyms for convulsive include, but are not limited to: fiery, hazardous, stormy, raging, perilous, uncontrollable, unstable, bursting, wild, violent… the list goes on and on. Nadja, with it’s dreamy and sometimes nightmareish prose, is certainly convulsive.
I always say love and hate are not opposites. They are twins. The same goes for the above words, and beauty. Nothing beautiful is easy. Nothing beautiful is still or easily controlled. Roses have thorns. The ocean can pull you under. Even the sun burns. You cannot touch a butterfly’s wings or it will die.  “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all” is the truth.  It means that with everything in life, you will have positives and negatives. The most pure example of this is LOVE. Love is patient, love is kind… but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes love is working through pain and hard times. Love can make you feel every emotion. You sometimes could not be happier, sometimes your heart is quite literally broken. Love stinks, love hurts. But for every low, there is an impeccable high. Where dreams are brought to realization. A love for writing, what was once an ideal, is now a fiery passion I fight for each day. The right to exist in this space. The right to worship at the altar of voice and courage and the grotesque beauty that is life, and committing life to record for future civilizations.

As detailed in my last post, I have so much writing planned, and I am very particular. I want everything to flow a certain way and I have so much to say, but I am feeling self-conscious. I have people I want to write about, at least where their story overlaps my own; I’m feeling vulnerable. In the first essay collection, One Dark Thing, I detail times in my life of deep pain. There are pieces about friendship gone awry, my body, and even a piece about someone who got away. I have to dig deep and go to a really emotional place and let go of inhibition, but I am scared. What if it’s draining? What if people hate me after they read these pieces? (Everyone – not even necessarily the people who I’m writing about). Okay, well it’s one thing for strangers and acquaintances to hate me, but what if my close friends, my partner, my family judge me?

How do writers write without feeling insecure? How do they push through it? How do they write with such vulnerability knowing their mother is going to read the piece. How do I tell my family I might not even want them to read my work?

On a different note, I submitted a piece to a literary magazine in November and it is MAYBE getting published. They are still culling through the submissions, making sure the collection is cohesive, et cetera. It was a big step for me to finish the piece, and then edit it without prompting. It was a big step for me to submit it. I really, truly, definitely want this piece included in the collection but if it isn’t, I’m still proud of my work, and I will make it better and submit it elsewhere. The older I get the less time I have for my own bullshit. I want to be a writer. So while it’s lovely that I have all of these ideas, it’s even lovelier that I am sitting down and actually writing them and making plans to publish them. I am ready.

an invitation

INVITATION by Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er. a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by the fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

I am a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer and a pretender. Because I am a writer. I was born a writer, I will die a writer. I am also a person who likes deadlines, and to-do lists, and unambiguity. So I have given myself a deadline for my first essay collection (I have eight possible essay collections, five retellings, eleven original novels, some short fiction, children’s stories, three spec scripts, and many ideas that have not fully formed yet planned…)which I will self-publish on kindle. And I will be attempting to chronicle my journey along the way while I finish my Master’s,  and finish the essay collection, and there will be more posting about the personal on this blog as well. My writerly journey is personal, but I am excited to share it with you. If you would like to tell me what you want to know more about, I will be happy to share with you. Please email kil1thewaitress@hotmail.com with any suggestions, comments, questions, concerns.

 

Things that might come up –

Bookseller musings, Writer musings, reader musings, my coffee recipe, francophilia (both james franco and france), smoker musings, team jess musings, art musings, sexuality, yoga, portland…. and anything you suggest that i truly feel i can write about.

 

 

All the Lives I Want – Alana Massey

All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey is the book I’ve wanted to write, and wish I did write. Ms. Massey dwells on pop-culture with the eye of a lit critic and the heart of a sad girl. From her essays on Lana del Rey and Fiona Apple to her explorations on Amber Rose, stripping, and Winona Ryder, I was glued to my kindle. Almost every essay in this book was a more serious and thought provoking adventure into my mind than I had ever taken myself, and I recommend this to all who have ever embarked on the sad girl journey and those who are intrigued.