Friday, February 27, 2009

Part Deux

You remember Old Navy Joe, right? You'd think that this poor man's escapades with my crazy family would be done, right? Yeah, me too.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. And once again, Julie is responsible.

In my beloved mother's defense, she did it out of love. I was having a stressful day, and you know mothers: they'll do anything for their daughters. My mother is so good to me...she just does things sometimes, though, you know? Things that make you shake your head and falter, "Mama...why? Why, Mama, why?" Why, for example, do we have chickens? This mystery has never adequately been explained to me. Why does she still think that her children [ages 22, 20, 18, and 16, mind you] believe in Santa Clause? Why does she enjoy exercise? That just seems unnatural. Ah, but I digress. The point is, Mom will go to great lengths to make her daughters smile. And in normal circumstances, this would be a beautiful quality.

As it is, however....well. I'm not so sure.

I texted her my woes on Tuesday while she was shopping apparently. I'll give you a wild guess where. Anyway, she had her phone out, looked up, and realized that, oh! She and Old Navy Joe were the only ones in the front of the store! What a perfect opportunity to surprise her beloved baby girls!

Trying to envision this next part makes me laugh, because she covertly tried to take a picture of the cutest cashier in all of Gap, Inc., and yet somehow ended up with four pictures of her finger on her phone. Her finger. would this work? What was she pretending to take a picture of, that this could be the end result?? I don't claim to understand my mother, but this is just too much. I love it.

Obviously taking pity on her silly, misguided soul, bored Old Navy Joe asked her if she needed help with anything. Mom smiled sweetly, I'm sure, and sidled up to the register. "Yeah..." she said. "Can you help me figure out the camera on my phone?"

Now, this part strikes me as pure genius. What a tactic! What a flirt! I LOVE IT!!! Julie, of course, knows perfectly well how to use the camera on her phone, but she had a plan. This has to be one of the moments in life where I beam in pride for my mother. It's just too delicious. Old Navy Joe obviously obliged and showed her how to access the camera feature on her phone, took a picture of the cash register to show her how to work it, and then handed her the phone. Then it was Julie's turn to try and she took a picture of HIM!!! A close-up, posed, completely awkward picture!! Then she goes, "Would you be sad if I deleted it?" He smiled, because he is Old Navy Joe, and he goes, "Not at all."

Then what did the saucy little minx do, you might ask? SHE SENT THE PICTURE TO SHELBY AND I!!

Of course, I didn't know this story when I opened my phone in class to see a vaguely familiar face smiling up at me. Who is this man...he dear Lord....OLD NAVY JOE!!! I thought, my brain going a million miles a moment. I stood up, slamming my hands on my desk the second class was over. "I am going to KILL my mother!!" I said murderously. The boys sitting next to me looked very afraid. They had every right to. I was very unhappy with my mother.

I called her immediately and she answered casually. "MOTHER." I said forcefully. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??!"

At risk of losing her life, or at least her privilege of shopping in Old Navy unaccompanied, she told me the story. I was easily placated, slightly charmed and impressed even. My sister, on the other hand, was not, but that's a different situation...and I don't blame her. Good job, Shelby.

So, the point is, that poor, poor man has been deeply psychologically damaged by my mother and he probably doesn't even realize it...or worse, he DOES realize it, but he humors all of us out of pity. I choose not to accept that. Here's my version: he obviously remembers the time that I was with my mother, and therefore does everything he can to impress her so that he has an in with me. Right?

I pray to God he never finds this. Talk about mortifying.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pick me, Oscar!!

By now, we all know that I go through phases. I am passionate by nature; I obsess easily. I really wanted a dog this fall, for example. I googled all sorts of dog information, took quizzes to find out which kind of dog was best suited for my personality, looked at dog paraphernalia in the store, cuddled with pillows and simply pretended it was a dog [....what?], made lists of dog names that I get the picture. The strangest thing happened, though. After about a week or two, I woke up one morning as if nothing had ever happened. I simply stopped thinking about it. My friends would mention something about a dog and something would glimmer in the periphery of my brain, a mere shadow of a memory...then promptly disappear.

This happens a lot. I go through phases -- it's a motto, of sorts. I wanted to name my future daughter Wednesday for a while. It was a phase. I spent hours every day playing Mah Jongg or on Pioneer Woman for a while. It was a phase [and I'm happy to say that I'm down to less than an hour every day. *tear* Prasise Him]. I wanted to be a massage therapist for a while, I wanted to live in a business casual wardrobe for a while, I wanted to learn Russian, how to sew, ride a horse, shop in thrift stores, unearth the Underground Railroad stop that I was convinced was on our property, become a yoga instructor...all phases and trust me, the list goes on an on.

Despite the fact that I am mildly obsessive, all or nothing, compulsive to the point of recklessness at times, one thing has never changed for me: the Academy Awards.

I remember the first time the Academy Awards made an impression on me. I was going through a phase where I decided to learn to identify different actresses and actors and therefore bought every magazine I could get my hands on [...not much has changed in this aspect...] I remember the Oscar special of People magazine. I poured over that thing, scoured it until it fell apart, memorizing names and faces and designers and was magical. It was 2002, the year of A Beautiful Mind, the year of the nude-colored, wispy dress that Jennifer Conelly wore, the year of Halle Berry's historic win and incredible gown. I was completely hooked. Not that it takes that much to get me addicted to something, but whatever.

You guys, I'm not kidding -- Oscar night is my Superbowl Sunday. I got all stressed out last night, and started pacing around my apartment at seven. I jumped and skipped and ran around in a general frenzy as Jessie watched, uncertain what to do with me. I was on the phone with the only people who understand me in this context [Taylor and Eric and, shockingly enough, Drue], yelled at Barbra Walters and Mickey Rourke during their interview, and inhaled popcorn. When the Awards actually started, I collapsed into a nervous tizzy on the couch, my leg shaking with excess energy, and snapped at whoever tried to talk to me during acceptance speeches. Because of my copius amounts of research and movie watching, I successfully picked the winners in each of the big five categories [Actor/Actress in a leading role, Actor/Actress in a supporting role, Picture], and was generally impressed despite the fact that the nominees that I WANTED to win did not [God bless Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman and that horrible knit cap of his. Amen].

So, while my obsession with movies may not be a phase, I hope that this level of committment is, for my own sake. I found a new website yesterday that I am mildly in love with...shocking, right? Not really. Anyway, I first found it in the context of it geography games [which will be very useful for my NY resolution to learn the names and locations of African countries], but quickly found my way to the movie section. That's when I found this. Dear Lord, please save my soul. I can now list the Best Picture winners from the past thirty-nine under two minutes.

I see your judging eyes. Stop that.

Anyway, I'm secretly sort of proud of my new accomplishment. And even though I have laid aside my dreams of being an actress [yet another phase], Tina Fey and Steve Martin inspired me with their presentation of the writing awards...just wait. I'll win an Oscar yet.

And I'll thank the Academy and my family and my English teacher from Gull Lake, Mrs. Jones, and the fabulous designer that I'm wearing and James Franco, my devoted boyfriend, and my dog Walter, and Pioneer Woman, and, of course, my beautiful readers for their unwavering support of my fanatic obsessions from the start. Oh geez, I'm going to faint!! *tear/sob/wail/faint in giddy delight*

Monday, February 16, 2009

ONLY Because It's Your Birthday

Dear Furrow,

I suppose you creep on my blog enough to get a decent shout out. As one of my most fanatic readers, I want to take this day, your birthday, to say that I truly appreciate your [sometimes creepy] support. Your devotion errs on the side of obsession, but I'm Carly: I'm used to odd amounts of attention.

Regardless of the fact that we both know that this quasi-friendship will one day result in a restraining order [against you, obviously], at this point it seems under control enough for you to know that I think you're a good guy. A hopelessly awkward, perennially grumpy, red-headed jerk sometimes, but overall, not too bad. I love the fact that I can craft perfectly balanced insults to hurl at you and, instead of moping to the corner to lick your wounds, you squeal in glee [you think I don't hear that, but I do...] I think that if everyone had a relationship based on mutual respect, loathing, and a begrudged friendship in their life, the world would probably be a better place.

That being said, I would like to take a moment to clarify a few things.

1. This is not a Top 10 List. Don't get too excited.

2. Despite what you choose to believe, you were wearing a Zelda t-shirt when I first met you.

3. Also despite what you choose to believe, you were wearing that same Zelda t-shirt when I first saw you in GL's halls, some five or six years later.

4. I did NOT say that I wanted to be you during my Reflection interview.

5. Consequently, the Reflection was a horrid excuse of a publication and I left embarrassingly early nearly every day either to go to class at Kalamazoo College or go back to sleep in my bed.

6. I know that you were jealous when you found out about my innocent crush on your "chubby, Mexican manager" Mike [and BY THE WAY, he is not chubby -- he's adorably cuddly looking]. It's obvious that you are in love with me. Just give up now, silly.

7. If you retort to that with some comment about how clearly enamored I must be with you to even say such a thing, I will throw up all over your unoriginality and disillusioned brain. Don't tempt me, Furrow, I'll do it.

8. I get unexpected amounts of joy from being mean to you, but unfortunately we both know that I am joking and, in fact, have a small place in my heart for your weirdness. A ridiculously microscopic, strictly-platonic, heavily-guarded, and highly secret place, that is, but a teeny place nonetheless.

9. Don't let that give you any false hope. You don't stand a chance. I will, however, sign a copy of my book for you one day. Maybe.

10. You were incredibly awkward at my Fallapalooza Extravaganza. Next time, just talk to someone and wear a sweatshirt. It'll probably go smoother.

11. I am adding this last point simply to deny you a Top 10 List. Plus half of these were about me and your hopeless addiction to me. This is NOT a Top 10 List. I wouldn't want to cause you too much excitement as to impair your ability to fall asleep for the next twelve years of your life...

With this out of my way, I am on to bigger, better lint-brushing my wardrobe. Or removing my nail polish. Or sculpting my art eraser into my own interpretation of a rock. I hope you had a great birthday...and that a real-life exchange made you happier than this. I highly doubt the likelihoods of that...but whatever.

Oh, and if you fail to make an account to actually comment on my posts after this monumental display of acknowledgment, you will be banned. You have been warned.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Storming Thoughts

I'm not going to lie to you: this blog has tortured me recently. I want to write, I really do. I have been harassed about not writing, I have searched for things to write about, I have had a million thoughts, ideas, experiences, and general minutia to tell you about, but when it came down to it, I just couldn't do it.

The truth is I write a lot. At any given time, I have four journals in rotation; one typical journal, one beautiful red leather journal with the title Letters Unsent imprinted on the cover, one embossed turquoise journal that I use as a devotional, and another general notebook that serves as a catchall. I write every day, all day, by scribbling in notebooks, saving Word documents with single sentences in them, doodling on sticky notes, sending emails...I am constantly writing something.

So it's weird when I feel like I can't express myself, as has been the case lately. I feel like I have so much to say, so many thoughts to get out of my head, but I have been stunted by a lack of expression. Maybe it's because my thoughts are not yet fully formed. They are like clouds; sometimes there a few dotting the sky, light and fluffy and lovely, and other times they are like a solid, thick, gray carpet, oppressively covering my brain with their darkness. Either way, I cannot separate them individually any more than I can control when they come. I am in the middle of a tempest, a private storm, and the last thing I want to do is bog down my work with writing merely for the sake of writing.

Don't get me wrong -- that kind of work has a very important place in my life. But it's not what I use my blog for. I want to write with a purpose, for a reason, and if I can't say anything meaningful or funny or thoughtful or entertaining, I'm not going to post empty garbage. It's not worth it. I was struck by a prose poem today that embodies how I feel about writing, or how I write at least. I want to share it with you, if for nothing else than to explain how I view writing. I hope it makes some sense.

PS: Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for wanting to read my writing to the point where you bother me to update. Thank you for being my constant audience. You're great.

so you want to be a writer


if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

— Bukowski