Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Unequivocal Belief

I was sitting in my room when I thought of the handful teachers I've befriended and kept in touch with over the years. It hit me that I've actually lost touch with all of the teachers I had been e-mailing. I thought of my first teacher-friend, from 3rd grade, Ms. Fox (I'll refer to her as this, because she's married now so this isn't betraying any identities). Always anxious to procrastinate my homework, I jumped on my laptop and searched for her on Facebook. Finding nothing, I did a Google search. A web crawler came up that searches all websites for any information about a person and puts it all together for you. Of course to see the full report and personal information, I'd have to pay, but just to list the people it found with that name, their age and area of location, including known associates, was free. I browsed, realizing Ms. Fox would be in her mid-30's now, and trying to remember her husband's name. I actually kept at it for quite awhile. I incredulously realized that I was putting a creepy amount of effort into this. The only thing I could do if I found her was e-mail her and come off as a stalker. What was I wasting my time for? Suddenly, there she was. 36, Ms. Fox, in the Seattle area, listing her husband's name and her married name. It had to be her.

I quickly searched the Seattle school district website for all elementary schools in the area. I searched her name on every elementary school and within the district website. Finally, when I had grown tired of my game, I tried one last search and came up with a picture directory of faculty. I scrolled, holding my breath and there...there she was, looking exactly the same. Her name and e-mail address. I didn't react for a few seconds, I just stared. Finally, I started to compose an e-mail to her, hoping that the website wasn't listing outdated information. I didn't know how to start. How do I tell someone after a 7-8 year silence that I wanted to get back in touch? How could I draft this without coming off as a creep? I did my best, related some experiences that might jog her memory and let her know that I wanted to stay in touch...but how could I explain why? If she didn't want to respond, what is the one thing I should let her know?

I decided to end my email with gratitude. I remembered her warmth, her friendship, her involvement in my life that meant so much to me, and the multiplication table songs she taught that I still sing to myself for the 7's and above (don't judge, those are tricky). I don't even remember why she meant so much to me, to be honest, but I just remember that she did, and obviously still does. That was all I could tell her, and hope that it didn't scare her into reporting my e-mail as spam. And even now, a few hours later, I'm still thinking about it, still feeling good about just finding her and letting her know.

Today my thoughts were on teachers, but recently I've just been thinking a lot about all the people, teacher or otherwise, that have left a deep influence on me. I've been thinking about how rare it is for an expression of true emotion, particularly face to face, to occur. Personally, I know that I weep voraciously when I try to tell someone how much they've touched my heart, so I try to keep it to writing, but I think even if I didn't, it would still be borderline taboo to be so heartfelt in person. I probably am reserved out of my own misreading of social cues, but it is what it is. The other half of this is that most people (myself included) are really bad at receiving compliments in person. You feel uncomfortable and awkward to be talked about, and even worse if there are other parties present. And yet here it is, my unequivocal belief: everyone should know how much they are loved and the power they wield to touch another life. I hate that all of my posts end on a soapbox, but honestly, give it a try.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Who the hay knows" 2.0

An elaboration on my thought 2 weeks ago...I promise I'll come up with something new to blog about eventually.

I think my earliest desired occupation was "detective". I was big on the mystery novel at a young age. Next, was definitely "writer". Then I think for the most part since then, it was always to be a teacher, in some capacity or another. There was a really awkward period in fifth grade where I wanted to be a nuclear physicist (I honestly have no idea...). Throughout all of my career goals, writer was always kind of there, in the back of my mind, like the "in your downtime just write a best seller and hopefully you won't really have to work again" option. The older I got, the more I let the impracticably of it settle in and wash away the desire.

There were stints of authoring fervor, like the middle school screenplay, and the early high school poetry, and now this creative non-fiction blog that I love to death. I have an alter-ego floating around on the internet that I'm trying to use to motivate me to write fiction for once. I suppose what I'm saying is that all of my better judgement is telling me to be an adult and get a real career when I graduate (which I will, keep breathing Mom) but the rest of me is writing, feverishly, to try and do something I love. Despite the astronomical odds, someone has to write novels and someone has to get published, and no where in stone does it say that it can't be me.

As my italicized introduction says, I know I've been beating this topic to death recently, and for the redundancy of it all, I apologize. It's just such a different, positive experience to try my hand at something I think I am good at. To go to a British Literature class and have the professor compare Lord Byron to Tupac, to have a break in the day or go home at night and want to continue doing what I was doing in class, to be doing well in a class without having to consult all other classmates about how to complete something...yes, this is indeed where I was supposed to end up.

So here I am, full circle. Sort of, I'm not taking any forensic science classes, but you know, the writing bit. It just makes me laugh at myself. "Haha Laurie, you thought you could pretend to do something else. What a dummy you are!" I think teaching is not out of my future, I think that's a part of me as well that will be recognized eventually. Despite other identity crises ("am I really this much of a loner?!" post forthcoming) writing, savoring words on a page for the sheer joy of how they sound or look or describe something perfectly; that, is thoroughly me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The BYU alumni readership I have will know of BYUs sketch comedy group, Divine Comedy (I think the video "Halo" is by far the funniest). Thursday night I was perusing YouTube videos instead of doing homework, mainly watching old Divine Comedy sketches. This led me to their website which led me to see their latest post. "Divine Comedy Auditions!" Thursday/Friday, 8-10pm. 2 minutes of original comedic material. I thought for about 30 seconds then decided, "What the heck? At the very worst, I look like a completely fool and failure in front of a few dozen people that are hilarious that I actually admire." ...Luckily, I'm resilient and that thought didn't phase me too bad. Actually, it didn't phase me because the one unequivocal belief I have in myself is that I am an inherently funny person. You're welcome.

I don't know what I was thinking but I didn't think that 8pm on a Friday night, there would be a packed auditorium in the Tanner building on BYU campus. But, alas, it was and I started getting ridiculously nervous. But, no one I knew was there, I couldn't be a loser and cop out now. I was the 25th person to go. It didn't help that the first two people to audition were absolutely hilarious. Within the first 24 people, it was clear that I would not make the cut, but again, couldn't leave at this point.

My sketch was pretty funny, I had the "PDA Blues" and sang about all the ridiculous PDA you see on campus. But, I accompanied myself on my RockBand guitar, for utmost comedic effect. I got laughs after all my punchlines, and my intro, so I guess it was successful. It didn't go as well as I hoped it would because I was so nervous, I think my deliveries came out a little rushed. After all the auditions (which ended around 10:20pm) they announced call backs would be the next morning and you'd get a call that night if you were going to be invited back.

I knew I wouldn't get in the troupe, but I don't think anyone could've helped it. I couldn't let go of a smidgen of hope that maybe I'd at least get to go to callbacks. There were a lot of hilarious people, but there were a lot of train wrecks (everyone got at least a few laughs though, so nothing heartbreaking to the infinite amount of freshmen that tried out). I like to believe I was closer to "hilarious" on the spectrum, and farther away from "train wreck". I also didn't know how long it would take for them to review all the "maybes". I forced my eyes to stay open for two hours, watching mindless TV with one and keeping the other on my phone. At 12:30am, I had to admit it, I wasn't going to call backs.

This morning, while I was lethargically eating Marshmallow Mateys, I was thinking about my slight melancholy, and how I had convinced myself the day before, there was no way I was going to get in, so what was the problem? The indefatigable nature of hope. The reason why most of the time we love it, and the reason this particular weekend, I'm a little bummed. I tried to think of a more profound follow up to that revelation but I think that might be all I got. I'm glad I hope for things, small or big. I'm glad I I don't listen to my pessimistic side all of the time, and that I couldn't just shake off not getting into call backs. I'm glad I have enough positivity in my life that I have hope.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Who the hay knows?

I desperately want to write. Right now, all the time, always. If I allowed myself to have one silly fantasy about what I could do with the rest of my life, it would be to write and make that a living. In the most glamorous version of this fantasy, I would be a novelist, and live my life in the style of Richard Castle (see ABC's Castle, great show). If it was a slightly more realistic version of this fantasy, I would live my life in the style of a columnist for a big time newspaper, usually in New York but when I start to get really realistic, I realize I would love to end up in Seattle. And then reality truly settles and I realize to become a famous novelist is a very large task and newspapers are dying by the second. So, I drum down everything to be a very popular blogger and at the very least, get to lounge around my swanky loft apartment with my medium-sized dog at my leisure.

When I'm seized with these dreams, I immediately log on to Blogger and try to think of the most ingenious way to make a daily occurrence poignant or hilarious, and if it's a really good day, both. But as you might notice from the infrequency of my posts, most of these fits of "inspiration" result in distraction or really sub-par ideas that sounded good at one time in my subconscious (this is turning out to be one of those, but I think I'll keep it).

Anyway, why am I explaining this process? I'm not sure, but I just read someone's blog about how he tried to be an actor even though it stunk and it made me think about how far I'm willing to try to be an author, or at the very least, a blogger. Time will tell, I have an eon left before I graduate and am forced to make responsible life decisions. But hey, I just changed my major and moved into a completely random apartment a few weeks before the beginning of an important semester, so who's to say I won't be completely silly and try my hand at successful, published, authorship? I had a letter to the editor that once made it into the school newspaper, so that's a start, right?