Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Golden Age

With my birthday taking place tomorrow I am feeling nothing but happiness. Most people dread such events, especially after they cross over into their thirties.

I feel I have been lied to and misled to believe that after thirty the so-called "party" is over. Well, I've never been much into parties, and if anything, my twenties were anything but a party. It was an extension of being a teenager, in my mind, and I did not enjoy either time as much as I probably should have, but I sure am enjoying being in my thirties. Turning thirty felt great, but turning thirty-one feels even better, because I've grown more in the last year than I ever did over the course of my twenties.

I feel more myself than I ever have, and the best part is I did it solo, without anybody clouding my judgment, or moulding me into someone I am not. That is the best birthday gift I could've ever asked for: myself, all figured out and ready to take on whatever comes my way. If life is a series of parties, then I'd say this party is the one where I would walk right in and have a blast without any strings attached.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Advice for the passive aggressive at heart...

I have a bit of advice for anyone reading this who happens to have a passive aggressive streak in them and is perhaps looking for a self-improvement type of new year resolution: Get rid of that streak. Passive aggressiveness is one of the ugliest ways of dealing with a situation. It alienates those you are using such tactics with and it also puts you under the category of coward in my book.

I am bringing this up now, because I am dealing with a passive aggressive person who is nice to my face, but whenever has a chance to point out any faults that I and all things and people associated with me possess, takes it and rides it to the end with the thinly-veiled pretense of joking. I laugh it off, but it's an awkward, forced and tense laugh that should alert the person that something is wrong. Very rarely are such people able to distinguish such a laugh from a genuine one, however. Due to this (for lack of a better term) denseness on the part of those who just don't get the reason behind the weird laugh, I along with other people like me end up looking like punching bags, door mats people wipe their feet on whenever they get a chance without impunity.

This brings me to the point that just because I don't fire back right away, doesn't mean I'm not upset, or that I'm stupid... or that I like serving as a stress reliever. You see, aside from me being a rather pacifist person who wants to live and let live, I am also of the belief that to respond to passive aggressiveness, or any other manner disagreeable to one's tastes, is to lower oneself. I believe it was Oscar Wilde who when he was faced with a situation where someone was basically trying to mess with him in a way beneath him, said: "I refuse to enter a battle of wits with an unarmed man." This statement doesn't just cover wit.

Other than being a pacifist, there is another P-word I would use to describe myself: proud. Many people see pride as a negative thing. Sometimes they even associate it with narrow-mindedness, as do I when the situation calls for such a conclusion. The pride I'm talking about, however, is not one that entails pride of material or out-of-control things like skin color and nationality and over-the-top patriotism. The pride I'm talking about is the kind that involves keeping one's dignity intact, something that everyone should work hard to preserve, even if it means picking your battles when each battle that comes your way is worthy of a fight in your mind. We don't have control over what we are, but we certainly have control over who we are, and I choose to be someone with unwavering dignity, hence, my choice to let those who use tactics beneath me do what they want.

Also, keep in mind that passive aggressiveness fixes nothing. If you have a problem with someone or something, just say it, or just stay away from the person or situation that causes these passive aggressive feelings to bubble up and surface. All you do with an attitude like that is work hard to maybe, just maybe be clever enough to line your true, not-so-funny feelings with wit, a rare commodity, because you're too afraid to face up to whatever it is you need to face up to. Relax your nerves and save yourself a headache and an awkward situation by just letting it all out in the open. I guarantee you will feel better and gain more for your benefit to fix whatever is broken.

Good luck.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hello, again.

I'm not sure what the frequency of me updating this old blog is anymore, but it's certainly not up to par with what a true blogger ought to have it as. I just know that I am one of those writers who only write and share when there is something worth writing and sharing. I like it that way.

So, what is it that I find worth writing and sharing today in the blogosphere?

My interests of late are scattered and include the usual activities of writing and reading, but I have acquired rather new interests that I think are worth sharing.

Knitting has become a huge part of my me time. I like to just sit there with my IPod on shuffle and just knit away, letting my mind wander until I have to look at the pattern again. The best part is that I'm making things that I know will be used by others, I'm learning new techniques and making things I never thought I'd make, and I am giving my mind a very good activity to occupy its free time with.

I mentioned before, I think, that I am also learning to crochet. I have improved somewhat, but I have yet to make anything, not even a scarf. When knitting gets too complicated, and it does these days considering the things I'm making, I take a break and bring out my crochet hook and practice single, double and triple crochets. It's relaxing and I imagine that one day I will be crocheting as good as I knit, but that is a way's away and I am taking my time with it and just having fun with it.

Sewing is also something I've picked up lately. I have managed to make a lovely skirt, which I've worn twice already, and a needle holder for my knitting needles. Of course, these things don't look polished and perfect, but the skirt is a piece of work I am especially proud of and find to be pretty damn good for a first try. The needle holder has its shortcomings, but it serves my needs and it is made to my specs, so I can't complain. I intend to make more things, considering the fact that like yarn, fabric is something one can become obssessed with, whether there is a project in mind or not, but I am organizing my time accordingly so I can focus on each activity as projects come up, otherwise it's chaos.

All of these activities, of course, make me feel more feminine than I've felt since I turned 10, when my princess dreams began to fade and the girls I was thrown in the midst of didn't share my love of fairytales and princesses. My girly disposition has resurfaced after lying dormant for entirely too long and I am diffusing it through activities that I associate with femininity. Of course there are plenty of men who knit, crochet and sew... nowhere is that more obvious than the abundance of men's names sewn to designer clothing labels. I don't want my written perception of femininity to act as a springboard for a long-winded discussion/debate about how society has wrong misinterpretations about gender roles, blah blah blah. I am simply stating that as a little girl I adored princesses, the color pink and wanted nothing more than to be a homemaker who would do all the things that a homemaker would do, and to me, that includes knitting, crocheting and sewing, and to me, is a form of femininity. Of course, that's not the only way to be feminine, but that aspect of this form of femininity is one that is the closest to my own idea of that characteristic. If another woman feels more feminine changing a tire or moving furniture... power to her, but that's not my own idea of femininity.

Going back to one of my favorite pastimes, reading, I am reading a wonderful book. The significance of this book is quite large, not only because it's a good book, but because of the subject matter. A People's History of Science. Miners, Midwives, and "Low Mechanicks", by Clifford D. Conner is the book that has hooked me and mesmerized me since I started reading it a few days ago. It is just what the title suggests, a history of how ordinary people shaped what we today consider an exclusive body of knowledge that only the academic and professional elite get to participate in. The idea that some people believe we are smarter today than our counterparts were hundreds and thousands of years ago is total and utter bologne. I don't think we're completely stupid nowadays, but we certainly have things easier than those who lived in the stone age and advanced to the bronze, then iron ages. I mean, those people had to figure stuff out completely with their brains, bare hands and sometimes their entire bodies. Just think of how many people had to die before it was common knowledge that a plant, for instance, was poison. What this book does is shine a light on how science was a means for survival, not just something to be practiced in a lab by people in white coats and latex gloves. I'm only on chapter two and I feel so much more enlightened about this subject, I can't imagine how my mind and ideas will expand once I read all 500 pages of this gem.

All in all, I am one happy woman with my reading, writing, knitting, crocheting and sewing. Now, if I could just practice all these things and travel the world, I think I could die happy and completely satisfied. Until next time, which could be God knows when!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dracula, take two

It is rare that I read a book more than once, even if I absolutely love it and classify it as a favorite. There are so many books out there I want to read and discover unexpectedly, that I can't justify going back and reading a book I've already read. But, every once in a while I will revisit a book, an old friend, because it provides me comfort or it just simply suits my mood.

I am in the process of revisiting Bram Stoker's Dracula. It is one of my favorites. The first time I read it was almost five years ago and I was reluctant to read it because it is told through various characters' journal entries, letters and newspaper clippings. I thought it would be confusing and kind of annoying to keep switching back and forth, but once I started I found it rather easy to follow and enjoyed it quite a bit. I noted right away that there are significant differences from Francis Ford Coppola's movie adaptation, but I guess I didn't pay enough attention.

The second time around reading the book, I'm amazed at how a very complicated, detailed novel was condensed into a movie that stands on its own, never losing the story's original flavor of horror and romance. I almost always hate the movie adaptation of a book I like, but this time I'd say both forms are enjoyable and provide a certain flavor the other one lacks. I love a rarity such as this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Punctuation Day

It's National Punctuation Day. Celebrate with exclamation points, question marks, commas, apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, periods, ellipses, dashes, hyphens, parentheses, brackets and quotation marks. Go crazy, but make sure you use them properly!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Outgrowing my space?

I spent all day today tidying up my room, which I haven't tidied up in quite some time. When I say tidying up, I mean like major overhaul, where I throw away things that have been sitting in the same spot for entirely too long for no apparent reason.

It's amazing how much junk I've racked up since the last time I decided to get rid of what is basically just clutter without any value or use to me. It's the same every time. I get one of those big hefty bags after I fill up the waste basket in my room and start throwing away stuff without thinking about it. I eliminate thinking because if I actually gave it some thought I wouldn't get rid of anything and that would be counter-productive. But even with my resolve to just toss stuff in the bag without letting nostalgia get the better of me, I still end up with too much stuff.

So, what is this junk I'm speaking of? You name it, I've got it stored somewhere in my room. Mostly-blank notebooks, lone issues of magazines so old I have no idea why I'm saving them anymore, mostly-empty bottles of lotion, earrings I haven't worn since I turned twenty-five. That's just some of what's outside of my closet.

My closet needs a bull-dozer. It is full of clothes that are out of style, but are still in such good shape I don't have the heart to write them off, but I also don't wear them, because they're super-dated. There are also shoes. Tons and tons of shoes. Mountains of 'em sit on the floor of my closet. Being a shoe-a-holic is not only expensive, but it requires a lot of space to support that I don't have and haven't had for so long I've got shoeboxes sitting in a corner housing the overflow of my vice.

I kept thinking to myself as I went through all the junk that I am a slob who needs to learn how to be more tidy, but another thought kept interrupting that one. It just might be that I have as much stuff as anyone my age, maybe even less than someone my age, but it's the deficit of my own storage space that makes me look like a pack rat when I am really not that bad. At least I hope that's the only problem . . . .

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Writing prompt for nincompoop

A nincompoop is a fool or simpleton. I’ve heard this word used by the older crowd, and it strikes me as one of those words you would yell out in frustration, like this kid's uncle does...

“You nincompoop!”

My uncle’s gruff voice rang out from the window overlooking the street, where if you were outside you could only see the tops of people’s heads moving inside. Summer was ending and the neighborhood was more alive than it was the first days of summer, so everyone heard the rumble. I threw my baseball glove down and ran inside. There was the smell of something Italian on the stove and the sound of papers rustling from below.

I took timid steps toward the stairs leading to the bottom level of the house and saw my uncle tearing apart the drawer he’d told me many times to stay away from. I’d wondered for years why he kept that drawer locked, keeping the key with him at all times and pulling the handle whenever he passed it to be sure it hadn’t been tampered with.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A new exercise

Everyday, in my attempt to broaden my vocabulary for various purposes, including Scrabble, I look at new and intriguing words. They're intriguing because some of them can hold an entire concept within those few letters stringed together to form them. They're also intriguing because they open my eyes to the worlds I never think about.

Since I forget most of these words as soon as I'm done reading their definitions, I've decided to take these new words and do something with them that will either make them stick, or at least drive me to challenge myself into using them in a sentence. I've been doing this for a few days now, this use of new words in sentences, and have found that if there ever was a writing prompt that doesn't make me think "I'll pass," this is it.

I get regular words of the day, as well as Scrabble words of the day. Here is today's Scrabble word of the day: Veery, a thrush common in the eastern and northern US, noted for its song.

And here is what it prompted me to write:

Henry sat on the porch of his colonial-style home, with its columns and french windows framing him like a king on his throne. He sat quietly, listening. There were many bird songs filling the moist morning air, but one song carried to Henry's ears, and he quickly brought the binoculars he kept on a side table to his eyes. In the years since his retirement from the police force, Henry's interest in birds grew from a hobby practiced on weekends into a way to keep his mind occupied and the giant house he lived in alone with a live-in maid.

With a squint followed by a smile Henry confirmed that the song of the thrush he'd heard was indeed that of a veery, just as he'd suspected. The bird lingered, staying put despite the breeze swaying the lilac bush. A smile tugged at the harsh line of Henry's thin lips and lit up his pockmarked face. He now knew what his column for Birds Magazine would be about.

___________________________________________________________________

So, with just one word, I created a character, gave him a name, a past, a present, and a future. Who knows where Henry will go from here, or if he'll go anywhere at all. Point is, Henry now exists, thanks to a little thrush, a veery!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A fleeting thought about something not so fleeting.

Although I have no prospects for motherhood anytime soon, or perhaps ever, I do have moments where I make decisions related to that stage in my life, should it ever come about. It's not that I long for it, really, but I think I'm at that age where I am observing, listening and making silent decisions about all the things I want or don't want, whether it be regarding parenting or anything else that full of impact on my character.

I've actually thought about names for my children (should I have any), and for years have mentally collected and made a list of the names I like. Today, I mentally locked down on the name I have been intrigued by and courting for a daughter. It is ancient, beautiful and belongs to an ancient queen, whose story is the stuff of legends, despite how real it is.

As for the name, well, that, my dearies, is now a secret--not because someone might steal it, but because I like a surprise . . . .

So you know what I did this summer.

And, I'm back on my blog, not sure for how long. Another Ramadan has begun and it's hard to believe that it has already been a year since my life completely changed. I don't know if it's the age I am now, or my school-slash-editor-in-chief stint this past year, but I'm a lot happier now than I can remember being since I turned ten. I'm definitely a lot more comfortable with myself and being in my own skin. What could possibly make a person happier than to be happy with oneself? I just don't know, but I am willing to bet the answer is absolutely nothing.

I've been doing a variety of things since my school and newspaper editor stint ended. I've been doing a lot of reading, writing, researching, knitting, teaching myself how to crochet, and getting into things I never thought I'd get into (not that crocheting isn't something I never imagined I'd get into . . . ). For fun, I've been utilizing Netflix like never before, thanks to their instant viewing feature. At first, I started out watching just movies, but then I got into the TV shows. So far, I've become engrossed with two shows: Californication and Dexter. I guess I like Showtime. Both shows feature characters with messed up lives, but have as straight heads as they can manage, given (again) their messed up lives.

I especially like the fact that Californication is about a big-shot writer living in LA, hating it and suffering from writer's block, all while battling various demons-- I'm not a big-shot writer, nor do I live in LA or have a sex or drug addiction, but I am a writer and I do suffer from writer's block while I battle my own set of demons. It's a little over-the-top with the sex, especially in the first three episodes or so, but there is enough substance and backstory to make up for the shameless nudity and sex, which tapers off at just the right time to give way to a deeper, more complex character one can sympathize with. The first scene in the pilot is a little on the offensive side, but again, it's how TV shows hook those who need such cheap antics to start watching something beyond Big Brother.

Dexter was a little hard to get into. For one thing, I've read and seen American Psycho. For another, I had the feeling that Dexter Morgan, the title character, is nothing more than Patrick Bateman's (THE American Psycho) and the Vampire Lestat's (from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles) love child, living in a world reminiscent of of CSI's Miami. He is an empty ruthless killer, who only kills those who he decides deserve to die-- I find that contradictory, if you ask me. It was also hard to get into, because of Dexter's foster sister, Deborah Morgan. In the first couple of episodes, I hoped that her run on the show was a trial and that she would be replaced for sucking, but someone talked to her and got her to stop annoying me. After that, I decided I really liked Dexter, the show, as well as character. Although I've been able to catch many references/connections to American Psycho (Dr. Patrick Bateman, Sean Ellis), and although I still see Lestat's discriminatory picking of subjects to kill, I do feel that Dexter is a character all on his own, because above everything else, he is going through a sort of awakening that we are witnessing. If it was just about an empty serial killer who has been taught to kill only those who deserve to be, then we would've started at the very beginning of Dexter's darkness, not after he's perfected it. Of course, this is only my humble opinion.

Another thing I've gotten into is getting in touch with people whom I haven't seen since... a loooong time. When I first started using Facebook I wanted nothing of the sort to happen, because I didn't feel like I wanted anything to do with people from my past. I wanted them to stay in the past, because I felt that I had changed too much to have much in common with them anymore. I was proven wrong when I met up with some old friends from high school and found that those I thought were the coolest, are actually not so cool, and those who I didn't have too much of a connection with back in those days are actually great people I would love to have in my life now. It's strange, but it's also nice, because it feels like you're making new friends, when really you're not having to worry about all you have to worry about with completely new friends.

Finally, I finally listened to my ninth-grade English teacher and read To Kill a Mockingbird. It would make Mrs. Gerard very happy to know that I am ready to give a book report on this classic. She, however, might not like what I have to say in my report... I think outside of school it is called a review. Well, it's certainly a good book. The characters are very well-written and distinct. The book delivers what it promises, which is life in a sleepy small town in Alabama during the depression, through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl. Well, it was sixteen years ago that Mrs. Gerard asked me to read this book among many, and although my mind has grown very much since that time, I think I was right all those years ago to assume that this book is pretty boring. I liked Atticus a whole lot, and although Scout, his daughter and the narrator, talks a lot about him, he doesn't get near enough time. Most of the book is dedicated to Boo Radley and other rather insignificant characters that come and go without much purpose. The most exciting part of the book takes up maybe fifty pages at the most, then sort of fizzles out with sleepy small town stuff that ended up frustrating me. I'm not being very articulate perhaps, or even very detailed in my review of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, but I think it is clear that although I recognize that this book possesses all the components of a literary classic, it lacks the profoundness and excitement I crave in the books I choose to read and enjoy. I'm afraid To Kill a Mockingbird is a little over-rated in my book... sorry, Mrs. Gerard.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Save Dakota!

Here's a little riddle for you: How can a dog get hold of an infant, drag it out of a house, unbeknownst to its parents, and go so far as to spark an actual search by the parents for the infant’s whereabouts?

This is a question I ask after having read an article about an incident involving a four-year-old Native American Indian dog going off with a four-day-old newborn in its mouth, causing injuries that left the baby in critical condition at the hospital. Of course, the dog, Dakota, is now considered dangerous, a threat and a menace and has been handed over to animal control. Her fate, most likely, death.

Though I can imagine what horror it might have been to live through such an incident as a parent, and the anguish a parent must feel toward any creature hurting their child, I simply cannot wrap my head around destroying an animal for being just that—an animal. Especially when the evidence is there that the parents themselves are responsible for letting such events transpire in the first place.

Everybody knows that dogs, or any animal really, can unexpectedly do things that are harmful to humans. Before I get to the core of my argument, however, let me mention that these lovely parents hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, actually left their child alone in a room with a dog roaming around freely—a dog with wolf ancestry, mind you. Now, whether you believe that four-day-old infants should never be left alone for any period of time, or believe that leaving your children alone when you have a breed of dog that even home insurance companies want you to be extra cautious about by raising your premium is totally and completely idiotic—the bottom line is, in my opinion, that these parents are solely responsible for this mishap.

If anybody ought to be punished for this tragedy, it is the parents for being so irresponsible as to leave a newborn alone in the first place; that was offense number one. Offense number two, is to leave the newborn alone with a large dog roaming freely.

I’ve never been a parent, but I’d like to think (and know I am totally wrong to do so) that common sense is a rather universal thing, and with common sense comes the knowledge that leaving a newborn alone in a room long enough for a dog to figure out how to get it out of a crib and out of the house is, well, bad parenting.

I vote for Dakota’s life to be spared and for her to spend the remainder of her years away from such bad owners, who ought to be paid a visit by social services, if for nothing else than for a little lesson in common sense for the welfare of their poor child-- who I’m happy to report is in stable condition and expected to pull through.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Putting my energy elsewhere...

I haven't blogged in a while, but not because there isn't anything going on. I guess I just don't feel like blogging is what I want to put my writing energy into right now, because I've been putting my writing energy into a more productive endeavor.

Remember my book proposal for a novel set during the last days of the Abbasid Caliphate, right before the Mongols strike a deadly blow to the city of Baghdad? I kept it on the back burner for a while, because I became intimidated by it. My expectations were too high and I found myself feeling overwhelmed after I began gathering the materials needed for the research on the period I meant to cover. Also, even though I had a sort of rough outline of a plot, it was so faint that the magnitude of the research overshadowed it-- if that makes any sense.

Now, even though I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed by the research, I'm taking it one step at a time and not getting ahead of myself. As a result, I'm actually writing while I research, which helps me work the plot a lot more, because it relies heavily on historic events that need to fit in order for the story to work the way I want it to. I'm pretty excited about the progress I'm making and the bits I'm gathering with the research. I've even got a sort of routine going: I read for research during the day and at night, which is when I am mentally able to sit down and focus enough to write for some weird reason, I write. It's pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thoughts from Tuesday

I don’t usually drive my sister to work, but I had to do that Tuesday morning. On the way, we stopped at McDonald’s and grabbed coffee. I’ve never really gotten into the coffee thing, but I occasionally enjoy a cup of plain black coffee with cream. So, McDonald’s coffee. Wow. That’s some really good stuff. Though I will still only get coffee every once in a blue moon, I will make it McDonald’s instead of Starbucks.

Another thought: Starbucks is completely overrated. Their coffee stinks, and I mean that literally. The last time I got coffee at Starbucks, it not only tasted awful, but it also smelled like fish. That’s right, fish. I went and complained and they replaced my cup, but the smell and taste didn’t change. Because of that, I pretty much vowed to never get coffee at Starbucks and have always gotten passion tea lemonade there since.

Another another thought: There is nothing more wonderful than a spring morning. Unless, of course, it is a spring morning, with Mozart playing, a nice cup of hot delicious coffee and a good book to read. I had to wait on Tuesday morning, because I got to an appointment too early, so I started reading a book called The Kite Runner. By Tuesday evening I had read over 120 pages and become so engrossed in this book, I was already recommending it to anyone who’d listen to me rave about it. It’s one of those works that one becomes awed and haunted by for its superb writing, well-crafted characters and beautiful story. The setting is Afghanistan—the Afghanistan on the brink of revolution and war in the late 70s and part of the 80s. It is about a boy and his servant. It is about acceptance, love, loyalty and betrayal. I make it sound so simple and almost cliché, but it’s truly a great book I can’t put down. There is nothing better than a book you can’t put down.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Editor stint is about to end and I'm....

As my stint as editor-in-chief of the Arapahoe Free Presscomes to a close, I’m finding myself already reflecting on the last eight months. It’s not quite over yet, I’ve still got one more issue to go, but today I put out the second-to-last of these babies and have some thoughts on this unexpected experience that has made a mark on me in many ways.

First, I’m glad it’s ending soon, because I honestly don’t think I can handle what I’ve had to handle much longer than a couple more weeks. The reason I say this is because the people I must work with are all now the bane of my existence. I shouldn’t say all, because there are three I have no problems with, but nonetheless I must end my dealings with the rest to keep my sanity intact.

Second, I’m sad we’ve reached the end.

I’m sad that things are not certain for me after this, and that scares me, considering the current state of the job market. I’m also sad that I am the last editor to work on the current model of the Arapahoe Free Press, an ideal journalistic model that operates the way a newspaper should. There are plans for the newspaper to become a scholarship-based deal, awarding those who participate with scholarship money to pay for their credit hours. It sounds really cool, but any true journalist will tell you that it’s nothing more than a way for the school to operate what will eventually become a propaganda tool—a newsletter. It’s sad knowing that I’m ultimately shutting the thing down.

Third and back to the subject of the people I have been dealing with: two guys from my staff, both much older than me have become a bit uncooperative in the last few weeks, making the last stretch of this journey challenging. Based on this development, one of the many things I’ve learned over the last eight months as a person in charge of a team is that you can’t please everyone when you try to do a collectively good thing. Someone always feels they’re getting shafted by a decision that affects the rest of the group positively, or at least that’s always the way it seems for me.

Finally, this opportunity was unexpected and I feel so lucky to have had it. It has given me a boost of assurance that my journalism degree has not and will not go to waste. It has also solidified my belief that all things related to writing are my calling… it is what I’m good at and it’s what I love.

So, those are my thoughts on being editor of a small and humble college student newspaper as I am left with just one more issue bearing my name on the masthead.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Aliteracy touches me in deep, personal ways...

Another blog post on the subject of names, but this time, I'm talking about my own name. Call this a rant, if you will, but I've always thought my first name was easy to spell and beyond simple to read.

Reem.

R-E-E-M.

Sounds and is spelled like seem, with an “R” in place of the “S.”

So, why do people insist on calling me Rem? Even after I correct them, or simply say: "Yes, this is REEM," they still call me Rem.

I mean, honestly, I wanna ask each of these individuals who make this mistake a very simple question: have you ever felt the urge to pronounce “seem,” “sem”?

You’d think with a dash in my last name, I’d have more trouble with that, but I don’t. The four letters in my first name seem (or sem, depending on how your brain processes double E’s!) to cause the most trouble when read.

And while I’m talking about uncommon name issues, let me tell you another thing that absolutely busts my hide… if I say my name is Reem, whether it’s short for something or not (which it’s not), that’s all I want to divulge, especially to the nosy stranger who finds it necessary and appropriate to ask me if it’s my “real” name or if it’s “short for something.” I’d rather you cut right to the chase and ask me what it means, its origin, etc. At least then I know you don’t just assume I’m a stack of paper, or a verb that describes an unpleasant action, or that I’m a furnace. The furnace one is new, but it has come up quite a few times lately.

So, pardon my ranting, but I am amazed at just how many aliterate people are running around—though they have the ability to read and write, they choose not to read and keep their vocabulary, spelling and grammar at an elementary level, at best. That to me is more tragic than complete illiteracy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The power in a name

I mentioned in a recent post that I was reading Stephen King’s Needful Things. I also mentioned that this was my second time reading King. Well, I’m not even halfway through the book… not even a quarter through it, as it’s quite a monster of a book at over 700 pages long, yet I am already feeling the effects. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated scary things and never found any reason to scare oneself on purpose for pleasure, but here I am reading the epitome of horror with substance.

Now, what I want to talk about here is not just Needful Things, or Stephen King, or the concept of horror for pleasure. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I started feeling jumpy; of feeling the effects of horror on me. Nothing truly scary has happened in the book yet, but I feel creeped out, nonetheless.

Why is that?

Is it because of Leland Gaunt, the charming mysterious stranger who owns the mysterious shop, which the title of the book refers to? Or is it the Stephen King name on the cover? Or is it the genre that this book falls under?

So far, Leland Gaunt is a guy who hangs out in his shop and people go to him. He doesn’t go stalking people, nor has he done anything but introduce himself to the town of Castle Rock just yet. The fact that his smile is described as predatory, that his hands are described as cold and hard as stone, that his nails are yellow and long—all of these things are creepy, but they’re hardly grounds for me to feel jumpy when I’m in a room by myself.

I suppose I’m being a little (or maybe overly) philosophical, but really, this is interesting, because as good a writer as he is, would Stephen King have the same effect on a reader if his name wasn’t synonymous with the horror genre? Does describing someone’s creepy physical attributes have the same effect on a reader as the image of that character stalking someone with an axe in hand if you had no preconceived notion of just how scary the story could get? My answer to those two questions is no. I feel that the power of King’s name is one of, but the biggest of the factors that make his books as successful and exemplary for the genre as they are and have been for 25 years.

I still don’t care for the horror genre, but a good story is a good story. Now, if I can just avoid the jumpiness, I think I’d enjoy Needful Things a lot more than I already am.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When you just can't finish something, think about this...

If you’re like me, you start something you are totally gung-ho about and consider a potential masterpiece, get a significant part of it done, then…

You just stop.

No matter how long you stare at it, think about it or wait for that flicker of something to help you continue with it, you just can’t do anything...


but stop.

The reasons can be writer’s block, loss of inspiration, or you thinking what you’ve produced is pure crap. This thing you were once so gung-ho about then gets put away, forgotten until you’re doing some spring cleaning and you come across it after all emotion you felt about it, whether it be love or hatred, is gone. You're now neutral, discovering something new.

The way it goes for me is I am looking through old files on my computer, find something I wrote, but never finished, read it and think to myself “HEY! I’m a damn good writer!” I then shake my head at this unfinished piece and attempt to finish it. I have yet to finish such unfinished pieces.

I generally feel like a failure for my inability to finish some of what I’ve started, but I still have hope I will finish one of these days. If I don’t, I shouldn’t feel too bad… Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony,” though its title refers to exactly what it is, is one of his best works, his masterpiece.

Though he died at just 31 years old in November 1828, Franz Schubert had written what he’d written of his unfinished symphony six years before his death and abandoned it for unknown reasons, though some speculate that Schubert left this symphony unfinished because of meter—it was different from the usual used by Viennese composers. Schubert apparently didn’t think too highly of innovation. Then again, he pretty much did most of his work without recognition until years after his death. Now Schubert is one of the greats.

Think about that the next time you’re not so sure about what you’re doing…

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random thoughts and updates on a snow day

It's a snow day and despite how much I hate snow, especially when I have a taste of spring with 70-degree weather just a few days before the snow falls, I'm pretty happy about it. I'm relaxed and enjoying being at home on a Thursday, and getting what to me is pretty much another four days of spring break.

In the meantime, I have one or two thoughts and updates that are completely random and unconnected.

- I have been listening to that classical music station (KVOD 88.1) regularly and I've found that there's nothing better than listening to classical music in the morning. Moreover, there's nothing better than listening to Mozart in the morning. I've learned so much about Mozart. Here are a couple things I learned about that otherworldly musical genius during my now very relaxing and pleasant morning drives:

1.) At the age of 16, Mozart wrote Symphony No. 15 to welcome a new Bishop in town. Bishops had quite a bit of influence and Mozart hoped to gain the favor of this new bishop so he'd get more music commissions.

2.) Mozart used to say that he hated the flute and did very little with the instrument as a central one in his concertos. Why did he hate the flute? Well, he didn't really. He just used the excuse to explain why he was unable to finish a particular flute concerto he was commissioned to do. Why wasn't he able to finish it? Because he was spending all his time with a soprano. Once you tell a lie, you have to continue with it, right?

- I finished and turned in my short story for the workshop in creative writing on Tuesday, along with a copy for each classmate to read and critique. I started writing it and wrote pretty much all of it, sans ending, two weeks before it was due. Then I put it away and thought and thought about how to end it. Nothing came to me and I began to panic halfway through spring break. I tried reading it in that time and I hated it, so I just put it away some more. The night before it was due, I still had no idea how to end it, but I had no other choice but to sit in front of the computer and read the story to see if the ending would just come to me. And it did. Just one paragraph wrapped it all up.

- I have a newfound respect for Stephen King. Truth be told, I've only read one of his books, Bag of Bones, which is his later stuff and I'm guessing not his best. I read an interview I mentioned in a recent post and what he said in the interview put him in a new light for me. There's something to be said for someone who need only put his name on a book for it to sell, who realizes that that doesn't put him in the same rank as the literary greats. Humility is one of the best characteristics a person can have... it is charisma. I'm now reading Needful Things and so far, I like it. Now, I'm not much into horror, so I won't be a Stephen-King-reading fiend, but I do have a new respect for the man.

Well, it is quite white outside and I'm going to bring this to a close.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Twitter update: There is still a life outside of it

Well, its been a whopping 3 days since I signed up for Twitter and a life outside of it is still very clear in my vision.

This is good news, but it leads me to conclude that unless you're Gerard Butler (or some other hot and sexy celebrity) or Barack Obama, the whole thing is rather silly. That is, of course, unless you have a horde of friends who want nothing more in life than to know what you're up to and must be kept up to date in some way other than direct communication with you.

Since I'm not a celebrity or a social butterfly, Twitter is just not something I see myself doing much with for now. Maybe when I am doing something interesting enough to update people on, but it's just gonna be another site I've joined but spend very little time using.

I will say that I think Obama's use of the service was total genius, and from what it looks like, he used it up until the very end of his campaign; his last update was Jan. 19th. As for Gerard Butler... well... it's good to see he's down to earth. :-D

Monday, March 16, 2009

The last three books I read

There are three books I’ve read in the last week. Well, actually two and a half books. The first book I started reading back in January and finally finished last Wednesday, but I digress. I wanted to share my thoughts on these three books.

P.S. I love you. By Cecilia Ahern.
I saw the movie before I read the book, and quite frankly and surprisingly found the movie to be better than the book. I keep asking myself if I think the book is bad, but I can’t bring myself to say it’s bad, because it’s simply not. It’s a good book that made me laugh and get teary eyed enough to constitute crying, but after much thinking I came to the conclusion that the book simply has a different mood from the movie. The movie did make me laugh and cry, but it had an upbeat feeling to it-- despite the subject matter, which if you don’t know, is a 30-year-old woman who loses her husband to a brain tumor and must pick up the pieces of her apparently directionless life after he’s gone.

It’s the ultimate chick lit story that in the book is full of subplots of relationships between husband and wife (this particular dynamic is minimal), sister and brother, sister and sister, daughter and mother, woman and her friends, woman and man. The movie is significantly rewritten for the better, in my opinion, because it eliminates a lot of the subplots and concentrates on what I feel the book lacks: the dynamics of the relationship between a woman and her dead husband, before and after his death. The book also lacks a clear picture of who this man that this woman has fallen apart after losing is. The cool thing about the book, as opposed to the movie, is that it was written by an Irishwoman and so it is set in Ireland with Irish characters. The worst part about the book, I think, is that it is entirely too long and slow moving for a mere chick lit book. At over 450 pages, a chick lit book just becomes too much, but what saves this book from the genre it falls under is its ability to present a woman facing a serious challenge in her young life and trying to overcome it with the help of her family, friends and ultimately, dead husband—not many chick-lit books (I don’t think) contain such a heavy storyline.

Songs for the Missing. By Stewart O’Nan.
This is not my usual fare. Reading about a person who’s gone missing and the turmoil for those left behind wondering about their whereabouts is not exactly my cup of tea, but I picked this up on a recommendation. Aside from the writing being superb and leaving me awestruck, I found this novel to be slightly problematic.

Of course, what I find problematic isn’t necessarily so for those who don’t mind an author’s evasiveness on a certain part of a story (or at least that’s how I see it), but I have to tell you that I finished this book and thought: “OK. Did I miss something?”

I realize that the book is not about what happened to the missing person, but is about how her family and friends deal with her disappearance; her father, mother, sister, boyfriend and best friend. What I find problematic is that there is much concentration on a secret the boyfriend and best friend know about Kim, the missing girl, but that we never really have explained to us. We sort of have to put the little bits and pieces together on our own, even though we still don’t feel sure we have figured it out once we do. I found myself going back and rereading paragraphs and chapters to see if maybe I missed the part where this secret is explained, but it never was which annoyed me, given how prominent it became in the story (there were moments I felt like the friend and boyfriend each know something, making it two secrets). It was prominent enough to cause a rift between these friends of Kim’s and her family. This rift causes the family to go so far as to not allow Kim’s friends to attend a memorial service for her. When something is that important to cause that big a conflict in a story, I want to know details, otherwise I just get annoyed.

Other than that, I found this book to be very well-written and well-constructed.

The Reader. By Bertrand Schlink.
This was a short book. At just a shade under 220 pages, it packs a lot in a little bit of space. Well, it packed it very well, because the characters were fleshed out very well for me—there were really only two complete characters in this story. From the first page, I found it to be engrossing. Though I have yet to see the movie, I don’t know if the fact that I know Kate Winslet plays Hanna Schmitt made it easy for me to picture her character in the flesh, but I also felt that way about Michael Berg, the protagonist and narrator of the story.

What was interesting about this translated-from-German book is that it asked a lot of questions that made me pause and try to come up with an answer. It is very philosophical and reminded me a great deal of Milan Kundera’s way of probing the reader to really and conscientiously try to put her- or himself in the character’s shoes. It’s quite an intense and haunting book because of this, and one that I highly recommend.

I don’t know what I will read next. Maybe Milan Kundera’s “Life is Elsewhere,” or Ian McEwen’s “Atonement.”

Free time is humorously dangerous

Free time can be dangerous—humorously so. The reason I say that is that this coming week is my spring break from my classes and editor’s duties at the paper. This leaves me with time to do somewhat important things I haven’t had much time to do since the semester began and an added bonus of actual free time, albeit it’s little.

As the week before spring break wound down at school, I began easing my mind into break mode with reading. I began with a book, which I will talk about shortly, but I also had time to sit down and catch up on my Time magazine reading. I have about four issues I haven’t had a chance to look at because of how busy I've been and I’m just now catching up.

Here’s the funny part. For the longest time, I’ve been hearing about Twitter and not having the foggiest idea or clue what the heck this new internet phenomenon was, until a week ago, when I read a column by Lev Grossman in Time magazine talking about just the thing I was clueless about. It explained Twitter in terms I could understand: “It is the status updates on Facebook, without the Facebook.”

It didn’t help that Grossman was talking about his attempt to quit Twitter and describing (in not so many words) what sounds like a socially acceptable way to basically stalk someone. I have an addictive, obsessive personality already— Twitter sounded like it would just intensify this thing I work hard to not let get out of hand. Besides, I thought, who would be interested in nothing but my status updates? What am I gonna write for an update? More importantly, what constitutes an update?

All these questions were building, but I left them unanswered, because I had no intention of joining Twitter.

Then...

I was reading the paper this morning when there was, yet, another article about Twitter. This article listed some celebs who use the service, gave a sample of their updates (which are no more interesting, in my opinion, than my updates would be) and added that Barack Obama himself used the service during his campaign.

That excited me.

Today, I decided I wanted to know what this service could do for me if I joined it. So, I am now a Twitter user. The only celebs I’ve managed to be interested enough in to “follow,” are Barack Obama and Gerard Butler. I’ve found a couple of friends on there too.

I’m looking forward to… I don’t know what it is one can look forward to with such a strange thing that if I really think about, really hard, find a little creepy. I guess I just feel a bit more with the times now that I’m on Twitter and hope I don’t end up like Lev Grossman: writing a column about my realization that indeed, a life worth living does exist outside of the world of Twitter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two things for today

1. I’ve discovered a new radio station I love. KVOD 88.1 FM is a classical music radio station that is run much like NPR—intelligently and with impeccable taste and class with donations from listeners (“like you.”) The little bit of advertising on it is about itself. The talk is about classical music and just that… no nonsense about the DJ’s trashy lifestyle or anything of the sort that makes you feel trashy for even having that station on your radio dial. These DJ’s actually KNOW classical music and talk about technical stuff pertaining to the music they’re introducing. They also have news that matters that doesn’t sound parasitic, but rather well-prepared and of good quality. Good stuff, so do give it a try if ever you get tired of the total crap on the radio.


2. Maybe we need to go back to typewriters and paper so that only the good stuff stands out. It’s too easy for crap to survive nowadays.

I recently read an interview with Stephen King in one of those magazines that come with Sunday’s newspaper. The interview was to celebrate 35 years since the publication of “Carrie,” his first best seller. In the interview, King said that if it weren’t for his wife finding the beginnings of this book in the trash, it would’ve never seen the light of day. The significance of this story is in a detail that King mentioned about how authors did things “back in those days.” He said that “Carrie” began with just four pages of single-spaced prose; back when typewriters were more common fixtures in homes than computers, hence, books were significantly shorter before computers with word processors were the norm (imagine having to rewrite, or more accurately, retype, multiple pages in their entirety, just to fix one sentence or paragraph edit.) Just like the concept that a little competition is healthy, a little fear of having to retype pages of prose can make a writer think twice about what they put down.

On another humbling and somewhat sobering note for the modern-day writer: J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his Lord of the Rings trilogy during World War II in the midst of a paper shortage. He is just one of many authors who had an abundance of words and ideas worth putting down, but a shortage of paper. Today, we have an abundance of paper and a shortage of words and ideas worth putting down. Think about that the next time you've got writer's block and a computer screen with abundant space for your work staring back at you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A feature during my hiatus

I forgot to mention that during my hiatus, I managed to not only write a column for Intrepid Media, but I also managed to do such a good job (apparently) that it became a feature. The bad news is that this happened a couple weeks ago.

But do not despair! It may not be at the top of the page, but it’s only moved down a few spots for you to still find it on IM’s main page.

The subject matter may be a little cheesy, but I hope that I was able to write it in such a way that hits the nail on the head without fluff. I wrote it about turning 30 and how people respond when I tell them my age. It is appropriately titled, “You are so beautiful… for 30?”

A treat day that calls for an update blog

One of my favorite treats is a day where I have nothing to do and a good book I can’t put down to fill it with. Such days are few and far between, especially lately, but when I am lucky enough to have them while I’m in the process of reading a good book, it’s so wonderful, I must write about it, apparently.

Hence, my return after many many many weeks away from my blogging space. I’ve just spent a day reading and feel the need to blog. It’s funny how my need to write is triggered. This is not to say that I haven’t been writing at all… on the contrary. I’ve been writing like it’s going out of style, just not on my blog. In all honesty, with the collapse of journalism and the questionable future of writers everywhere who want nothing more than to make their living just writing, I feel that blogging is one of the many things in cyberspace responsible for such a thing. So, I’ve been kind of keeping my distance from my blog lately.

Another reason I’ve been sort of distant on here is my feeling that I write and write and write, but the only people who actually read my blog and care enough to respond to my post asking readers to identify themselves are friends and family. Friends and family are great readers to have, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little discouraging when that’s your entire fan base—those who almost have to read what you write. My friends don’t really have to read my writing, but still, there is an unspoken deal in friendship that says: I will take a look at anything you produce, whether it’s drivel or not, because I’m your friend and that’s what friends do.

Well, there’s my long-winded excuse for not having written anything for a long while. I’ve come to terms with the fact that perhaps I’m just not the greatest blogger and that’s why strangers don’t just stumble upon my blog and decide to bookmark it for their daily fix. Friends and family are going to be my readers no matter what and that’s really not so bad.

In the meantime, I’m busy busy busy (save for today, of course.) I have been enjoying my second semester at Arapahoe Community College, where I am taking a creative writing class and the literary magazine class, for which I am one of the literary directors for the school’s literary magazine. I’m enjoying both classes a great deal and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience. The newspaper has been going really well and I’m writing editorials that at times have been inflammatory for their criticism of the school and its shoddy treatment of the newspaper.

Life is going really well for me right now, but days are blurring together and flying by fast. Really fast. I’d love to say that I have a good and solid plan after the semester is over, but I don’t. All I know for sure is that these past eight months have changed my life in ways I never imagined it could be changed this late in the game (almost eight years after graduating from college.) And to think there’re still two months to go of new learning and experiences that I’m sure will make whatever comes my way afterward something I’m a little more prepared for than I was eight months ago.

Well, there’s my blog post for you. I will try to not be so distant for reasons other than just being plain too busy to write drivel about my days and modes of entertainment from now on.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Just a thought...

It's funny.

I've been reading and reading and reading about writing, doing very little writing in comparison for years, thinking that I'm not really a writer because of how little writing I produce. I'm now in a creative writing class and though I think I should up my journaling a bit, I find that I've been living the life of a writer, after all.

How do I figure? Well, according to everyone who knows anything about writing I've come across in the last year, writers do a lot more reading than writing. That's how they learn, you see. Reading novels when you want to write them is the only way to be a good novel writer, and the same goes for all other types of writing. Well, I don't think I have to tell you that I read plenty of novels.

On top of the novels, I also read a lot about writing itself. Last summer I started a daily routine of reading blogs about writing, by writers and other people involved in the writing industry, like agents, etc. I learned a lot about the publishing world through these blogs and how those big shot authors I'm in awe of do what they do... it's nothing like the image I had in my head of someone sitting infront of a typewriter just typing away non-stop-- no. In fact, no two writers I've listened to have the same writing routine. They all write daily, which is something I need to bone up on, but the way they create their prose is never the same.

One writer I particularly idolize is a woman who wrote amazing historical novels while keeping her family as her #1 priority and had never had any training as a writer. In fact, she's a scientist... a zoologist, if I'm not mistaken. But she wrote these amazing books, each a bulky one with rich characters you can't bear to say goodbye to when you reach the last page, all while driving her kids to school, cooking dinner and having family outings. How did she do it? She would always be thinking about her books throughout the day. When her family is tucked in and off to sleep, she goes to her office where she writes at least 2000 words before turning in herself.

Others treat it like a 9-5 job, waking up, having their coffee, going down to their home office and sitting in front of the computer and forcing themselves to write until 5... even if they only produce one paragraph in those 8 hours, they feel like they've accomplished something. Others have other "real" jobs, so they wake up at an insanely early hour and do their writing then.

For me, everyday is different. I don't have a routine. I guess my only routine is that I'm always thinking stories in my head. Putting them on paper is another matter entirely, but I at least feel like I think like a writer by observing my surroundings sometimes building stories out of those, or simply daydreaming and building a story out of a daydream.

So, there you have it... just a thought.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Show, don't tell

I was thinking... people who call themselves just artists annoy me.

OK. Every profession, including that of a con man, could be considered an art. I looked up the word artist to make my argument valid, and though there are several definitions, my argument holds plenty of water.

According to dictionary.com, art⋅ist   /ˈɑrtɪst/ Pronunciation [ahr-tist]

–noun
1. One, such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.
2. A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill: You are an artist in the kitchen.
3. One, such as an actor or singer, who works in the performing arts.
4. One who is adept at an activity, especially one involving trickery or deceit: a con artist.

A mechanic could have perfected his skill of fixing cars into an art. A plastic surgeon could be considered an artist, because he/she sculpts people's faces and bodies into something aesthetically pleasing (usually, anyway). A writer is an artist, because he/she creates an image with words.

Art is such an abstract thing, that to call oneself JUST an artist without specifying which kind, is, well, pretentious.

And it's pretentious, because especially when you take definition number two (A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill) into consideration, you realize that "artist" isn't just an occupation-- it's a level of achievement and skill.

So, all you writers, painters, singers, actors, photographers, tattooists and others out there, who use their creativity to make the world a better place aesthetically-- a bit of advice: specify what kind of artist you are, otherwise, you have a high opinion of yourself which may be in its place; but it's better to let people make that conclusion on their own.

Show, don't tell.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Open Water. More than just a scary movie.

I've never been a big fan of scaring myself. The "adrenaline rush" that daredevils rant and rave about, and seem to be addicted to, is not something I want to induce with fear. Sky diving, bungee jumping, diving in shark-infested waters-- all that stuff just doesn't appeal to me and I doubt I'd get anything so pleasant as an adrenaline rush from doing them.

Scary movies also fall into this group of unappealing, supposedly adrenaline-rush-inducing things. It has been years since the movie Open Water made waves and won rave reviews for its raw style and simple story; a stressed out, workaholic couple go on a much needed vacation and have one heck of an adventure when they get left behind by their diving tour boat in shark-infested waters.

When I first heard about this movie, it, like any other scary movie, did not appeal to me. Moreover, it was annoyingly reminiscent in its style and popularity at the time of its release to the popular Blair Witch Project, which I never bothered to see. All around me, though, people were talking about Open Waterand reviewers were praising it. On the plus side at the time of its release, Open Waterproved that it wasn't necessary to have big shot filming equipment and George Clooney with Angelina Jolie in a movie for it to be big and incredibly entertaining. These are all good things to hear about a movie, especially when you, like me, want to be a writer who becomes an overnight success from something simple, yet genius. But nonetheless I had no desire to see what seemed to me like a modern-day and independent take on Jaws.

It wasn't until my sister's co-workers convinced her to watch Open Waterthat I ventured into scary, shark-infested waters for entertainment's, as well as curiosity's sake. I was nervous at first and had a bit of a struggle with myself deciding whether I should jeopardize my future relationship with the ocean or not, but I finally worked up the courage to sit down and watch this movie-- a little over four years after its release....

And. Well. I can safely and truthfully say I liked it. It was entertaining and raw in a good way. Albeit the actors were unknown, they were really good. I still need to explore the DVD's special features to understand exactly how such a movie was made, but I wouldn't be surprised if I found out that these two actors really were just thrown in the middle of the ocean and surrounded by sharks without lines to be memorized-- it was that convincing to me. I'm not going to spoil the end, but the ending was shocking, haunting and completely unpredictable.

I found after watching this movie that it is not meant to scare, or just give you an adrenaline rush, which I didn't experience. No. Maybe that was what its writer and director wanted it to be, a vehicle to scare, but I wasn't left with a fear of the water, or even sharks. My relationship with ocean waters and sharks is the same as it was before viewing this movie-- I only swim out enough to submerge myself and be able to touch the floor, and stay where there are a lot of people around. Though, I've cemented my decision to never go scuba diving, not because of the diving itself, but because of all the things that could go wrong because of human error and/or incompetence. I could get left behind on a snorkeling trip, too, I suppose, but snorkeling is generally done in shallower waters, and anyway, that's all I'm agreeing to in the future.

No. What I came out with from this movie was a realization and a newfound respect for how volatile life truly is. One minute you're stuck in a rut, doing mundane and boring things you don't think you'll ever miss, and the next you're not sure if you're gonna come out of a horrific situation alive to do those mundane and boring things you suddenly miss.

Open Water, to me, is a reminder that we should never work too hard to cherish the simple pleasures in our daily lives, because when we do, we might end up like Daniel and Susan-- shark bait.
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