A Break at Last

Today is the kind of day I’ve been waiting for since about mid-November. School had already grown more exhausting than exhilarating, and final exams, papers, and projects were far from my idea of a worthwhile use for my time. But now, the semester is done, I’m happy with the results, and I have ahead of me a much needed month of recharging for the next round of rigorous study.

Today, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, spending time with a novel that I won’t have to analyze in an academic paper. I’m enjoying the people watching, the cozy atmosphere, the many others with their laptops and their tablets and their books and papers. No lectures, no real demands on my time, just some time to take a break from the bustle of life and focus on something of my own creation and intent.

I’m about two-thirds of the way done with The World According to Garp by John Irving, and I’m really enjoying it. The prose may not be the most beautiful, but the story, the details, and the realness of the characters makes it a great read, in my opinion. I’m glad coffee shops are pretty bookworm-friendly places, because in many other settings, I’d look absolutely insane the way I’m reacting to the book. For those of you who haven’t read it– or seen the movie, which I hope is very much like the book– it’s the story of a man named T.S. Garp, a writer who never becomes as famous as his mother, a nurse who happened to write a best-selling memoir, A Sexual Suspect. This title sets the theme for the entire novel, in which sex and sexuality seem to be explored by every adult character by way of comical absurdness with a blush of embarrassing realism. For those of you who are familiar with it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

I’m also working on a couple of short stories I wrote for the fiction workshop I took this now-past semester. I’m debating whether or not I’m ready to post them on here just yet– they still need some work. But I will tell you a bit about them. The first is the longer of the two, and probably the one I’d like to take farthest. Two people who went to high school together meet eight years after graduation. He was the cool guy, she was the smart girl, and they crossed paths as the leads in a high school musical. Now, he’s running a struggling music shop, and she’s a successful freelance writer working on her first novel. I originally wanted them to be almost complete strangers because they didn’t really hang around the same groups in high school, but that might change to make their reunion a little more dramatic– a confrontation of a rocky past, and maybe an attempt at a relationship they might have had in school, but they’ve changed so much since then. The second story is that of a recent college grad, looking for one last adventure before starting real life. A girl from the suburbs of Cleveland, she seeks a change of scenery in the mountains and forests of Colorado. Of course, she has to reconcile what she finds there with what she leaves behind– in the form of relationships, expectations, and reality. She gets an adventure, I’m sure. I just don’t know at what cost yet. For those who know me, these are pretty blatantly autobiographical at the moment, but I hope to find a different story along the way. I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this as well.

Beyond this, I’d really like to work on the professional side of things. I’m a little more set on writing for a career, so that’s going to be my main focus for break, when I don’t have classes to worry about as well as my job and the whole career plan. If anyone has any advice they’d like to share on this, I’m glad to hear it. The more input I can get, the better.

Alright, I think that’s all for now. The coffee’s gone, I’m starting to catch a chill from the opening and closing of the door to the wintry world outside, and while the atmosphere is cozy, this particular chair is not. So, off we go, back to participating in the life I’ve been observing through the coffee shop window.


Do Better

I think the calendar skipped a few months. I swear it was August just yesterday. Where did the time go? Why is there snow on the ground? Why are radio stations playing Christmas music? I need that time back.

I’m feeling restless again. Restless to be doing something different than what I’m doing. A better job, a different job, more writing, less hating British Literature, a little more travel, a little less driving the same stretch of freeway twice a day. My to-do list consists of papers and tests, but what I’d like to do is worry about my writing and job preparation. I want to really get working on life instead of sitting in the isolated cubicle of college. And the missing months between August and today did nothing for that, except maybe inspire me a little.

I know it’s going to go by quickly. I’ll be writing another post with the same question, “Where has all the time gone?” in the future I’m sure. I guess maybe restless isn’t the right word. Maybe… off track, took a wrong turn, missed my exit is a better description. I always seem to come back to this feeling, too. I need a better routine. I need to increase my productivity. I need to achieve a goal and feel like I’m getting somewhere. I need to do better.

Any suggestions on how to do better?