Friday, November 29, 2013

I am thankful for Netflix...and a few other things

A very happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrated yesterday! I hope you all had a lovely day of great food with your families.

I am thankful for quite a lot this year. I am extremely thankful for the amazing people in my life who keep me strong when the world becomes too much, and who keep me laughing when I've forgotten how to smile.

I posted on Twitter yesterday that:
Some people may have laughed about it; some may also have thought it inappropriate that on a day to be thankful I chose to spotlight my Netflix account. The fact of the matter, however, is that I truly mean it 100%. I am extremely thankful for my books and my Netflix account on a near daily basis, because they are my escape.When the world becomes too much and too loud, I am very very thankful to have the option to lock myself in my room with a cup of hot chocolate and my dear Sherlock Holmes. I am able to runaway for a little while before- or in some cases, after- my anxiety gets too high, and this makes it possible for me to calm down, to breathe, to refresh my social energies for another day. Fiction is not a luxury to me, its a mental-health requirement, and I am extremely thankful to have such easy access to this brand of anxiety medication.

I am also thankful for new found inspiration that has led me to finally start writing again. I'm afraid my goals for November have been a bit of a bust, however I still feel it was a good month because by the end of it I had a new idea I loved. Its been a long time since I felt this good about a story, and I cannot wait to see where my new friend takes me.

Lastly, I am thankful that, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am finding myself. I feel like I am learning who this person in my head is and how to be more confident as her. I've made a number of helpful discoveries and acceptances about myself recently, probably the most important being my finally accepting that I am an introvert and that's okay. I am still learning, and I still have a long way to go, but for the first time in a long time I am making real tangible progress on this journey, and for that I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Movies with Friends

I'm realizing lately that I can't watch certain movies around most other people because most other people don't love them the way I do for the reasons I do. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I honestly can't help it.

Mulan, for example. I love Mulan. I mean I really really love Mulan. I know every single word of that movie and I enjoy quoting it; its part of the experience for me. Obviously this is not something other people generally appreciate so I tend to watch this movie by myself. Its more than that though. I know Mulan. I see things in that movie most other people don't see. If you'd like an example of what I mean in long form check out my post explaining what most people miss when watching Mulan.

When I watch the movie with other people I want them to see and appreciate all the things about it that I do. I just want everyone to realize how beautiful that movie is and appreciate how amazing and flawless it is, and obviously most people don't. For most people its a childhood favorite and that's it. And that's fine. But I don't like watching it with those people because it takes away from the experience for me. I can't experience it the way I want to and I spend much of the time wondering if they caught how important that one line in the last scene was. Its just not enjoyable for me.

Do any of you have any experiences like this? Or am I just completely crazy?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Love Affair with Language

Guys, I love words. Like...I really really just love words.

I attended and presented at NCPTW (the national writing center conference) in Tampa, Fl this past weekend, and for our brief stay (and I mean brief..like 12 hours of conference for 40+ hours of van riding) I was surrounded by fellow consultants and writers and just all of these people who spend their time helping others learn to better communicate through writing; it was during this time that I realized just how badly I wish everyone shared my passion for words and how badly I wish I could encourage everyone to love writing the way I do.

Language is such a powerful force and so invaluable a tool, and yet every day I work with students who express a sheer hatred towards writing. They see it as an obstacle blocking their path towards an A in a class they wish they weren't taking; they see it as a product, a means to and end; rarely do they recognize it as a valuable form of communication. Worse, I understand why they see it this way; a quick glance through any high school curriculum offers the sad answer to that question. Students, in general, are not taught to write for writing's sake; they are not taught to love words, though some will develop this on their own. They are taught to write on the ideals of "because I said so." They are taught to write not to share their thoughts and ideas, but to have them judged. Is it really any wonder so many of them learn to cringe at first mention of writing?

If only I could show them, I think. Words. Oh gosh, words. Do you realize how many amazing, moving, beautiful, tragic, heart-breaking, life-changing stories have been written using words? I'll tell you how many: all of them. I live for stories. I take them in like oxygen and occasionally suffocate myself attempting to hold them in for too long because I just cannot bear to release them. Stories are- often quite literally- what keep me going. And I am far from extraordinary in this respect. Millions and millions of people around the world have a favorite book, television show, character; one that inspires them, makes them question the world, that they connect to personally for any number of infinite reasons. If there is anything that connects us as humans, it is our need for and love of stories.

I want to inspire the students I work with- and just about anyone else who will listen- to tell their stories; I want them to want to write because they know they have ideas worth sharing with the world. I want them to see writing not as a product for judgement, but a tool of self-expression. Everyone has a story worth telling, and everyone deserves to experience a love affair with language.