I’m Still Here

As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on–in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.

(Morrie Schwartz) tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

There is this line in the movie Poltergeist, the 1982 version, that the psychic, after they get Carol Anne back from the other side of the ghostly closet world, says out toward the camera, and hence to us the audience. “This house is clean.”

That sentence keeps circling in my head, this house is clean, this house is clean, this blog is clean. That’s pretty much how I’m feeling about this blog right now. I’ve been on about a year hiatus, which truthfully is not that unusual. If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that there are blog traffic destructive gaps in the writing. If you stopped following, I don’t blame you. I also don’t care. Not to sound like a jerk, but the only reason I am back here is because it finally occurred to me that I need to stop caring about you. Of course not in the real sense of not caring about people, but in the sense of trying to please you. The great big YOU out there in the audience. I will never be cool, hip, exciting, interesting, intelligent, or whatever other thing I need to be to impress you. I’m not going to build my audience. I’m not going to create a fan base, or a following, I’m not going to make any money here or some kind of a living here. I’m too overwhelmed and sometimes depressed (because I have depression so, you know, that’s the result of depression- gotta roll with it) to research how to have a great blog. Sometimes I look things up, like SEO’s and keywords, and I just can’t do it. I can’t. And finally, I’ve accepted that I don’t want to. This is because I discovered something while I was cleansing my blog. You see, I scoured through every single post I had ever written over the past- eleven years. I reorganized the entire thing. New categories, new template, and new focus. I reread many posts, and I trashed some posts (many posts) because they were not needed, and they did not fit into what it is that I have finally discovered I have been doing over the years.

This is a memoir. I hadn’t realized it till now, but it’s my memoir. It’s my history of the past eleven years of my life (and on till my death). I’ve decided, well, hell, I’d like to finish this book. So I reorganized, and I deleted, and I created categories that are really chapters, and I enjoyed the cleansing. I got rid of all of the pleading, because I could read it in my writing. I could hear the pleading in my voice. Please like me. Please like what I’m writing. You. You out there like me. Please save me and tell me I matter. All of that. I felt it come off the internet pages of this blog, like a noxious gas. A little sickening and a little sad. Palpable, tangible and so subconscious.

All of that was important. I needed to plead, and I needed to read and reflect on it all these years later with a kinder more compassionate self -perspective. I’m just a human. I needed to see that I had wanted to be more then just a simple human, and I wanted you to tell me; tell me that I was special. But, you never did. And I’m glad you didn’t because how would I learn? So, it’s changing. The voice is changing, and you, audience will either grow or remain the same or get smaller, but it doesn’t matter because I’m just here to write some stories. I’m on a journey to find out how I got here. How did a kid raised on welfare, with seemingly no chance of a decent future end up traveling and living in foreign countries? I want to know. I need to find out how. I’m curious as to know what happens next. Is it true we can write our lives? Let’s find out.

If you are reading this please forgive the mess. If you have ever seen Poltergeist you’ll know that even though she said the house was clean- it really wasn’t. There were still ghosts. Many ghosts. So, so many ghosts. In fact the entire family had to flee the home. They even got rid of the t.v.

Perhaps one day when I’m long dead this little time capsule of my life will resurface, and someone will learn something about what it was to live this little corner of my life. Perhaps not. Either way it doesn’t matter because I feel relief at finally seeing what this is all about. It’s about writing my own story.


Done with the Graduate School Applications

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I completed my last application. I decided about eight, maybe nine months ago that I wanted to apply to school. This was not a sudden decision. I’ve thought about applying since, well, honestly, 1997.

That was the year I was supposed to graduate from Chico State with a degree in theatre. Technically, I had completed my  theatre course, but technically I had not completed my math requirements. So even though I had been one of two students from my class to get passed on to finals through URTAS (a graduate school audition torture process) and I was the only one to get an offer (free ride I must add) to a graduate school, I didn’t go. I wont say why.

Like a bad sequal I’m back to the graduation application except this time I’m applying to creative writing programs. Although the most important part of the application is the writing sample I agonized over the Statement of Purpose. I can’t believe how hard it was to write this particular essay.

Creative writing programs are hard to get into. Since the economy went into a downward spiral more people have decided to go to graduate school, and more people have decided that writing is what is their calling. It makes sense really. Every one has a story to tell (and I truly believe that) but the biggest obstacle to writing is time. Time is money, and no one pays you to write until you’ve written something they want to buy, so what better time to write than when you have nothing but unemployment and time. So I get it, but creative writing applications have increased by 50%. Wow. And, creative writing programs are some of the most selective graduate school programs out all of all MFA programs. Meaning they do not have a lot of places open for new students. Sigh.

I’ve read a lot of advice for applying to graduate school and many of that advice has stated the best thing is to apply to at least 8 to 10 programs. If only. I applied to four. I suppose my odds are pretty low as to getting into a program, and I have mixed feelings about the entire process. Each school I applied to was at least $75 to $80 dollars to apply. If I applied to 10 that would be roughly $980. I couldn’t afford that. I had hoped I could qualify for fee wavers, but I fall into that poor but not poor enough category. It happens. I can accept it, but it means I can only afford to apply to four and that’s stretching it.

What does all this nit picky shit mean? It means that apparently based on what I’ve read my odds are low, and this puts an enormous strain on writing the statement of purpose, even if it (apparently) doesn’t mean anything, because I’m desperately trying to convince them that I am the right person for their  program.

I wont hear any news until next month, so till then I wait before deciding what will be my next move in life. I suppose I should write something while I wait.

Searching for an Agent and other stuff

During my latest meeting with my writing mentor/instructor (I still haven’t been able to accurately understand the role of my “teacher” from the Antheneum, other than it feels a bit like having a novel counselor.) She said that it was time for me to start looking for an agent. I was a little surprised that she advised this since the book isn’t entirely done. Sure, sure, it has a beginning middle and an end, but there is so much more work to put into it.

She said that the process of finding an agent is so time consuming and that the response time is so slow that I can continue to fine tune my novel. It did take one publishing house a year to reject me, so I could see her point.

I’ve been searching the web for insightful information on how to write a query letter and how to find an agent, also the importance of knowing your genre. It’s about as time consuming as looking for a job. It is a job, an unpaid job. I’ve been looking to AgentQuery to find information, and in these beginning stages I’ve found it to be helpful. In truth, I find the entire process to be extremely overwhelming. Every day I look I give myself a pat on the back because I’m sailing through uncharted waters here, oh and I’ve never sailed before.

In other news, I have a date set for my second fundraiser. It is Don’t short Change the Muse II. I need to raise at least 650.00 in order to pay for my third tuition installment. Another overwhelming project. I have also been attending these Career workshops to help me move on from my current working to survive environment and into I love my job and my life kind of environment. It has involved a lot of personality tests. According to Myers Briggs, I am an INFP which turns out to be only 3 to 4% of the American population. Awesome, nothing like an uphill battle. At least, my desire to be a writer and a performer has been confirmed as exactly what I am supposed to be based on my personality tests. Okay, right path, long battle.

So it’s agent searches, job searches and promoting my fundraiser.

In a side note, I’ve been doing another Playwrite workshop. During the workshop there was a shooting and we had to sit locked in a stairwell for 30 mins. We were not allowed to talk. There were seven adults and seven teens. It really sucks that this is the reality of our times. I don’t really know what else to say about the incident except that at least no one was shot, and compared to other school shootings this was minor, but it shouldn’t happen anywhere, it just shouldn’t.