Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm 29 and other things

Oh hey, I have a blog still...

Before I begin writing about a bunch of things that have nothing to do with each other, let me show you where I'm at right now:

I'm in Alaska with the parents and with the mountains and with (the) Nick. I celebrated, endured -- whatever you want to call it -- my 29th birthday, signifying the last year I will ever have to be in my twenties. It's a bit surreal, luring my wandering thoughts to go places I'd prefer them not, both in the future and in the past. I won't talk about the past since this blog is chock-full of it.

Present: I'm enjoying this beautiful land with family, currently sitting by a fire and sipping coffee from a mug that says "Stud Puffin'." It's drizzling outside, not uncommon for the area and beautiful in it's own way. I've been here for nearly two weeks. The first few days were spent with my parents in Anchorage buying things I don't need, eating just a few too many calories, and hiking the beautiful South Fork Eagle River Valley Trail, which is pictured above (the one with me in it). We then hopped onto a train and spent a week in Denali where things did not go as planned, but made for good stories and unexpected adventures. We booked a campsite in Denali State Park's Wonder Lake Campgrounds, but as soon as we arrived it began raining and Nick and I ended up in the tent for 16+ hours. It was nice at first to listen to the rain hit the tent and be forced to do something productive that did not include internet or cellphone service, but by the next day, as we realized it would most likely not let up, we decided to ditch out and find something else to get into. I was bummed because I really wanted to hike in the area, but such is life. We ended up finding a nice campsite outside of the park and also staying in a lodge where the warm shower and cushy beds were welcomed. I was also able to spoil myself with a delicious piece of salmon that I wouldn't have had otherwise. The situation certainly could have been worse. We decided to spend the last few days bebopping around Anchorage. As our vacation comes to an end, homesickness is beginning to set in, and we're both ready to get back to our lives. My last request before I go: Alaskan king crab legs. It will happen, and it will be glorious.

Future: Ha! Like I know. But... things are looking promising. I think. Better than expected, for sure. 2014 seems to be the year of opportunity for me. So much so that I must assume that 2015 will seem quite dull in comparison. I hope that's not the case, but it's hard for me to believe the same amount of opportunity will continue to come. If that is the case, I'm here and I'm open and I'm ready.

Some of the things that happened in 2014 that will hopefully assist in my future endeavors (or at least won't hurt them) :

  • I received two scholarships from my school: one for my poetry and another for my creative nonfiction.
  • I was accepted into the undergraduate research program at my school. They actually paid me to do research, which still blows my mind a little. My paper is entitled "Victorian Widowhood and "the fate of women" in Gaskell's Cranford and Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds." Sounds interesting, right?
  • I began my internship with a local Press. Since then, I've gone from "intern" to "associate editor" and I couldn't be happier. I've also had the pleasure of working one-on-one with extremely talented authors that have each stolen a piece of my heart and have inspired my own writing in various ways.
  • I was given the poetry editor position at our school's literary arts journal.
  • I was hired as managing editor of our school's newspaper.
  • A poem was published in Birmingham Arts Journal and a nonfiction piece was published in the Oracle Fine Arts Review.
  • A chapter of the memoir that I'm forever working on was chosen as a semi-finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Arts Awards and I was able to attend a writing conference in Tucson as a result.
  • I was just hired at my school's writing center as a writing tutor -- the first undergraduate to work there.
  • So many other little things that have nothing to do with school, like being in Alaska...
I know all of those things are school related, but that's really just what my life revolves around these days. These are also the things I'm depending on to mold some form of a decent future for myself, an idea that still feels a little strange, slightly unreachable no matter what I do, though I don't let that negative thought consume me. I'm finally a junior, though I still have two years because I'm a double major. I've already scoped out the schools I'm interested in for my Masters degree. Most of them are chosen, not only by the program they offer, but by the area they are in. I desperately want to be near mountains.

It feels weird talking about myself anymore. Putting my accomplishments in bullet-points seems a bit self-important or something, even if they are tiny ones, and even if it's really just a lazy attempt at keeping my thoughts in order. I suppose that's a reason why I haven't been here as much. Where this blog started as a journal just for me, people actually began reading, and I got used to it, but as time goes on the whole thing feels strange. Then again, I'm writing a memoir -- though that feels more hidden, safe, than this. When I think of the book's future, I imagine that if it actually gets published, if people actually read it, I will find a place in the woods and never emerge. The writing I love. People putting my face with my writing is terrifying. Though the idea of being published excites me, it's more so because it makes me feel like I'm capable of accomplishing something than wanting people to know who I am. In fact, I've debated coming up with a pseudonym so that I can fulfil my conflicting needs to be published and also be anonymous in the world. As my nonfiction teacher Jesmyn Ward told me when I brought all of this up, "You're not published yet, so don't worry about those things." And that's about where I'm at with that.

So, that was a strange and unexpected tangent. I'm just in a weird transition, or maybe I always am in one, complete with worry for what is next and a lot of self-reflection that has me in a love/hate relationship with who I am/who I am becoming. Things (I) change so rapidly, it's hard to keep up. One minute I think I have a grasp on "me," then I realize I have no idea who I am. Sometimes it's as if I can't decide on what is me or what isn't -- a constant tug of war between the many facets of myself which are often polar opposite from each other. I'm probably just thinking about it too much. Does anyone really know who they are? Does it even matter? Probably not.

On that note, mom just pulled out some pancake mix. Delicious pancakes are much more important than this black hole of thought I'm about to be sucked into if I'm not careful.

Salut, friends. Until next time.

5 words of wisdom:

Katie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

So glad you updated! And very glad to hear that there are so many good things going on for you. You're a wonderful writer and I'd love to read your memoir!

karen said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm so glad you put a few thoughts here. I just spent the afternoon with my brilliant niece, who is 30 this year and so it is nice to also be thoughtful of you, and what you are up to.

Can I say? I totally called this direction!!!!! (Sorry, not about me I know.) None of your bullet points surprise me, and I felt a thrill with each and every one of them. Not all of us get a walk in the park for our 20s, and lord knows they are hard enough for those who don't get a whack of super-challenges.

Thank you for the update. I think of you from time to time, at school, living your life. I know we don't know each other, but I cheer you on from afar anyway. I'd buy your book, even if I've read bits of the story here. xox

Kara Paulk said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congrats on all the good things going on in your life -- you so deserve them and have worked hard for them!!!! Enjoy Alaska:)

Sara Lynn said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow!! What an adventure!! Also, many many congrats on your accomplishments!

alwayslaughingatmyownjokes said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Happy to see you are doing well! Love your updates :)

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