Sunday, June 27, 2010

Very Old Short Story (so far)

_____This short story is based upon a dream. According to the notebook where I began to write it, I did so on February 16. I began writing it before I had realized my composition dates required the year to be included. I began writing it back during the time I did not capitalize my sentences.
_____I had not finished writing it because I thought the general concept of the story was far too ridiculous to even take seriously. I am now determined to finish it and I hope the years that have passed have not eroded the memory beyond repair.

_____I apologize greatly for any blatant errors or examples of terrible writing syntax that are certainly evident in this piece. As far as I can tell, it was written February of 2004. This is only the roughest of drafts, copied straight from the notebook, so it will be edited before I continue with the plot. It greatly excites me when I see obvious similarities between this and more recent writing of mine. I know it's weird; just think how I must have felt after I dreamed this! Oh, and that blank space in the first section after "passionately"? That's actually how it was written in my notebook. Apparently I didn't know how to write about kissing. lol.


_____It was a beautiful day. Bright, sunny, and cheerful, she decided to go down to the beach. As she traveled along the shoreline, she noticed a man sitting under an umbrella and almost fully clothed. He certainly was out of place on the warm beach. Although she was extremely curious, she kept walking. As she went past, she had the feeling that he was staring right at her. She felt his eyes penetrating her body. She was young and very beautiful. She shuddered at the thought that he might be a stalker. She quickened her step and continued for a little while more when she decided to turn back. She had forgotten all about the man under the umbrella until he was within sight. She tried to force herself not to look at him, but he was so unusual. She kept her eyes locked on the lifeguard chair in front of her, but he was looking at her again. He seemed to be studying her, as if she was important to him, as if she was what he was looking for. She closed her eyes and hoped for her safety, but something was calling her to him. She glanced at him and his eyes met hers. She immediately looked away. She didn’t know what he wanted or what his problem was, but she had to find out. Against her better judgment, she steered herself toward him. She thought a trace of pleasure flashed across his face, but she convinced herself it was just an illusion. As she continued toward him, she attempted to gather her thoughts. But as she studied him, all sense and logic escaped her. He appeared older and looked as if life had treated him unfairly. She blinked away the wave of compassion that had struck her as she started to speak to him. He smiled, almost cynically, and all words stopped.
_____What’s wrong with me? He’s just some perverted hobo sitting on the beach. Why in the world did I approach him?... she thought. He looked as if he wanted to stand to greet her, but somehow she knew that he could not. She kneeled in the sand and brought herself to his level.
_____“You’re perfect.” He smiled. She felt herself blush as she was flattered, even though she should have been frightened. “You’re absolutely perfect.” He leaned forward. “I need someone to support me in everything I do. Someone young and beautiful and confident and smart and you’re perfect.” She was flattered. “I need someone to back me up. I need you. I need you to help me…” She was puzzled. “…with this.” He pulled up his pant leg, showing his twisted leg that had been mangled by some disease. She winced. “It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt me, but it makes life all the more difficult. I’m sure you know how hard life is to begin with.” She did. Somehow, he had seen through her sky-blue eyes to see her past, filled with pain.
_____“There’s only one way to fix this.” He pointed to his leg. “And I’ve found it. I know you’re trustworthy and now I need you to trust me. I need you to follow me and support me.” She nodded. He started to stand, but it looked like he wouldn’t make it. She stood and offered to help him. He refused. He slowly succeeded and he then looked deep into her eyes. She didn’t know what it was about him, but she felt herself falling in love. She did not care about his outer self or his looks or his age. There was something more important inside. As she finally composed herself to speak, she studied his light hazel eyes. She leaned close and confided, “I don’t know what’s happened, but I don’t care. I love you and I always will. I’ll follow you anywhere and I’ll do anything.” He put his hands on her waist and moved toward her. She grew tense for a moment, drew back, but then relaxed and let him advance as she started to long for his kiss. When his lips finally met hers, she passionately _________. He drew her to himself and she leaned on his embrace.

_____They pulled apart and he took her hand as he started to walk along the beach. They continued to the very end of all the swimming areas when he stopped. She looked at him questioningly as he turned toward the open ocean. She didn’t understand what he was doing so she turned to him, turned his head with her hand, and kissed him again, He smiled a smile that told her everything would be fine. She swallowed her nervousness as he stepped toward the water. He kept walking, even as the waves washed over his shoes. She let go of his hand when she realized he wasn’t going to stop. He turned his head and encouraged her to keep going as he continued. She watched as the man she loved walked out to sea. When she remembered her promise, she forced herself to follow him. He slowed and waited for her, as if he knew she was far too scared to keep walking alone. She was confused, yet she trusted him. She hurried to catch up as he waited patiently. When she was beside him, she took his hand and they both started walking. She began to speculate what his magnificent healing plan was. Was he planning to drown himself? Or was there something beyond her imagination that she didn’t understand? She dreadfully hoped that his solution did not involve death. When she forced herself to stop thinking about it and stop assuming things she didn’t know, she realized he had stopped. “We’re here,” he said, “Are you ready?” She began to ask for what, but before she could, he dove under the water. She didn’t know what was happening, she didn’t know what he was thinking, she didn’t know where he had gone, and she didn’t have any idea what she had gotten herself into. She shook her head, ashamed of ignoring her better judgment, as she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and gracefully dove down. Expecting to run into the bottom, she opened her eyes. She thought the salt water would burn her eyes, but for some reason it didn’t. As she adjusted to the dim light under the water, she saw a bright blue glow straight in front of her in the distance. And a little ways ahead, she saw a figure swimming toward the glow. She knew she wouldn’t be able to catch up to him, so she instinctively shouted “Wait!” The blurry shape stopped moving and turned around. She recognized his friendly face and he started swimming toward her. Now that she wasn’t alone, she breathed a sigh of relief. She stopped suddenly as she realized she was able to breathe underwater and that she had been for some time.

_____She didn’t know what was happening to her and she started to hyperventilate. When he saw that she was struggling to accept what was changing, he rushed to her side at a speed that she knew was humanly impossible, especially with his disability. He told her that everything would be fine if she just trusted him and that they’d be fine if they just stayed together. She knew that, but she couldn’t force herself to believe what was happening. Seeing that she was still unsure, he drew her close in an embrace that settled her deepest fears and doubts. She took a few deep breaths and made herself think that it was always this way and that she just hadn’t accepted it. This way, she could swallow her unsureity [sic] and follow him through whatever approached her. He invited her to keep following him as he began to swim toward the blue glow. As he pulled away, she did not move. He turned back to her and asked if she was okay. She nodded, as she quickly began toward the same blue.
_____When they were closer to the blue light, she could see the faint outline of a complex city-like structure. She immediately thought that this man had found Atlantis and she laughed at the notion. The idea that they had both lost their minds. She began to think that that theory made the most sense. As she shook the silliness that had entered her mind far away from her, she realized that they had stopped right at the edge of the glowing blue abyss.
_____“Are you ready?” he questioned. Again, she wanted to ask for what, but she wisely answered with a simple yes. He assured her that they would all love her, just as much as he did. She frantically said, “They? Who are they?” He put his hands on her shoulders. “Don’t worry, they’re just like me.” Even though she was still confused, hoping to forget all that she didn’t know, she leaned forward and kissed him. “Everything will be fine; trust me.” And she did trust him, but she was still afraid. He took her hand and he stepped into the blue light. He seemed to instantly change, but she did not know into what. He was swept over by a wash of blue color, but there was something else different. She figured that the only way to find out was to follow him, so she closed her eyes and moved forward. She then realized that whatever changed him would change her as well, but she thought of that too late and when she opened her eyes the changes that she saw in him had to be the same as the changes she felt in herself. He asked if she was okay and his face was the last thing she saw before all went black.

_____Her head throbbed with the blank memory of what had happened. She tried to blink away the pain, but it just wouldn’t go away. She sat halfway up and saw a tall, blue figure that was unfamiliar. He spoke to another behind him saying, “She’s up. You better come here. She doesn’t look too good.” She laid back down and tried to convince herself it was all a dream, but memories of the beach and a blue haze and that familiar face that she loved told her otherwise and it was all too real.
_____A strong hand gently touched her shoulder as a beloved voice urged her to wake up. She slowly opened her eyes to see his face, which was the same, yet vastly different. He put his arm behind her back and lifted her up. “You’re okay, right?” She nodded. She was confused and dazed and very much out of it, but this was the choice she had made and, whatever exactly that entailed, she had to endure it.


Fireflies and Insincerity

The beautiful words I have crafted thus far. I'm going to work on the very old short
story I mentioned previously.


Fireflies and Insincerity 06-25-10

I'd like to leave a silent voicemail.
About the fireflies over the field
and in front of my windshield.
Then I would be as insincere as them and they as me and you.
As insincere as you and me and everything you want to be.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thinking Styles and Careers

I have a career/personality test that I need to complete. It seems extremely
extensive and I'm a little apprehensive... about beginning it and having to
finish it.

Apparently I am now a rapper.

I've been thinking about poetry a lot lately and how I would like to practice my
word-crafting skills. I'd like to be able to write a piece free from meter and
rhyme and, most importantly, storyline. I want to form beautiful sentences from
beautiful words to create beautiful concepts that don't particularly lead anywhere.
I simply want to capture a feeling. I have a feeling this piece is going to start
out about fireflies and insincerity.

I've also been thinking about the concept of careers. In general, I could easily say
that I completely disagree with the American view that one's life must be defined
by a certain career. But you know me and you know I don't like blanket statements...

(as a side note, I found a very old short story I once began and soon gave up on and
I have not stopped thinking about how much I want to finish it, even though the basic
plot has probably largely been lost...)

The basic problem I have with the American concept of career is that a career is a
far too tangible thing to be the center focus and definition of a person's entire
life. But that's the American Dream, isn't it? Pick a career, go to school, and live
that career. Forever.

Oh, hey, fear-of-commitment.

Instead, I believe the focal point and primary definition (master status!) of one's
life should be something more intangible. It seems to be that the less intangible,
the more readily attained, achieved, and maintained; perhaps because things less
tangible are more open to interpretation and broader definitions?

I do not deny that I have an ultimate career goal. (see previous post(s) about the
importance of goal-setting) This ultimate career goal of mine is youth counseling,
whether as a school guidance counselor or otherwise. There is available proof that
this is my ultimate career goal because it is written in the headers of my plan of
major and plans of minors. However, this tangible goal does not act as the defining
status of my life because it is motivated by less tangible core values. It is these
values that I allow to act as the primary definitions of my life.

Today, I was asked what I first think of when I think of "success." I'll admit, as
an individual who has been enculturated with the American belief system, my first
reaction was "money." While I admitted this to the surveyor, I first responded with
my real answer of what I want to think of when I think of "success":
Achieving a purpose or goal. Or even just working toward that goal. Making progress
and being motivated to being productive in some way.

I was then asked to clarify what success means to me personally:
Youth counseling. Establishing camaraderie. Acting with compassion. Etc. And having
a white baby grand piano at some time. :)

These are those core values that I allow to act as the primary definitions of my
life, among others:
sanctified and selfless compassion
balance and moderation

The bottom line is this (and I will try to be as concise as possible)...
If one's ultimate career goal is motivated by any such core value, that career goal
can and should be attained, achieved, and maintained at all times, even before that
specific training is completed or the title is received.

(that's really the main thing... it's not about the title...)

Even though my ultimate career goal is youth counseling, the core values that act
as motivators and can be achieved regardless of where I am, the training I have
completed, or the title(s) I have received.

So, after I concluded this, I was thinking about other examples of career goals and
how the core values that should motivate them could be achieved at all times during
one's life.

I only ran into a problem when I began thinking of more "technical" careers... the
more tangible titles... electricians, mechanics, doctors, chemists, etc.

While these careers certainly still have room to be motivated by core values (finding
solutions, fixing and preventing problems, discovering new things, etc), the core
values are somewhat restricted by the more tangible and technical nature of such
career goals.

[enter, the difference between science-thinkers and thought-thinkers]
There are two different kinds of people here at Bridgewater; two
very different kinds of thought processes, learning styles, and
general philosophies of life. There are the science-thinkers...
chem, bio, math, comp, etc. There are the thought-thinkers...
socio, psych, eng, rel, philos, educ, etc.
Bear in mind that there sometimes is some overlap, but...
These different kinds of thinkers consequently have extremely
different opinions about the Liberal Arts philosophy. The science-
thinkers tend to view Liberal Arts as an unnecessary and painful
burden. The thought-thinkers adore the Liberal Arts and view it
as inherently invaluable.
Certainly, there would still be a chance for a small percentage of
students to be unhappy (because I have met some science-thinkers that
are thought-thinking majors), but this is why the admissions process
would have to be stricter.
[excerpted from "Ideas and Aspirations" - April 11, 2010]

So, even though both science-thinkers and thought-thinkers theoretically could be
motivated by the same core values, the way the express and demonstrate those core
values through their ultimate career goals would be inherently different.

In regards to career and personality tests, I believe this may be the most important
starting point.

Are you a science-thinker (more tangible) or a thought-thinker (less tangible)?

Oh, hellooooooo, Thinking Styles Continuum.

If a science-thinker tries to fit into a thought-thinking-shaped hole, chances are
he or she will be quite unhappy.

If a thought-thinker tries to fit into a science-thinking-shaped hole, chances are
he or she will be quite unhappy.

All in all, even though I am obviously biased toward thought-thinking aspirations
and science-thinkers are likely to experience more difficulty in achieving happiness
because of the more tangible nature of the ultimate career goals they are most likely
going to be inclined towards, the world most definitely needs science-thinkers to
balance the thought-thinkers and ultimately find solutions, fix and prevent problems,
and discover new things.

The most important thing may be to know what kind of thinker you are so that you will
be aware of the specific challenges with which you will most likely be faced.

Upcoming topic: Career Changes and Starting Over

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Productive Town, Blue Teeth, Eyes, and Lies (and Limitations)

Productive Town will be discussed last because that is the topic that is likely to
take the longest to write. Productive Town is a more personal discussion, while Blue
Teeth and Lies pertain to societal issues and Limitations is about a popular belief.
Browse as you please.

Blue Teeth

More commonly known as blue tooth headsets, blue teeth present a very convenient
social excuse. At my job at a local gas station/convenience store, a number of
customers shop and pay while conducting business on their cell phones. I have since
grown accustomed to this display of rudeness because I realize that many of these
people are conducting legitimate business calls (although I doubt any of them are
too busy to wait for or pause that call for the short amount of time it takes to
make and pay for a cup of coffee). However, blue teeth present a different form of
rudeness because it is now somewhat hidden. A call no longer requires the person to
operate with one hand or awkwardly pinch his or her phone on between shoulder and
ear. The person now stands erect and free while still tied to a business call; now
feels not-rude because there is less physical notice of the said rudeness, even
though the actual act is not any less rude.

Eyes (The Contact Of)

Also at my job at a local gas station/convenience store, I have noticed that human
contact is largely illegitimate when eye contact is absent. This becomes evident when
ringing up a customer if eye contact is not established by me. As I take their money
and make their change, if I continue to not look at them, I can feel them looking at
me, waiting for contact to be established. See, kids? Eye contact is crucial! And,
sometimes, there are times when it makes sense to split an infinitive verb!


Also at my job at a local gas station/convenience store (haha), I have noticed that
society teaches us to lie. (At least this seems to be true for Central Pennsylvania
and is probably also true for the rest of America, at least.) This concept does not
require much explanation, other than a short example:
"Hi, how are you."
"Good, you?"
"Good." (or no response)
This societal lesson of lying is particularly evident when the person offers no
response. Clearly if he or she asked me and does not care enough to offer the same
lie of an answer, he or she could not have possibly care genuinely about the question
or my lie of an answer. We are primed to lie, become accustomed to it, and are likely
to experience less remorse when presented with a real opportunity to provide another.


[Saved as a draft text; copied here unedited]
Contrary to popular belief, there are very few limitations in this world. You can do
most anything you want, but it is essential that you want it. Risk? Be wisely safe,
but unafraid. Uncertainty? Learn from others, then your own experiences.
Perhaps limitations (glass ceiling, etc) are also fabricated by society. Society,
society... we blame it all on society? And remove the personal responsibility? No,
for what is society other than a complicated web of individuals, all with personal

Anyway, this provides a transition into the next and most important topic because
it is essential that you want it. Even if limitations are a figment of society's
imagination, if we believe them to be real, they are real in their consequences
(see: Thomas Theorem). Even if limitations largely do not exist, one must want to
overcome these imagined limitations in order to be motivated to do so...

Productive Town (and Productivity)

[Excerpts from journal entries on June 10, 2010; edited]
Textbook depression = "little to no interest in the things that have always given
you joy…” People experiencing depression, whether situational or prolonged, typically
reduce themselves to doing nothing else other than working and sleeping. I suppose
they lose interest in everything because activities feel like they would become
scapegoats. If they were to bury themselves in productivity, perhaps they would feel
this to be severe denial - that they are distracting themselves, rather than owning
up to how they feel. So instead, they do nothing so that they are fully aware of
their sadness and sleep so that, on the contrary, they feel nothing. They do nothing
so that they feel and sleep so that they do not feel (because they cannot handle the
depths of their sadness).

_____Supposedly, productivity is injured by sadness. But what if it is the other way
around? What if a lack of productivity creates sadness? Even worse, what if this
absence reveals sadness?
_____Generally, when I am sad, I do experience a loss of interest and a decrease in
productivity. This is to be expected, supposedly. But what if the opposite is true?
When I am sad, I cease to be productive because focusing on being productive would
distract me from my sadness and, in a sense, deny the real issue (unless, of course,
there is no real issue and the sadness is legitimately illogical). When I am sad, I
cease to be productive because I want to attack my feelings, rather than distracting
myself from them.
_____Generally, when people begin to cease being productive, they begin to feel sad.
This suggest that being productive is crucial to being human and, likewise,
surviving. Therefore, a lack of productivity causes sadness.

_____Productivity and satisfaction are inherently connected. Everything is
interrelated, entwined. The connection is visible in Erikson’s eight-stage theory
and I am sure it is obvious throughout the rest of psychology and sociology, as well
as the other social sciences. Trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, identity,
intimacy, generativity, integrity.
_____I’ve said that the foundation of “happiness” is to determine what one wants,
because clearly, what one wants cannot provide any satisfaction unless it is
understood as being wanted. However, it does not stop there because, after
determining what is wanted, it must be produced – achieved, attained, created, etc.
That’s the difference. It’s not just knowing what is wanted, but it is having an
active role in producing the goal.
_____Goal-Setting. It’s not appreciated at first and should be better-communicated
as being very important.
_____One must take an active role in producing his or her own happiness. Far too
many people expect “happiness” to simply fall on their heads or for them to simply
stumble upon it. Unfortunately, this is not how “happiness” works, however you may
define it. It is more than simply deciding what one wants; although I never
explained the second step because I expected it would follow naturally. I see now
that the first step makes more sense when followed by the second step. One must
decide what he or she wants and then take an active role in producing it, whether
this production is achievement, attainment, creation, discovery, or something else.
_____Perhaps what no one realizes is that this productivity may be more fulfilling
than the actual goal that is eventually produced. Maybe. There certainly are
negative effects of repeatedly or continuously failing to achieve a goal. But aside
from that, maybe the productivity really is more important. The feeling of getting
something done may be one of the most fulfilling of all feelings. Not getting
something done, but rather being productive and working toward a goal. This is why I
emphasize “goal-setting” as absolutely crucial to “happiness.” But the goal is
simply preliminary. The goal will give you nothing if you just let it sit there.
Nothing. No work, no reward?
_____(This is why it is crucial to know WHAT you want to do, so that your
productivity will satisfy you.)


In other news, as a post script (and crooked lines!), fame is completely unimportant
to me and celebrities almost always sicken me, as does the idea of celebrity-ness.
Please do not proselytize me with your excitement. I will be excited for you; for the
fact that you are excited for others, but I will not be excited about the concept,
the reason, for excitement. And, in still other news, I don't feel like explaining,
particularly when I do not fully understand it.