#16: Growing Up

I believe I’ve decided on a direction for some important things. Not a concrete life-altering decision, but I feel I have a sense of direction now. It began last night, when I realized that podcasts downloaded from iTunes are in MPEG format, and my GoGear Vibe mp3 player will not play iTunes’ AAC files, thus why music downloaded from iTunes has to be converted to another format in order for me to play it. But when I realized that podcasts (at least all of the ones I have anyway) are in MPEG format, I realized that I could put them on my mp3 player and finally be able to listen to them at work, because usually I listen to music, and for some reason that is both annoying while I’m trying to work and makes me lose my concentration. Talking, however, is wonderful background noise that keeps me occupied on something else so I can kind of mentally get out of doing the job while my body takes over and does it.

As you know, I’ve been interested in Wicked lately, though I’ve known about the musical for a while and I’ve read the novel, but now I feel I can really understand and appreciate it more, rather than before when I was probably just desperate for something to be interested in so that I’d fit in somewhere. I didn’t really give the book a fair short, I zoomed through it without paying much attention, and found some parts of it incredibly boring, but probably because I wasn’t in an analytical mood and wasn’t really matutre enough of a reader or thinker to examine the messages portrayed in the book.

So, last night I discovered the wonderful world of iTunes U. This appears to me a huge catalogue of free, educational and informational podcasts. I download one that was a series of comments from writers on their own writing process, and tips for the budding author. I also downloaded a lot of podcasts when I realized I could actually get them onto my mp3 player, and kind of decided to make the one I have now my “podcast/talk mp3 player,” and not have so much music on it. Partially because I don’t want to edit the information and it would be hard to sift through podcasts and music, and also because of the file sizes. So, if and when I ever get an iPod, it could be my music player.

Back on subject! I downloaded a lot of podcasts, almost all of them in some way related to Wicked, and I didn’t necessarily intend that, but there you have it. I’ve become interested in Kristin Chenoweth lately, who really is an amazing talent, and a hilarious and personable human being who just can’t help but feel yourself drawn to. She has an autobiography I do believe I’ll be getting called A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages. Also, and I don’t mean this disrespectfully to her, I did not realize how much older she is than she seems! Now, I know that could sound like an insult, but I mean it as a compliment. I literally thought she was in her 20’s. She projects so much youthful energy that you’d never know she’s out of her 20’s, and yet, as I learned in the interview I listened to today, she’s also a very professional and adept actress and singer. I’ll post the podcasts at the bottom so you can go check them out, they’re all free and available on iTunes, which is of course also free. So really you could go get them right now, nothing’s stopping you! ūüėÄ

Three of the podcasts I downloaded were interviews with Gregory Maguire (one interview of which also included Canadian fantasy author Susan Cooper and was in mostly question and answer format). Gregory Maguire is hilariously witty, really personable, and very intelligent. He’s basically a culmination of a lot of character traits that I really admire and want for myself. Also, this has seriously piqued my interest in Wicked, and also in writing.

I have had an interest in writing for some time. When I met my boyfriend in 2008, I was going through a very strange and honeslty self-destructive period of my life where I seemed to be obsessed with sadness and loneliness, and I found myself, as I have so often been in my own personal life, secluded and upset. When I met my beautiful boyfriend, he changed my life, but it was a difficult change, because I had to leave the realm I’d built for myself and step out into the real world of love and emotion, instead of the vain world of self-pity I’d created. This was not easy for me, and was probably the most difficult personal journey I’ve ever undertaken. I think at some point I just checked out emotionally, because I was so frustrated, and as a result experienced a very long period of emptiness, not one in which I felt not feelings, but one in which I was very confused, and so turned my interests into unhealthy obsessions that I wasn’t really all too interested in (this is the real reason for the period of my life that I, in the last blog, unreasonably and ridiculously blamed on Lady Gaga of all things). In January of this year, when I started this blog, I was beginning to broaden my thoughts, to become myself again, and in fact, become a new incarnation of myself. In a funny way, 2008 was a year where I was a caterpillar, opening up to romance and experiencing it’s facets, budding as an author, and trying as hard as I could to experience feelings, whatever kind, so long as they were intense. My emotions were erratic and frayed, and without much focus or guidance, but I was overjoyed to be experiencing emotion and living a life filled with it.¬†2009 was my first year with my boyfriend, who I for some of the time took for granted and admittedly can still do, it’s a personal battle that I still struggle with.¬†2009 was a year so devoid of emotion, so scared of it, that I just spent my time longing for a simple answer, secluded and frightened. And now, here in 2010, which is going by so fast, I feel like I’m beginning to evolve, and to mature into the adult and human being I want to be.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, I’m going for the catterpillar/butterfly metaphor here, because it fits my situation quite eerily, since the various stages of my life seem to be happening in year incraments; not necessarily starting at the beginning of each year, but in about a year’s time nontheless. In ’08, I was a caterpillar, wandering the damp earth of emotion, clinging to anything I could and unable to grasp maturity, in ’09 I found myself in a cocoon, seperated not from the world but from myself, trapped inside my own mind and body, unable to break free, and finally here in 2010 I find myself growing, thinking, questioning, living, and doing whatever I can both to break free of the world of the cocoon and be sure that I never go back to it, and slowly fluttering my new wings as an adult, giving my life a new direction and setting my eyes on the open sky to which I can now fly, setting the tasks of my new life before me.

Perhaps hoaky, but meaningful.

I still haven’t gotten to my point! I’ve decided that I think I’m going to make creative writing, and¬†the study of writing and of literature, my focal point. I’m drawn to the intelligence of it, I’m drawn to having a large vocabulary with which to articulate a message, I enjoy weaving sentences into sequence, and I enjoy being knowledgable, feeling like I’ve worked to better myself, and in my own way, better than the people I’ve seen throughout my life. I have been surrounded by a family and a lifestyle that is what I consider “trashy,” distasteful, and disgusting. Drugs, ignorance, abuse, discord, anger, low standards of one’s own life expecations,¬†and plain lack of intelligence, these are the things I’ve seen from my family and their friends. I do not want to be one of these people. I haven’t been raised up in povery, but there’s something so infuriating to me about the type of people who spend their nights drunk at a fourth of July party, screaming about how they love America and Jesus when they really only love those two concepts because of what they’ve been told to love, they’re too ignorant to open up their own minds or hearts and allow coherent thought to enter. They care only about quick pleasure, and respond with animalistic violence and fury when their lives, which to me are lived insignifacntly in tiny disgustiing trailers filled with drugs, alcohol, and the ever-expanding retinue of children from vairous fathers, threaten to change or grow.

I know that may sound a little harsh, and it is, but I’m just jaded to this kind of community. It’s not any kind of racism or endorsement of a class system, I just don’t understand why people choose to live this way. It’s not necessary. I know that there are people who don’t want to be in that situation, but the people I have a problem with are the people who enjoy that situation, who enjoy being “trashy.” It seems like such a waste of the gift that is life, and the gift that is intelligence. What would an animal give to be as powerful as we are, the humans, who with our minds and not our¬†physical strength, meager compared with many in the animal kingdom,¬†can move anything, do anything, become anything? It’s outrageous that one would decide not to enrich themselves in some way, not to ponder some thought, but simply to live only for small pleasures that are fleeting and gone in an instant.

I just feel that I’ve grown up a bit today, just listening to Gregory Maguire speaking, giving me, a young person confused about which direction his life should take, an idea of what to do with my own. I enjoy being an eloquent person, though I may not sometimes exhibit it, and I enjoy writing; my only real problem is that I don’t know what to write about. I’ve tried boring fantasy, it doesn’t feel right, though I want to write fantasy. I’ve tried romance, and while it was, personally, my most successful writing, it still¬†was repetitive and whistful, not really holding any aim, not really bringing much message. My first attempt at a novel yielded an effort to say the least, and a good idea of the direction I wanted to take it in, along with another novel idea being born and becoming part of the first novel’s universe, but all of it went left unfinished, and while my writing wasn’t stellar, it was writing, and it was an effort, and it was something.

I think I may have overdosed on music. I immerse myself in artist after artist, but move on to another one within a month or two, and the old music becomes bland and repetitive to me. However, I still do want to make music, and learn to play the piano, and hopefully I’ll be making my first investment in that direction soon: I asked my old chorus teacher what kind of microphone one should use to record live piano, and he recommended buying a USB Mic, and that’s what I intend to look into. He said the price range begins at 60 dollars, and that seems like something I can handle, so I’m hoping to go the day after my birthday to Best Buy and try looking at some microphones. If I do, I can finally successfully record some of my music, which I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, and which would be exciting for myself and my friends.

The next sound investment would be to either have my broken piano key fixed, and subsequently my piano tuned, or to find a new¬†keyboard/electric piano. Both of those tasks are fairly expensive, and aren’t pressing anyway, so I’m going to currently focus on my more important life goals:

First, I need to get my driver’s license. I need to get some more driving experience and take my driving test again. Once I’ve got my license, I can stat working on getting my car fixed, and then I can find a job, have my own transportation, and begin college, because I don’t want to do either of the two aforementioned before having my own transportation.

Once I’m more on my feet and able to handle myself in the adult world, I think it will really help my relationship with my boyfriend, and hopefully we can begin finding a place to live together. It’s all very exciting that this is right at my doorstep, but now I feel a lot more confident about making the first step.

So, in summation, I think things in my life are taking a positive direction, and “I’m determind to succeed”, as Galinda would say. Wicked reference, now, when it’s clearly already been mentioned four blogs in a row? Of course!

Thanks for reading, whoever you may be, at the time of writing this I have no readers, and I’m actually glad for that, because that means this is more of a journal. I really do this for my own benefit, it gives me a work¬†to proud of, a place to write, and it’s entertaining. I will now list the podcasts/iTunes U audio files I’ve been listening to. I haven’t yet mentioned all of them: two or three are Tori Amos interviews, one is a Kathy Griffin interview, and one, from iTunes U, is a very informative and encouraging album featuring comments from authors about their creative process, and tips on writing.

Podcasts
Podcast/Individual Podcast Title/Release Date/Length

BCO Morning Show Podcast/Tori Amos/12-14-2009/5:32
BCO Morning Show Podcast/Tori Amos/12-2-2009/12:32
The BOOKER Show Podcasts and Audio/Kathy Griffin/5-5-2009/9:55
KTBG’s Bridgecast/Tori Amos/12-3-2009/10:09
SHN – Backstage/Episode 49- Wicked, Gregory Maguire/no date given/17:27
Top Shelf | Blog Talk Radio Feed/ A discussion with Gregory Maguire – Dec 10, 2008/12-10-2008/48:23

iTunes U
Collection/Individual Title/Release Date/Length

Arts – Audio/The Writing of Fantasy/3-24-2010
ATW – Downstage Center/Kristin Chenoweht (#139) February, 2007/2-26-2007/53:12
Start Writing Fiction/7-7-2009 (just download the whole thing, for some reason when I downloaded it I seem to have missed 2 tracks, but there are 7 total tracks)

Have a good day everyone, I definitely recommend the Gregory Maguire Top Shelf interview, and the Kristin Chenoweth interview, though all of these are good listens.

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