Wasting Time (Productively)

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This month’s venture includes journaling when I should be doing schoolwork. (I should be writing a draft of my research paper right now.) Though my tiny notebook is designed for drawing, few (finished) drawings are housed in it. So far, it’s full of abandoned illustrations and completed lists. Next up for my journal: receipts and colored markers. Next up in my life: signing a lease? Oh, faux-adulthood. -L

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Prom-ing

I’ve come out the other end of what is probably the Ultimate Teen Movie Trope both endeared and underwhelmed. I can’t quite figure out whether I loved the experience or if I’m disenchanted by the whole thing. Alas, I went, and I don’t regret going. It was fun to see everyone dressed up to the nines. As for me, I don’t plan on putting that much effort into a single day again for a very, very long time.

In the spirit of prom season, though, I’ve been buying a lot of (unrelated) things–physical copies of books I’ve already read (no way I wasn’t going to bring The Secret History with me to school in the fall)*, a graduation dress, a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses which have accidentally accompanied my sister back to college**, and a journal. That’s right, I’m journaling now. How faux-artistic of me, right? But more on that later. In the meantime, let’s mourn my dwindling childhood. Next up: graduation. -L

*A list of comfort books I plan on bringing to college is coming soon.
**My main motivation in buying the sunglasses was to feel more in touch with Lana Del Rey. Guilty.

Too Much Walking and Too Many Books

A week ago I visited my future school for preview day. I am far too out of shape for the amount of walking that I did that day but it was mostly worth it (I feel the need to mention how much I hate stairs). I sat in a room with other prospective English students and felt like I belonged there. I went to a secondhand clothing shop and felt like I belonged there. I went to a bookstore and felt like I belonged there. I’ve never felt such a strong feeling of home in places besides actual, literal homes.

Speaking of the bookstore, I fell in love. The place was stocked full of vintage things–books, posters, magazines, newspaper clippings three times older than I was. The place was hot, cooled only with a single fan, and the woman working didn’t have any kind of cash register. She wrote every purchase down in a notebook, which boggled and endeared me in equal parts. The store had a section dedicated to the Beats and so naturally I left with a book about the women of the Beat generation. Naturally.

I go back in June for orientation and there are two other bookstores that I want to peruse. When will I ever read all of my books, you ask? Good question. Anyways. -L

I Want To Be A Balloon Salesman

As I delve more into writing and subsequently into sharing my writing, I think it’d be a disservice to not share the people who inspire me. Thus, the title of this post comes from the poem “Cancer? I Thought I Was A Gemini” by Brenna Twohy, who has an incredible capacity to make me laugh and cry between one breath and the next. While I think her work is so much lovelier experienced with her delivery rather than read alone, the lines from the title are:

Become a balloon salesman
so everyone you meet looks to the sky and smiles

[…]

I want to be a balloon salesman
I want to know what it’s like to let things go that easily

I can only dream of my words possessing the same quiet beauty as hers one day. Though I’m uninterested in making everyone smile, I think it’s a nice sentiment–to have your happiness be so influenced by making others happy. I’m no balloon salesman, but maybe I could use a bit more of that spirit in me. Maybe we all could. -L

On Focus and Panic

As my senior year of high school blinks by I’ve found that I’m overwhelmed by the dozens of small things that I have to do, thus resulting in me putting absolutely everything off.

Yesterday was the worst of it. I couldn’t focus on anything for more than a handful of minutes and ended up starting (and abandoning) about eight different things. Among those things were:

  • applying for a scholarship (for the second time)
  • writing up interview questions (then getting intimidated and stopping)
  • editing an article (before getting distracted)
  • and researching publishing presses (instead of finishing any of the aforementioned)

On top of that, preview day for college is April 11th. I’m meeting my roommate there for the first time and I think my subconscious is panicking. The other day I freaked out about what to wear, ordered a dress online, and knew literally seconds after purchasing it that it wouldn’t get to me on time. The expected date of delivery is April 14th and alas, I shall own yet another black dress–a thing that I definitely need, or so my closet full of black dresses tells me. While we’re on the topic of clothing being late, I’m possibly the only senior at my school who still hasn’t ordered her cap and gown. I’m a real life, 21st century, first world mess.

About the only things that I actually completed yesterday were setting up a Facebook page for Teenplicity and creating the playlist below. It was specifically made to calm people down if they feel even half as frenzied as I do. I hope that while listening you’ll think only of still days and ocean waves. -L

Photo Credit: [x]

serene brutality | a calming mix

atlas hands by benjamin francis leftwich /  seaside by the kooks / boats and birds by gregory and the hawk / broadripple is burning by margot & the nuclear so and so’s / the devil’s tears by angus & julia stone / smother by daughter / bitter and sick by one two / flesh and bone by keaton henson

Confession: I’m A Fraud

In creative writing, we sometimes have workshops where each person reads one of their works and then gets feedback on it from the whole class. Twice now, I’ve made excuses in order to get out of reading my own work and gotten someone else to read it for me. I have no problem with my work being torn apart on paper–paint my poems, short stories, and essays in red ink and I’ll have a field day. When it comes to attaching my voice to my projects, though, I falter. Half of the reason is, yes, because I’m a child who doesn’t like the pressure of putting myself out there in that way, and that’s the half that makes me a fraud; I don’t want to speak but I want to be heard.

The other half, though? The other half is because I’m egotistical enough to think that my work deserves a better mouthpiece than myself. I’m not quite egotistical enough to call myself a “writer,” but I write–I don’t act, I don’t speak, I don’t have a natural talent for telling stories vocally. And I think that the person who reads my writing out loud should be able to do all of those things.

And there is the paradox: I am simultaneously self-obsessed and self-deprecating.

I don’t know whether it’s because I accept my weaknesses or because I am too afraid to work on them. At what point do you say, “I am just not great at this thing and would rather have someone else do it for me?” Should you ever say that?

At any rate, I think maybe I’ll actually read during our next workshop. I’m currently 2/4 for times when I read and times when I copped out. I’d be content ending the school year with 3/5. -L

Thrift Store Typerwriter Adventures

Two days ago I browsed through a thrift store with a friend and he found this typewriter near the pianos. I wanted to buy it then but it’s pretty heavy and as much as I like to pretend that I’m big and strong, I am neither (not physically, at least). After one failed attempt to go back and buy it–I came 8 minutes after closing time and the doors were locked–I finally went first thing this morning and bought it. A lady saw my sister and I leaving with it and sounded very excited that I bought “the hippy typewriter.”

The typewriter was filthy when I got it so I blasted it with some dust cleaner for a while. It’s still kind of dirty but nevertheless usable. I thought maybe it’d be broken and I that I spent ten dollars for something that’d just get thrown in the attic. Thankfully, it seems to work just fine. The ribbon is mostly dried up but I still had way more fun than I’m willing to admit using up the residual ink and just listening to the rhythmic tapping of the keys.

I can’t figure out what model it is because the previous owner painted all over it. I think I like it better that way, though. “Live life like every day is your last!” is painted on the top and “to be in love is to truly live” is painted on the removable part. In the first photo below, you can just barely see the name “Christy” painted onto it, too. Thank you, Christy, whoever you are.

I’ve already ordered a package of new ribbons, which means more typewriter madness to come soon. I can already imagine the bemused look of my future roommate when I arrive at college lugging this huge thing. -L

All photos are mine.

Top 5 Favorite Movies [SPOILERS]

I believe that media absolutely shapes people as individuals. A favorite book, play, poem, or song is very telling of a person’s personality (person’s personality-shocker). Thus, in true post-Oscars fashion, I present to you guys my current top 5 favorite movies. They’re not the movies that I think are the best from an objective standpoint, but they are the ones that I can’t shake. They’re the ones that I could watch and rewatch and be captivated each time. In short, they’re the ones that have sentimental meaning to me.

Honorable Mention: Revolutionary Road

I’m definitely cheating by adding in a sixth movie, but this one was too unique in its impact for me not to mention it at least once.

A trend for me seems to be that as time goes on, I start to like a movie less and less. I can adore a movie the day that I watch it and then barely remember it two weeks later.

The opposite happened with Revolutionary Road. For hours after I finished the movie, I sat wondering whether or not I wanted to cry. I didn’t; the movie is much too subtle for that and that’s how it got me. It’s so sad in such a quiet way that I felt like I carried the story around with me for days afterwards.

The movie is brilliantly acted. There’s nothing more to say on that front. The colors are also genius; everything’s bright and white and blinding. From beginning to end it screams “suburbia,” with all of the overwrought dreams and eventual disenchantment that comes along with it.

5. Kill Your Darlings

Some things, once you’ve loved them, become yours forever. And if you try to let them go…they only circle back and return to you. They become part of who you are…

..or they destroy you.

There’s no one who didn’t see this one coming. Kill Your Darlings follows poet Allen Ginsberg as he starts at Columbia University and meets some of the key founders of the Beat Generation. The group dynamic is shaken when one of the members commits a murder.

Lucien Carr makes this movie for me. Even after watching this movie probably a half dozen times, I still don’t know what to feel towards Lucien. Is he manipulative? If so, is it justified? Is he a victim or a perpetrator? I think that perhaps he’s both.

From characters to costumes to setting to music, the film is more than solid. The controversy comes in when considering what exactly the movie is saying about the real-life people being portrayed, but that’s a story for another day. As a work of fiction and nothing more, Kill Your Darlings holds a special place in my heart.

4. Amélie

You mean she would rather imagine herself relating to an absent person than build relationships with those around her?

This movie. This movie.

First of all, the first ten minutes of this movie are a fucking ride, which is why I was stunned as the movie went on to find that I could relate to it so much.

In the beginning, the events of the movie play out like a well-done romcom; Amélie sets the guy that she likes out on a big game of hide-and-seek around town. She purposely makes sure that he narrowly misses her at every turn. In doing so, she effectively becomes the girl that all audiences know: the quirky and mysterious chick.

However, the film refuses to let Amélie be that one-dimensional. The film makes sure the audience knows that if Amélie keeps up the charade, she will end up alone. That is an incredible message. It shows that relationships are not a game of power: one partner does not get to place up a barrier and still expect to build lasting connections with others. That hits home for people like me who outright refuse to show vulnerability when interacting with people.

3. An Education

Studying is hard and boring. Teaching is hard and boring. So, what you’re telling me is to be bored, and then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life? This whole stupid country is bored! There’s no life in it, or color, or fun! It’s probably just as well the Russians are going to drop a nuclear bomb on us any day now. So my choice is to do something hard and boring, or to marry my… Jew, and go to Paris and Rome and listen to jazz, and read, and eat good food in nice restaurants, and have fun! It’s not enough to educate us anymore Ms. Walters. You’ve got to tell us why you’re doing it.

What ultimately makes this movie great is that it teaches a lesson without being overly preachy. Like with Amélie, the main character, Jenny, gets to have her fun before reality sets in.

Jenny is miles ahead of the girls her age. She’s smart, she’s talented, she’s sophisticated. She’s going to travel to France, listen to vinyls, and smoke cigarettes. It’s no wonder that she rejects boys her age and instead steps into a whirlwind romance with an older man who has the means for her to live the life she wants. He’s poised, he’s charming, and he has the means for her to live the life she’s always wanted. Her education falls to the wayside as she drops out plans to marry her new beau, because why not? She has everything she’s always dreamed of with him and finishing school no longer holds any value. Her education won’t give her anything that marrying this man won’t already give her. She’s happy and simultaneously challenges the system that seems to manufacture educated women like a factory.

But no. The man who she plans to marry has been lying to her the entire time (adults who get into relationships with minors can not be trusted). He’s already married with kids and this is not the first time he’s wooed girls just like her.

With no education and no future, Jenny is left with nothing. By the end, she’s cleaned up her mess–she’s accepted to Oxford and is back in Paris, this time with a boy her age. The central message of this movie is one of empowerment: “The life I want, there is no shortcut.

2. Titanic

I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen or who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.

Alright, so I’m 17 years late on boarding the Titanic, sue me. I doubt there’s anything I can say about this movie that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll give it a try anyways.

Jack Dawson. Leo himself was unsure about taking the role because he didn’t know what he’d get out of it. He always played the grittier roles, the characters with demons or tragedies. Jack Dawson definitely is not one of those characters. He is this ball of energy and light and I don’t think anyone could’ve portrayed him better. I never thought that such an endlessly positive character would ever appeal to me, but he made it happen.

Rose DeWitt Bukater. Her strength is absolutely unparalleled. She rebels against every social constraint imposed on her and it is brilliant. The change of attitude is even seen in Old Rose, who does everything on her own time and refuses to let anyone tell her what to do.

1. Like Crazy

I thought I understood it, that I could grasp it, but I didn’t, not really. Only the smudgeness of it; the pink-slippered, all-containered, semi-precious eagerness of it. I didn’t realize it would sometimes be more than whole, that the wholeness was a rather luxurious idea. Because it’s the halves that halve you in half. I didn’t know, don’t know, about the in-between bits: the gory bits of you and the gory bits of me.

When I think of indie film making, this is it. This movie is the embodiment of indie films for me.

I don’t know what I’m more into: the story itself or the way that it’s shot. Both have a rawness to them that is jarring. It really does show “the gory bits”: the fighting, the distance, both geographically and emotionally.  There’s not much that I feel I need to say about Like Crazy besides that it is simply stunning. -L

What are your favorite movies? Compile them in any format and link me in a comment below! I’d love to watch them and hear your thoughts!