Tag Archives: writer

A Saturday Walk (Or, Why Coffee Is A Magical Healing Property)

I had a friend stay over last night. We stayed up watching Doctor WhoPlanet Earth, and listening to bands like Pink Floyd and Gorillaz. This morning we walked through town and up toward the cafe Gato Nero, where I bought myself a coffee and we parted ways shortly after. I decided to walk home the long way round, which essentially meant avoiding Federal St. a little longer and going down the hill toward the movie theatre and right. As I walked along Railroad St. I began to appreciate just how wonderful Vermont is.

This isn’t the first time, of course. Earlier this week some friends and I went to Willoughby Lake. The drive there was almost more exciting than Willoughby itself: sprawling hills of multicolored trees and purple mountain ranges for miles, a perfect blue sky with wispy white clouds, and then the mountains of Willoughby towering over us as we came to that vast lake. We walked through the woods of Willoughby (I opted out of wearing shoes the whole time) and built a campfire near the water and made it tall and hot.

I’m more appreciating of nature lately, and that is due largely in part to the impossible-to-ignore presence of Vermont’s nature during the summer. The trees are so bright with green that they seem to shout at you, begging to be looked at. The wind is sometimes harsh and will blow clouds of flower petals in front of you, and then you’re looking up at a massive lilac tree for five minutes. When it rains–especially at night–you can’t help but turn off all your music and devices and lights and sit by the window listening to the rain pitter-patter along the side of the house while the thunder gurgles faraway. It sometimes seems Vermont is offering us all of these things with a willing, comforting embrace, and that all we really need to do is listen up.

This morning, I was particularly groggy-minded. I won’t allude to my activities last night (or any night), but I awoke with quite the headache. I didn’t want to get out of bed, even, but I realized we had no coffee to make at the house. So Ben and I were forced to leave so that I could get my daily caffeine-fix, a necessary addiction and a nasty one that I’ve developed especially during senior year. Despite my relatively down-in-the-dumps mood and my exhausted body and mind, going outside was one of the best things I could have done for myself today. And today was a day when I didn’t even shower–I’ve showered every morning for four years. Being outside, especially once I had my coffee and had relaxed, made it clear to me what a wonderful world we live in. This is a realization I re-realize frequently, since it’s so easy to follow into the mundane mechanics of the weekday goings on.

Saturday morning walks present the world in a way you rarely see it otherwise, no matter where you live. It seems everyone is aware that this morning is meant for the little things: the trivial cup of coffee, the five minutes you sit on the front porch and bask in sunshine, the tiny errands you must run in order to enjoy the weekend. All the little things come out on Saturday, and with my little thing (coffee) successfully achieved, I felt free to simply appreciate things. Even though St. Johnsbury was once and industrial railroad town, even though many of the streets are poorly paved or cracked, and even though much of the town is in financial hardship, it was refreshing to hear birds singing from atop lampposts, to see the trees shivering in the wind, to see the yellow sunlight brightening everything in sight.

I realize, finally, that some part of me will miss this place when I leave in September. Of course Amherst, MA has lots of wonderful things–indeed, many of them better than what they are in St. Johnsbury–but I will still miss the little things I’ve grown accustomed to in this town. It will be difficult to adjust to a new place, no matter the excitement of the change.

As I sat on the tree stump in my front yard and looked at the street while I drank my coffee, the giant tree in the neighbor’s yard across the way seemed to vibrate and shake as a gentle breeze sifted through its leaves. Damn, that’s a nice tree.

J

2:11 PM

PS. Broken Bells have some really wonderful songs. Try “The High Road” and “Trap Doors.”

Increasing My Web Presence

Hi, y’all.

I’m writing the obligatory update post, since it’s been a little more than a week since the last. Not too much has happened since, although I was accepted to Bennington College. That’s pretty exciting, considering they’re only three hours from home, and I have my fingers crossed for good financial aid. We’ll see. If everything works out, I hope to be attending there in the fall. It’s such a nice little school with super cool programs and a small but interesting campus.

I also recently spoke to a couple of local publishers who run a business helping writers self-publish, especially specializing in the marketing realm. This was an interesting visit and it taught me a few things, but I also realized that I must try to increase my web presence. I suppose I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I do know it must include more twitter posts and…stuff? Right? Whatever, I’ve also decided I must gain a bit of a readership, so that we can gauge interest in my stories. I’m still deciding how I’d like to share exactly, but I’m thinking I may upload the writing in pieces in PDFs–which will include posting them here, on Tumblr, on Twitter, and even Facebook. I’m still ruminating, and a lot of stuff needs revision before I’ve reached that point, but it’ll happen. I hope a few of my WordPress followers will be interested in reading my stories when they come out in the not-too-distant future. They’re science fiction, and each is around 50 pages, some less, some more. I think some people here might really enjoy them.

I really want to expand my following online, I think that’ll be very important when I near publication–which is suddenly a far more foreseeable goal. Something I might actually be able to attain! How exciting (and frightening).

I’ll discuss all that in more detail in a later post. For now, I suppose I’m just saying hello! I know I have quite a small following on WordPress, but to all of you who may read this, I hope you’re doing well, and I thank you very much for giving me a few minutes of time. Even the smallest crowd is a crowd nonetheless.

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday! I’m gonna sit back with something hot and read some Bradbury, I think.

Till next time!

J

4:13 p.m.

PS. For your listening pleasure, try out “Hello, Dolly!” by Louis Armstrong. And if you’re not into that sort of thing, try “Creep in a T-Shirt” by Portugal. The Man.

Personal Update / Save the Earth

Ahhh! I’m an awful human. It’s not that I have any moral obligation to write new blog posts all the time, but I feel like if you’ve got the followers, you should appease them…right?

I apologize. Here’s a little about what’s been goin’ down for me.

I’m well into senior year, the second semester, now. I successfully presented a Capstone project on science-fiction and creative writing, starred as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, and am now directing a one-act called The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard. I was deferred from my first-choice school, Kenyon, and accepted to the University of Vermont. I’ll hear from some other schools, so the future is in the air.

Another event of special note is something that happened very recently. Two nights ago, I presented at the local library, along with three other authors. I was the only student of the bunch, which was quite an honor. The four of us talked for 7 minutes about the stories we were writing, and then were asked questions and given feedback by the panelist judges and the audience (the judges included my Creative Writing and English teacher, who has always been an enormous help to me). I received a lot of amazing advice and feedback, and from it all, I’ve begun to see my dream of becoming a published author as a real, tangible goal that I can grasp in my hands. It’s unnerving, to say the least, that people can really be interested in my writing, in my stories–but at the same time, it’s awe-inspiring, and really quite wonderful.

From here, I’ll continue to work on writing my stories and continue revising and editing them. I’d like to talk about another project too, though.

I have recently become very interested in the medium of radio plays. The writing of a story that can be carried only by what the audience hears is intriguing to me, so I’m pursuing an independent project. I’ve written some of the script already, and I have a cast of talented friends (most of whom are relatively experienced dramatists), as well as the support of a teacher with access to recording equipment and sound effects, and two friends with superb musical talent who have agreed to help as well. The script will be reviewed by fellow teachers and my heroic girlfriend. All in all, it’s dazzling to imagine actually directing this script into reality, and I’m so excited to actually produce the play. It’s sure to be a wonderful learning experience. I’ll post it here when it’s in its full completion, likely sometime not too long after April Break (the projected recording time, as of now). I’ll encourage everyone to listen to what is probably going to be a forty-minute show, and I’ll make sure it’s free for download. It’s all about exposure and experience, both of which I’m always looking for.

In the meantime, I’m continuing my science-fiction series, writing short stories and novellas for The Chronicles of Troy. I’m also enduring my final semester of high school, from which I’ve taken a personal day, today, to recuperate from the long week I’ve had–even though it was only three days. I feel drained, honestly.

Sometime soon I want to write something about climate change, but I’ll leave this post with one message: do something. I’m eighteen years old, and if I’m frightened of anything, it’s the future of the world that I and my fellow millennials are soon to inherit. The “Doomsday Clock” has been moved two minutes closer to midnight because of climate change (as of January 23), and if that doesn’t throw everything into the limelight of severity, I don’t know what will. Turn off your dormant electric devices. Take short showers. Walk, don’t drive, when you can. Unplug machines you’re not using. Recycle. Do something. Please, help this planet. Those before us have done a mighty fine job of ruining our world, and for now, it’s the only one we’ve got. We need to preserve it, and better yet, we need to improve it. If politicians are too stubborn to cooperate and help the planet, maybe the people can make a difference…even if it’s a small one. Encourage climate activism or at least climate awareness. Inform yourselves and your friends. Leave this world better than we found it, please.

Everyone will be grateful in the end.

Thanks as always to my little conglomerate of followers. It means the world that you follow and read me. I’ll try to repay the favor. Have a great day, live well, and love one another.

J

10:39 a.m.

For your listening pleasure, check out “Once Was One” by Portugal. the Man.

Friday Musing

It’s finally Friday, and after another (especially) long and tiring week of work, this Friday evening couldn’t come fast enough.

Yes, it’s been one hell of a week. Kids can be and usual are quite insane, and for some reason, this week the energy at camp was pumped up an extra ten notches. With a lack of counselors due to family issues and other personal businesses, the kids seemed to enjoy taking advantage of their increasing outnumbering of those of us who remained.

Despite all the stress, I’m still pleased with the things I’ve done, for the most part. Making connections with the kids is one of the most amazing things, because I don’t know most of them, and it’s crazy to become involved in all their individual lives, one by one. I learn new things about different kids all the time–some things aren’t as pleasant as others. I have to keep in mind that many of the kids come from very difficult backgrounds that range from parental abuse (both physical and verbal) to parental drug usage to poverty and everything else in between. The excruciating thing for the counselors is that we know all these things are going on with these kids, and we only have eight hours to bring any small amount of easy feelings into their lives. Whatever they return to, we can’t do anything for them. It’s sort of awful.

Of course there are always great things to do with camp, it isn’t all negative. But I can’t help thinking about it a few times every day, especially when I look at certain kids…

Aside from all that, I’m still living a personal life. Not much of a social life, though. People are always busy or I’m always busy or just too goddamn tired to do anything. Last week I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. That was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, about an MMORPG and its implications in real life. Wonderfully written with a whole bunch of great references to classic and current sci-fi culture, as well as 80’s culture and so much more. I’m now reading Suttree by Cormac McCarthy, which is definitely a change from Cline’s easy-to-read video game book. McCarthy’s book is supposedly a comedy, though it’s still pretty dark. After all, this is McCarthy we’re talking about.

It’s sad that I begin a paragraph about my social life, and by the time it’s done, all I’ve done is talk about books. Oh well.

I discovered some papers I wrote at the end of Junior year while I was cleaning my room, a while ago. A poem imitating Ginsberg’s “Howl” and a short word-vomit paper about something I had done that was out of the norm for me. My English teacher graded them and loved them, and didn’t have words. They talked in part about my struggles with writing and also with college, and the poem was largely about my dislike for many social norms around St. Johnsbury, which trailed into a long piece about the death of my brother, three and a half years ago. I also received a 5 on my AP English exam. My teacher sent me an email saying simply, “You rock!” and I later saw him–he hugged me.

I don’t have a weird teacher fetish, but I’ll be damned if these things don’t feel amazing. A person I look up to, a person with great intelligence and compassion, who has clearly been impressed with something I’m doing right. It just feels good. Really good. Because he recognizes me for succeeding in things I truly care about, where my parents don’t always seem to know how to react because we’re so different. They don’t get into English and writing and reading and science fiction. It’s not who they are. I feel alienated around them often times, but when people really seem to get it, really seem to appreciate it…that’s what feels best.

Home tonight. I think I’ll crack open some ice cream and popcorn and watch 30 Rock for a while. It’s my new obsession, ever since I had to move on from The Office. Although I’m not quite over it, yet. It’s hard. (That’s what she said.)

I’ll try to write another blog post when I feel interesting.

Adios.

-J
8:50 p.m.