Tag Archives: goals

Flash Fiction is Back: “Victorious” (100)

Standard
The photo inspiration for Friday Fictioneers

The photo inspiration for Friday Fictioneers

For what it was worth, she had won. As if siphoning life through competition, breathing in victory like oxygen, and being the one who stood at the regal apex were enough to justify any means. Of course, having passed the figurative tortoise, she was now standing cold on the pavement, watching her brother cross a different sort of finish line, family in tow.

The thought was commonplace; a holiday reflection prompted by a chance sighting. Laughter. What it would mean to have lost the salary and gained something else – something normal, unquantifiable.

And yet, she had no time for nonsense.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

Advertisements

Diss Update, Running Travails and Life Goals for One Month

Standard

So I have written a 20-page short story and I think it’s, like, almost done. (I never used to use the word “like” in my writing that way, but now I think it’s funny). I also have a mostly done 3-page short story. Although the fonts are a little different, I made the size the same so I would be telling you the mostly-truth about length. Now I need to finish another 3-5 pager and I’ll be all done. For now.

And it would be great if I could finish some big applications then, get all the maximum number of people signed up for The OpEd Project, and procure employment. So that’s on the docket. Yay life.

Anybody who wants to give short story feedback, let me know!

In other news, I really need to pee, I am part-owner of a kitten named Mailman, and that third short story needs to come shooting out, like now. Oh wait, that’s not other news. But it just got in there. Because it’s true!

Sometimes the truth just comes out.

On an unrelated note, I might have runner’s knee. What IS that? My Dad is concerned, especially because I was talking about marathons today. I have always been against marathons on the premise that running one is bad for your body because bodies like regularity, rhythm, constancy — that sort of thing.

In any case, I may or may not think that running three marathons would be better, you know, as an initial goal, because then you would be a marathoner as opposed to a ran-a-marathoner-oncer, which would mean your body would get used to it, right? Also, I think that running marathons might be my new favorite possible excuse for traveling the world. And being super fit. Both parts = good parts. There are some potential counter-arguments to this, I think. Like that I could travel the world and run half marathons and it would probably not kill me as quickly.

And then there’s this runner’s knee thing.

Let me describe and if any of you have advice, I would appreciate it: First, I run and later my right knee is a little stiff and sore — but really really not sharp pain by any means unless I keep my knees bent for too long and then they will both hurt until I straighten them, which causes both to pop, although my left knee is never really stiff or sore and this last part (about the bent knees needing to straighten) has been true since I was in middle school so I’m pretty sure it’s not a terrible awful thing.

So it’s really the stiff/sore thing that seems bad. And the fact that sometimes when I bend and straighten my right leg, the knee pops every time. Or when I bend in a different way, to stretch or just move around, it makes little cracking noises. Does that make sense? I would like better or more advice than “ice it” because it *for reals* doesn’t hurt badly enough for that the vast majority of the time and if it did I would ice it. Also, if that’s the only option, then I really do have runner’s knee and the other big rec is that I should rest it. Get me? I like running; I don’t want to rest it indefinitely. I haven’t even been gettin all cray cray and running too much recently.

That’s the story team. Help me out.

14 hours of sleep later

Standard

I am in a complete panic about getting a job. So that’s fun.

And another thing, it’s time for me to go running and my phone says it’s 93 degrees outside. WHAT?

Other than that, things are hunky dory. I need to go to the grocery store for five days worth of food, call T, and fall asleep at a reasonable hour. Yet the list of other things I need to do — substantial things — is freaking me out.

Life is frightening when you think too hard about it, but then you list the facts and things are actually ok.

Fact: My sister sent me a Starbucks card because she is awesome and she loves me.

Fact: I have options.

Fact: My parents love me enough to want me around most of the time.

Fact: Sometimes I laugh so hard that I cry.

Fact: It is possible for me to drive around Montana.

Fact: My mom left me a Blue Moon in the fridge. That was so nice.

Fact: I bought new underwear and it is fun.

Fact: Someone will probably hire me to do something in the next two months.

Fact: In fact, someone hired me to do something last week!

Fact: Sometimes I write reasonably decent poetry.

Fact: I have nearly written three whole short stories for my dissertation. Although they need editing.

Fact: Time.

Fact: My cousin is getting married! Yay!

Fact: I literally have the cutest niece and nephew in the entire world.

Fact: The graduates invited me to chaperone their senior sneakout. Translation? I’m cool!

Fact: Yep, I’m officially feeling better.

Time for that run.

The best niece and nephew

A Blogging Decision

Standard

I have made a decision on an empty stomach.

I have decided to write one post each week that I actually edit at least once, preferably twice, before posting.

Yes, it’s shocking, I know, but I have a goal in mind. My goal is to have a single post that I can promote on Facebook or Twitter or whatever on Sundays or another exciting day of the week, which will be my “favorite post of the week.” The current problem is that I don’t really have favorites right now because I get confused about what I’ve written being in different genres and therefore incomparable. But, if I force myself to edit at least one post consistently, two things might happen: my writing could improve, and one of my posts could stand out as being better than the others on a weekly basis such that I could promote it without feeling entirely shamefaced and without worrying that I was embarrassing all of my friends and family as usual to a painful and extreme degree.

Really, this is a big step for me.

There’s a chance I should have come to this conclusion earlier, but…um, well, I keep trying to type an excuse, but nothing is coming to mind. Decision-making on an empty stomach might be a positive for me.

goals

Standard

I have a lot of goals

I want to be a pop star

and a famous golfer

 

I want to eat pie with the queen of England —

she makes $50 million a year

according to NPR

did you know?

 

In the countryside of France

I want to live

on bread and wine

avocados

spinach

and cheese

Probably

this is not healthy

 

I want to stay up all night

and never get sick

drink coffee with all of my friends

and never lose time

travel the world

and never be poor

 

If I could speak Mandarin

I would

and Russian

 

I want to learn calculus and chemistry

again

and then I want to spraypaint

all of the underpasses

with Dr. King’s face

and scenes of brilliant color

 

And whatever you think

I won’t be discouraged

 

because I have goals

 

and I will run into every sea

and over all the mountains

and write a book about it

before I give them up.

Physics and the Meaning of Life

Standard

(a version of this post was published by Emory’s student newspaper, the Wheel, in August 2010)

During the second semester of my junior year at Emory, I took Physics 142 for my GER lab requirement. My next most recent exposure to math or science was four years before that. For those of you similarly naïve in the ways of med school prep, I should mention that Physics 142 is the second semester of required physics for pre-med students. I’m an International Studies major. I can talk politics all day long, but you’ll find me tongue tied over trig.

All of this serves as a warning that what follows is written by someone who knows very little about physics.

But I am not myopically focused on the “arts.”

My GPA is giving me a funny look, but I liked physics. In fact, most of what I learned applies to my real life—at least metaphorically. In particular, I have a vision of an optics concept turned metaphor that invaded my mind as the semester ended. It’s called the point of total internal reflection, which refers to a certain way that light rays refract and reflect. To me, this point is like the point at which a college student takes the final step in committing to do too much. Let me explain.

Reflection is easy. Basically, it’s what mirrors do and it’s not so deceiving to our eyes. When you look in a mirror, the reflection of you bounces back at the same angle and the same speed and the light stays in air. Refraction is a little different. Light travels through different substances at different speeds. When you look at something through a lens or through water, the light moves differently because it passes through different materials, slightly changing speed and angle. Imagine a block of glass. If you direct a laser beam through it at anything other than a 90-degree angle, its path is not straight. The light enters from the air to the glass at one angle, refracts at this interface, and continues through the glass at a different angle until it reaches the other side (the second interface between the glass and the air), where it again refracts (or changes angle). Light traveling through different substances doesn’t travel in a straight line.

The rote example of the phenomenon of refraction is a fish in the water. When we look at the fish, light isn’t traveling to our eye in a straight line, but it appears that way, and so we see an image of the fish slightly above where it is actually located. If you’re a cavewoman spear fishing, then you have to aim below the image you see in order to kill the fish. This illustrates a basic concept of refraction; the bending of light as it passes from one material to another.

But the point of total internal reflection is easier to explain in the block of glass, where there is what I imagine to be a magical entry angle, like a black hole or the island in Lost, where the laser light enters one side of the block and doesn’t come out on the other side. It’s as if it gets stuck in some space-time continuum and there we are, watching light disappear into, well, not thin air, but glass! Light disappearing in glass…ladies and gentlemen, that is total internal reflection.

Or…that’s close. It’s somewhat mystifying at first, but here’s my best interpretation of what actually happens. According to my physics book, “total internal reflection occurs only when light attempts to move from a medium of higher index of refraction to a medium of lower index of refraction.” Basically, the index of refraction is a number assigned to a medium (air, water, glass, other stuff) that tells you how fast light will move through that medium. So glass has a higher index of refraction (light moves slower there), and that means that sometimes, if light enters at that certain special black-hole angle, it will travel to the other side of the glass and, at that second interface with the air, instead of coming out, it will reflect internally, and bounce out a different side. It’s as if the inside of the glass block turned into a mirror for a second. The light does actually come out of the glass, but it just follows a path that someone like me (and maybe you) finds a bit unpredictable.

To me, total internal reflection is the point at which everything got a little crazy. Some light entered a block of glass, got overwhelmed, forgot where it was going and ended up hitting a mirror so hard it didn’t recognize the reflection of itself. It’s light stuck in a block. Things are bad.

When the average over-achieving Emory student over-commits, it’s like we veer off the path we were apparently following and when someone thinks to ask what we’re up to, we hardly know the answer.

Sometimes over-commitment feels good. It’s comforting to be busy; we are mainstream if we’re properly driven; it’s nice to fit in.

Sometimes, though, over-committing feels bad. We lose a sense of direction, our center is no longer centered; we have to skip our yoga classes to study for exams because we can’t miss another General Body Meeting of the Students for a Free Mind to plan our Service Trip to carry small children on our backs to the World of Medieval Juggling Convention to Promote Cancer Awareness and a Stepping Competition that we will be filming for a new website initiative at the Emory Wheel, which is partnering with our radio show on WMRE—SGA wants a copy to show at the Inter Religious Council’s next Unity Café (we have a poem to perform, too).

We end up like totally internally reflected rays of light. A little refracting is fun. We are supposed to change directions and try new things. If we keep things under control, we refract from one substance to another, changing angle and direction slightly as we move along, but always keeping on in a forward direction. If we get too deeply involved in too much, though, we lose control of the direction of our lives, and start to bounce off walls that we used to pass right through.

Typically, this is when we stop sleeping, we reflect instead of refract, and suddenly we’re staring in a mirror, drawing a blank on the eyes staring back.

Much of the Emory undergraduate population, like me, not only over-commits habitually, but continues to experience deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, which alternately manifest themselves through hostility toward those who appear to do more and a sort of anxious terror that drives us to the attainment of goal after goal. It’s not as if we don’t know this is ridiculous. We do. But we still feel it, and the insatiable push of our combined ego-conscience overcomes whatever rational desire to slow down we may have conjured over the weekend.

It’s hard to say what drives each of us, though.

Sleeping is a good. So are the conversations that have no point, and the occasional night at the Thinking Man Tavern. In the morning, when we see ourselves in the mirror, it is relieving to feel that the person looking back is not only a pretty decent human being, but also one we recognize.