It’s funny how you can have one thought (maybe when you are tossing and turning in bed, trying to get to sleep because you have to be up in eight hours), one line, that pops into your head and suddenly a whole spew of other words start tumbling out. Like a floodgate. Then words start flowing nicely together (er, or nicer than usual), a good stream of conscious thought.

Ive finally found how I want to begin my memoir, and now I think the rest of the pieces should slide into their rightful places a lot easier.

I’d also like to say how good things can always be hiding situations and how I was reminded of that when my STUPID, PIECE OF CRAP CAR DECIDED TO FALL APART AGAIN. That long tube that runs along the bottom of the car..the muffler, exhaust pipe?? I don’t know (I’m not a mechanic okay?) likes to come loose and drag along the roads. While waiting for CAA to come to the autoshop, I picked up the only reading material around me. Readers Digest from 2008. I found a really well written article! Usually, the subject matter wouldn’t provoke much interest in me but there was something about this that kept me reading. I can’t seem to find a way to read the full article, but here is an excerpt (warning, its like the climax of the piece.. if i remember correctly)   What was in readers digest ends halfway through page 2. Not sure what the other stuff is,

http://www.roymacgregor.com/canadians_excerpt.pdf

 

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I have no recollection of writing this..

Found flipping through my notebook for free writing before class. I was pretty confused cause i can usually remember the things Ive written but not this one.. only edited slightly and im unsure if the tenses make sense.

 

“How can I free write when my hands are this cold?

The train slowly came to a stop, the breaks screeching as it made its way into the terminal. Bodies anxiously shifted from foot to foot and huddled closer around the doors. Like zombies drawing in on a victim.

Getting the best seat on the train is similar to an Olypmic race and the winner feels ever so smug. Of course, there are always the courteous ones. The ones who have 5 minutes til their destination and will deliberately chose to stand over sitting. These are the ones we silently thank. They have all our holy gratitude. Because for the ones who have forty minute commutes getting a seat is like life or death.

The fashionable ladies wearing heels seemed to be indifferent to the ..”

 

stops there

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In case you are interested* in my writing process…

The problem with the way I write is often when I am doing my first shitty draft, I am cringing as I write it. Some stuff will fly out of my fingers at rapid speed and then I’ll start to slow down as I write thinking “oh, no no no this is ..what the HELL”.

I’ll write it all down anyway, shaking my head and when it comes time to review it I end up ditching more than half what I wrote. It’s never what I mean to say, it doesn’t come out properly!

I guess that means I need to do some more reading. Zinsser and otherwise.

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a good lyricist

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Dear Matilda,

I’m hoping your lack of a response to my last letter is because you are busy burying your head in books. I know you are not lacking in supply because I saw your huge suitcase full of them before you left. If you are not reading, maybe some incentive is that I secretly left a note in one of those books!

I miss you joining me in being excited and amazed over virtually nothing. I swear everyone around me is a zombie and I’m turning into one too. It took all my strength to not curl back into my cocoon of sheets this morning and sleep the day away.

You’re not missing much here. Except for the bitterly cold temperatures that sting your nostrils and make them stick together, and snot that runs down your lips and chin. Nights out are no different from the ones before that promise fun and let you down with the same booming, soul less techno beats and memories that seem much more exhilarating in the recount of the morning than they ever were in actuality.

Last week Pound said the easiest thing to exercise is your imagination. Have you been exercising yours lately?

May the god of dance smile upon your feet (I stole that),

Harriet

P.s. Harrison says “Hi”

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The Unlived Life

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.” 
― Sylvia Plath

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Dear Matilda,

First off, I absolutely loved your letter! It was so well written. The part about wringing the cloth out for a drop of water was fantastic. It’s so funny how we’ll come back to things for the smallest bit of joy, even when it costs us.

I feel like I have so many things to tell you. Where do I start?

Betsy is the most unreliable hunk of metal I have ever witnessed. She died and had to get new parts the first week of school and this morning was making very concerning droning sounds. If I don’t die from sheer anxiety, I’ll surely die because of that car.

I forgot to tell you about Slush! Slush, is all the unused stuff in your writing I guess. The bits and pieces you decided to exempt from the rough draft. Pound says he keeps his slush and goes through it later to pick out anything that might be worth while. I definitely keep mine but for some reason it’s never occurred to me to look through it later. I feel like a lot of these writing tips can be transferred to life tips. I have tons of life slush I should go through, so I can throw out the bad and unnecessary stuff once and for all. I also  feel like my mom could use this lesson, but for the mounds of junk that she stores away.

Today we talked about characters. How do you make a good character? How do you bring a character to life and make them interesting to a reader? There are five things you should be considering; appearance, action, thought, speech and experience/history. Its impossible to capture everything about someone’s appearances, and experiences etc..so these details can not be chosen at random.  It’s best to pick the details that truly show something about your character. As for appearance, we discussed that the things that are voluntary (ie, their clothing choices) are more revealing than things they are born with. Of course there are exceptions. The appearances we are born with can be a huge part of our identities.

Pound said that we have two lives. The one we are living, and the unlived. These lives touch each other and intertwine with another, each influencing the other. I pictured it as two race cars, neck in neck. The driver of the living keeps glancing to the side at the driver of the unliving and quickly whipping their head back to face the track infront of them. You can be focused on the life you have now but the unlived life is going to be right beside you, the whole time. (I could totally work on that metaphor there) The choices we make or do not make in our life are our turning points. They make the small and grand changes that shape our persons. These are the interesting details, the regrets, the right decisions, how we got to where we are. He also said that when people get older the unlived life is more accessible than it is to young people. WARNING SIGN. I don’t want the unlived life to be more accessible as I grow, even though that seems like a kind of natural process. It reminded me about making the best of my opportunities.

Missed opportunities always make me so anxious and sad. And stressed. You know when you can feel opportunities slipping away infront of your eyes because you’re not acting on them? I tend to do that a lot.  Life is like the ultimate video game. We’ve been granted with so many chances to start over before we finish the game. (Er I could probably work on this metaphor too)

I must be psychic by asking you to descirbe to me a new person you have met as in class today we had to describe a person as well.. so your job is as follows: To describe a significant person in your life using physical details. This is going to eventually build up to be a character profile. I think we are eventually going to be interviewing these people. We got warmed up for this but taking a questionaire they use on hot shot celebrities in Vanity Fair. The questions were actually pretty fun to answer. Your job: Fill out the questionaire yourself! I posted mine under this.

Also, girl, you have to get out and start doing some things. If you were gunna hide away in bed all day you could have just stayed here!

Let’s work out over skype sometime.

Sweat-ingly yours,

Harriet.

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