Month: April 2016

A New Hope

I’ve been sick for the past week, and not some average sickness, either. I’ve coughed constantly: loud, raspy, phlegm-filled coughs that gave me sharp headaches and sounded like my bones were being sawed. For the last hour of my fiction class, my legs shook uncontrollably and I couldn’t focus. After waking from a nap, I spent fifteen minutes stumbling around my room wondering if the assignment in my dream was real or not. In short, it’s been rough. Thankfully, I’m just about healed—only slight coughing now. More importantly, I’m newly hopeful. I’d been hating school and Arizona for weeks, and if you’d asked me a few days ago, I’d have gladly given my limbs to get out of here. On Tuesday, though, I woke up feeling much better. Soon after on that same morning, I made a wonderful discovery. About a month ago, I fell in love with The Mary Tyler Moore Show and was watching the first season on YouTube when they took it down. Having since resigned myself to a Mary-less existence, I was delighted to learn that the first three seasons are free on Hulu.

It made not just my morning, but my week. The moment I heard the theme song again, I felt my heart soar, and when I hummed it on my way to class, the campus looked more vibrant. It was as if just watching Mary’s life made my life better. The moral is if you’re feeling down, try finding joy in something simple. It might seem silly, but it’s easy, and it works. Plus, it makes you appreciate the little things more. As cheesy as it sounds, you never know how much they affect you until you don’t have them.

Other stuff:

  • While I am newly hopeful, I’m still ready to get out of here, and I’m only a week and change from doing so. Done with all my major assignments except finals, so now it’s just waiting.
  • Finally have my schedule for next semester. I was supposed to register a month ago, but due to financial issues, I had a hold on my account, so I registered last week. During that time, I’d missed my chance to enroll in a playwriting class with Elaine Romero—or so I thought. Yesterday, I got an email from the Theater department advisor saying that she tried to add me into the class again but I had scheduling conflicts, and that I’d need to respond in a few days if I still wanted to take the class. Cue me immediately tearing up my schedule to fit the class over the next twenty minutes. The new schedule isn’t what I’d planned with my advisor, but I’m finally enrolled in Intro to Playwriting 🙂
  • Got an award at the Spring Fest for being a good German student. Received a certificate and a German novel (Alle Geschichten die ich kenne) which I’m excited about.
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Gabe’s First Year Project

MY POSTER

First Year Project is a U of A Honors College first-year independent study program. One signs up at the start of second semester, finds a faculty mentor, and works on a project that one chooses for the semester. In mid-April, all of the projects are showcased and the winners in each categories get money. Now, about my project:

  1. It started in November, when I wrote a first draft for National Novel Writing Month. While it was less of a mess than what I wrote last year, it was still dreadful, and I had no idea what I’d do with it.
  2. Though I left my NaNoWriMo work from 2014 untouched, this year I decided that I wanted to revise my draft, and my first year project was born. I just needed a mentor. After browsing the Creative Writing faculty list, I decided to go with Julie Iromuanya (who’s an amazing writer and who has a book you should buy) since she’s a novelist and her work seemed interesting.
  3. Next was the work. Along with having me send ~22 pgs to her, she had me reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post over winter break and answer a few questions about myself. Once break ended, we talked about the book and I got a marked-up version of the pages I sent her.
  4. After that, this revision process was repeated throughout the semester. I’d send work, she’d read it and give feedback, I’d revise based on that feedback, I’d send more work. Through this process, I made more discoveries about my story and ended up with something much stronger than I started with.
  5. Once it was almost time for the showcase, we worked on line-by-line edits to make the story as nice as possible. Also, since every project needed a poster for the showcase, I worked on mine with help from the lovely, amazing, and extremely talented Phoebe. I was worried about the poster since it isn’t a medium that’s suited for books (it’s more of a science fair thing) and I’m not a designer, but I was actually proud of what I came up with. (Poster linked at the top of this post).
  6. The day of the showcase: I had my newly created poster, three copies of an excerpt from my first chapter, and myself. I stood for three hours answering questions from viewers about my project and letting them read the excerpt. This was actually a lot of fun; I got a lot of interest and positive feedback. Favorite moments include talking with a sweet eight grader who came with her parents and who wanted to be a writer, and talking with the event photographer, who’d majored in English and Creative Writing.
  7. After the showcase, they announced the results. I lost. Not so enjoyable. Thankfully I got food with Phoebe and Dominique afterwards, which made the day much better.

Overall, the process was really enjoyable. I’ve never put this much work into a single project before, and it’s definitely stronger than anything I’ve done as a result (and I’m not even close to finished).

Other stuff:

  • Good to be back!
  • Have to write letters/emails to various people but I’m such a bum that it hasn’t happened yet. Now that FYP is over, my main excuse is gone, so hopefully those are written in the next few days.
  • Just to reiterate, Julie Iromuanya is very cool and you should buy her book.
  • Emailed Alyssa Wong (a very talented fiction writer) a few days ago and didn’t really expect a response, but I just got one now which is pretty exciting 🙂
  • So over school right now. Less than a month left and I just wanna get out of here. Not looking forward to being at home for three months though :/
  • Am looking forward to a summer of reading 🙂 Have so many books on my shelf to get to, and am planning on asking some of my professors for reading lists. Actually, about 30 minutes after the showcase, I went to the bookstore and bought two Edith Wharton novels to console myself. #justenglishmajorthings
  • And maybe some summer romance? I’ve not been too fortunate here, which, though I’m proud of myself for trying, is a bummer. If you’re a beautiful Chicago woman and happen to be reading this, you should give Gabe a call.
  • Living with my roommate and a few other people in a house next year and it’s actually a very cool place. Looks great, is in a quality neighborhood, and the rent is pretty cheap. I’m excited!
  • Sex and the City is life. That show has basically carried me through this semester (I’m on S5 EP6). If you’re looking for something great to watch, you should also check out High Maintenance. It’s a web series and finishing the whole thing only takes an hour or two. Watched it all with Dominique and Corey and I don’t regret it. Also, that same weekend the dude in the room across from me did the same thing on the same day even though we’d never mentioned it to each other. I think there was something in the air.
  • Neftaly better post soon 😡