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… even when you don’t have anything to say.

I’m studying journalism in college. Sounds fun, right? It is. Mostly.

Journalism scares me to death.

I had always planned on being an English major when I went to college. That was the plan since my junior high years. I loved writing and studying great literature, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. In high school, I started to come to terms with the idea that I’d have to be a high school English teacher. At first the thought was horrifying.

Now, I loved all my English teachers. Most of them had probably once been like me— introverted book worms. But as I watched them attempt in vain to teach their rowdy classes how to diagram participial phrases, I felt like I was looking into my own future, and what I saw did not appeal to me. I resented my seemingly inescapable fate, and began to wonder if I even had another choice. Teaching high school English is a noble and necessary profession, but it wasn’t for me.

And then I discovered journalism. As a junior, I can now definitely say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I made the switch. Being a reporter sounded fun, exciting and different. All my knowledge about journalism came from watching All the President’s Men and Roman Holiday. I was clueless. But now, with almost three years of college completed, I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand the demands and difficulties of the trade.

I’m still clueless, maybe even more than I was when I got myself into this “mess.”

Journalism and I have a love hate relationship. Some days I think to myself, “This is exactly where I should be.” Other days it’s more like, “What the heck did I get myself into!” I love grammar even though I’m not perfect at it. But I’m an introvert who loathes talking to people. I mean, I can do it. I’ve learned how to work past my fear of other humans beings… outwardly anyway. I love writing, but when it’s all I have to do for all of my classes, then that something that I have always loved turns into something I can’t even make myself do.

I’ve spent hours staring at blank word documents. Literally, hours. All the while wishing I could just spend an entire day reading for fun. After writing story after story, paper after paper, sometime I honestly feel that it would be impossible to conjure up another coherent phrase (and sometimes it is!). But other times I walk away from doing a really great interview with my heart full of adrenaline. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that you have something really good on your recorder. 

I have no idea how to balance this loving-loathing relationship. And I don’t know if I’m even supposed to try.

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Spring Break’s over. Let the madness commence.

What was once the beacon of hope to which my sanity clung has come and gone, like all things in life. My brain is still trying to find a new finish line– summer? No. Still too far away. The second half of spring semester is rough. And this year, it seems especially challenging. The worst part is, most of my friends will be graduating this year, and I find myself floating in this strange state of faux-senioritis. It’s torturous. I get to experience all the “lasts” with my friends, only I still have another year to go. Another year of cafeteria food. Another year of midterms and finals.

Well that’s enough self pity for now. I did, however have a wonderfully refreshing break in Tennessee. Here’s a peek (check out my Flickr for more):

“Bad theology hurts real people.”

That is a quote from Kevin DeYoung’s review of “Love Wins,” a controversial new book by Rob Bell that has been causing a stir in the evangelical community since the announcement of its publication last month. I probably spent far too long reading this 20 page review tonight instead of doing homework, but I couldn’t help myself and, in the end, I don’t consider that time spent as time wasted. You can read the review for yourself here.

Also, check out this MSNBC interview of Bell as the host throws some tough questions at him.

Reading update:

Recently downloaded to Kindle: Madame Bovary, The Book Thief and Gilead.

Recently read on Kindle: About 25% of The Book Thief. So far, unique and amazing. Thanks for all the suggestions!

In four days, eight of my closest friends and I will be heading down to Gatlinburg, TN for Spring Break. We rented a huge cabin in the Smokies and will be staying there for the week! My vacation plans include hiking, reading, sleeping and being ridiculous with some pretty amazing girls.

I found some great day hikes for us to do, and I think this one’s going to be among them:


Alum Cave to Mt. Le Conte • T-10
• Distance: 10.2 Miles – Difficulty: Moderate
Many will argue that this trail is the best in the Smokies. The trail is highlighted by Arch Rock, Huggins Hell, Inspiration Point, Alum Cave Bluff, and Le Conte lodge atop the mountain. The trail ranges from fairly level to steep and difficult, offering hikers the opportunity to view countless treasures and breathtaking views. At the top of Mount Le Conte, hikers can view a plethora of scenery standing at 6,593 feet above sea level.

So I have the hiking trips planned out– but the other major thing I want to next week is read a bunch of books. I’m in between books right now (I just started Anna Karenina so that doesn’t count because it might take 2 years for me to read…) so I need some suggestions. Fortunately, I’ll have my kindle with me, so my reading options need not be limited buy strict packing stipulations (huzzah for technology!).

So, friends and strangers, give me a list of your top 5 favorite books. I’m open to anything, and I’m curious to see what you’ll say. I’ll pick one, read it over break, and post about it when I get back.

Because I said so

I wonder what it is about human nature that makes people want everyone else to like the same things they like and to accept the same things they accept. Too many vague pronouns? I’ll try again.

Have you ever read a book, heard a song or watched a movie and then said to yourself, “Everyone needs to see/read this, it was great!” Of course you have.

Today I had lunch with my boyfriend at our school’s dining hall. And they were serving cantaloupe (that’s right, fresh fruit! Get excited) so I filled a bowl full of the stuff and ran over to the cold cut line (or lunch meat line, if you don’t speak my language). Of course there was no prosciutto (this is Ohio after all) but they did have regular ham so I snatched sum up, ripped it apart and covered my melon with it.

I sat down at my table. It was delicious, though my boyfriend didn’t seem to think so. I begged him to try it (he didn’t know what he was missing!) but my pleading came to nothing. I just wanted him to like it because I liked it.

Maybe melon isn’t the best example. But it works on some level.

If there’s something I really love, I just want everyone else to think it’s a great as I think it is. And I’m beginning to realize that when people reject something I like, a little part of me feels like they are rejecting me, too.

I’m not sure why that’s the case, but it is. Stories are so important to me. And when I hear or see one that really resonates with me in the form of a book, movie or song, I feel connected to it on some strangely deep level. I can’t separate myself from it.

Stories are a way of helping us understand ourselves, and when we can gain some little insight from them into our own lives, we are changed.

And perhaps there is something in that reality that explains why a friend’s rejection of your favorite book bothers you so much. Maybe it is because it feels more like they are rejecting a part of you.

Forget Me Not

I found this great, live video of “Forget Me Not” by The Civil Wars– one of my new favorite artists. I’ve seen them live twice, just by chance, and I loved every minute spent listening to them sing. They have incredible musical chemistry. Check out their new album, “Barton Hollow” that was released just a few weeks ago, and enjoy this little morsel in the meantime.

I surmise with my little eye…

Best picture nominees:

Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter’s Bone

  • As much as I want to see The King’s Speech walk away with Oscar gold, I think Inception has to be the winner. It was the best film of the year, climbing to #8 on IMDB’s Top 250 Movies list. Brilliance. There are 10 nominees, so the competition is fierce. But I think it would be an injustice for Inception to walk away empty-handed.

Best Actor Nominees:

Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and James Franco (127 Hours).

  • I’ve always been a Colin Firth fan (P&P 1995 anyone?) and I loved his portrayal of the stuttering King George VI. Firth is my automatic choice for best actor, but either Javier Bardem or James Franco might prove victorious in the end.

Best Actress Nominees:

Annette Bening (The Kids are Alright), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bones), Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).

  • It’s a tough choice between Bening and Portman for me. Though Bening’s odds are better this year, as Hilary Swank didn’t earn a nomination (Bening has lost Best Actress to Swank twice.)

Signs of Aging Include…

I’ve always been in love with books. My parents used to read to me, and the day I learned to read for myself I gobbled up books like candy. The paper felt just right in my hands. And they smelled wonderful. Anything you’ve ever wanted to know about anything is written down in a book somewhere. The idea that there’s too much knowledge out there to ever comprehend in a life time is a pretty awesome thought.

A few days ago, I fell in love with books again.

It’s not that I had been a shrouded in some cloud deprived of literature in recent years. It’s not that I found a new genre or author that got me excited again. I’ve been reading as steadily as ever, constantly immersing myself in the words of those who have thought more deeply and more reflectively than me.

I turned 21 today, and for my birthday my parents got me a Kindle. It arrived friday afternoon. I picked it up during lunch and had to struggle to be patient as I sat through the remainder of my classes. And when I was finally free from the constraints of “education,” I galloped back to my room to play with my new toy.

I read an entire novel this weekend. I’m in college, so no, I didn’t really have time to do that. But when you love something, you make time for it. I couldn’t help myself. It was like learning to read for the first time again– I gobbled that book up. And at that bittersweet moment when I read the final page, I realized how emotionally attached I was to the story and the characters.

I’m not even sure it was the particular novel that caused this reaction. I think it really might have been just the simple joy of reading. Every time you read a book, you take a part of it with you. It is unlike any other story telling device in that way. It does something to you. It becomes part of you.

I love my Kindle, but I love it less for it’s cutting edge technology and more for what it did for “rekindling” my love of reading.