Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Expecting Greatness.

There is a fault line between reading E.B. White’s essays in the morning and then getting to work and getting lost in Facebook for half an hour. At first, it is interesting. People I had completely forgotten about, wondered what they were up to, how we were living our lives after high school. I looked at some profiles of random people I knew from high school. They were pretty much the same- same money, same makeup, a bit older, some prettier, some with their own houses, impressive jobs. I turn it back on myself, judging their life vs mine. Stellar beach house and Louis Vuitton bag, salary, fancy shoes and perfect dimples. Facebook gives the mirage of the life you think about. That people actually make it. And I want it- but then again, do I really? What is it that I am really looking for? 

When it gets right down to it, I am more of an E. B. White person than Louis Vuitton in Paris. I don’t think you can win in that life. There is always the next best to be, the prettier, the wealthier, the more impressive. Friends competing. When White writes about New England in the winter, Maine, the quiet magnitude of the forest and the pleasant life, I recognize it. The immediate happiness, the opportunity for sitting next to a fire and listening to music, true recognition of the love in my boyfriend’s eyes, regardless of how I look in heels and jewelry (though of course I do indulge from time to time). 

In all reality, I think, I’m happier in the quieter life. In the mountains of North Carolina, the steady hum outside my window at night of insects and the occasional dog barking, my pup sleeping peacefully at my feet. My happiness in what I read and write, in true friendship, in the changing color of the leaves. I like the not trying. I did it for a while in high school. I guess I could do it if I wanted to. But really, I’m happier wearing the softer colors and Danskos and hiking along the Blue Ridge. Of course, a wicked beach house in Chatham would be nice. Enough money to do whatever I please. Traveling to Versailles. Who wouldn’t? But at the end of the night, I’d trade all money in the world for a satisfaction deep in my heart. I’d rather hear the crunch of leaves under my sneakers than the pavement under heels. I’d rather be free from others’ expectation and live up to my own.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Spin off on writing prompt about home. Welcome back to my blog....

I never wanted to leave my home. 

When I was little, I told my mother I would go to Merrimack College because it was still in Andover and so I could still live in our house. She smiled and said, “We will see how you feel when you are older.” “No,” I responded, “I will never want to leave.” Well, I now live in Western North Carolina, and I do miss my home. Especially in the fall. There is something special about Massachusetts and the crisp Autumn air. It feels familiar, yet new. Changing. It reminds you to look at yourself since last year when the leaves crunched underfoot. Where have you been since last time the leaves were falling? Since the sweaters started to be worn and boot shopping became a must? 

For me, last fall I was still in college, beginning my last year as a student. I was happy to be there yet done with it in many ways. It felt monotonous. I was taking a John Crutchfield class, which is always a plus in my book (and many journal entries whether I liked it or not), but somehow always encouraging and truly believing in his students’ writing. I recently emailed this professor of mine, to connect, find out if he was in Berlin (he is!), and for some advice on my graduated-non-writing-ness. I thought for sure it would be something like, “Well, maybe you aren’t a writer,” for that was my thought  to myself. This thought has been haunting me for the last few months as I transitioned from full time writing student to full time project manager for a web company in WNC. What do I have to write about? Who cares about my life (I was writing a memoir last year)? 

Instead, his response was typical Crutchfield. Full belief in me as a writer, reminding me that we all go through these lulls, and fortunately, at some point, you will pick up your pen once again. Truthfully, I didn’t totally believe him. Yet, instead of letting the dull thud of my own doubt knock around in my head, I let his words saturate my mind. My fears of my writing not being as great as the Greats still abound. My fear of not being a good writer after college exist. But at least I picked up the pen again.