Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Challenge accepted


May 29

Life is full of contradictions (oxymoron will forever be one of my favorite words) and there are so many definitions we cannot hope to understand unless we talk in terms of what their opposites are. That is what I always fall back on when I’m trying to explain new words to others. High, low, happy, sad, tall, short. Of course, most adjectives are relative. What is considered tall in China isn’t quite the same as American standards of tall; concepts of beauty, modesty, freedom – they all change as you walk along, shifting shapes, morphing into different colors and sizes, and sometimes crossing the boundaries so that what is respectful in one place is considered disrespect in another, what some perceive as affection is seen by others as crossing the line, being intrusive; the definitions of liberty cartwheel into oppression if you just spin the globe and land in a different area.

Anyways, I digress (because digressing is so much fun). I miss reading Nabakov. There are very few people who can pick out three words and place them in a way that squeezes your heart; it appeals to your aesthetics, and even before you can ponder on what it means, you ust want to read it, look at it, let it roll over your tongue, say it out loud because it is so lovely. And it is not like he finds strange words – they’re common ones that we see around ourselves all the time. Sparkle. Pain. Ache. Nymph. Love. It’s just how he arranges them, in short sentences, complete mastery of punctuation. Never underestimate the power of periods and italics.

But that is also not the point. I’ve been thinking about how I love to write, and how important it used to be for me. How I used to scribble in all kinds of notebooks and journals, didn’t really need a pretty hardback cover. I just liked the feel of smooth paper. I’d write poetry, and prose, essays and short stories, I would start novels and even finish a couple. And then college happened, and I was having too much fun, and there was no time even when I was sad to write much. And then work, and now its school again. So I was thinking, I’d really like to write again, and all kinds of stuff, not just my little tirades and wistful thinking but character sketches, story plotlines. Maybe a travel diary sort of thing now that I’m on vacation, am visiting new places and just have more time and fewer things to manage. I don’t need to plan every 30 minutes of the day and do things like take my keys out while I’m in the bus so I won’t waste 25 seconds outside the house.

I need to write more regularly. Starting tomorrow, I think I’m going to start a little a Day in Dallas (or Austin or wherever I am), and then see if I can develop a character based on something. A shop, a passerby, a comment. Let’s see how this works out! Pledge to be regular, interesting, and motivated. Even if it means having to push myself to do these things that I love to do – see the oxymoron? 

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