the process of writing your personal statement

1. Not writing
2. Not writing
3. Not writing
4. Watching TV.
5. Not writing
6. Eating cheese
7. BLARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! You beat your chest in the manner of Tarzan. Grumble, grumble.
8. Break from staring at the intensity of a blank computer screen, in which you trace the route of dust particles floating in the air, and soul-search. You ponder: am I a coffee or tea kind of being?
You ask yourself: why am I incapable of writing an essay about myself?
You are stumped when faced with: What challenges have you faced? (First thing that pops into your mind: THERE'S NO CHOCOLATE IN THE HOUSE, EVER. Second thing: THIS DARN ESSAY.)
8. More not writing
9. You wonder if "eating a Harry Potter book" (well, not a whole one, and hey, you were eight and thus pardoned as a BOOK-MURDERER) is an essay-worthy topic.
10. Not-writing, again.
11. An idea slips into your mind. You feel it on the edges of your nebulous subconcious. You make a grab for this brilliant, life-saving IDEA born from INSPIRATION. IDEA leads you on, smelling of fresh cookies and strangely, pine. IDEA then escapes your desperate clutches, laughing as it runs away (with the last piece of cheese in its hand) and leaps into the more-nebulous mind of THE DOG. THE DOG looks inspired (you can tell from the angle its tongue hangs out), and immediately begins gnawing its tail off. You unfortunately, aren't. (The inspired part, not the tail part.)
12. You ask your parents: who am I? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE IN LIFE? Do you know what lies deep in my soul?
You only receive blank stares.
At least THE DOG trots over to the book shelf. (this is who you are, perhaps.)
13. For the second time that day, you ponder the meaning of your life. You have no answer for this.
14. You at last, begin to type. It is rubbish. This story and statement of YOURSELF begins with dead, alcoholic people who you've never met in your life. You begin chewing off your nails.
15. You fall asleep on the keyboard, full of confusion, with nothing accomplished. A normal day, in essay-writing land.


me, blogging

So I've been thinking. Not nearly as much as I expected I would since my last post; I'm not coming into this post with my mind made up, a clear plan, a resolution. For all intents and purposes, I'm free-writing, going with the flow, here. The no-doubt rambly concoction that comes next is my mind making itself up for me, live.

I'll be honest. I didn't feel a heart twang, didn't shed a tear, didn't feel different this last week or so when I didn't update this blog and didn't even think about posting. It felt normal; my routine as a non-blogger, normal person who doesn't spend ungodly hours on the internet interacting with other bloggers or posting. I felt the same as always going to school, eating lunch, coming home, curling into fetal position at the thought of college applications, petting my dog, watching the latest episode of Dexter, and staring at the tangled mess of the short story I'm working on.

I didn't feel a huge hole in my life. More to the point; I didn't detect a hole in my life; a place where I'd ripped out the blogger part of me and set it aside. I wasn't hurt or anyway--as far as I could tell--negatively affected by my non-blogging state.

This made me think that this could mean two things:

1) Not-blogging is my natural state. I don't currently miss it, I won't miss it later on, and I definitely won't miss that heavy feeling in my chest from all the books I have stacked up in my room, waiting to be read and reviewed, slurping up my time, when I much rather be staring at the stars and wondering who the literary equivalent of Monet is (the too-pretty extravagance of his style puts it at Nabokov, I'm thinking); and then pondering the contents of my day.

2) Blogging is something I should be doing. I've learned so much. I've grown so much because of my blog; I've met so many cool people; I've learned to express my thoughts in some semi-coherent, tangible way that makes for a hopefully enjoyable read. What would I have lost this past year in learning and enlightenment if I had never started in which a girl reads and stuck with it? What will I be losing in the future if I throw away a blog that I've put so much time into, this little niche of mine in the internet world?

And I'm thinking right now: I'm not ready to give that up just yet. The good things that come from blogging.

The only thing is--since I'm spilling my brain matter, here (really, it's unedited thoughts--> computer screen) --is that, what I would like to blog about--random shout-outs to the world, one sentence blog posts, things I've stumbled upon and found beauty in--these things, I can do. Sort of.

There's one, huge thing I wish I could do with blogging: work up the courage to talk about myself. Look, I've been reading The Journals of Sylvia Plath in bite-sized snippets for a while now; and its beautiful. I know she never meant for anyone to read it, but I can't help admire the confessional writer; those courageous people out there that can spill their deepest thoughts without inhibition to strangers out in the world. I admire those of you who can keep diaries, who'll have the reward of coming back years later and witnessing how your mind worked at a particular moment in the past. I wish I could grasp this courage, find it somewhere.

But at the moment, I feel daunted. The vast number of you who follow me makes me think twice about posting something personal; and what's more I'm not a inherently exciting person: I haven't climbed to the top of Mt. Everest, saved anyone's life, or am even mildly efficient; I'm just me, a teenager wanting-to-know-more, wanting to find beauty and connections everywhere. And I'd rather crawl into a hole than post my writing here; (this is why I take such comfort in my teeny six-followers--strong writer's blog, nestled away in a safe, dusty corner of the interwebs).

But I think I'd like to try and not hold back so much, to share & muse & ramble more on this blog. It's what I've been doing in this post, and what's more, I'm enjoying writing this.

So I guess this means that I'm not ready to stop blogging, just yet.

I've been trying to figure out what stalled in which a girl reads, though.
Sure, it's been a loss of interest. But from the very first, I constricted myself, laid out ground rules: 1) I'd rarely, if ever, post about my writing 2) Nothing too personal 3) I'd book-review, and post daily.

I think that was a bad foundation to build a blog on.

So this is me, experimenting. Seeing what will come of a blog without restrictions or expectations. I want to try again. And if it doesn't work out, I'll just find someone much more awesome than me (shouldn't be too hard, tehe) to take over in which a girl reads.

Thank you to all of you who responded to my earlier blogging-crisis post. And thanks for reading my brain-vomit for the day.
<3 choco.


the question of how to continue blogging

So, I sort of mentioned this in my latest post: I'm not sure if/how I'll continue to blog.
These last few months or so--after promising myself that I'd kick this blog into shipshape after a few hiatuses due to testing and vacation--haven't been going how I'd planned, blog-wise.

I've gone from checking my dashboard everyday, reading and commenting on hundreds of blogs, posting nearly every day--to not checking my dashboard often, not commenting, and rarely posting.

The question is--why?

Sure, I'm busy sometimes and I can't possibly blog when I get home at 10:00 P.M. from two extracurricular activities in a row and night classes and still have homework to finish. But that's not everyday--there are days when I could, if I really wanted to, squeeze blogging into my schedule (instead of writing or talking to my family). Those were sacrifices I was willing to make before--but not as much now.

The reason?

I've changed. (Not to be dramatic or anything). But I have. A year ago all I wanted to do was spend my life in Barnes and Noble reading one middle grade book after another. Today? All I want to do is pore over a few of my favorite books and deconstruct their sentences and figure out how the words fit together, and then try and write my own stories.

I mean, I've always had these interests, but they're starting to manifest more in what I read and why I read and how often I read. I'm not reading much, if any YA anymore--I've turned to obsessing over a few of (the same) literary books and trying to figure out how they work; flipping over the same few books and reading a few passages at random; reading poetry--in the time allotment usually reserved for reading YA.

This doesn't exactly make for prime posting material.

My life is becoming less and less full of reading YA books, and more and more full of studying novels, writing things, and watching TV and movies (as my passion for film grows). Right now, I'd rather post pretty photos or a poem or talk about the art museum I visited and what I ate for lunch and what I found laughter in today, than a book review everyday. Right now, I'd rather study prose than read things for plot.

Basically, my interests have shifted, and it's had the affect of me not having a desire to post what I used to post or make time to blog about something I'm not reading or currently as interested in.

That's not to say that next month I won't suddenly find myself itching to review YA books everyday. Who knows what will happen? That's why I'm hesitant to right away"put the blog up for sale" (i.e. set about trying to find a person who I feel confident handing the blog over to); or to say, "Hey, this is now an anime blog GET OUT YOU YA people!" (for the record, this is not my plan for the blog, haha.)

Anyhow, I'm sort of doing some major blog-reflecting right now. For the moment, I'll hold of posting (though I feel terribly, terribly guilty about the review copies and ARCs I've been sent and haven't reviewed yet; I will either review them eventually or send them to another blogger!). I'll be thinking and deciding what I really want to do with this blog, or if maybe blogging isn't right for me at this particular point in my life.

And I'll get back to you guys on this. I promise.

Have any of you gone through a similar thing with blogging? What did you do?


some very rambly bookish musings

After a round of watching TV, and as I was eating some stir-fry today, I thought about something rather interesting*. First, about how each reader takes away something different from a book. And secondly, how an author doesn't describe everything. This is very different than in, for example, the TV show that I was watching**-- where the setting and characters are already there, in detail, and character motivations fall by the wayside in favor of watching character's actions unfold on the screen. Watching a movie, the audience has most things already manufactured by the creator; but an author, in writing, has to leave a certain leeway, at least in the description area.

In books, readers create their own experience. Reading one book: say, Harry Potter*** is a unique experience, just because each reader fills in the gaps left by the author in a different way. For instance, I have a habit of imagining rooms where the action is taking place--perhaps stone-walled and with a fireplace, if we're sticking with the HP scenario--but the underlying material I use to shape this imaginary world is rooted in reality: the room I've imagined that HP lives in has the exact same layout as my parent's bedroom, except the decoration is of course different.****; the meadow I imagine Bella to have stopped in is oddly similar in shape--but not details--to a meadow I remember from my childhood; and Chrestomanci's castle looks a bit like a castle I'd seen in a movie.

This combination in my reading imagination-- of both something extremely foreign but at the same time familiar-- is absolutely fascinating to me. And thinking of all the imagining I've done for past books, I realize a lot of the formatting is recycled. I have the same template for numerous rooms--the same layout, just different interiors--that I use a lot for books I've read. Quite a few characters live in the same house as I do, quite a few played sports in a similar gym to my high school gym, etc. A lot of it is based unconsciously on my experiences: the same field, the same car, the same driveway, the same teapot--they all materialize, with different details, depending on the book--but they appear repeatedly through everything I read, as a sort of continuing pattern or mold.

Of course, there's some settings that I've envisioned that are entirely new, and that I have no idea where they came from. It's actually quite fascinating to re-envision them without the confines of a book's specifications. Are these places from your imagination as a reader, not the author's? Do you own these imaginings? Especially if the author had just described "a house overlooking a lake"--and your response had been to imagine a clear lake at the foot of the mountains with weeds growing at the sides and a house with Spanish architecture.

If you own these imaginings, not the author, does this mean the process of reading is just tapping into your own personal repository of imaginings? What then, makes someone drawn to books?

For me, I've noticed many of my favorite books are mostly the ones--especially in fantasy--where I had the fullest imagining of the setting. Where the details I'd conjured up, in addition to those provided by the author--contributed to the most real and solid world. I suspect the reason it felt so real and solid was the fact that many of the details from my real and solid world had been transposed into this literary version.

It puzzles me that so many millions of people can be deeply in love with a book, despite the fact that their experience and details they impose upon the book must vary widely. I'm sure different readers envision things differently; perhaps entirely different than I do. I'm always imagining the setting with as much detail as I can manage--not the character's physique though. Characters in a book are sort of shadowy to me: I can't get a firm grasp of what their faces look like. But I don't really care--their personality is more important to me.

However, for some readers, maybe this is what they focus on: the physical appearance of the characters, while the setting just sort of melts away. Or perhaps they don't envision much details at all.

I think the only time you get a true glimpse of someone else's vision of a book is when you watch the movie adaptation: the director certainly had a different impression than you did, although many of the major features remain intact. I think it'd be absolutely fascinating to have, say, 100 people who have read the same book, draw a particular setting in the book--perhaps a room, or a building. And then see how it matches up.

When it comes to the gaps an author leaves, do we envision such entirely different things that it's shocking that we love a book for the same reason? Is it all rather similar? Does the fact that I, at least, use some of the details of my real world to flesh out the imaginary--contribute to the connection I feel with books? Is that the beautiful dichotomy of reading---that we are at once able to immerse ourselves in the imaginary, and the unknown, while comfortably imposing our own world into an impossible one?

Okay those are my closing thoughts, I promise. Sorry for the very indulgent mega humongous-ramble. I had these thoughts during dinner and I decided I had to write them down. (And P.S.: sorry for being such a fail of a blogger, disappearing all the time. I'm currently working out how I'll continue blogging. )

*at least to me, hahaha. This is a very self-indulgent post.
*** first time around I wrote it "Happy Potter." hehehehe.
****Oh god, that'd be so cool to have a HP themed bedroom!