Progress

I had the strange experience of filling out a mental health evaluation as part of a study I was in. I did the same one exactly a year ago, and it was such a revelation to remember how I answered then and realize my answers are so different now. “How many times did you feel hopeless in the past month?” Um, none?
It’s a beautiful thing.

Of scripture marking, agency, and adventure

I originally told this story at a storytelling night my friend hosted, and as promised, here it is for your enjoyment. The theme for the stories that night was “Oh, no, I’ve made a huge mistake!” 

When I think about the phrase, “Oh, no, I’ve made a huge mistake,” what comes to mind is choosing to go on my field study to South Africa this summer. From there, it becomes a different story. I can’t say I regret those experiences I had or the people I met and loved. Still, I probably shouldn’t have gone.

Continue reading

2012(ish) Notable Reading

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles William Eliot

I’ve read a lot this year, and I needed the friends, the counselors, and the teachers. Here are some of the books I have read this year that have mattered. These are books that have really changed me in some way. They make up an amusing travel log of where I’ve been, and the syllabus for the class on life that I assigned myself. Continue reading

On a roll

I’ve now written two lovely posts here, and I’m working on converting a story I told at a friend’s storytelling night into a written narrative to post on this blog. I’m also thinking about possibly trying to get it published in some progressive Mormon spaces–magazines or blogs. I’m not quite sure yet.

I was at lunch with Rose, trying to construct our stories for the evening. She let me work through it out loud and gave me the push I needed to actually tell it. I came away from that very proud of myself. I had written and fleshed out a story that I found I desperately wanted to tell, and I shared it despite being nervous about its reception among a group of BYU students. Continue reading

Intervention

I have to own up to this now, before I get going: I just edited my first post. Not for factual details or typos, either. But the wording in one of my sentences seemed a little bit off, and wouldn’t it be better to have that last line in parentheses? So I changed it, and it is better.

Editing and revising is an important part of writing. The process of slowly improving on a draft produces a polished final piece. But you know what? I’m great at revising. I can revise my way out of a paper bag. It’s that torturous first draft that gets me. I freeze, with my words caught in my mouth. My fingers clench restlessly over the keyboard, my pencil scratches out line after line. And the main block between my ideas and an initial draft, a starting point, is perfectionism. I want to write well. I want it to be good. I want it to be great.

Continue reading

It’s been a while

It has. I haven’t written almost anything, in a year. Aside from heavy-laden pages of journals and a handful of letters, almost nothing.

Last night I pushed out a few short essays for a scholarship application. After completing it, I realized that was the first serious writing I’d done for someone I didn’t know well in months. And it felt good! There was no panic attack, no horrible clenching of the throat and the mind as the weight of putting thoughts into the world became too overwhelming. And the questions it asked framed a reentry into writing quite well: a biographical sketch, future goals, current involvement, challenges. Who I am, who I want to be, what I do, what I’ve overcome. Continue reading