Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reverb 10: It's Not (Just) Because I'm Lazy

I've been missing the last couple of days, which has really put a damper on this whole "post everyday" thing.

The truth is, I haven't been very inspired about the prompts. They're incredibly introspective, and I have a wall built around me when it comes those things. It's not that they're bad prompts, just that they're not making me excited to write.

Plus, I've got this crazy thing called a job.


And I'm applying for this other crazy thing called graduate school.

And I have a class that I'm about four chapters behind in (and hey! finals are next week).

So, if I'm going to put time and energy into a post, I'm going to want to be in love with the topic.

I'm going to want to feel the need, the desire, and the pull to write.

And so, if I'm moved to answer one of the prompts, then I shall. If not?

Well... I'll be curled up in the corner, trying to survive the holiday season in retail and my academic induced panic attacks.

(Please: send me pretty things.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reverb 10: Wonder

December 4: Wonder
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

In the last few months, I've allowed myself to wonder.

About the future.

About what's next.

About what I want/need/can see myself doing.

I've returned to school. I'm learning new things. I'm going to keep it up.

It felt good to wonder.

And it feels good to begin to act on it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb 10: Moment

I wanted to go to bed and write today's Reverb 10 post tomorrow. My head is feeling stuffy, my body aches from being on my feet all day, and I've got a very fluffy pillow in my eye line.


I realized that today's prompt doesn't need to be long. It doesn't need a lot of description (even though it explicitly asks for it).

It just needs to be answered.

Short, sweet, to the point.

December 3: Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year.
Describe it in vivid detail (textures, smells, voices, noises, colors).

Hospital waiting room, surrounded by people who care about my family, waiting waiting waiting.

My mom is out. She's doing great. And so now we're waiting for the BIG NEWS.


The phone rings. My aunt answers. It's the nurse in the operating room.

"The kidney is in, and it's working perfectly."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb 10: Writing

It's Day 2 of the Reverb 10 project and I'm still doing it. I deserve a cookie.

December 2: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?

(DISCLAIMER: I fully intended to write about why this question is bullshit and ended up answering the stupid fucking thing. Touche, Reverb 10 team. You sneaky little ninjas.)

I'm looking at this prompt from two different perspectives. If the question is asking, "What do you do that doesn't contribute to your story", then my answer is EVERYTHING contributes to the story, and nothing should be eliminated.

HOWEVER, I didn't take the prompt that way at first. I've taken it to be asking what it is we do that keeps us from physically writing each day. You might take it differently. I'm just making that clear up front because it's important to have context before reading my overly dramatic rant that follows.


It seems like most of the participants of Reverb 10 aren't happy with this prompt.

And I'm one of them.

I think that my first problem with it is that it assumes that we're all writers or want to be writers. It excludes those who want to participate as a means to reflect on their year, but don't want to write on a regular basis.

Another reason I don't really like this prompt is that it's obvious. Whether we're going to admit it or not, we all know the answer.

It's us.

WE get in our own way.

WE make excuses.

And, of course, that doesn't "contribute".

We do that for EVERYTHING we want or need to do. We don't do things (whether it be writing or exercising or learning to play the ukulele) because WE come up with reasons to avoid shit.

And even if you blame it on lack of time or lack of money (ukuleles ain't free) or too much Facebook or TV, the only thing really holding you back is YOU.

So even of you take the "writing" part out of the prompt, and add something else that you should or could be doing that you don't, you're still left with the same obvious answer.

And you know what? That's ok. I don't want to write if I'm not burning with the desire to actually do it. And truth be told, I don't want to read your stuff if you were only writing it because you HAD to.

If you have the luxury of not having to do something everyday unless you really want to, enjoy it. Don't make yourself feel like shit for not doing it.

(Unless the thing holding you back is something like fear or a lack of confidence. I encourage you to try and figure that out, especially if it's holding you back from something really important, like doing the things you care about or taking risks.)

(At least that's what my therapist mom keeps telling me.)

So maybe some people hated this prompt because they don't want to admit that they are the reason they don't write everyday, but I don't like it because there's no variety in the answers.

Like I said, the answer is obvious.

PS: I don't expect to like every prompt. That's fine and I still love the project. BUT, rather than just answer the prompt and not express my feelings about it, or ignore it all together and just post a blurry picture of my dog holding a cereal box in her mouth (aka: my first draft), I decided to answer honestly. I'm not meaning to offend anyone or be disrespectful.

PPS: If you wrote a post today saying that you're the thing standing in the way of your writing or you're the only thing holding you back - in other words: the "obvious" answer - thank you for your honesty. I'm not trying to downplay your answer at all. The answer is obvious because it's universal, and there's nothing wrong with that. The thing I have an issue with is the actual question, not your answer.

PPPS: Does this prompt make anybody else NEVER WANT TO WRITE AGAIN? I don't understand what's happened. I should have just put that stupid picture of the dog up...

PPPPS: I just saw tomorrow's prompt. I like it a lot. My emotions and opinions are impossible to keep up with.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10: One Word

So remember last December, when I blogged every day as part of Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge?

Remember how awesome that was?

Remember how it was just a handful of us at first?

Well, now it's called Reverb 10, it has its own website, and it has well over 1,000 people participating. And this time, it's not just about looking back, but also about looking forward.

How could I not do it again?

And the truth is, you should too. If you don't have a blog, do it somewhere else! Respond in a journal, post your answers on Facebook, discuss the prompts over the dinner table with your family, write it on the side of that abandoned warehouse in spray paint.

Really, it's up to you.

And now, for the first prompt, from Gwen herself:

December 1: One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word.
Now imagine it's one year from today. What would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

I read the prompt at 7 AM this morning in bed. It may have been the sleep deprivation talking, but my first response was "fucking crazy". But, you know, it's not one word (unless you say it really fast: "fuckingcrazy"), and it's not very eloquent.

So I decided to change it to:



Important shit happened this year.

I met important people.

I made important decisions.

I started flossing on a regular basis.

See? Important.

And? FuckingCrazy.

As for 2011? I sure hope it's AWESOMETASTIC because it's my favorite word and it would be awesometastic (see?) if the next year was great enough to be described as such.

So, what's your word for 2010? For 2011?

(PS: Tell me if you're doing this too, so I can stalk support you.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Like

I like holding a hot cup of tea when my hands are cold.

I like to change the words to songs so that they include my dog's names.

I like to walk into my favorite coffee shop and ask the barista to make me his or her favorite drink.

I like to lie under 3 blankets instead of turning on the heat.

I like watching movies on my dad's couch.

I like to reread my favorite book series, in order, over and over.

I like hot chocolate from gas stations or football games.

I like to paint my nails with clear nail polish, just so I can pick it off.

I like to listen to sad music, even when I'm depressed, and even when I know that the sad music is making me more depressed.

I like Australian accents.

I like to think that dogs have accents. (Australian and other.)

I like to write in coffee shops, and not at home.

I like superfine tip pens.

I like dangly earrings.

I like soup with rice noodles.

I like tea with steamed milk and sweetener.

I like to have the TV on when I'm at home alone, even if I'm not watching it, because the noise and movement makes me feel more comfortable.

I like new wallets.

I like clicking the next button on my e-reader.

I like cake on a stick more than cake that's not.

I like when dogs wiggle or wag their tails so hard that they look like they might fall over.

I like when little kids giggle at stupid things.

(The last time I babysat, the kids laughed for 20 minutes when I said my shoes smelled bad.)

I like really long pants.

I like to eat the inside of breakfast burritos, but leave the tortilla.

I like flowers in bright colors.

I like wearing scarves indoors.

I like rain.

I like sleeping on the couch.

I like to watch reruns of sitcoms that I've seen 35 times.

I like pouring milk on chocolate ice cream.

I like this:

I like ordering Indian food at my mom's house.

I like vintage (or vintage looking) jewelry.

I like day planners and school supplies.

I like lying on the couch when I'm sick.

I like pomegranates, even though they stain my fingers when I eat them.

I like slipper booties.

I like women who write and sing music that's so amazing it makes my body hurt.

I like waking up on Christmas morning.

I like making chili when there are clouds in the sky.

I like the feeling when all of my clothes are put away from the dryer.

I like wearing sunglasses on cloudy days.

I like dancing with boys who wear glasses.

Sometimes it's nice to write what you like.

So what do you like?

Friday, October 15, 2010

And So I'm Trying

(I feel the need to warn you that this is a weird post. In fact, you should probably just go read about shoes and true love and procrastination instead.)

So... What do you want to do with your life?

I hate this question.

It makes me panicky, and queasy, and


Because really,
I'm not sure.

I don't know.
And don't tell me that "nobody knows".

I've spent the past two years asking people about
what they want,
observing people when they
speak to me about their lives,
to what people say when they talk about
what they love and
where they want to

And the vast majority of them know. Or at least have an idea.

They have a clue.

They may not know how to get there, or have all of the specifics figured out, but the majority have a direction to go.

(I'm aware that, sadly, many of them will never get where they want to go.)

I have no direction.
I have no clue.
I am blank.

Yes, I know that I'm not
completely alone.

But this isn't about everybody else. Saying "but Ally, nobody knows" doesn't make me feel any better. That's like telling somebody who's just had a really painful root canal, "tons of people have horrifying dental surgery at some point", and expecting that to make it ok.

A few weeks ago, my mom said:

At some point, you have to move forward.
You have to make a decision.
You have to be an adult...

(Moms, right?)

I've spent the past two years

I've been stuck
I'm stuck.

[And probably because I'm scared. Of what? Not sure.]

Not because I'm lazy. Not because I don't care. Not because I want to stay a reckless, irresponsible kid.

(I've never been a reckless, irresponsible kid.)

Now, finally, I'm starting to move forward. I'm starting to push outside of my



comfort zone.

And I'm trying to answer those scary questions. The WHATs and WHENs and WHEREs and WHYs that make my tummy hurt.

I'm trying not to run away from them.

I'm trying to let those scary questions, those
GROWN UP BIG GIRL decisions,
sit on my plate for awhile.

I'm not throwing them away and ignoring them as soon as they come up.

I'm trying.

Call it a quarter-life crisis if you want.

My priorities - and the people I love - are still the same.

[Those things aren't changing.]

But I suppose it's time to move forward.

To do


I'm trying.