Science, a puppy, and Hemingway

Even though I finished college, my life as I know it is not, in fact, over. I’m enjoying not being stressed about assignments and due dates. I’m sure once I start working a job that I’m really interested in, these things will return, but for now, I’m enjoying the simplicity of my data entry job.

I ended up completing two creative projects for my final two English classes. I have a history of being underwhelmed while writing academic papers. I’m not quite sure how people can get excited about them. The week of finals, I was up till 2am at least three nights writing and revising my two projects. I had direction and purpose. I started one project fully intending to write about my experience as a first generation college student by comparing my interactions with my mother with those of Bill and his father as I saw on a roadtrip to Oklahoma. I had it planned out masterfully. I would use the conversations about cicadas to illustrate the two relationships. As I wrote it though, it turned into something completely different. It turned out to be a fairly revealing piece about my wanting to prove my intelligence to his parents. I was amazed to see it take form. As I wrote it, I needed to do some research and actually ended up needing to meet with Wyatt, Bill’s father, to solidify dialogue and learn more about him as a person and, in turn, develop him as a character. I had never taken a project so seriously.

I learned something about myself while writing it; I feel silly for not knowing things and then fail to educate myself about them. By doing that, I set constantly set myself up for feeling foolish. I realized that I am curious about things, but that I rarely satisfy that curiosity. I haven’t figured out if I’m just lazy or if I enjoy living a life of mystery. I’m sure I’m just lazy. Living a life of mystery is just another way of saying I’m allowing myself to remain uninformed. Regardless, it’s not how I want to live my life.

For the better part of the first year we dated, whenever Bill would bring anything remotely scientific, I would listen while staring blankly. Then I would tell him, “I don’t care about science. It just doesn’t interest me.” I’m not sure when, but at some point, I started becoming fascinated by his explanations of things. I envied the way he could articulate a point or reason for something. Initially, I might not be interested in biology on the cellular level, but I am fascinated by the products of the cells’ activities – the possibilities of new species and traits, or the prevalence of certain behaviors and tendencies. I’ve realized that it’s reassuring to have explanations for these things. I think there’s a recognizable comfort in not knowing things. It’s a blissful ignorance, but it pales in comparison to the excitement of discovering ways new information fits into and alters your previously conceived notions.

On a completely different note, here’s an adorable dog.

I’m going down to Oklahoma again next month to visit Bill. I’m half expecting him to buy me a puppy similar to this one for Valentine’s Day. (no I’m not) It was wonderful to have him here for Christmas. It’s impossible to express the contentment I felt having him near in a blog post. It fully deserves its own essay.

On another note, I’ve been reading A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. I wish I had read it years ago. He had such an disciplined and systematic approach to his writing. I too often allow myself to get distracted and break concentration. I think I just illustrated this by sharing a puppy picture and including a completely unrelated paragraph about Bill. Instead of ending a writing session when inspiration left him or when the piece was completed, he stopped in the middle of it – where he knew what would come next, that way he could easily return to his work the next day. It’s such an obvious solution to writer’s block, I don’t know why I had never thought of it before. Anyway, I don’t desire to be a womanizing megalomaniac like Hemingway, but I do want to be as disciplined and brilliantly succinct as he.

I obviously have a long way to go.

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