Novels and Noodles

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My mom, my working mother, my corporate powerhouse mother, spent a lot of money and spent even more hours on my childhood hobbies. She frequented the sweaty YMCA while I “played volleyball,” and massacred basketball. She sat through one too many poorly rehearsed renditions of Easy Note “Just Breath” in poorly executed piano recitals. My mom carted me to singing groups and dropped me off at school extra early so I could learn Spanish and practice the Oboe. If I wanted to be well rounded, well, darnit, she was going to see to it that I was.

But the key part of the above sentence is:

“If I wanted to be.” 

Dusting Off the Typewriter

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Someone recently said to me, “Sierra, do you still blog? I miss your words.” And it took me a minute to respond, because if my answer was truthful, my answer was no, I don’t still blog. Something happened to my blog psyche this year.
My words, well, they’ve been here all along, but they just got stuck somewhere in transit. I’m not sure if the words were busy or just intimidated, maybe a little of both, but they’re back now. I missed my words too, or at least, I missed the saying of them.

An Insight into Anxiety

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I wouldn’t ordinarily blog about this so candidly, except that I love the candid and real people out there. I love the people that share without asking for pity. I love the people that post pictures of their perfect little cupcakes one week, and then their disaster of a house the week after that. So in an effort to be relatable and, frankly, for a little catharsis, I give you….

The Power of Nice

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I used to think that “niceness” was a soft attribute. I was heartily convinced that the way to be in life was like Christina Yang–calloused, driven, exceptional and seldom nice. Nice was a boring quality. Nice felt like Comic Sans and an exclamation point. Nice was a pastel butterfly on top of a crib. Nice meant weak. 

That’s not to say I was always mean. I liked to call myself “driven” instead. I was capable of being nice, but usually and especially in high school, nice was not inherent; nice served a purpose.

Sleepy Chicago

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Today I woke myself up early so I could spend one of my last full days in Chicago completely devoted to writing. So I sauntered to the nearest Starbucks, because sadly it’s the quaintest coffee shop I could find in the area, and then I realized–I’ve never been outside so early in Chicago before.

And I wish I had sooner because the city sounds pretty in the morning. The cars are fewer, more patient. The rumble of big engines isn’t yet warm or confrontational. There’s still some hustle, but definitely less bustle.

I remind myself that though I’ve been sleeping in quite late this summer, I’m a morning girl. I like the composure, the potential of the morning. Chicago wakes up one eye at a time and I think that’s beautiful.

I will miss it here.


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I feel like I’m Isaac Mendez learning to paint the future without heroine. What’s that? You mean you haven’t been watching “Heroes” reruns on Netflix because you have a real job and you go to real school and have a real life? …Me too.

Just not right now.

Let me explain what I meant by the simile. One of my major roadblocks to becoming a “real” writer/blogger is that, before this summer, I could only write when I had “Writer Fingers.”When my “muse” of sorts with me. And lots of times, my writer fingers would come and go during the ebbs and flows and tidal waves of homework. Most days I didn’t have writer fingers, but when I did, I could usually tap out a blog.

I’m not sure if I will look back at this summer and think that I was incredibly accomplished. I feel like I cooked a lot. And I baked a lot. And I kept the apartment clean(ish). I read lots of books, and I got some unit planning done. I beat my first video game (Harry Potter Lego Wii Years 1-4).

Sadly, it doesn’t look like I will finish my novel (But not because I haven’t been diligently writing! But through the act of writing, I learned that there’s A LOT more plot/themes left that I had originally designed, and the book will be better for it).

I may still plan the best high school curriculum the world has ever seen, but right now, not knowing my students is a little crippling to this effort. Also, I’m just such a noob.

Also, I did not cure cancer (to be fair, I wasn’t trying).  And I didn’t start that blog with my friend Kristi, which I am still sad about, but know that it was my fault.

But I did conquer my crutchy belief that I could only write when my muse was with me. This summer, I’ve forced myself to just write. My novel. Lots more blogs than I usually do. And with the friends I’ve made, I’ve been grateful.

…But at least this summer I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve made friends!

*This post has been edited because it appears that I have committed a blogger faux pas. Hahahaha. To be honest I’m amused by the rules that I’m woefully ignorant to.

PS: A sincere, sincere thanks to those of you who have donated to or shared the Aurora Shooting campaign. We are so close to our goal. I feel so grateful for you all.

Empathy for Perma-Scowlers

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Some people–some actually nice people–have permanent scowls. It’s not that they are in any way distraught, but their default face just kinda forms into a natural stink-eye.

I think this was most eloquently described in the movie Juno:

Juno says: Your little girlfriend gave me the stink-eye in art class yesterday.
Bleaker replies: Katrina’s not my girlfriend, alright? And I doubt she gave you the stinkeye that’s just how her face looks, you know? That’s just her face. 

Then, we cut to Katrina De Voort:

Now first close encounters with Perma-Scowlers can be a little intimidating. I, myself, was startled just minutes ago by a Perma-Scowler sitting across from me at this little cafe. I reached into myself and thought, “What have I done to make such a mortal enemy so quickly? Was it my sneeze? I did sneeze rather loudly…” But as I wondered about my own offenses, I couldn’t help but study my stink-eyed companion.
She scowled through an entire chapter of a leisure reading. She scowled when filling her water cup. She even scowled as she emerged from the bathroom, after which, most people stop scowling. Now, there was a slight break in the stink-eye as the server brought her food, but upon sinking her teeth into her delicious grilled chicken sandwich, her face quickly lapsed into Kristen Stewart Mode. 
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Logically I concluded after my studies that she didn’t give me “the stinkeye that’s just how her face looks, you know? That’s just her face.” 

 For Perma-Scowlers, I always just hope they’re also beautiful because I think the life of a Perma-Scowler might be a lonely existence. They are so immediately alienating that no one dares to crack beneath the surface of the slanted eyebrows!

 So next time someone gives you a big old crusty, counterbalance by giving them a hug! If they resume scowling but otherwise seem pleased, you will know that’s just the way their face looks. If they hit you after, you might assume they were scowling for a reason. But they might still have needed a hug.

*I do not endorse hugging Kristen Stewart.