“the camera just rolls”

On a daily basis, I make excuses for why I didn’t have enough time to finish that project, didn’t find the time to help with that thing, can’t remember the last time I went to that place or visited that person–we all do this.

We over-think, or rather, over-burden ourselves with feelings of obligation and criticism, whether the sentiments emerge from our own psyche or are influenced by other people in our lives.

I was inspired by a site that I came across yesterday called oneword.com. In the help section, founder Brian Kessler states the following:

oneword™ is a simple writing exercise.

it is not about learning new words.
nor is it about defining words. [….]

the real purpose of this exercise is to alleviate
our natural tendency to edit everything—and learn
to flow.

an analogy would be a film camera:
when a film is shot, the camera just rolls and captures
everything—good and bad. [….]

the camera operator doesn’t keep stopping the camera and
rewinding and editing on-the-fly—the camera just rolls.
if it were to stop, some of the best performances
and spontaneous moments might be missed.

so:
be the camera. well, that’s a stupid saying, but
you get the idea. in writing—just flow. go back later
and edit.

I tried the one-minute exrcise, and prompted by the word propel, here’s what I wrote:

Propel // April 2010

In an effort to “be the camera,” here’s my ten-months-out-of-college update. Things are still going well with my job, and my position has been extended, so I will be at Duke through the end of September. I am in the midst of looking for new job openings in the area since I want to have another full-time position lined up for the fall. I’ve recently come to the realization that–ideally–a job that involves some creative component would be particularly fulfilling and meaningful for me. How that creativity actually transpires within an organization or company is still up in the air, but it is something I value more now than before.

In regards to work these days, I am about to get into more of the interview-based research for our NSF project, so it’ll be a nice change of pace to conduct interviews versus continually collect and analyze data through trial and error. At least, I know I’m likely to enjoy it a bit more.

At the beginning of February, I welcomed home an amazing cairn terrier puppy, who traveled to North Carolina all the way from a breeder in Missouri!

Fun Fact: Toto from The Wizard of Oz was a cairn terrier.

Theo (short for Theodore) is the sweetest, handsomest, and smartest dog ever–though I am a smidge biased. He has been an incredible addition to my life, and although puppy motherhood has completed revamped my lifestyle and routine, I have never looked back. Theo was only about 11 weeks and 3.5 lbs when he got here, and he will be five months old next week. He hasn’t been to the vet for a little while, so I’m not sure about his “official” weight, but he’s probably somewhere around 7+ lbs now. He’s a small guy, but he has a HUGE personality, and everyone in my life has fallen in love with him :)

Theo @ the Park // March 2010

I traveled to Washington, D.C. the other week for a work meeting as well as to attend the National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES) Annual Conference. I presented my undergraduate thesis research on a panel at the conference, which was a very exciting opportunity. Even though I work in academia, it is easy to forget how it feels to invest in your own research (since my current job delves into a completely different discipline). My research topic was very well-received, and it was really rewarding to attend my first official academic conference–and be a presenter in the program! I attended some really interesting talks, had remarkably helpful conversations with fellow attendees, grad students, and faculty members, and met a lot of great, new contacts.

All in all, the trip was a success, and I had a(n almost unexpectedly) wonderful time enjoying D.C. on my own. Between Dupont Circle and L’Enfant Plaza, I finally had a proper chance to experience more of the city, including the nightlife–I was even able to meet up with a few friends and relatives who live in the area. My past trips have been very touristy or were clouded by the memorable yet en masse congestion of the inauguration. This time around, however, I got a much better feel for the character and vibe of Washington, D.C.–and it is definitely still on the top of my “places I’d like to live in 2-3 years” list.

In the spirit of making April my big traveling month, I am flying out to Chicago later this week for work and vacation. I haven’t been back up there since I moved in August, so I am really looking forward to catching up with friends and seeing them after all these months; it has proven to be difficult to stay in touch with everybody that I used to see on a regular basis, but it’s trips like these that give us an opportunity to reconnect. After visiting D.C., I was vividly reminded of how much I love and miss the pace and energy of city life. That said, I can’t wait to be standing back on the streets of Downtown Chicago, taking in the charm of a place I fell in love with many years ago–and still adore.

I am acutely aware of the fact that I self-edit more than I should (it’s probably the reason why time never seems to be on my side when it comes to my writing). While I value my self-revisionist approach at points, coming across Kessler’s website did remind me that sometimes we have to stop making excuses, stop revising, editing, thinking, or reworking–and just allow it to flow, let it roll.

I really should be over this by now, but I can’t believe it’s been so many months since I graduated and moved back to North Carolina. And I can’t believe we’re pretty much on the cusp of summer. Soon it’ll be May, but maybe—

Sometimes we have to accept the time that’s passed and just let it be, let it roll.

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Oh Geez, April? Really?

As I tore the small page of my day by day calendar this morning, I felt a ping of excitement, suspicion, and surprise: Wha? It’s April already? Oh man…

So much has happened over the past month and a half, and I regret that I haven’t filled you in enough. I’ve been having a productive morning–my work is going by quickly, and I’m getting a lot done. Wrapped around my day, however, has been the refreshing, persistent urge to write–just write, write, write. One of those days, I guess (do you ever have days like that?); they don’t across too often, so I try to harness the energy when I can.

That said, I’m writing to say I’ll be back soon. Until then, I’ll leave you with a bit of wisdom from ol’ Leonard Bernstein:

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Happy Thursday, friends.

Keep On Keepin’ On

TO BE NOBODY BUT YOURSELF in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  [e.e. cummings]

Never Out of Season

Kure Beach, NC // Sept 2009

Creativity

THERE IS NO DOUBT that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.  [Edward de Bono]

Oh Yes, Hello Again.

Lulls.

We all experience them, right?

lull
[luhl] -noun
a temporary calm, quiet, or stillness

My blog has been on a slight hiatus, and though I regret that I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, I’m happy to report that the silence has been a constructive one.

I have been out of the college scene for about seven months. I have been back in North Carolina for about five, and I am already about four months into my job. While all the transitions of these past months were daunting, exciting, and frustrating (all at the same time), the past couple months have proven to be refreshing. A relief, almost.

In many ways, I finally feel settled. I am happy to call my apartment home, my family and I stay close, and reconnecting with friends in the area has been a great joy. Although there are still big hurdles to overcome this year (ex. another round of job hunting, planning for the future, etc.), ringing in the new year was a reminder of how far I’ve really come. A huge sigh of relief.

Over time, you find that leaving behind rigid ideas about your future is one of the most liberating decisions you can make. My advice? Stay open-minded to all the bends and turns you encounter because it’s in that time, from these experiences, and on that road, that your priorities, philosophies, and ideaologies are realized. They may change over the years, but they find a true voice and lens when you let them.

How have you changed in a year? What were your expectations? Were they met or met with new circumstances? Where do you find value in your life? Can you devote more time to whatever gives you strength? Inspires you? Builds you up when you feel broken down?

My blog has remained quiet for a couple months, but sometimes we just need a little time to take in our surroundings and allow ourselves to engage in the change around us. I’ll try to come around more often, friends. But know that things are going well here, and I am finding my way.

Experience

NO MAN UNDERSTANDS a deep book until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.  [Ezra Pound]