Sunday, November 9, 2014

Banjoleles, Taylor Swift, and Iconic Works

Is the influence that the banjolele had on the popularity of the ukulele in 1920s Vaudeville interesting? Maybe, but it was not a thing that my dad needed to spend time explaining to me. Today, however, he explained something that does interest me. We were talking about Taylor Swift*.

My dad pointed out that 1989 is the first album that my sister and I have both bought. We both decided that having the CD now, instead of waiting for the other to share, was worth going out and exchanging money. (If you don’t agree that the packaging is worth owning, you clearly have not bought a copy. Yet.) This means that 1989 is the only music compilation in the past 10 years that (A) we both want to listen to and (B) neither of us can wait even a few days to borrow.

There are now exactly three things that we have ever felt this way about; Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and 1989. And so, if anybody asks me about life defining artists, they only need to hear about J.K. Rowling and T. Swift.  

*If you’re reading this in the far future, please remember that this is November 2014, everybody is talking about Taylor Swift; tumblr, news stations, even 55 year old men. It is wonderful.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How can I be scared of a month?

I think I’m scared of NaNoWriMo. I tried it once, and things didn’t work out. This year I had an idea for a novel in October, and that just seemed too obvious. So this year I am trying NaNoWriMo again.

Unfortunately, I don’t write. 

Okay, obviously I write. Somehow I earned a degree in humanities, and somehow my thoughts are written on this blog. I just mean that I don’t write much… in the face of 50,000 words, it seems like I don’t write at all.

Since I have only opened my novel twice during the first week, I will need to write 2300 words per day in order to reach word count. I'm scared that I want make it, and that makes me less excited to write daily. Wish me luck!

P.S. My novel is called Dumblecrantz and Grindelstern… I feel disproportionately existential and clever whenever I say it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alice Rackham is my Idol

Classic Alice documents Alice Rackam’s decision to stop doing things by the book (figuratively) and start doing things by the book (literally, life choices based on classic literature). Recently she decided that she was too busy to choose a long book, which ironically led her to open Rip Van Winkle, and she has to copy Rippy V in his attempt to avoid working at all.

Her initial thought is that she needs to skip obligations, like class and study sessions, and so she makes herself an alternative schedule just as busy as her usual school schedule. Although she chose to let loose in another way, I personally love her alternative schedule. She has just brainstormed things that she is interested in doing, but has never done because they aren’t a productive use of her regular schedule. How much fun would she have, and how many stories would she make, if she followed her alternative schedule?

The items on Alice Rackham’s alternative schedule, in the form of an alternative to-do list:

·         visit a farm, potentially milk a cow
·         eat breakfast for dinner
·         eat dinner for breakfast
·         think important existential thoughts
·         have a picnic
·         write a letter to the president about literacy
·         make jams and pickles
·         ride a train for hours with no…
·         white wash a fence (find a fence)
·         make friends with woodland creatures
·         drive a convertible too fast

Some of these break up normal routines, while others are a new experience. I think my favorite is milking a cow, even though it isn't particularly daring, it is out of the ordinary for an urban university student. It wouldn't be hard to make it happen. Some of her ideas, like canning and corresponding with the leader of the free world, have a value that doesn't directly contribute to her academic success, whether they happen just once or become a regular thing. There is no reason she can’t make these things part of her regular schedule, she just doesn't.

So in the spirit of Alice, I am making myself an alternative to-do list. What things will you put on your alternative to-do list?

·         walk around before all of the fall leaves fall
·         write thank you note to Emma Watson
·         figure out how to make bibimbap
·         learn to play Stolen Dance on the guitar
·         drive my car around a parking lot backwards
·         pick wildflowers
·         paint designs on my nails