things are gonna blind me

I’m sitting in my room sweating because I don’t feel like having my electric bill go up by running my a/c, and because I have a neck warmer/massager thing on because I was getting a headache. This car accident totally screwed me up, and I think I’m going to have intensely painful stress headaches for the rest of my life because my neck is permanently messed up. It’s kind of like how I’m never, ever going to lift more than about twenty pounds ever again because my elbow is stupid. I’m perpetually falling apart. Clearly I’m allergic to college.

Two weeks from today, I will be in Montevideo. I have so many plans and people to meet and places I want to go and so much Spanish to speak. I just also want to do a lot of writing and reading while I’m there, so somehow I have to fit in being incredibly social and adventurous with being a complete hermit nerd. We’ll see how that works.

I bought furniture today from friends for my new house that I’m not sure I have. I have way too much to do in the next two weeks. I should not be on the Internet.

those things with lots of pieces of paper bound together…

This is somewhat embarrassing.

I just counted the unread books in my room, like ones I own but have not yet picked up, and if I counted correctly, it’s about 57.

In my defense, I own many, many, many more books than that, so it’s not like I haven’t read anything. I just don’t read enough to keep up with my habit of buying books or with my habit of wanting to read books. I’m trying to catch up with classics that I never read, but I’m also trying to keep abreast of what’s going on in contemporary literature, both in YA (I try really hard to believe in the genre, though it’s hard, and I think calling it a genre is sort of stupid) and adult fiction. And then I also try to keep up with authors I like by reading more of their books, which is a sort of bad thing to do when you’re trying to read a lot of stuff. It sucks to find an author you like and can’t get enough of. :-p Then, the other thing I try and do is increase my exposure to different types of writing to work on my craft. So I need to read more short stories, because I’m terrible at those, and I like to read poetry, but it takes really long to finish just one book and feel like you’ve gotten anything significant out of it.

As if that number above isn’t bad enough, my to-read list (you can click on that link on the right that says “my bookshelf”) totals 182*. And it only gets higher every time I finish a book.

This semester burned me out so much, I can no longer remember how to just kick back with a book and read for a really long period of time. And I don’t remember how long it takes me to finish one. But I’m going to venture a guess, and I’m going to challenge myself to finish at least 30 books this summer. I have an abridged list taken from the 57 and the 182 of the ones most important to me to read now rather than later. This includes books that are being made into movies (Youth In Revolt), books by people I know and/or who have taught me in writing workshops (Not A Matter of Love, The Narrow Road Into the Interior), books that were gifts (La Hojarasca), classics/famous books (Oliver Twist, Balthazar, de Sade’s Justine), and books by Tucsonans (Sleeping With Schubert, History Lesson for Girls). So it’s a quite daunting task, but I’m excited. I will take books with me everywhere: to the science class I have to take starting on Monday, to Uruguay, to haircuts, to work, to the rec center, to my parents’ house. Reading has to be the main event for the summer, trumping friends and movies and mooning about boys who don’t like me back. It will even take precedence over writing, I think, just a little. There’s only so much honing of a craft you can do if you don’t read, and I am so, so behind in my reading. I’ve missed it so much.

I’ll take some book recommendations, if you have them, but please look and see if they’re already on my list, and only make them if they’re going to change my life. If you know me well, you know that very small, random things can change my life, but still. Recommendations with a grain of salt. And be advised that I may not be able to get to them for a long time, but they’ll go on my goodreads, and since the Internet never dies, I’ll never forget that I’m going to read them.

I’ll be blogging about my reading. And my travels. Please read. Or tell someone else to. I get lonely when I don’t feel encouraged. :-p

This starts now. Because as of about an hour and a half ago, this semester left my hands. Done. Time for grades.

*And then I remembered my Amazon wishlist, and I added all the books there to my to-read list as well. 200. Hooray!

normal people and famous people and those in between

So I touched Ira Glass tonight.

I also heard him speak and saw him, you know, like all the other people in Centennial Hall did. But then my friends and I went up and acted silly and talked to him.

Anyone who doesn’t already know how awesome Ira Glass is is a fool. Hi spresentation was pretty awesome. He just has such a wonderful voice, and it was just an interesting presentation, though in some ways disappointing. Ira Glass is not someone you feel like listening to while sitting upright in a chair, smooshed against lots of other people. For some reason I felt one of my headaches come on, which didn’t make it any nicer to be uncomfortable, but it’s also one of those things that is weird to experience in person when you’re used to radio or the podcast. I wanted to be lying on the floor or on my bed with my eyes closed. That is how you should experience This American Life.

Regardless, it was cool. And of course I went up with the rest of my friends afterwards to go talk to him. I wanted him to sign my ticket, since I didn’t have anything else for him to sign. And while waiting in line was fun, just because we all got to hang out and because I talked to this other nice random girl who is about to graduate from law school. But meeting interesting people in this way makes me feel very, very uncomfortable, because I can never make myself look smart or interesting while doing it. Even if I had a burning question to ask Ira Glass, it would never be something that would just come to me while I’m standing in line with a ticket stub and a ballpoint pen. Just like people want to wait after concerts to meet the artist, it was something that needed to be done, but I also didn’t want to. I’m sure if I spent hours with him, we’d find something interesting to talk about, and I could actually make myself appear as smart as I’m pretty sure I am, and I could ask some good questions. But accosting someone after a performance is awkward and nerve wracking. I’m not one of those people who can just go up to a stranger and spill all of my life and dreams and ask for advice. Is it because I know the advice will likely be something I’ve heard before or because I know the advice of a famous person isn’t necessarily better than the advice of someone who knows me better? I’m not sure.

It’s a strange form of networking, and I’m not sure whether it’s better to be good at it or bad at it. Generally, I am pretty good at meeting strangers (at least adults and professionals…I’m terrible at people my own age) and being friendly, talking about myself, and ending up with advice or encouragement or connections or a job offer or something. It’s this conniving but genuine thing that I’ve sort of mastered. And I’ve just been lucky, I think. But when you’re meeting someone who is famous, even when they’re only famous to you, like Ira Glass, it’s hard to gush without sounding swoony, to ask for advice without being a cliché, to ask questions without being boring. I never know what to do.

Not that I’ve met a huge amount of famous people. But it’s still awkward. I hate listening to people fall over themselves at a book signing or an event like this one, and I know it’s mean of me. Who am I to tell someone to be less excited? Just because I’m inhuman doesn’t mean they need to be. But it’s so embarrassing. You know those times when other people, even when they’re strangers, do something so weird that they’re not embarrassed by that you end up being embarrassed for them, just because the thing you share is both being human? It’s horrible. I’m such a bitch sometimes.