Monday, April 14, 2014

Little Dogs...

My little dog Joe (pronounced Jo eee) is the little dog who cries wolf.

Every time Max, the German shepherd who lives upstairs, comes outside while Joe is out there, she cries and yelps like he bit her in half.  This time he pounced at her and she got caught underneath, which hurt her. 

I was calling her in rather sternly, so when she came down the stairs and I picked her up, she cried and screamed. She has been limping around the house ever since. It's sad; she looks so pathetic. I feel bad for her.

Tomorrow Chelsea will most likely take her to the vet unless she shows some rather marked improvement.

Tonight was supposed to be a night where I wrote for my geek blog. I don't think I can focus enough to make that happen. Worried about my dog.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Downs and Ups...

I still don't know what's next for me. 

Here's what I think. I need to start working towards getting stories published. This would make me a more attractive candidate for grad school. I also think I need to start looking for a job that could become a career. No, I'm not giving up on becoming a professor. I do like having back-up plans, though, so looking for career-type jobs is a good idea. These jobs need to be outside of Utah, preferable in a city with a university that has an MFA in Creative Writing. I could take classes while working and maybe get an "in."

The last week has consisted of two downs followed by two major ups. 

Down #1: My grandmother died. She would have turned 100 this summer. She always treated me like her other grandchildren, even though I wasn't a blood relative. She was a wonderful lady and I miss her.

Down #2: My mother was taken to the hospital in St. George. She had surgery to remove her gall bladder. She is recovering now, but will be in the hospital for a while. They need to make sure her pancreas is functioning properly again. Apparently Spring has it in for my mother. 4 years ago she was in a automobile accident and had to have major surgery on her shoulder and hip. It took her a long time to recover. I hope her recovery will be much quicker this time around.

Up #1: I play a game called Magic: the Gathering. It's a fantasy-based collectible card game. I enjoy playing, but I'm not considered one of the better players in the game shop I frequent. I get along with the other players and they respect my skill, but I haven't had a high win-percentage. After visiting my mother in her hospital room I went and played at a game shop in St. George. I had never been there before. I went 3-0 and won the tournament. And I didn't just get lucky. I feel I made correct decisions and played well. This gave me a huge confidence boost.

Up #2: A couple weeks ago I made the decision to write to a couple missionaries. I don't know these young men, but I read their blogs hoping to see news or pictures of people I knew during my time as a missionary in Peru. I read about 10 missionary blogs every week. The two elders I wrote to were going through some trials that were similar to ones I experienced or witnessed in my mission. So I wrote letters. I tried to be positive and uplifting. I related my experiences and gave advice that I hoped would help. One of these Elders mentioned me in his letter to his family, which was posted to his blog. He said my letter helped. That made me feel extremely happy. I've set a goal to write to two missionaries a week. 

After the two ups I feel a lot more positive and sure of myself. I'm making plans and setting goals that will help me be a better writer and a better person.

Now to actually go and do.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Up in the Air...

While I was in high school I participated in the drama club. I don't think I was all that great an actor, but I could follow directions and I could sing. My big role came when there was a character who was basically me. When the directors decided to do "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," I was excited. I auditioned for the role of Linus, which I thought was perfect for me. I didn't get the part. I was a little bummed, but I wasn't really too sad because I was cast as Charlie Brown. Yep, I was the star of the show. It was a fun production and I really enjoyed it. 

I still identify with Charlie Brown. A lot. Charles Schultz created an everyman that just could not get his kite to fly. He could never actually kick the football out of Lucy's hands. He never pitched a winning baseball game. He never successfully defended his little sister from the playground bully. 

You know what my favorite Peanuts story is? It's a Charlie Brown story, of course. Linus and Lucy have a little brother named Rerun. In one series of strips, Rerun plays marbles against a no-name marble shark. Rerun is using the marbles his grandfather gave him. The marble shark wins and, after the game is over, declares that the game was, "for keeps." Rerun is devastated. On his way home, he bumps into Charlie Brown, who asks him what happened. When Rerun tells Charlie Brown of the kid who took his marbles, Charlie Brown goes into his house and comes out with his own bag of marbles. He walks up to the marble shark and challenges him to a game, "for keeps."

Charlie Brown wins. He wins not only Rerun's marbles, but the shark's as well, which he then gives to Rerun. Now, if Charlie Brown had been trying to win for himself, I don't think he would have. He probably would have lost not only his own marbles, but probably had all his clothes knocked off by a particularly strong play. Since Charlie Brown was sticking up for a younger kid who had been taken advantage of, he won. Handily. Every time I read that series of comic strips I sob. 

Anyway, back to drama. My senior year the drama club performed "Anne of Green Gables." I played about 50 different roles in the play. Well, really, I played four. There were two scenes from that play that were particularly memorable. The first was not in the script. 

Jason, who played Matthew, was supposed to go on stage with Nathan, who was playing a farm hand. There they discover the remains of a party Anne had with her friend Diana, who gets drunk on raspberry currant. Right before this scene is set to go, Nathan steps on a cement screw, the head of which gets impaled in the bottom of his foot, which the point sticking out the bottom. Since Nathan went to the Emergency Room, Jason had to improvise alone in a scene meant for two performers. He did so brilliantly. Nobody in the audience knew that anything was wrong.

The second memorable scene happened later on. Matthew has passed away and Anne, played by Mariah, is talking to Marilla, played by Sara. After a few lines have gone by, Anne turns to Marilla and says, "Oh, Marilla, what are we going to do?" I remember this line because Mariah delivered it perfectly. Her voice and demeanor showed that she was on the verge of completely breaking down. It was a voice on the edge of despair; true emotion from the melodramatic Anne. Every time I saw this scene it felt as if my heart had been ripped from my chest, stomped on several times, then shoved back in upside-down.

This scene has come to mind a lot recently.

Last fall I started applying to graduate schools. My goal is to become a professor.  I applied to six schools. 

All six have said, "No."

Graduate school has been the goal and the plan. My wife and I have been working towards me going to graduate school for a couple years. 

What are we going to do?

I honestly don't know. I feel lost, adrift on an unknown sea, no visible landmarks or stars to guide my path. So far I've managed to keep my depression in check, mostly by avoiding thinking about the future. I have to stop avoiding it and start thinking about what's next. 

Wish me luck.