Friday, January 27, 2012

Comic Relief

It's been a long, strange week. But I made it to the end. Congratulations to everyone else for making it to Friday too.

It's been one of those weeks where it feels like I was trapped inside myself, unable to stop myself from being irresponsible and lazy. I did eventually get that Murrow presentation finished, the night before I had to do it. Things started looking up on Thursday (yesterday), because the presentation went really well. I didn't do much else yesterday though, because I thought I deserved to just chill. Then I realized that's what I've been doing all week: coasting, avoiding. Today I feel like a new woman. I've made one of my lists of everything I need to do and the amount of time I have to do it. I feel much more organized and focused now. I guess we all get in ruts like the one I was in this week. The important thing is not to get too upset at yourself for doing that. Everybody needs a break sometimes.

Yesterday and today I drew some comics:

These comics have provided me with a wonderful way to remove myself from any other kind of thought. I am starting to remember the magical healing powers of drawing and colouring. Especially colouring, because it's so systematic and satisfying. I feel like seeking out a colouring book and buying myself one of those 64-packs of crayons. Crayons have always been my favourite colouring stick. Markers are too bold, and sometimes pencil crayons remind me of this horrible project I was forced to do in middle school for art class. The teacher wanted us to do a pointillism-style picture. Needless to say, as a perfectionist child, it took me weeks. And we had to use pencil crayons. I remember one night crying over it because I had to get it done because the teacher was mad at me for it being so late. It ruined pencil crayons and dots for me. I don't know why she wouldn't let us use paint, that would have been much easier.

Once again, Sam Roberts has been the hero of my life. Lately his music has been uplifting, and calming and inspiring when it needs to be. I have been listening to and trying to get to know his new album, Collider. I still haven't listened to it enough to know all the songs, but I find myself "craving" some of them, if you know what I mean. It's a very nice mix of his old style and a newer, almost bluesy style. I don't know music terms very well, or at least don't really know how to critique music because I don't have a very big repertoire of artists in my mind, but I appreciate music. Sometimes it takes me a few listens to really get certain music, but I'm always trying to see what is good about it. Music is an amazing thing. I feel like it's quite unlike any other thing in the world. I just wish I had more of an affinity to playing it. I used to play piano, and I enjoyed it. But I wish I had to ability to write my own music. Music is such a unique language. Everybody can understand it. And it has the ability to convey so much feeling and so emotion. It can tell stories, and make you empathize. I love it. It's beautiful. The best way to experience music by far is by going to live concerts. Such an energy is created during concerts, because you're able to see the musicians at their work, loving it, and loving that you're there to hear them, loving that they get to share their passion with you.

I have started wrapping my mind around writing for my college's newspaper. I don't know how I would do writing newspaper articles. I guess what I do here is a little bit like that. I would just hope that I could find interesting things to write about. The only thing I worry about is how much of an extra commitment it would be. But I guess it wouldn't feel like a commitment if I enjoyed doing it. I met some people who work at The Strand (that's what the newspaper is called) last night and they were people I liked being around. Of course, one of my best friends in Toronto does art for it, so it's no surprise.

I'm hoping that this week, in between catching up on all my readings and preparing for future essays and projects, that I will be able to do some writing. Today I have been feeling particularly inspired. The annoying thing that happens is when I don't feel like doing work, so I procrastinate by doing useless things like playing Tetris and scrolling through Facebook, when I could have been spending all that time not doing work and writing instead. I think it feels like writing would be some kind of admission that I am not doing my work, because I'm completely committing to doing something else. Whereas with Facebook you can keep pretending that you're going to get off in a few minutes. What a fiend Facebook is. I've been considering taking a week or two off from it. My mom is thinking of "giving it up for lent." It's an idea.

One of my friends told me that he got some advice about making specific weekly times to write for yourself, and never, ever, breaking those commitments. I think that's a great idea. Maybe I'll try it. The next step is deciding how much time and when...

As for this blog, I'm afraid this post hasn't been very exciting, but I haven't done a post in a while, and I wanted to reconnect. Hopefully this coming week I will have lots to say about how much work I got done and what a productive week it was. Maybe I'll have some writing to post.

Your friendly neighbourhood Erin.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good Night, and Good Luck

Every once in a while, when I have a particularly important presentation, that I must finish in a very specific amount of time... I completely waste the time provided. This leads to a generally panicked couple of days until the presentation is over with. Welcome to my Edward R. Murrow presentation.

I am finding the man is actually pretty fascinating, but I feel like I could never get all the details right. Either way, I'm learning that he had a lot of integrity and determination, and spent a lot of time in Europe learning about world affairs first hand. He interviewed famous writers, and even people like Gandhi and Trotsky. Or at least, organized the interviews. He made sure that CBS was there for minute-by-minute updates of the war, broadcasting during the London bombing. I am shocked at what an outspoken and short-tempered man he is made out to be. I suppose my only impression of him comes from the youtube videos of his broadcasts, in which he seems calm and collected, but serious and knowledgeable (of course he would be on television). I watched the movie made about him, Good Night, and Good Luck, directed by George Clooney (who also plays Fred Friendly, the man Murrow worked on the program that aired the episodes about McCarthy). The guy who plays Murrow makes him out to be above any kind of overreaction to worrisome events. He takes everything in stride. According to my sources, everything else about that movie is extremely accurate. But anyway, Murrow eventually started a program with Friendly called See It Now, in which he aired episodes demonstrating the unjust tactics McCarthy was using to convict supposed Communists in the US government. Murrow agreed that the Communists should be rooted out, but McCarthy was giving people unfair trials, and Murrow didn't agree with that. There is a famous broadcast in which he points out McCarthy making a fool of himself with false accusations and hearsay. This was a HUGE risk for Murrow, especially considering the subject of McCarthy's convictions---Murrow was risking his own reputation, knowing that McCarthy would return with an accusation of him being a Communist. He had also lost the funding of advertisers when they knew that Murrow was going to do the episode. He had everyone on edge, all for the sake of giving the American people substance, not froth, in their news. Murrow also had always been against "editorializing," and by doing the McCarthy broadcast, he was breaking his own policy, representing a very clearly biased view. He gave McCarthy fair time to respond, and requested that it be McCarthy directly, not a correspondent. McCarthy's response made him a fool, and he was soon put under investigation by the US Senate (I think... anyway, some kind of governing body put him under investigation). But despite his triumph, Murrow was shelved, because advertisers didn't like his risky presentations. They didn't want to be affiliated with controversial news delivery. So Murrow was all but fired when he was demoted to fewer shows, and in a crappy time slot. He went on to work for the United States Information Agency, appointed by JFK. He resigned after JFK's assassination and Lyndon B. Johnson's rise to presidency. I haven't read much about that time period in his life, because his work with CBS had much more of an impact on his decade. My favourite thing about him was a speech he made at a Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Convention in 1958. Here's the link:

Here is a youtube video of his McCarthy episode:

SO that's my blurb of what I know and think is interesting about McCarthy, but still, here I am late on Sunday night, after wasting a Saturday worrying, with the bear bones of what I'm going to say down, and a timeline half-finished to enable me to clarify for myself everything that happened to Murrow. Sometimes I worry that doing things like this are a waste of time. But I think I do them because I want to do projects well. I spend a lot of time on details, which is also often my downfall. I need some kind of expression about how details are not as important as the whole or something. But anyway. The lack of work that has been completed is extremely worrisome, because tomorrow my day is so packed, I don't think there will be any time to breathe. Tuesday, it will be somewhat as busy, but I'm going to put my Murrow project as a priority over other work for now (remember how I said presentations and projects put all other school work/things in my life on hold? I know it's a bad work habit, but once again, I've left myself no choice). This means that I'll be behind on Sociology readings, and I'm already behind on Psychology readings. Next year, I definitely won't be taking on so much. I only did because every one told me it was the right thing to do to get super involved. I thought so myself, but I think I forgot about "everything in moderation."

Well, I suppose I should get some sleep before my big day tomorrow. I'm going to be absolutely exhausted by the end of my day tomorrow. Then it's another early morning on Tuesday...

The only thing I know is that, despite how impossible my week seems right now, and how far away the completion of my presentation preparation seems, time keeps going, which means that eventually, all this stuff is going to happen, some way, some how. I am just going to do my best to keep my cool, and trust that it will go smoothly.

Good night, and good luck.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tossing and Turning in Toronto

As is apparent from my title (get it? It's like Sleepless in Seattle), I am having major troubles falling asleep at night. The frustrating thing is that I can't seem to stop sleeping in the morning. So why can't I garner the desire to sleep from the morning and apply it to my nights?

I hate the feeling of lying there, first on your back, then on one side, then the other... and knowing that the minutes are ticking by and you still aren't sleeping. Being aware of not sleeping makes the possibility of sleep even worse. Turning the light on to read I feel is counter to falling asleep or feeling tired. I guess lately I just can't turn my mind off. Some nights it's because of worrying or feeling sad, some nights it's because I'm so excited about all the things that are going on. I wish I could tell my brain to save the thoughts til morning. I just hope this problem remedies itself soon, because I'm sick of sleeping away my mornings and feeling disgruntled because of it.

Today, I read a lot about brains and how they work. It was one of my Psychology chapters. What a crazily complex system that resides inside us! I am most amazed that humans were able to get down to the nitty gritty of the structures of neurons and the structure of DNA. Neurons aren't actually attached, but the information is passed from one to the next somehow through the synapse or the synaptic cleft (which is the space between the dendrites and the terminal buttons)...I haven't got it all straight yet, but it's still incredible. Just the awesome (in the true sense of the word) ability of the brain to compensate for itself, by taking on functions of damaged parts, or growing new parts blows my mind (is that possible?).

I still have an entire chapter to read before Monday (another fifty pages or so), as well as a Sociology chapter. And of course my Murrow presentation. We've decided to put off Pulp Fiction until next Saturday, so instead I'm going to watch Good Night, and Good Luck which is a film about Edward Murrow. I consulted my professor and he said it's a great movie. Hooray.

Speaking of reading, I just "finished" one of my Philosophy readings. This one was by Thomas Nagel called "What is it Like to be a Bat?" or something like that. The funny thing about getting my Philosophy readings done is that reading them is like a race to see how quickly I can read the words. They meant absolutely nothing to me. It's pretty much an exercise in word-recognition. It's a very good activity to do for getting other thinking done while you do it. Oh dear, Philosophy. How you fail to capture my interest. This one was actually pretty accessibly written I think, but still none of it registered. Usually it's all in some foreign version of English, like reading a whole different language and pretending you understand. When I'm tired, I try to read and I fall asleep. When I'm perfectly awake, I read and nothing computes. There's no way to win. Then, in lectures, no matter how rested I feel, I doze off or get engrossed in my doodling. Good thing there's a handout for every class and good thing he gives us review pages that give us exactly what will be on the exam. I just feel bad for my TA in tutorials when he asks us questions about the readings or anything else, and at first, without prompting, the class is silent, staring at the desk, pretending to think... eventually some discussions get going, but I find even those make me end up questioning why we even bother because the TA makes it impossible to come up with a satisfactory answer. And some of his arguments don't make sense, or they do, but, like many comparisons and objections in Philosophy, are overexaggerations or use unrealistic reasoning. My brain just aches by the end of it. At this point, I'm just trying to get through Philosophy and looking forward to the time when I never have to take another Philosophy class in my life.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed that I don't enjoy Philosophy. And many people tell me not to judge it by the Intro course, but I have a feeling that I won't enjoy Philosophy, the way it's taught, in any form. Of course I'm interested in the issues, but I'm almost turned off the by the ambition and confidence with which it's dealt with. All these writers write like they have the key. And the professor and my TA tell me to write like I have the answers and to support my answers. How can they and how can I? There are no answers, that's why we study it. And I'm just a university student! These valiant attempts are always bound to be nit-picked apart by all the other philosophers, leaving you discouraged. I know you can't find answers without a lot of attempts at hypotheses, but a lot of the attempts just seem like a waste of time. I think I'm having a hard time explaining myself here. I think basically, there are some things that we really just can't explain and never will be able to explain. And I hate the philosophers who try to explain the unexplainable (for instance, something that we have mostly agreed is spiritual) by saying that there is an intricate scientific process to it because you can compare it to some other scientific process. I don't know why we don't all get stumped at skepticism. All philosophers arrive there at some point, and yet they keep going. I think most of all I hate the obsession, the mania, with trying to make everything in life something you can explain. Why does everything we experience have to be concretely understandable? Why can't we let some things just be? I feel like we're going to lose knowledge with some of the solutions we find, or rather, if we find solutions to certain things.

On the other hand, I'm about to dive into an exploration of Psychology (because I'm hoping to major in it). Psychology is explaining behaviours, feelings, thoughts. It might be getting close to the point I described above, but it's fascinating. I want to know more. It's amazing the things that can subconsciously alter your mind. I want to understand it, so I can understand myself, and help others understand themselves.

MIND. That is the big question that has been raised in my Philosophy class these days: What is your mind? Is it spiritual or physical? To me, it seems like a silly question. Even though I've just learned about all the complex functions of the brain, I still believe there's something about the mind that isn't the result of those functions. Something immeasurable, and therefore spiritual. What is it? I don't know if I would call it consciousness. I don't even think it is necessarily confined to your brain. I feel like the mind is what connects us to our history, like Octavio Paz's Other Voice. The mind carries the consciousness and experience of generations. It carries the wisdom of creativity and inspiration and the ability to think abstractly. I will have to keep thinking about how I feel about it, especially because I'm already starting to question if I'm so sure that it isn't just the physical processes of our brains. That just seems like such a cold, hard explanation. Maybe mind is soul? I don't know, apparently it's already too late in the night  for me to be contemplating these things.

I have a theory (or hypothesis...I'm confused) that my most creative time of day is around noon. I have class at noon every single day, and throughout those classes I see designs in every open space of my page and I can't seem to stop drawing. Either that's my most creative time of day, or those are boring classes. I think I would like to test this theo...hypothesis? by doing something creative at noon on a day that I don't have class. I wonder if there even is a creative time of day. Maybe the theory is that I have a particularly creative time of day, and the hypothesis is that my most creative time of day is at noon... I think this is evidence of my brain trying to absorb the Psychology knowledge.

Well, I think I will bring this rather eclectic and questioning post to an end. Hopefully now that some of these thoughts have been typed out, I won't have such a hard time falling asleep tonight. I want to get up early and get things done before my tutorial.

By the way, I'd just like to make a note about how often I'd like to be doing these posts. Really, I've been doing them when I feel like doing them, which so far, has been every day. But I won't be expecting myself to do them every day. But you never know, I might. I think in future I'd like to take a few days to ruminate on a subject before I write a post so it can be a little bit more structured and coherent... as it is I'm just splatting my thoughts onto the post. Which is good in some ways, I suppose. Stay tuned.

Good night, and good luck.

Your friendly neighbourhood Erin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The English Patient

PHEWF. You know that feeling when you're nearing the end of a book, and you don't want it to end, but you have to keep going because you have to see how it will end up? That was my adventure last night with The English Patient.

I usually pull whatever book that I'm reading out while I floss (because my flossing takes time, I have a built in retainer...anyhoo). I happened to be nearing the end of The English Patient last night, but I kind of thought I could get another evening out of it. Not so. This novel is so brilliantly written. A review on the front of it calls the writing "dreamlike" and I think I would describe it that way too. You get this strange perspective on the characters, but nevertheless get thoroughly attached and invested. I found Ondaatje's writing to be like poetry and it was a delicious read. And needless to say he dragged me kicking and screaming through the conclusion of the book...I was physically unable to put it down until I had finished it. The ending was...impeccable. I always get worried at the end of books because endings are a very tricky thing to handle, and, most often, are very disappointing and sometimes careless. Although it wasn't happy-ever-after, it was satisfying. And he ended the book with an amazing case of synchronicity. I'm not even kidding (how synchronous is that). I'm not sure if I should even explain, because everybody that reads this blog has to go and read The English Patient. But the very last instance of the book was heartbreakingly romantic and wonderful. It's only three hundred pages, the writing is beautiful and the story is compelling. For me, it was a refreshing take on writing. I have been starting books and putting them down, just feeling like everyone is doing the same thing over and over again. But this completely differently style hooked me and dragged me. I am very sad it's over, but, I am filled with the satisfaction of an author handling me responsibly as a reader.

In other news, I have been having a rough day. My work is becoming a pile threatening to topple. I am beating myself up for thinking I could afford to take a break last Friday. Suddenly, I have not one, but TWO fifty-page Psychology chapters, another long, boring Sociology chapter, lecture notes to go over, and worst of all... a presentation next week. The presentation is what has kicked me in the shins. Suddenly, it's here, and I have to do it next Thursday. I knew it would creep up on me because it's so early in the semester. Basically I have to impersonate Edward R. Murrow, a controversial American news anchor from the fifties. His claim to fame is a hounding of McCarthy. It's interesting, but I'm the kind of person that likes to be prepared and I feel like a week isn't enough. But I have to make the best of it, and that's that.

Wouldn't it be nice if university was just lectures and readings? Those are easy enough to balance throughout the week. There's just enough time in a week to get that basic work done. But throw a presentation or an essay in, and I crumple. I guess that's one of the big things you learn in university: time management. Refiguring of the way you manage your time CONSTANTLY. It drives me nuts.

The other thing that overwhelms me when I have a lot of work to do, is my extra-curricular commitments. They're very minor, and they're enjoyable and always turn out to be a nice break, but nevertheless, it feels like there's no time left in your day if there's an extra-curricular thing you have to do. Tomorrow morning, for an hour, I am volunteering at the fair trade cafe at my college. It's only an hour, and I love the person I work with, and I always come out feeling calm and centered. But every week it's a fight to remind myself how much I like it, and that my morning wouldn't have consisted of anything much more productive than that. In fact, I manage to use the small blocks of time surrounding it to get stuff done. Then, on Fridays, I go to a school in the afternoon after my Philosophy tutorial. I kind of fell into this by accident. I applied because (for some reason) I thought there would be consultation if I were accepted, to see if I still wanted to do it. Counting on that, I signed up for a different school opportunity that I wanted to do much more. Then, one day, I get an email telling me what school I'll be going to and the name of the teacher. YIKES! WAIT! WHAT? But anyway, being raised as a person who follows through on commitments, I went. And it definitely wasn't my cup of tea. I struggled with the teacher at first and the way she did things, and felt awkward and like I had no experience (because I don't). But now, as the weeks have gone by, I have become inevitably attached to and charmed by the kids, and I understand the teacher's relationship with them much better than when I first started out. I also understand the way the teacher functions. It's still not how I like to do things, but I get it and I respect it and I just flit around the world she has created and do what she tells me to do to the best of my ability. And it is good experience.

The other "school thing" I'm doing is called Peace by PEACE and it's a conflict resolution workshop that, with a team, I go in and teach to a grade four class. We talk about how conflict is an inevitable part of everyone's life and can't be avoided. We talk about the escalation of conflict, and recognizing where you are in that escalation so you can use methods to cool down from your anger. Next week, we'll be teaching them about empathy and I-statements (taking ownership of your feelings and not trying to implicate other people in their side of the conflict). Later on, we'll talk about self esteem and inner power and bullying and accepting each other's differences.  It's pretty great. What I like is the fact that we're reaching out to people while they're young and trying to give them skills to grow with. I'd like to develop a similar program of some sort when I'm older, and maybe something I can incorporate into the education system that makes education less competitive and more beneficial, that teaches kids social skills and awareness and acceptance. It's very idealistic, but it's what matters to me. You want the world to be different? You have to reach out and respect the younger generation. Stop filling them with hopelessness and doom and give them power and aspirations. Anyway, Peace by PEACE is a cool program, but it also requires a small amount of preparation, which means more work for me on top of my school work. And an early Tuesday morning *groan.*

I think that's all the time I can sacrifice today, and I think this has been a productive way to procrastinate, rather than browsing the pages of Facebook. Tell me where you think we need to start in order to see changes in the world.

Your friendly neighbourhood Erin.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taking the Leap

So here I am. I've done it. I've started a blog.

I have been reading one of my old friend's blogs rather frequently, and it inspired me in such a great way. It's interesting because she just writes about everyday life and maybe adds a few recipes, but what struck me is her dedication to her views. I thought, how wonderful would it be to know how you viewed the world and to have beliefs to fall back on when everything seems confusing? Maybe that's idealistic and naive, and of course everyone's beliefs--no matter how strong-- get put into question from time to time, but I thought that I would like to set out on some kind of cliche quest to figure what exactly my core beliefs could be. As far as I know, I can't ally myself with a religion. I was raised a Unitarian Universalist, which although I still don't completely understand it to this day, my parents always explained it to me as a religion that picks and chooses from other religions, but basically believes in the interconnectedness of all beings. Which is pretty cool. And that's a nice thought to look at now and then and go: "Yeah, that's me, I believe in that." But it's not the kind of thing I contemplate every day, or perform rituals to consecrate myself to it everyday (which I know isn't what religion is about). So in some ways, it's a good start to figuring out what my beliefs are, but the nail hasn't been thoroughly whacked on the head.

However, I have taken a great interest in synchronicity.

Hmm, let's see. According the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, synchronicity means: the simultaneous occurence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible connection. KEY WORD: no discernible connection. Little does Oxford know, there might be some serious energy going on making these things synchronous. And even if synchronicity is a happy figment of my imagination, I would like to keep it that way. I don't see any harm in thinking that maybe if you act (or even think) in a certain way, it will have a rippling effect (hopefully positive). I think this belief is upheld in many different forms. Call it God, call it the Universe, call it Fate, call it Chance. Lots of people seem to think that, although the connection is indiscernible, it's there.

My interest in synchronicity first came to life when I read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (for some reason I always called her Julie in my head). The Artist's Way is a twelve-week course in a book on "Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self." It was one of my main projects during my year off before university. It changed my world, seriously. Of course, it got a little cheesy and a hoaxy and a little hard to take sometimes, but the things it taught me almost made its cheesiness, hoaxiness (that's just cynical) and the parts that were hard to take... take-able. Although it has taken nearly a year since starting it for that actual creative inspiration part to take effect, at the time, it taught me many valuable skills that seemingly had nothing to do with creativity. Number One, it helped me love myself again, after years of suffering from cripplingly low self esteem after the love of my life broke up with me (I was fifteen, it was real. Taking three years to get over it is real enough for me), so that was a nice outcome. Number Two, it got me hooked on writing three pages of WHATEVER every morning. I now, in an orderly fashion, get up an hour before I have to do anything in my day, do some basic yoga and write my three pages. Yoga was something I had been meaning to add into my morning routine anyway (or rather, the likeness of a morning routine that I had always dreamed of before then). Now, with this morning routine dream team of yoga and Pages, I start my day with a limber body (and hey! my chronic back pain went away!) and a clear, or somewhat sorted out, mind. The purpose of the Pages is to get out all the crap that normally bogs down your thoughts during the day. And seriously, if I skip Pages, I am a crazy person. They are a serious mental-health saver. I must have been in exactly the right spot, desperate to get my creative imagination and inspiration back when my friend Janet recommended The Artist's Way to me, that I didn't once question doing the Pages that "Julie" deemed I do every day. It was my year off, and I was ready to mould my life in any way, accept whatever kind of seemingly reputable advice I could get. (*Note: In the beginning, of course I missed some days of Pages---OK, several days---, and still do now and then. But Pages have become such an integrated part of my day that it seems weird not to do them. OK, I'm going on a bit of a tangent, but you know when you're like: "Aw, yea, I'm going to change my whole routine and add this and this and this in" and then after a couple days or a week (if you're lucky) it turns out to have been completely unrealistic? Well, either we all suck at committing to ourselves or are doing it for the wrong reasons, or incorporating Pages and yoga into my mornings was exceptionally manageable and realistic, neat). It also taught me many other valuable lessons, which I'm sure I'll get to in the future of this blog, because they really, truly are a big a part of my life now. I sound like a cheesy success story on one of those five-minute-long television adds trying to sell you something for just $29.99, buy now, satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

HOWEVER what did The Artist's Way teach me about synchronicity that stuck? Well, basically "Julie" has this whole idea that there is a Great Creator (that was a concept that was reeeally hard for me to take, but I eventually kind of reconciled myself to it...but that's a story for another time, hopefully it will come up). Creativity is the energy that the Great Creator channels into you, or something like that. So "Julie" was saying that as soon as you start positively affirming your creative abilities and the value of yourself (By the way, Positive Affirmations are another kind of magic. Once again, they feel REALLY STUPID when you're doing them, but when you recognize that the cynical asshole who is saying they're stupid in your head is actually the weak one, you can enjoy believing positive things about yourself. Voila, step one to recovering from low self esteem), the Great Creator will start acting in mysterious ways. You will notice things in your life starting to point in the direction of what you're aiming for. People will start encouraging you along in subtle ways, you might see an ad posted somewhere that is something you're looking for, et cetera, you get the idea. And while the signs of this synchronicity don't come hurdling in your direction, you will begin to notice them, as soon as you open yourself up to them. I always get a little bit of a happy feeling inside when synchronicity gives me a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes I'll be thinking about something like taking a Calculus course so I can keep studying Psychology next year, and then the weekly talk I go to for the program I'm in will be a guy talking about how everybody can do Math and they're learning new ways of getting students who seem like they'll never get it to excel. It's pretty cool.

PHEWF. So now that I've explained my interest in synchronicity, I'll try to say a little about what else I'd like to get out of this blog.

I'm just about finished reading The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. If you're clever, you'll notice that I've already included it in my favourite novels. I won't write in detail what I think about it, because that will be the special topic for a future post (but you can tell that I hate it so far). As well, I will be watching Pulp Fiction for the first time on Saturday, which according to one of my good friends is one of the best movies ever. One of the things I would like to use this blog for is writing reviews of books and movies. I don't know if I'm very good at writing reviews, and they won't be very intricately written. I'm the kind of person that writes reactions, so maybe I'll start calling them that instead. I don't go back over the book or movie to find specific passages and come up with some deep dark meaning, I give you my gut reaction upon finishing the else I have a reaction to. Maybe it will be mostly for my sake (as the rest of this blog is as well, let's be honest), but I hope that these "reactions" and that even the rest of my blog will give you something to think about, something to scoff at, something to laugh at, something to (hey!) react to.

This brings me to one of the principal reasons why I have issues sharing my writing and even have doubts about starting a blog. I am constantly, every day, scared shitless (sorry) of what people are thinking. Is my personality detestable? Is my appearance sloppy? Is what I say clumsy and stupid and a turn off? Is my laugh obnoxious? Is my writing Shit (that's right, capital S)? Is my writing boring as all get out? Is my writing too cliche and done-before? Is my writing trying too hard? Am I trying too hard? ...So. Needless to say, I had qualms with myself about starting a blog, which is a tool to primarily talk about YOUR thoughts and stuff that interests YOU. This blog is my big leap of faith, my hope that "leap and the net will appear" is a true statement. And despite all my nervousness and insecurities, almost every part of me is like "ERIN! DO IT! YOU'LL LOVE IT! THIS IS A GREAT IDEA! JUMP! LEAP! HOP!" I'm hoping that this will be a good way to get my stuff out there, even if I never do decide to post some of my writing (oh yeah, that's what else I'm going to do maybe, probably... because I've committed myself now, I have to... that's the idea...funny the games you have to play with yourself).

Another thing I'd like to do, which relates to Thought, is posting my thoughts about the stuff I'm learning at university, and the thoughts that occur to me about goodness-knows-what throughout my days. So I've left the subject(s) of this blog nice and vague so, hopefully, I won't run out of things to talk about or interest in it.

There. I hope I didn't use too many tangents (or side-bars and attempts at humour in brackets). If I did, oh well, I'm learning. AND THAT'S THE OTHER POINT OF THIS BLOG. I am learning, learning, learning in every way, all the time. And I hope to share my learnins' with you (whoever will read this). Maybe you'll get some learnins' too.

Thanks for caring and being a cool person.

Your friendly neighbourhood Erin.