Friday, April 11, 2008

A Deferential Dream

I love playing with words. I used to think I should major in English, but then I had to read and evaluate The Scarlet Letter for a high school English class. I'll bet that book has turned off more English majors than anything else. It's not that I hated the book. It wasn't my favorite, but the thing I hate hate HATED was having to analyze the so-called symbolism. I don't hate symbolism. I DO hate being forced to extract it from a place where I don't think it exists. What does the door symbolize? Well, heck, I'd guess it symbolizes a door. And the rose? Well, I think by that the author intended to make us think of a rose. Maybe I'm just a shallow reader.

My revulsion for English classes only intensified when I took AP English my junior year. I hated reading "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield, and I've refused to read anything she's written ever since, even though I like short stories and New Zealand.

I took a creative writing class at BYU near the end of my college education. My teacher seemed to really like my writing. She left comments like "You're a great writer--don't stop!" on my papers, and I did very well on all the assignments. That's why I was so surprised when my grade showed up as a C-. Turns out I'd misunderstood her instructions on ONE assignment at the end of the semester. She was going to bump it up to an A-, but decided all she could do for me was a B+.

So when I think of "A Dream Deferred," I think about being an author. I think I've wanted to be a famous author all my life. I love to read, and I read fast. I can't even begin to estimate how many books I've read in my lifetime. I remember what I read fairly well, but I love to go back and read books again, even when I remember the ending (which Regis can't understand at all). I constantly make up stories in my head, too, and like to imagine "What would happen if I said X right now, or did Y?" I would like to think that I would make a good writer.

I started writing a book at the beginning of this year. I loved it. It felt great. I had a wonderful time envisioning the denouement, creating characters, inserting jokes and playful conversations. I think I told every member of my family that I was writing a book.

I'm not writing it any more. I had fun writing the fun parts, and slowed down when I realized I'd have to trudge through filling in all the details. Regis got tired of having ideas bounced off him and analyzing potential scenes. I let my sister read what I'd written so far, and felt disheartened by her criticisms and intimidated by her questions. I don't think I'm cut out to be a writer--I need to have somebody care about what I'm doing before it's done, and that, I think, is even harder with a story than with any other project. Stories are to a large extent superfluous. I believe mine will die a fairly natural death. You could say I'm neglecting it, but since it hasn't even the dignity of humanity, I don't think I can be held responsible for its passing if it doesn't have enough ambition to be self-sufficient.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Dream Deferred

By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

We're Back!

Boo-hoo, we're back from Jamaica. (This was originally "Hooray! We're back from Jamaica" but I rethought that one reeeeeeal quick.) What? You didn't know we went?

We had a funtastical time, meeting up with my sister Brook and her husband Jake and staying at a snazzy all-inclusive resort. There was a nice beach, swimming pools, water slide, restaurants, free drinks (we stuck to the virgin daiquiris, although Regis was suspicious when I got pretty giddy one afternoon), and other good stuff. It was lovely to stay in such a lush, warm, sunny place. It was not so lovely to come back to snow.

Abby was very well-behaved throughout, even during the flights. She was a scandalous flirt at the resort, and bestowed come-hither glances liberally. I'm frequently amazed at how bold strangers are about touching other peoples' children, but she sure asked for it that week. I'm sorry that she won't remember how much fun we had, but we did take a lot of pictures. And Regis and I enjoyed the heck out of it, which is why we went anyway. Our favorite parts were probably climbing a waterfall and eating yummy food. It was always funny after the meal when we'd all sit there and wait for the check until someone remembered that we wouldn't get one--all-inclusive, guys!

My least favorite part (besides coming home) was probably when Brook dragged me into the gym and proceeded to beat my muscles to a jiggly pulp. :) Okay, that wasn't so bad. The smokers were worse.

Thanks a whole lot, Brook and Jake, for a fun vacation!

(Pictures to be added later)