Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Have you ever been interrupted by the absolutely lovely sound of a group of approximately twenty high-schoolers rehearsing several pieces of classical choral music in an acoustically ideal university lobby?

It was the most beautiful sound I have heard in months.

(I have to add, though, that if you really want to hear a sound that will bring tears to your eyes, all you have to say to a friend who knows what you're talking about is yiff!, and you will be rolling on the floor in uncontrollable, hilarious tears.)

Being around these kids is fascinating. They're bursting with all kinds of energy, and these are the kids who are gargantuous nerds at home but who can show their teachers up in Photoshop or Latin grammar. They go outside during their breaks and discuss their most recent German class, the seriously intense Social Studies debate about abortion or laws concerning religious constraint; they talk about Danté and Kant's categorical imperative and Aristotle while at the same time clutching a Marie Claire or a Seventeen magazine. These kids are so fascinating.

They inspired me today. I've been staring blankly at Tetris while watching a computer lab for about two weeks now (occasionally interspersed with the Evil level of WebSudoku) and was generally feeling miserable as a result. I ran across a couple of kids trying to teach themselves yoga and yelling at each other in French, and I finally decided to do something with all this time I've got.

A day into this burst of enthusiasm, I have four pages covered in rough sketches of female figures, three pages added to the beginning of a novelette, a lot of almost-forgotten recipes firmly cemented into Microsoft Word, and did a lot more research on the pros and cons of veganism. (I have to. Would you embark on a new dietary lifestyle with so much ridicule attached to it without checking it out first?) And--what do you know?--I feel absolutely fantastic. Productive. Far, far less lethargic. I'm loving every energetic minute of today. I cleaned my room this morning and I'm looking forward to falling asleep peacefully.

Now, if only I had an available kitchen. ;) But my juicer will have to do for now.

Have you ever noticed the spurt of energy that comes when you decide you want to start something? When you clean your apartment or your house, go to the gym (yeah, that was a three-week stint for me and never again), start a new kind of diet, start a new job, start a new year in college, start anything--you do it with a surge of energy that buoys you up for at least the first one or two days. If you're lucky, it lasts forever! If you're not...you crash and get horribly bored. This is an absolutely brilliant way to recharge yourself--start something new! Start something interesting! I've done it before--zoned out on writing a horrific 40-page college paper, pushed it aside to go paint the river with a best friend, and realized that the paper wasn't bad enough to make me want to kill all human life. It was actually interesting. I finished the paper and got an A. Try it!

If you're continually bored, lackluster, tired--just push sleepiness aside and do something else! Teach yourself rudimentary Photoshop. Try cooking something new. Go to a restaurant you never thought you'd like. (I did that with sushi, and now I'm hopelessly addicted! I love it so much!) Pick up that instrument you haven't played since high school. Plant an herb garden. Read a book totally out of your usual genre!

Try Terry Pratchett's Going Postal (there is a brilliant laugh on every page), Christopher Hitchens' god is not Great (for believers and unbelievers, it's something to think about), Natalia Rose's Detox for Women (inspiring and so, so healthy!), Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring (brilliant, luminous writing), Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point (ever wonder how questionable phenomenons like Hush Puppies were catapulted into fame?), or Bryan Burrough's Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI (the Johnny Depp movie's coming out in July!). Try anything! Anything and everything! Life is only there for us to grab it and make it ours!

It's everything we ever wanted, if only we can make it so. So, ladies, let's do it! Let's sing because we can, love because it's fun, kiss in a surfeit of feeling!