Wordy Wednesday: The City of Dreaming Spires

So, let’s see. What’s happened since last week?

Lots of classes. (Still in love with my classes this semester, although also still kind of terrified of them.) (So it goes.)

Lots of working on writing and Ch1Con stuff.

And, oh yeah, I PERFORMED AT HALFTIME ON SATURDAY (with approximately a thousand of my closest friends).

In honor of the two hundredth anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, the Michigan Marching Band invited the university’s choirs and our opponent’s marching band to perform at halftime with them. It was an INCREDIBLE experience. Also: after being at a couple of the marching band rehearsals, can I just say that DAAANG THE MARCHING BAND KIDS ARE FREAKING HARDCORE. While us choir students stood huddled together, freezing in our five layers of sweatshirts, the marching band practiced wearing as little as possible while sweating gallons despite this. We were at the Big House for four hours Friday night and they spent most of them literally SPRINTING ACROSS THE FIELD. IN FORMATION. POINTING THEIR TOES PERFECTLY IN UNISON. WHILE PLAYING THEIR INSTRUMENTS.

Within the choir formation, I stood towards the top of the S, and the very kind marching band reserve girl who was standing by me to help us stay within the boundaries of the letter wasn’t marching at the game because she got a stress fracture in her ankle FROM MARCHING TOO MUCH.

I’ve always thought marching band people were pretty cool, but I have SOOO much respect for them now. What the heck. They rock.

Anyway, that’s the end of my marching band hero worship for this post. If you’re interested, the halftime show is below!

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem I wrote towards the end of my time at Oxford.

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I don’t want to leave
I am not ready to go
It’s not that I have so so so much more
to do
But that I don’t want to stop
doing the things
that I already am
with these lovely people
in this lovely place
in this lovely time

We have been eternal
in these fleeting moments
and I am not yet ready
for that glow to fade
to reality
Or ever
Please let me
stay
in this moment
in this place
with these people
Please

This is home
more than home is

Please

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Thanks for reading!

 

~Julia

Story Time: In Which All Julia Wants to Do Is Study

This morning I had a psychology exam. I love my psych class–learning about what makes us tick is a great tool for realistically portraying people in fiction and, I mean, it’s also just super interesting anyway (who doesn’t want to learn the differences between selective amnesia and dissociative fugue, right?).

However, despite already having taken psych in high school and learning a decent amount on my own, I’ve been doing bad in this class. Not failing bad, but–well, let’s just say I’m pretty sure the students who didn’t even show up for the first exam scored better than I did.

So, with the second exam set for Thursday morning, I decided I was going to turn things around this week. I was going to read the text books. I was going to review my notes. I was going to memorize flashcards like nobody’s business.

Monday, I had a full manuscript critique to finalize. And an astronomy assignment. And hair that hadn’t seen shampoo in more days than even some of the people from our case studies would voluntarily admit. So I put off studying.

Tuesday I had classes all day. And a literature quiz to study for. And OMG GLEE WAS ON. (And we all know watching *spoilers* New Directions lose at Nationals to Skylar Astin *end spoilers* is a far more effective use of time than studying, anyway.)

… Then it was Wednesday. The day before the exam. And I had yet to even glance at the five hundred pound text book, lying on my floor, for longer than it had taken me to kick it off the futon so I could sprawl while watching Glee.

But the exam was in less than twenty four hours, and I. Was going. To study. I really was, this time.

7:00 PM, Wednesday: Classes were done for the day. I’d cleaned my room to parents-are-visiting level and exhausted Buzzfeed quizzes. I fell into my bright pink desk chair, resolved to not fail this exam, and ran a Google search for psychology flashcards. It was too late to drag myself through the text books, but maybe I could still absorb something from someone else’s study tools.

Found a deck. Settled in to flip through all two hundred and eighty nine cards. This psych exam wasn’t going to know what hit it.

Things went fine, at first. I looked at a couple cards. Made myself Bagel Bites. I looked at a couple more. Filled a mug with water, then managed to dump 90% of it down my shirt (I used what was left to make peppermint tea). My mom called. I flipped through a few more cards. I reheated the tea. I checked Facebook. I checked Twitter. A couple more cards. I checked tumblr (I don’t even use tumblr).

Then, the banging began.

If you have ever lived in a college dorm, likely you know what kind of banging I’m referring to. This is not the kind of banging you want to hear while reviewing Masters and Johnson’s studies.

When it became clear the happy couple was probably going to be going at it until long after I was done studying for the third psych exam, I gave up on working in my room, grabbed my laptop and tea, and headed for the closest hall lounge. Only that one was occupied. As were the other two on my floor I passed. And they weren’t just occupied by other people struggling through schoolwork like me, but happy people, watching Netflix and Skyping with boyfriends and discussing weekend plans with friends (how dare they).

It was at that point that I ran into Hannah, ever valiantly hobbling her way around the hall on her crutches. (Some jerks didn’t bother deicing the sidewalk outside their house; as you can tell, it did not end well.) She suggested trying the lounges one floor up, because they were generally quieter. So I trooped upstairs, and–thank God–the first lounge I came across was completely empty.

My heart skipped a beat; the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding escaped my lips. I settled onto one of the dorm’s hard-as-a-rock couches with what little warmth was left in my tea seeping across my fingers, and flipped through the first online flashcard.

Good. Good. I could do this.

I flipped to the second card and a cheerful voice came from the lounge entrance: “Julia?”

And there stood a friend I hadn’t seen in ages.

“What are you doing up here?” he asked as he stepped into the lounge, obviously expecting to stay for a while. “This isn’t your floor.”

“Oh, you know. Studying.” I motioned to the laptop open across my legs. “My floor was loud, and I have a psych exam tomorrow morning.”

… At which point, bless his heart, the friend struck up a conversation.

Moral of this long and rambling story: Procrastination has a “pro” in it for a reason. Leave it to the professionals. Because you never know when literally the entire universe will conspire against your studying.

(On the upside, I managed to answer all but two of the questions on the exam, so I’m almost positive I did better on this one. But still. STILL.)

 

~Julia

The Big News Post

So, I’ve been hinting and promising at news for a few weeks now, and it’s kind of crazy because what started out as one announcement I needed to make has now stacked up to several. I keep waiting for someone to tell me that all this has been a mistake, because there’s no way it’s happening to me, but sure enough, every morning when I wake up it’s still true. (So unless I’m in some insane Inception universe, I’m going to assume this is real. Which is nuts.)

In no particular order…

Work on This is a Book Too has begun!

After lots of conflicts with too many classes and far too much homework last semester, Mel and I have finally begun work on This is a Book Too, the sequel to our multi-genre, crazy beauty of a blog novel from last school year (remember this?). Watch for the first chapter and other updates coming soon on the blog dedicated to the This is a Book series, here.

Girl Rising is featuring Hannah and me on their blog!

After Hannah and I made our Youtube video supporting Girl Rising for Project for Awesome last month, we got into contact with the organization, and they decided to absolutely MAKE OUR DAY by interviewing us on their blog. Make sure to check out and support Girl Rising here, and you can read the post about us here. (If you don’t already know, Girl Rising is an organization out to change the world by educating one girl at a time.)

The 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection is now available!

I’m pretty sure I already mentioned this a couple weeks ago when they released the anthology, but now I’ve got PICTURES of me posing with a BOOK that has MY SHORT STORY IN IT! (WHEEEEEE!)

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(Five points to anyone who notices the word I managed to mess up twice in “The Things I Leave Behind.” How that thing made it through all the rounds of critique and revision on the story, I will never know.)

This semester I’m completing a remote internship with a literary agent!

I am SO PSYCHED to announce that this semester I’ll be working as a remote intern (aka: from the comfort of my futon) for a literary agent superstar who is AWESOME. I can’t wait to learn from her.

And last but SERIOUSLY NOT AT ALL least: I won a Hopwood Underclassmen Fiction Award!!!

Few outside of the University of Michigan probably know what the Hopwood Awards are, but they’re a really huge deal here. You can read the Wikipedia page here or an article about them here. Basically: winning a Hopwood is like winning an Oscar (except, you know, for student writers at U of M). I’m still kind of numb about it all, because OHMYGOSH A HOPWOOD AWARD WHAT IN THE WORLD HOW DID I DO THAT. But I’m also elated, obviously, and so thankful, and whoa: I WON. A HOPWOOD.

And now, with that, I bid you good night (or morning or afternoon or whatever). Byeee!

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~Julia

NaNo Day 24: Room Tour

Sooo… I kind of stayed up until 5:00 AM last night.

It wasn’t on purpose. I kept thinking I’d just make it to the next goal point in NaNo and then I’d head to bed, but then I’d pass that goal without noticing, so I’d continue on to the next one, and… Well. Eventually I caught up with my personal NaNoWriMo goal.

I started the day at about 34,000 words. I finished at just over 41,000 just before 4:15 AM. That’s the most I’ve written in one day in ages and I am thoroughly exhausted now, which isn’t boding well for getting a ton of homework done today. But it’s a happy sort of tired, and I’m considering switching my plans around and just getting the stuff for my Spanish project done this afternoon, then spending the rest of today on writing again. Perhaps I can finish before Thanksgiving, after all. (That would be REALLY nice for being able to focus on my final projects and papers over break.)

A while back (and by that I mean “in September”) I promised to do a tour of my dorm room. Getting the room put together has been a process over the past couple months, as I waited for different items like shelves and clothing hangers to come in, but it’s all done and good to go now, so I figured it was time to take you around. (Also, I am obligated to thank Kira for reminding me to do this, since she just put her bedroom tour up this week. ;) )

Here we go.

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First, here we have the view of my room from the door. My dorm room is a single this year, which means that I have it all to myself (although I still have to use a community bathroom down the hall). The downside is that it’s also smaller than some of the closets you see on HGTV, which means that I’ve had to be creative with storage.

1View of Room (2)

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Here’s my nifty welcome mat. 2Welcome Mat (2)

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A view of the entrance from the other side. The walls around my door and closet are coated in Command Hooks. Here I store my purse, a couple sweaters and jackets, and my winter coat. On the hook on the back of my door, I have my rain jackets and a couple winter scarves. In the corner is my Swiffer.

3Entrance from Room (2)

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On the wall opposite all my outer gear, I have some posters and pictures to greet me when I get home every day. Top right is a print of Chicago, then some pictures of my friends and family, the name tags from my door freshman year, a Michigan sign my parents gave me for Christmas last year, a Ravenclaw house pendant, and a Shakespeare poster.

4Wall Beside Door (2)

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This is my closet. I store my linens, cleaning supplies, etc on top, then my clothes are hanging on the rod and stored in the dresser and plastic drawers at the bottom. I organize the hanging portion of my closet primarily by style, with skirts (organized by cut, then color within that), then blazers/cardigans (organized by sleeve length, then color), tank tops, sweaters (organized by warmth), long sleeved blouses and t-shirts (three-quarter-length sleeves to full-length, also organized by style), then short sleeved blouses and t-shirts (scoop neck Ts, v-necks, fitted T-shirts, baggy T-shirts), then dresses (organized first by sleeve length, then by how formal they are). After that is a hanger with all my belts on it, organized by how often I use each of them. Basically: My clothes are scary organized.

I’ve got more Command Hooks all around here, holding up my towel, Turbie Twist (not pictured), sweatshirts, bathrobes, and scarves. I use one of the hooks to hang up the outfit I’m planning to wear the next day, for those nights when I’m feeling like being on top of things.

Because I brought my own desk chair in order to be more comfortable while working, the chair the university provided is hanging out over here (with my storage cube atop it, because space is at such a premium). Underneath the chair, I store my most-used shoes, so my tan combat boots, knock-off Uggs (I swear I only wear them around the dorm), some flip flops, and my fuzzy moccasins. Atop the white plastic drawers in the closet, I also have my rain boots and my dark brown combat boots, which you might recognize from my Katniss costume.

5Closet (2)

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Beside the closet is my entertainment center. Basically: Bookcase and TV, beside refrigerator and microwave (atop my microwave are my water bottles, the spray bottle I use for my plants, and my portable humidifier). I have another photo collage of friends and family here, along with my Hunger Games posters (in the order they are because I desperately wanted to keep The Hunger Games above all my food like last year). You can check out my bookshelf tour here.

In the drawers in my bookcase, I store my DVDs, the mugs not on my shelves (I have a LOT of mugs), hair stuff, medical supplies (because we all know I need a massive first aid kit), and other random junk.

6TV and HG Posters (2)

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Here’s ze futon. This is where I spend the majority of my time (and where I’m sitting right now), because I mean: laziness. It’s propped up on bed risers so that I can store more drawers under it, where I keep the rest of my shoes and some of my food. Off to the left you can see part of my loft/writer cave, along with my backpack and, just above the pillows, the very top of my guitar case, which I store between the futon and my desk. (Behind the desk is my exercise hula hoop that has not seen the light of day since I moved in.) I have a 3D print of Times Square hanging off the side of my bed, above the guitar. (Off to the very right, you can see my recycling bin and main trash can. I’m really good at being responsible and taking those out often, obviously.)

7Futon (2)

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The wall behind my futon as more posters and such. Here we’ve got a free Star Trek Into Darkness poster my family picked up for me when they went to an advanced screening of it last May, a Camp NaNoWriMo poster, more Shakespeare, a concert poster from Darren Criss’s tour this summer, Divergent faction stickers, a Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone poster, some butterfly wall decals above my full-length mirror, and a Divergent poster Hannah made for me (I wasn’t a big fan of the official movie posters, so she made a cooler one).

You can also see one of my intense plug strips at the bottom of this picture. I have a lot of electronics. They take up a lot of plugs.

8Posters (2)

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Next up: Writer Cave! To the right is my desk, and to the left is the dresser the university provided me with that I basically converted into food storage. On the side of my dresser is the white board I write my weekly schedule on, and beside it (not pictured) is my laundry hamper, which is currently overflowing due to the proximity to Thanksgiving and free loads back at home. You can just make out another NaNoWriMo poster off to the left beside my window, behind the plant.

(Also: Check out that totally comfortable pink rolly computer chair. Much better than the blue plastic mess they gave me, right?)

9Writer Cave (2)

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This is my desk. It’s a little bit cluttered, but that’s how I like things. My furniture this year didn’t come with a shelf built into the desk, so my family got creative and build one for me instead (my family rocks, if you didn’t know). On it I’ve got a tissue box, hand sanitizer, a wood turtle I got in Costa Rica a few summers back, and some more pictures. Below the shelf is another white board (plus pin board)–this one with encouraging messages on it. In front of it is my Nook, a cup of dry erase markers, my stapler (currently useless because I ran out of staples last week–whoop-de-dooo), a lamp, my desk organizer (pencils, pens, Sharpies, highlighters, paper clips, binder clips, etc), a stack of Post It notes, and my necklace tree. To the left are all of my school books, folders, papers, etc. You can see my NaNoWriMo daily goal chart taped to the right, and some miscellaneous papers with blog post and story ideas, etc, to the left. I have Post It notes and a couple other things stuck up all over the top of my desk. Most of them are quotes to use in novels, reminders about different plot points in the stories I’m working on, etc. Some of them are quotes from people I admire.

10Desk (2)

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Here are three of my plants. I have four in my room right now. The two on the right are spider plants (the little one is the big one’s baby–born and raised in the dorms). and the little pine tree in the mug on my window sill is a giant sequoia my mom and brother gave me that hasn’t gotten quite giant yet. (But little Suzie is getting there.)

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Here’s my dresser. Off to the furthest right you can see a little of my inspirational phrase poster-thing. It’s all “live your life with abandon” and “this is your life… make it beautiful” and I’m like, “High-five, inspirational phrase poster-thing–I think I will.”

On the top shelf of my dresser, I have a lint roller, my makeup and face care stuff, then my books, along with a Navy Pier mug, a MLibrary rubber ducky, a Michigan megaphone-thing, and a gift bow (my best friend and I have a traditional of giving each other bows for our birthdays, so this is one of those).

Below the shelf is my little makeup mirror and some hair clips and other supplies, some drawers with some more jewelry (note if you’re considering robbing me: the most expensive thing I possess is a fake diamond necklace from Claire’s I got for ten bucks for my senior prom). Beside the drawers are some more pictures and my mini globe. Along the plastic backing behind this portion of the dresser, I’ve taped up some more pictures and a couple other little things–a ticket from a production of my favorite Shakespeare play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and a thank you postcard from the Office of Letters and Light from donating. In front of all this is my money tree, which isn’t doing too hot right now unfortunately.

As I said before, I use my dresser primarily for food storage. I’ve also got some more hair, makeup, and first aid type stuff in it (I’m REALLY accident prone).

12Dresser (2)

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Climb up the ladder to the top of my loft, and this is what you see. This is the head-side of my bed, so I’ve got my pillow (covered by the duvet), a backrest pillow, some mooore pictures of my family and friends, and a lamp. To the left, out of sight, is the little shelf where I store the books I’m reading, my glasses, etc. The curtain to the left is my blackout curtain, for the mornings after those nights when I’m stupid enough to stay up writing until 5:00 AM.

13Pillow (2)

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The ceiling and walls around my bed are coated in glow-in-the-dark stars. It’s beautiful at night.

14Ceiling (2)

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Here’s the foot of my bed: More pictures, an Allegiant poster (all this Divergent stuff, by the way, I picked up at the Veronica Roth book signing in October), a fleece blanket, a pillow a family friend made for me (I couldn’t find the duvet I wanted in twin extra long, so we bought it queen-sized and she converted it for me, then used the extra fabric to make this adorable pillow), a couple super fat and fluffy stuffed animals (the big green one is Frogger, the little one is Frogger Friend), some more plugs, and my fan. Hiding behind the pillow is Whiffer, a little stuffed dog I’ve had since the third grade.

Behind this portion of my loft is a fairly large empty space (we’ve nicknamed it the “Dead Body Space” because it’s the perfect size to hide someone) (note that I did not come up with this–blame it on my friends). I use it for more storage. Back there right now are a couple containers with spare supplies and another fleece blanket (that one I use for snuggling on my couch, so that I don’t have to heave down the one on my bed whenever I want to warm up).

15Foot of Bed (2)

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… And here’s one last shot: the view of my room from my bed. It’s small but cozy and I spend probably 80% of my time in here, doing homework, writing, watching Netflix, etc.

16View from Bed (2)

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There you have it! A tour of my room that goes into far more detail than you’d ever actually want to know.

Do you live in a dorm room? What’s it like? (Please tell me it’s at least larger than mine.)

day 24

Homework time.

 

~Julia

NaNo Day 19: Interview with Rebecca Cao

I’m seriously falling off the NaNo bandwagon right now. A ton of stuff came up yesterday, which led to me not being able to settle down to write until 11:00 PM again, so I only got about 1.3k done.

Upside: Since it’s Tuesday, I don’t have any writing scheduled, and for the first time this semester I have a cancelled class this afternoon. So that gives me a little extra time (although I really ought to be spending that on school-related things). While I’m not likely to get the just-under-3k done today that I’d need to in order to catch up with my goal, maybe I can still pump out a couple thousand?

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In order to give you a broader perspective on NaNoWriMo than you’d get from solely my experience, throughout the month of November I’m sharing interviews with various, totally awesome NaNo writers.

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Today’s interview is with one of my writing friends from the University of Michigan, Rebecca Cao. Rebecca and I sort of stumbled across one another via the blog of a local bookstore last spring, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s represented by the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and on her way to getting a book deal. All around, she is a very driven, fantastic person who I look up to greatly. Be sure to check out her blog!

Q: Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo, or are you a veteran? What do you think of the event?

A: I believe 2011 was the first year I tried NaNo. That time, I made it a few days in to my memoir and then I gave up. So if I finish this time, it’d be my first year actually completing NaNo! I think it’s a great event to create camaraderie, but it can be hard for a first-time novelist to finish. This year, I have two novels under my belt and I’m going into NaNo with 50,000 words already written and I’m planning to add another 50,000, so it’s a lot easier than starting with a blank slate.

Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about?

A: When an 18-year-old girl discovers she’s pregnant, she chooses to raise her baby instead of attending college.

Q: Plotter or pantser?

A: Definitely pantser. I was always that student in English class who absolutely hated doing brainstorms, character sketches, and whatever other cruelty the teacher came up with. I will have a very, very vague idea of where my book is going, but mostly I just sit down and write and better things come out of that than I could have ever planned.

Q: Do you have any particular process for writing? Do you have a certain location you like to write at, or a type of tea you need in order to brainstorm, or anything like that?

A: It’s a lot easier for me to write first thing in the morning, before I’ve talked to anyone and my mind’s been clouded with other things. Obviously, that doesn’t always happen. My first two and half novels were all written while I was a full-time college student, so I wrote a significant portion of them in class. Oops. As for brainstorming, I do it unwittingly in the minutes before I fall asleep.

Q: Any writing advice?

A: There’s tons of amazing advice out there already. While I don’t agree with everything here (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one), some of it is just gold. Otherwise, you can check out my Creative Process series (http://rebeccacao.com/category/creative-process/) for my take on writing. The one thing I will say is: if you are serious about getting published, you have to treat writing as a job.

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Thank you, Rebecca, for completing this interview, and thanks to you for reading!

day 19

Off to try to get enough school stuff done that I can actually write before my next class.

~Julia

College Writer Tag

Hey look–it’s the College Writer Tag!

College Writer Tag

Rules:

1. Before anything else, thank the totally cool person who nominated you for this tag, because they obviously think you’re awesome.

2. Answer the five questions.

3. Nominate four other college writers. (You know. If you want to. Completely not actually a requirement.)

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Questions:

1. What year are you? Currently a sophomore.

2. What’s your major(s)/minor(s)? Creative writing major. Considering double majoring in English.

3. What type(s) of writing do you do? I’ll write pretty much anything, but my favorite’s YA novels. I do a lot of action-y stuff.

4. What are your plans for after college, both career-wise and writing-wise? Not sure yet, but I’m looking to either get my MFA or try to head straight into a job in publishing while continuing to run the Chapter One Young Writers Conference. And, you know, actually WRITING as much as possible.

5. What is one thing you’ve learned about writing while in college? You can’t always just wait for the inspiration to strike; when you’re working to a deadline, it doesn’t matter if your muse has decided to take a day off–you’ve just gotta write.

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I nominate:

Kira Budge

Mel of The Ultimately Useless Stories of an Average Teenager

Rebecca Cao

Patrice of Whimsically Yours

 

Hope you’re having an actually-semi-decent Monday! I’ve kind of just been sitting in my room spazzing all day over Allegiant coming out tonight. (Upside: spazzing has led to an increase in productivity. I’ve gotten more homework done this afternoon than I’ve finished in the past two weeks combined. Plus actually bothered to take out my trash. And just wrote this blog post.) (Basically, waiting for Allegiant has turned me into Superman.)

Also: even if I didn’t nominate you but you’re in college and you like to write, feel free to participate in this tag as well!

Have a great evening! :)

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday (“The End”)

I’m moving back to school this weekend. Gosh, how weird is that? I can’t believe summer’s over. I’ve been out of classes for four months now, because I opted not to enroll anywhere for the summer semesters, and instead I’ve spent the time writing and editing and traveling and hanging out with friends and reading and watching movies and, overall, just doing exactly what I like to do. For four months straight.

It’s going to be hard going back to homework and a schedule and having to speak a language other than English a bunch of the time (last semester of Spanish EVERRRR!!!) (I hope) (I really, REALLY hope).

So, now all that’s left to do during my last few days at home is pack and study Spanish and attempt to get as much of my writing-related work done as possible. Because when classes begin next week, I’m no longer going to have nearly as much time to work as I’m used to (and probably none at all for binging on Netflix, which is going to be the most depressing thing to ever happen to anyone ever).

But anyway–it’s been a good, long summer, and exactly what I needed to get a lot of work done and to have the chance to detox. I hope your summer was great and that the school year–if you’re a student/teacher/parent/someone else involved in school-type things–goes as smoothly as possible. :)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a short story called “The End.” It originally appeared in one of the University of Michigan’s literary magazines, in spring 2013.

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            Dylan used to tell me sunshine on funerals was a good thing, like how rain on weddings was good. When I asked him how he knew, he said it was obviously true, because more babies were born during storms than when the sun was present and white and hot, and weddings and babies promised the same thing: a new beginning. So sunshine on a funeral was a good thing, too, since it was the opposite: the end.

            I don’t believe him, though. With the way the sun’s shining down through the pine needles way up above, reflecting off everyone’s shiny black shoes and pooling too bright against the newer gravestones that still haven’t been worn rough by bad weather, I can’t help but think that sunshine is an awful bad thing at a funeral, because it makes everyone slow and sleepy and content, sitting there in their rows of rickety white folding chairs, while inside I am screaming, and reeling, and dying myself, staring at his casket beside the hole.

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Dylan used to tell me there was one four leaf clover in every field, if you just looked hard enough. When I told him it was BS, he scrunched his thick eyebrows low until they brushed against his eyelashes to tell me no, it had to be true, because it took a certain amount of luck for a piece of land to become a field for kids like us to play on, and therefore there must be a four leaf clover hidden somewhere there.

I don’t believe him, though. We were lying out in a field, the group of us from the Regent High Photography Club that went out for burgers after our meeting instead of going home, when the bee stung him, and his throat swelled shut so fast he couldn’t even finish chewing his mouthful. If that field had been lucky, the bee wouldn’t have landed on Dylan’s cheek. It would have found my hand instead, which was just a matter of inches away in the grass. It would have stung me and it would have hurt, but not like this, since I am not the one who was allergic to bees.

Dylan probably would have said the field was lucky once upon a time, and someone just stole its four leaf clover, if he knew I was thinking that now, while clutching the program for his funeral in my unblemished fingers. But Dylan can’t say anything anymore.

*****

Dylan used to tell me the lines on the palm of your hand determined how long you were going to live, and while he traced a finger over my sticky skin with the heat blowing in on us through my open bedroom window, I’d ask him how he was sure, and he’d reply in that slightly gravelly, never serious voice, “Because yours say you’re going to live ’til you’re a hundred, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

I didn’t believe him though, and now he’ll never know, will he? He’ll never know if I’ll live to a hundred, and I’ll never know what the lines on his hand said because I never dared look—I was never brave enough to see when he’d die. Thinking back on it, I still don’t know if I’d rather have known or not. Maybe the bee was there because he had to die; maybe it was his time, and his hand said that, and it was not just some random occurrence, some twist of chance or fate, like Janice tells me over and over again when she calls me on the phone, crying, every night.

He never said he loved her. That’s what she talks about mainly, when she cries. He never said he loved her, and now she’ll never know.

*****

Dylan used to tell me that God lived up in the clouds, on the biggest one in the sky. When I asked him how he knew, he said he didn’t. But when he looked up there on sunny afternoons, when everything was too bright and too intense and too concentrated—so alive you had to squint to see it and it made you tired just to breathe it in… when he looked up at the sky, then, there was something in his face that made it seem like he did know, after all.

I believed him, though. I believed him that God lived on the biggest cloud in the sky, because although sometimes I didn’t believe in Heaven, I did believe in the strong curve from Dylan’s chin to his ear, and the way the little blond hairs along his jaw would catch in the sunlight, like they were shining too. I believed in the swoop of his thick, straw-colored hair along his forehead, and his rounded cheeks, and the way his eyes were never quite blue or green or grey, but a mixture of all of them, like that non-color the sink turns when you rinse out a paintbrush.

And now my stomach is burning, cold and hot and not quite painful, but not quite okay either. And my eyes are burning too, but they’re burning more like that sort of pain you get from sprinkling salt over rug burn, and the inside of my left cheek throbs from biting it to keep back the screams. My hair is twisted away in a too tight bun because the counselor told my mom not to leave it down or I might try ripping it out again. My dress is navy blue and too short for a funeral, with an off-white cardigan thrown over its spaghetti straps even though it must be ninety degrees out, because I never thought Dylan would die, so I never thought I’d need something conservative and black and impersonal to wear to his funeral.

Janice sits beside me and sobs with the heels of her hands pressed against her eyes, strawberry blond hair done in curls, down around her shoulders, but I am silent and still and staring, while inside I tear myself apart.

*****

The day Dylan died he told me, “I need to get home, Alexis. I’ve got a chemistry test tomorrow,” and when I said it wouldn’t take all that long to get burgers, we were just going to the McDonald’s down the street with the field out behind it, he said, “But I need to study real, real bad.”

I didn’t believe him, though. I said, “It’ll take twenty minutes. A half hour tops.”

And because the thing Dylan hated most in the world was disappointing me, more than he hated disappointing his chemistry teacher, or the people looking over his college applications, or Janice, who he was supposed to be studying with later, he said, “Fine.”

And with the sun beating down on us, the group from the Regent High Photography Club walked down the street to McDonald’s, while Dylan walked away from life. His fingers were warm, brushing against mine on the way there, as he pointed to the sun and told me how it meant the end.

His fingers were warm, and mine are still warm, but now his are not.

**********

53

 

 

~Julia

Inner Peace Award / Sunshine Award

Ze blogge was recently nominated for the Inner Peace and Sunshine Awards by the marvelous, talented, sweet-beyond-belief Autore of awriterssong. She posts all sorts of awesome poetry and Camp NaNo excerpts and such on her blog, so make sure to go read some of her stuff! Thanks for the nominations, Autore!
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Seven Things About Me:

1. I am 5’2″ and proud of it.

2. My hair is naturally this weird blondish-brownish color (it’s like dishwater blond sans-the-blond), but I recently dyed it auburn, and I’m hoping to try out some other colors in the future.

3. I’m going to be beginning my sophomore year of college at the University of Michigan this fall.

4. I am terrified, TERRIFIED of dolls. (There was this movie when I was in elementary school, in which this kid got involved with some Bad Magical Creatures and this doll came to life and was slowly taking over the body of his annoying teacher or something AND OH MY GOSH IT TERRIFIED ME TO NO END, and I’ve been scared of dolls ever since. Like you could not pay me enough to be alone in a room with one.)

5. I wanted to be a veterinarian, just doing writing on the side, up until the eighth grade. At which point I had to job shadow a vet for class, and I decided writing full-time instead looked like fun. (That job shadow is also why I became a vegetarian. I’ll let you ruminate on that one.)

6. I love the smell of coffee, but making me drink it could be a torture method.

7. I once played Eddie in a production of The Yellow Boat. Eddie is a little boy. This involved me cutting all my hair off.

I currently look like this:

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At the time I looked like this:

AKA: Short hair (at least that short) does not work on me.

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Okay, time to nominate some awesome people. (You’re technically supposed to do fourteen, but I’m only doing seven because ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.)

1. Hero of Heroic Endeavors

2. Mel of The Ultimately Useless Stories of the Average Teenager

3. Patrice of Whimsically Yours

4. Shelby of Smoore’s Adventures

5. Joan of The Spastic Writer

6. Tatiana of Words Into Darkness

7. Kira of Kira Budge: Author

 

If You Were Nominated:

1. Display the logo on a post.

2. Thank the person who nominated you and link to his/her site.

3. State seven (7) things about you.

4. Nominate fourteen (14) bloggers and inform them via comment in their blog. (Shhh. Nobody needs to know I only did seven.)

Also, just putting this out there–even if I didn’t nominate you, feel free to accept this as a nomination for these awards. Because I was having a really hard time figuring out who to nominate, and anyone who takes the time to read my blog is wonderful OBVIOUSLY. So there. YOU’RE ALL NOMINATED!

Thanks again to Autore!

 

~Julia

Story Time: How I Met Darren Criss

I promised you the story… and I figured I should probably tell it before I abandoned the blog for two weeks.

So: How I met Darren Criss. And just my day on Thursday in general.

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(If you don’t know who Darren Criss is, he’s from Team Starkid (Harry Freakin’ Potter in A very Potter Musical, etc) and Glee (Blaine), and recently had a brief stint on Broadway as the lead character in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, taking over for none other than Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). He’s also a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and an all around extremely talented musician-actor-dude. — And now, continuing on.)

Being the super lucky person I am, I’m currently a student at the University of Michigan, and my hometown isn’t too incredibly far from Ann Arbor, so making day trips there during the off-months isn’t a big deal. In honor of the time he spent at U of M for his undergrad, Darren Criss decided to make a stop in Ann Arbor on his summer Listen Up! tour and, you know, happen TO MAKE THE SHOW FREE.

As in: You could see Darren Criss. In concert. At U of M. FOR. FREE. (If I could put fireworks around those letters to tell you how exciting that was, I would, but WordPress is yet to come up with that feature.)

The only problem with it being free was the fact that they had 1,800 seats in the venue, and they decided to give out 1,000 Crissband-wristbands ahead of time, to those inherently lucky people who live in Ann Arbor for more than just the school year (or who at least had a way of getting to Ann Arbor in five seconds flat in order to grab a Crissband at one of the giveaway spots). Aaand then they up’ed that number to 1,100 given away ahead of time. And then, day before the concert, they announced that they had up’ed it again. To 1,350. WHICH MEANS THAT THERE WERE ONLY 450 CRISSBANDS LEFT FOR THOSE OF US COMING IN FROM OUT OF TOWN THE DAY OF THE CONCERT.

I found this out while two of the three girls I was attending the concert with were at my house Wednesday night for a “sleepover” (despite our best efforts, hardly any sleep actually happened–our driver only got two hours). So that was a pretty depressing and nerve wracking thing to happen, and we had several conversations throughout the night that basically went like this:

UMICH FRIEND #1: Should we just leave now? Should we just go to Ann Arbor right now?

ME: No, they said you can’t start lining up until 6 AM. We’ll just have to make sure to get there before that, so we can rush the front of the line the moment they start letting you line up. We’ll be okay… I hope.

DRIVER FRIEND: I WILL BE SO ANGRY IF WE DON’T GET INTO THE CONCERT. I SWEAR. SO. ANGRY.

… But, nonetheless, we did manage to drift off for a few hours during the night, and then we were up again at 4:00 AM in order to get ready. It was a mixture of exhaustion and adrenaline as we all got dressed and stuff bagels in our mouths–a wonderfully strange combination that continued throughout the morning, as we drove through darkness and rain so hard it might as well have been a tsunami in order to reach the Michigan Theatre by 5:45.

We figured, “Hey. We’re fifteen minutes early. That’s great. That’ll give us enough time to park the car and maybe grab some Starbucks before getting ready to sprint for the front of the line at 6:00 AM.”

But no. Lo and behold, the people running the concert (Sonic Lunch–they’re super cool, check them out) hadn’t managed to keep the fans at bay until 6:00 AM as planned, so when we showed up FIFTEEN MINUTES EARLY, there were already over 100 people in line to get Crissbands. We sped off to the nearest parking garage and then sprinted for the line, and managed to get in it with about 150 people ahead of us. At 5:50 AM. AKA ten minutes before you were even supposed to be allowed to line up.

By 6:04, there were people walking away with their heads hanging, feet dragging, not willing to wait in line for the next hour and a half before Sonic Lunch started distributing wristbands, because there were already so many people in line there was next to no way these barely even late people were getting in.

The fourth member of our party showed up, the group-wide adrenaline rush began to falter, and the sun slowly rose behind the clouds happily peeing all over Ann Arbor. (Just a warning, if you didn’t already figure this out: This is going to be a long blog post. Like a REALLY long one. There’s a reason I’m a novelist; I can’t tell stories quickly to save my life. If you want a more condensed version of all this, just look at the pictures and ignore my rambling, gushing words.)

Finally, after standing there for about two and a half hours, it was our turn to pick up our Crissbands and move to wait in the next line,  which would determine where we sat in the Michigan Theatre.

The day wore on, it continued to rain, and rain, AND RAIN SOME MORE, and basically, we ended up having to stand in line for like six hours. And when I say “stand,” I literally mean “STAND,” because even after it finally stopped raining, the ground was still to wet to sit down on.

IMG_0392Check out dat Starkid swag.

Everyone took turns going to Starbucks and CVS to pee and get rations (hello, chocolate bars and Skittles), and about once an hour a dude with a camera ran up and down the line grabbing footage of all of us screaming ourselves hoarse and acting like we weren’t totally delirious from waiting in line for so long. At one point, he stopped to talk to our group, and the conversation went something like this:

UMICH FRIEND #1: Hey, what’s all the video for? Is Darren going to see it?

CAMERA DUDE: Oh yeah, it’s to advertise for Sonic Lunch. And I’m sure we’ll show it to Darren at some point. Do you want to say something to him? [held up the camera]

UMICH FRIEND #2: Oh my gosh, that’s awesome!

UMICH FRIEND #1: What do we say? What do we say?!!

DRIVER FRIEND: Yeah, I’m just going to stand in the back. Smile and wave.

ME: WHAT DO WE SAY???!!!

UMICH FRIEND #2: I DON’T KNOW!

[CAMERA DUDE slowly backed away and ran off up the line with a terrified expression on his face.]

So that was fun and not at all embarrassing.

Went and bought merch, received free merch right afterward (yay for spending almost a hundred dollars on t-shirts and posters and crap, only get a free Darren Criss postcard and t-shirt right afterward), and finally–after several delays because the sound system wasn’t working or something–they let us in around 12:00.

IMG_0394This was the point where we were like, “Oh my gosh, guys. We might actually get into the venue before we die of exhaustion.”

Of course, we had about 1,500 of the 1,800 Crissband-holders ahead of us in line, so we figured we were going to be in the really crappy seats at the back of the balcony, but instead, we turned out being super, SUPER lucky, because we were one of the last groups they let into the main floor. Our seats were about two-thirds back, center section, next to the stage left aisle.

The concert began promptly over an hour late, but we didn’t even care, because we were finally inside and Theo Katzman (the opening act, and another U of M grad) was SO. FREAKING. GOOD. He has some more concerts coming up later this summer, and we’re planning on going to see him again.

IMG_0402I give you: Theo Katzman. Enjoy.

Theo finished with his set, the stage lights went down, and the wait for Darren Criss himself began.

There was a pretty long break between sets, and I’m pretty sure they did that on purpose, because while they were prepping the stage for Darren, they kept the audience lights turned down low and played smooth jazz. At one point I looked around, and the entire row behind me was conked out with their heads resting on each other’s shoulders domino-style.

Time passed, we fought the urge to take a nap, and then suddenly the stage lights turned on and the audience lights went off. Then the stage lights went off and the audience lights turned on. Back and forth they went a few times, before we finally figured out: Darren Criss wasn’t entering from the stage. They were trying to confuse us.

We turned around to face the back of the audience just as a mob of security guards burst through the door on our aisle and the band began to play Circle of Life from The Lion King. In a matter of seconds, Driver Friend and I had squished ourselves up against the aisleway and watched in disbelief as Darren Criss (THE. DARREN. FREAKING. CRISS.) passed us, pink sunglasses and all.

IMG_0410Yes, somewhere in this ultra blurry shot is Darren Criss. You’re welcome.

Darren’s performance was even more incredible than I was expecting. The guy can sing, and he kept stopping every couple of songs to tell us how grateful he was for our support and how excited he was to be performing at the Michigan Theatre (he used to usher there, back in the day).

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He played an extra long set for us, bringing out Charlene Kaye (another Wolverine–everyone performing at the concert was a U of M grad) and playing “Goin’ Back to Hogwarts” from A Very Potter Musical, which became kind of really emotional when it hit all of us that this song that had first introduced the world to Darren Criss was also kind of about him being back at the Michigan Theatre, at the University of Michigan. Which was, in a way, Team Starkid’s very own Hogwarts, along with all of ours.

When he came out for the encore, he didn’t just play one more song, but several, including Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, which is the song that skyrocketed him into the stratosphere during his first episode of Glee.

IMG_0511Unfortunately, my camera died partway through the concert, so I don’t have any pictures from the later parts.

The instant the show was over, my group of four went racing out of the theatre in order to get around the block to the alley the stagedoor was in, where we then waited patiently for an hour for Darren to come out, to get pictures and autographs.

And then, you know, waited not-so-patiently for another hour for Darren to come out.

And then wait not-at-all-patiently for another hour.

What you need to know about all that waiting: We only got two or three hours of sleep going into the day. We had been up since 4:00 AM. We hadn’t eaten anything but candy since around 4:30, and we hadn’t had anything to drink since around 11:00. We had already been standing, between waiting in line to get into the concert and the concert itself, for a collected nine hours.

We were hungry, tired, and going more than just a little bit insane.

The nice people at Sonic Lunch eventually came out with a few bags of Skittles for the seventy five or so people waiting at the stagedoor to share, but that involved each of us only getting a couple of Skittles, so that raised our blood sugar for about point-five seconds.

We started our stagedoor vigil around 3:15 PM. We waited there until about 6:15 PM. Around 6:10, one of the security guards told us that Darren had just finished dealing with the VIP people inside and he’d be coming outside to see all of us devotees in just a minute. Everyone cheered and freaked out and peeled themselves off the ground in order to crowd around the stagedoor.

One minute passed. Then two.

Then another of the security guards got a message through his earpiece that made him pale and look around at the mass of teenagers standing around him in such a way that told us he was truly afraid for his life.

With a sullen look on his face, he announced that Darren had just made a very un-Darren-like move and snuck out the front entrance while we were all waiting at the back.

At first, nobody moved. We were all in such disbelief. We had waited there for three. hours. to see him, and he’d just blown us off? After making such a big deal over this particular concert, this particular group of fans, being so special too him, because we were Ann Arbor? What? Darren Criss wouldn’t do that to us. Darren Criss was a Wolverine. He was one of us.

But sure enough, it soon became obvious that he truly had left out the front door, through the venue’s lobby, and we weren’t going to be meeting Darren.

Angry and confused, half-dead and disheartened, my group trouped on out of the alley and went to move the car we’d left in the overpriced garage right by the theatre to the cheaper lot outside my old dorm. Then, still ranting, we walked back to the Chinese place by the Michigan Theatre that we had been salivating over during our entire time waiting in line in order to finally answer our stomachs’ calls for nourishment.

While waiting for our food, we found out via Twitter that the reason Darren Criss hadn’t come out to meet his fans at the stagedoor was because he was playing a “secret” show at the Blind Pig (a bar-performance venue-thing in downtown) at 8 PM, and he needed to go get ready for it. Which honestly just made us even more upset, for two reasons:

A) He had tweeted since abandoning all of us there, but hadn’t apologized for it (and the one other time during the Listen Up! tour he hadn’t been able to stagedoor, he’d apologized).

And B) We couldn’t go to the Blind Pig show, because people in our group needed to work tomorrow (AKA yesterday, at this point, as I’m writing this post on Saturday).

We sat there, eating and sulking and talking about how, if we ever had the chance to meet Darren Criss, we were going to give him a piece of our minds, when–in the middle of discussing the degree to which we wanted to slap him across the face–suddenly Driver Friend and I, who were sitting facing the window out to the street, stopped and stared in disbelief. Our mouths dropped. Our eyes opened wider than should be humanly possible. And I simply pointed.

UMich Friends #1 & 2 turned, confused, to face the window. And the group of us promptly forgot all about slapping Darren Criss’s beautiful face, because said beautiful face was walking past TK WU right that moment.

Darren and his friends spotted us through the window as well, obviously fans based on our reactions and Starkid t-shirts, and this is when the story really starts getting crazy: Darren turned and made these faces:

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Snapshot_20130615_1Obviously a lot better looking on him than me.

He was so unbelievably happy to see us, one of the very few groups of fans still hanging around Ann Arbor at that point, that our hurt and anger evaporated as quickly as my hunger had when a fly decided to kamikaze on my vegetable fried rice five minutes earlier (I am NOT joking when I say this sort of thing happens to me too much).

As soon as Darren was out of sight and we had recovered enough to stop screaming at the tops of our lungs (the other diners weren’t exactly in love with us, to say the least), UMich Friend #2 raised her hand the way people do in the movies, like “Waiter! Check please!” and–after squeeing some more with our very nice and chatty waiter (he asked us if Darren Criss was cute; we replied by screaming), we raced out of TK WU and down East Liberty Street towards State, the direction Darren Criss and posse had been heading.

Unfortunately, when we reached State Street, we then had the conundrum of which direction to go. Fortunately, UMich Friend #2 knew that Darren used to work at Potbelly, which was directly to our right, so we decided to use that as our deciding factor and headed that way, towards the Diag and Law Quad and all of that (here’s a map of the University of Michigan’s Central Campus, for reference). We figured he was eating dinner somewhere, so we peered in through all the restaurant windows like the not-at-all stalkerish people we are, until finally, while walking past Nickel’s Arcade (a covered walkway between two buildings with shops lining it), we spotted Theo Katzman (remember the amazing opening act guy?) and a certain head of dark, curly hair.

A couple of other fans had caught Darren in the Arcade to take pictures, so we took the couple of seconds they bought us to race crazily towards the group, iPhones at the ready, in hopes of getting a group shot with Darren before he ran off.

He finished with the other fans and turned towards us, ready to take more pictures, when he got the most confused look on his face, like he obviously recognized us but didn’t quite believe it.

Driver Friend quickly informed him that we were indeed the four girls he had seen at TK WU just five minutes before–and that fact, shockingly, seemed to put his mind at rest (let’s be honest–if it were me, that’s when I would have called for a restraining order).

He told us that he could only stay for a minute, because he needed to get to the Blind Pig soon for the secret show, and we said that was fine, we just wanted one picture.

At which point he grabbed UMich Friend #2’s iPhone and decided to take individual pictures with each of us.

Let me make this clear: Darren Criss. Took selfie shots. With each of us. Like he held the iPhones. While resting his head on each of ours. To voluntarily take individual pictures. He even hugged both UMich Friends #1 & 2.

Oh hey there Darren CrissCan we address the fact that he is somehow even nicer and better-looking in person than in interviews and on TV and all that, which up until now I’d thought was ACTUALLY AND LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

We all gushed about how much we loved the show and how much we loved him and how honored we were to meet him, and then skedaddled out of Nickel’s Arcade before we embarrassed ourselves too much, in absolute disbelief that we had just run into Darren not once, but twice in ten minutes (okay, so the second time was kind of totally because we were searching for him, but whatevs–there was a good chance we weren’t going to find him).

(Also, another little thing to throw in here: When we were heading out to find him, I brought up that if I were a famous person coming back to visit my alma mater, the first place I would go was the Diag, which is basically the center of campus-life and one of the most well-known parts of the university. A little while after getting our pictures, Darren posted two Vines from over near the Diag. I AM BRILLIANT.)

We almost headed back to the cars at that point, but then we remembered that we had been planning to get frozen yogurt after dinner, so instead we made our way back to East Liberty, where we grabbed mountains of yogurt at Yoggie’s, still spazzing about our Close Encounters of a Darren Kind.

I was right in the middle of joking about how crazy Darren Criss would think we were if the Sonic Lunch people decided to use the footage of us being dumbstruck in line that morning in their video when you’ll never guess who spotted us through the restaurant window.

THAT’S RIGHT. IT WAS OUR OLD BUDDY DARREN CRISS.

This time his expression was like this:

Snapshot_20130615_4Like, “HOW IN THE WORLD DO I KEEP RUNNING INTO YOU PEOPLE? THIS IS SO CRAZY!!!”

… Which brings up the very important realization of: Darren Criss recognized us. HE RECOGNIZED US. HE KNOWS WHO WE ARE.

After spazzing some more, laughing as we made faces at each other through the window while his group walked past (the rest of them seemed much more concerned by the way we kept seeing each other than Darren was), we then concluded that we had basically had the best day ever experienced by a human being ever. And that seeing Darren randomly around town three times in twenty minutes totally made up for the three hours we had wasted waiting at his stagedoor. And that we must be the luckiest group of Darren Criss fans alive.

Walking back to the parking lot across from our old dorm afterward (UMich Friends #1 & 2 and I are all a part of the same college within the university, so we all lived there), it was an extremely surreal moment of realizing that we had just met our idol basically at our home, and that it was his home too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used Nickel’s Arcade to shelter from the rain or snow; how many times I’ve walked through the Diag on my way to class, read the marque at the Michigan Theatre to see what was playing, sat snuggled up in my dorm room watching Darren Criss on Glee and in Starkid stuff.

I mentioned a year and a half ago when I went to see Darren in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway, during the Writer’s Digest Conference 2012, that if I got to meet him, I would then be able to die happy. You don’t know how much I’d give to go back to my seventeen year old self and say, “Guess what. You don’t get to meet him at this stagedoor, and you didn’t get to meet him at the Glee Live concert, and you won’t get to meet him at the Listen Up! tour stagedoor either–but you will get to meet him. And it’ll be worth it.”

Because although that sounds dramatic and corny and immature, I really do have a lot to thank Darren Criss for, even though he’ll never realize it. I grew up a Spartan–hardcore Michigan State fan. The University of Michigan wasn’t even on my radar as a place I might go to college at someday until I saw A Very Potter Musical my sophomore year of high school. It was then that I began to think, “Hey. These Wolverine people might not be so bad.”

And of course it was then finding out that U of M had a great creative writing program, and the most amazing campus, and other people just like me that made me ultimately choose it. But if it weren’t for hearing “Goin’ Back to Hogwarts” sophomore year, who knows if I would have ever come to the realization that U of M should even be an option.

My life has changed so much because of Darren Criss, and Team Starkid and Glee in general. I’ve made new friends, pushed through some hard times, and had amazing, unexpected experiences. Getting to meet him in such a unique and spontaneous way was just the culmination of it all, and I still have a little flutter of disbelief whenever I see the picture of the two of us together.

If Darren Criss ever magically stumbles across this post: Thank you so much, for being yourself, and being such a big inspiration to me and countless other people, and being so nice to my friends and me despite the fact it was kind of obvious we were stalking you at Nickel’s Arcade.

Dear reader, if you pushed through this entire, novel-length post: You deserve to meet Darren yourself, you crazy, totally awesome person.

And if you just looked at the pictures: That works too.

Talk to you when I’m back from vacation! Have a good couple of weeks, and treat the guest posters nicely!

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~Julia

PS. This post has had absolutely zero proofreading. I apologize if there are any awkward typos, because knowing me there are. Just in case, here’s an, “Oops. Sorry ’bout that,” in advance.

Wordy Wednesday (“Anymore”)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote a while back about moving on from something in life. It’s not really specifically about any certain person or event or anything, but there’s a lot I’ve had to leave behind the past year or two, and this song is kind of about, like, letting yourself leave behind whatever it is you’ve been holding onto. When I first started writing it, I thought it was going to be super sad and woe-is-me and angsty and all that, but then it actually turned out being sort of happy, in a weird bittersweet sort of way.

If I can get my hands on a practice room at any point today (which isn’t likely to happen, since A: the practice rooms have been pretty much constantly filled so far this semester, even in the middle of the night, and B: I have testing in Spanish for the rest of the week, so I should really be focusing on studying for that instead of stalking the practice rooms), I’ll post a video of it. Which I really want to do. But I’m not making any promises. Just so ya know.

I hope you’re having a fantastic week! The weather’s just been absolutely crazy here the past few days–the majority of the state of Michigan, it seems, got a snow day on Monday (unfortunately colleges don’t buy into that sort of thing), and then yesterday it was in the mid-fifties and raining. Weirdest experience of my life, going from bundling up in winter gear one day to wearing just a windbreaker and rain boots outside the next.

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G, Em, C, G

 

VERSE1

It’s sunday night, it’s raining outside

Just need to get through this week

Before I can get on with my life

And I’m picturing you in my head,

All the things we left unsaid,

Like that I miss you

 

Can’t focus on my homework

Can’t taste the food I eat

Talking to my guitar,

Strumming chords down on the street

And as the rain soaks me to the skin

I start to begin not to miss you

 

TRANSITION [C, Em, G, C]

And I can remember

All the words you used to say

Spelling out the phrases,

Obvious like night and day

 

But I can’t see the sun or moon

Between these heavy clouds

And I can’t tell awake or asleep

With the world always so loud

 

CHORUS  [G, Em, C, G]

And I’m starting, to not miss you, anymore

And I’m starting, to think,

I might just leave your memory at the door,

Won’t miss you anymore

 

VERSE2

I feel your touch against my skin

Like it’s through a window oh so thin

And I don’t even recognize

The expression on your face

 

It’s like I’m looking in a mirror

The distance becoming oh so clear

And I could step away, and be okay

Or I could step towards and break the glass,

And forget about my past

 

TRANSITION [C, Em, G, C]

And I can’t remember

The words you used to say

Just know you felt like pointing out

The difference between black and grey

 

And I can’t see a single thing

Through this falling sleet

Just know I have to run,

So I’d better move my feet

 

[Repeat CHORUS]

 

BRIDGE/ENDING

My feet are pounding

I’m splashing, drowning

As I leave you behind

The glass is breaking, the ground is shaking

But I will survive

 

And I will not miss you anymore

No I am locking up that door

And I do not need you anymore

 

No I don’t need your memory anymore

**********

25

 

~Julia