So what's my story?

I have a confession to make: I'm a bad parent. I get these incurable urges to create and then produce the inevitable offspring only to leave them hanging, barely giving them another thought after I've pushed them out into the world. Sometimes they nag their way back into my consciousness, and sure I'll give them the time of day for maybe, oh I don't know, a day. But then they're shunted relentlessly back into oblivion. Out of sight, out of mind.

This is the part of the post where I tell you I'm not actually a parent. I'm a writer. Well, a wanna-be writer. Because the title "writer" signifies that actual writing is taking place and sadly, that hasn't been happening much for me. I told myself all school year that this was the summer I'd brush the dust off my many half-finished story ideas and get cracking again. Maybe even (gasp!) attempt to write a novel. June passed by in a hazy, humid blur and then July came storming in like an angry toddler, all fluster and bluster. I had to take notice. And reader, I realized that I HAD to take action. So I put down my Candy Crush game (damn you, level 65!!!) and goshdarnit, I started writing again.

The good news -- I officially have 15 full pages for a potential novel, a story I shelved about two years ago before I took it back out today. The bad news -- I am not really sure where to take the story next. But I guess this is the fun part. The unexpected part. The part where anything can happen.

So what's my story? It's about a young man named Jack who has trouble getting over his first love Ingrid after she mysteriously disappears. Especially when she starts mysteriously reappearing in his life again in brief is-she or isn't-she-there flashes. I'm at the part of the story where I have to decide whether to keep it in the real world or venture into the sci-fi/fantasy realm. And it's a hard, hard decision to make. Because as much as I love reading sci-fi/fantasy books, it's not an easy thing to write because you have to make it believable to your reader. Buuuuut.... I have a feeling that I might just take it in that direction anyway. At least to try it out. If it doesn't work, whatever, I can always rework, revamp, re-re until I find my way back.

In the meantime, here's the last page of what I have so far, just to give you a feel. I'm writing the story from Jack's point of view, which has been fun, trying to get into the mind of a guy. No doubt I'll be asking my boyfriend for pointers to make sure I've captured the voice right.

I welcome your comments and thoughts! Thanks for reading. :-)

~*~

Remember when I said this wasn't a love story? Perhaps I should elaborate. This isn't your typical love story. By that I don't mean that this is your usual unrequited love story, with your usual lovesick hero mooning after his usual oblivious heroine. (Though mind you, I've done my fair share of mooning. My darling siblings can both attest to that.) I guess what I mean to say is that I'm not your typical hero. And Ingrid is certainly not your typical heroine. She's not even my first heroine.

In grade school I was forever looking for my new crush. My new heroine. I blame too much exposure to New Wave music. Depeche Mode and New Order were the soundtrack for those heady, formative years. First there was Miss Sharon, my kindergarten teacher. (Yes, I know I started rather young.) I used to love hearing her read to us, and I would spend all of nap time just staring at her, marveling at this creature who was so unlike other women her age, women like my mother. In first grade there was Pamela, a pretty brunette who sat at my table and shared her lunch with me one fateful autumn day. Then from grades 2-4, I was all about Amy, a redhead who lived on my block. I used to sit on my porch for hours just waiting for her to pass by on her roller skates. Grade 5 brought me the exotic allure of Maria, a newly immigrated Cuban student. Our teacher used to pair me with her for group work so that I could help her with her English. Grade 6 introduced me to Mrs. Donovan, my first crush who was (dun, dun, dun) also a married woman. I blush just remembering the unnerving way she had of dropping the chalk and then bending down ever so slowly to pick it back up.

I guess I'm a lot like Romeo, in the way that I can fall in love at the drop of a hat. Only I'm still stuck on my Rosaline, that nebulous, formless character we never even get to meet in Romeo & Juliet -- the one he was supposedly in love with before Juliet? Yeah, her.

Why isn't Ingrid my Juliet? Perhaps it's because sometimes I wonder if Ingrid ever existed at all, or I somehow made her up inside my head, like some mad opium dream. Then I sift through my memories again, digging through the years as if I'm trying to excavate the past, and the confirmation of her existence overwhelms me once more, as it inevitably does. Flooding me with recriminations and regrets. 

But if there's one thing I've learned it's that memory is never precise. It's like an overexposed photograph. The colors may be heightened, but the details are blurred, caught somewhere between existence and dream.


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Poem: "A flock of birds lifts up"

After a brief hiatus (read: too much grading!), I am back to writing poetry and reading for pleasure again. And boy does it feel good. Here's one I wrote on the road the other day after seeing a flock of birds suddenly take off.

"A flock of birds lifts up"

A flock of birds lifts up
in the distance--
in the distance.

Your face as it was and not as it was.
You standing before me
with your eyes already behind me.

What happens to longing when it is gone?
Is it replaced with loss?
Or with indifference?

Maybe to you I am like that flock of birds
That is shocked into sudden flight--
A blur of movement that briefly colors the sky
before it is gone again.

via

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

Don't exit your browser, this isn't a mistake -- yes, I actually updated my blog (gasp!). Lots of updates have been going on in my life, but we'll start with first things first, this blog. After I foolishly let the domain "anniecristina.com" expire on Blogger, I learned that in order to get it back I'd have to go through Go Daddy and redeem my domain with them, plus pay a steep redemption fee ($84!!!) and other assorted charges. Yeah, no. So I decided to let that domain expire and go with the domain "anniecristina.net," which will take some getting used to, but oh well. At least I can stay with Google, not to mention I'm only paying $10 a year to keep this domain. I can always go back to the ".com" once the expiration date elapses, which will be in a few months. But I might just stay with it as it is now. In the meantime, I'm working on my carpal tunnel by updating all of the redirect links in my posts. That should take me a good long time...

As for my life outside of this blog, there have been many changes, mostly good. The last time I was regularly updating this blog was in late 2011, at which time I was going through a difficult breakup with my long-term boyfriend. Out of that difficult time came some very positive growth, mainly my conquering my lifelong fear of driving and even buying my very first own car (exhibit A!). Another step in a positive direction during that time involved me dating again. Out of that experience, which began in late October 2011, I had maybe a handful of interesting dates, some of which led to friendships, and two of which actually led to relationships. The first of these was a huge no-go, though it taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted out of a relationship in the first place. That lasted a few painful months until I finally got the nerve to call it quits. And then there were some more hit or miss dates in January of last year, but nothing really worth mentioning. Not until February. That was when I met Andres, my current boyfriend of 11 months. This isn't a surprise to any of you if you've been following me on Instagram and Facebook. I don't know why I haven't blogged about it before. Superstition? Laziness? Perhaps a combination of the two. But I'm posting about it now because I felt the urge to resurrect my blog. And in order to wipe away the cobwebs, I felt it was necessary to mention the new changes.

So just who is this Andres, whom I call Andy? He's an artist who works with pencil, paint, and camera (and probably other mediums I'm not mentioning, but those are his main three). He's also a jokester who sends jokes out on a daily basis. We share a lot of musical interests in common -- we were even at the same concerts before we met, which I think is crazy. What if we were in the same row?! Madness. When we met, it turned out we both had tickets to see Radiohead a few weeks later, and we somehow managed to sit together. He makes me laugh, and yes, he even makes me groan sometimes, but throughout it all, he makes me happy. In the eleven months we've been together, we've meshed our lives together in lots of different ways, namely our families, our friends, our schedules. And while it hasn't been entirely smooth sailing (what relationship is?), every day that I learn more about him is another day that I learn to love him more. I can't wait to see what year two brings. If you'd like to learn more about Andy, plus see his work, you can visit his blog.

Other things I was up to in 2012 other than meeting Andres? Well, I went on a bunch of trips. With Andy, I visited the following cities: Key West, New York, San Francisco, Sarasota, and Chicago. We went to New York again recently for New Year's, and I got to see snow for the first time. They were all amazing cities, but I think San Francisco just might be my favorite of all of these. There's just something about the city, a certain vibe, that suits me perfectly. Though New York is a very, very close second. Like I joked with Andy, I wouldn't mind living the winter months in San Fran, and the remainder of the year in New York. ;)

Andy and me in New York, Spring 2012.
In 2012, I also went on a trip in the summer to Washington, D.C. with my friend Sibel, which was an amazing time. I learned so much about our nation's capital and about one of my favorite presidents from history, Lincoln. D.C. is also a a great city for food and nightlife -- I can't wait to go back.

Sibel, Lincoln, and me.
Lots of other things happened in 2012, but those are the highlights. Another big first for me was learning about football. I credit Andy with this completely. Before him, football used to make me fall asleep. Literally. I just couldn't understand the sport. But then Andy very patiently explained it to me and little by little, I began understanding it better and better. Now I can actually watch a game and keep track of the ball lol. And I even have a favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers! Apparently I sure know how to pick 'em, because it turns out the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl on February 3rd, which yes I will be watching. With my 49ers shirt on and everythinggg. :-)


As far as other areas of my life are concerned, work is going well. I'm still teaching at the same high school, Hialeah Senior High. Now I teach 9th and 10th grade Language Arts and I honestly love all of my students this year. There are no troublemakers, no kids that give me grief. It's been a good year, so far, and I hope it continues that way. My friends are all doing well -- many of them have gotten married or become first-time parents. I've been cheering for them all the way, while eagerly looking forward to those milestones in my future.

2012 was great, as you can see. I can't wait to see 2013 holds in store -- I'll do my best to document  the moments from now on. Stay tuned...

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Sun In My Mouth

One of my favoritest ever poets is e. e. cummings and one of my favoritest ever singers is Björk. So you can imagine how happy I was when I discovered a few years back that one of her songs, "Sun In My Mouth," is actually the following poem set to music:



I always thought the lyrics were especially beautiful, and now I know why -- it's this poem. I think it's gorgeous, and when combined with Björk's otherworldly, luminous voice, well it's nothing short of magical. :-)




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Heigh ho, Fluffy, away!

Those of you who have been following my driving odyssey on this blog know what a mission it was for me to get over my driving phobia. This past October, I finally decided enough was enough. So I enrolled in a driving course and learned how to friggin' drive.

Last week, I took the final and perhaps scariest step -- I bought my very first car. This is she:

FLUFFY! 

Yes, her name is Fluffy. :p I wasn't sure what to name her, but a friend of mine took care of that for me. No, I didn't choose white because of her name. I was between red and white and just decided the white looked better on the Mazda 3 hatchback.

I can't describe how good it feels to drive. Words like "liberating," "amazing," and "eeeeeeeee" come to mind. Yes, I know the last one isn't really a word. But still. It describes how I feel quite aptly. :D

I promise to get back into blogging. Scout's honor. As soon as I finish enjoying the hell out of my new car, that is. In the meantime, fill me in on YOU. Let me know how you're doing in the comments!

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Drive.

So today was my third driving lesson -- since I hadn't met with my instructor as of last Wednesday, my instructor decided to take me driving for two hours (!). I was nervous at first and a little shaky, but he took me around my neighborhood for a few minutes to allow me to warm up and then I was fine.

He took me to the parking lot where the driving school does their license exam and ran me through the different steps of the exam -- parking, making left and right turns, and making a three-point turn. I did well on all of these. Next he took me to a nearby grocery store with a much larger parking lot and had me practice parking in different parking spaces, some of them quite narrow. I was able to park well in all of them, no problem. I think I amazed myself more than him!

Near the end of the exam, he had me drive to a local Cuban restaurant called La Carreta where we stopped for an impromptu coffee break. He chatted about his life -- his past relationships and the jobs he's had, and what he's learned from all of these experiences. He is an older Cuban man, someone who works as a nurse during the day and a driving instructor in the afternoon/evening. He has a very calm demeanor and very kind, wise eyes. His patience has been instrumental in allowing me to get over my insecurities as a driver.

After we left La Carreta, he took me to a nearby residential street where I spent the last hour practicing left and right turns and three-point turns again. He ran me through the paces over and over until I was performing them seamlessly, without much instruction or guidance on his part.

When the lesson was over and I was back home again, I asked him how I did, and this was his response -- I did perfectly and I'll be fine to drive by the end of the week. I couldn't believe it. I left the car feeling like I was walking on air.

I'm so happy -- what once seemed so insurmountable, this phobia of mine of driving, has become instead an inner confidence. This experience has shown me that there is nothing I can't accomplish, so long as I put my whole heart and mind to the task.

via


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33.

via
So today is my 33rd birthday. Strange -- I don't feel 33. Not exactly. The older I get, the more I realize how relative age is. There are some days I'll feel 16, caught in the throes of adolescent rage or longing. Other days I'll feel 5, and I'll want to crawl back into the safety of my mother's arms. And then there are the days I'll feel 95, like an ancient tree that's been twisted by the winds of recriminations and regrets.

But it's not all bad. I honestly think I'm young at heart. Teaching high school kids helps with that, and the other part comes from my determination to remain optimistic no matter what, although my optimism was sorely tested these past two months. I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been blogging or tweeting that much. It hasn't just been because of the beginning of a new school year, although that's certainly to blame as well. It's because my boyfriend and I broke up after being together nearly 12 years. I won't pretend it hasn't been awful, but what has helped is the fact that it was in truth an amicable break-up. Despite the unbelieving reaction of our friends, we have remained in contact. The way I see it, he and I began as good friends, so there's no reason why we shouldn't end that way.

The irony of it all is that one of my last blog posts, the last blog post I wrote while he and I were still together, has a title that has an all too eery meaning for me today: "Beginnings are endings are beginnings." Little did I know I would be learning the truth of this statement mere days after writing it.

But that's in my past and right now I'm focusing on the future. I've found solace in my work, in my family, and in my friends, and I have made some adjustments in these areas that have helped my relationships on both a personal and professional level. I'm getting over my fear of driving and have scheduled myself for driving lessons, the first of which I'm taking tomorrow (!). I'm even starting to date again, which is a scary new adventure in its own right.

I was speaking to some friends at work today about how 33 seems to be a turning point for a lot of women, for some reason. I feel (I hope) in my heart that it might be that way for me, too. But no matter what this year brings, I know one thing's for sure -- I'll be walking forward with my eyes clear and open and my head held high.
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