This Tumblr is now the property of Yahoo.
All hail Yahoo.
And as I slept that morning I had a dream. I had a dream that “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Office” were combined into a sitcom that was funnier and more true to life than either.
I believe that this dream may one day become a reality.
I still believe.
And when I woke up again, nothing was the same.
I pulled an all-nighter and I was exhausted. The sun was starting to rise, so I quickly showered and found my way back to the dorm room.
I felt good at the end because I had finally solved a problem I was stuck on, but I feel like the feeling goes beyond that.
There was this moment just before I slept…as the sun was rising outside. I looked out at the city and then I heard the familiar hum of the air conditioner.
And in that moment I suddenly remembered mornings like that in Boston, or Seattle, or…maybe anywhere that wasn’t home. And maybe it was because I usually found myself waking up early those mornings, in hotel rooms, and because I needed those exact circumstances to feel that way again.
There’s something about traveling to a new place, a feeling like everything is new. We should feel that way all the time because every day is new, but then familiarity seeps in and turns everything uniform.
And maybe we leave home for a while because we want to know what it’s like to be new. Or to feel new, if nothing else.
But college is like that. College is that. And I keep forgetting how amazing it is just to be here.
And to just be.
When you’re up past midnight studying and you suddenly get a burst of energy and feel awake and happy
Writing Tip 2: Never open a story with dialogue. The reader requires more introduction than that.
“Ethan,” he said, “do you understand any of this?”
“Yes,” I responded, “I can do every problem if it’s presented in this way.”
He sighed. ”You mean you just memorized the formula?”
”That’s not learning. You should understand, not just copy.”
Something about those last few words struck me. He wasn’t saying it to be mean or to scold me…he was just saying it because he was honestly concerned, and he knew what would happen if I stayed on that course.
But I didn’t know until it happened. I failed the course and had to retake it in the coming quarter. And I guess all that really meant was that I had to start over…back from square one.
My roommate would later tell it to me like this:
”Every textbook problem you skip, every page you don’t understand, every online problem you solve with an application or a grapher…all of those little mistakes will come back. You’ll have to face them again. And whether it’s in a quiz, or a midterm, or a final…one day you’ll have to own up to those things that you did and didn’t do.”
When the grade was finally released I took to writing again. Anything to forget for a little while.
“Hey Michael,” called Tyler, “take a look at this.”
Michael walked behind the cubicle walls to find a shady-looking Viagra-ad. It was spam. But the image was split in the middle and partially covered by colored text.
”These scam artists are getting better,” said Tyler. ”We’ve written programs to filter out key words, so they just use images. We’ve written programs to filter out images, so they just split the images or provide variation.”
”Yeah,” said Michael, “I’ve heard about these guys. They control tons of computers via central locations, like hotel rooms. They check out a hotel, broadcast a signal, make money, and then quickly migrate before the authorities catch up to them.”
“But why do you think they do it?”
“Quite a lucrative business, I imagine.”
“But with those kinds of skills? They could work here with me…make a fortune without having to hide anymore.”
Michael stopped for a moment, lost in thought.
”You know,” he said, “maybe it’s about more than just money.”
Tyler looked at him thoughtfully.
”How do you mean?”
Michael lowered his hands to indicate that they take their voices to a whisper. After a pause he spoke again.
”Oh, I don’t know,” he said. ”A breath of fresh air, maybe?”
Calculus II was just an annoying distraction. ENG 6 lectures seemed vague and distant. A little calculation here, a long list of formulas there. But sometimes it just seemed like another language, one that others could speak but that I could only transcribe.
So that wasn’t what defined the moments for me. What kept everything in line was my morning class, Intro to Creative Writing, where we would sit and talk and build dimensions with our pens. There was no past or present. There was no fight or competition. There was only thought, vision, a world built line for line by fantastic images and magnificent places.
The professor spoke eloquently, legs crossed, his face the spitting image of Michael Cera’s. He was giving his advice, and we were all listening intently.
”Never, ever write a cliche,” his powerful voice boomed, “because a cliche is not worth reading. You’d be surprised how many things are cliche. You may think it’s creative to write a first-person story about a writer, for example. It’s not. It’s unoriginal and overused and overdone. Don’t do it.”
I quickly jotted the a note down in my notebook. Never write a story about someone writing.
That night we were given a simple assignment: Create a character. That was it.
I took a walk and thought about things. This was it. This was college. And things were good and exciting but I knew where I would be in a few years. I would be where everyone else dreamed of being: In a cubicle.
Going to try to start another linear story and keep it moving.
Because the only thing more fun than studying for finals is not studying for finals.
The feeling you get when your friends have just finished their first year of college and you’re still neck-deep in work
All I wanted to say was “thank you.” Thank you for being there. Thank you for the time we shared. But somewhere between thoughts and words, what I meant to say was lost in translation.
All I wanted to say was “it’s all right.” I didn’t need anything more…I had already made peace. I knew this then and I didn’t want you to feel like the bitterness was still present. But then one thing led to another and I said so many things I wish I never had.
All I wanted to say was “you always were.” You didn’t need me but I could live with that. What I couldn’t live with was the thought that you thought you did. You were always great and you were always wonderful and this always was.
I had a dream that I saw you again and you were happy.
All I wanted to say was “start again.” But it’s too late for that now, isn’t it?