Saturday, May 12, 2012

LIVE from San Diego

Hello, this is Megan Lovely coming to you LIVE from San Diego! As I sit outside our hotel room typing away, the sun is breaking through the clouds, joggers, runners, and bikers take advantage of the morning air before the humidity kicks in, and a palm tree sways ever so slightly. It seems strange to have nothing to do. Rather, it seems strange to have nothing I need to do. The past few weeks have been filled with "I should do this," and "I should get ahead," but I can do all that at home. Being able to sit and just chat in the car, not trying to scribble out a few math problems or get ahead on my Art honors, has seemed unreal, uncomfortable, even.

This trip has certainly given me lots of writing time. Every day I've been treated to over an hour of writing time, something I may be lucky to get once a week back home. And boy, am I glad, because there's so much to write about! I can hardly finish one entry before something else snags my attention, jumping, begging, pleading to be written about. "Memememe! Write about me!" they all shout. I am like a mother of triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, being pulled in a million and one directions. If only I were an octopus...

I promise I have many journals (and pictures!) to share with you, but I thought this post would be a good little introduction. There's just too many things to notice here to put only on the "Did you notice..." page, so I thought this post would be a preview for all those journals by highlighting just the little moments which the journals sprouted from. Starting from the airport, everything that has caught my eye...

Did you notice on the plane ride...

See: 35,000ft in the air and the mountain ranges look like sand flats, chipmunk cheeks and a bowl haircut, white everywhere (Owen says it looks like heaven up here)
Hear: the roar of an airplane on the runway, two chatty blue-eyed blondies in the seat behind me (I've never heard "hi" so many times in my life), "Patrick, you've got round hair," the ding! of the bathroom light
Smell: fried food two rows ahead
Taste: ginger ale, trail mix, mango-flavored pineapple in the trail mix (why don't they just have dried pineapple?)
Feel: the plane take flight

Did you notice in the airport...

See: a college student very concentrated on eating his sandwich, iPhones, iPads, iPods and other Steve Jobs memorials, iced coffee, headphones, cheap souvenirs
Hear: suitcases rolling on tile, angry passengers who missed their flight, planes taking off on the runway, planes landing on the runway
Smell: pizza, hamburgers, coffee
Taste: excitement, anticipation (1 hour 'til takeoff!)
Feel: the ground vibrate

Did you notice in San Diego... (what isn't there to notice?)

See: palm tree dancers with pineapple hats, seals inching their way up the beach like big, fat inch worms, lovers initials carved in rock (Mom calls them "hieroglyphics"), Tiki torches, mallard ducks in the hallway, the amusement park upside down, Pop-Art feet (who knew feet could be art?), houses with character, California surfer dudes (long hair, bare feet, no shirt), 40 aspiring triathlon Olympians cross the finish line, 20+ country flags
Hear: Cornell the Parrot, the waves crashing, the achy creak of an old roller coaster (1925), the same man playing guitar on the beach at 7:30am, the Great Britain National Anthem
Smell: seaweed, saltwater, tacos, burritos, tacos (tacos are like hamburgers here), sunscreen on my skin,
Taste: fish tacos from two places (not a fan), an avocado and honey smoothie (interesting), a mission-accomplished chocolate milkshake after an hour walk and an extra two blocks
Feel: the Pacific Ocean waves lap at my feet, Pacific Ocean sand between my toes and fingers, California sun warm my shoulders, the surfboard lift with the swell of the wave, my stomach in my throat, a pretty flower in my hair, sunglasses on my head

And we still have two more days here, so this list will certainly get bigger! But I couldn't wait to share :) Sending warm thoughts your way!

Sweet and Sunny Dreams,

Megan ;)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Characters We Meet
If you haven't concluded from some of my very long and rambly posts, I love to talk. But even more than talking, I love listening. I love hearing people's stories, their personal stories, their real stories.
Because the best stories come from life. You can't invent an original story in your head. It's too influenced by the stories of other writers and peers and books and novels and characters and TV shows. My teacher told me once that all writing, including fiction, is based off real life. Why? Because that is what we know best. It's easiest to write about what we know. The metaphors we make, the hyperboles we use...we use these comparisons to help us envision the subject by connecting it to something else in our own life. Everything in life is a web, somehow connected––no matter how thin the silk. So now of course you're thinking, "Who in J.K. Rowling's life inspired Harry Potter?" right?

In life, we meet lots of characters. Sometimes you see them just passing by in the grocery story, and other times you know them on a first-name basis. They add color to our lives, give us stories to tell at the dinner table. My favorites are the characters I stand next to in the clothing store line, the grumpy couple on the airplane, the people whom I know nothing about because then I am free to fabricate whatever story I want! The woman with the diamond ring around her neck wears her wedding ring on a chain so it hangs closer to her heart. She feels closer to her husband, who's off somewhere––lost, stationed in the army, but not home. So when she walks, she feels it thump against her chest and it's like hearing another heart beating––his heart beating.

One day I'm going to have a journal filled only with characters. This will be my orphanage, where they will all wait patiently but eagerly to be adopted. "Where will I be placed?"  they'll wonder. "Will I be the Knight in Shining Armor in a princess rescue story???" (I certainly hope not, because that would be terribly unoriginal.) "Will I be the heart throb?" "Will I be the next teen-sensation?" Or..."Will I be the villain?" "Will I be the bully who feeds on other's self-esteem to plumpen her own ego?" Or..."Will I be the lost one?" "The soul with a big dream but not enough support to hold it?"  When I'm writing a story or a poem or whatever it may be and I need a character, I will open my journal and read their profiles. And I don't need to take their entire profile. I can break it apart; take the Ms. Frizzle hair from an wacky elementary school teacher, the snort of a Laughy Kathy, and rearrange it like a Mr. Potato Head. 

I'm really excited because this week I started volunteering at an Assistant Living home. Already I've met so many interesting people; a woman in her 90s who walks over a mile every day. She lived in the city her entire life, and when she came to the Assistant Living home, she thought it was the farmlands. Another woman, a new resident at the home. At card-making, some people had not yet been introduced. I couldn't help but think of "the new girl in school" (not literally a new girl in my school, but like in the movies). I wondered, "Is she lonely? Nervous? Is she able to make friends? Do cliques still exist at her age?" I know I'll meet so many interesting characters during my volunteer hours, and it'll give me lots of great writing material. Plus, I'm pretty much just talking and listening to stories...what more can I ask for?!

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

P.S. Did you notice? is updated. Thanks to all those who participate! Also, thanks to all of you who posted your Poems in Your Pocket last week! I had lots of fun reading them! :)