Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Read, Write, Repeat: Where was I when I was his age?

Lately, I've been bumming around the internet to find something to help me with a current predicament:  I need to focus on some written projects of mine, but can't for some reason--or it feels like my efforts inevitably turn into squiggly-squash sounds, mixed with dazing off into the abyss.

Case in point.

I read my grandpa's memoirs not too long ago.  And to say the least, I came away feeling intimidated:  At the age of 24 Eugene Haderlie was diving in the Thames River, diffusing Nazi water mines, bare-handed, 100 feet below sea level.  He then went off to Utah Beach, Normandy and was part of the invasion of Germany, helped liberate the Jews left for dead in a concentration camp Buchenwald, and went on to help found the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  

(Now you know my secret for creating an amazing sea otter costume:  have grandfather be a marine biologist who works in the Monterey Bay Aquarium for 40 + years.  

It helps, trust me.)

Anyway, otters aside, I do feel as though comparing myself to what others have done by this age is a fruitless endeavor.  And I've learned something as a result:
At the age of 24 grandpa was saving the world.

At the age of 24 I am blogging.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  But, there is something wrong if the very least I can do for this world (create and rewrite) is somewhat strained.  

In thinking it over, I realize I have had a sort of writers' block.  And yet, it's a weird off-shoot of writers' block.  The difficulty I have in writing is not so much ideas or finding interesting new things to talk about--it is more that it's hard for me to concentrate on one topic at a time consistently.  For me that's where the challenge comes in.  I have five or so unfinished manuscripts/written works in progress currently (a half-written play, two beginnings of two very different novels, a screenplay that's only up to it's first hero-struggling-but-will-overcome montage and of course, this blog).   

I have Writers' ADHD.  For example, I just rediscovered the parametric equations for the Cardiod Curve.  No, you don't have to understand what the equations mean.  But, how RAD is the animation that describes the curve's creation?  Pretty sick.  Who would have thought a circle rolling around another circle would create such a shape?  I guess the Greeks.  Another similar shape to the Cardiod is a Nephroid, which weirdly enough, occurs naturally (sometimes) at the bass of a coffee cup with liquid in it.  

Coffee Nephroid:  You'll never drink it the same way again.

No, your coffee hasn't gone bad--it's just a pattern of shadows that happen when a cup is placed under sunlight; light reflects off the cup in a pattern because the cup's got a circular curve to it (which makes in turn a reflective surface, or a catacaustic) and the outline of the nephroid, aka light beams racing back and forth against each other and the surface, appears as a result.  

And there you go.  Two paragraphs down, a fully random excerpt about nothing to do with anything later, I am back to where I started.  

But, that was a sick animation.

And you'll never look at your coffee the same way again.



Edited to add, A Woo Update:

This is Woo in real life.  Gotta love that amazing posture.

Found her earlier this afternoon, digging through mom's bag.

How is it possible that she doesn't even look remorseful for her crime, even though her face has been molded to look sad?

*end Woo update*


  1. I know exactly what you mean. By the time they reached 23, my grandparents had fought the Communists, escaped to Taiwan, and built a life there from scratch. I'm 23 and I'm...blogging about food.

  2. I often feel the same way. I think this is why a meteor needs to hit earth. We're done. No more to see here. Humans are worthless. No offense! But all we do is text and read novels about sparkly werewolves or something.

  3. I think there's something to be said about trying. You're doing great. You are not your grandfather and your grandfather is not you.

    Just keep plugging away...despite your writer's ADHD. :P Very little has been accomplished without hard work and sacrifice. Fifty years from now, you'll be writing your own memoirs. I believe it. :)

  4. Amy--Oh man you DO know exactly what I mean. But, in a weird way I have two reactions to this, which I ironically didn't put in the blog: 1) I know that my genetic makeup is capable of surviving and doing some amazing stuff, if forced to. And/or 2) They went through that crap so that you and I and anyone else here COULD have the luxury to enjoy life and thus, have the time to write about it as it's happening. So, really, we're just doing what they would have preferred for us to have, anyway, right? Right?

    loftyotter--Dude. I'm saying. I want to write a series called "Dusk" or "Sunset-but-not-really-cause-it's-overcast-and-you-can't-really-tell-when-it's-gone-until-it's-definitely-darker-light." Maybe this is the key to writers' block.

    Moon--You're so sweet. And it's true--I am not my grandfather. Hell, if I was, I would have gone into the sciences for a start, lol. I will keep plugging away. ;) And it's true--nothing gets accomplished unless you just sit down and try and try and try, p.s. I love Woo too!! I think I'll have a Woo Update with every blog now, just cause she's so photogenic.

  5. beryl!!! i love your dog it is sooo cute and round!!!
    and i feel the same way about my life in comparison to my grandpas. while im griping about not finding work and trying to go back to school, he was learning a new language, moving to a new country, opening a grocery store, and raising 4 kids and ended up going to war too.
    were spoiled...

  6. Sabrina! HI! That dog is the cutest thing in the world, I know. I'm seriously thinking of having a Woo update after each post, now. JUST because of the cute factor.

    Man, I love that all of us are like "Damn, our grandparents were way cooler at life than us." Meanwhile, our parents are apparently not worth mentioning, haha.

    I think the hardest part at this point is to keep it clear in one's head that the level of potential within a body is not necessarily equal to the opportunities and the surrounding environment's needs. Then again, tell that to gi-NORMOUS student loans, car payments, Health Insurance because you still can't get on your parents' payment plan, and rent. Lame.

    Go live with your grandparents, or if they have already passed on (as one of mine has) then steal someone else's and force yourself to be adopted and live the life of an Adult with balls the size of coconuts! Yay!