Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Keep on livin'

I started this blog months ago and I still don't know what I'd like to use it for. For now, we'll settle on randomness.

I'm in Durango, Colorado right now, visiting my friend Victoria, whose mom bought me a plane ticket as a Christmas gift. I arrived on December 24 and will be heading back to Detroit on January 2.

I know it sounds touristy of me, but the Rocky Mountains are friggin' gorgeous. I wish I had something pretty to look at in Michigan (maybe I do but I'm taking it for granted because I've lived there all my life). I don't travel much, so I dig the scenery. I can see the mountains at any time, wherever I am: through the windows of Victoria's house, from the coffee shop in town, and from the road to New Mexico (yes, we went to New Mexico, just to shop at Target; it was amusing and a half).

I definitely needed to get away for a while. Just like every other 20-something out there, I've been trying to figure out what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life. Wishing I could be as happy as I was two years ago. Mustering up enough energy to make the changes that will (hopefully) make me as happy as I was then.

In the meantime, I'm drinking wine, watching countless episodes of Gilmore Girls, and reading some good books (the new Francine Prose book and this year's edition of _The Best American Poetry_, among others). Eating junk food and trying to relax, even though I had a nightmare about Cardinal Sins last night--the first of the semester. And the semester hasn't even started yet!

Sigh. Whatevs. Bring it on, 2010. Bring it on.

Friday, December 25, 2009

'Tis the season.

Here's my gift to you: my favorite YouTube video, featuring Fiona Apple on the Late, Late Show back in 2006. She sings "Get Him Back," and afterward, is interviewed by Craig Ferguson. I could gush about how wonderful the interview is, but instead, I'll let you see for yourself.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Growing pains.

This is how it works:
You're young until you're not;
you love until you don't;
you try until you can't;
you laugh until you cry;
you cry until you laugh;
and everyone must breathe
until their dying breath.

Those lyrics (from a song by Regina Spektor) sum up my year.

In 2009 I moved into my first apartment, became the editor-in-chief of Cardinal Sins, saw Tracy Chapman in concert (!!!), turned 21, went to a funeral for a 6-year-old, failed a class, came out of the closet, made and lost some really wonderful friends, and tried (but failed) to stop biting my nails.

For the first time, I didn't feel young. I lived, and figured out that living kind of hurts. They aren't shitting you when they say life is hard/not all about looking good on paper.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's over.

Dear Fall 2009 Semester,

I'm breaking up with you. I wish it would have worked out between us. You seemed pretty cool when I met you: a bunch of English classes, a gig with a small press in Bay City, and leadership experience via Cardinal Sins.

But you're just too needy, Fall '09. And our relationship has consumed a little too much of my time and energy. My friends miss me. So does my cat. (Didn't I warn you not to cut into the time I set aside for my feline?)

I know, I know. You tried your best to be good to me. Some of the stuff we did together looks pretty awesome on my resume. And I appreciate all the chocolate you gave me, but it's giving me acne. I need to start eating well-balanced meals, and it's safe to assume you won't cook them for me.

As much as I'd like to remain friends, it just isn't meant to be, and I'd prefer if you didn't try to contact me ever again. I know you might be tempted to call me to meet up for coffee, but as much as I love coffee, I don't think we have much to reminisce about.

I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your life, and bid thee farewell.


Thursday, November 19, 2009


All semester I've felt like a tornado that has hit the Bible Belt. I ruin everything I touch, but people have a lot of faith in something I can't see, so they're willing to forgive and move on with their lives.

It's been a rough term. I can't lay claim to a tangible tragedy; I just bit off more than I could chew and suffered the consequences (which means I whined a lot, and in doing so, caused others to suffer too).

In class the other day, I mentioned to my professor that I'll be 21 before the end of the semester. She said something about how I had better not come to class with a hangover. I told her that I feel like I've come to class with a hangover every day since classes started back in August.

This semester has brought out the worst in some and the best in others. I won't go into detail about exactly what made this semester so difficult for me, but suffice it to say that I've had to deal with a lot of bullshit from people, so have needed a whole lot of support and encouragement.

I've discovered that I know some incredibly kind and patient people. You know who you are. Thank you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

90s pop music to the rescue!

I've had Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket" on repeat all weekend. And I'm posting the lyrics here, just because.


I'm broke but I'm happy.
I'm poor but I'm kind.
I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah.
I'm high but I'm grounded.
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed.
I'm lost but I'm hopeful, baby.

And what it all comes down to
is that everything's gonna be fine, fine, fine.
'Cause I've got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one is giving a high five.

I feel drunk but I'm sober.
I'm young and I'm underpaid.
I'm tired but I'm working, yeah.
I care but I'm restless.
I'm here but I'm really gone.
I'm wrong and I'm sorry, baby.

And what it all comes down to
is that everything's gonna be quite all right,
'cause I've got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one is flicking a cigarette.

And what it all comes down to
is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet,
'cause I've got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one is giving a peace sign.

I'm free but I'm focused.
I'm green but I'm wise.
I'm hard but I'm friendly, baby.
I'm sad but I'm laughing.
I'm brave but I'm chickenshit.
I'm sick but I'm pretty, baby.

And what it all boils down to
is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.
I've got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one is playing a piano.

What it all comes down to, my dear friends,
is that everything is just fine, fine, fine,
'cause I've got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one is hailing a taxi cab.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things I wish I could say to myself, age 16

  • Don't be so sure of what you want out of life. Because then you might get exactly what you want and realize it isn't what you thought it would be.
  • Drop everything and read a book (or three) by Margaret Atwood.
  • What/who you love the most will throw you off the most.
  • You're not too old to play on the swings.
  • Wear glasses instead of contacts. They're classy, trust me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You'll be there, right?

On Friday, August 7, 2009, I will be reading at the Magic Bean on State Street in Saginaw as part of the monthly First Friday art, music, and poetry event. Starts at 7.

It's a pretty spiffy gig. All the cool kids will be there.

Matthew Falk and Dan Schell will also be reading. And there will be music by Paradox Theory and Blue Oldman, as well as art by Amanda Simons.

See you soon, folks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Controlled Burn

The annual Controlled Burn Seminar for Young Writers starts this Sunday, July 12. And for the first time in five years, I won't be attending.

I don't regret my decision not to return this summer. But as I was thinking about it today, a friend and fellow Controlled Burn attendee posted some photos to her Facebook page. They were from 2005--my first year with the seminar. So I started digging through my own collection of photos and well, here I am.

Controlled Burn changed my life. That's a pretty big statement, but a true one. I cannot imagine where I'd be right now--as a writer, as a person--had my dad not come across an article about the seminar in a northern Michigan newspaper and shown it to me.

I was sixteen when I first came to Controlled Burn. Like every other first timer, I figured I'd spend the week hiding in my room, writing.

And like every other first timer, I was wrong.

I met my first boyfriend at Controlled Burn. As my friend Sarah (a fellow CB student) pointed out to me after my relationship with him ended, there is a beautiful intensity about Controlled Burn. There's a bit of euphoria that goes along with being there. And because of that, any relationship forged there is going to hold higher esteem in one's mind, because it's romanticized with that unique environment.

I had not expected anything like that to happen. For that matter, at sixteen, I did not expect much of myself. Controlled Burn changed that.

Because none of my family members are educated, I did not expect that I would be able to go very far with my own education, even though school is what I've always been good at (I mean come on, I was spending my summer vacation at a writing seminar of all things).

There were less than twenty students enrolled in Controlled Burn that summer, and about four faculty members running workshops. Class sizes were very small (and remained small as the years passed). Because I was able to work so closely with everyone, I found that I was no longer intimidated by the degrees held by the people I was working with. I finally figured out that we're all just people, and the social divisions we create in our minds do not (or at the very least, should not) have any tangible counterparts in the real world.

I'm now about to start my third year of college. I'm still writing, and my work has been published in several reputable literary venues (both in print and online). I'm currently the editor-in-chief of Cardinal Sins, and I'm interning with a local small press.

I like to believe Controlled Burn gave me the confidence to claim this territory as my own.

At the risk of sounding dangerously cheesy, Controlled Burn affected me in a way that nothing else ever has. Yes, I've moved on. But that doesn't mean I've left anything behind.

"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." - Patti Smith

I don't think I should have to wear atheism like a scarlet letter. Until recently (a year or so ago, perhaps), I told everyone I didn't know what I believed in, when the truth is that I don't believe in anything at all.

My dad was raised Catholic. My maternal grandmother is a born-again Christian. Neither of my parents connected with their parents' respective religious views, and because it was such a touchy topic for everyone, they decided to raise their kids (Paige, me) without a religion.

I'm an atheist. But the first time I said that out loud, my mother freaked out, even though in raising my sister and me without a religion, her goal was to give us a chance to make up our own minds. And I've made up my mind. I want no part of it.

When I was sixteen or so, I spent several months attending all sorts of church services, just to satiate my own curiosity about all the ideologies out there. My mother did not approve, and warned me not to let myself be brainwashed the way her mother had been.

So it's weird. Organized religion scares my mother just as much as it scares me. But she's ashamed of what she doesn't believe in, perhaps because it isn't "socially acceptable."

I refuse to be ashamed of it.

I respect your belief in something greater than this. In return, I expect you to respect my lack of it.