Recycling the Writing Cycle

Sunday, October 27, 2019

I’m teaching a lesson on the writing cycle tomorrow. Having to layout the process in a specific order made me think about the sequence that I follow. I do most of the brainstorming in my head at this point and collect my thoughts and ideas about a topic before I sit down to write. Sometimes, I just start typing. Those drafts typically remain unfinished and uninteresting. To express my thoughts or feelings about a topic, I need to ruminate on the subject for some time. Fortunately, I spend a lot of time in my own head. This is the process that works for me, but I need to differentiate for all my students. They all learn differently and appealing to their individual learning styles is a challenge for me. The fact is, some of my students will never become expressive writers. At least I can teach them how to write coherently.

Writing fiction is more difficult for me. Although I have an active imagination, structuring dialogue, and developing characters is not my forte. Over the summer, I intend to work on my creative writing through roleplaying games. I have listened to several sessions of D&D through podcasts and even sat in on a few games. The thing that seems so appealing about roleplaying games is the world-building. Crafting unique characters and intricate settings, with some improvisation, sprinkled over the top looks like an exciting way to learn how to write fiction. I hope that the time I spend practicing and playing D&D this summer will enhance my creative writing and improve a few skills that I have neglected.

Becoming a better writer is only one thing that I am trying to improve on. I also am interested in developing skills with video editing software so that I can create short documentaries. It may seem like a dull field of interest for most people, but I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate documentaries. The thing that is so appealing to me about curating documentaries is the variety of subjects that I can focus my attention on. Not only do I get to research and learn about something that I am interested in, but I also get to create something informative and share that knowledge with the world. Maybe my experience with teaching will aid me in my efforts. Reading and recoding scripts sound tedious but extremely rewarding when the finished product is something that I can be proud of.

Learning to edit and orchestrate videos is going to be a complicated process. I need to familiarize myself with the software and the tools that will be necessary to produce something coherent. This skill may seem unremarkable, but it is essential to create meaningful, quality content. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this project and learn more about the process. The only way to learn the craft is to start doing it. I’m planning on purchasing some editing software and around Christmas. I will learn to navigate the software and expedite my editing time by the summer so that I can spend my time creating content and growing my network. I already have several topics in mind that I can begin to research and collect ideas for. If I follow through on this plan, I can start working on a portfolio that is marketable for my passion. The big dream would be to do this professionally, but I will need to take baby steps to reach my goals.  

I want to build a career around compelling work. I can see documentary curation as an amalgamation of all of my current skills and interests. For me, it is quite literally a dream job. I’m not expecting to make much money pursuing this career. Monetization is the last thing on my mind, I may never see a cent for my efforts, but that’s not what this is all about. It is about my personal growth and development. Something that people neglect when they find a secure job or get tied down by their obligations. Perhaps my tendency to shy away from relationships and long-term commitments have a silver lining. I am free to make mistakes and fail, I am open to taking necessary risks, and I am free to dream big. 

In the meantime, I will have to stay focused on my current occupation. Teaching is more than a full-time job; it is an all-consuming lifestyle. I need to be spending time honing the skills necessary for this job, as well. Becoming a better teacher will also help me become a better documentary maker and ultimately help me become a better person. After all, If I can teach a bunch of apathetic teenagers about a writing cycle, I will be able to inform curious people about the subjects that I indent to discuss. I can be a journalist, a writer, an editor, a filmmaker, and a teacher. Hopefully, that will translate into a career that I can be proud of. Mostly, I want to do it for myself, so that I can become somebody that I can be proud of. 

-Nobody

Curricular Commitments

Struggling with the demands of a fulfilling career.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The rush of the cold October air has brought some challenges along with it. Getting up in the morning seems more difficult when I am sleeping comfortably in my cozy sheets. My mind is struggling to adapt to the shorter days and longer nights, leaving me feeling exhausted after work and restless in the evenings. I have fallen into a routine that accommodates most of my desires and needs.

Unfortunately, that meant that I didn’t have much time to dedicate to writing last week. The attraction was there, the words were dancing around in my skull, but my energy could not match my ambitions.

I am beginning to feel the full weight of my job, the responsibilities, and expectations that come along with it. I feel like there is little room for deviation, and failure would be catastrophic. Having dozens of colleagues and over a hundred young minds depending on me means that retreating is not an option. I bit off more than I can chew. I can either keep grinding my teeth, swallowing small portions of my responsibilities piece by piece, or thrash around choking on my own commitments. 

I’d prefer the former.

My motivation has sunk over the last few weeks. I am required to balance out my demanding career with my own mental health and dwindling social life. Companies always talk about a work-life balance but do very little to support it. My depression has been resurfacing, and I am finding myself disillusioned with my work. I compare myself to my colleagues and feel inadequate. This is a self-inflected critique, and I should probably lower my expectations for myself. I am resolved to dedicating this year to learning and growing to uphold the demands of this critical job. At the very least, if I fail, I will have developed some experience and a greater understanding of my own capabilities and limitations. 

I can still be a better version of myself.

I have done some reflecting on previous career choices and personal interests. Anyone who knows me can attest to my sporadic aspirations. When I wanted to learn to play an instrument, I changed paths frequently. Starting with drums, then moving to guitar, bass, and piano. I have developed some useful skills with each but mastered none. My career choices mirror my musical ambitions, scattered and independent. I have learned several skills but changed my focus so many times that I have mastered very few. I suppose that’s fitting for my personality. I keep taking on new projects in hopes that my passion will propel me through the tedium and steep learning curves, opting to switch careers or hobbies when they become dull or challenging. This may be one of my most significant flaws. With the contract that I signed, shifting my focus onto another career would be a great disservice to my colleagues and students. I should find a way to cope with my necessary routine and focus on mastering the skills that are required to progress in my field. 

Easier said than done.

Other teachers have consoled me that these feelings are not exclusive to my own plight. They mention how the first year of teaching is all about survival. The conventional explanation is that things do improve significantly throughout the year. Teachers hit rough patches in the long months with seldom breaks from the environment and routine. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. A massive chunk of leisure time is waiting for me around the holiday season and summer vacation. The demanding atmosphere, coupled with high expectations and a personal commitment, leaves many people feeling drained and inefficient. I can only hope that my own incompetence is not damaging the future of some of these developing minds, but that unnecessary guilt seems familiar amongst educators.

The students don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about me as I do about them.

My anxiety has started to interfere with my productivity. Working a job that requires so much preparation is also a contributing factor to my current mental decline. I often find myself spending several hours working outside of school to maintain some semblance of organization and structure. These efforts are not in vain, I’m sure there have been many other potential educators who have collapsed under the weight of the professional demands. I refuse to let my apprehension guide my decision making, and I am now personally invested in this cause. I have formed some genuine relationships with some of these students and would feel immense guilt if I were somehow unable to contribute to their education and development. I’ve reached the point where I feel like these are my kids now, and I am feeling the responsibility and frustration that every parent must experience at some point. I am resolved to complete this year, I will do my best for these students because they deserve so much more than I can begin to offer. I will sacrifice my comfort and sanity for the betterment of this small group of human beings.

Because I said, I would…

Lastly, I feel like one of my greatest strengths is also one of my largest foils. I empathize with these children too much. I am so dedicated to their development and struggles that I am draining all my social energy into engaging with them. This could yield remarkable results in the long term but currently leaves me feeling weary and depleted. This, combined with my artistic endeavors, leaves very little room for deviation from my routine. I am not fond of living according to this routine, but I am also not fond of thrashing around, choking on my own commitments.

-Nobody

Shifting Seasons

Ramblings about the weather:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A cold front is about to blow through. I looked out my window to see a surreal depiction of my driveway cast in amber, from a sky split between a golden sunset and an ominous black torrent. I tried to capture it in a photo, but the image doesn’t do it justice.

The thunder is rolling in, and the lighting is stabbing through my peripheries. I would say, that I hope I don’t lose power during the storm, but that would be disingenuous. To be honest, I would prefer an outage, darkness, and boredom, walking around with dimly lit candles, feeling like an 18th-century ghost. Sometimes I hope for the power just to stay down. Shattering the grand illusion that we are all connected, all the time, through tiny glowing screens.

I wonder if humanity could withstand such a regression.

Some of the most memorable moments in my life took place when the weather shook things up. Sleet covered bushes and sidewalks were treasures for a young Nobody when school was canceled. Candlelit card games when the power would go out. The cherished snow days where college students would gather clumps of loose snow from the hoods of cars and bombard each other in the streets. Those moments that brought everyone out of their homes to witness the spectacle of an eclipse. Not only were those moments memorable, but they were also times where I felt more connected to the people around me than ever. Sharing a collective experience in our total lack of control.

Maybe I should join a commune… On second thought, no.

My parents used to tell me that I was born in the wrong generation. They perceived me to be some flower child that would have blossomed in the ’70s. I can’t say that I disagree. I used to watch television on a cheap old TV that a friend and I had boosted from someone’s curb. We thought it looked like something from the ’70s, so we painted it up with bright flowers and psychedelic patterns. It was aptly named “The Groove Tube.” We fashioned an antenna out of a crumpled-up strip of aluminum foil and adjusted the angle until we could pick up two channels. One of them was entirely in Spanish…

Hablo un poco

When watching the “That 70’s Show” on the groove tube, I remember yearning for a time when we weren’t so dependent on technology for our day-to-day encounters. Everything required more interaction; resolving conflicts required genuine engagement from both parties. Breakups during the ’70s either had to be face-to-face or over the phone. I doubt many people ended relationships with strongly worded letters. If someone was close to you, then they knew your daily schedule and routines. If they called looking for you and you weren’t home, they may have no idea where you had gone. People had to know more about each other for a friendship or relationship to even be possible. I look back on these times and wish that I could have the experience of living in a world that still relied on physical interactions as the primary source of socializing. Today just feels so disconnected.

I wish I could turn everyone’s phone off, just for a few days.

I can’t wait for the cold to stick. I find so much more enjoyment in these dreary months than I do broiling in the Texas sun. I can only blame genetics. The October weather has always intrigued me. Shifting from hot sunny days to cold autumn nights with volatility. It’s as if the heat and cold are in a game of tug-o-war. Except by the end of October, the cold will always win.

 I can feel a chill settling into my room now. I’m looking forward to giving my overworked air-conditioning unit a break and donning my favorite hoodie. Maybe I will watch a few episodes of “That 70’s Show” and reminisce on simpler times.

-Nobody

INFP-Dreamer

A glimpse into the behavioral psychology of a dreamer.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

To me, the 16 personality types always seemed like a contemporary horoscope. The science behind analyzing the 16 personality types seems inexact, some conflation of intuition, and cold reading. I have always been skeptical of these personality designations; I remember first taking the test early in college and finding the result of Mediator to seem insignificant and negligible. Last night, however, I found myself taking the personality test on a whim, out of some spontaneous curiosity about my own behavior. I was looking for insight into myself, and I think that I may have manifested it. Surprisingly, my results were the same as they were years before. I was the Mediator, INFP, (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) . Not really knowing what to do with that acronym, I spent a few hours reading and doing research on this personality type and found it to be eerily similar to my own.

I’m not suggesting that a personality test will relay the complexities of the spectrum of human emotion. However, this designation seems congruent with who I know myself to be. Some favorable aspects of this personality include unrelenting ambitions, resilience to criticism, and a heightened capacity for empathy. Negative traits include being overly self-reflective, disorganized, disconnected, and having a low tolerance for overexposure to draining social engagements. While I was learning about the personality type, I found myself reflecting on my previous posts, especially the ones that I have published on this blog. You see, INFP’s are also known as the dreamers. We are the kind of people that are content with spending hours within our own imagination, daydreaming and fantasizing about an ideal future. Productivity often falls behind creativity in terms of significance for INFP’s. We subsist on our individual principals and lofty dreams. Regularly spending time drifting in and out of reality.

If I’m being honest with myself, this describes me all too well. Family members and friends have grown frustrated in the past with my lackadaisical attachment to reality. Often commenting that I live in a fantasy world, far too concerned with idealism, rather than a pragmatic approach to reality. This criticism has resurfaced repetitively throughout my relationships with others. I often hear this about myself and concur to some degree. For me, the outlandish possibilities provide me with a sense of purpose. Dream fulfillment seems to be my only long-term goal that I have given enough attention to justify thorough planning.

Frequent career changes are also a personality trait of INFP individuals. In my young adult life, I worked over 10 different jobs with varying degrees of required engagement and knowledge. The following is a list of part-time jobs or careers that I have attempted or mastered in the past:

  • Kitchen Cook
  • Bus Boy
  • Server
  • Bartender
  • Barista
  • Shift Manager
  • Garden Center Vendor
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Tutor
  • Courier
  • Student (yes, it is a job)
  • Teacher

I am still struggling to determine what career path to take in the future. Teaching is fulfilling and rewarding, but I am prone to fantasize about what careers would be most suitable for my personality and creative endeavors. Expressing my philosophy is of the utmost importance to me. The following is a list of occupations that I would love to experience and master in the future:

  • Copy Writer
  • Journalist
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Musician
  • Author
  • Politician
  • Critic
  • Podcaster
  • Content Producer
  • Multimedia Analyst
  • Documentary Producer
  • Museum Curator 
  • Librarian
  • Biographer
  • Actor/Comedian

It is safe to say that some of these jobs are inaccessible without a considerable amount of dedication and education. Even with my degree, some of these job requirements just seem unachievable within the context of my short life. However, some of these jobs are only a few years away from being actualized. It is essential for me to find time to dedicate to these passions, they may be the only path forward to a fulfilling career and life. There is no way that I could possibly achieve all these dreams, but I sure as hell can try. I think the overarching theme of my aspirations is that I need room for creativity in my work. I used to joke with my mother that I never wanted to end up in a cubicle. My practical father would laugh it off, saying that I should just look for stability, even if that came with 4 short walls and a desk. My mother would actively encourage my ambitious outlook and support even my wildest dreams. This balance would tilt the scales back and forth but leave me with enough wiggle room to think creatively about my future.

I’d think that this assessment of myself sounds like I’ve drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid of behavioral psychology. I am fascinated by it, but still skeptical. However, I am willing to embrace this personality designation because it is suitable for me. I don’t intend to become a behavioral psychologist, but I have always been interested in human interactions. I remember purchasing a book on body-language so that I could read a room better. Looking for clusters of subtle behavior that may indicate confidence, reluctance, deception, or authenticity. The book didn’t change my life, but it did offer some unique perspectives when analyzing social and unconscious behavior. The utility of understanding these interactions has proven useful in several careers. Trusting my intuition and expanding my knowledge of human behavior will continue to shape my interactions with others in the world and promote better communication and understanding.

As for the future, I need to stay focused on my long-term goals. Getting trapped in an unhappy career is one of my greatest fears. Developing an exit plan and acquiring all of the necessary components to advance is a top priority for me. Conventional retirement is not something that I see happening in my lifetime. I do appreciate the concept of maturing through a career to earn recognition and some sort of fixed income. However, I cannot ever see myself sticking with one job, working for one company for long enough to ever meet the ever-increasing term requirements for a pension. I will likely work for the rest of my adult life, and I am okay with that. As long as the work that I’m doing is fulfilling and compelling, I will be content. Acquiring the discipline to shift from one career to another will take a great deal of dedication and practice, but fulfilling my dreams is my prerogative, and must remain a priority.

-Nobody

Cynical Certainty

The repetitious death of childhood dreams.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I want to take a moment to thank anyone who may stumble upon this blog and give it a read. I’m not focusing on promoting myself as a blogger, I don’t format my site, and I rarely offer up a simple image. I keep reading these cranked out articles by people desperately trying to build a following and profit from their writing. Comparatively, this is not a competition for me. I am genuinely enjoying the cathartic release of jotting my thoughts down onto a screen and sending them off somewhere into the ether. I’m saying this because, if you do happen to find this and read it, you should know what my intentions are.

-Thank You

I watched the ending of the 1992 film rendition of “Of Mice and Men” five times today. I thought that It would be more excruciating than it was. I was taking notes on some of the differences between the film and the book, and I crafted the idea that the entire novella is some convoluted metaphor for the inevitable death of childish dreams. Perhaps this thought belongs in some pretentious book club, but I genuinely believe that this was the cynical takeaway that Steinbeck had constructed. If you’re willing to treat Lennie as a personification of simple childlike aspirations, you will see that George embodies the harsh inescapable reality of responsibility and the limitations of an individual with cumbrous responsibilities, who dares to dream.

I’m convinced that this was written as some cautionary tale. A coming-of-age milestone for young adults who learn that not all stories have happy endings. I am looking forward to putting this reading unit behind me because the central theme is a total bummer. Not only do I frequently see Steinbeck’s cynical outlook manifest, I believe that it serves no other purpose than to put people in their places. I fundamentally disagree with the notion that high aspirations are childish. Maybe my inner child is so defensive of these dreams that it is refusing to let go and it is clinging on desperately. Either way, Steinbeck’s cautionary tale reverberates through every 9th-grade hall, breaking the spirit of enthusiastic youth and reminding exhausted teachers of why it’s dangerous to dream.

Reflecting on these thoughts makes me sound defeated, but I genuinely believe that it is better to stumble and fall, than it is to wait for an opportune moment to advance. Finding success in your adult life comes from a series of mistakes and corrections. Modifying your behavior and expectations until you can achieve something beyond them. I am lucky enough not to have endured many significant setbacks during my personal development. There were undoubtedly some hindrances that restrained my growth, but I never had to take on the monumental task of parenting or being married. I respect anyone who has had to change their life for the betterment of someone else’s. I recognize the luxury of my independence and freedom.

Is it wrong that I don’t necessarily want to do these things?

Without those restraints in my life, I am free to make mistakes frequently, with few severe repercussions. I’d like to think that this will lead to some wisdom that I may acquire through trial and error. It’s not necessarily the best way to learn things, but it will suffice. I am also in a position where I can take much more significant risks. After all, failing will only hurt me, not destroy a family. I can’t begin to explain how terrifying the thought of someone else, depending on me is. Not depending on me for some minor obligation but relying on me to play an essential role in their life. Maybe those fears will prevent me from ever experiencing the joy of fulfilling those roles, but they will also prevent me from ever having to bear the burden of shooting my childish dreams, execution-style with a Luger, five times a day.

-Nobody

Cautious Optimism

Preserving my spirit for darker days ahead.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

I’ve been debating on whether or not to write tonight; I figured since I am ahead of my work, I might as well. I’ve noticed a shift in my general disposition about the future as of late. I was cautiously optimistic about making something more out of myself. I want to think that I was grounded and being realistic, but lately, I’ve found myself lost in delusions of grandeur. It’s like the barrier that has blocked my highest ambitions has eroded. Now I am dreaming larger than I ever have before. Perhaps this is a set up for my inevitable crash back to earth, but as of now, I am soaring.

Am I catching an updraft with lead wings?

I’m looking at the world through a new lens; I now see potential and opportunity in things that I have brazenly overlooked in the past. I can envision myself exceeding my expectations, which was something that I have struggled with for most of my life. Despite the anxiety associated with this mental shift, I can finally see potential in myself. I neglected to give myself credit for my achievements, always thinking that I should have done more. The more that I think about it, I realize that I have laid a foundation for a fulfilling life. Not only is my current job gratifying, but I am now applying the diverse skills that I have acquired over the last decade. I have been practicing music with an actual band, not just toiling in my room alone, trying to learn songs that some girl I’d been pining after would recognize. I’ve finally started writing again, and that has promoted positivity in the way that I process my thoughts. I feel like I have been gathering materials for ten years, and I’m finally ready to start building my future.

I am the architect of my life; let’s build this damn thing.

 I feel like my depression has been less prominent over the last few months, and I’m not sure what to make of it. My obvious concern is that I am in a perpetual manic state that will eventually descend into a depressive episode. At this point, I can’t help but wonder if I am released from the neurodivergent confines of my chemical imbalance. Either way, I have developed healthy ways to cope, when or if my depression resurfaces. I now recognize the unwavering support of friends and family members that have propped up my fragile ego. I used to fixate on what I didn’t have, which led to disappointment and a sense of inadequacy. I am now learning to appreciate the network of people who’ve been supporting me all along. Maybe this emotional overload is a symptom of some deluge of serotonin that had been dammed up somewhere in my skull. Perhaps this is just supposed to happen when you’re approaching 30. Either way, I hope that I can channel this energy into something productive.

It seems like wishful thinking, but what’s wrong with that?

I still intend to enjoy my old fall routine, as I have learned to do over the years. Watching depressing movies and reading in my comfortable sheets. I am looking forward to the early sunsets and cold nights. Somewhere along the way, I learned to see the beauty in some of the dreariest moments. I revel in those cold winter walks with barren trees and overcast skies. The aesthetic of a dormant city, waiting to spring back to life when sunny days return. I am particularly fond of the warm and inviting atmosphere of an artificially heated home. People gathered indoors to celebrate cheerful occasions, illuminating the rigid darkness outside through chilled glass windows. The enticing smell of baked goods, wafting through the gloomy, frigid air. The weight of my heavy coat as I plunge my arms into the padded, insulated sleeves. Just thinking about it now makes my heart swell. 

Does seasonal affective disorder apply to brutal summers?

I wonder how I will experience fall and winter through my new rose-colored lenses. I find it funny that we use that colloquialism because when you wear rose-colored glasses, your eyes adapt to them, and your vision resembles what it did before putting them on, but with more vibrancy and clarity. When you remove rose-colored lenses after your eyes have adapted, the world looks much bluer and more somber. Isn’t it strange that we encourage optimism and hopefulness, but we reserve this phrase to put down anyone who escapes the confines of our relentlessly restrictive reality? I would rather help people to see the good in things than to see how dark and twisted this world can get.

If you have rose-colored lenses on, keep them on.

Nobody

Imagination Contemplation

What is responsible for the gap in imagination?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Well, it’s been an eventful week. I conducted a wedding ceremony over the weekend, it was my first time doing something like that and the stakes were high. I was marrying off two of my oldest friends and I couldn’t have been more delighted in the experience. I intended to write another blog post over the weekend, but celebrations and reunions took precedent. Now I am experiencing true exhaustion. The ceremony required a lot of mental focus and the reception drained all of my social energy. Drudging my way back into school reminded me that I need to maintain that focus and energy for the rest of the week. I feel like a 4-year-old phone battery.


I found myself in a discussion about imagination and contemplated the thought that the most boring and tedious moments of my life fostered an active imagination. I expressed that a large portion of students I encounter have difficulty imaging things. Maybe it was those moments I had running around in the woods unsupervised as a child that cultivated creativity. Maybe it was the offensively uninteresting moments that I sat staring at blank walls or desks, completely in my head. Somewhere within that catalog of desk-drooling and textbook staring, I learned how to envision things and immerse myself in different worlds. I must have looked strange as a student.


This conversation sparked a chain of thoughts. It seems too easy to blame technology for this unimaginative generation. To be fair, these children were born with I-Phones and YouTube. They have had more access to information than any previous generation on this earth. They are constantly bombarded with stimulation from every facet of life. They hold a device that connects them to everyone and everything in the world. These kids are utterly plugged in.


I can’t definitively say that the boom of technology is responsible for this anomaly, but it is certainly a factor. I thought about daydreams. Daydreams are where I spent most of the mundane moments of my childhood. I would imagine full conversations, relationships, and entire lives. If I wasn’t engaging with somebody or something in the outside world, I was actively engaging with myself in my head. I wonder how long the human brain can sustain that level of exertion. Daydreams were pleasant, I could escape from a boring lecture and disappear into my mind. I’m curious to see how many of these students can also retreat into their own worlds. I can’t define the barrier, but I’m searching for a key to open these students up to their imaginations.

Is clinically induced boredom a thing?


I suppose that these children need exposure to all forms of creativity to unlock that imagination that they assuredly have. We call it differentiation, but really, it is just bird-shot. Sometimes we hit our target and inspire young minds and sometimes we whiff. I intend to open the robotic minds of this portion of the youth and install new hardware. Without the foundation of imagination, critical thinking is far out of reach.

Is it even possible to teach someone to daydream?

Would that be the biggest mistake of my career?

I don’t have answers to these questions. I can only hedge my bets that I can find some way to connect to these goblins and clear a path to creativity.


I spent my commute silently contemplating these thoughts. Having the same conversation in my head, that I’m typing up now. Perhaps you do the same thing, imagine conversations in your head, stare off into space, fantasize about a life you could never live, drool on your desk; Keep daydreaming.


-Nobody