Friday, July 25, 2008

Last Day in Iowa!

I get to go home tomorrow and I'm definitely ready. Seven days a week of writing for three straight weeks has exhausted me. Going car free has given me a lot of energy though. I love walking everywhere. Unfortunately this isn't exactly possible at home, but I'm going to try to work something out where I walk more and drive less. Florida is difficult. It was designed for cars, everything is far, it's so freaking hot and there are no bushy trees to provide shade from the sun like there are here. That makes walking in South Florida a major ordeal and plus, where I live, there isn't a lot to walk to, except the beach.

But anyway, I'm about to start crapping blood again because I have to fly on the small plane again to get from Cedar Rapids to Chicago. I hate it. I don't like flying on big planes either, but small planes are even worse. This thing was the size of a curling iron. Then I start to get superstitious about it. I saw that this morning a Qantas plane had an explosion so I think, well there can't be two air problems or disasters a day apart. What are the odds? So that means I'm ok, right? Please say it does. Then my rational side kicks in and goes "It's a half an hour of your life. You're gonna work yourself into a frenzy over a half an hour? You can do anything for a half an hour." And I'll get back on that curling iron and make it to Chicago just fine, I'm sure. The weather report looks good for tomorrow.

I just can't wait to get home and do not much of anything for a little while. I want to go swimming and grill and take a bath and eat some seafood.

I've had so much growth in my writing and in my self since I've been here that I can't wait to get writing at home and finish up some of the projects I started here. So I can't die in a plane crash. I am not going to die in a plane crash. I have thousands of things left to do in life and I refuse to die before I publish a book. That's not happening.

Randy Pausch died today. I feel the need to mention that because Randy Pausch is part of the reason why I came here to Iowa in the first place. His mission was to tell everyone how to live their dreams and I am one of those people who is all about living some dreams. I was kind of doing it already, but when my husband showed me his Last Lecture I got a good kick in the butt from it and decided that I had more to do and more dreams to create.

To me, it's not just living your childhood dreams. You have to keep on making up more and more dreams as you go through life and living all of them too. When I was a child I dreamed of being a waittress. I guess I didn't have much ambition, but when I was little being a waittress seemed insanely glamourous to me. I used to carry a pad around and take people's orders all the time.

I'm proud to say that I achieved this dream. I became a waittress and I royally sucked fucking ass at it. I was the worst waittress ever in the history of waittresses. I was an asshole, impatient, clumsy and I hated every one of the customers. I spilled things. I was a spaz with the trays. I forgot who ordered what. I sucked. I never made any tips and I learned that being a waittress was not what I thought it was when I was four. But I did it and in the course learned that where I wanted to be was in the back of the house, as they say in restaurants. That was partly how I came to learn to cook.

Then I just kept making up more and more dreams and living them out. I'm still doing it.

One of my dreams, which Randy Pausch helped me see through, was to study writing at Iowa, the best writing school in the entire world. This was impossible. The Writer's Workshop accepts 15 people a year out of thousands of applicants. It's expensive, hard and wouldn't work in my life, but I said I wanted to go. Then Husband found out that they have a summer program and any dumb ass like me could go and study with all the same faculty, plus some extras who were all famous writers who had graduated from here, and then I scraped and wished and prayed for the money to go and I stuck it on my cheezy ass vision board and within days I was going to Iowa. Me. And while I wasn't in the real Iowa Writer's Workshop I was pretty damned close, workshopping, studying, reading and writing just like the real students do and it was more incredible than I ever thought. And guess what, all of my teachers have in some way, told me that I am good, which was worth more than anything else - that some of the best writers in the world took my work seriously.

So wow. I got to do this. I think when I get home, since I will NOT die in a plane crash, that I will tell you some of the other stories of how I made my dreams come true, because I did make them come true. Nothing supernatural happened. I worked and you can too.

After I get done in the pool I'll tell you many more stories.


nandy said...

I admired Randy immensely and was saddened to hear about his death. But I'm very glad to hear that he also inspired you. I look forward to reading your works that came out of your workshops.

miss vintage love said...

Great post! I love your waitress story, it's adorable.

Laurie said...

wow!! You sound so excited! I'm so happy for you.

I've decided to make some changes in my life and start writing again (or more?) myself, so I feel really excited for you.


kerry said...

Enjoy your days in the pool! You'll make it home. Even the airplane that got the hole in the side made it to the ground safely.

Yay for going home!!!! I know what you mean about it being difficult to avoid driving; southern California is the same way. The only time I can bicycle is in the limits of my suburb, but at least it's something. There are a couple places I bring my bike in the car with me so I can park away from the psychosis that is LA and bike to my final destination. Or bring my bike on the bus or train.

Glad to hear your writing workshop was so productive. I admire people who can write. I'm not good at it, but I love reading.

Anonymous said...

Well, of course your teachers said you're a good writer, because it's TRUE!!!

But I'm glad you got their verification. I know how important that is.

TK said...

Thanks for mentioning Randy, I was really sorry to read that in the news. His "Last Lecture" was pretty cool.

As for you, CONGRATULATIONS! You made a dream come true and belief in yourself made that possible. Keep up the good work, go swim and come back refreshed and make your reader's days better with your wit and your insight and your words!

Emily said...

It's so inspiring that you were able to realize one of your dreams like that!

Enjoy unwinding after a very busy couple of weeks, and appreciate the fact that you can turn your porch light on and off whenever you damn well please!

Rich said...

A friend of mine has been a pilot for Continental for 30 years. He says it's the safest mode of transportation. I also try to remember that the pilot has as much interest in living as I do, and that seems to make it easier for me to fly.

Do elevators bother you? I have trouble with them sometimes. I think it's the issue of actually thinking about where you physically are. Elevators and planes are not my favorites for that reason.

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