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Five questions and a block

I've been living in a state of writer's block lately. No matter what I write, it comes out dry and dull and boring, and I wonder why on earth I wrote it down in the first place or why I'd even care what I ate for lunch. But, I tell myself, the only way to get out of such a block is to keep on going, one foot in front of the other.

This is the reason (well, one of them) I've disappeared as of late. I've found that I can hardly sit in front of the computer for an extended period, and when I do, I'm itching to do something else. This is usually a good thing, but when I sit down to write, whether in Dr. Nbook or with an open blank file, the words don't come out the way they used to. Remember the way they used to come out? They used to flow. They used to dance. I didn't have to put forth any effort, for the words would find their way out of my mind and onto the screen or paper.

Now, though? Fiction is becoming difficult. My mind has built a brick wall between my characters and me, and I don't know if it's going to come down anytime soon. Worse yet, what if it never comes down? What if I'm separated from my characters, my writing, forever? Would I be living a half-assed existence? Would I be forced to just exist, disconnected from everything I know?

We may never know.

Okay, that was depressing. Here, have an interview from baxaphobia.

1. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
This one's tricky. If you asked me this time last year, I'd say something about being in grad school and figuring out a disseration and all those fun things associated with such a life. Now, though? I have no idea. It's not that I have no goals. It's that I have no idea where I want to go with them. I want to do math. I want to write. I don't know if I'm ready to spend five more years in a classroom. I don't know if I can make it by writing alone, or if I'm flat-out good enough to do such.

There is a concept of flow in psychology, where you're just in the zone and fully focused and interested in whatever you're doing. I've experienced flow before, and luckily I've experienced it with both math and writing. I've worked on problem sets in the math center and not noticed with a public safety officer comes in to kick me out and lock the building. I've sat down and written for hours at a time, not noticing the time pass but noticing the word count or the page count rise. I've stayed at Java Monkey for hours past the time my friends left, just to get a few more pages written, telling them I'd be back in a few more minutes, when 'a few more minutes' turned into 'a few more hours'. I've filled boards and papers with mathematical scribblings, knowing that something I was doing had to be right. (And sometimes none of it was, but that's also part of math.)

So, five years? I don't know yet. I just want to experience this feeling again. Curing this writer's block would be fantastic. Using writing and math would be double plus good.

2. Who is a hero of yours and why?
This is a hard one. We had to answer this exact question in elementary school, and while most people said something like their parents, I said... well, I don't remember what I said now, but it definitely wasn't a personal hero of mine.

The truth? I don't really do the hero thing. I've just never given it much thought. Yes, this is copping out. I can't help it.

3. What was your favorite memory of your trip to France?
Wow, I still haven't written about this, have I? Let's make an unordered list.
* passing the Eiffel Tower on the way to the hotel and letting it kick in that yes, I'm in France
* watching mass in Notre Dame (FYI, Notre Dame is crazy on Sundays.
* visiting Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Henri Poincaré's graves
* wandering around downtown Paris by myself on the last day and claiming Paris as my own
* Drinking champagne from the Champagne region (we stopped by Reims on the way to Strasbourg)
* eating snails and duck (They were yummy, too.)
* eating my first croque-monsieur and sipping tea in a real live French café in Avignon with friends
* the stopover in Germany! Sure, we didn't explore much since it was pouring, but I set foot in it.
* Wine and talking. Lots of it. I think I drank more alcohol on the trip than I have for the rest of my life previous to it. (And I still don't like it!)
* Speaking of alcohol, drinking wine out of a baby bottle.
* Playing the "Spot the American" game. A few of us ate lunch on the riverside one day, and we waved at the people on the boat rides. The tourists would wave back.
* Lots and lots of sandwiches.
* Getting lost and finding my way back.
* Letting the rain fall on me when I didn't have an umbrella.
* Eating sushi in Paris with Mme Knowlton and two Scotties who were studying abroad in Paris. I'm supposed to see them on the other side of the ocean!
* Wanting to stay in France forever, and realizing that I could probably survive.

4. What quality in a person drives you absolutely to distraction?
I was about to write an entry on this, too. Lots of people annoy me--people who try to talk for me, intolerant people, snobby people, backstabbers, people who don't know you're from your, people who say the same thing over and over and over, people who don't get sarcasm, people who can dish it out but can't take it, people who assume I'm the same person I was at fifteen as I am at twenty-one, ... I could go on for a very long time, but then I'd appear to hate everyone.

5. City or country?
Hooray, an easy question for the finish. As I'm seriously considering moving to New York City after graduation (assuming, of course, I don't go to grad school), I think the answer to this one is definitely city. I love stepping out the door and knowing that a walk down the road can be an adventure. I love having everything so close by, having the world at my doorstep, something I just don't have here at the moment, which is why I'm slowly going nuts.

One step at a time, I tell myself. One foot in front of the other.