I was going to spend a productive day packing and getting ready for China on Friday, and the only thing I've really done so far today is shower and send a few emails. And check my new Twitter account obsessively.
I had to write a biography of myself for this conference that was 600 words or less, so when I finished this version I thought, I'm doing fine. Until I checked the email again.
Turns out no one wants to know that much about me. They wanted 600 characters or less.
Here's the long version that I'm going to whittle down for the conference. I'll even add a few dull details to make it more conference-apropos.
I was born and raised in New York City, and surrounded myself with almost every kind of book within my reach. Frequent trips to the library were a staple of my childhood.
I had the almost impossibly good fortune of attending a school whose core philosophy was learning for learning's sake from the age of six until seventeen. There were no grades, only written evaluations, and starting in high school we could form our own curriculum based on our own interests and ambitions.
The founder and longtime headmaster of this school, Stanley, recently went gently into that good night. As I reflect on my own story, I will always be indebted to his bold vision of education and the tenacity with which he clung to it. I am who I am because the school Stanley built taught me to have the courage to be the person I want to be right now.
I was monolingual until I took Latin in sixth grade, and then switched to Spanish in middle school and and added Chinese and French in high school. I've stuck with Chinese as an East Asian Studies major at college, and just returned from a year abroad in Taiwan. As a child people asked me if I spoke Spanish at home and if I frequently visited my grandparents in Puerto Rico because of my last name and my heritage.
These questions always befuddled me: I was American and I spoke English, as did both of my parents and their parents. I didn't understand how the color of my skin determined an allegiance to a particular language, so I tried as many languages on for size as I could.
As I grew older and continued to ask bigger and more provoking questions about myself, I've discovered that the only way to learn anything about yourself worth knowing is not studying your own history, or 'discovering your roots', as some call it. You must immerse yourself in the life of a stranger until you understand that he is you, even the parts of him you can't stand. To know yourself is to know others, and vice versa.
I had an account in 2009, and I didn't see the point. It was incredibly distracting and I figured Facebook would be enough.
But it's a convenient way for me to keep in touch with friends, family, and my interests: publishing, politics, and literature. I need to keep up on the run. It's just the way my life is going. If you have Twitter, and you follow this blog, I'll get to you soon.
So much has happened since Sunday it feels like it's Friday. I'll see you all in China if I don't post before then
I'm writing this post to give myself a little motivation.
I'm in a major transitional part of my life right now. I'm switching computers (going to buy a new one very soon). I'm going to China next week. I'm entering my last year of college, or university, as some of you might call it. I'm turning twenty-two soon.
Not to mention I've hit full-on re-entry shock. So that's been interesting.
I've been feeling kind of grumpy about getting back on a plane, to be honest. I didn't like the idea of packing, going to an airport, going through security, and then just SITTING for what feels like an eternity.
"How am I going to do this again?" I moaned to myself in my head as I performed my daily tasks.
"You just do it," my better sense replied.
I've been making excuses like this about not writing. How am I going to write a WHOLE book? I'm too young. It will suck. I don't have the time.
Again: I'll just do it.
So I've been finding (or stealing, rather) little bubbles of time to write. Two hundred words here. Seven hundred there. Making the most out of fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes, if only to silence the voices in my head that tell me AH HA HA THIS BOOK IS RIDICULOUS GIVE UP NOW OH LOOK A SQUIRREL YOU HAVEN'T HAD ENOUGH ICE CREAM TODAY.
Some days I don't feel like a writer. But a writer I am and write I must. So, off I go. I wish you all very productive weekends. Or not.
What do you all do to get yourselves kickstarted on a project?