Saturday, April 19, 2008


I regret one thing about Jr. High. OK, probably more than one thing, but there's one thing I still remember and I still wish I could change it.

I was on the yearbook staff in 7th grade. I liked it. It was fun. I liked learning about publishing, layout, and design. It was something I thought I was good at. I was very particular, a perfectionist, really. This was before the days of computer layouts. Instead, I drew everything that would go on my assigned yearbook pages on graph paper with a pencil and ruler. I was meticulous. My pages looked perfect. I checked and double checked them with the photos that would coordinate to the boxes I'd drawn in. I made sure everything was cropped perfectly and corresponded to it's assigned square.

I turned them in. Everything went in without our names on them, because the pages were to appear exactly as they would in the yearbook. I had a partner in yearbook. She did half the pages in our section, I did the other half. She was not meticulous. She was always late. On the day our pages were due she asked me if I'd turn them in because she didn't have time. I took them to our teacher. On the way I noticed they looked terrible. Nothing was measured. She'd haphazardly drawn what looked like ovals (not boxes) to represent pictures. The frames were supposed to be numbered with the picture that belonged there. Hers weren't. Oh well. She'd done a terrible job. It wasn't my problem. I'd done a beautiful job on my pages. I turned hers in.

I'd applied to be on the yearbook staff again the next year. It wasn't until weeks and weeks later when the staff list was posted and I wasn't on it (and my partner was) that I realized the teacher had probably thought my pages had been her pages and that her pages had been the ones I'd done. I was sick, not only because I wanted to be on the yearbook staff again, I also felt bad that the teacher had thought those terrible pages were mine. Did I do anything about it, though? No. I did not. I was shy and timid and not at all assertive then. I'm not really sure I've changed a lot since that experience. I'm probably still shy and timid and not assertive. 

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered anyway. Maybe it would have. I'm currently wishing I'd taken some graphic design classes. I'm wishing I'd done a few things differently. I'm not sure how we overcome mistakes we've made or regrets we have. Right now, I'm not sure of anything. 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Writing Contest

I entered an essay contest at "Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative" in February. Winners are supposed to be announced today. I got on their website: no winners posted. Yet. But I did see that I am a finalist!!! Yeah. My entry falls into the "flash" category, which means the essays are all under 1,000 words. (Mine was about 500). They are giving away three prizes of $100 each. There are five finalists. I hope my chances are good. I could really use $100. And some validation that maybe, just maybe, I'm a real writer. Winners will be announced here sometime today. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Birds and Tulips

"Keep a green tree in your heart, and perhaps the singing bird will come." -- Chinese Proverb

I spent $3 on this little bird. No job, no prospects and I still bought it. So unlike me, who tends to be conservative in even the best of times. It makes me smile. It gives me hope. It helps me keep a green tree in my heart. It reminds me that spring will surely come. Surely? 

Even though my tulips are covered in snow, I dreamed last night that they were tall enough to pick. Tall enough to put in a vase. The day is coming. It's just not here yet.