Thanks, Thought Catalog!

I just realized that Thought Catalog published one of my essays a week ago and I didn’t even realize it. I could have been crying from excitement a week ago, jeez.

Here it is. It’s about that one time I not-really but kind of dated a pretty Swedish boy. If you’re reading this, Swedish boy, I’m not sorry. BOOM.

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Things I Am Guilty Of

  • Driving too slow on the freeway when I’m changing cds/tracks/radio stations
  • Driving too fast on the freeway when I’m bored and just want to be where I want and becoming angry with people who are driving too slow but probably are just switching the station or trying to enjoy a sandwich.
  • Buying a new nail polish every single time I’m at CVS or Target even though I have over 100 nail polishes
  • Ordering too many books off Amazon because I’m too ambitious
  • Deciding there is no such thing as being “too ambitious” and going for it until I have an ambition hangover and have to nap for awhile
  • Being irrationally frightened by phone numbers I don’t recognize and refusing to pick up the phone when they are calling me.
  • Avoiding calling the doctor to make appointments
  • Actively yelling in parking lots because I hate them so much
  • Losing my car in the parking lot and being on the verge of tears as I walk around looking for my long lost Camry like a child who has been abandoned by their neglecting family
  • Trying clothes on that look almost okay in the fitting room but then disastrous in real life after I pay for them
  •  Liking Justin Beiber’s new song
  • Unsubscribing from Cosmo because all the cover girls are practically younger than me
  • Lying on those questionnaires you fill out at the doctor’s office when they ask how many times a week you exercise.
  • Still sweeping everything under my bed that I don’t feel like cleaning or organizing
  • Being put to deep sleep by Middlemarch
  • Using the term “organically” when referencing line breaks and hoping I sound more academic
  • Trying to get into Keeping up with the Kardashians on Netflix. Like, actively.
  • Exaggerating. I exaggerate a lot.
  • Ordering Shirley Temples at bars when I don’t feel like drinking
  • Knowing way more celebrity gossip than I should
  • Not doing my laundry right now
  • Hating Thomas Pynchon and thinking his work is very un-funny
  • Thinking about what happens when we die and then experiencing a full blown anxiety attack when I realize probably nothing and that our minds are biologically unable to grasp what “nothing” actually is in terms of our biological lives.
  • Pretending I know more about science than I do
  • Pretending I know more about Buddhism than I do
  • Liking Perks of Being a Wallflower more as a movie than a book.
  • Owning more cardigans than I actually wear
  • Buying granola at the grocery store and then only eating half of it because I’ll run out of yogurt and granola by itself is kind of pointless
  • Being scared I’ll never make it as a writer
  • Being scared I’ll make it as a writer but lose my genius after my first book
  • Imaging Chuck Klosterman writing my first blurb on the back of my book
  • Not actually reading the New Yorker but considering myself the type of person who would.
  • I’m not 100% sure about my bra size.

Wow, that’s a lot of internalizing there. Enjoy being inside my brain!!

xo,
Gina

Does Anyone Else Get An Anxiety Attack Over What To Buy Their Parents?

My parents are impossible to shop for, because they are the kind of people who pride themselves on their cunning ability to survive on bare basics. Out of pure choice. A little bit of background info: my parents are from Communist Russia. They know what it’s like to take a shit outside in a hole for the world to see, and they used to live in an apartment with like, ten other families. When they moved to America, they bought  a Chevy for 500 bucks and my mom worked at Pizza Hut before she got her certificate or license in computer programming. My dad went from naval engineering to mechanical engineering to owning a dry cleaning business in downtown Minneapolis. My parents are devoted Toyota Camry drivers. If they go out to eat (which is rare), they split a mushroom burger. My dad’s favorite thing in the world is his pair of hiking pants that have twenty different pockets of all sizes. They are practical, he says, and have a glorious amount of pockets. He wears them every day.

Once, I bought my dad a really fancy ping pong paddle for his birthday. He’s an avid ping-pong player and we always have intense ping pong matches in my uncle’s backyard. When he opened his present, he looked confused and asked me why I would ever gift him with this contraption.

“Uhh..your paddle you use now is starting to peel and get all floppy? Doesn’t that affect the aerodynamics or whatever of ping pong?”

“Aero-SHTO?! (what) Take it back to store. I don’t need it.”

So I did. And instead, I bought him a pair of Puma socks from TJ Maxx my mom said he really prefers over his other socks. My mom is the same way. She’s been wearing the same perfume for over 40 years (Gloria Vanderbilt. It’s getting kind of hard tracking it down these days; I have to go to at least three pharmacies). She rotates five different shirts and they all have some kind of grayish green leopard or paisley print.

Anyway. It’s my dad’s birthday next week, and it’s mother’s day the week after. I found this at the Encinitas street fair: a painting of the highway a few miles away from my parent’s house in Carlsbad, the road he takes to get my uncle’s house. Where he competitively plays ping pong. Recently, I have discovered that if I get my dad a little painting, he actually keeps it and tacks to his wall in his office. I’ve already bought a sketch of Johnny Cash, and an important ship.

photo

One present down, one more to go.

Ideas, anyone?

xo,

Gina

Thoughts after two cups of coffee & no motivation to write form+theory paper

cupcakes

 

1. YOU try transporting two cupcakes (one in each hand) from campus to car to apartment without completely obliterating them and getting your carseat/hands/jeans smothered in chocolate ganache. Seriously though, it’s hard. Above is an “after” picture. No “before” because I didn’t think that far ahead.

2. On the subject of cupcakes. I love cupcakes. I think they’re adorable, versatile, and delicious. I absolutely will disagree with anyone who claims “cake” is better than a cupcake. Like, they’re both comprised of the exact same thing, cupcakes are just more transportable and marketable because of their individuality. Usually these said cupcake haters are just people who hate trends. They refuse to get frozen yogurt and stick to Coldstone. They have Androids, not iPhones. Okay, I’m getting a little bit ridiculous here. Point is…don’t hate the cupcake. Do not.

3. I’m so tired and it’s getting to the point where I look like a fucking mess every time I leave my apartment because any spare minute I get, I am resting my head on a pillow. So I come into class, walk into the grocery store, what have you, with smeared eyeliner that makes me look like I’ve been punched in the face or maybe sobbing. There are maybe ten bags under my eyes. I’m usually wearing a striped sweater that’s super comfy and conveniently located on the floor by my bed so when I wake up in the morning I don’t have to shuffle around my closet. Around 4 I try to come up with some kind of caffeine supplement, so you’ll see me chugging a Red Bull or warming my palms on a Starbucks cup. This is when I get super wacky and have fast conversations with friends and professors and start planning on going to the gym later and blogging and tweeting something hilarious and caffeine-induced, and editing a poem and making dinner that involves quinoa and kale. But then I come home at 8 or 9 or 10 and I put on my sweatpants and pass out watching someone getting murdered on Game of Thrones.

 

Psst.

If you haven’t read my book review on Sierra DeMulder’s newest collection of poems, New Shoes on a Dead Horse, then do yourself a favor by reading it here. Seriously. That girl is one talented poet.

Two years ago, one of my best friends gave this to me:

Just thought I’d share. Awesome, no?

What Happens When Walgreens Destroys Your Roll Of Film

I just discovered Netflix is streaming all six seasons of Dawson’s Creek, but before I start indulging in the best thing to come out of the 90’s (besides Ace of Base, obviously), I’m going to post some photographs I had developed a few days ago. These are some photos taken with a dated professional camera and they were originally meant to be black and white. We took them to Walgreens because of the alluring “1 Hour Photo” campaign. Which, by the way, doesn’t exist anywhere else! Surprisingly. Anyway, true to their word, our film was developed in an hour. And this is what we got:

menbigboy

The iconic BigBoy..straight out of the horror film: BigBoy Seeks Revenge

creepyhorse

Straight from the horror film, “Blood Horse”

grapefruit

I was going for fruity and cute, but I guess now it’s just Instagram gone wrong

Lesson learned: never have your black and white film developed at Walgreens. They seemed to have  knowledge of color film down to a tee, though.

43940008

The untouched “Gangnam Style” covered by my nephew and his friend

Other news:

My first official article as a HelloGiggles writer went up two days ago. I wrote about my fabulous Russian upbringing, how could I not? Read about my trials and tribulations here.

I’m SUPER excited to be writing for HelloGiggles and for the opportunities it may bring. Viva 2013!

On Writing

I’ve decided I have to be more serious. I decide this every day. Whether eating more yogurt or spending less money on nail polish, I try to take initiative on my life, and I feel like that’s a very important step to take as a 22 year old. This last week, I submitted some of my poems to several different places. Not exactly “reach” literary magazines and journals, but certainly definitive venues where I can place my work. I was kind of sad the other day; I finished the first installment of Breaking Bad’s season five after receiving a rejection e-mail and my fiance noticed me moping around and he said, “You’re a writer. Isn’t that part of the deal? To get a thousand rejection letters before you’re published?” 

My fiance is a chef-turned-corporate manager. He loves Vonnegut and is a manic reader, but doesn’t really like poetry unless it’s mine, and I think he’s just buttering me up half of the time. But he’s right. Last night, I was sharing my rejection story with a girl in one of my classes and she said, “Yeah. I know. I know someone who tapes her rejection letters across the mirror in her bathroom.” We agreed that this was too depressing for words.

I am going to have to accept the fact that I’ll be rejected more frequently than accepted, at least in the beginning. I’m an unknown writer, a ghost, a nomad. I have a handful of working poems, and it needs to grow into multiple fistfuls. In addition, my poetry itself is something that will evolve and change for the better via workshops and experience. I obviously need to read more; a professor I had at Chapman told me that when she writes, she surrounds herself with poetry that is either similar to hers, or has the quality that she deeply admires and wishes to soak up. It’s not that she necessarily uses the content, structure, and style to help guide her; it’s more of this sense of direction and maybe inspiration. I read Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and  was astounded by how the color pulled her pieces through this emotional web of stories and factual passages. I wanted my work to reflect feelings like that.

So I made a little reminder for myself and taped it above my desk. Did I use the apostrophe correctly in “others'” by the way? I’m terrible, let me tell you. I need guidelines. I need a personal writing bootcamp every day, because if I don’t, I’ll end up just wishing I wrote an amazing poem instead of actually doing it. And maybe that’s just want I needed, because…

I’m getting published. I’ll have to take “Eve as Girl” off of this blog because that’s what was chosen, oddly enough. I feel like I submitted stronger pieces to the magazine, but hey. It’s my first publication besides Elephant Tree, Chapman’s literary efforts. The issue is coming out in October. More information on this once I know more, of course.

So, a Creative Writing Major Walks into a Bar

I was slurping away at a bowl of Top Ramen on my couch one night when I noticed that some television broadcaster was blathering on about the economy, the recession, and the job market. I actually almost changed the channel because hearing about that kind of thing when you’re one hundred grand deep in student loans and working at a coffee shop is enough to make you drown yourself in a kitchen sink. I didn’t though, because I love abuse, and saw that the blond woman listed the official top five “useless majors”. It went like this: 1. Fine Arts, 2. Drama and Theatre Arts, 3. Film, Video, and Photographic Arts, 4.Commercial Arts and Graphic Design, and 5. Architecture.

At first, I was angry. I was ready to storm into the other room where my boyfriend was reading and go off on some rant where I quote The Dead Poets Society and list the ways poetry make the world a better place. But after a few minutes, I regained my composure. The blond woman on NBC was right. I made the choice to earn my Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing because I “liked it,” and now I have become a bitter post-grad who can’t find a job because no one speaks or writes proper English anymore anyway, never mind writing Creative English. I was at the movies the other night and before the main flick came on, there was an advertisement for soda. It read: “We have Coke, Pepsi, and surgar free options too!!!!” I mean come on, If you’re going to pay money to have your advertisement up before The Avengers, why can’t you at least spell “sugar” right? It’s because no one cares anymore. Also see: bitter post-grad.

The absolute worst for us creative writing majors is when friends, relatives, or strangers ask us what we did in college.

“Are you in school?”

“No, I graduated, actually.”

“Super. What did you major in?”

“Creative Writing.”

“Oh…I didn’t know there was such a thing!” or “Oh wow, are you writing a book?” or “Wow! I wish I could write!” or “So…you want to teach?” or the blunt, “You went to college to write stories?”

These responses, whether they’re meant to be polite or are just plain rude, all equal one thing: creative writing is as useful as an appendix or decaffeinated coffee. However, as a creative writing major, I have learned that it is best to evolve, adapt, and adopt a defense mechanism. It involves some heavy self-deprecation, but it is your best bet at looking less dreamy and naive. For example, when your high-school cousin Andy asks you what you majored in, you answer, “Creative writing; the most applicable major for this failing economy ever!” or “Creative writing, and no, I definitely don’t have a job right now, ha-ha!”

If you can’t beat them, join them. Until you publish your suffering manuscript that compares your shitty childhood to one thousand frozen lakes, or your frantic bundle of flash fiction stories that involve a slutty, independent female protagonist and her dog, it is so much better to undermine yourself than let yourself be under-minded. Laugh at yourself first before anyone else can laugh at you. Say exactly what the interrogator will think before they even get the chance; beat them to it. Like any decent creative writing major, you must understand your audience, and above all, you create an image for them. You must subtly show them that you understand how whimsical it is to be a writer, but that you are more than willing to sacrifice yourself to the craft.

There are some lines from Maggie Nelson’s poem, “Afterword (or, The Bridge)” where she states, “Because my heart is / shooting ahead, and I have no choice / but to follow it.”  The poem deals with a faltering relationship, but I like to think that those two lines are malleable in the sense that can convey the need to follow intrinsic loves and that this need is not necessarily a choice. I write because I was, and am propelled to do so, not because I expected a steady job the minute I walked across the happy green field.

Of course, honesty is not the best policy, and it is best to leave it at, “I didn’t know creative writing was a real major either!”

-Regina Vaynshteyn