What became an obsession is now over

I’m done with that path. Done with thinking of what could have been and what should have been. I’m moving on. It’s funny how that works. One day you’re thinking that you can never imagine a day without thinking of someone, and then you’re over it. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. It grabs onto thoughts and holds them tirelessly until the waking mind can no longer contemplate anything other than the affliction.

So I was dreaming and now I am well enough awake to consider the scars and memories as signifiers of something that is over and done with. There are more important things to think about now, like how I am supposed to be a writer. I’ve missed deadlines again. I feel like the only deadline I have that is truly important is the amount of time I have left to live. That’s the deadline that really matters. How much work can I produce in this time? Certainly, it is not shaping up very well.

I suppose that’s why smaller, more manageable deadlines are more important. So here’s one: the Narrative Magazine 30 Below contest. There’s 26 days left. I need to write something in the region of 15,000 words. I started yesterday. I have until the 23rd to write a draft, and 6 days after that to revise and submit.

I will do this.

You can’t fail if you don’t try

So I’m trying. Here are a few literary contests I’ll be submitting work to in the next few months. I’ll probably be adding on to this post later. I found these on the deadlines section of Poets and Writers, here. They’re arranged by reading fees and deadline:

No Reading Fee Contests:

The New Esquire Fiction Contest

No reading fee – submissions of 4,000 words or less based on these pre-selected titles:

1. “Twenty-Ten”
2. “An Insurrection”
3. “Never, Ever Bring This Up Again” (this reminds me of DFW’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”)

Deadline: August 1st

Memoir (and) Memoir in prose and poetry contest

No reading fee, online submission system – 10,000 word limit or 5 poems

Deadline: August 15th

Contests with Reading Fees:

Literal Latte Short Short Story contest

$10 reading fee for up to 3 pieces, $15 for 6 – paper submissions only. 2,000 word limit.

Deadline: June 30th postmark

Narrative Spring 2009 Story Contest

$20 reading fee – 15,000 word limit for fiction/nonfiction

Deadline: July 31st

Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize

$20 per piece reading fee – paper submissions only. 10,000 word limit.

Deadline: September 1st

Literal Latte Personal Essay contest

$10 reading fee for one piece, $15 for two – paper submissions only. 6,000 world limit.

Deadline: September 15th postmark

I’m going to hell for this

The topic for the new piece in my mind: meeting people at parties and how you know someone is interested or you seem to think that someone is interested before you get caught up in the paranoia and nervousness that habitually pursue you.

In any case, I had a good time tonight. Went to a birthday party for a friend whom I met at community college. We transferred to Berkeley together, though we did not know it until we accidentally stood next to each other, reading an announcement of classes tacked onto a bulletin board in our English department. She thought, “Who is that extremely tall person next to me?” and that’s how we ended up recognizing each other after a couple of years of silence.
So, at her birthday party, I met a future law school student. I actually met three of them, my friend being one of them, and spent the majority of my time cajolingly trying to dissuade them from going to law school, lest they lose the creative spark forever. I know someone who already lost it, so I’m just trying to prevent the loss of creativity. You know what I mean?
One of the people who were going to be lawyers was this very interesting sharp-witted Korean-American girl. We were conversing for an hour or so, during which time she kicked me in the leg for making a joke about her statement that women in Korea were troubled during the 50s, which I called “a great insight.” I knew then that I had it made. If a girl kicks you, you know it’s love. Just like 5th grade. Do you remember that lesson? That should actually be the title of this piece: “If a girl kicks you, you know it’s love.”
I finally got the chance to sit next to her on a futon in the living room, and that was wonderful. One of my great (sober) statements was that “I’m smarter than the average person,” which, as you can tell, is simply amazing at being utterly unpretensious. She nudged me after that one, and afterwards proceeded to rackingly cough into her peacoat like someone who has pneumonia or something. Apparently she had a cold that was exacerbated by smoking weed.
Anyway, turns out we are from the same area (Southern California) from rival high schools, which she made a big deal out of. We also had an interesting argument about why it is better to be short (I am very tall). I confess that I was arguing just to make her laugh. I have no argument about being tall, except for this: many girls are very short.
Now we are facebook friends. I hope to god (atheistically speaking) she doesn’t find this blog, where I’m writing snide things about people I meet at parties.
Realistically speaking, I’m better off being single. I recently figured out that I’m now single for the first time in 2006. That is pretty amazing. I’m also graduating, moving to Los Angeles, and then moving to Virginia within the span of four months. I don’t think it’s a good idea to start anything serious, but I always idealize everyone I meet and hope to fall in love with them and have babies and whatever else.
I sometimes wonder why I don’t go after the obviously pretty girls. Lack of self-esteem? Nervousness?
This girl isn’t obviously gorgeous, but she has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh and makes me comfortable. The question is, do I want to settle for that? Not that I have any sort of choice in the matter. I’m just speculating.
I was thinking of making a video of me asking girls on campus out on dates and being rejected, and then putting it up on youtube. It’d be self-effacing and funny and humble, and would probably make other people feel better about themselves.