Judging by the title, I'm sure you can figure out that this entry is about a parting about a goodbye of some sorts. And I would call you correct, and give you $100 for saying so... but I don't have that money, so I'm not going to give it away. In my last post, I mentioned this blog is dedicated to my writing life and the writing life in general. The writing life, however, can be expanded to cover the creative life. And so it is with a relieved heart and mind that I am here to bid adieu to one of my own creative projects: the random-quote-of-the-day blog. I began the random-quote-of-the-day website at the end of November of 2009 during a period of personal re-evaluation and reclamation. I had come to the realization a few months prior that I had a very difficult time starting and sustaining a project. In my undergrad days, outside of my room was a cork board. I began to post quotes that I found interesting or ridiculous. If friends drunkenly screamed something the night before that I found especially amusing, it made the list. I would usually have a couple of quotes posted on the board and replace them every two or three days or so. One day, while changing a quote, a group of students stopped and waited to see what it was I was posting. I looked at them strangely, and they said they were waiting to see what today's was, and that they routinely would read what was on there. I had walked by a couple of people reading the board a few times as I walked back to my room. It was at this moment that I realized that a small gesture, if done often enough, becomes noticeable and can change others' viewpoints, if just momentarily. Even if you don't intend it to, something you produce can influence and inspire someone else. When I realized that I had not sustained a project for a long, long time, I decided to start the quote of the day again, as it gave me pleasure in undergrad, and it also spoke to other people unwittingly. For years I have collected quotes or passages from books and lyrics from certain songs that I find particularly poignant, moving, or silly. When I began the project I had a certain buildup of quotes to choose from, and every so often, depending on the topic I was thinking about at the time (forgiveness, motivation, life, running, writing, love) I would stockpile some more quotes. As part of this endeavor, I wanted to do more than just posting a simple line. I wanted to find a song or a scene from a film, or an inspiring picture or something that would connect to the quote itself. (For examples, take a look at the site itself: random-quote-of-the-day.blogspot.com.) As I have become more invested in creating the site, I have tried to never reproduce the same quote (that I have not done), and I have also tried to not reuse any of the same corresponding materials: songs, scene clips, photos, images, etc., regardless of their appropriate connection to the quote at hand. Producing the quote made me feel like I was producing something, it made me feel I was sustaining a project. And I became borderline obsessed in ensuring that I never missed a day. (I believe since late November I have missed maybe 6 days total.) In February I began to wonder how long should I sustain this, because producing a different one daily for an indeterminate amount of time I imagined would get tedious and would lose its appeal. I decided to stop when I knew it was time, when it felt right. This lack of specificity, this lack of deadline did not feel right to me; I needed a deadline; I needed a date. I decided upon a year: that seemed like a good round number in which to dedicate oneself to a project; I would continue with the quote of the day until November of 2010. I decided upon a specific deadline as my reasoning was that if I stopped with the project at an arbitrary day, then I would just prove the point I was trying to disprove by creating and daily updating the site: namely, that I couldn't sustain a project. However, as time wore on, the project began to wear on me. I had proven to myself that I could sustain a project. Much of the mindset and personal malaise I was feeling at the time of the onset of the website had left; I had begun to reclaim and even establish a sense of self; I had an invigorated sense of confidence I had never had before, partially as a result of dedicating myself daily to something but also due to many other personal factors. I began to see the quote as a burden. I have felt for about a month or so now that the random-quote-of-the-day blog has run its course, and yet, like a codependent relationship, I have continued to plug away at something I feel no passion towards, just an arbitrary and self-perpetuated sense of obligation. As such, as mentioned above, it is with a sense of relief and shed burdens that I announce that today's quote-of-the-day installment (September 23, 2010) will be the last one posted on the blog. I may occasionally post an thoughtful, inspiring, or Muppetational line on my Facebook page, but it will not be the daily foray and requirement I have deemed it. For those who have obtained any form of comfort, inspiration, or altering of thoughts because of something I have posted, I am very touched and grateful that I was able to contribute to someone else's well-being. However, it is just time to end. I will do something, I also thought I would not do, and for the first time, merge the two sites I maintain, posting what I had planned months ago as being the final quote on this blog entry. I will also post this entry on the quote of the day blog as well. As always, thanks.
These, then, are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact. – William James, Is Life Worth Living
Say We'll Meet Again - Lindsey Buckingham Just say we?ll meet again When the sunset spell is gone in the wind Please say we?ll meet againEveryone sees a tear in the seam But talks about the weather Everyone pays a price for these dreams So why not dream these dreams together
Just say we?ll meet again When the sunset spell is gone in the wind Please say we?ll meet again
That was a dream, that was a time But nothing lasts forever Sooner or later we all must go blind But we can dream these dreams together
Just say we?ll meet again When the sunset spell is gone in the wind Please say we?ll meet again
I am about to go against one of my cardinal rules for this blog: I am about to show the world a glimpse into my personal/private life.
On my desk, I have a list of possible future blog posts. First on the list: "How much do we include personal lives on our specialized blogs?" My answer: zero. Since this blog is about writing and about my own take on the writing process, anything that did not address that would be superfluous and against the purpose of the blog. (For that matter, I am presently working on an entry--to be posted in the very near future, perhaps later today even--that addresses this question in a more indirect, writerly fashion: how do our personal moods affect our writing?)
Anyway, this brief violation of one of my self-imposed rules is actually for a good reason--and good cause. I have decided to run in the Somerville 5K road race on October 2. This will be the first such road race, or any running competition in which I will partake in almost 15 years: I ran track in high school and cross-country and track for a couple of years in college, but through personal lethargy I abandoned running on a regular basis for years. I picked it up again last November and have been running semi-regularly and enjoying the healthy, if minor, sense of accomplishment it affords me. Also, as anyone who knows me knows all too well, the past year or so, I have spent a lot of time reading on the psychology of happiness, and how to create and cultivate more happiness in one's life. Of all the books and studies I have read, they all say, especially Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis, that volunteer work increases one's overall sense of happiness: "I know of no evidence showing that altruists gain money from their altruism, but the evidence suggests that they often gain happiness. People who do volunteer work are happier and healthier than those who don't." One of the things I began to do to increase my own sense of happiness was to begin running again, and I have also begun volunteering as a literacy tutor and finding ways to donate, if not time and money yet, at least thought to outreach causes. The race benefits the Somerville Homeless Coalition and most of the running fees, donations, and fundraising benefits that organization. With this race I would be able to knock off two happiness birds with one stone: I could run in a competitive race again AND I could raise money for a worthy cause. (Thank you Gretchen Rubin!)
The running fee for the race is $20. If a runner raises $100, their fee is waived. I will be honest: one of the reasons for raising the money is to avoid paying the fee. However, I have donated $10 of my own money already and I do believe in the cause. Homelessness is not a right-left political issue. It is a universal cause that everyone can get behind. And, since the donations and funds being given to the cause are coming from private businesses and private donations, it's hard for anyone to criticize the motives of the individuals. It's voluntary individual charity. (Sorry: just making a soapbox appeal to my friends of all political persuasions.)
My outside goal is to raise $230: 10 dollars for each minute of my goal time for the 3.1 mile race. I'm hoping to break 23 minutes for the race. At the least I'm hoping to have a time within the 23 minute range. To donate to this cause, and to help me raise funds, please visit my fundraising page through the race registration website: http://www.active.com/donate/somervillehomeless/darrencormier
I thank you in advance for your donation, as does the Somerville Homeless Coalition. And, thank you for allowing me to violate my cardinal rule on this site and allow a brief window into my personal, non-writing life.
Again, the donation page is: http://www.active.com/donate/somervillehomeless/darrencormier
I'm not sure if an introductory sentence is really needed for this entry: the subtitle really speaks for itself. However, to explain, as I have a tendency to overdo, in the first David Foster Wallace themed entry, I mentioned that the piece I included on the first try at the I Write Like quiz was an excerpt from my novella "I'm Hoping This Will Work." I also mentioned that I had included the excerpt below, which, if you have read the entire entry, you will know is a total fallacy. (This wasn't deliberate, I just forgot to include it.) As such... I have included that excerpt in this entry.
This excerpt is the first page and a half of the novella. The set-up for the piece is as follows: It’s about a young man in his early twenties named Mike Higgins who is overcoming the death of his best friend, Andy, something he feels responsible for—they went out drinking one night and, on the drive home, Mike had Andy drop him off at the store near his house. Andy drives around the corner and gets in a head-on collision with a delivery truck. The structure of the novella alternates between Mike's "what-if" scenarios--if had had done this differently, then that wouldn't have happened-- and the actual narrative. Below is the first of the alternate reality "What-if" scenarios.
As always... enjoy.
I am hoping this will work, that when everything is finished, the screaming phone calls, the booze, nameless women, nightmares, my inability to read more than five pages at a time, and the blood, all that fucking blood—when my front door is closed and locked for the final time, I’ll be throwing my clothes in the back seat, driving those two blocks, one coffee in hand, another in the cup holder, driving to pick up Andy, and we’ll drive like we always talked about, to Montreal, Madagascar, cross-country, straight across that Atlantic Ocean, anywhere, really it doesn’t matter;we’re just driving, him and me, anywhere.
We’ll start at Redbones, as usual. Downstairs, just like we did. It’ll be raining (I won’t change that) as I walk down the road. I’ll get there first: Andy will be coming from work in Kenmore, and I just live down the street. Tom the Bartender will ask, “How are you, Mike? Where’s Andy?” “He’s on his way.” I’ll order a beer, and ask for a menu while I check out the girls across the room.
When Andy finally gets there we’ll do a few shots and talk about work, movies, and ideas for a summer trip: Amsterdam, Grand Canyon, Montreal. We’ll keep drinking, just like we did, and drive home. I’ll have him drop me off at the Corner Market for some milk and smokes, but I’ll tell him to wait. We’ll make that dreaded left and swerve as that fucking delivery truck takes his turn a little too wide. The car will fishtail and careen into the curb, the tire popping.
“Fuck!” Andy will yell.
“Don’t worry we’ll use a spare and keep drinking at my house.”
We’ll wake in the morning, one on each couch, boxes of crackers, empty containers of ice cream, half-empty glasses of whiskey and beer bottles scattered on the floor.
That’s what will happen, and I won’t be kneeling in my room amid a stack of books and scotch at noon, socks that haven’t been changed in three days clinging to my feet. I’ll be at work, sending him stupid forwards, making plans for later, for this weekend, or making plans with a girl that I will have met at a party.He’ll answer the phone when I call. I won’t jump at the sound of tires screeching, I won’t be afraid to leave my house and walk to the center; the walk to Davis won’t remind me of everything from that night.
It won’t remind me of anything, because nothing will have happened.
Darren Cormier lives in the Boston area. He is the author of A Little Soul: 140 Twitterstories. His fiction has appeared in Opium Magazine, Meetinghouse, Amoskeag, Every Day Fiction, Raft Magazine, Arch Literary Journal, and One Forty Fiction, Ether Books, and Seedpod Publishing. Writing peeves: there should be a comma before the "and" in a set of three or more items; it is "A historic" not "AN historic"--the 'h' is pronounced; would've, could've, and should've are contractions and should never be written as "would of," "could of," or "should of"; and "ATM machine" is redundant. He also invented the giraffe.