Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Power Of Schedules

I have finally begun to get my life in order. I'm like the jurist in Anton Chekhov's short story "The Bet", during is last two years of confinement, "His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship, and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another." Though in my case, it's more like I'm just doing the greedy clutching, with no specific intent, especially not trying to save my life. It's just that I have so many things going on, and I'm just bouncing from thing to thing, never staying too long on one thing, just so I have time to get to all of them. Thus, my day is quite hectic, but at the end of the day, not much has been accomplished. Yesterday, a dear friend of mine sat down with me and said "Let's make you a schedule. A day by day schedule." Now, that's not to say that I don't want like to organize - I swear I try - but I just never follow the schedule I make myself. And so yesterday, we sat down, my friend and I, and took the first step towards organizing my life. Schedule effective as of today. And it's helping. I woke up early, went through the list, one thing at a time, and accomplished a lot more than usual. 1 point for schedules. 
As for what I'm reading, I've finally come 'round to reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I've read his book Loser, and Maniac Maggie is a book of his that seems to follow me everywhere (though I've been reluctant to pick it up). His book Crash was on my school summer reading list, but that summer we moved to a different town, thus I never did read it. Nonetheless, I've heard quite a few good things about Spinelli, though I have the feeling his books are the kinds that leave you aching emotionally - like watching The Titanic and not quite knowing how to react to the bittersweet ending. I actually enjoy reading books with angst, just as long as everything's perfectly sweet by the last page. Bittersweet, though, I don't handle very well. Not many books leave me with that bittersweet feeling (ugh, I need a synonym for bittersweet), but I'm pretty sure Stargirl will. The writing style is wonderful, like beautiful colors of a poisonous flower. I'm just a little less than halfway through, and its the story of the school's "new girl" through the eyes of Leo, one of the "normal" people in the student body. What can I say? It's a roller coaster ride - in every meaning of the word. A few of my favorite quotes:
"We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew"
"All of her feelings, all of her attentions flowed outward. She had no ego."
"I’m not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn. I outgrow it, I change it.”
Stargirl is simple in the same way The House On Mango Street is, yet so deep and insightful, you zone out after reading each chapter to think about the greater meaning.  
Dare To Be Different
As for the name "Stargirl", what if we really could change our names to suit our personalities? Or do we change and grow into the personality of out name? I mean, Toms and Johns are thought of as the classic Americans, while Isabellas are exotic and mysterious. I realize that's kind of unfair - judging people by their names - and I definitely don't judge others without fully knowing them, but from pop culture, movies, books, everything...Bob is always...Bob.