Category Archives: vent post

All that I know is I’m breathing

IMG_6008Forgive me for going almost a month without blogging. I hope your holiday was wonderful and the upcoming one is just as joyous. It’s been an increasingly difficult month for me, and I’m trying to just get one foot in front of the other at the moment. Baby steps. But, don’t worry. I’m here, I’m fine and we’re going to get through this month. Of course by “we” I mean “I” and by “through this” I mean “if you choose to read along you’ll come on this journey with me.”

My Juvenile Detention Center story is finished, and I’m emotionally all over the place about this. This project has been my baby for the past month, and it has been the only thing I can focus on for the last week. I can hardly explain how vaguely cathartic, yet frustrating revisions can be. I wrote the first draft of this story in early November after my first session at the JDC. I used bits and pieces of that first draft in my second write up after my second session at the detention center last week, and have since landed on my … I want to say sixth revision. I always feel like I’m going three steps forward and then, like, 14 back. It’s just this endless cycle of “oh, I like this,” “no, wait, this is shit.” “okay, this is much better … oh, no it’s not.” And on and on and on.

After draft number three I sent a copy of the story to my mom. I asked, “What don’t you get in this story?” It turned out to be extremely helpful, but she also didn’t sound captivated by the story, and to be totally, brutally honest — I was crushed. I’m glad that this happened though, because it pushed me to keep writing.

Another revision completed, my editor and I went over copy No. 4 on Sunday and he told me, “the parts of this story where you’re talking to me as Kalhan and you’re confident are captivating, but you get too formal and hesitant and it completely drops the momentum. You have a magnificent voice. You need to use it.”

And with that advice in mind I said, “You’re right. F*ck it.” And I stopped caring about menial formalities and words like “incarcerated females” or “garnered mixed reactions” and I just told the damn story. I still can’t tell if it’s any good (I’m standing too close at the moment), but I get the vibe it is. I sent a few chunks of rewrite to my editor to which he replied, “(now I) love it. That’s Kalhan talking, which is how it should be.”

I hope this does the girls justice. I’m so afraid I’ll have put so much into this story just to have it fall on its face. But, hey, learning or something … right? I guess we’ll see. The story gets its final read on Wednesday before it goes into the system for publishing on Monday.

I just keep reminding myself about those baby steps. Just get your foot back in front of the other, I think to myself. One breath in. One breath out. And the minutes go by. Once this story is in the can I’m going to need another big lead. Bigger than this. Bigger than Belize (not that Belize is done in any regard, it’s just so long term sometimes I lose sight of the next point of contact). Just bigger, more consuming. And I think the answer to that predicament is sitting in the bottom drawer of my nightstand.

I’ll let you know if I’m right. Next week on Seria — uh, I mean, what?

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It’s yours to find

Do you ever feel like your fate sits on the edge of a knife? Lean one way and it’ll fall into chaos. Lean the other and it’ll fall into place. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.

I can’t tell you anything about the story I want to tell you about so desperately, but I think this teeter-totter feeling has a lot to do with it. Like I am sitting on the potential cusp of something really important, and I’m just not sure what’s going to happen. I actually feel this way in many aspects of my life right now.

In addition to this mystery story, I’ve been working really hard on getting application material ready for internship season. I sent off one application to The Boston Globe (*heavy breathing*) and I’m working on applications for The Overseas Press Club, WaPo and The L.A. Times Washington D.C. Bureau. I missed the deadline on a few opportunities like The Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I really want to leave Florida. So maybe I subconsciously blew those deadlines so I’d have to find a way out. Also, if you know me, you know I just love to sign myself up for responsibilities that are way over my head and then rise to the occasion.

EN staff writer, breaking news reporter, editor-in-chief, Will Write For Food staff writer, news clerk, associate multimedia journalist. Each one scarier than the last. Each one a way way way bigger challenge. I don’t know why I love this strange form of masochism, but I come out on the other side a better writer and a stronger person, so I guess it’s a good kind of struggle.

But here’s the thing: This is what makes me happy.

Having something to look forward to. Having a challenge. Being challenged. That’s where I excel. Again, I think this is why I’m so stoked for this potential story I can’t talk about. (We need a codeword for this story so I can stop calling it “the story I can’t talk about, yet somehow manage to keep talking about” so lets just call it Project NoFla). Both the applications and Project NoFla could fall through, but the work and effort toward that goal is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I really love this. And so, because of that, life in this moment is good.

WARING: OBNOXIOUS BASKETBALL TANGENT: Okay (I know I’m violating AP Style, leave me alone), other things I need to talk to you about: THE MIAMI HEAT ARE BACK. EVERY ONE ELSE CAN SUCK EGGS. CHRIS BOSH SCORED 30 PTS TONIGHT. NUHH UHH CAN’T TELL ME NOTHIN’… I’m really sorry, I know I’m embarrassing myself, but I just get so excited for that Miami Heat basketball. Spoiler alert: You’re going to have to deal with this for the rest of the season. TANGENT OVER.

WARNING:photo 1 FLORIDA WEATHER TANGENT: And speaking of season, today was the first cold day in South Florida. It’s 52 degrees in the Gulf right now, and I’m absolutely freezing. My New York blood has completely run thin, but I am so in love with this part of the year in this state. I want to drive everywhere with my windows down, my heat blasting and a good playlist drowning out the noise of the wind as it rips past my windows on the highway. I know there’s one person who totally gets this. TANGENT OVER.

SUPER IMPORTANT PSA. IF YOU’RE ONLY READING ONE THING HERE, MAKE IT THIS: Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. GO VOTE PLEASE. PLEASE. NO SERIOUSLY. AMERICA. VOTE. Yes, we all know the midterms aren’t as sexy and exciting as the presidential election, but there are some huge items on the ballot that need to be looked at in every state. Please, do your civic duty as a free American citizen; educate yourself and vote.

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I thought I would be happy by now

I think about why things happen to me a lot. Good things, bad things. Things. I just wonder about all the different scenarios and coincidences that led me to this moment.

Things aren’t feeling awesome right now (I’m lying. They are pretty great, actually. I’m just having a moment.), but my hope is making a change will put me on the path to feeling better. This is another time I wish I was already there. Already healed. Already recovered. Already returned to happiness. Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I’m so busy wishing to be there — wherever that is — I can’t stop and appreciate here. Something for me to work on, I guess.

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