Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I have $14 in meal money left on my OneCard. That's enough for two sandwiches. Or three bowls of cereal. Or seven bottles of water. I started with $275 at the beginning of the school year and because of my high metabolism and late-night snack habits, I am now in crisis mode.

To my parents and concerned friends: Do not worry, I will not starve. I am allotted 10 meals a week at the cafeteria. But I will need to make some adjustments to my food-life. I will:

  • Buy cases of water. I spend two dollars every other day on water bottles. Having a case might save me money and keep me hydrated a little more efficiently. 
  • Use tupperwares in the cafeteria (this is allowed).
  • Have a cheap breakfast, like cereal, so I can use my other meals for lunch and dinner. 
  • Buy large quantities of snack food from the grocery store to stave off midnight hunger attacks. 
  • Make lots of friends, get invited to parties with pizza. 
  • Join clubs. Attend meetings with pizza. 
  • Find a cause and go on a hunger strike (fight for justice AND save money? No way!)
  • Hibernate.
  • Hunt squirrels. 
  • Eat Ohio's leather jacket. 
I am sure my parents are reading this and FREAKING OUT. I will receive a phone call soon and they are going to ask me how to fix this problem. I will tell them that for $300 I can upgrade to a different meal plan. And then they will hang up and send me potatoes. 

Today I had a 90 minute conference with my Oral History teacher, who is amazing. He teaches at Columbia and he has written books and conducted hundreds of interviews and he gives fantastic writing advice. I showed him the article I wrote for the Buffalo Alternative Press and he gave me some pointers on how to improve it. Then I showed him my blog. And he commented on it. And then he opened a file on his computer. IT WAS HIS JOURNAL FROM WHEN HE WAS TWENTY YEARS OLD. And it was fantastic. He wrote conversations he had with people on planes, in Morocco, and just his observations and experiences. It was extremely well written. 

He read me excerpts from his journal and I was floored. I wrote down some of his journaling techniques and I plan to start a journal similar to his. A "workspace" he calls it. 

You use your workspace to experiment and to write about your day and to dig deeper and to hone your skills. You write in it every day and go as deep as you can with your writing. I already started a Word Document and titled it "Workspace".

But then this presents a problem. If I am writing in my workspace every night, what does this mean for the blog? I'd hate to be redundant and write twice every night. And I don't want to write in my workspace as if I am writing for the blog. 

So what to do? 

My Oral History teacher recommended that I write in my workspace and then to put revised, edited excerpts on the blog. Which would mean that you guys would probably get a blog post once a week. 

It pains me to do this, and it will pain my readers as well, but it is the only way to improve my writing skills. 

But we shall compromise: I will still try to post every day, whether it is a sentence or a picture or a quote, just so that you are still entertained, and you know that I am alive. The blog will still be active daily. It just won't be as extensive. But expect gold on Sunday. 

So that's that. We'll see how that goes, and hopefully writing in my "workspace" will yield some valuable stuff. 

[A side note. He said that that I had a voice in my writing, which is good. He wants me, however, to put myself in situations that I can write about. He wants me to find what Jack Kerouac would call "the mad ones", the interesting people that would make for good reading. And he also wants me to go deeper when I am writing, because right now my writing is superficial and lacks exploration of opinion. Development.]

So goodbye to the extensive blog posts. Hello to the "at a glance" version, with depth on Sundays. 

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