Category Archives: Lessons

Mile 662: 1,114 Miles to Wilmington

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“I don’t want to live a lie that I believe.”
–30 Seconds to Mars, “Do or Die”

Miles Since Last Time: 78.75
Total Miles: 662

In spring 2012, I wrote a paper called “Pied Piper vs. Faun: Storybooks and Female Empowerment in The Sweet Hereafter and Pan’s Labyrinth” for my senior film seminar. One of my professors encouraged us to submit our papers for publication in journals. I shrugged, asked “Why not?” and was directed toward Film Matters, an undergraduate film journal published by the University of North Carolina Wilmington. About a year later, my paper was officially accepted. Yay!

PPvsF

This past January, I received an email inviting me to submit the paper to Visions4, a film festival and conference also hosted by UNCW. It’s completely organized by undergrads, for undergrads (or the recently graduated, in some cases), and featuring a day full of undergraduate work.

They were accepting films (which I didn’t have) and papers (which I did have). Again I asked, “Why not?” and submitted. In February, I found out that it had been accepted, and Friday, April 4, I did a fifteen-minute presentation over “Pied Piper vs. Faun.”

It was terrifying/exciting/scary/amazing.

Sure, I may have had a minor freak out in the days leading up to the event and whisper-yelled “This is impossible!” at my computer screen while I tried to make cuts to my presentation. I definitely finalized it about five hours before I was on a plane to North Carolina. Yes, I was somewhat intimidated by the other seven scholars who were presenting papers and the filmmakers who had made such lovely films. (I mean, they were using a lot of three- and four-syllable words, and I said the name of my paper incorrectly when I introduced myself.) Plus, my mouth was so dry during my fifteen minutes that my lips were sticking to my teeth.

presentation

I cracked a few jokes, though, and people laughed at the appropriate times. Success! (Even though it wasn’t really enough to return the saliva to my mouth.)

The feedback was positive, and I got to watch a lot of good short films and hear smart people talk about all kinds of movies. I toured Screen Gems Studios and saw the Sleepy Hollow set. (Seriously, I was IN the library, but I couldn’t take pictures or touch anything, which is probably for the best.) I walked on the beach, had coffee in Atlanta, and fell asleep on not one, but FOUR planes. And last but not least, my team won the one-hour, one-take video race. Success again!

Of course, I had to miss a few days at the gym–but if you’re going to skip some workouts, I definitely recommend spending that time in North Carolina.

One of the things that surprised me most about my trip was how it reminded me of what I really miss about college. In the last year and a half, I’ve partly forgotten what it’s like to be constantly around creative people who are passionate about their art and making stuff. The whole experience was really quite invigorating. It’s made me think a lot more about how I spend my time and how I should be spending my time.

Basically, I need to make more stuff.

I suppose my little trip to Visions4 helped me adjust my vision, eh? See what I did there?

Sorry, guys. That’s the risk of hanging out with a self-recognized dork.

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Mile Zero: Resetting and Priorities

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“I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air,
So there.”
–Lorde, “Team”

Total Miles in 2013: 1731.5
Total Pounds Lost in 2013: 36

So, that’s the summation of the great 1,500 Mile Project of 2013–two numbers. I mean, as far as numbers go, they seem all right. Pretty good, perhaps. I feel generally positive and warm and fuzzy about them.

As I promised myself, I’m resetting my personal odometer (if the little notebook where I keep track of mileage can be considered an odometer) to zero and starting over. And since it’s New Year’s, why not add a couple of things to the list? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do January 1?

Here’s the thing. I’m absolutely terrible at keeping resolutions–you won’t find any of those self-unfulfilling prophecies here. Instead, I’m resetting my priorities, along with the mile count. Sure, it’s probably just semantics, but it sounds more permanent, right? Most resolutions get broken before we even make them, but adjusting your priorities–now that’s a life-changer.

Oh, Won-Won. Source

Oh, Won-Won.
Source

Starting now, my priorities, in order of personal importance, are:

Write, write, write-y, write, write.
The past year has been pretty much a dud on that front. No novel, barely a blog, and a failed anthology with two of my writer friends. This coming year will be the first year (of many, I hope) that I write something every day. It’s going to happen. The novel will get finished, and–STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES YOU GUYS I REALLY REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME. Didn’t you notice how it’s listed first?

As I was saying, more writing will be happening. The novel. More blogs. More reading. More productivity. More commitment to figuring out how to be a better writer. Fewer distractions. *cough* Like trying to write while the TV is on *cough*

Find a happy place.
Do you ever feel like you’re slowly going crazy, like maybe you’ve been going crazy for a while but have been too sidetracked to notice, and then somebody shoves you over a mental cliff? No? Oh, uh, yeah, so…

The formula sounds deceptively simple: cut out the bad, do what makes you happy. I have found that the process is never quite that easy, though. It’s definitely the type of quest that requires more energy than I’ve devoted as of late. Does anybody have a map of generally joyous regions that I could borrow?

The 2014 Mile Project.
I’ve done a lot–well, a few minutes worth of–thinking about what the mile goal should be for the next 365 days. Then it hit me: 2,014, which translates to about forty miles a week. I had originally been thinking about 2,500 total (about fifty a week), but I’m hoping that a slightly smaller number will mean more daily writing time (remember how that was first on the list?) and more time to explore alternative, less distance-related workouts.

Of course, I’m certainly not opposed to doing more miles. Two thousand and fourteen is really just a bare minimum.

So, that’s where I am today. Back at mile zero, at least two thousand and fourteen more to go, and a lot of writing to do in a happy location yet to be discovered.

I SHALL CONQUER YOU, 2014 (and beyond).