All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
- Hafiz (Muslim poet)
I had to participate in a poetry contest for one of my classes recently, and chose to finish and submit this one. I didn't particularly care about winning but I figured as long as I had to participate I should put forth an effort, and I knew I had a better chance if I tried to be unique rather than just go off of talent alone. Indeed, most of the poems were equally talented in my opinion, and I just voted for the ones that resonated the most with me personally. After the first place winner was announced, he read his poem aloud, and I realized right then that I definitely didn't want to win after all. But guess who was announced right after that for second place? My exact reaction was "Oh God, no."
I was allowed to let someone else read it for me, but that was still awful. I found myself biting my finger to drown out the pain, and when that didn't work I resorted to plugging and massaging my ear flaps and thinking, Shoot me. Shoot me. Shoot me. Shoot me. When it was over, people discussed what they liked about it. No one mentioned that it reminded them of Dr. Seuss, so I guess that part was a failure, but as long as they liked it that's what matters. Certainly I don't mean to complain about that. It's the having-it-read-out-loud-and-being-the-center-of-attention part that I hated. I had to wonder if I would have gotten first place if I had voted for myself. Most of the ones I voted for didn't win, but one of them did, and I assume everyone liked it for the same reason I did, aka it made fun of millennials.
I also had to participate in a poetry reading for one of my classes (guess which one) yesterday, and it was slightly less fun than facing a firing squad. I managed to keep the trembling out of my voice but it just went into my legs instead and created a miniature earthquake. I chose this poem because it isn't heartfelt or sincere enough to be embarrassing to read, but not as goofy and random as the one I had submitted for the contest. My friend Bracelets went last, and she has a phenomenal reading voice, soothing yet firm. I told her she should record audiobooks.
I've been revising my novel again through a fortuitous series of events. A few weeks ago my computer conked out again, and this time the warranty is expired, because apparently I just have horrible karma. Windows 10 attempted to download some updates but said that it had failed and would try again later. Then I was awakened in the middle of the night by my computer turning itself back on and restarting, but I didn't do anything or even think much about it because I was so tired and non-functional that it may as well have been a dream, and indeed I didn't remember it until later the next day, after I turned my computer on and found that it couldn't go three minutes without crashing and restarting. I tried to go into Safe Mode, I tried to do a System Restore, and nothing worked because it would freeze up as soon as I clicked on something. At one point I was finally getting it to do a System Restore or something along those lines, but after a few minutes it said "Undoing Changes" or something and stopped. I almost threw that piece of crap out the window.
So the IT guys on campus said the operating system needs to be reloaded and they have to do it manually since it froze if they tried to do anything the straightforward way. Since I cannot afford that for the foreseeable future, it hasn't happened. And after that, as if annoyed at me for taking it to the doctor, it refuses to even start up. The light comes on, the fan whirrs, the light goes off, then back on again, and does that a few times before giving up. All because Windows 10 tried to install some updates. Thanks, Microsoft.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Less than forty-eight hours before this happened I had emailed the file of my novel to someone to read over, thus allowing me to access it while all my other files are off-limits. So that was a blessing. And then, since Thanksgiving break was coming up and I was going to be bored out of my skull without my computer, I checked out some library books about science fiction writing, and they gave me a ton of ideas and that was awesome. During my previous largest revision a couple years ago, I had trimmed it from 495 pages to about 430 by cutting redundant or unnecessary material, and it was still too long for a first time author to get published, but now it's actually growing again, which I like because, although quality is more important than quantity, both is better than either one. Right?
I have had it up to my eyeballs with the hate and ignorance being directed toward Muslims by at least thousands of people (as indicated by Facebook comments and likes). People who have never read the Koran are suddenly experts on it because they know how to copy-paste a few verses that are no more shocking than half the stuff in the Old Testament, and they also have mind-reading powers to know what all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world want. If all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world wanted to destroy America, they wouldn't be sending in a few thousand to sneak in undercover as refugees. They could overrun it with their bare hands. If you believe in barring all Syrian refugees and/or Muslims from the United States, then I hope someday you're forced from your home and have nowhere to go because everyone associates you with the people who forced you from your home. To be frank, you deserve it.
Look, someone shared my Facebook post! I have a fan!
Devil's advocate: While it may be true that terrorists do not represent Islam any more than the KKK represents Christianity, this seems like an apples to oranges comparison because terrorists are actually a huge problem whereas the KKK is so irrelevant that most people forget it still exists.
Response to devil's advocate: I believe this is owing to the culture of Western, "Christian" nations as compared to the culture of the Middle East, which is at least a couple centuries behind. The Middle East has virtually no democracy and no separation of church and state. The fact that Islam is the favored religion in that region is, for these intents and purposes, a coincidence, and if it happened to be Hinduism then the situation would be exactly the same except that we would be talking about fundamentalist Hindu terrorists justifying their atrocities from the Bhagavad Gita. The Middle East is mostly Muslim, but most Muslims don't live in the Middle East.
On a related note, I spit on Donald Trump and his ilk.
I went to the institute Christmas concert last night and actually had someone to go with me. Shortly beforehand, after I had put her number in my phone, I stared at it for a little while as it gradually dawned on me that something wasn't quite right. Then I realized I had put in my own name instead of hers. That's how tired I was yesterday. Two of the digits were transposed anyway, so it was a good thing her apartment was easy to find. I walked in a straight line there and it was the second door I saw in the first building I went to, and then she was like "Wow, no one ever finds it without calling me." Obviously that's just further proof that I'm a genius. So anyway, we went to the concert and I thought it started at 7 but it actually started at 7:30, but when we arrived five minutes before 7 there was already a long line, so that was a lucky mistake/divine providence/whatever.
So I had to make conversation, and I'm terrible at that. I don't know why it is that I can write a decent 2,500 word essay in an hour and a half, which I know because I did it yesterday, but I can't articulate spoken words nearly so easily. I wasn't even nervous. I was quite comfortable. But I was very conscious that my sentences were full of "um"s and repeated words to give my brain time to catch up with my mouth. Oh well. The concert was very good, as I knew it would be, because the institute choirs are stellar. I suppose there's not much point in saying much more about it because nothing I say would remotely compare to actually watching it. Sorry. And then afterward we ran into a couple from my ward and I didn't introduce them because I don't remember the guy's name. At least I remembered his face, which is more than I can say for some people that I'm apparently supposed to recognize from somewhere. I'm so sorry. Sometimes I swear I have dementia with names and faces.
Speaking of musical performances, I saw a girl on Facebook complaining about her "minstrel cramps". I resisted the urge to comment, "I hate it when my minstrels get cramps. It makes their singing sound terrible."
A great blog post by Daniel C. Peterson re: the hypocrisy and insatiability of LDS detractors re: the temple in Kinshasa for which plans have just been released in conjunction with the announcement of the groundbreaking on February 12 of next year.
But even the detractors are forced to admit that we have the sexiest cult.
Oh, I caved to the evils of capitalism and added some AdSense ads to my site, which are allegedly supposed to actually show up any day now. I recognize that I will probably get pennies, if anything, but it's worth a shot. I didn't put them on the memorial page for my deceased schoolmate or on most of the religious themed pages, though I did put a couple on religious themed pages because I'm curious what will show up and if they turn out to be for Mormon.org and Deseret Book and stuff then I'll add more.
One of the guys in the Star Wars watching group asked me if I had a crush on my ex-crush. Then he accurately guessed all the girls in the ward that I've had crushes on since he moved in. I don't know what was the most unnerving - that he could tell, that he was paying such close attention, or that he bothered to remember.
Some of my friends who had until recently never heard of the Star Wars Holiday Special are still failing to grasp how awful it is. Some things are so bad they're good, and then some things - like the Star Wars Holiday Special - are so bad they go past good and straight to bad again, and you are sincerely perplexed at why they exist and what state of mind so many people must have been in to create them. I have a theory that the LDS priesthood ban ended in 1978 because, in order to preserve the harmony of the cosmos, God needed something really wonderful to balance out the awfulness of the Star Wars Holiday Special later that year. But nowadays, some privileged first world millennials are unfamiliar with the horror that it perpetrated on their ancestors. I tell them it's mostly about Chewbacca's family. They're like, "Sounds awesome." Well, sure, if Wookiees grunting at each other for ten minutes with no subtitles is your idea of "awesome".
Here's a cute, heartwarming song for Christmas :) Well, sort of. That's a subjective thing which some viewers may disagree with. The look on Johnny Carson's face just completes it for me.