Sunday, June 24, 2007

writing about writing

I talked with a couple of friends about creative energy, and about writing itself. I realized that I did not write anything over the past two years or so that I was proud of, that really expressed my creativity, and that exercised my brain.

When I first moved to New York City, I worked but my job was not so mentally and emotionally draining and I still had creative juices, and I wrote several things – several essays, started a few stories that I never finished, (maybe I should look them up and see if I can finish them, or at least re-write them), and sometimes just wrote for the sake of writing, the sake of using my brain creatively.

Grad school then started, and everyone who has been through grad school knows what it is – all my energy was poured into writing several 15 – 20 pages research papers each semester. I did not mind doing so; in fact, I actually enjoyed writing those essays. I loved the intellectual challenge, and probably did one of the craziest things I have ever done – doing it full time as well as working full time.

I took a year or so off everything, all “extra” stuff after grad school – I missed my friends, I missed sleeping in, and I missed not having any obligations aside from work, so I did not do much over the year after I got my masters. Later, I started working behind the scenes on some films, helping a few friends with the “collaboration” process, and that was part of the creative work that I was enjoying, and for the time being that worked.

Then, as I said in my first blog entry, a larger human service agency took over the company that I worked for, and almost immediately, you could see an effect on many people who worked in that office – I stopped doing any extra creative work, I did not want to work on other people projects (even if in fact it was something that I immensely enjoyed), and I continued the “habit” of not writing, as it was the easy thing to do, not to fight the emotional and mental drain that was exhausting me.

I did not think that I realized this until last week, when I finally resigned, and after a few days of just doing nothing, sleeping almost the entire weekend away, and basically, in the words of a good friend, JR, flushing the agency out of my body. By Tuesday or so, I could feel brain cells growing back, I actually wanted to do something else than just flopping on the couch and reading or watching television. I actually had energy, I wanted to get out of the house and do errands, writing blog entries become less of a “chore” and something that I wanted to do. JR said that he went through the same process. He worked on various film projects, and they immediately became a lot more fun and his creativity output changed after he resigned from the same aforementioned large human service agency.

So, these are just a few thoughts put together about the concept of creative energy, and the fact that after a few years my fingers are getting back into the habit of writing what I am thinking, and just getting used to it again. Hopefully blog entries will improve in quality, and just expand and I will try different things as my brain cells continue to grow back.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

what's in a name?

Grandma and Grandpa (on dad's side) bought a computer a while ago, as Grandma was talking about putting down stories and some family history into a mini-manuscript, and she spent some time doing that, and put together a book of sorts, "Stories for my Grandchildren," in which she gave a copy to me (which I immediately devoured and loved), my brother, and my four other cousins.

Grandma's mother, Charlotte Levin was a part of that family history, and she was where the inspiration came from for my name, both for my real name, Charlotte, and for my blogspot address, Zlotte.

When Charlotte was born, in Albany in 1894, she was given the name of Zlotte. When she started school, her teacher felt that the name was too "un-American," and made the "Americanized" version of her name into Charlotte and she was known as Charlotte from that point on (well, she also had several other nicknames that her family and close friends used, but for all intent and purposes, she was called Charlotte).

When Grandma told me that story, I was just finishing college, and was looking for a new email name, one that does not require the usage of digits, nothing that was complicated, something that had something to do with me, and just something easy and fun to remember. I started using it, and it was an easy email address for people to remember, and it served well as a conversation starter.

That's my muse - let's see where it goes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

woo hoo!

The dentist have never been someone I have been excited about. You're talking to someone who endured six years of braces, the thingies that you clip on your upper and lower jaws, wires, head gear, and various other metal objects in my mouth.

I got my first four fillings over the past two weeks (apparently PC was concerned that at some point my teeth would need work, so they got me fillings before I was due), and just sent off a letter stating the completion of the work (and the awesome dentist I worked with actually x-rayed my fillings and added that to the letter, grin) - they stated that my dental has cleared! woo hoo!

On an aside - I just asked my boss, whoops, my friend, (or should I call you my co-worker, J?) if ice makes the filling go eeechkkkk oooh pain!, and he's like, oh you don't get that when you drink coffee? I'm like, what? He's oh you're just a kid. Wait til you get old!

So, seems regardless of PC, I'll have things to look forward to when I get old.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"You have a FedEx from Peace Corps."

Yesterday, my roommate gtalked me, "You have a FedEx from Peace Corps." I was immediately excited, then it struck me, wait a minute - it is probably more forms! We met up, and then looked into the form. Yep. More forms. ::banging head on desk:: It needed more medical information about my hearing loss, and a couple of other pieces of information that apparently my ten pages medical evaluation was unclear on.

So, the waiting game continues.

At least I am done with my dental work - will FedEx the information tomorrow. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Right now my roommate and I are just focusing on divvying up the apartment, selling much of our furniture, giving away some books, figuring out a lot of other things - we are moving out in the end of June after living together for more than two years. He is going back to school, and after taking the summer off, hopefully I'll be on the other side of the world.

Meanwhile - I will just try and finish up all the medical stuff as quick and as painless as possible!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

joining the bandwagon

After a few years of just hanging out and reading blogs, occasionally commenting, I have been beaten over my head by my roommate who have been telling me that I should start writing, that I should be getting my ideas out there (and most of all, that he was sick of hearing me sprout all kind of theories in our living room, rather than in the blogsphere where he could draw upon and add onto), and that I should start somewhere. I am not normally the kind of person who writes about stuff and put it out there for everyone to read, maybe a little reserved, in lack of a better term.

Why now are you joining the bandwagon, you may ask, well - the short answer is - Peace Corps. The long answer - I submitted my letter of resignation to a large human service agency in the beginning of May. They had recently taken over (well, if you call a year and a half ago recently) a smaller agency that provided services for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind community in the NYC metropolitan area, including the office where I was employed - I had worked there for four and a half years before the "take over" and continued working there for another year and a half ... and to put it nicely, it was time for a change.

I started looking for a new challenge / opportunity a little under a year ago. One thing that kept nagging in the back of my mind was doing something outside of the United States, something in the neighborhood of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer. I have always wanted to try to study abroad during my college years, but never gotten the opportunity, and after marinating in the idea of actually applying to become a Peace Corps Volunteer, I started the application process in August of 2006 (after using a few close friends, my parents, my brother and his girlfriend as sounding boards). Whew, I did not know what I have gotten myself into. The online part was lengthy, and I submitted it in mid-November (pissed off, after an ill-fated meeting at my office in which interpreters were not available even though the request was made three weeks ahead, and my boss ended up interpreting for me). After my references made their submissions on-line, I was contacted by a Peace Corps Recruiter, and a few more forms needed completion. In February, I was finally interviewed, and then later nominated for a Sub-Sahara Africa placement. Then, you guessed it, even more forms. The medical / dental evaluations were next. A couple more months passed while I went to all appointments (prompting puzzlement on the part of my staff), and finally got everything together to send off (and several appointments remains to get my fillings done - they want to make sure that I have absolutely no dental work left to do for the next two to three years, grin).

I am currently awaiting to hear more about the exact location of my placement, as well as what kind of teaching I will be doing. I am excited about this, and hopefully things will fall in place, and I would not have to do any additional appointments, check-ups, etc.

Coming back to the point of starting a blog, the general idea is to be able to provide a simple and comprehensive way for friends, family, and colleagues to get a quick look at what the heck I have been up to, or will be up to.


This blog consists of my personal thoughts and opinions. It does not in any way reflect the position of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.