An Excerpt from my First Script

At age 10, myself, my sister, and our friend Sarah decided that we would direct, choreograph, and produce a three-person version of The Lion King (Broadway edition, of course). Here is an excerpt from the script I wrote for this occasion:

SIMBA: I’m glad that’s over.

NALA: Yeah, my idea really worked.

SIMBA: Your idea? It was my idea!

(babble on and start to tackle each other. Roll into elephant graveyard Nala on top of Simba.)

NALA: Ha! Pinned ya again!

As you can see, this take on The Lion King was purely revolutionary. But actually, I wrote four drafts of this. FOUR! I don’t even write four drafts now. If this doesn’t reveal something about my personality, I don’t know what does….also the fact that I got to the end of the first act and then never wrote the second half. Hm??


should it be easy to be green?

“It’s Easy Being Green” was the original title of this article. However, after I read an article in our campus newspaper, “Minor lifestyle changes obfuscate true climate change solutions,” I am tempted to alter my approach to environmental activism.

The author, Stephanie Jones, argues that although sustainable lifestyle choices are becoming more mainstream, the actual cumulative impact of these choices is negligible compared to the scale of climate change. She says,

Relative to the general population, I seem quite environmentally conscious because I am a vegetarian, I limit my car use and I recycle judiciously; if everyone in the country made identical adjustments, perhaps climate change would unfold at a slightly slower rate, but it would continue to unfold. Truly living in an environmentally responsible manner would require drastic changes in every facet of our lives — the way we eat, travel, dress, govern, communicate, educate, and create art. This is not about whether we should drive Priuses or Hummers: This is about whether we should drive cars at all. 

Jones definitely has a point: I, and Environmental Studies major, often get caught up in the specifics of ideal daily actions and forget the need to change the infrastructure itself. So why don’t we address these larger questions? What stops us from going from Klean Kanteens to bikeable cities?

Minor and major lifestyle changes both require a shift in mindset, and minor lifestyle changes act as precursors to major lifestyle changes. Minor lifestyle changes have a twofold benefit: One, they reduce our environmental impact in some way, even if the reduction is quite small, and Two, they require a capacity for care and reflection on personal behavior. The reflective aspect is key if we expect to move into a time when we, as a whole society, not just an environmental subculture, are able to confront the question of “whether we should drive cars at all.”

However, we should be cautious against convincing ourselves that our minor lifestyle choices are “good enough.” It is easy to feel good about never using disposable cups, or turning off the lights when leaving a room, or taking shorter showers, but as Jones said, even the cumulative effect of these choices will not stop global warming. Systemic change is vital to reducing the impact of climate change. Fortunately, through encouraging minor lifestyle changes, we have begun to lay the groundwork for a society that values its environment enough to change its behavior on a large scale.

Keep changing your behavior, big or small. Do what you can right now. But please open your mind and open your heart to future actions; hopefully, a time will come when someone will ask you (or policy will require you) to make a drastic lifestyle change. Hopefully, your history in reflective change will allow you to understand the reason that you are being asked to live a less-convenient way of life. Hopefully, we can reverse climate change.


‘How to Live Without Irony’ – NYTimes

Very much enjoyed this article.

Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise. To live ironically is to hide in public. It is flagrantly indirect, a form of subterfuge, which means etymologically to “secretly flee” (subter + fuge). Somehow, directness has become unbearable to us.

On Being with Krista Tippett: Brené Brown and Vulnerability

“With creativity, the primary shame trigger around that is comparison.” – Brené Brown

BOOM. Discovery. Truth. Lightbulbs. Eureka. This is a perfect explanation of my problems. On the one hand, you want to be inspired. On the other hand, you look at things and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It creates a weird little competition among artists.

“How can we embrace rest and play if we’ve tied ourselves to what we produce?”

“Does this mean that our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted?”

“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experience”

“To me, vulnerability is courage. It’s about the willingness to show up and be seen in our lives”

“Think about the last time you did something brave. Or the last time you saw someone do something brave”

“Whatever your daring is, however you’re trying to show up in your life, I think there’s something incredibly contagious and powerful about it, I think it makes the people around us a little bit braver, and I think it helps us get very clear on the ideals and values that guide our lives.”

“So f you do something and you think,  ‘My identity is on the line here,’ like, ‘If it fails, I’m bad,’ the only thing that’s at stake is that it could fail, not that you are nothing.”

What an interesting idea – we aren’t defined by our actions. Some would hold strongly to that idea; we are our actions. If we aren’t defined by our actions, then an evil act does not make you an evil person, a good act does not make you a good person. You are an amalgamation of behaviors, choices, values, emotions, and actions. You are not one or the other; you are not a dichotomy. You are a complex, nuanced being that has the potential for balance, balancing the good with the bad. What a fantastic thought! You are not condemned (or lauded, for that matter) for your choices.

Does God prescribe a definition of who we are? We are his. We are not our actions. We are his children. We are loved, unconditionally, no matter our actions. That’s God’s thing – we are not defined by our actions.

Being vulnerable completely contradicts all of our survival instincts.

“Hope is a function of struggle. Hope is not an emotion; hope is a cognitive, behavioral process that we learn when we experience adversity, when we experience relationships that are trustworthy, when people have faith in our ability to get out of a jam.”

“I think we’re awakening from a period of deep disengagement”

let us delight in mcsweeney’s!

There comes a time in every college  student’s electronic life when facebook, tumblr, and the occasional hop over to livejournal just don’t cut it anymore.

enter: mcsweeney’s.

This is a website for people who don’t like websites. But instead enjoy a well-crafted piece of written comedy. So, for your enjoyment, a few excerpts:

By Colin Nissan:

It Was I Who Flipped Over the Risk Board Last Night “And I hate that you wear a beret every time we play. God, do I hate the beret.” [side note: this could be a great monologue]

It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers “The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.”

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better than You Normally Do “Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals.”

By Mike Lacher:

I’m Comic Sans, Assholes “I am a sans serif Superman and my only kryptonite is pretentious buzzkills like you.” [ironically, one cannot use comic sans on wordpress]

By Matt Wyatt:

Some Additional Polar Ambulations “Evening Stroll of the Snow Geese”

By Michelle Arenas:

An Open Letter to the New York Times Style Section Photo Retoucher “Like everyone else who reads this section [the wedding announcements], we have no idea why we are reading it. We read it and wish we were hitting ourselves in the head with a mallet while doing so. There is no reason to read this section.”

on writing – editing vs. censorship

I try to write for myself on this blog. Which means that I do as little censoring as possible.

But I find myself less than happy with the blog’s content; I feel like it doesn’t quite reflect my proficiency as a writer. So, let’s look at the difference between censoring and editing.

Censoring has to do with ideas, whereas editing has to do with the presentation of ideas. Censoring involves not including an opinion, whereas editing is a process that allows for the fullest expression of opinions.

so I figured it out! I should include my opinions, but edit them so that they’re well-stated!

And of course that will still be in my voice – I never look at the particular writing structure of other people. My writing style is my own, as long as I actually put my best writing out there. Otherwise my opinions are left unsupported, which might be why I have trouble convincing myself that I believe things.