Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Interview

I'm sitting at my old desk in my old bedroom at my parents' house. It's a school day, so I won't be disturbed here. The same cannot be said for my apartment, which is why I'm not doing the interview there. I've got my laptop all set up, the documents they sent me open in Word so I can review them during the interview if I need to. I've got a glass of water and my iPhone microphone-headphones. The notes I've made myself say things like, "Don't giggle," "Don't interrupt," and "Enunciate." I've turned off call waiting so I won't be interrupted. I've made every preparation I can think of. I'm even wearing shoes.

And now I wait.

At 9:05, my phone rings. It says, "UNKNOWN." With my heart in my throat, I put the headphones in my ears and answer the call.

His name is David Hanson, and he's on speaker phone because someone named Phil is joining the interview. I'm not sure who Phil is, he's sitting too far away from the phone and it's hard to hear him so he doesn't say much.  I take a minute to have a silent flail about the fact that I'm talking on the phone right now to someone in England, and then I'm calm again. Weirdly calm. I know that's not me, it's the blessing made manifest.

Hanson asks me about the degree I have from SUU. I tell him, being sure to talk up my film and playwriting classes. This is, after all, a Master's in Writing for Screen and Stage. He asks about my job, and seems genuinely fascinated by what I do. We talk about that for a minute, then he and Phil take me through the general workings of the degree. I already know everything they're telling me, it was all in the documents they sent over, but I listen attentively and take notes anyway.

16 June 2014. That'll be the day.

The more I hear about the degree, the more I want to do it. I tell Hanson this. I need to convey to them just how much I want it. He asks if I someday want to settle in London, and if I've ever been there before. I tell them the story of my first few days in London, how different I felt from the rest of my classmates because I already knew London was my home.

They tell me I sound like a good candidate. A good candidate! That's better than I'd hoped for. We say our goodbyes and end the call. I flail some more.

I feel different, yet familiar. It's different because it doesn't belong here, in this place. It's familiar because it feels like home. Emma notices. I'm not sure what to do with it.

And now I wait some more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By The Power...

I passed by a white stretch limo on my way home just now. I think it's a good omen.

I've never cried like that before... I'm not sure how I know, but it was somehow different. Fat tears rolling down my face, the kind of crying I've only ever seen in cartoons - Simba comes to mind, just after his father's death. Fat tears like those ones. But happier.

The blessing said that I should be happy and understanding, no matter the outcome of the interview. That scared me. It's not the first time I've heard wording like that, "What's supposed to happen will happen." I don't want what's supposed to happen, I want what I want to happen.

But then he said that if I prayed specifically for the outcome I want, I'll get it. He actually said that. So that's what I've been doing, in my mind and out loud.

He said Grandma Mollie was on my side. She would be, wouldn't she? She was a writer too. I always forget because I was only nine when she died. But I do have one specific memory of her sitting in a folding chair by the trampoline, yellow legal pad on her lap.

I'm not afraid anymore. I feel almost weirdly calm, actually. But I still think I'll fall asleep upside-down on my bed so I can watch TV until I fall asleep. It keeps me from thinking too much, makes it a lot easier to fall asleep.

The Time Is Upon Us

My interview with Regent’s College London is tomorrow morning.

I’m supposed to be folding my laundry but it’s all I can think about. And my body is doing that stupid thing where my digestive system doesn’t actually shut down in a fight or flight situation. It goes into hyperdrive instead. It wants everything inside it to be out, one way or another.

I’m supposed to be folding my laundry but it’s all I can think about. I wish I knew what to do to prepare... I can look over the documents they sent me. (again.) That will be good. I guess I can write down any questions I have, interviewers generally ask if I have any, and I can never think of any on the spot.

I’m so nervous. I’m freezing and my stomach hurts and everything on my insides wants to be on my outsides.

I need to remember not to giggle. Or fidget. Or talk too much. I always talk too much. I always try to answer the question before they’ve asked it. Maybe that’s my problem, why I can never find a job. I need to be more professional.

I wish I was doing the interview in person. The fact that it’s via telephone is nerve-wracking. I want to see who I’m talking to. I want to know who they are, what they look like.

Oh my stomach hurts. I don’t want to be sick, it’s such a waste of time and energy. No wonder I was so thin last winter.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. Maybe so if I actually do get in, I’ll have something to talk about, something to blog about, a reason to be inspired.

I need to find another job. I’ve been looking. I would love to work in the mall, or someplace where I can do something, unlike what I do now. Too much sitting around.

I haven’t told very many people about my application. I’ve told even less about the actual interview. I’m so afraid I’ll jinx it somehow. I’m afraid I’ll let them down. If I tell everyone and then I don’t get in, it’s just that many more people I have to tell, “I didn’t make it.” I don’t want to have to tell them that.

I’ve been meaning to write a poem. Something about stars. I don’t know what I would write about though.

Why is it so cold in my room? Well, at least it’s not snowing yet.

I feel like everything I’ve ever wanted is riding on this interview tomorrow. I want nothing, nothing more than to move to London, to have a reason to. And I’m terrified about what will happen to me if I don’t. What will become of me if I don’t make it? I wish I could talk myself out of putting my every last hope on this.

I’ll do some yoga tonight, and tomorrow morning I’ll have dad give me a blessing. And I’ll pray. And I’ll read through the documents, get as much information as I can. That’s what I can do.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Because this is the end of my senior year at university and I've been lazy about blogging...
I used to make a rainbow schedule for every finals week.  It didn't feel right going into this week without one, so here it is:
I can't believe it's over.  Everything that's happened in the last 4 years.  I am nowhere near the same person I was, and I am nothing but grateful for the changes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Because I won't let myself go a month without posting...

What the heck happened to March?! Seriously. It is just gone... In like a lion and out like a cheetah, apparently.

In other news, I am full steam ahead for my last month of university. Can I get a woop-woop!?!

Heading home today for Mom's epic birthday party. I am freaking stoked!(also freaking stoked about her present but I can't spoil that on the Internet so shhhh....)

I hope to have something interesting to blog about one of these days, but today is not that day.

Also, I have an unusually high amount of energy for 8:30 in the morning... I'm all bouncy and stuff. Maybe I should put this energy to good use and pack to go home, or something. That sounds like it'd be a good idea... I just really. Hate. Packing.

Welp. I'm off.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Favorite

I've just realized something that I don't think a lot of people understand about me.
When I say "new favorite," I don't mean that thing is taking the place of my old favorite. Rather, it is joining the list of my favorite things.
For example, when I say that Tom Hiddleston is my new favorite British actor, I don't mean he is replacing Benedict Cumberbatch or Jude Law or Jack Davenport. I simply mean that he is new on the list of favorite British actors.

Update: If there are any other Amber-isms that you don't quite understand, please tell me and I shall do my best to translate them. I think it would be a fascinating study of myself.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I've come to the conclusion that I own way too many notebooks. And at any given time I am actively using at least three. So. When I graduate and fill my current journal, I am switching down to one, or two max. One for journal, to-do list, and story ideas. Another for whatever story I happen to be writing at the moment. No more than that. Everything can either go into one notebook or the other. The end.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've always wondered, do I blush when I'm embarrassed?

Because I've never known. People rarely, if ever, say "You're blushing!" to me, and I have a natural redness in my cheeks anyway so it all gets very confusing.

So I texted that very question to the eight people who are most likely to know - and text back.

I've listed their replies anonymously, but if you were one of the eight you will, of course, recognize your own reply.

Question: do I blush when I'm embarrassed?

  • Not that I've noticed.
  • I don't think so.
  • Your cheeks are rosy, it's very difficult to answer that question! I don't really know if you are embarrassed that often around me. But my first response it to say no, you don't blush when you're embarrassed. But I definitely do, so that makes me want to say that you do.
  • Yeah. You do. But you also have natural blush.
  • Sometimes yes. Why?
  • Your breathing changes and you clench your teeth more than blush, but there is still a slight color change. Then again it could just be that I haven't seen you in extremely embarrassing circumstances.
  • Umm, depends on the level of embarrassment. You generally don't get embarrassed around me, so...
  • Yes.
"And the Oscar goes to..." Apparently no one else knows if I blush either. Okay, a few people definitely know. But does this answer my question? No, not really.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I've been reading Othello today (I'm currently on my break between acts III and IV). I did not expect to love it this much. I'm not sure what it is that makes me enjoy it so much (*cough-Iago-cough*), but I am really loving it. I've been reading it out loud, which is extremely fun. I switch accents around and stuff, sometimes I make Othello Scottish and stuff. It's great fun.

I wish I could find an online version to watch, but I can't find anything and my "usual sources" have since been...removed.

I have to do an assignment for Script Analysis based on this play, but the only thing I know about it is "who is the protagonist?" I've been reading and trying to make an argument for Othello or Iago. Right now it's seeming like Iago to me, because the protagonist is the main character, and he seems to be a bit more main than Othello. But, I'm only halfway done so we'll see.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Early to bed...

...and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Mom always used to go on about "You're cranky because you're tired," or "Everything always seems worse when you're tired." As a little kid, I didn't believe her.

Boy, do I believe her now.

Yesterday, I woke up at 6:30. I called my brother and I ate breakfast. I took a shower and made my bed and got dressed, and I didn't even have class until 1:00. And yesterday was good.

But last night I didn't sleep well. Then I slept in till 9:00 and felt like crap all day. I was tired and just didn't want to do anything.

I think tonight will be an early night, and I'll try again tomorrow to be good. Because Monday and Tuesday were good. If Thursday and Friday are good as well, I'll have had a successful week. That is the master plan.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The First Day of My Last Semester

I will generally have four classes on a Monday, but I only had three today because choir hasn't started yet. They need time for newbies to audition and whatnot.

First class today was Piano. It's just a continuation of

I had Script Analysis this morning, one of two theatre electives I'm taking. I am SO excited for this course. I had two different friends tell me I should take it. I am a bit apprehensive, though. It's a freshman theatre majors course. Yep. It's going to be...interesting, to say the least. My notes from today say "Yay, theatre majors, yay." They probably assume I'm a freshman theatre major as well. I kind of want to stand up and say, "Hi. I'm a senior. And an English major. Just FYI." But we shall see. I think the professor would like me, if I could be bothered to speak up. But I already have spoken up once, and it's only the first day, so I'd say that's progress, especially for me.
Oh, did I mention she's British? Yeah. She's cute. I've heard some students complain about her, but students complain about all the teachers I like. Such is life. Today she reccommended we watch the version of Hamlet starring David Tennant. I have a feeling she and I will get along fabulously.

Then I had Intro To Film, the second of my theatre electives. I started off this class singling myself out as "the smart girl," which isn't exactly a bad thing. It's just weird because I don't speak up in class.

EPIPHANY: I don't speak up in English classes. Because I know that people are smarter than me, and I know that I kind of sound like an idiot. But I can speak up in these classes because I actually feel smart. Yay me!!

Okay, so here's what happened. The professor stood up at the front and said, "I'm going to recite a poem about how books are awesome. Then I want to see if any of you know where it's from." Then he proceeded to recite the poem. Conversation that followed:
Prof: So, anyone know who wrote that?
Class: ...
Class: Shel Silverstein? Dr. Seuss?
Prof: Nope.
Class: ...
Me: Roald Dahl.
Prof: Yep! Anyone know what it's from?
Class: ...
Me: ...
Class: ...
Me: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Prof: Yep. It's one of the Oompa Loompa songs.

Which was ironic because I only recognized the poem because it's the lyrics to the Oompa Loompa song from the Tim Burton version. But I didn't feel the need to mention that...

I may post again tomorrow, about the classes I'm having then. We shall see. I'm trying to get back into the blogging scene.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I had deja vu watching this clip.

People sometimes give me grief for loving Johnny - he's so old, he's a drinker, all thetattoos, etc - but he is very talented, deep, and wise beyond his years (well...).

He's always learning from the people he encounters. He doesn't just meet someone or work with someone and move on. He learns from them, he takes their wisdom and lives with it.

He loves his family, more than anything. It's clear the way he talks about them, or doesn't talk about them, how much he loves, and respects, and wants to protect his family.

I love this man - not because he's beautiful on the outside (which he definitely is), but because he's beautiful on the inside.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Stars Not Too Far Off

The following poems are from my collection, which I titled "The Stars Not Too Far Off," a quote from the preface of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. I've written them for my astronomy class, and I'll print them and have them bound to hand in, and I'll probably keep a copy for myself as well, because I like them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Lying on the cold concrete,

A flannel blanket folded beneath my head,

A thermos of hot coffee in my hands.

The darkness of the heavens stretch above me,

Dotted through with burning, white-hot stars,

Each the size of a pinprick.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

When was the beginning of the universe,

and where will it end?

What is the destiny of mankind?

A flannel blanket folded beneath my head,

Lying on the cold concrete,

I contemplate my own insignificance.


Not made for this world.

Brilliant, otherworldly shades of azure and magenta.

Swirling about in a rage of heat and pressure.

That beauty is not of this world,

It is too great, too terrible for humanity to behold.

Better to observe at a distance –

If viewed too closely,

Such terrible beauty could annihilate the human race.

Sunrise Photography

I’d forgotten how cold it is before sunrise.

Sitting here on this cold, hard, blue plastic slide,

Waiting for the sun to make its slow way over the horizon.

My camera is ready, my compass is set,

But still, everything is grey.

The frost sparkles on the grass.

I wait.

I watch.

The horizon becomes too bright to look at,

But still, everything is grey.

I keep waiting.

I keep watching.

A sliver of gold.

Warmth on my face.


Night At the Lab


It’s real.

I always knew it was,

I’d read about it,

Seen photos of it,

Even seen video footage of it.

But until I looked through the telescope myself,

And saw it up there in the blackness,

Suspended in face with its four Gallilean moons,

Two red equatorial bands and all:


Haiku Sequence on the Subject of Astronomy

Seeing the vastness –

We can’t be the only ones

In this universe.

Endless sky-darkness,

Eternal void overhead,

Gravity keeps me.

Lighting the darkness,

Billions of miles away,

Tiny burning suns.

In the endless night,

Streaks of light across the sky –

Meteor shower.

Pre-dawn, all is still,

The grass glittering with frost,

Steely grey-blue sky.

The sun is rising,

Flash of gold on the mountains –

Burning hydrogen.

Sun in the window,

Looking through a spectograph –

Rainbow on the wall.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bridget


Today is my sister Bridget's birthday. She's so awesome - she's a huge Harry Potter nerd like me (and had a sweet awesome HP birthday party last night!) This photo is of her at the HP7.2 premiere in July. She was dressed as Luna Lovegood (though if you couldn't tell that from the photo I'm not sure why I even know you. :P)
Bridgey is the one I think of as my "baby sister," even though Julia is the baby now. Maybe it's because Bridget reminds me most of me? She's pretty awesome like that. Haha.

I love you, Bridge! Happy birthday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


You know that feeling towards the end of term (also known as "semesteritis" or "senioritis") where there's so much left to do and absolutely no desire to do it?

That's how I feel right now - with one exception:

Semester- and senioritis are often characterized also by a desire for that particular increment of time (semester or senior year) to be over, hence the lack of desire to take action.

The opposite is true for me. I'm not ready for this week. I'm not ready for this summer to be over.

Monday, August 1, 2011

London Poems


Mom always wanted a copy of this painting.

Yellow, she said, was her favourite colour.

The golden sunflowers droop, full blown over the lip of the saffron vase,

Arching towards the olive tabletop.

Set against an icterine background,

The yellows are dull yet hopeful,

And stenciled in cerulean on the vase, a name:




I have not often contemplated eternity in a block of stone.

Scenes of glory and bloodshed,

Etched, erased and preserved by the hands of masters:

Sculptors, time, historians.

With Keats before me and millions after,

I write to create, to preserve.

And we hope that one day our work will be as precious.



Zeus dominates the skyline,

His rod of lightning stretching every higher.

Poseidon rules in the Thames,

Quenching the thirst of the metropolis.

Hades blows his foul hot breath through the tunnels of the Underground.



“It took no practiced eye to see at a glance

that the Londoner was different…”

Sixty-seven years ago

These words were written about a time

Three-hundred and fifty years before.

Another time, an older age,

As true today as ever.

The Londoner is quick but unhurried,

Busy but not frantic.

She spends her leisure in the shops, in the streets, in the park –

Shopping, socializing, sunbathing – when the weather permits.

She is call, collected, cool,

Even in the face of the pushing, sultry, sweaty crowds aboard the evening Tube.

She has learned not just to survive, but how to live in her world of speed and quickness.

She is who I want to see in the mirror.



The English voice

Is at once softer and more harsh than its American cousin.

Clipped consonants, rounded vowels,

The sound of eloquence to my untrained ears.

The sound of drama, conditioned by the BBC,

At once soothing and frightening,

Strange and familiar.



High on the wall

In a great gilt frame

She sits by her window,

Her raven hair curling over one bair shoulder.

Her gown of brown and blue is simple,

Different from the others Peter Lely has painted:

Barbara Palmer, the Countess of Castlemaine,

Frances Stewart, the Duchess of Richmond,

The mistresses of Charles the Second.

But her face is the same as theirs,

Her hair coiffed à la mode in Lely’s familiar style.

She could be Moll Davis or Nell Gwynne,

But there’s no way to tell –

Lely’s faces all look the same.



A spiderweb.

An impassable labyrinth of asphalt and cobblestone.

It will reach you from across the world,

And pluck you out of your comfortable suburban life

And consume you.

Spires of steel, glass, and chrome,

The skyscrapers look soft against the jagged iron and Gothic sandstone of churches

and castles.

And fluttering over all, the Union Jack.

You will wander,

And just when you think you’ve found your way

You realize you’re lost.

Eventually you’ll get out,

And you’ll return home,

But you will never escape.

You will never be free.



Faster and faster,

Like magnets,

Pulling us forward in one long, straight line

Until we reach our destination,

Our destiny.

Pulling us inexorably forward,

And we cannot return.

The rail lines cross the country in every direction –

North, South, East, West –

And we travel blindly

Through space,

Through time,

Not knowing that we can never return to the exact place from whence we left.

Past the windows of the train,

Images flash:

Farms, villages, castles, the North Sea.

Slide projections of our lives,

Snapshots of memory

Seen for an instant and gone forever.


Dappled earthen floor,

Shadows in the shape of aspen and oak leaves.

This is a place of magic.

Robin and his merry men once ran here.

Still I hear their whispers

Echoed by the shifting branches overhead.

In a forest as old as the world

And green as anything,

Wet under an eternally gray sky,

I sip coffee and contemplate my own insignificance,

And the oak trees drop rainwater on my head.


Haiku Sequence

Sidewalk of Baker Street

Gum-splattered pavement,

All twenty-six shades of grey,

Sticking to my shoe.

On the Way to the Station

A touch on my head,

Unexpected in grey light:

Early morning bird poop.

Evening Tube

Warm bodies press close,

The humid breath of hundred

Fills the Underground.

Baker Street Station

The stench of years past

In Underground’s unmoving air –

Coal dust in my eye.

The Heath

Untouched for centuries,

Growing and green in the city,

Stretch of wilderness.

Waking Up

Laying in bed,

Hazy moon in the window.

Last day in London.


The twelfth day of May,

Six pounds and seventeen steps,

Three rooms in 221B.



Mecca in a three-room flat

Crammed impossibly full

Of reality mixed with dreams.

Tourists, worshippers, disciples

Cross the world to visit this place.

The table set for two--

Ignored in favor of the old violin

And the softly simmering test tubes on the table in the corner.

The smell of tobacco, formaldehyde, and rain

Has been smothered by the sell of cross trainers and perfume,

But the rooms remain untouched,

Everything in its rightful place,

Just as shrines are wont to be.



Is there really such a thing as reality?

Surely not here.

Not here where Robin ran,

Where Harry hunted,

Where Sherlock sleuthed.

These places,

I thought,

Existed only in stories.



The last night,

Standing on the corner of Marylborn and York Gate.

The sky overhead looked like water,

Blue and shaded, rippled by the wind.

Cars streamed by, red and white lights a blur in the darkness.

I tried to memorize every detail –

The cool evening breeze,

The way the air smells of grass and water and petrol,

The rushing silent sound of city traffic.

But even now it’s just a memory.

Was I ever really there?