Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Like so many, many other people across the globe last night, I stayed up 'til an ungodly hour to watch space rocks fall through our atmosphere. No, really, Lisey (roomie) and I went out to Drollinger Field (the one on top of Drollinger Parking Structure, where rugby and soccer hotties practice) at about 1 o'clock in the morning to see the Leonid Meteor Shower. We knew it wouldn't really peak until 3:30/4am, but we figured we'd go out early, see what there was to see, and then nap until about 3:30 and go out and see the rest until 4:30.

We bundled up in layers of jackets and boots and took towels and blankets. There were already a bunch of people out, waiting, and we laid down and got cozy and waited. Of course the sprinklers hit us so we had to move, but once we settled in again, we saw a couple of faint streaks until the most amazing thing happened. The first of the big ones. It was like a fireball falling from the heavens. Very few things in my life have ever made me weak in the knees, but that did. It was huge, and left a long, sparkling trail across the sky, and lit up the world like fireworks at Disneyland. The whole even only lasted about 3 seconds, but it was brilliant and moving and completely sublime.

It was a really awesome moment. We saw one other, slightly smaller, bright flying star, but then we decided to go in because we had waited about 10 more minutes and nothing happened, and said we'd go back out at about 3:30. I went to sleep and was so unconscious that Lisey couldn't wake me up, so I'm kicking myself that I didn't get to see the rest of it, but there's always next year. Maybe the western US will be in a better position for some 200-300/hr. action like Asia was this year. Never know.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I've been thinking about letters lately. Specifically, why more people don't write them. Letters have been used for centuries as a vital form of communication, and I think it's tragic that it's considered "special" or "exciting" to get something other than junk, bills, or magazines in the mail. Maybe it's because I'm a writer-type. Or because I have a boyfriend who loves me. Or because my friends understand how crazy-obsessive I can be. But I've been writing letters for a long, long time. I like timeless things. The kinds of things that never really go out of style, that can never be successfully modernized. Things like music - we will never not need it. Or the holiday season. A good love story. And the fact that a good love story almost always includes some letter writing.

The great writers and lovers in history wrote letters. Romeo and Juliet (as much as it pains me to call them "great lovers in history," but still) wrote to each other. Abelard and Heloise wrote some truly beautiful, passionate letters to each other. Songs about love feature letters, like Jason Reeves' "Old-Fashioned Letters," which opens with the words, "You still write me old-fashioned letters/ put your perfume on the pages..." America's Founding Fathers wrote to each other constantly regarding the American Revolution, and later, Southern plantation owners wrote to each other - confidentially, of course - about their concerns about the morality of slavery. Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, William Shakespeare, Edmund Burke, Charlotte Smith - great literary figures! - all great letter writers.

Perhaps it really is because I'm in a long-distance romantic relationship. Robert and I write to each other, and while I can't speak for him, I know my heart beats faster while I'm twirling the combination of my campus mailbox to get it open. It sinks a bit when that box is empty but oh, how it pounds when I find one of those perfect cream-colored envelopes waiting for me! How could I not race up the stairs and across the bridge, past the apartments and the library and the field to my room to rip it open and read it no less than fifty times? How could I not put off homework and other commitments to compose a reply and put it with the next batch of outgoing mail?

I'm not saying that there's some major outpouring of love, tenderness, affection, and mushiness with each letter. That would be beyond ridiculous. No, many of our letters are merely reflections on what's going on in our daily lives, sharing things that somehow get left out of conversations on the phone. This is not to say that we don't dissolve into the miscellaneous "I love you"s and all that stuff. We do. But our letters are no less perfect for not being exclusively full of those phrases. There's something inherently sweet about someone taking time to sit down, pull out a nice piece of paper and a pen, and sit and put their thoughts in words. The act of writing is going out of style. You have to choose your words carefully to fit on the page, to be careful about making mistakes because there is no "backspace" with pen and paper. Then you have to put a stamp (worth 41 cents these days!) on it, effectively paying someone to carry it for you, when e-mail is cheaper. Then the waiting. Not only for them to receive your letter - which can take up to 4 days for national mail, up to a week for international - but also for them to sit and write back to you, and put it in the mail and for their letter to reach you can be another 2 - 8 days. This whole process can take 2 weeks if your pen-pal is a slow responder.

But I think it's worth it. I would gladly wait that extra week for written words from a friend or lover than an hour or two for them to respond to an e-mail or message on my wall on Facebook. Knowing they put a little more into it, a little more of themselves, a little more thought of me, a little more dedication to our relationship, makes it more than worth it.

So I challenge you. Think of a friend from high school or college that you haven't talked to lately. Think of your great-aunt Gladys who got you a sweater you now love for your birthday last spring. (I would talk about the greatness of "thank you" notes, but that's another topic entirely, and I don't want to get into preachy manners at this point.) Think about your best friend who's in college across the country. Grab a pretty piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and a pen (this whole process might cost you a dollar - same as a soda at a vending machine), and write them a quick little note saying hi, what you've been up to, what the weather's like, what random thing your dog ate last week - and make sure to ask how they're doing! - fold it up, stuff it in the envelope, lick it (sorry, this tends to not taste so great), slap a stamp, an address, and a return address just in case, and send it in the mail with a kiss and your best wishes.

May you have many wonderful letters to come.

More later - have to study!

Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one. ~ William Shakespeare

~ Willow

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When I Win

Happy Saturday!!! So, several weeks ago, a few weeks after school got started, Lisey (roomie), Frankie (roomie), and JP (random friend) were all in the apartment (home) when I walked in. They were playing Apples to Apples. I have another story on that particular game, but that's not what I want to blog about today. So, I joined the game briefly, but then we got bored, and JP recommended that we play Hearts. I've never played Hearts, I had no idea what it was or how it was played, and the only time I'd ever heard about it was on my trip to Europe with the O'Rourkes when Mrs. O claimed to be the world Hearts champion, who no one had ever beaten. Several girls on the trip challenged her, and all lost pathetically. I didn't stick around to watch, though. I was writing in my journal the whole time.

Anyway, so JP grabbed my deck of cards from our little stack of board games on the TV stand, and started dealing and explaining at the same time. Needless to say, intense confusion set in on my part. After a few hands, though, I started to get the hang of it. I still lost brutally, and was kind of annoyed about it, but once JP left and we all went into our corners to do our homework, I realized something once I got a bit bored and turned to Cake Making on Purble Place to make myself even more bored

I have a computer.

My computer has games.

Most of those games are things like Spider, Solitaire, Poker, and Mine Sweeper.

Hearts must be there.

I can improve my game play by playing against the computer.

And so I did.

Every day while doing my homework, I would take a brain break (reward/reinforcer for good behavior - blame my psychology class) and play a few hands of Hearts. Quite a few hands and 45 games later, I finally did it. I won a game of Hearts. I came in first place, and beat the computer. An entire.... festoon of little red hearts floated like balloons up to the top of my computer screen, and then popped one by one into other little showering festoons of hearts. I was so excited.

2 weeks later (about 3 days ago), I did it again. It's not getting easier, I'm just developing my strategy. But still. It was exciting.

I think that's what it was that made it worth all the time I wasted playing and losing. Winning was exhilarating, and incredibly satisfying. I know I need to cut back, but hey - it's better than baking imaginary cakes for hours and hours.

Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one. ~ William Shakespeare


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It is officially "autumn," ladies and gentlemen! Fall is here, ushered in by October and the fact that school has been in session for almost 5 weeks. No, seriously, all the little LA kids are freaking out because it's cold after weeks of intense heat, and we don't know what to do. I saw people in scarves and hats yesterday. What is that about, really?

I do love fall, though. It's a "settling season", because we're all settling in for winter, and school, and no vacations except Christmas and Thanksgiving and President's Day and Halloween and and and... Of course, on the East Coast, all the trees are turning colors and it's actually getting cold, so pulling out scarves and hats and sweaters is legitimate. But out here, the temperature dropped down to 60F, and in some places, that's downright balmy.

Enough about the weather. Fall is an exciting time of year because it's the beginning of "the Holiday Season," which is one of my favorite parts of the year. People are already carving pumpkins and planning Halloween costumes, making travel arrangements for Thanksgiving and some (like my mother) are already buying Christmas presents. Like, whoa. The crisp, cool air, mostly clear skies, and Santa Ana winds always make me feel like something's officially beginning. Maybe it's the school year, maybe it's the holidays, or maybe it's just a more "settled" time of year. I know that in SoCal, it's one of the best times to be outdoors, and for me, it's a time to settle into school and try not to get the seasonal cold that usually comes with it.

Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one. - William Shakespeare


Monday, October 5, 2009


You've reached Willow's blog. Congratulations.

I'm a little of everything - scholar, writer, lover, dreamer - and I believe that life is the greatest adventure. Words are like oxygen, and I am never without a book. I love movies, because watching a movie is like ghost-walking through someone's life, and the voyeur in all of us just loves that concept. I love music (who doesn't?), because nothing really connects with the human soul like music and lyrics. I'm going to be a famous writer someday, so watch out. I'm fascinated by people, I think the human disconnect is our world's greatest tragedy, I believe in love and life and loving life, and that there is beauty in all of us, we just have to let it out.

My blog will include my thoughts on books, movies, and music, as well as my own little ponderings, on life, love, etc. etc. Feel free to follow me, I think stalkers just need a little love (and possibly mace), and feel free to love me or hate me - just know that either way, I am who I am, and your approval is not required.

Thank you, and I leave you with one of the greatest contradictions in the English language:

Happy Monday.

Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one. ~ William Shakespeare