Home > Red Spiral Notebook > [September, 1994] Into The Flood Again

[September, 1994] Into The Flood Again


the best movie in the universe

[Red Spiral Notebook with the following band logos drawn on the front:

U2, Bauhaus, PWEI, NIN, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, Christian Death]

September 13, 1994

“Into the flood again…” – Alice in Chains

I’m back in school and just as I decided I would no longer continue my diary, we have to keep a log for creative writing.  Great.  Well at least this is my free space to do what I wish.  Went to Anita’s on Sunday and watched “Faraway, So Close!”  (the same name as my fanzine.  Though the movie and song came first).  What a great movie.  I wanted to pause it every other minute to write down what they were saying.  I still think I like the “prequel” “Wings of Desire” better.  It was more…philosophical.

I’m eagerly awaiting my next trip to the village, don’t know when I’ll get the chance to go.  I want to get some more written material on U2 for my ever-expanding collection.  Got an idea spinning around my head for that short story due Friday.  Think it’s pretty good.  We’ll see.

“Wish there was something real in this world full of you.” – nine inch nails

Funny, because as much as I grumbled about it at the time, the red spiral notebook I kept as a journal during my junior year of high school ended up being one of the most comprehensive records I have of any period of my life. Yes, it’s full of frivolity and quotes and stream of consciousness entries written for the sake of completing the minimum number of entries required by the class, but it’s also a personal time capsule that chronicles a pretty pivotal time in my life, when I was discovering not only music and movies and other sources of inspiration, but also developing what would be one of my greatest passions in life: writing. The creative writing course I was lucky enough to be in that year is the single most amazing class I took in all of my high school (and even college) years. It not only gave me an outlet of expression for all my turbulent adolescent thoughts and feelings, but it made me want to be a storyteller, to put down words and refine them and share them.

What made the class so stellar was our teacher, Ms. Donaldson. She not only offered the perfect balance of freedom and guidance with respect to our writing, she was also incredibly insightful and damn cool. Ms. Donaldson resembled Jodie Foster, had multiple ear piercings, and rode a motorcycle. She shared hilarious stories from her younger days (“did I ever tell you about the flaming diaphragm?”) and created an atmosphere in her classroom that was nothing short of illuminating. And it wasn’t just me. I recently met up with a couple of classmates who had the same reverence for Ms. Donaldson that I did.

“We all had a girl crush on her,” one said. “That class was magic.”


"There's no greater story than ours."

Despite the different shades of teen angst I’d continue to experience at 16, it was an inspiring time. That summer, I saw Wings of Desire, a movie I loved so much I made my best friend Anita watch it with me the very next day. The Wim Wenders masterpiece instantly became my favorite film, and still is to this day. The story of angels watching over the people of Berlin circa the late 80’s, shot in black and white, sepia, and color, in several languages, was unlike any film I had seen before or since. If a movie can be a muse, then this would be mine for a long long time.  In college, I saw it in revival houses several times, once with an orchestra providing a live soundtrack.  It is the only movie I have ever purchased on DVD.  I would tell people it’s the closest thing I have to religion.

That summer I also discovered Greenwich Village, which was already starting to get gentrified, but at the time still retained much of its bohemian charm and was filled with tiny record stores/memorabilia shops that Anita and I frequented. The East Village in particular still had an alternative grit to it, since starving artists/musicians could still afford to live there. The Village became a Mecca for me, where I could satisfy existing musical obsessions and cultivate new ones, where I could ogle the outrageous hairstyles, piercings, and outfits that would inform my future style, and where I could escape the blandness of my Brooklyn life.

Something else that helped me escape that blandness was in fact a new musical obsession. But that’s a whole other story, for another time…


  1. bridget
    January 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    i have to admit to feeling giddy when i saw the WoD picture, since I was expecting a lot more exposition than you liking it more than Faraway So Close 😉

    it’s also going to get interesting (i assume) to read thing as you get closer to the age i met you, since your writing voice is sort of turning more familiar and it will be neat to see you write about things i know about (though i have to admit your quoting alice in chains threw me 😉

    • January 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      I’ve been excited to start blogging about this diary, because it’s so friggin’ comprehensive (will try to edit carefully) and because it was such a turning point for me in terms of music, writing, etc. I wrote a bunch of stories and poems in that class and am still debating whether or not to include excerpts here, either as part of related entries or as their own posts.

      And yes, I did have a soft spot for Alice in Chains. 🙂

  2. Liz
    January 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I remember the teacher you mentioned, though her real name escapes me at the moment. I took Creative Writing a couple of years after you- it was still a great experience but unfortunately marred by a conflict with the teacher I had instead! It started out as an issue in Argus (the school lit mag) but of course spilled over into the classroom…will tell you sometime if you are curious. 🙂

    • January 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Liz: Always interested in hearing about Hunter drama. Sorry to hear your creative writing experience was clouded.

  3. Liz
    January 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Well, since you twisted my arm. 😉
    The teacher in question never shied away from reviewing classmates’ suggestive (or sometimes nearly explicit) writing in class, and also permitted publishing of similarly, er, “impassioned” material in Argus (he was the advisor) for as long as I could remember. During my senior year, I submitted about 20 pieces of writing to the magazine. Only one was selected by the editor for group review and it got voted in. The teacher objected to the poem, saying it was too overtly sexual. The ironic thing is that it was clearly a matter of personal projection: the poem was actually about kissing, but people interpreted it as being about oral sex (specifically, me performing it on some guy). Funnily enough, besides stating that he was uncomfortable publishing it, the teacher even objected on the grounds that he had consulted a female associate on whether the description of the alleged act was accurate, and it wasn’t- specifically where taste was concerned. Again, why would it be- this poem was about KISSING. I don’t remember much about my response other than that I probably said that the poem was about whatever people wanted it to be about (wanting to seem cool). The Argus staff stood up for me, making a grandstand against arbitrary “censorship”; admittedly, the teacher had permitted much more explicit (not to mention icky) material in the past, though it was written by a male student. The teacher threatened to resign as club advisor, which would theoretically mean that the magazine would cease to exist since clubs at HCHS officially have to have faculty advisors. At some point, a student phoned me to interview me for What’s What. I mainly recall that she asked me questions for about 20 minutes while I was trying to watch X-Files (!), then didn’t use any of it other than to misquote me or quote me out of context, making it sound like I had directly insulted the teacher. Of course I later had to apologize to him for this, hopefully convincing him that I was misquoted by the newspaper. In the end, the poem was published in Argus, the teacher didn’t resign from the magazine, and it was all a tempest in a teacup. I even got a writing award at the end of the year (curiously, for fiction instead of poetry) and learned that he had recommended me for it…this always seemed like a very bizarre sort of peace-offering. I also wondered if the fact that he was very peripherally acquainted with my parents had any effect.
    Anyway, it didn’t sour me on writing, just on hypocritical teachers….not to mention feeling like I was starring in my very own episode of “My So-Called Life.” 😉 http://www.mscl.com/episodes/06_the_substitute.html

    • January 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      This really did make me think of MSCL (which is mentioned in the next journal entry, incidentally). And reminded me of how utterly frustrating Hunter could be at times. And the fact that the teacher consulted someone on what bodily fluids taste like is beyond insane… just WOW.

  4. Liz
    January 11, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Yeah, although even at the time I remember finding it funny that he made such a point of saying he had asked a female friend…JUST to make sure it was clear that he had never tasted that particular bodily fluid (and he wasn’t asking a gay male friend either, I guess)!

  1. January 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm
  2. January 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm

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