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Goeun Park: Five (very) short stories to show writer’s block isn’t all that bad

When I start to write these columns, I list around a dozen ideas and pursue about half of them.

I’d get a few sentences or paragraphs down on a topic before I decide it’s too boring or difficult and move on. I repeat the process until something sticks.

Today, nothing is sticking. My mushy brain can’t hold onto a train of thought long enough to fill a page. Ten hours of lab a week can do that.

It feels like a waste to discard all my stray thoughts, so let’s switch things up: I’m going to give you five mini-columns for the price of one! They have their own catchy titles and everything.

The library guilt-complex

The library is five minutes away from my dorm, which doesn’t seem very far unless it’s 1 a.m. and the rest of the country is asleep. My friends and I have gotten into the habit of going to the library this semester after we realized that our rooms were a productivity dead zone.

We walk all the way across campus to sit on the same creaky chairs and wooden desks as the ones in our rooms because it’s easier this way.

At the library, people will judge us for going on Facebook or Pinterest. To check on celebrity tweets would be to defile the shrine of knowledge.

It’s not only scandalous, it’s borderline sacrilegious. The shame will keep us from being distracted. At least, until closing time at 1 a.m.

Goeun Park, professional pen thief

I was in the mailroom yesterday when I saw it. A Pentel RSVP ballpoint pen, black ink, fine tip. I am a fanatic when it comes to good pens, and this was a classic Pentel ballpoint.

Stunningly simplistic and enough ink for months. It was love at first sight. I felt bad for the poor person who left it behind, but not bad enough to not take it. Just looking at it still makes me giddy; maybe this is what kleptomaniacs feel like.

I wish I could do this for a living.

Sleep deprivation isn’t exactly what I have

I used to think bedtime was a cruel and unusual punishment created by evil parents to ruin children’s lives. Naptime and Nyquil were wasted on me as a child.

These days, sleep is my white whale. I fantasize over it like Ishmael obsessed over Moby Dick. Before going to bed, I calculate how much sleep I would get that night and what time I should wake up to not disrupt my sleep cycle.

Somewhere in high school, sleep became the main staple for small talk and bragging rights. To stay awake until 4 a.m. and be functioning the next day was really impressive in a twisted sort of way.

I’m getting 30 percent more sleep than I did this time last year and it’s still not enough. It’s driving me insane: I’m envious of people who can afford to get a lot sleep and I’m envious of people who can get by with no sleep.

A few days ago, I even had a dream about dozing off in class. My dreams are getting too literal for comfort.

How to Make Friends 101

New semester, new people! I enjoy meeting new people, but I dislike the actual process of getting to know them. First (and second and third and fortieth) impressions aren’t exactly my forte.

If I had it my way, I would skip the entire “we should be friends, please like me” phase and get right to the “let’s poison our bloodstream with cholesterol and watch The Bachelor for three hours!” part of the friendship.

Thanks to new classes and clubs, I’ve met some truly lovely people on campus. Of course, my inner freak refuses to cooperate. It’s been an interesting few weeks out here. Here’s a quick and dirty list of things I did and things you shouldn’t do if you want to make new friends:

Do not ask people questions right when they’re about to take a giant bite of their sandwich because they’ll have to chew and you’ll have to stare them chew and it’s just uncomfortable for everyone.

Do not accidentally spit ice cream on them. Do not keep on walking and let the door slam on their face. Do not tell them you Facebook stalked them. I repeat, do not tell them you Facebook stalked them. Even if they laugh it off, they will think you are creepy and you will want to crawl into a hole and stay there. Forever.

That awkward moment…

Friend One: “Do you remember that awkward moment when you accidentally called your teacher ‘mom?’”

Friend Two: “Do you remember that awkward moment when it’s dead quiet during a test and your stomach decides to have an earthquake?”

Me: “Do you remember that awkward moment that was like, all of middle school and most of high school?”

Everyone: “Yeah.”

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.