Desperately Seeking Inspiration

Recently, I’ve had the urge to drown my sorrows in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream. You see, even though I’m taking an eating disorders class here at UCSD and know that bingeing on a quart of ice cream isn’t a good solution to my problems, I’ve realized self-pity is a lot easier to swallow when it’s accompanied by several hundred pounds of calorie-laden chocolate.

My hell began last week when I received an evaluation of an article I wrote earlier in the year from a judge for the mother of all college journalism contests, the California Intercollegiate Press Association Awards.

At first, I could barely restrain my excitement as I anticipated the warm reactions of the panelists. I imagined them contacting The New York Times and begging them to put me on their payroll. I soon became delirious, envisioning the accolades I would receive from the literary world and my face — air-brushed of course — on boxes of Wheaties.

However, my dreams of achieving international fame were quickly dashed when I discovered that not only did the judge not like me, she thought my writing was crap. I bit my nails nervously as I looked over my scores. On a scale of zero to ten, I received in the categories of writing quality, style, creativity, and reader appeal a 5, 2, 2, and a (drum roll please) zero. Zero? I couldn’t believe it! Surely, I thought, there must be one reader on a campus with thousands and thousands of people (probably even a hairy one who could identify with my deformity) who would find something appealing in my articles.

The next few days were all a blur. I annoyed as many people as I could — some of whom didn’t respond to me — by asking them if they thought I was as bad a writer as the CIPA judge thought I was. I prayed that a higher power would somehow take pity on me and show me the way. If I was not destined to be a detective or a high-class journalist, what the hell was I going to do when I grew up?

Sometimes my friends, burdened by my complaints and “”woe is me”” attitude, tried to get my mind back on track and would ask me what I planned on writing about for my next article. After a while, I finally decided that I was going to show that judge and everyone else, that I, Divya Runchal, would not only write an article that would be both thought-provoking and entertaining (quite a difficult feat for me), but one that was destined to be the high point of my short career.

What was I thinking?

You see, I thought that if I delved into an enigma that had captured my attention since freshmen year, I would be the biggest thing to hit this campus since Jamba Juice. Two words: Dynes’ Posse. I set out trying to investigate this group of renegades, eager to discover who they were and what they were trying to accomplish. I had spent countless moments scrutinizing the face of Chancellor Dynes plastered on stickers all over campus and trying to understand the cryptic message accompanying his image: “”Chancellor Dynes has a posse.””

I imagined various individuals running around campus in the middle of the night, evading lurking CSOs and a frustrated police department, spreading their message all the way from Center Hall to Warren Lecture Hall. I decided I would have to do a quasi-stake-out to unravel a mystery as interesting to me as the Bermuda Triangle. I even bought a special notebook, emblazoned with a Batman logo, to get my detective juices flowing.

Yet, my “”stake-out”” turned into a disaster. Not only did I fail to see any fascinating activity while walking all over campus late at night (except for a couple of fat rabbits flopping around), but I also got a cold that put a swift end to my potential Pulitzer prize winning article.

I finally came to the conclusion that I have three choices: 1. Quit writing for the paper and save my readers (if there are any) the grief of reading mediocre writing. 2. Become a nun and rise above my ego through prayer and benevolent acts. 3. Continue barraging readers with trash, even if everyone — CIPA included — hates it.

After careful deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that choice number one will prevent me from earning enough money to supplement expensive hair removal treatments. Choice two, although lovely in theory, is impossible because there are too many cute boys on this campus that stray me from the path of God. Therefore, I’ve decided to continue writing even if the only “”fan”” letters I get are from critics. At least, if all else fails, there’s always Chunky Monkey.