I am Katie, short for Kathleen. I'm named for my grandmother, who died when my mom was 14. Apparently we're a lot alike, and I like to think the name has something to do with that. I am 18 years old and a senior in high school. I live in an Indiana college town, and while I love it here, I don't think I'll live here forever. I want to move to New York City someday, and after that, maybe the mountains of Virginia.

I am a very happy person. I owe the pleasures I feel to the amazing friends, family, teachers, and acquaintances with which I have been blessed.

But I get angry and sad easily, mostly over war, the politics I don't agree with, racism, homophobia, puppy mills, and the damage done to the environment.

Books are my favorite material possession. Owning lots of books is a personal extravagance, but I would also consider it a necessity. If I love a book enough, I can read it over and over again. In fact, the same goes for watching movies and listening to music. I develop obsessions relatively easily (Moulin Rouge, for example--and I watch a lot of "Cheers" and "West Wing" on DVD) and can hold onto them for years at a time without losing much of my initial fascination. I mostly think this is a good thing. For me to appreciate something, whether it is happy or sad or both at once (as most things are), it has to make me feel glad to be alive. That's probably the running theme of my daily existence: being alive is amazing and weird and exciting.

I work in an ice cream shop. I could not ask for a better job. I thrill young, rambunctious children with Superman ice cream and rainbow sprinkles. I help adorably sheepish women satisfy their understandable need for chocolate. I please old men who grew up during the Depression with scoops of the Weekly Special for only one dollar. Who could ask for greater fulfillment than that?

On the subject of fulfillment, I should add that my faith is probably the most essential part of my life. As a Christian, faith in God's incredible love. As a human, faith in humanity. As a liberal, faith that the 2004 election will bring better news. As a feminist, faith that women will eventually earn the same amount of money as men for the same amount of work.

Unfortunately, my Christianity, as comfortable and happy as I am with my religion, is something that at times fills me with the desire to explain myself to others even if I haven't been asked. I almost feel like I have to have a disclaimer ready during all discussions even remotely pertaining to religion: yes, I am a Christian, but I am NOT one of the Bible thumpers who keeps writing those letters to the editors about posting the 10 Commandments in state-operated buildings, putting a Nativity scene on the Courthouse lawn, the deterioration of society and morals due to the "homosexual agenda." As a matter of fact, I enjoy learning about other faiths and lifestyles and I promise not to warn you about hellfire within five minutes of learning your name. I think the term "equal rights," was meant to apply to everyone: even females and homosexuals. I think it's rather inconsiderate to God to favor the denial of rights and respect to any of His creations--and we're all His creations.

a happy list...

Mom and Dad. Becca. My friends. Aunt Annie. Uncle Ron. Mike & Rachel, Amy & Marlin, Jon. Aunt Kris. Billy Collins. Emily Dickinson. e.e. cummings. Sylvia Plath. Carl Sandburg. Langston Hughes. Maya Angelou. Susan Orlean. Ralph Ellison. Madeleine L'Engle. Michael Cunningham. John Steinbeck. Virginia Woolf. Tina Fey. Charlie Kaufman. Nicole Kidman. Ewan McGregor. Julianne Moore. Jude Law. Bebe Neuwirth. Scarlett Johannson. Julie Andrews. Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks. Vincent van Gogh. Gerhard Richter. Toulouse-Lautrec. Gandhi. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pastors Tim and Pat. Tom. Mrs. G. Mrs. H. Mr. M. Ian.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham. East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flag. A Room of One's Own and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup and The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Light in August by William Faulkner. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (especially now that I don't have to write any more papers about it!) The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. White Oleander by Janet Fitch. The Bell Jar, Ariel, and The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath. Girl With a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The Blind Assassin and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Possession by A. S. Byatt. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Almost anything written by Madeleine L'Engle, especially Certain Women, The Other Side of the Sun, and The Small Rain. The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Fahrenheit 541 and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. Matilda and The Witches by Roald Dahl. Poetry Speaks by assorted. "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor. "Bliss" and "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Let Nothing You Dismay by Mark O'Donnell. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster.

Moulin Rouge. Adaptation. The Sound of Music. The Hours. Chicago. Amélie. Pleasantville. Girl With a Pearl Earring. Possession. Finding Nemo. Lord of the Rings trilogy. Toy Story II. Pride and Prejudice (A&E/BBC mini-series version). The Graduate. An Affair to Remember. The American President. Chocolat. You've Got Mail. It Happened One Night. It's a Wonderful Life. What Dreams May Come. Love Actually. Whale Rider.

The Secret Garden. Into the Woods. A Christmas Carol. Big Love. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Les Miserables. The Lion King. The Phantom of the Opera. Annie. Romeo and Juliet. A Midsummer Night's Dream. Proof. Noises Off. Sueno.

Belle & Sebastian. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Patty Griffin. Dave Matthews Band. Zero 7. Sleater-Kinney. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. The Moulin Rouge soundtrack(s). Radiohead. The Strokes. Blind Melon. Alanis Morissette. Simon and Garfunkel. The Beatles. Incubus. Weezer. East Mountain South. Seals and Crofts. Jars of Clay. Sarah McLachlan. REM. Jill Scott. Natalie Merchant. PJ Harvey. The White Stripes. Ben Folds Five. Over the Rhine. Liz Phair's whitechocolatespaceegg. Guster. Silverchair. Tegan and Sara.

The West Wing. Cheers. Felicity.