Friday, February 26, 2010

cool air

Today was scallops and asparagus, arugula salad, wine, and chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream. Today was about making plans. It was walking home and feeling the air- the crisp San Francisco air, air that is unlike the air I grew up with in that it does not represent a specific season. It is an air with a permanence, like a Sharpie. It is cool and fresh and your own. And his own. And hers. And it gives you a sense of individuality and community all at once. Like this city in general. Sometimes you feel isolated and connected in the same breath, and it's a weird sensation. And, it's one of the many things about this place that makes me feel things deep in my bones. Feeling is brave, terrifying, and vital. Feeling is accepting who you are and the world around you. It's being present and making peace. It's not always possible, but when I can, I try to let everything melt away, just slide right off my shoulder, so that I can feel myself feeling, just for a moment.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The moon is bright tonight. So bright. I love that space between silver and blue. Between light and dark. Where you can try to find where one thing ends and the other begins, but you won't be able to get there. That foggy space. I want to lie down in it, wrap myself up in it, let it weave through my fingers and hair. I want to watch things happen from both sides, get a different view with a simple turn of the head. I want to look inside, to play hide and seek without knowing what I'm seeking. To remove the veil. I want to separate and combine, to narrow and include. I want to be the part of the moon the sky likes to be closest to and the part of the sky where the moon always returns. I want light and time and space and presence and accountability. I am in between, teetering, in a good way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

first date, a story

“That’s right,” she said reaching for two non-matching bowls to put the finally-ready paella in. “We haven’t talked about music yet.”

She dished the mixture of yellow and green and red into the bowls and brought them to the little table by the window. “What kind of music do you like?”

I took a bigger than necessary bite of chicken and rice in order to buy time before responding to her question. When I couldn’t chew the paprika and saffron-coated morsel any longer, I swallowed, looked up, and attempted to own the only answer I had come up with.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” as if on cue. Mine was obviously not a satisfactory response.

“Well,” I said, dragging out the one syllable word and resisting the urge to fill my mouth to the brim with seasoned shrimp. “I like what’s playing now.” I hated how agreeable this sounded so I added, “I also like the Beatles.” The Beatles are like Girl Scout cookies; everybody likes them. Not to mention the fact that liking the Beatles now would imply a second coming of sorts, like I’ve been on quite the musical Tour De France, and I’m back around for yet another loop.

“What’s your favorite Beatles song?” she asks. I hate this question too. I consider my options. Nothing too sappy or pop-y or drug-y.

“Across the Universe,” I say but then I realize that it’s Rufus Wainwright’s version of that song that I really like, much more so than when the Beatles sing it. Does that even count? But I don’t want to say Rufus Wainwright because I only know like six songs of his, and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t really constitute me as a fan since I haven’t sought out his “older stuff.” Or are the songs I like his “older stuff”?

I ask her about her taste in music, trying to sling the blinding gleam of the spotlight onto her. As the immanent sweat from my time in the interrogation chair subsides, she runs off a list of performer names, some I’ve heard and some I have not.

I don’t know what exactly it is, but I hate these music questions. I feel like I’m being judged no matter what I say, like the Jeopardy music is playing in the background and there is no question for this answer. It’s like a freakin’ online quiz: what kind of music are you? What liking this artist says about you. Genre preferences as connected to personality traits and intelligent quotients. If you chose mostly a’s, you are the dumbest person on the planet. If you chose mostly b’s, you live in an unrealistic universe and have your head permanently stuck in the clouds and cannot be trusted to uphold common responsibilities due to your perceived flightiness. If you chose mostly c’s, you are an inauthentic faker and you don’t deserve happiness and will never find love. I don’t see me proudly posting any of these results on my Facebook page for extended judgments.

I don’t want her to think I’m too mainstream, but I can’t say something obscure because I don’t really know anything obscure, and I don’t want to get caught up in a lie, like in sixth grade when some popular kids engineered this coolness barometer of asking not-so-popular kids, such as myself, if we’d heard of the band Crash. If we admitted we hadn’t, they would deem us lame and totally uncool and relentlessly tease us. If we said we had heard of the band, they would catch us- hook, line, and sinker- and mock us for saying we knew a band that didn’t really exist that they had made up all along.

I don’t want to pick something too sweet or too cynical or too weird or too loud or too stoner-ish, Nothing that means something, even if I don’t know what it means. I don’t want to subscribe to the wrong thing. Why is everyone so goddamn into music anyway?

I can’t wait until we talk about something else, something I know. Like chocolate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

beautiful places

Paris is:
-cheese and perfume in the air
-espresso and wine and tartare at a brasserie
-enjoying a croissant on a bench at the gardens
-a leisurely stroll down the Seine
-midnight picnics at the Eiffel Tower
-architecture, flowers, history
-street crepes
-the perfect souffle
-creme caramel, chocolate mousse, panna cotta, unearthly pastries

Puerto Vallarta is:
-that chocolate-covered, caramel-covered apple from the chocolate shop
-go-go boys and questionable photos
-shots of Corralejo, Cazadores on the rocks, Cajeta by the spoonful
-Ana’s guacamole
-parrots, pesos, pina coladas
-views, water, light
-drag shows, dancing
-being asked if you want to buy a hat when you are already wearing one
-Coronas on the beach, lots of lime
-sunscreen, sunglasses, sun
-seeing a turtle swimming in the Pacific while parasailing
-zip-lining through the jungle
-La Noche
-music videos in Espanol

San Francisco is:
-houses on hills
-puppies in the park
-wine on rooftops
-the bridge and the bay and the boats and the fog
-sitting at the top of Dolores Park watching downtown turn into a series of sparkles
-friends, such amazing friends
-celebratory and surprising

Saturday, February 20, 2010

sweet, a poem

Laughing, bugging, twittering, speeding
You to me
So easy
Like a cotton candy machine
Rolling, fluffing, spitting
Spin like laundry
Speak like the ocean
Listen like snowfall
Gaze sleepily
Awake slowly
Stretch your mouth into a “u”
Broad, unintentional,

Friday, February 19, 2010

in paris

Like the good former Girl Scout she was, she made sure all of her friends got on their appropriate trains back to their balconied hotel rooms. She casually strolled the corridor that would lead to her designated train- the one that would take her from the twinkly Eiffel Tower to another stop she couldn’t pronounce where she would transfer to another train which would shuttle her to the Montmartre where she would quietly sneak into the shared room of her hostel and dream of remaining in Paris indefinitely between the snores of her top bunk Swedish roommate.

She inspected the billboards in the tunnel, their funny French faces and phrases and the overwhelming deliciousness of getting to invent what combinations of letters might mean.

Arriving at her stop, she saw her train- solid and dark. She peered inside to empty seats where street musicians had so recently been conducting a traveling concert for cramped commuters and wide-eyed tourists. An older man spoke to her in French one word which could only mean ‘closed’.

Hmm, she thought. She wound her way out of the underground maze and puzzled over a bus map. A young man, her own age, asked in broken English if he could help. She explained she’d missed her subway, and he tried to help her plan a route. As they waited together for the bus, he asked if she might want some whiskey, and she found that she did, so the two passed his flask back and forth and marveled over the city’s lights.

When the bus approached, she thanked the man who had helped her, but told him that she was planning to walk.

“It’s quite a long way,” he warned. “It will take a long time.”

“That’s ok,” she replied. “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, and it would be a privilege to spend the whole night walking through it.”

“Have you cab fare?” he asked. “I can give you Euros.”

Touched by his offer, she gave him a fleeting hug. “Thank you,” she said. “I have enough.”

“Be careful, Mademoiselle,” he said boarding the bus.

They watched each other- he through the elevated window, her from the bus shelter on the corner of the street. Then, he was gone, and she proceeded.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

on the road

It’s about a two hour drive one way from Hampstead, Maryland to Fairfax, Virginia. My parents said Uncle Charlie, my step-grandmother’s son-in-law, who I had never met until his gloved hands were reaching into forced open mouth with sharp instruments, was giving them a really good deal on my braces. It must have been some heck of a bargain between the cost of gas and my dad taking off time from work to transport me to appointments, but however my parents came to the decision, that commute became part of mine and Dad’s bimonthly routine. A roadtrip to promote straighter teeth.

Packing for such trips involved the Jess & Dad mix tape, a spiral notebook, plenty of pens, and a brand new box of tissues, as I was prone to nose bleeds and Dad always feared we would run out if we relied on a previously opened box.

We would spend nearly the entire trip listening and singing to the cassette, which included favorites such as “Under the Boardwalk,” “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry,” “The Locomotion,” “Big John,” “I’m So Hurt,” and “Splish, Splash,” while we watched for out-of-state license plates for me to record.

Depending on how much coffee my father had drank that morning, we might need to pull the car over to the side of the highway so my father could relieve himself in the bushes. Generally, when he returned I would have locked him out of the car, and we would both laugh as he banged on the driver’s side door to be let in.

Short of the red clown nose, Uncle Charlie was the Patch Adams of orthodontistry. Inside his office were toys and gadgets galore. Appealing to my Dad’s love of all things plastic, neon, and free: wind-up teeth, creatures with googly eyes, Where’s Waldo books, and Magic Eye posters would entertain him while I reclined in an exam chair with a bright light in my face and the supposed taste of “bubble gum” lingering from some kind of gunky mold.

We always left Uncle Charlie’s with a pretty extensive goodie bag that encompassed more than just a free toothbrush and floss. Everyone in the office loved my father, and to show their appreciation for us coming such a long way, all of the receptionists and assistants would spoil us to pieces with homemade sweets, Frisbees, smiley face key chains, Silly Putty, balloons and other Dr. Charles Price and Associates paraphernalia. We had gone to get my braces tightened, and it looked like we had left a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.

There was this pretty amazing frozen custard shop at a strip mall near Uncle Charlie’s. We would go there after every visit, but not without getting lost first, even though it was just around the corner from the office. Our driving in circles was part of the routine, and we both respected tradition.

The drive home would be pretty much a replica of the drive there. Same tape, same loud, obnoxious singing, same license plate games. Sometimes, as long as Mom wasn’t waiting with dinner, my dad would take the long way home so we could drive past the huge, beautiful Mormon church.

Upon arriving home, we would be immersed again in the goings on of the rest of my family, and I would have to go to my room to do homework. But, while traveling to and from the orthodontist’s, the road would belong just to us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Life is a perpetual puzzle, and we are constantly trying on different pieces. Some we can tell right away won't work, others look promising until we have more context and the evidence convinces us otherwise. A close fit will do for a little while, but eventually we’ll need the right piece. The only one that will work in the situation, that will connect everything together, and make these parts into a whole.

Is this really a metaphor for life? There’s no way to be sure. Are there really rights and wrongs in terms of the people and things and decisions in our lives? Won't we never get anywhere without trying on many different outfits, jobs, partners, cities, friends, approaches- puzzle pieces? Is it fair to judge them, to say yes or no about something that served us if only for a while? I don’t know that I believe in this ‘perfect fit.’ I don’t know that I don’t either.

Like, these sayings: everything happens for a reason; it's not a mistake if you learn from it; the right thing at the wrong time is not the right thing, etc. Are we predestined to do what we do, lead the lives we lead, become the people we are, and then change and become different in subtle or not-so-subtle ways? And if our paths are predetermined, to what degree? Was I predetermined to move to San Francisco? to meet the specific set of people that have become my SF family? to drink mango juice a few moments ago? to blog about these thoughts at this moment?

And if we are not predetermined, then wow! All of these conscious and unconscious forces guided us to make all these decisions, that are not necessarily bad or good, they just are, and they have led us to where we are right now, and they are within us and correspond directly and indirectly with how we feel about ourselves and the things that are going on around us. I imagine, like many things, there is some truth to all schools of thought, and perhaps there is a combination of all of these ideas and more that go into the components of a life.

I respect that people have varied opinions and are willing to share them, and I love to hear lots of different perspectives.
But, I'm not asking for answers here.
I’m just wondering. Just thinking out loud in print.

Monday, February 15, 2010

moving, a story

Bleek, hopeless rainclouds: that’s you. Infinite mimosas: that’s me. But, sometimes, you’re wet, warm puppy kisses, and sometimes I’m fresh fruit gone bad. Sometimes we’re children playing together in a backyard running away from, then into sprinklers. Sometimes we’re coffee stains on light-colored business suits on our way to important interviews. Today, we’re just us: rain clouds and mimosas.

We’re fixing breakfast together, and over the crackling of the bacon, you drop a bomb on me.

“I’m moving to New York in August.”

I continue arranging the wet plates on the drying rack as I choose my words.

“I don’t want you to be upset,” you tell me.

“Flick the fan on. I don’t want the smoke alarm to go off again.” I turn down the heat. “Do you have a place to live?” I bring the salt and pepper to the table.


“Do you have a job lined up?”

“No.” You plate the bacon and bring it to the table with a paper towel on top to de-grease it.

“When did you decide this?”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”

“Do we need anything else?” I ask, surveying the spread.

“I don’t think so,” you say, taking the chair across from me. You dip your toast into the center of your egg, and the yellow starts running out like a shoplifter. My fork and knife make that scraping noise against the plate that reverberates like a cartoon character who’s gotten his head stuck in a bell.

“Why New York?”

“Why not?”

I fish for the crispiest piece of bacon. You reach for the butter.

“I know it’s exciting to go someplace new, but I know New York, and I know you, and I don’t think you’ll like it.”

“I need a change,” you tell me.

“I know you do, but why don’t you do a little research, and see where the best place for you might be. I mean, what if you can’t get an apartment or work, and you don’t know anybody. I know you’re looking for something different, but this is a whole lot of different all at once.”

“I’m going,” you say. “I’d like to have your support.”

“You don’t even seem excited about it,” I protest.

“I’m not excited about anything right now. I’ve been gloom and doom for the past five months. I’m going to go because I have to. I am stronger than this.”

I watch you struggle with the lid to the jelly jar. Eventually it pops off. You spread the preserved berries onto your toast. I try to picture everything behind you as a green screen, you staying the same, just getting a new background, maybe even a more flattering one, one that you prefer.

“As soon as you get a place I’m coming to visit though, make sure the Big Apple is treating you well.”

You smile at me, and I can begin to see the sun peaking through the shifting gray clouds.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

what i think about when i think about love

In honor of Valentine's Day, I have decided to include a small list of some of the many things that I love.

I love:

*San Francisco
*white Christmas lights
*the smell of freshly cut grass
*home-cooked meals
*feeling the sun on my shoulders
*girls' nights
*The Ferry Building
*pulling on a sweatshirt straight out of the dryer, still warm and smelling of detergent
*the gift of a new book
*giving the gift of a new book
*a genuine compliment
*TV on DVD
*the color red
*Sharpies, stickers, stationary, and stamps
*dumb jokes
*roller skating
*comfy cozy snuggliness
*soft cheese, crisp apples, red wine

Saturday, February 13, 2010

flowers, a poem

She brought me flowers wrapped in purple tissue
And brown paper
With oatmeal yarn
Tied in a bow
The loops proportionate to the hanging string
They smelled like summer
Like chasing brothers
And brothers chasing butterflies
And eating lemons
Pierced with peppermint
The white of afternoon clouds
The smell of chlorine on your skin
After several hours of pretending to be a starfish
The crayfish creek
The tree branches that look like fireworks
The murmur of insects
The swirls of dwindling sunlight
And the shimmer of a shy moon

Friday, February 12, 2010

hangman, a story

I am slightly drunk and highly caffeinated. The process of getting this way was really fun, but now I feel kind of like shit. I am slurry and hyper, and my stomach hurts. The sun is high in the sky, yet it still finds its way to your face causing your left eye to squint, but even asymmetrical, your face is so beautiful.

“How about an ‘L’?” you ask.

“I have to pee,” I say, getting up in search of the restroom.

“Just tell me if there’s an ‘L’ first so I can think about the word while you’re gone.”

“There’s no ‘L’.” I draw a stick leg off the hanging torso and make my way inside the building only to find a line snaking around the corner, at least seven female bathroom-goers long. The problem with passing tipsy is that you forget to leave room for the possibility of waiting in line, and when you stand up all the Pinot and espressos do too, and you feel like a weeble wobble bloated from liquid and lacking balance.

When I return to the bench we have been occupying for the past three hours, my body is feeling much relieved, and the sun has worked its way to a different corner of the sky.

“It got a little chilly out here,” I say.

You smile. “Is there an ‘R’?”

I fill in one of the blanks. I notice that you’ve draped your gray scarf around you, and your yellow neck looks even longer wrapped in the thick dark yarn. It’s funny how silly I feel all of a sudden after spending the whole day with you. I mean, I’m glad things aren’t awkward. God, am I glad! It’s just funny how sober everything is fine, but now I feel paranoid.

“I know the word,” you say, putting your jacket around your shoulders. “Country.”

I nod, close the journal, and slip it into the Trader Joe’s tote I am using as a purse today. “Let’s get out of here,” I say.

You take my arm in yours, the way we used to but not the way we do now. I am excited and confused and furious. How is it any different now if we’re still doing the same things we’ve always done? I hold up the front as best as I can and yell at the pigeons ahead of us on the path.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I'm tired and I'm happy. I'm working and writing. I'm geeking out to board games and putting stuff on the calendar and trying to get organized and wearing my coat in bed cause it's really freakin' cold. I'm motivated and affirmed. I'm contemplating the idea of timing. I'm believing and I'm sprinkling magic dust and waiting expectantly and watching the particles disappear into the air and wondering how they'll reemerge. I'm singing partial songs with skewed lyrics in my head and trying to narrow my scope. I'm trying to massage my shoulders with my brain. I'm rewarding myself for working hard by reserving pages in my journal for doodle frenzies. I'm thinking about growing out my hair. I'm revisiting past work and typing up my pieces and feeling good. I'm trying to zero in, identify patterns, set myself up to keep moving forward.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I am happy to report that I have finally returned to the wonderful world of work! I went from having no job to having two awesome ones. I feel really lucky to have snagged spots in two charming and diverse quintessential San Francisco restaurants. They both represent distinct SF neighborhoods; they both have really delicious food made out of seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients; they both get me out of the house and save me from my Netflix addiction; and they both provide me with a paycheck, so I'm really excited to once again be among the employed.

Interestingly enough, on my first day, at both jobs, the power went out. Keep in mind, these were two separate parts of the city on two separate days. It was weird enough the first time, but when it happened again, I had to wonder.

I decided to take it as a sign of good luck. I am really happy to be working at these independent places with good vibes, as far as I can tell so far.

I feel completely affirmed that I am heading in the right direction. Things are working out, and I'm trying to remember to give myself credit and be a part of that. Things are working out because I am believing that they will, because I am recognizing that I deserve to have what I want, and because I am gaining confidence and seeking out the types of people, places, and opportunities I want to be surrounded by.

I feel ready to work hard in order to continue playing harder. I certainly still have the work to live not live to work mentality, but I have a little bit of catching up to do. It's all good. I'm excited about my new schedule because I feel like it will leave plenty of time to do what I love best: be with friends, write, and be with friends while writing.

Things were a little dim for a while, but now, I can see the light.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

stuffed peppers

The air was quiet and tight as I brought up my laundry bag full of freshly washed clothes, towels, and sheets. I’m ready, I announced walking into the kitchen where my mother was frantically preparing a goodie bag of crackers and fruit and bottled water for my three hour drive back to Bloomsburg University. Mom, I said gently, I probably won’t be hungry. I’ll just take the water. Mom had outdone herself as usual, treating me to all of my favorite meals while I’d been home on winter break, and that evening’s stuffed peppers were no exception. Wait, she said. Take these. She handed me a Tupperware container of neatly arranged peppers filled with the perfect blend of ground beef, chopped onions, rice, and tomato sauce. They’ll keep during the drive. Just be sure to refrigerate them once you get there. Yeah, I thought, salivating upon eyeing the vibrant green volcanoes. If they make it that far.

My family gathered in the driveway to see me off, my brother looking mostly bored, my father looking mostly proud, and my mother looking altogether hysterical. Dad helped me heave the laundry bag into the trunk, and my mother gingerly placed the Tupperware in a safe crevice before pulling the trunk door shut.

I got into the car and drove off, watching in my rearview mirror as the waving figures grew smaller and smaller until they were out of sight.

Lucy, my white ‘96 Toyota Tercel, kept me good company on trips such as this. Trips when I felt torn about missing my family, leaving my mother crying in the driveway and about the potential for independence that going away to college allows.
I had been on the road about thirty minutes, making good time, when Lucy’s back tires slipped on a patch of ice and sent me sliding into the middle of the three lane highway. In an attempt to get back into my lane quickly, I took hold of the wheel, but overcorrected and sent Lucy careening diagonally, charging rudely through each lane, gaining momentum, bumping the guardrail and shooting back into the lanes of dodging cars. Aware that I no longer had any say in the car’s whereabouts, I took my feet off the pedals and my hands of the wheel, relinquishing all control. I said some prayers and sat back as if watching a violent crash scene in a movie with special effects. Only I was in the driver’s seat with an all-too-real view. My car appeared to be in slow motion, like in cartoons when someone falls off a cliff and even their last word N-o-o-o-o-o-o just lingers there forever, against the other cars whizzing past. Finally, the little white car hit the guardrail once more and came to rest against it.

Getting out of the car, I calmly grabbed my cell phone and made my way to the side of the road to call home. In a composed tone, I told my mother that I was fine, but I’d been in an accident. Before I’d even hung up the phone, my parents were on their way. It was then that I actually looked over at Lucy, and it was then that I started touching parts of my body: my arms, legs, shoulders, head; trying to figure out how I had managed to walk out unscaved when my smashed car, barely resembling its former self, looked like it should have appeared in one of those drunk driving photos with flashing lights all around and a stretcher to take away the dead body. I wasn’t dead or mangled or even bleeding. I was alive. I was safe.

Amazingly, I did not cause an accident for anyone else. All the other vehicles on the road somehow managed to carefully swerve out of the way, and many of them stopped to call for help and make sure I was alright.

When the tow truck arrived to take Lucy to her final resting place, I remembered one more thing I wanted to retrieve.

Inside what remained of the trunk were my Mom’s stuffed peppers, shaken up, yet safely contained inside the sturdy Tupperware. Though their appearance was a bit jumbled, they were still intact. Whole. Safe. Just like me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

snow day

“What are you doing today?” I ask into the receiver of my archaic cell phone.

“We’re having a Snow Day,” Mom replies.

I look out across the park at the Speedo-sporting sunbathers, picnicking couples, groups throwing Frisbees and drinking Coronas, Trevor, the dreadlocked seller of loaded truffles, and the sixty-some year old woman that has been hula-hooping for the past hour nonstop.

I have to squint because the sun is so bright. “I’m having a Snow Day, too,” I say.

“I thought you were at the park.”

“I am.”

“Do I have to remind you what a Snow Day is?”

She didn’t. A Snow Day, (aside from the perhaps most obvious ingredient of, well… snow) is a day where you cannot leave the house. Where work and school and errands don’t exist, chores are put on hold and pajamas are never changed out of.

A Snow Day, in my family, is a day where the only things that matter are the people you’re stuck indoors with. A Snow Day yields a much needed break from the ho-hum daily rat race.

It’s a heaping pot of homemade vegetable soup and a warm apple pie consumed at the table which is littered with playing cards, Scrabble tiles, dominoes, and sprawling doodles from rounds of Pictionary.

It’s my demanding that the pellet stove be turned up and my brother feigning heat stroke so that I don’t get my way. It’s us bickering back and forth and my mother reminding us of the sacredness of the Snow Day. It’s my getting my sleeping back to drape over my shoulders and my brother taking off as much of his clothing as possible without being completely obscene.

It’s Law and Order: SVU marathons, (or SUV, as my father insists on calling them) and time for favorite movies we’ve all seen so many times that the dialogue is in stereo from our uncanny ability to recite each line with perfect timing and inflection.

“You know,” Mom says, the reception’s a little static-y, so I have to cock my head and move my body slightly to hear her. “Without you here, it’s really not a proper Snow Day anyway.”

Perhaps, I am not physically present for this particular Snow Day. But, a Snow Day is us, our family, and being connected, so, in that way, I am having a Snow Day in California.

Friday, February 5, 2010

half full

Yesterday, I worked with my creative partner in crime to complete a new phase in our collaborative process, and I feel really excited and proud about our accomplishment. We have been writing together for only four months, and we now have an awesome manuscript. I am thinking back to when this project was just a casual conversation, and I am amazed at how we have turned it into something really spectacular. I feel truly inspired to continue working and making steady progress on this and other stories I want to tell.

I just want to say that I often spend time thinking of how much more there is to do, but I want to take a minute to consider how far I've come and relish in that. I want to see my manuscript as half full, not half empty.

So to all you writers, artists, and other creative folk, please keep writing, photographing, painting, doing what you do. You are building an arsenal of exquisite work. You inspire me!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

drive, a poem

Do you remember that time
we went to that reunion concert
with all of those baby boomers
and they sang that song that repeats
“a little mascara”
I can’t remember now
the name of the band
or the song
but I'm sure I can google it
and we got lost
getting out of the city
because we couldn’t go the way we came
since there were so many one-ways
and it was raining
and the umbrella song came on the radio
and we sang so loud
and we drove around Dupont Circle
for over an hour
and we didn’t care at all
and we compared this concert
to the one we had just seen a week ago
in Baltimore
and we talked about the phone call
you promised to make when you got home
and we talked about being “aware”
and “enlightened”
and about the red dress the girl who went up on stage was wearing
and how it fit her perfectly
and her hair was perfect
but how dippy she looked in the face
and when we finally found the tollbooth
it had stopped raining
and we listened to every sound there was for the rest of the ride home

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the bird

She was walking down Main Street in Ellicott City, the quiet part of Main Street, before all the shops and restaurants. It was summertime, but it felt more like fall. She didn’t mind; the breeze was soothing as she strolled by the historic homes, marveling at each one’s undeniable character. It was really a beautiful day, pleasing and calm.

She noticed a small bird standing in the middle of the street. A wren, perhaps, she really didn’t know much about birds. She noticed the green leaves of the surrounding trees, the purple petals speckling the ground beneath. She was thinking of upcoming travel plans and picturing herself packing her new suitcase. She was thinking about how it would be to travel by herself. She was a little anxious, but mostly excited.

She noticed the bird again. He was still in the same spot, standing in the middle of the road. A car went by, its left tires so close to the tiny creature, yet the bird did not move. What a gutsy animal, she thought. Then, another car drove by, this time the car moved right over the bird, tires on both sides, tunneling the bird in darkness. As the car passed, she could see that the bird remained stuck to his spot. She realized then that the bird was not brave, but rather injured. She watched another bird of the same size fly down onto the street and hop, hop, hop over to the unmoving bird. She could tell the bird was trying to help, but then another car came by, and the bird that could fly had to fly away. She watched the hurt bird, again unable to save itself, endure the haunting dark space under the passing vehicle.

She wanted so badly to save it, to scoop it up in her hands, find some food, bring it to an animal rescue shelter. She wanted so badly to help the bird, but she kept walking. Her legs took her down Main Street to the vibrant storefronts and chatty passersby.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

no words, a poem

I don’t have words
Not pretty ones
Nor ones that sting
Nor ones that feel like cardboard in my mouth
Nor clever, witty ones
Nor ones that rhyme with other ones
I don’t have words
Not sharp ones, nor dull ones
Nor words that are short
Nor long
Nor words that could mean different things
Nor words that I wish I hadn’t said
I don’t have words
Not courageous ones
Nor cowardous
Nor dismal, drippy words
Nor fulfilling, sunshiny ones
Nor ones that I use in place of the ones that I mean
Nor haunting, honest, authentic ones
I don’t have words
I only have this feeling, this moment,
And no words

Monday, February 1, 2010

cellar door

I watched Donnie Darko last night, and I had some really disturbing dreams as a result.

Now, I'm eating a pink lady apple and procrastinating doing laundry after an afternoon spent reviewing some of my past writings.

It's fun to see progress in yourself, especially since we all spend so much time being our own biggest critic. I'm going to work on also being my own biggest fan.

I saw Lady Gaga perform with Elton John last night at the Grammy's, and I think they're both amazing!

I'm thinking about time travel- if I could, would I? Where would I go? What would I do? I guess I wouldn't. I think I would choose to just let life unfold in its own time, run its natural course- not speed it up or slow it down. Sure, I wish I had a remote control where I could rewind and fast forward different experiences at my discretion, who doesn't? But, ultimately, I believe in the timing of the Universe. I believe we prepare ourselves for things to happen when they do, to a point at least.

I also believe in feeling frustrated, in doubting yourself, in wondering what it is you're supposed to be doing. And, I believe in hope. I believe you can ask the questions, but also have to be prepared to accept the answer that sometimes there are no answers.