Wednesday, December 31, 2008

a roundup of 2008

where do i begin....
ringing in last new year in boulder, colorado with triple trouble, my best friend and my love
learning that $90 for an open bar is not a deal
an emotional breakdown with my boss of a year and half
declaring myself a writer, quitting my job and letting go of hollywood and a useless ego
my blog and facebook
a valentines day visit
a plan to move back east
a younger sister
a party at the Spanish Kitchen where I am most surprised by the visit of an old college friend
he tells me not to get too comfortable in jersey
comfortable but not too comfortable
a drive across the country
snowboarding the bowl in Aspen
a hospital visit in boulder
creating a home with Mike and doing it for real this time...and man, is it real
acquiring a part time job in script reading
An awesome soccer team
New Orleans Jazz Fest
Dancing to Stevie Wonder in the rain
a job at a school in Greenwich Village
daily visits with Carmen
lots of train rides
Two canoes
Reconnecting with friends in Vermont
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
aruba & mike's family
An older sister
Game night
Dare I say, poker???
A surprise birthday party all for me!!!
writing...a lot
a visit to Imagine
a friendship with my old boss
teach for america...or grad school
grad school
gotham writers
registering voters in Pennsylvania
a new friendship with a sassy woman from queens
and another friendship with a smart ass from highland park, nj
seeing Obama speak in the rain in a run down town in Pennsylvania
reconnecting with Lindsay and establishing a writing group
a hairline fracture on my rib
more visits to the hospital
a cough but the will to beat it without antibiotics
i win
a bottle of wine with Tara
and a warmer heart
lots of books
new music
enjoying films as an audience member and not someone who works in the entertainment business
a visit home where i recognize my own growth first
an appreciation for my home in Jersey and my life with Mike
new york.....
and my heart sings.
Thank You.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'tis the season

the holidays are hard.
i am reminded of this as a friend has been sleeping on our couch since Christmas.
I want to ask what happened
I want to know why he crept back home at 3am so not to see anyone and grab some things
but I already know the answer
The holidays are hard.
I plug into my iPod which for some reason I forget to charge every night
even though my morning commute is so much more pleasant with it
but today i had the urge to listen to tori amos.
i have not listened to her in maybe nine years
which makes me feel old and curious all together
i find the song that is stuck in my head and i can't remember how or why it got there
i click on "little earthquakes, leather"
and suddenly i am eighteen singing the lyrics to this song feeling them rip through my soul
i am violated and broken
weak but finding strength
humiliated and angry
looking for an escape
i am reminded of that horrible night the day after christmas so many years ago and
i remember disappearing up into northern california for four or five days and spending new years eve with people whose names i can no longer remember.
i was eighteen, and one of them was twenty-seven like i am now
i was eighteen and one of them was twenty-five, nineteen, or eighteen like me
there was a girl with a tattoo that meant "brother" in some chinese letters
and i remember her telling me her brother had gotten "sister"
we went to the house of some child actor who i have not seen in life or on tv since
i did not spend new years eve with my friends that year and instead made a new years resolution to forget all of those people that were there the night after christmas
i see them on facebook
still spending new years together and i am proud of the best new years resolution i ever made
i am reminded why i no longer listen to this album
but i can't help from indulging in the miserable nostalgia of it all
i feel old and it feels good to be far from eighteen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

something real

baked goods with chicken scratch writing
the words spell out H-a-p-y- H-o-l-d-a-ys
big smiles with no teeth
and santa hats and reindeer antlers atop teenagers

hot cocoa or apple cider if you like it spicy
snow on evergreen
salt stains on jeans
and chapped lips to go around

songs of bells and mommy kissing santa
the essential grinch or two
perhaps some eggnog
and definitely the hap-hap-happiest christmas since bing crosby danced with danny fucking kaye

three cheers for winter on the east coast and christmas on the west.

Monday, December 15, 2008

cleaning house

this weekend, i cleaned house.
starting with a long overdue talk with a friend who is a shark by nature, artist by heart,
and a poet in her soul
we talk about the missing piece
and i realize that too long a part from her makes her my missing piece
it was nice to find it for a night
i party with friends and with people i judge
and yet we all manage to have a great time
a friend of mine tells me the importance of keeping friends in check
and so i attempt to put him in check
and he deflects my questions but in an entertaining way so we all laugh
i ask him if he is happy
he says no in a sobering moment that is quickly swallowed up by his stand-up routine
and the night rolls on...
on saturday, i do laundry and organize and make mix cds for a special cousin
and on sunday, mike, toast and i decide to clean house
we throw away pieces of people that left long ago and
for the day i feel just a little bit clearer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the importance of stopping....really stopping

a minute to minute flood of interruptions
or short interactions
communicating while disconnecting
nothing feels real on this phone call
a constant compulsion to be connected to people through the most impersonal of ways
i check my email a couple times an hour
i flip through news websites
never really fully reading the articles
maybe half to get the point
i get a coupon for a sale-40% off
i am broke...very broke....
but i do need jeans
and i have been looking for a hat
i visit once
i visit twice
and i walk out with two pairs of jeans, a hat a shirt
i feel dirty
i do not need any of it
but i would like to have pants that have no holes or rips
and i have been looking for a hat that keeps my ears warm
maybe i did need them
these buys are justified
my bank account disagrees
i confess to him
"i think i have a problem"
and within five minutes i am convincing him that i do not
i leave my credit cards at home
could i get away with leaving my debit card, too?
i am amused by this comical reversal
i used to reject the notion of shopping
especially at anything not vintage
and now i love them in that
"i hope this is caressing some bullshit insecurity" kind of way
i consider returning one of the jeans and perhaps the shirt
but all i really want right now is to stop
stop buying
stop worrying
stop obsessing
stop moving
and just listen
really listen
stop all distractions and
listen to the person i should be reconnecting with
in order to communicate with love
forget anger
and get into the fucking holiday spirit.
i shall see where my guilt lies tomorrow...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

what's at the top

i search through a mass of entangled chains and charms
knotted with an earring or two
my jewelry box is a jack-n-box
full of hand me downs and beaded beings
nothing is worth anything except for the tiffany bracelet and necklace bearing a cross
i was given them in september by my three god sons and their parents
i keep them separate
i don't wear the crucifix though i did try it out for a day when i went to pennsylvania to register voters
i thought it might be a sign of peace or neutrality
don't mind my yellow polka dot sweater, designer jeans and hippie hair
i am a catholic, see?
i untangle a couple more necklaces
two are ornamental stones from new zealand
jade to be exact
one is a piece i wore everyday for many many months
and now i look at it as a rare and precious relic
a piece of tombstone for a former self
one that felt a connection with new zealand or at least a curiosity
and now sees it no more than a place i once visited
a place it may be hard to return to
which makes the journey there precious and a stone
i come across a religious necklace and bracelet given by my grandmother
it is a prayer necklace though not a rosary
i know i wore them once but i can't remember when or what for
and then i come to the toughest of knots
a broken chain and locket given to me by my mother
she had engraved 2003 on it for my graduation from college
and on the other side she had put "LDA"
she is the only person in the world who still references my long forgotten middle name
i try hard to untangle this web and everything i do makes it worse
i find another necklace
another heart
given to me by her, but this one i have never even taken off the piece of plastic it is fastened to
i don't know why i keep these pieces
when i touch them i feel sad, guilty
but i know i will never wear them
my mother had wanted to come to my college graduation and i had told her no
she had not been a part of the struggle to get their
she did not deserve to relish in the hour of my spotlight
i am reminded of my sixth grade graduation when i had asked her not to come
she showed up and i ran inside my classroom hysterical until mr. molina came in and talked me back out to rejoin the class
she was gone
and again my eighth grade graduation
there was a rumor that she stood in the back of the church and watched me receive my creative writing award
we weren't even talking at that point
my high school graduation she came as an invited guest
and a friend i had since i was twelve met her for the very first time
she was last friend to meet her
i don't even have that friend anymore
i undo the knots and i bury the locket and the other heart necklace underneath some cheap beaded ones because i can't stand to look at them anymore
earlier today i had mentioned that i needed a bigger jewelry box but now i am reminded why i keep a small one
you can only see whats at the top.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

in bloom

"i think i like him"
"thats awesome! i think thats the first time i've heard you say that in maybe years"
she gives a demure laugh
"i know...and then we made out for like an hour"
to have sex with someone can be as casual as a handshake
a risky business transaction
and if both people get off than you know it was a good one
but to makeout with someone is something...
"this is going to sound kind of skanky, but i like this one..i don't want to do that," she responds to my careless joke about the potential of kicking her roommate out to have the room alone with him.
i start to see my friend as the beautiful vulnerable girl that exists within her
but sometimes only comes out in small doses
kind of like a flower that only blooms in the winter
a flower that can go for months or years without tender love
or thoughtful care or even attention
but still finds the fortitude and light to bloom in the darkest of days
resilient in her belief that all people are good they just need a chance
strong like the lonely flower that refuses to be suffocated by an earth that just doesn't see life the way she does...
our conversation drifts and i can tell she is tired but in that dreamy cloud nine kind of tired
i can feel her glow over a genuine crush reaching through the phone
i hang up ecstatic at the idea that my friend has a crush!
and i am sixteen all over again
sometimes i wish we had known each other during that time
but then i realize that maybe our friendship is special because we didn't know each other at those times, but rather these times
the twenties
like a second puberty or aimless search
both just as frustrating, both just as frightening, both just as exciting...
i find myself getting butterflies for milady
and it is not so much that she has a crush
it is not about her talking sincerely about a boy in a long time
or about her having some passionate loving
it is because it is winter and the flower is blooming.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the question of ambition

the current issue of vanity fair has a stunning spread of kate winslet with a rather short interview.
the quote they choose to put in bold large font running across one of her pictures reads something like:
"i never really had any ambitions...i was fat."
i read about how she never really had an ambitions because she was a fat girl and she never saw any fat actresses. she now holds the record for being one of the youngest stars in hollywood to earn five best actress nominations.
i read an article from a published writer who talks about how great it is to a young writer
an unpublished writer where you have no audience, no expectations, and are still developing your voice
writing just to write
there is something to be said about the absence of ambition
ambition can be blinding, narrowing, punishing
it can drive you
but what if you can't see the course?
what if the drive is what is in the way?
i can remember a time when i just wrote because i had to.
because i didn't feel write unless i had.
but as soon as someone told me i had "talent"
as soon as i had some "success"
writing became something i feared
something that had the power to hurt me
after many years of failures and or just short of failures
maybe it was many years of incomplete pieces
i feel like i have finally found the love of writing again
the reckless abandonment i once had with it
and perhaps it is because my ambition has opened itself up to the possibilities of other endeavors.
or perhaps i have been humbled my blind ambition and now have a greater appreciation for what is.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

give thanks

I send out a text message that reads: "Happy thanksgiVing!"
I rarely send out a mass text message, in fact this is one of two times but I wanted to wish all the people I was thankful for a happy day.
I get a colorful array of responses.
A couple "gobble gobbles"
A few "You too"
A couple "You too...who is this?"
and one that says "Ving, Ving to you, too."
I don't get it at first and then realize it is in reference to the large "V" i accidentally typed in my "Happy thanksgiVing" message.
I laugh and am thankful for all of these strange people.
another message comes through
"don't puke on tofurkey."
this year, i am really thankful for my friends.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

a moment of hard clarity

"i was his favorite."
the words spill out of me like a secret exiting a womb.
we are not supposed to say these things.
i am struck dumb by my own confession, realization, narcissism, etc...
she leaves for the bathroom and i hastily put my coat on, my heavy backpack on and pick up the bag of gym attire i have been carrying around for two days but have not used.
i stand in cheap dumb boots with heels that were not meant to be worn in new york city.
the weight i carry is hard.
hard on my body, my fractured ribs and soar back, my weak right knee and my swollen feet.
i catch a glimpse of myself standing with this heavy load about to prove to myself that i can walk ten blocks like this and a sad song comes on the pa system.
the mood is sad, the reflection is sad and for the first time i think to myself,
"what the fuck am i doing here?"
and not in the metaphorical existence but in the physical existence.
why am i so hard?
on my body on myself on the people i love?
why am i carrying all this shit and why i am standing in these ridiculous shoes when i could be sitting for a few momets longer?
why can't i just let myself be free?
in the physical and the metaphorical sense.
i start to get a little choked up as i am reminded of how hurtful all of the things i just confessed were.
another thought comes and before i can swallow it shoots right through the heart, "i am not my brother's mother."
and for a moment, the backpack feels just a little bit lighter.
she exits the bathroom before i can feel any more sorrier for myself and i am grateful for the interruption.
we part ways and i walk one block to the subway station.
i stand in penn station in a burgundy coat with hair to match and i start to feel like i stick out.
i do stick out.
no one there has a red coat and no one there has red hair.
and no one there is carrying two heavy bags standing in black heeled boots.
i make it to my train and write the entire trip until i feel sick and i close it up for another moment of clarity.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

going vogue

i chopped all my hair off today
i looked down at those multi-color tendrils
and i think...
this was long overdue.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a state of mind

i listen to her talk about how to get published
how to become a freelance writer
how to step into that world of being a "professional writer"
i listen to her with feigned seriousness
a creased brow, a tilted head, a slow almost barely noticeable nod and the only thought that runs through my head is:
"i don't really want to do this."
and the next thought:
"well there's your answer."
and the next thought:
"shutup! you are just scared and lazy."
and then the next thought:
"what DO you want to do?"
and then the next thought:
"maybe i am a playwright. maybe i need to go back to my roots. maybe writing will always be your side thing and your career will have to be something else because freelance nonfiction for damn sure ain't gonna pay the bills."
i lose them after class only to catch up with them on the corner right before we part ways on the subway.
it is cold; bone shivering cold
i ask her what her take is on grad school knowing that she went to columbia for a masters in journalism
she hesitates and then tells me what i needed to hear
something i know but still need to hear
"there is definitely a benefit but you don't need it. its...its 80,000 dollars. its more about building your self confidence and committing yourself financially and emotionally to this idea that you are going to be a journalist."
I talk with my fellow comrade in quarter life crisis and she adds,
"i totally agree. grad school is a state of mind."
and something inside me...releases.
if i could do it for free, i would. but i don't need it. i need me to believe in me. i need me to keep trying. i need me to do the work and to accept that it is going to be really hard but if i keep trying, something will happen.
i need me to have me in a state of mind.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

estoy cansada de mi

sports injury...check
possible cavity...check
continual directionless feeling....check
only having made ten minutes for myself out of the entire weekend....check
tired of recycling the same thoughts and reaching the point where i must just take a leap of faith...check
in desperate need of a haircut or some semblance of someone 27 as opposed to 16...check
hungover from small amounts of drinking throughout the weekend...check
in need of vacation, preferably somewhere warm...check

Monday, November 10, 2008

exchange time

i am nauseas
i am in pain
i am angry and tired
i am trying my best to answer each call with a well-hidden contempt
but after three in a row, four will just get attitude
"i have to start looking for another job."
"okay," she says and something about the way she says it makes it feel like a dare
like this is a "shit or get off the pot" moment
i confess later to her that part of my anger is that i know i can't quit until i have something else lined up
and she agrees cause she knows
and i am starting to see her as someone i could really become close with
she is no bullshit and i for me, i think that is becoming the most important quality a friend could possess
i realize suddenly that i owe her an overdue thank you
her and her mother
and it strikes me that i have maybe been a little too self-possessed or maybe just too distracted that i had let this slip past me for a few days too long
i am starting to see that the best part of my day is the time she comes and sits with me
and the laughs we exchange in our stories of love's labor and the pursuit of happiness
i am starting to be thankful for finding such a great treasure in what i have been bitching about as a boring bullshit job
i am remembering to stay focused on the positive and perhaps more will come my way.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a letter to the mormon and catholic churches,

perhaps if you spent less time focusing on repressing gay rights
you would have more time to spread the messages of "love"
that are supposed to be at the foundations of your religion
perhaps if you stopped worrying about gay marriage
you could focus on all of the failing marriages of your parishioners
or all of the sexually deviant priests that you have silently protected under the cloak of "godliness"
perhaps if you led your lives with love in your heart
the notion of same sex marriages would cease to be so frightening
and maybe, just maybe, all that money you funneled into advertising to pass Prop 8 in California could have been used to feed the homeless, donated to a children's charity or research for cancer
maybe if you focused on all the good you could do rather than stopping two people who love each other from saying, "i do," the world could become a better place
and all those said christian values that you teach your children could
actually be put into practice and we could all do unto others as we would have done unto us.


a retired catholic
renewed spirit

Thursday, November 6, 2008

the one within me

a conversation from two days ago:
"i just can't wait for it to be over."
"what will the media do?"
"i don't know."
today when signing on to my email a news headline reads
"Another Casualty on Dancing With The Stars"
and i have to laugh that it seems as if things are "back to normal"
i cringe at the phrase
and yet i know that things are different
there is a clarity that was not there before
there is hope
there is positivity and the feeling that maybe i can make that difference that i've been trying to figure out for years
when i stepped out of college, the world was not my oyster
it was foggy, scary, directionless
we basically had a syndicated crime organization running the country
terrorist alerts
a new uproar of racism and a continual wave of panic rolling beneath the country
the years got worse
the wars got bloodier
hurricane katrina drowned new orleans as our president watched it on tv for three days
i was continually at a loss for how bad things were and yet i felt like i couldn't stop it
the election of barack obama was more than historical
for me, it was an answer, a relief for the soul, an awe-inspiring moment,
it was a vision of a true leader and a people
that were no longer apathetic as i had once concluded
it was a reassurance in the good of people and a newfound strength in a country
and most of all myself
i still do not have the answers for what my path will be,
but the days are starting on a positive note now rather than a numbing suffocating one
and i feel like maybe with the constant vision of a true leader before me
i just might find the one within me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

a letter to the people

Dear America,

Throughout my entire 20s, I have tried to understand this nation and more importantly the people that share it with me. At 19 years old, I was new to New York, had just transferred schools, and did not take the time to register, though I also can't remember if I was even registered in California. I figured New York and California would both go blue, what did it even matter? I went to sleep that night thinking Gore won and woke up to find that Bush was actually the controversial winner of the 2000 election.

A year later I found myself running across lower Manhattan watching the Twin Towers fall into the streets. And two months before I graduated college my country invaded Iraq. Days before the invasion, I remember walking in an anti-war protest that swallowed up New York City. A young girl dressed in a hijab had poured fake blood all over herself and wore a sign that read, "Thank you for liberating me, President Bush." I felt this gripping sense of fear. I knew the world was going to rip apart at the seams.

A couple years later I registered to vote and voted for Kerry at 6am in California. When Kerry lost, I was heartbroken. I was angry and depressed for weeks carrying my emotions on my sleeve, taking out my frustration on every one in sight. And then I caught myself screaming at the tv. I had so much anger and so many complaints and yet I had not made any effort to understand our government, to understand our electoral process and more importantly to understand what is at the root of all the problems I see. Even if I wanted change, I had no understanding of how to do it.

I quit my job and my best friend and I drove around the country interviewing people our age about whether or not they had a voice. Do they think their vote counts? If they could say one thing to America what would it be? We edited it for three years and sent it to several festivals. It was only picked up by Philly Independent, but we still felt we had done something important, even if it was to simply create a dialogue. During those interviews we asked about how they felt about the current leadership of the country. Almost 100 percent were outraged, but years later I wish I had asked them what they wanted in a leader. At the time, a couple people had brought up Barack Obama on their own. He was talked about almost with a slight amount of fear like he was a dream, an unrealistic possibility, and yet... oh the possibilities!!

Now we are here, a few days before one of the most historic elections in history and the emotions are out in the streets, through the millions of wires in the internet, the channels and newspapers all around the world, with what I can't helpt but see as a basic question:

Does America have the courage to embrace change?

Because in the end, the number one undisputed fact is that eight years of Republican rule has completely fucked this country up, not to mention, as well as the global market and the Middle East. We have been lied to, admittedly lied to, we have been robbed, and we have sacraficed sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, big brothers and baby sisters for a war that had no exit plan and whose fundamental purpose was dishonest at best.

Despite Obama's carefully thought out health care plan, his timetable for troop withdrawal in Iraq, his tax cuts that protect the middle class, his passionate pursuit of putting the environment as a top priority for America and not just from a "save the trees" perspective and "beware of global warming," but as a way that makes going green economically beneficial and will create jobs in an ailing economy, despite Obama's more than inspiring but incredibly empowering speeches, his revolutionary campaign and his Kennedy-like temperament, Obama's very name promises this country the chance to free themselves from the shackles of fear, to let the American people feel some light in a country that has been clouded by a deeply rooted racism for centuries, and the opportunity to believe in hope over terror, light over dark, and the power of one's own voice, the true power of a people to make change in their democracy.
America, be bold, be brave, and believe in yourselves.


A fearless citizen

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the preacher in the rain

he preaches in the rain
shivering with the people
without hat and without umbrella
he is not afraid
and for 22 minutes, i am not either
i forget about the miserable weather and the rain leaking into the crevasses of my jacket
and i join in the silence of the crowd
all straining to hear the preacher
he talks of change
he talks of better times
he talks of the ability we, as a nation, to stand in the rain if we have hope in our hearts
i can't help but feel i am a part of history
and it strikes me what true leadership is
for the first time in my life i see before me a true leader
one that inspires, but more importantly, one that empowers
preach on, preacher

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the afterglow

he dresses in sleeping beauty gowns
snow white lace
lipstick upon his face
and his mother tells her "we'll be lucky if he's gay."
he finds the joy of silk through the sense of touch on his body
he is exquisite in his cinderella tiara
dancing to the beat of his own playskool drum in his babysitter's platform heels.
there was a time when pink and blue were just colors.
shades of the rainbow
not the definition of which side you stood on it.
his father does the best he can to feign fright
when the babysitter brings another disney princess dress for the boy.
the boy squeals with delight
and the babysitter turns to the father and says, "at least it's blue."
there is humility in her words and love in her voice
and for the first time the father realizes his choice
to do away with the colors pink and blue and decide to live life in the glow of the rainbow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

why i had to kill my ego in order to leave hollywood and find happines in piscataway, nj: a homework assignment in memoir writing

coming out of the canyon, coldwater canyon, crossing the intersection of sunset blvd and beverly drive, i am struck by the odd nostalgia and pathetic excitement of having once known when russell crowe would be staying at the beverly hills hotel that rests on that threshold.

i continue forward, struggling with a borrowed manual mustang on loan to me from my father for my short visit home. i pull into the old neighborhood and the hotel that i used to look out on during construction has now been completely built in the last six months. i valet park even though at first i looked around for my parking key. this is no longer my work. i take the elevator straight to the 7th floor and enter the space i used to run. i greet the receptionist who has been there too long, perhaps a little angry with me for having to fill my shoes after five months on the job. No one in the company's history had climbed so fast to be the lowest man on the totem pole in the boys club of hollywood.

i am waiting to meet with my old boss, whose life it was once my job to manage, which in turn made it my life. i exchange pleasantries with his new assistant and for a second i am oddly jealous. she is at my desk, answering my phones, all wrong of course, and yet i had gladly given up this throne. he comes around the corner and greets me with a warm hug. we are no longer boss and assistant, but dare i say friends. we council each other on the directions are lives are going after a six month seperation, almost like a break up.

at first i lie to him and tell him how GREAT and FANTASTIC i am doing now that i gave hollywood up to be a real artist with integrity in new york. within minutes, i reveal that i have not written anything brilliant nor have i found a great job or cool studio in williamsburg. i am, in fact, a receptionist for the second time in my life, only this time i don't answer calls from russell crowe. i answer attendance calls from overly neurotic parents in greenwich village. i am living in new jersey with my boyfriend who is a large part of why i moved. and i am broke...very broke. he laughs, "you seem happy."

a smile takes over my face, "i am. i haven't quite figured it out yet, but i'm happy." and for a second, honesty prevails and we both recognize that leaving my pseudo-hot shot job in hollywood to become a confused receptionist in new york was the right decision. i tell him how i battle my ego on a weekly basis but in the simplest of ways. on weeks where i am confident that i am a writer struggling to make it, when people ask me what i do for a living, i say, "i'm a receptionist." and on weeks where i am not sure i will ever make it, i say, "i'm just a receptionist right now," as if to say, "please don't judge me. i am really brilliant."

he reiterates the idea of fear. "fear is as real as this table. it is as real as you or i. you gotta fight it everyday with everything you got."

after our reunion, i stroll the office and visit my old friends. i am a breath of fresh air. i am "the other side."all notions of nostalgia melt away as they confess their miseries in sarcasm and overly dry humor. they ask me what i'm doing in new york and i smile and say, "i'm a receptionist."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the poltics of politeness in pennsylvania

"are you registered to vote?"
"yes. yes, i vote. i need to make a pin that says, yes, i do vote. please stop bothering me."
"sorry. its the last day to register so there is a lot of us out there."
"i thought it was Monday."
"it tehnically is, but the registrations need to bein by Monday, not just postmarked. so we drive them to the office."
"well, i'm not from here..."
neither am i.
"...but what you all are doing here is sickening. you need music, red white and blue. i registered 3,000 kids."
i think about how to react to theword 'sickening' and decide to swallow my attitude.
"oh, where was that?"
"at my school where i work. but this is just sickening."
she grumbles off with her young daughter in tow and i am not sure why she is so angry.
but i am even more troubled by why i can't shake this interaction.
many people thankedme for volunteering for an almost thankless job, and yet this woman was who i told everyone about.
i try to shake it off and i register three more people making the total day worth 4 new votes.
the question of change comes up in the car.
"do you feel you are making change?"
the eldest of the three responds, "No."
But she still had registered people another two hours after that.
"its not about how it makes us feel."
i think about that and it makes the afternoon a little clearer.
"are you going to come back?"
i still don't have an answer.
"i don't know."
one of thefied organizers thanks us.
"you know, doing this is the only way i can sleep at night."
i consider the thought.
i still don't have an answer, but on the way back, we had to pull over as we all fell soundly into a satisfying nap.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The witching hour

I keep waking up at 2am
usually 2:14 on the dot, once at 2:11 and once at 2:17.
Last night was 2:17 and then i woke up again at 4:27.
and when i wake up, i wake up
not like when i have to wake up and it takes me about seven minutes before i can see
and 10 minutes before i can comprehend the makings of a day
but these nights are stealing parts of the better side of me
and the only thing positive i can take from it, is the possibility that 2, 11, 17, 4, and 27 are what should pick on my next lotto ticket.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the ingredients of a good birthday:

good food and good drink
good company and good laughs
good music and good gifts
a good best friend and a damn good boyfriend

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the boxer

"i'm tired of trying to be an adult," she says. "i'm no good at it."
on the phone he will tell her that she has been an adult since she was ten.
"yeah...but i think it got a lot harder when i hit 25."
he tells her to try to let her life settle
that if her life isn't chaotic she goes looking for it
she hates these words, but knows there is some truth in it
she will look on a website that has a checklist
at the end it informs her that if she has checked yes to any of the questions, this website might help
she has checked yes to all but one or two
is this the moment of letting go?
or will she still see it as defeat?
fighting the fight that no one is around for
not even lights or an av system
no fans in the crowd
no ticket sellers at the door
no one in the ring besides herself
perhaps, it is time to put the gloves down.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

melancholy baby

"i don't understand the language. i just don't get it."
"yeah...well thi sis something that you're going to have to understand. you gotta go back in and read it-"
"i have been reading it and i don't understand it. thats what i'm saying."
he contemplates this admission and says that he will help her
"we gotta move on this-"
"i know, dad. i know. i'm very worried about it."
it is no longer an admission but more of a concealed question: can you please not make this any worse than it already is?"
"well you don't have to be worried about it."
she laughs. the absurdity of it all.
their dialogues like carousels
their rhythms like a scratched record going back and forth on an old turntable
always hopeful that they have finally reached the chorus and then the song repeats itself from the beginning.
"sweetie, this is something we can win. so don't worry about it. i'll read it and call you tonight."
they tell each other they love each other and hang up the phone.
she sits for a second letting the echo of the last few words sink in.
the painful absence of connection fills the room
the words pass, drowned out by the cicadas and crikets and what must be two mating beetles
her body gets warm as the tears move like a tidal wave through her body but the floodgates go up and the computer goes on and something about it feels old fashioned
he comes in the room and asks how it went
he hugs her but she tells him don't make me cry
she is tired of the dramatics.
and for tonight she is tired of herself and her melancholy woes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

see you in september

whirlwind: one word to describe this summer
running: one achievement of this summer
tan: one benefit of this summer
sick three times: consequence of never stopping this summer
Aruba: something to hate me for...this summer
freedom: three-day weekends
tears: growing up
lots and lots of smiles: best summer ever.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

letter to the press

Dear American Media,

Can you please stop reporting things like President Bush meeting the US Womens Volleyball team in Beijing, and why Scarlett Johannsen kissed Penelope Cruz or about the people protesting the movie Tropic Thunder? Can you please tell me how the hell we can fix this country?


Exhausted citizen

Monday, July 28, 2008

ode to the matrix

you gave me freedom
you gave me adventure
you gave me independence
you gave me a bed
you gave me comfort
you gave me tissues
you gave me miles of reflection
you gave me laughs
you gave me fights
you gave me a place to cry
and a place to melt down
you gave me protection when i couldn't face outside
you gave music and a place to sing my heart out
i look at you from a porch being drenched in a new jersey downpour and i think that you and i have had a fair ride together
65,000 miles, three journeys across the country and countless road trips to places you were not meant to go
its been good, my friend
how i will miss thee.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the power of hot chocolate

"Do you want some hot chocolate?" he whispers to my forehead
and i smile a smile that comes from my core
he knows the answer
"water or milk?"
"I don't care," i throw my arms around him, "no, milk!"
he pulls me from that hole i throw myself down into when i am feeling everything like the infuriating pricks of needles on flesh and yet it takes me three days to name what the hell is going on
i wish i had a name for him that encompassed it all
but for now, "handsome" and "bruiser" will do
i wish there was a thank you that meant a thousand of them,
but for now, the old fashioned one remains.
to handsome, a thousand of them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

romantic notions

she walks through a garden of pleasantries and smiles
looking for mine fields underneath the roses
her feet are bloody with blisters earned from hard-trekked miles
a time bomb of rage ruefully ticking while all the while she composes-
her last sonnet to the age of innocence

she wonders about the places she's been and the places in between
her current place nameless to date
with a file name as yet to be seen
and a laundry list of withering excuses to compensate-
her realization of self-compromise yet again

the idea of partnership veiled with clever euphemisms and romantic notions
always seems to disappoint when stripped bare
just two bodies on separate stages pretending to go through the motions
of what they think is an adult lovers' fare

how darling they are in the eyes of their imaginary audience
applauding their raucous performance and fraudulent fanfare
dancing in mine fields dressed as gardens
sipping tea laced with arsenic and mint.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

body language

the idea of body
imagine she, healthy
free of waves of cellulite worn like the dead weight of hardened plankton
unable to scrape off that rusty anchor

soft parts on top of hard parts, like the making of love between health and wealth
carelessness and precociosness melted into a dirty handshake
sick with the weight of image
rich in counterfeit beauty.

she wonders what it would be like to be friends with the girl in the box
to take joy in the curvacious folds of a formerly muscular body
pride in the contours of a new emerging body
forgiving of the places where she may have had too much fun.

the power of yearning to dance in this skin
wanting to embrace it with gentle caresses and loving fingertips
do away with the habits of clawing
and keep her nails short to remind of the grace in healing

the strength in sitting still in silver paint
curious to discover unchartered relaxation
the relief in acceptance over forbearance
wanting to shed the anxiety of "not good enough" like five, ten, or fifteen pounds when all she really should be is grateful.

finding freedom in brutal runs where the plain looks as endless as her satisfaction
the hotter it is. the better the punishment
in that self loathing, self gratifying kind of way
maybe she can run right out of her skin, or at least her own head for a little while.

Monday, July 14, 2008

young bucks

"i just can't see myself ever saying, 'This is home. This is where I'm going to plant my roots.' i don't know. maybe i still need to grow up."
"or maybe we're the ones that have it all figured out and everyone else has it wrong."
he nods in a greement and says something to the effect of, "i like the sound of that."
we drink beers and take in the breez after a long day and even longer weekend.
"maybe we can just not have kids and keep moving whenever we feel like it."
"that's definitely an option."
"but then i feel like we'd miss out on one of the bigger purposes in life."
"yeah...we could have one and just dram 'em along with us."
"yeah...but i think it would be unfair to not give them siblings."
and before long we are talking about the logistics of the imaginary family we may or may not have.
i feel old and young at the same time.
the conversation circles back to the eternal question we both have that has not been answered yet for either of us, though it becomes clear to me that he is okay with living in the incertainty and I am slighlty embarassed of my neverending search for certainty.
i take a moment and let the idea of accepting and living in the uncertain sink in
and for a moment I am at peace
i step into the present moment and my forhead relaxes, my eyebrows unfurrow causing my eyes to recognize just how tired they are
a young buck reemerges but this time is followed by two fawn
i wonder where the mother is
we watch a crane stand as still as can be wondering if it is fishing
it takes flight and i am in awe of where i am in time at this particular moment in my life
i wonder if i woke up everyday and first said "thank you," if my self-imposed stress would take a back seat as opposed to a passenger seat in my morning commute.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


she owns a place in my life that no one else can replicate, replace, or refurbish
she is my picture of a lady-
with fire in her voice and grit in her smile.
she takes shit from no one, except maybe her children's in laws.
she does not confront what can not handle truth
and yet her opinions can be seen buttoned to her sleeves
she is tireless in loving the ghost of a man who left her long ago
and yet she is chastised for her excessive drinking.
she falls a lot and it worries them
but she gets back up, though less and less so.
i miss her and yet i can't find the will to reconnect in any way that feels honest or sufficient
i am a fraud
and a liar for a granddaughter
"i just don't want to go through loss"
so instead i lose all the time what is here now
i try to forget
but guilt has claws
and i can feel the teeth marks of a rabid conscious bearing down on my heart.
heavy is the heart of the fool who closes it too soon.
i am not a lady
not a lady like her and i hate the way that kills
"you take after grandma," he once said
and i remember thinking it was the nicest compliment i ever received
i feel like a liar
and i don't know how to change it.
i'm sorry
so sorry.

Monday, June 30, 2008

a space

there is a space that exists that holds our memories up with scotch tape and push pins
and carries our history with brightly painted shelves, just perfect for a wrestling ring
there is a space where the aroma of coffee perfumes our quiet breakfast table
and a space where marigolds can relive and love can be reborn time and time again
there is a space where whispers land on ears like gospels
and a laugh can vibrate between the bodies of two
there is a space that can exist on either coast and in all of the places in between
but will always be extra special in the state of New Jersey
there is a space where "i love you" never tires
and a look says more than either of them could begin to explain
there is a space where a thank you just doesn't quite do justice
for the way one life collides with another to create something intangible that no one else can touch.
there is a space that floats gently in the world with the fiercest of grips and it possesses a stregth to withhold one thousand storms.
it is a beautiful space with a garden full of tomatos and chives and thyme
and it makes for two amazing cooks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the process of finding truly meaningful inspiration

we jog along a stretch of urban bohemian beauty meeting the crest of old man river gently carrying boats far too big for this fissure of land
the skyline of new jersey hangs in the balance while that ever impressive GWB bridges the differences between cousins
my knees crunch with the pound of the pavement and my body hurts
the harder i land the more the land hits back
and it is a much harder run than the ones i am used to.
i breathe in the salt flapping in the air and i drink in the view of this portrait of energy
my heart beats for this place and i start to feel lucky for the pains in my knee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

stars out, heart out

"Were most of your stars out? Were you busy writing your heart out?"
I used to want to get that tattoed on my wrist until I forgot the idea...
until recently...
I completely forgot the saying all together and it popped in my mind like a favorite smell or an old photograph-
this used to hold weight.
and yet here i am eight years later and when i think of that saying something inside me feels just a little lighter.
family has a way of nourishing and oppressing all at once.
go be a writer, but know that you wouldn't be one without us
go be an artist, but what the hell are you doing with your life
we support you, are you really a fucking receptionist?
there is majesty in defeating one's own ego
but the real fight comes when other's try to unearth your own
"i paid $16 for a cup of coffee," she laughs at her own amusement.
"I'm just glad someone else is paying the tab," and this is supposed to excuse the fact that she ordered a $16 cup of coffee that was probably cold by the time it reached her room
the country is bleeding
people can no longer afford to be middle class Americans
and she is buying $16 cups of coffee and i am judging her behind my bodega cup of joe.
i miss writing all the time
sometimes i forget
sometimes its easier to just work and find things to work hard on rather than myself
i think about that tattoo and i wonder of a permanent reminder would help me to stay focused
a subtle yet gentle reminder of me
or would i carve it out in twenty four hours...
if i keep biting my nails, i just mught have a chance.

Friday, June 13, 2008

a bouquet of daisies just for me

there is nothing quite like walking into a room with a bouquet of flowers and a card with your name on it waiting for you
and there is nothing quite like reading the words on that small card
for me from him
and there is nothing quite like the kiss after such a thoughtful and classy gesture
and there is nothing at all like the person behind this bouquet of yellow daisies just for me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


June 29th
6:25 PM
Woodshop Films
420 Green Street
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival

At last.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

butterflies contd...

i feel like i may have already used the title "butterflies" on a former blog
hence the title of this blog
i feel like a love struck pup or some silly schoolgirl but the only thing i felt i wanted to write about today, was the feeling i get when i step out of the car in the morning and i see his face one last time before 5:30pm and how my stomach still turns when he smiles at me
and yes, i know, i wrote about him yesterday and he has gained quite a collection of blogs about him
but, i think i am still in a constant state of surprise in how someone can affect me so much
how one person can physcially affect me by their presence alone or a simple smile
it amazes me how open we were to each other and how we both just trusted an impulse, or rather a gut feeling and here we are not even a year later and he's dropping me off at the train station in new brunswick every morning at 6:15am and i'm rushing to catch the 4:52 NJ Transit train to Jersey Ave every day
and we're shaving mohawks and buying exercise equipment and making dinners and finding respect for a cup of french press coffee
we are collecting netflix and adding extra salt to our popcorn and pretending we both have a garden though i have to admit its more his than ours
and we are laughing and sweating profusely on a dock, getting drunk off two beers
and we are driving home from my soccer game on friday night, exhausted, but not exhausted enough to skip a slice of pizza.
sometimes i freeze, physically and mentally and i just feel how happy i am
and it makes me proud that we both worked so damn hard to get here and proud to see how much it was worth it.

Monday, June 9, 2008


big brown curls drop into an oversized bathroom trash can
"maybe, i'll do a mohawk."
within minutes we are there.
me straightening the lines of his mohawk
and him with the strip of curls running down the middle of his head
he laughs at himself
we laugh together
"i think it looks cool."
"my mom's gonna kill me."
we laugh some more.
"i bet you shave it off by tomorrow."
"we'll see."
tomorrow comes and goes and i have to admit, the haircut has grown on me considerably
"you look like a punk rocker with your pierced nipples and mohawk."
he knows this and gets a kick out of it.
we talk about the different ways he will have to respond to people's reactions now with this new image
i think we end on something like, "have a good day. Fuck off." or something like that.
we agree to go to sleep after an amazing day and an even more amazing night
and when we both turn to our right side and fit together like a puzzle
i can't help but thank the universe for placing this amazing and talented and funny and loving and generally indescribable person in my life. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Friday, June 6, 2008

happy hour

dear happy hour,
i think its time we had a chat. please stop kidnapping me with your $3.50 pints and half off frozen margaritas. it would also be nice if you could make less delicious food and move your entire establishment a few blocks away. Yes, that would also be much appreciated. And if you could stop making all these awesome peoplegather in a two block square radius, I might be a little more safe.


Upset Stomach

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the discovery of friend's blog

tonight i accidentally found the link to a blog of a friend i have known forever
its kind of hard to call her my friend because i have always considered her younger brother a close friend" and she was and is the older sister.
i have a lot of love for her and still will call her my friend, but i guess for both of these people
(her and her brother)
they exist in this completely other category devoid of labels
they exist in the places where we grew up and they are first hand witnesses to each other's ever evolving puberty
we are heartbreak children, with one parent and one bedroom apartments but don't think for a second you're going to pull anything past us because we are some tough motha#$%^&*!
but most of all we all come equipped with this wicked sense of humor that sometimes i think only we really get.
i was glad to see her amazing creative blog but i also felt like i couldn't really read it without letting her know.
i am homesick.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

i want to linger...

a little longer...
a little longer here with you...
campfire side
right side of life.
and we laugh and we sing and dance like hippies under a moonless sky but the stars are shooting and so are we-
aiming for what we think is right but hoping for happiness in the end cause that's all that really matters.
the sky breaks and we sit in the rain, singing songs about sunshine until we will the clouds away,
or at least in our heads.
we share stories and make stories, clasping moments in this vortex of time to tuck away in our pockets and walk away with,
until a day falls dark and we need to unbutton those treasure chests.
"what are you working on?" and "how's the writing going?"
"what do you do?" what is your worth? what is your value? what is your use to me?
and i am reminded of why i love this place and these people so incredibly much.
they see me for whats inside my heart
not in my wallet
and leaving this place has always been a heartbreak i am glad to relive because the affair is worth it.
here, i am a writer. he is a musician. she is a dancer. he is a photographer. she is a poet.
we are respected and loved and missed. we are forever a part of this nomadic family that will always come together when the stars align.
i miss these pieces of my heart strewn about the world, but at least we get to reconnect at least for a night or even a moment and in a way,
i am rejuvenated on a level i have no words for.
i feel open.
i feel courageous.
i feel me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

the importance of not wearing makeup for two days

the past two nights i slept over at one of my most favorite people in the world
i walk in her small harlem flat and if i had my eyes clothes, i would still know exactly where i was
the smell of eucalyptus greets you at the door and the space feels free, open, bright
if i were blind i would know i was in a very special place and not just any place but her place
she hangs bright sheets and various pictures from around the world and photos of her family and some of me and a trapeze artist hangs in the middle of the room.
a powerful photo of her as a child in a moment of what looks like defeat or maybe frustration or defeat hangs high but nothing hangs as high as the tapestry that reads "listen"
and she's right, the crappy frame she has it in does take away from the freedom of its speech
she puts on her music and it feels like her
sensual, funny, unpredictable and i feel somewhat envious of this world, this complete reflection of her presence.
i am struck by the picture of her as a child.
i want a picture of me in a moment like that and i would also hang it high in my room to remind me that failure is something we need. it is part of what makes us whole. what makes us brilliant.
we drink wine, eat pasta, we talk until one of us falls asleep or back asleep.
in the morning she lends me anything i need. underwear, toothbrush, her prized fancy boots.
but she does not have mascara. i am forced to go without make up for two days. throughout the days i catch glimpses of myself in the mirror, nut i realize that i pay attention to my little flaws less and less because i feel a certain sort of pride in showing my face to the world-raw, uninhibited, uncovered. i look younger. i feel a small sense of a cleansing effect
and i am reminded of one of the major reasons i came back to this magical place.
there is no one in the world like her and i am a better person after having been in her presence.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


a photograph is taken of a small eighth grade class and is hung a few weeks before they part into the saber tooth jaws of high school
there are three girls that stick out - literally.
They stick out their chests.
They tightly cross their legs.
They tilt their head down and give their best shot at looking coy.
They make me sad.
One comes down and is delighted by herself. She smiles and for a second she looks like she should- a child with a glow, probably the same one she had as baby.
The rest of the girls come down and one girl shrieks in terror in what she thinks is a bigger deal in the long run of her life than it really is.
Others wait till the first girl speaks before relinquishing their thoughts.
"I look soooo old. I look like I'm 20 years old."
She looks thirteen. And I think to myself why 20? What a peculiar age. Has someone told her that? Why not 16 or 18? When I was 13 I remember thinking 18 was the oldest and coolest I could get.
"At least we don't look flat-chested."
"Well some people do...but not us."
"Look at my knee cap." She is wearing jeans in the picture. I don't know what was special about the knee cap.
Others join and the cacophony of shrieks and laughs and commentary rises to a piercing level that caps off into a sea of voices- none particularly distinct from the other.
I wait for the right moment, the right lull, to ask them to quiet down but instead I let them have this moment without interruption.
I wish I could say something that would make a difference in the conversation I just heard.
"Your twenties suck. Don't rush into them."
"Focusing on outer beauty is...bullshit."
"Get smart. Go to college...please."
Instead, I let it go. Maybe tomorrow or perhaps a day where my voice will mean something to these thirteen year old girls.

Friday, May 9, 2008

may flowers

it is may and it is raining
it is may and i have a chest infection
it is may and my right shoulder is peeling
it is may and my acne does not care
it is may and green and blooming
it is may and it is 55 degrees
it is may and i have a contract sitting on my desk
it is may and i have a shitload of work
it is may and i miss my dad
it is may and i am still falling so much in love
it is may and i hold him tight
it is may and the only thing that really matters is that i can do that
it is may and i don't know how i feel about the humid summer approaching
it is may and i like new jersey
it is may and for now, i am okay.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

there's a ribbon in the sky

the ladies begin their harmony, too quiet at first.
but as the sky opens up so do their voices
kind of like a deflowering of the soul
the men harmonize bringing a much needed bass to the angelic choir
and we are making music, we are music.
it begins to rain, hard and fast, like a purging of fears, doubts, and sorrows
for this moment, this crowd is one, brought together by a love that words were not made for.
the keys jam on and the genius behind them takes the cacophony of voices, rain and music and guides it to a place where no one here will ever forget this moment.
he has created a memory that thousands of people will talk about for years and with that he has made the world that much better, that much more whole, that much more loving.
at the end of the show, a festival organizer comes out and preaches to the angels,
"you have just been baptized by stevie wonder." and while that sentence is beautiful, it seems to me that this is one particular case where words were not needed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

moby dick

twice now i have made a four mile run through the park near my house.
there's a section of the run that goes under an overpass.
it runs alongside the river and the other side is covered in graffiti but not the scary kind of graffiti you see in LA
this graffiti is bright with professions of love or political viewpoints.
but still there is a heightened awareness that exists in these places that i suppose no matter where would still make me pick up my pace.
i hear footsteps, loud, coming up behind me and i run faster with the sound of footsteps louder, closer, almost.
i don't want to look behind me, but if i am about to be killed i'll be damn sure i'm going to look the person in the eye
i whip my head around and there is no one...anywhere.
i slow my pace and the footsteps slow and i realize i am running away from myself
the echo of my own feet hitting the pavement
i find it profound, metaphorical, angering and sad.
i continue my run at a steady pace with creased eyebrows and a red face.

last friday i wait at a corner talking with one of my favorite people in the entire world.
"i spend so much time fighting myself. arguing if i'm a writer or not a writer. if i'm a big fraud. i think about what i'm really going to do with my life. i freak out. but the days when i can get over the fear of it all, i actually do write. like all day, i'll write. and i know that if i'm ever going to be successful, the biggest hurdle i will have to overcome is myself...and i hate that."
the confession makes me hate its honesty. hate its rawness and the fact that it now exists in the world for others to interpret, break down, analyze.
i feel like a failure. i feel old. i know i am young. the clock is ticking.
questions, arguments, all in my head all the time.
maybe i should just be living my life right now, enjoying each moment, taking in my space, my presence in this space, time.
give myself a break and be happy with the shit i put myself through.
in a perpetual battle to find meaning for my life or to find the greater purpose i know exists for me.
enjoying the pain in my legs that i have every morning from the torturous exercise i am putting myself through.
listening, really listening to the sound my computer keyboard makes when i get on a tangent.
loving each clack like it is the beat of a drum or some other vibrating musical instrument.

ani difranco's "shameless" comes on at this moment.
for the last two days i have kept my iTunes on shuffle finding pieces of music that i have never heard and finding meaning in their random arrangement
praise to the mac gods, i guess.
here's a woman who just went and fucking did it and didn't ask permission or forgiveness.
i think I'll listen to a few more from her today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

sunset in new jersey

my desk overlooks what looks like a hundred trees and an the best slice of the Raritan River.
Green buds are starting to fill in the spaces between the branches and when the sun sets it reflects off the river giving me silhouettes and colors and clouds that i can't quite describe yet.
there is a bird nesting right outside our window and even though we know that in a few weeks we will want to kill a handful of loud chicks, for today, we let the bird continue to nest.
i wrote today without fear, but not without distraction.
but two characters were born and now the real work begins.
i feel like i am finally over the initial panic attacks that choked me at the beginning of the move.
we are settled and the room is exactly how it should be now.
i am breathing but more importantly, i'm enjoying each breath.
something was different about today.
if happiness is really a choice, i wonder if its the same for confidence and courage.
i walk with my friend, the one i love like a sister, near Central Park
she is explaining a story about her sister and her niece and going to the park.
she tells me that when she taught toddlers it wasn't just about what they were going to do once they got to the park.
it was about getting ready for the park and putting your coats on and gathering any toys or snacks...
"it was more about going to the park then the actual park. there was a lesson in each part."
and for the rest of the weekend that sits with me. somewhere between my subconscious and reality.
and today became about every part of the day.
it was an awesome one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

to juliet

its 5 am and i can't sleep.
i am having nightmares
i am hot
i am uncomfortable
i keep thinking about how much pain my little cousin is in
the pretty one who has always been incredibly sensitive and incredibly sweet
i remember babysitting her when i was 18, a college freshman
i did not have many friends that year, hardly any
so i spent my weekends at my uncle's house
she is now in high school and way more popular and beautiful than any of us ever were
she seemed to skip that ugly duckling phase as if god knew that she was always more of a swan
she has lost her romeo
i assume it is her first love
she is fourteen years old and i worry about her and what this will now do to her
how will this affect her?
somewhere a mother has lost her son
a father is quoted, "a father is not supposed to bury his son."
how do people recover? how do we heal?
i tell my aunt that i will write my cousin a letter as if it is any consolation
but i have to do something even though i know there is nothing.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

40 Minutes

Yesterday I went on my first run in months. I did not get very far and ultimately was disappointed with myself. So, today I brought out my iPod, put on my favorite workout mix and went for it. I got a lot further than the last run and ended up lasting for forty minutes. My legs hurt and I am terribly out of shape but I felt good.
I felt capable.
I felt free.
There's a lot of time that happens in forty minutes. I hope to get to sixty soon. Who knows what twenty more minutes could do?
I took a writing class in college that required us to go to the gym.
The professor insisted that in order to be truly creative you need to unleash some endorphins.
Looking back she was probably trying to ward off any eager wanna be writers aching at the chance to wallow in self-inflicted depression.
But either way, it was clever and I think there was something behind it.
Next step: a job.
Next step: discipline.
So much to learn.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jug Handles...Location: New Jersey

A fresh start.
We all need these.
In the last three weeks, I wrapped up my job in Beverly Hills. Packed up my life and spent ten days on the road traveling across the country.
We stopped in Aspen, snowboarded the Highlands Bowl with an elevation of 12,000+ feet.
He sprained his ankle on a mogul at the very end of the trip making me the main driver for the remainder of the 3,000 miles. We stopped in Boulder where I caught up with some of my favorite people in the world and I realized how much I miss my friends.
Several herbs and constipation conversations later, along with a sunburn, three different ice creams and two viewings of The Darjeeling Limited we packed up quietly before dawn and stepped out to our car in the middle of a faint snowfall.
We head to St. of the flattest and dreariest drives I have ever seen.
The sky was gray with spits of rain here and there and all those fruited plains were painted brown with death. I guess we caught the midwest with its skirt up just before spring.
We hit St. Louis and about 15 minutes before we get to our destination, the gas light comes on, the rain breaks into a heavy downpour and I can't see the lines on the road anymore.
"You alright over there?"
"I can't really see."
"Pull over."
Normally I would fight this, but I know that even with his busted ankle he is the safer driver at this point.
We plan to stay only the night.
In the morning she takes us to breakfast.
"You guys should stay! I could show you around and he gets back Saturday morning. You could hang out. You guys should stay."
She seems lonely. A young bride in a castle of an apartment with every state of the art technological accoutrement one could think of. A perfectly poised chow. A grown up job with grown up friends. She has ambitions and plans and goals...and he is in Dallas tonight. Somewhere else a few days later.
We stay until Sunday and have a blast.
It is nice visiting these lives throughout the country. Like window shopping or an all night drive in movie theatre with back to back classics.
We drive from St. Louis to New Jersey and at 2:30am we park the car outside of "The Compound," and I freeze. This is home now. I have had my phone in my hand for the last two hours waiting to receive a text on whether or not my new godson has arrived.
In the morning I see that we both arrived to our new lives at roughly the same time. I decided to keep that to myself when talking to my family. I coo over his picture and make plans to come home and it starts to feel really difficult.
"I wish you were here," she says to me.
I brush it off and tell her, "I'll be home for the baptism soon," when all I really want to say is "me too."
I forget how hard it is to adjust. I get upset at night, scared, paralyzed. Insecurities run freer at night it seems.
But every morning I wake up and am so grateful for doing all of this. As difficult as it is, it is liberating to have a fresh start.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


to the man i love dear:
i am barely able to keep still in my chair. 

to the man i love dear's sister:
i can't wait to get to know you better.

three more hours!!!

one little, two little, three little...

"thank you for my gift."
he hugs me with his thin little arms and then plants a kiss on me.
i am in love.
his younger brother follows suit. 
it feels familiar.
when i was 18, i said goodbye to my 8 year old cousin, my favorite person in the world. 
he is now 16 and we didn't even hug goodbye.
we've had enough goodbyes to put ourselves through that again.
and now i know better than to tell this five year old, and this soon to be four year old that i am moving.
it hurts enough to think it. 
he thanks me again before i leave and my heart breaks just a little bit.
they are incredible people
it really is all about children.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

my mountain

last night my dad asked me to go to a meeting he was leading
he asked me to come for support which i understood as a way to get me to one of these things.
but i go and it is a lot bigger than the ones i've been to in the past.
he starts to give his 7 minute share and i feel myself getting choked up. 
he talks about losing tom. he talks about getting altitude sickness and having to find the trail in the dark and he talks about the guy in his group who ignored my dad's warnings and died in his sleep. he talks about how when he was hiking in the dark a thought came to him. 
"what are people going to think when i tell them i didn't make the summit?" and it occurs to him that he doesn't see any of those people around walking this mountain with him.
the same way he is not on their mountain.
i am humbled.
he ends his share with the question: what do you want?
and more and more hands start to go up. 
share by share, this beautiful cacophony of life and humanity, humility and pain, grief and joy,
tears, laughs, and most importantly presence. everyone there is in the moment.  
i start to really listen and there is a part of me that thinks i might just give this a try.
the pursuit of serenity is looking pretty damn appealing.

the boys

at 9:30am with the new daylights saving, my dad, brother and my cousin show up at my dad's and we collectively moved me out of the first apartment i ever officially held a lease on
it is a whirlwind move-quick, cheap and slightly dangerous
my dad suggest that we take laurel canyon back over and i see my entire life spilling all over crescent heights. 
my brother and my cousin tell jokes as they throw an old rope over my snowboards, foam mattress pad, boxes of important documents, my bike. none of this looks safe but i know that i am in good hands. 
i am so grateful for the boys in my life.
it is times like these when i feel very lucky to have been raised the way i was.
i wouldn't want it any other way.

my hero

"how about a movie tomorrow around noon?"
"uh...that could work..i...i talked to shaun last night and..."
"what's going on?"
"well...i haven't really told you what's going on cause i'm not sure what to do."
i catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and i look like i am twelve years old. the night before i had told my brother that i wasn't sure if i should tell dad because i didn't want him to worry. i knew then that i would tell him and as soon as i start to relay the story i start to feel immediately better.
"we're moving you out today." 
he uses that tone of voice that i know i cannot argue with. and i let him be my dad and for the first time in a few weeks i really believe that everything will work out. 

a flagrant misinterpretation

friday night i did not blog
i was too busy arguing with bricks.
while he sat there, eyes glazed and started yelling at me exactly two minutes after he asked me not to get emotional, he started in on a transparent attack sparked by what I assume was his own guilt for just how shitty the situation was.
"you're flagrant misinterpretation..." he never really finished the sentence and what did follow had no logic.
it dawned on me that i was arguing with a wall. 
and after years of experience with that battle and realizing i had never won, i decided to end it with, "okay."
which i think was about all i could say.
i spent the next two days moving out and even though i am now commuting to work, i feel the slightest bit relaxed. 
saying goodbye was bittersweet. in the end, things will work out and i am going to try to leave it as water under the bridge. 
but sometimes the best way to salvage a friendship is to get out of the way.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

a moment

its amazing how one moment can make you see a person in a completely different light and after that moment things can never go back to the old lighting scheme
like a worn out stage, curtains down
we truly are just players on a stage.
some of us are stuck in the same soliloquy 
screaming the same words to empty chairs wondering where the fuck the audience is.
i'm thankful for a new playbill. 
i'm tired of this story.
so many positive things await. if i can just keep the focus ahead, i might just make it without drawing blood.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

last night

left over chili night.
enjoying two of my favorite people in the world.
not enjoying the stomach ache after the chili.
i will miss them so much it already hurts.

finally getting around to it...

sunday was perfect.
hanging out with dad.
he sits back on his mattress on the floor, back against the wall.
a true vision of the eternal bachelor.
"you could marry any one of those cowgirls."
"you think so?"
"they're crazy about you."
he blushes. i know he has his reasons why he has stayed single for the last 16 years. 
he doesn't want to be a daddy to someone else's kids. he's already raised his.
she lived too far.
she had too take care of her elderly mother.
she was a born-again christian.
she just didn't have to say.
but when all is said and done, i think he just enjoys his freedom more than any woman he's ever met.
watching him on the dance floor, i am slightly comforted. these are his companions. 
and as much as i would like to see him with a partner, i like more to see him dancing on fire.
unbridled, unchained, uncaged...
it took him his whole life to get to this place and it is quite a joy to see him enjoying it as much as he does.
keep on dancing.

Monday, March 3, 2008

because i feel like it

its been a while since i've had a good buzz  and it feels fucking fan-ta-stic
the nice thing about not really drinking ever is that when you do you have an insanely low tolerance
cheap, quick, nice feeling
you don't really get drunk because you definitely know better
but a nice buzz can really blow off steam. 
however i don't think it can blow off steam if you do it every night.
then you just wake up every morning a little more agitated than you were the day before.
but every once in awhile...that is what it was made for.
the italians have it all figured out.
sometimes i let my mind go there.
i won't lie.
i have had dreams of an italian orchard in tuscany which is hilarious cause i don't even know what can grown there, i just imagine rust colored trees gently hissing with a wind 
and me under them with a smile on my face
sometimes there's a small son in the picture, sometimes it is just me
but there is always him in the picture
the olive picker
i sigh silently
i can't wait to wake up there every day
in that world
where anything and everything is possible.
i read a sad script this morning.
a woman said to the man, "you're at that age where what you are is what you are gonna be."
he was 27 and i felt, for the first time in the script, an immediate empathy for him.
who says so?
27 is still young.
i start to freak.
is what i am what i will always be?and if so, what the fuck is that?
someone who is still not content with her surroundings? still trying to figure out just what her place in the world is but even more so, trying to understand the importance of discovering that place?
i am frustrated with this keyboard and these thoughts. 
one is faster than the other. all i know is that i am tired of hitting delete.
a friend tells me i could apply to my dream.
"you got that in like 2.5 seconds," and i try to believe her.
somehow, her opinion means more to me than most and her tiny ichat message has pierced me for second.
is it possible that she believes in me more than i know?
i know it shouldn't matter who believes in me, but i also know that i'm a sucker.
it feels nice, for lack of a better word, coming from her.
it feels right.
define self esteem.
my fingers are tired and i realize that i still have not done a blog for sunday...
maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


on saturday i woke up outrageously early to drive with my dad and brother up to palm springs to visit my grandmother and her brother and sister in law.
i have always enjoyed being in the company of grandparents.
i always feel wiser even if the conversation isn't anything in particular.
my grandmother has never been one for exercise and has had both knees replaced. it is difficult for her to get around and it set a bit of a sad tone. 
on the other hand, her older brother mike was so full of life.
he walks three miles everyday. he was walking faster than all of us and the guy is at least 80.
i started to see the importance of really taking care of your body. 
i don't want to ever be limited because i didn't pay attention when i should have. 
i feel like i keep putting off a healthy diet and exercise until i have the time to do it. but its about making the time, right?
i started to feel extremely lazy...a little ashamed....but excited by the idea of changing yet another facet of my life.
if i can just get through a few more weeks...

Friday, February 29, 2008


so many things, so many things...
"you're really good at this."
"no, i'm not."
"No, you're REALLY good at this."
"its because i've been doing it for a year and a half. and i've gotten yelled at like a million times."
"you're a rock star."
and for a second i gloat a little in the compliment. he is right.
i am fucking great at this. and when i'm on my A game, i do get a satisfaction out of it. but its the kind of satisfaction that is temporary, floating, drifting...
it will be a bittersweet change. i am good at what i do, i have a great relationship with my boss and i am on top of every piece of information. 
but i know that in the end its not what i want to do...right?
define youth.
always searching for that right answer, that right decision, when there is no way to truly know it.
define folly of youth. 
i get excited about him. i get excited about friday nights and making dinners and hanging out in our own little world.
i get excited about the world. seeing it, experiencing it, with him. its like seeing things new again. 
i sit in a messy room paralyzed. the task at hand seems daunting and scary and i'm not sure i want to see it all packed up. does that mean its real?
part of me doesn't know where to begin and part of me is just too afraid.
how do i say see ya later? i hate that. and right at a time when there is so much life happening. four babies will be born over the next couple of weeks. maybe its the perfect time to go. right under the radar. this is a shitty blog. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

dear prudence

writing a new scene and the characters begin to talk to each other.
she calls her "Prudence."
And I realize that i'm not completely sure what that word means.
It sums it up as the "exercise of sound judgement in practical affairs."
but as i read on, it seems that in english, prudence is almost interchangeable with cautiousness.
i skip ahead to read, "can become the vice of cowardice."
prudence is also one of the four cardinal virtues.
plato identified prudence "with the rulers and reason"
i read on to learn that St. Augustine described prudence as "love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and what helps it."
it quickly becomes something i want to strive for...or maybe i'll just make it my next tattoo.
define fortitude.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the star

i open up one of the trillion yahoo accounts I created while drunk several years ago because I couldn't remember a password to my original account, and there is a slew of emails from facebook.
someone is requesting to tag many of my photos.
an activity spent while burning away work time is always welcome.
i open up my requests page and begin to confirm all these photo tags. 
i realize that i have an insane amount of pictures of her and her and i on my website.
she calls me.
"i haven't checked your blog all week."
"i'm catching up. missed five days."
"how do i become the star?"
"i want to be the star of one of your blogs."
i laugh.
"well, i'm sure you'll be all over it when i get to new york."
the connection breaks up.
i glance over the many pictures of us and i smile knowing exactly what my today's blog will be. 
she is the star of so many things for me- facebook, friendships, my future play...
and today she is the star of my blog. 
she calls me back. 
we chat in a language that i only have with her, especially in my alien world right now.
"you're coming so soon. that's so exciting."
i'm scared shitless, but when i hear her say that it takes the edge off.
there is a sisterhood there that i cannot explain. but she is the kind of person that fits into the very small category of who i would take a bullet for.
she is just that special and amazing of a human being.
we hang up shortly after and my day is lifted, as dreams of dance and theatre and beers in a new york pub take me away from the computer screen burning holes in my retinas. 


am i really almost all caught up?
note to self- don't ever fall off the blog writing wagon again.
change, change, change...
so much happening in the air.
i hear bob dylan crooning in my head.
i can almost feel the wind of the open road on my face
bugs on the windshield
maybe getting through half of my iPod and maybe half of his mp3 player.
feeling the surf underneath my feet already.
not running away, but running towards.
oh to be young...
i can taste the many soups i will have as meals in my future
i can see what the seasons changing will look like
i can feel the fear creeping in...but it feels different this time.
"i feel like i'm jumping into a big black hole"
"its alright. i got a flashlight."
cheers to the flashlight.


raining in los angeles...
it feels like another city and for a second i feel like i am traveling.
five bags to goodwill
"shit. i keep forgetting those other two bags."
"behind the door?"
two more bags to goodwill.
the phone rings.
news of a new housemate.
three moroccan light fixtures.
"they're made from sheep skin."
i stop touching it, but we head to the register.
the idea of interior decorating has never been more exciting.
laundry, rain, pictures from Aconcagua
an empty visit from a miscommunication
Ribs USA
"they're not that hot."
"a little."
"my lips are tingling."
midnight cowboy.
"this is a weird fucking movie."
"this IS a weird fucking movie."


dinner with friends.
"i become such a chatterbox."
"she keeps up with you."
"did you have a nice time talking with him?"
and we drive home with full bellies and exhausted smiles.

Monday, February 25, 2008


stomach aches
restroom keys
an iv
him making me laugh
wheel me in
"here come the drugs."
"how long will it take?"
"you ever remember how you fall asleep?"
"that was easy."
going home.
best nap time ever
snowboarding store
double movie feature
apple pan for burger, fries and apple pie.
running in the rain.
not such a bad day for all the wasted energy expended on what that morning would be.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

stress & the shawshank redemption

i did not mean to fall asleep last night, but i think my nerves got the best of me.
i used to never think about stress and what that actually does to your body.
i guess i kind of felt the same way about stress as i did about vitamins.
it may effect you but how can you ever truly test it?
and now here i am with constant stomach aches and a series of doctors appointments i would have never considered two years ago.
i think the universe is trying to tell me something...correction. i KNOW the universe is trying to tell me something and has been for a very long time, but i kept turning the other cheek.
now my body is finally telling me that thing and its forcing me to shut up and listen.
i have always been very stubborn. so things the hard way, learn the hard way.
maybe after the next two days and all the anxiety of the next two days will force me to not put up such a fight in the future. 
maybe, jut maybe, i will be open to the idea that i am not invincible.
i watched the last 30 minutes of the shawshank redemption the other morning.
morgan freeman tells the guys at their lunch table, "every man has his breaking point."
amen, morgan. but don't you think every man has many fissures along the way?
define stress.
see crows feet.
andy dufraine spent 19 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit and climbed through 500 yards of shit to get his freedom.
i really have nothing to complain about.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


we ate our tickets to big bear and decided to sleep in and get ready for the big move.
the day was full of trash bags and good will bags, a useless trip to buffalo exchange, two trips to the office and a script for weekend read. none of this is that interesting.
but in the middle of it, we stepped outside and decided to have a southern lunch at the farmers market.
shrimp po boy for him, jambalaya for me.
"this'll get you ready for jazz fest."
and for a second i drift off to the wildest part of my imagination.
music, sweat, heat, spicy cajun food, a beat in my heart and a tap in my foot and i am excited by the idea of my pending freedom. 
i ask him how his sandwich is.
"pretty good, but it needs another scoop or two of shrimp. in new orleans they put so much shrimp in there, you can't even close the sandwich."
i hear the cicadas.
when carmen and i drove through the south a couple years ago, i remember writing a love  letter to memphis. the sounds, the smells, the feel...
i remember thinking how i wanted to stay there for a while, maybe try living there just to see...
i add more hot sauce to my bowl of jambalaya and we enjoy our lunch with visions of new orleans melting on our taste buds.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

surfing the mountain

after a two hour drive
learning snow summit was sold out of lift tickets
parking in the lower lot of bear mountain 
standing in an astonishing shuttle line
followed by an equally astonishing lift ticket line
we finally got on the mountain. 
it felt like it could have been 60 degrees
the sky was clear, the sun was blazing, the snow was melting
"i should have brought my surfboard," a teenager clicks in before taking on rip turn
we take a few runs and finally set out to explore the other side of the mountain
we find the chair lift for exhibition
the top of the run reveals a spectacular view of the lake and an even better view of very few riders on this crowded Sunday
we hit it and the feeling comes back
the sound of the snow spraying behind me and then in front of me
the wind in my face
the freedom that speed gives you
the carving, the dance, 
it is my meditation.
my time to focus on just the task in front of me.
no blackberry vibrating, cell phone ringing, fires to put out or egos to anticipate
its just me and a mountain and i can't help but find the poetry in it.

homework passes

i sink into him after a long hard day of eulogies and barbeque chicken
i start to fall asleep and it feels like it will be the best sleep i've had in 3 months.
i shake awake.
"are we going to fall asleep right now?"
he nods, halfway there himself.
"i can't. all the lights are on and i have to do my blog."
"aw. alright."
i stop myself and realize what i have done. 
i sink back in his chest and let myself go, allowing myself to take this night and maybe this weekend to be completely selfish.
i don't know exactly when this blog became homework, but its the good kind. the self reflecting kind. the kind that made you think rather than repeat. 
but for right now, i will use some saved up homework passes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

exchanging farewells while waiting for the elevator

we step off the elevator and drop off our bags
"i have something for you," she hands me a letter.
"you can't read it now."
"i can't read it now. i'll start crying."
we falls silent.
"i don't know what to say," i hug her tightly.
"i don't know what i'm going to do without you."
"you'll be fine."
"its cool that we're both going in such different directions."
"the right directions."
"your friendship much to me," i hate this stuff. i don't let myself feel it, even though i know i will be so incredibly sad."
"i'm going to go, before i get all..."
she laughs, "ok, good."
we part ways and it feels empty. 
i cannot believe that was it and now everyday will be different. 
i suck at saying goodbye. i'm either a robot or a blubbering mess. 
but i think everyone prefers the robot. 
i told her i loved her, i told her i would miss her and i thanked her...
but in the end, i still don't think anything i said was enough.
but maybe it never would have been.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

marty mcfly

its amazing how one moment, one slight look or gesture or word can unleash a rage that is buried deep inside you.
what comes out is nothing short of shameful and in the end, makes us weaker.
i am no george mcfly. if you try to push, i'm going to slingshot back.
but at what cost?
define humility.
me and marty mcfly hand in hand with our tragic flaw, our raw nerve, our achilles heel, our...."chicken"
he makes a gesture and i feel the shift inside me
i feel myself move back on my heels and i see myself lunge
and out it comes 
like a forest fire burning every shred of dignity in its path
i can hear myself, "reel it in, girl."
but all that follows in a slew of pent up frustration neatly dressed in profanities and hypocrisy
i spit back the same disrespect that sparked me in the first place and now i am no better than the very thing i pushed back on.
i am shaking.
i search for validation in the madness and i know that i am wrong
nothing warrants that.
i apologize.
i am embarrassed.
i am disgraced.
define humility.
i pick up my boots and i keep on walking knowing that the only way i will salvage the growth i have achieved in this last year is by humbling myself immediately when i know i have gone backwards.
rewind revise,
rewind, revise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


the night before christmas
the night before disneyland
the drive to a rock concert
boarding a plane to a far away place
getting off the chairlift
driving off the lot with your first car
taking the stage to accept a playwriting award
getting on your longboard at the top of a hill with nothing but gravity and gravel 
singing karaoke at your friend's bachelorette party
sitting at the table in the last round of a poker tournament....
but nothing is quite like waiting to get your baby from the airport.
24 hours and counting...

Monday, February 11, 2008

tea and macaroons

in a few short days i will lose this friend of mine to another job.
for a long time i called her "jim's other assistant," but after a very tough year had passed and we had slowly become engrained into each other's lives, it effortlessly changed to "friend."
in recent months she has become a confidant, a support, a therapist, a flowing fountain of tranquility and zen amidst the very shark-infested hollywood waters (and yes, i am reveling in my clich├ęs)
we both have been through ugly break ups, moves, car accidents, stress-induced meltdowns and general frustrations with the job and with each other...all the while sitting no more than two feet across from one another.
the fact that we can call each other friends is pretty incredible at this point and not only do i see her as a friend, but she has become a really good one.
she knows more of my secrets than anybody else at this point.
had we met in any other way, i don't know if we would have become friends. 
we have different interests, different tastes, opposite personality traits...
define odd couple.
she is organized, intellectual and neat. she loves classical music and reading and painfully epic romantic films...
i think i may just look stupid next to her, but i'm going to go with it.
on my birthday last year, i asked for coronas and chips & guacamole.
for her going away party she has asked for tea and macaroons.
define classy.
we chit chat the day away getting ready for this incredible shift, but when i think about the next couple of days and the anxiety building up, it is not so much about all the work i will have to take on, but more about how the hell i am going to hold up without my friend, my partner sitting two feet away from me.
and though i am thrilled for her to move on and continue on her journey, there is the slightest bit of selfishness in me screaming, "damn you, smokehouse!"