Monday, January 31, 2011

Writing Prompt 20: All Day Long

All Day Long I look for ways to be busy. Whether it is with multi-tasking at work, reading scripts or books while at work, clicking back and forth between various websites, blogs, email accounts, visiting work friends or going for a walk, I am constantly engaged in something. I fear boredom. Boredom allows for self-criticism and if I sit still too long all I can think about is how I'm not adding up, how I should be doing more, how I am failing at my dreams.  After checking the balance on my student loans I struggle with accepting that though I have not missed a payment in eight years my principal balance has not budged. I put one more mountain in front of me that feels insurmountable. Hours later I find myself wiping two pocket folders with clorox wipes. I don't want anyone to have a finger print on their high gloss folders, so I'm wiping the folders wondering where the hell I went wrong, wondering why I am doing something no one asked me to do, wondering when I will stop feeling so damn sorry for myself. I have it good. It is me that makes the quiet unbearable. So I take a breath, and try to remember that simple stupid mantra: One Day At A Time.

Writing Prompt 19: The Post Office

Some of these prompts are too stupid to write about.

Writing Prompt 17: Bait and Switch

This prompt reminds me of working on my documentary with the very talented Iz. We used music from my friend Mike Corwin and we titled it "Bait and Tackle" because we used it in the opening shot of our version of the movie.  We worked tirlesessly every day for months. She let me invade her space, even gave me keys to her apartment. While I loved working with her, what I loved even more was the countless chicken salad sandwiches, take out sushi, bottles of wine and laughs we consumed and shared over the course of that time. She almost convinced me to break up with my boyfriend at the time and just stay in New York. But I wasn't ready. Instead, I went home with the idea that I would temp, earn some money and come back. I broke off our working engagement at a French restaurant in the UWS. It was perhaps one of the hardest conversations I had with a friend. I am not very good at expressing myself very clearly when conflicts arise. But Iz handled it like a champ, perhaps even relieved to move away from the project. We sat and drank wine and ate cheese fondue. When I got back to LA, I ended up getting an offer I couldn't refuse from a temp agency. I worked with my friend from home to find a more linear edit to the documentary. We also worked tirelessly to finish a cut in time for Sundance. I was so naive. After a year of submitting the doc (half cut by Iz, half re-cut by Morgan) it only was accepted to one festival. I haven't watched it since 2008 and when I did, there was so much of it I wanted to cut, yet again. It was not finished, but it had been time to move on. Recently I got the idea that I'd like to reinterview some of the people in a few years from now and recut the footage. But, we'll see about that. Maybe I'm just looking for another excuse to work with Iz again.

Writing Prompt 18: Road map

When my brother was four years old, my mother was lying out in the sun in a bikini. He was carefully examining the faint vericose veins on her legs, when he popped his head up and said, "Mommy, your legs look like a road map."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Writing Prompt 16: Daydreaming

I get ticks. OCD phases. Compulsions. I don't know if I would say I have an addictive personality, but my picked acne scars and my forever raw, chapped lips would say otherwise. I have always had a fear of being pushed in front of a subway or into the tracks. My first week in New York, while I was waiting for the 6 train, a man came up behind me and told me that I should be careful standing so close to the edge of the platform. Someone might push me in. He was clearly psychotic, but his words left an unforgettable mark on me- a nervous 18 year old just becoming acquainted with New York City and the belly of the beast- the Subway system. I have often daydreamed worst-case scenario situations. Like if I am driving up the 405 North on-ramp from the 10 freeway in LA and my brakes lock and I can't make that turn, would my car fly off the freeway or would I bounce off the divide like a pinball machine? If that man following behind me too close for comfort comes up to me with a knife in his hand what will be my first reaction? Will I fight to the death? Or will I outwit him by telling him I am the daughter of the head of the Armenian Mafia and if he touches me he will have his testicles force fed to him? Morbid, I know, but these are some of the things I think about. They are not fantasies but more daydreams, residual of an overactive imagination. When I was six or seven I wrote and drew a story about a father that is shot and killed and how his daughter must survive and find the killer. Which came first? The over-exposure to violence in movies and television or the savior complex?  Though I do think I had snuck a peek at The Terminator playing on tv around the time I wrote that story.  As of late, my phobia of being pushed into the subway tracks has become more and more powerful to the point where I start to step back when the train comes and even look around me for someone standing within pushing range. Perhaps it is fed by all these "subway jumper" stories I heard around the holidays. But either way, I think stepping away from the platform is a good idea in general. The good news is if I am ever pushed, I have daydreamed about it enough to know where to lie if the train is barreling down. It's good to be prepared. 

Writing Prompt 15: Why didn't you call?

This prompt would be a good title of collection of short stories of one night stands or perhaps "missed connections." I have never asked someone why they didn't call. Thankfully there have not been too many incidents where this question would need to be asked. As I was telling Tara, there is a part of me that will always believe that very innocent, catholic, maybe even naive assumption that my body is special, that I should not share it with too many people. I have never been one to have lots of boyfriends, lovers, fuck-buddies, whatever you want to call it. I am careful with my heart and then I anchor down. I like the journey of a relationship rather than the freedom of casualness. I guess I never really saw being single as having my freedom. There have been small amounts of time where I have been single and the flings I had felt very disconnected, somewhat boring to me. The other night a friend of mine told me she was a little bummed to be turning 30 and without a companion. But also so grateful. She has refined what is that she is looking for by discovering what she does not want. I'd never heard her sound so sure of what she wanted and it was inspiring to listen to her. It reminded me that I have what I want, despite my anxiety that overcomes my being when we go through a hardship. I have a partner who is so kind. Kindness is so overlooked and for years I would have never listed it as one of the top qualities I wanted in a man. But finding someone who is truly kind is a very difficult task. When he pours himself a glass of water before bed, he refills mine. He rubs my back and neck whenever I ask. He cooks me dinners and greets me with a kiss. In the mornings, sometimes he tells me I "look good." I also have someone who does not worry. Growing up in a household that operated on worry and fear, it is refreshing to come home to someone who is always calm. And I have someone who is happy from the inside out. There is no anger or stress or built up repressed emotion, no stubborn element of fear hanging on from childhood, no resentment. There is only this appreciation for life every day. While he can be a smart ass, he is not cynical. I did cynical and while it looked cool, it robbed me of my energy. I have enough cynicism for two people and I am working on that every day. When Mike and I rekindled our old flame in LA three and a half years ago, we both told each other that our lives didn't really match up right then. I drove him to the airport, and when we said goodbye, he said, "Sooo, I'll call you later?" And I said, "Yeah," not knowing if he would really call. There had been so much heartbreak in our past, I didn't want to put any pressure on him or any expectation for us. But when he called later that night, I knew that he was what I had wanted all along.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writing Prompt 14: Learned My Lesson Again

I don't know where to begin with this one, except that sometimes it takes me a few times to learn my lesson. What I'm learning right now is to stay out of other people's business. I f I see an angry beehive and I don't stick my neck in it, I probably won't get stung. Just let the bees buzz, right? But one of the lessons I often have to relearn over and over again is to stretch. I don't know why I don't like to stretch, but I find it a nuisance and I generally don't like to take the time to do it right. After destroying my legs over the weekend from too many lunges, I am finally able to sit down without cringing. Perhaps I should stretch more... or just stretch.

Another lesson-don't eat the cookies at VCS because you will get sick. I actually did learn this lesson and stopped eating them for a few months. But every Friday I am tempted yet again to get a cookie. Maybe this time it will be different, I think- the true confessions of a sugar addict.

Stop using your credit card.

Don't mix liquor with wine. If you start off the night with wine, stick with it. If you are having a cocktail, don't go to wine unless it is one glass with a meal. Your stomach discriminates. Do not mix.

No one likes a nag. If people don't want to change, they won't no matter how many times you try to trick them into thinking they really do want something that they don't. People show you who they are right up front. And while I believe in growth and change, it has to come from within. You cannot change anyone no matter how inspiring and loving you think you are. They have to want it for themselves and not just because you want it for them.

You are not a morning person.

Have a little faith. I am consumed by worst case scenario thinking. I am almost always in survival mode, ready for catastrophe to strike where I will then flourish, because I excel in chaos. The next shoe will not always fall. Peole will not always leave nor will they disappoint you. And if you pay attention they may just surprise you if you let them.

Stop going to LA.

When you can't see the forest because there are too many trees in the way, take a day off or at least a few hours. Go to the gym, go for a walk, have lunch with a friend.

You love the theatre.

 If a food looks hot, it is. Trying blowing on it first before shoving the entire spoon or forkful into your mouth and scalding the roof of your mouth, your tongue and your lips. It sucks to have a burned tongue or burned anything for that matter.

Take it easy. Take...it...easy.

No matter how much you think you can prepare yourself for disappointment, loss, hurt...you are only fooling yourself. Don't waste your energy. You cannot anticipate the effects of a feeling and sometimes it takes years to realize just what those effects are.

Remember to say thank you when you sneeze and someone says God Bless You.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Writing Prompt 13: Willing To Be Happy

"If you want to stay miserable, then go ahead and stay miserable," my father says.
"I'm not miserable."
"You sound great."
"What did you say?" I ask when I really meant to ask, "What do you mean?"
"You can either stay miserable or let it go."
"I have let it go. I'm not wasting my energy on this-"
"What are you spending your energy on?"
"Writing."
"Great. That's what you should be doing."
"I am! But it doesn't take away the disappointment."
"Let it go."
I breathe, silently thanking him for giving me an excuse not to call him for another few weeks.
Earlier in the conversation, after telling me how he and my brother went for a long walk and that my brother explained to him that he had all he could take on Christmas which is why he had to leave early, I cut him off.
"He bailed on me, Dad! You and I have always made excuses for him so he doesn't have to grow up and I'm done doing that."
"No, I don't think that's true," he tells me. Of course not.
"You're doing it right now," I suggest.
"That's not his job!"   It's mine is what he means to say.
I pick up my pace, clenching my jaw.
"If you ever get in a bind like that, you just call me and I'll come pick you up from your mother's house," he tells me. He said the same thing to me when I was ten and I realize that nothing much has really changed in the way my parents handled not only their failed marriage but their failed divorce. While telling us it had nothing to do with us, the way they behaved sent a drastically different message. This has nothing to do with you, but you may be used as ammunition. I feel my chest tightening the longer I stay on the phone and feel a sudden urge to toss my phone into the Atlantic Yards Project. After he laughs away my anger with some bad jokes, I calmly tell him I don't think I can afford to come back home in June. He chats a little longer and then asks if I would be interested in hiking Mt. Whitney with him over the summer. I tell him again, I'm not going to make it home this summer and he finally hears me.
"Hmmm...well I guess I'll have to come your way."
"It's fun over here," I offer.
We hang up the phone and I stew about him accusing me of being miserable. I do not feel miserable but nothing is more frustrating when you have worked so hard to get out of a depression as to hear someone tell you that you are choosing to be miserable. There is nothing I want more in this world than happiness.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Writing Prompt 12: Vibrating

Her world is nothing but a pulse
Vibrating around her wrists
The soft part
The place you forget to put lotion
Hands demand too much attention

We always know so much
Know that this is what the future
Will look like
Dressed up on a picture on a shelf
Made by ikea

She wants to go out,
Get out, she says
Far enough to leave her skin
The skin that is beneath her
Calloused palms of a misguided boredom

She tells herself
It is what she wants,
The way ice cream on hot days
Is what we think we need
When what should be having is water

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Writing Prompt 11: I didn't mean it THAT way

All I can think about is how much I will potentially have to read in the next two weeks. For sure the biggest challenge yet, but I am proud of myself for asking for the rate I want (which is my usual rate) even though it is an extremely looooooong project and would be like paying me for four books. They now have to get approval which means I may not get the work which I actually need, but there comes a time when you have to state your worth and not go below or what does that mean? What does that say about me? However, if they do come back and say my rate is just too expensive I might respond with, "I didn't mean it THAT way....Let's talk numbers."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Writing Prompt #10: A Big Red Bow

Today is my old boss's birthday. He was high maintenance and I worked ungodly hours for him, but we had a lot of fun. When we were still in the "scary boss/ nervous assistant" phase he asked me to do an impossible task, that basically required me not to accept the word "no" as an answer and then to get that answer in less than two hours. I don't even remeber what that task was because it was so ludacris. Without thinking, I snapped back, "Would you like it served on a silver platter with a big red bow, too?"  My face dropped. I could not believe I had smart-mouthed my boss and with such dripping sarcasm. As he looked down the bridge of his nose from his six foot three frame down at me shaking in my boots, he raised a finger and I got ready to be fired when he said, "A white bow."

Happy Birthday, Jim.

Writing Prompt 9: Hoarding

Even reading this word makes me a little sick to my stomach as I am the quintessential "hoarder." I don't know when it started- my compulsive need to keep every fucking receipt, every fucking New Yorker I ever received, movie ticket stubs, fortunes from fortune cookies, letters, cards, cold medication, clothes that I will never wear! I don't really know why I keep all this crap because most of the time it makes me crazy. I hate living in clutter and yet I have only ever lived in clutter. It doesn't help that my partner is also a hoarder- a hoarder of furniture, magazines, broken shit he wants to try to fix (love you Mike!). I fear the day we get an attic or garage. We have already taken up quite a bit of his parents' attic. We have a chair in their rec room and a canoe sitting in their back yard. Part of me doesn't want to throw anything away cause I am convinced one day I will use it and save money (like cold medication) or it will save the day at a moment when all hope is lost (like pieces of a Halloween costume). Or maybe having "things" is my way of feeling like I have a space in the world. My brother is much neater than I am but also a "collector." When we were kids, we claimed our sides of the room by hanging posters, magazine rip-outs, trophies, coins, caught baseballs, shoes, cds, papers, the remote control. Some things never change.

Writing Prompt 8: Quick Reaction Time

Every morning I follow the life of my friend who is pregnant with twins as well as raising two children with a husband whose work calls him out of town quite a bit. She is currently 3 cm dialated and having contractions she cannot even feel yet, but it has been such an adventure to follow her blogs. Being terrified of pregnancy, labor, motherhood, blah, blah, blah I am completely fascinated by someone who not only embraces being pregnant but inspires me to have the kind of pregnancy she has had. First off, she has managed to stave off back pain after two back surgeries by going to the gym religiously. Secondly, she has been generally very happy and often has that "glowing" look people some often use when describing pregnant women, but really applies to my friend. She looks amazing and has been full of energy. Even now as she is finally feeling tired (at week 35!) she is still going to work and running around with her other two kids. She is like a pregnant Superhero. I keep thinking of the moment this is all going to end, when this journey will finally come to a head (literally) and it will be go time! What is the story that we are all going to laugh about and reminisce about around dinner and chocolate a couple years later like we did the other night when hearing about her labor with the first two? So to my friend, who is one of the very few people who reads this blog, anyhow, although I am sad the pregnancy blogs will be coming to an end, I cannot wait for the next chapter!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Writing Prompt Backload...

So, obviously I have not written some writing prompts. But I cam going to try to play catch up...

Writing Prompt #6: The Mail Is Here
She sends me a letter, a Thank You for my Thank You and I feel nauscious about opening it. Can't we just forget the holidays happened? Can't we stop sending forged promises about time we will spend together in the future? When can we decide that this year is not the dictator of the next few and let sleeping dogs lie at least for a few more months? She has picked out a nice card, one with a rose on it, and my stomach does a piroette. The paper feels heavy in my hands, like a cinderblock carried in the air between my fingers. She thanks me for a very special Christmas and all I have been saying is how awful it was. It is not easy to have Christmas dinner with a loaded gun on the table. Someone should have told her to buy applejuice instead.

Writing Prompt #7: Well-traveled
It was before midnight though felt much later. The pubs in Edinburgh close early, but this was a special pub and fell somewhere in between a nightclub and speakeasy. Most of the women had closely-cropped hair, mostly buzz cuts, as if all of the lesbians in Scotland were only allowed this hairstyle once it became known that hey were "different." My frined, the tall one who played basketball at Brown. The one with big brown doe eyes and a laugh that stole the attention of each room she crashed into, the one with the heart breaking right in front of me every European step we took, turns to me and coyly slips a clear drink out a red straw. She suddenly approaches me, hips rolling back and forth, the walk of a tiger before she devours her prey. She asks what I would if she kissed me. I slowly back up, not having an answer for her, not wanting to embarass her by not, not wanting to have an awkardness between each other as we continue onto London the next day. She carefully pins me up against a wall, balancing her weight on her front foot, leaning her arm above me and up against the wall and just before she goes in, She rolls her eyes. "Ugh, you are painfully straight." She focuses her attention back on her straw and she takes a look around at her options. "Are we in a gay bar or a lesbian bar?" I look to her, the expert, and we both decide it is time to leave.

Trivial

Today is one of those days where I am realizing just how fucking trivial everything I do all day long is. There must be something more...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Writing Prompt 5: She Just Wanted to Jump In The Car and Take Off

I don't remember how we got there, I just remember pieces of the drive home.
There was construction on Route 1, narrowing the two lanes into one. It was raining hard, loud and we had just smoked before getting in the car. Jessica fell asleep in the passenger seat immediately. It was my car anyhow, and I didn't trust her driving. We left San Francisco, carefully winding down the coast of California, after a long weekend visiting friends and then forgetting them. That was the year when entire pockets of time have disappeared from my memory. I smoked all the time, but that wasn't why I forgot. I clenched the steering wheel as the rain fell heavier, the roads got slicker, and my tiny two door mitsubishi coupe skidded along the gravel. Sami's hand fell on my shoulder and he kept it there, a reminder that I was never alone. I looked in the rear view mirror and he smiled at me. He was never sincere if there was a crowd but in the quiet moments of that year, his friendship would emerge like bursts of lights. I drive the entire 10 hour journey, dropping him and Jessica off in Santa Barbara. The rain had stopped. The rest of the highway was mine for the taking. But I don't remember that part.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writing Prompt #4: Not the Time or Place For That

When I had hit that age where being seen with your parents was completely humiliating but I was also too young to be places by myself, these two conflicts often manifested in a trip to the mall. While strolling through the Fashion Square (as our mall was called) I tried to hide myself in hooded over-sized sweatshirts with folded arms tied across my ribs. My dad would walk past me and rip a huge, loud, disgusting fart and then turn around and say, "Lindsey!" I can still hear my brother laughing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Writing Promt #3: An Off Year


I have always liked odd numbers over even numbers. In soccer and baseball I was number 13 or number 17. I  like being odd number ages. 19 was a good year. So was 27 and I feel good about 29. I like odd number years, too- 2003, 2005, 2007.  2010 was definitely an off year for so many reasons, most of which have been discussed on this blog. It was also off in that it was peculiar. Many peculiar things happened, but then again one never knows how one will respond to trauma, to growth. I learned that sometimes you can find hope in tragedy, hope can be found where you least expect it. So, I’m not sure what is considered an off year anymore. Is a year off because of its even number, because of my even age or is it off if shit happens? Or is it off if things go great and peace is found, peace is achieved? Being 29 in 2011 might be considered an off year, but I have a feeling, whatever it is, is going to be good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Writing Prompt #2: Hiding Place

There was never any room for a hiding place at Whipple Street, so my brother and I constructed them from bed sheets and couch pillows. We built forts within our fort, a tiny apartment we didn’t realize was small until we hit puberty. When we first moved in, Shaun was eight and I was ten. We were excited to share a room together, as if it was going to be one long sleepover. We didn’t anticipate the humiliations, the fights, the broken pieces of objects we both loved, and how he would slice his foot open on glass three times in that room. But even so, Shaun was my best companion. On hot summer days, we could be entertained by hitting a balloon back and forth, not letting it hit the floor, while we each sat on our beds. He always had a partner to play video games with and I had full reign of what music we listened to, though both were often interrupted by our neighbor banging on our walls. Sometimes she banged so hard, things would fall off my dresser.
Before Whipple, I had a hiding place inside my closet at the house with the long dark hallway that used to scare me, the house in Reseda. When Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” used to come on the radio we would belt out, And it’s a long day living in Reseda. There was no freeway running through our yard but there was a section of the LA River not far from us. One Fourth of July a neighborhood kid went down by the “river” and blew his hand off with a firework. I rode my bike to the place where it happened which was beyond the boundaries of where I was supposed to ride my bike. But I had to see. Once there, I inspected the walls of the concrete channel and swore I saw blood, a secret I only revealed to Shaun. I started asking my dad questions about how people lived without a hand. How could you eat? How could you go to the bathroom? Does that mean you couldn’t play baseball?

The Reseda house had lots of hiding places, but sometimes being out in the open was the best spot of all. On really hot days, I played inside of my closet because it was cool and dark I was left alone. There were no rules other than my own and more importantly there were no surprises, just darkness and the occasional flicker of a flashlight to be focused on Barbie or the Boxcar Children.

After moving to the apartment on Whipple, Shaun and I converted our shared closet into a hiding place, but it wasn’t long before I deemed it stupid. There was no more room to play. There was no more room. So, I ventured outside for a hiding spot and with the help of my cousin, Gary, found it. The laundry room for the apartment complex was snugly built between the apartment building’s carport and the apartment building to the north of us. A six foot brick wall separated the laundry room from the next apartment building. The space between the brick wall and the back wall of the laundry room was about three feet. Gary climbed up the brick wall with the leverage of the laundry room wall. Once on the brick wall, we used the wooden fence post of an apartment patio abutting the brick wall on the other side and we hoisted each other up from the brick wall onto the fence post and pulled ourselves up onto the roof of the carport. We had found our kingdom on a tar mat perched above the oil-stained concrete slab of a parking lot. Nothing could touch us there, we thought, until the neighbor told on us.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Writing Prompt #1: Take It Out For A Spin

We let the day run out, slipping daylight hours between or fingers, the grains of sand we missed sifting through after turning our childhoods in over the summer. Now we were unleashed, the wild was out.
We raged through the night, invincible, free, and we were all so damn pretty.

He liked my long hair, the  way it smiled in twisting tendrils, long like tentacles. He was good at remembering me, remembering why we mattered to each other. The others didn't know, but I knew where his mother was that night. I knew better, but I didn't say anything. When he suggested we take his mom's car for a spin, none of us could turn down that dare. It was still too early to tell who wouldn't survive being cool. Every decision counted. Every mischief a chance to shed what we were supposed to be. Krissy, the smart rich girl with the most to lose, was the first to get in the car. Karla was always good at asking for what she wanted, and that night she wanted tacos and I was good at obliging. She had that kind of way. So we got in the car without licenses or permits or directions. We had to get out of the nighborhood so no one would see us so we turned up side streets and ended up at the busy section of Laurel Canyon and Magnolia at Friday rush hour, but back then we didn't think about things like that. We turned up the music and  pulled over so Karla could hop out. We pulled over in the bus lane so someone could run to the corner, run up to that window and ask for two tacos, maybe a bean and cheese burrito, or a Mexican pizza, because we could eat whatever we wanted.

There was a bus barreling down and I saw it, he saw it. I watched him in the mirror. I was sitting behind him, because I didn’t want to sit in the front. He was supposed to be my boyfriend but I stopped talking to him because I didn’t know how to say no and I didn't want to say yes when I wasn't sure if I wanted to say no, so I hid. I sat behind him.

The bus pulled out, pulled out to drive around our illegally stopped car and then I saw it, the little rust brown, burnt red car coming behind the bus. It followed the bus, a diesel tail sticking close to it, grill to grill. I wanted to say something, but I don’t.  He had already seen the bus. I wanted to say wait but I hesitated because I thought he saw it, but at the moment when I realized he doesn’t it is too late and we hip check the side of the car scraping off their side as we fuck up his mother’s car. The heat in the car suddenly rises and we are all paralyzed. He screams to just get out and so we hop out. Happy to bail. We left him, but he had given us permission...right? I saw tears in his eyes and I knew that that decision would count, but I left anyway.  

Writing Prompts!

I just signed up to receive daily writing prompts for the next week from this awesome writing blog, (which I will link later). As a jumpstart to writing this year, I am going to post as many of them as possible, eve the boring ones, just to get the juices flowing! Writing prompts are good exercises, and I usually like to approach them by timing them and writing as quickly as possible without an internal editor, never stopping from picking my pen off the paper or my fingers off the keyboard. But, I have to admit, I might polish up before I post.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A tolerable conversation

Upon leaving the YMCA,
a father turns to his toddler.
-That was a good class, huh?
-Yeah.
-The Y makes winter tolerable, doesn't it?
-Yeah

It certainly helps.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Productive Day

I started my morning by organizing all of my files in my computer. I then moved on to putting away hard copies of papers that have needed to go into binders for months, some as far back as April. I also dug back into rentals, and caught an overpayment by one renter which, with the help of co-workers, I informed them can be applied to their new contract.  I have slowly chipped away at the piles on my desk, although I always seem to keep a little clutter. I don't know what this says about me. Either that I will always take comfort in a little bit of chaos, that I am avoiding writing, or that this active thought process to look at what I can do with each day is actually working. Or I am looking for ways to look busy. Either way, it feels good.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

filling the hole

in a book i read about someone
trying to fill the hole
thinking they have a hole
thinking they are defective
and so they fill themselves
with compulsive shopping.

after one appointment finishes early
i find myself with an hour and twenty minutes to kill.
but i don't want a drink
and i don't want to sit in a starbucks
and i don't want to spend money
but my stomach gets the best of me
and i stop in a crappy place
and have the worst chicken gumbo of my life.
but i'm still hungry.
i search aimlessly for something that will taste good, be good, and not cost more than $1.50
i kill the time by circling a beauty supply store.
after my second appointment i come home
and i am ravenous.
so i snack while i heat up my dinner
and halfway through my dinner i find myself full
which seems impossible
so i keep on eating.
but this time, i did not finish it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

more on perspective

a friend gave me the recent Poets & Writers issue-
the "Inspiration" issue-
I read one article that is mildly entertaining but also annoying
the facts are the same
the people who write everyday are the people who get shit published.
i flipped through some profile pieces on various authors and their recent novels.
the first stat for each one is:
Time Spent Writing The Book
The answers:
2-3 years
4 years
4 years
2 years
5 years
6 years
4 years
4 years
4 years
7 years
2 years

4 years
What do you know?
This is inspiring!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Boss Lady

I have learned a great deal from working for my boss.
She never lets emotions get the best of her. She is always diplomatic and always considers, I mean really considers a request before saying "no." She begins many sentences with "I would like to be accommodating..." Today I found myself in an obnoxious situation. A coworker was being impossible, very difficult and for no reason and was asking for a ridiculous request. I caught myself in explaining the situation to my boss and said,  "I mean, I would like to be accommodating..." But neither she nor I believed it. I do not want to be accomodating because I think it is a ludacris request. But what I saw as a coworker being very difficult for no good reason other than to be territorial, my boss laid it out pretty clearly.  "I think she's jealous." Ah-ha! The reason for her difficulty was rooted in jealous motivations which all became very clear once my boss pointed it out to me. I then had a different understanding of the sensitive nerve I had touched and was able to engage with this co-worker in a more gracious manner. (Although by the end of the day, my patience did expire.) I don't know how long I will work for my boss, but everytime I get frustrated with my job I learn something from her and it keeps the job interesting one more day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Black Smudge

in the midst of a run
while staring at a black smudge
wondering how it got there
maybe someone leaned against it while stretching their calf
or maybe someone used the wall to push the treadmill away from it
maybe they were fixing it
or cleaning underneath it
or maybe someone was holding onto the wall as they picked something up that they dropped
leaving that tiny black smudge
that has now tracked two miles for me
and then it hits me:
i did not wish i knew her
that girl who threw herself in front of the train in the first hour of 2011
i just wish i knew.

there are no big alarms
no bells and whistles
the day that perspective comes.

earlier that day, she leaned over and whispered,
"remember this?"
and on her page is written
key to life: don't take it personally.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Happy New Year!"

We ring in the year like giants,
standing tall on mounds of snow,
whistles for horns
and kisses for good luck.

We gaze at fireworks
through barren trees
distracted by the bright lights
of our flashing cameras.

We want to remember it forever,
right?
This moment when everything before us
is waiting to be unwrapped.

We say goodbye to 2010.
For me, never happier to close a year.
If I keep this song that we don't know the words to
in my heart, will the words one day come?

We get on the subway
and our stopped midway.
A girl at the train station ahead of us
has thrown herself in front of the train.

We walk along the streets
as people blow horns,
and pretty girls sway.
I wish I knew her.

I go through my day
still trying to make sense of things that don't.
I think of all the things I want for myself this year
and instead sit down and write what i can do with this one day.

Eat good food.
Have lunch with good friends.
Buy underwear.
Take down the Christmas decorations.
Write a blog post.
Go for a walk or to the gym.
Don't be too hard on myself if I don't get it all done.

This year, my New Years Resolution is to see
that every day is the chance to make something beautiful happen.