Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Developing Obsession

No words needed... 'cept these lyrics. 

Mumford & Sons performing "Below My Feet" on a recent SNL. 


Thursday, September 20, 2012

September's Rooftop Slumber

It was completely quiet.

The heavy door slammed behind me and blocked out a slew of intrusive noises -- some comforting, like the clatter of dinner plates; some irritating, like the wailing of an uncontrollable infant.

But up here? All I could hear was the soft sound of moving air.

The wind tousled my hair into knots as I looked over the ledge, down, down, down onto 6th Street. How happy I was to be perched up high, rather than sitting on the over-exposed front stoop. Typically I wouldn’t mind the chance for random conversation with eclectic passersby of the East Village, but today I couldn’t bring myself to keep up with arbitrary conversation.

I was tired.

The afternoon at work had been hectic, and I’d barely escaped in time to pick up supplies from Whole Foods. A group of us were making dinner that night and if I was in charge, then it better be half-decent, no? 

So I purchased two bags worth of pita bread, olive oil, tomatoes, etc., and carried the Italian-themed smorgasbord eight avenues to the east and nine blocks to the south.

Despite my ambitious load of groceries, the walk was pleasant, considering I’d watched most of the day perish from the inside of an office building (as I’m sure you did too). Still, when I finally placed the brown paper bags down, my hands screamed in their displeasure.


As I dug around inside the oh-so trusty purse for Band-Aids, another thought occurred to me: After all that rushing, fast walking, and overall hustle – I was quite early. Too early.

In fact, no one was home.
Whoops x2.

Subsequently, I pretended to be “locked out of my apartment” so some gent would buzz me through the downstairs door. While I still wouldn’t have a key to my friends’ place, I did know there was always available rooftop access.  

And in that instant, sunset was all I wanted.
And maybe also some of that hummus I’d just purchased.
(But that’s beside the point.)

Thus, there I was.
Sitting on the roof. Taking in that expectant moment when hurried night is about to overtake retreating day. During quiet twilights like this one, I can never determine if I’m despondent or excited; apprehensive or self-aware; completely overwhelmed or perfectly content.  

I decided, quite contrarily, I was impossibly all of the above. Then I placed my jacket over my legs and slept peacefully, if only for a moment or so.

[Editor's Note: The rest of the evening was also immensely enjoyable.] 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When It's The Perfect Temperature Outside

Fall is in the air… and I think I’m a tiny bit excited about this fact.

The change in seasons means a few things: apple picking, pumpkin beer, blanket-covered mornings, and scarf-wearing nights.  Summer is my favorite season by far, but autumn is a close second because of countless nostalgic moments – and, of course, that crisp, dry leaves smell that can be captured even by the likes of New York City.

I can also eat hot food again in my apartment.
Without melting.

Still, it's hard to believe I've already walked amongst the streets of midtown and spotted little carts with aromatic chestnuts roasting. The early darkness and sudden drop in temperature occurred almost over night, with Labor Day as the official (and literal) “adieu” to summer’s hazy months. These switches in seasons almost always trigger self-awareness in my writing, so below are the oh-so brilliant thoughts that occupied my mind on the train ride home this afternoon:

One: This is the first time I’ve not gone back to school in 15 years. 
I decided this realization is bittersweet.
Two: I never received my diploma in the mail, though I was 
promised I would by July.
Three: Therefore, maybe I did not graduate? 
I decided this realization is concerning.  
Four: This led to another conclusion: Maybe I should go back to school? Maybe I’m meant to be a student my entire life, in the comforting classrooms that offer intellectual observation and perpetual academic discourse with enthusiastic peers (ah… sigh). 
Five: But then again, maybe not.  

And do you know why I think "maybe not?"

Anyway, happy fall! Here are some random end-of-summer pics:

Parks at night. 

 PBR that’s just right.

Bus trips home.

 DC alone.

 Sisters on the road…

 With a broken car that should be towed.

 Parts of campus still undiscovered, 

 Hash browns, "smothered and covered."

 Fuel for the last leg of our journey,

And a sister that’s really quite nerdy. 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

That Moment When Less Leads To More

So here we are again.

I’m starring at another job application, an unsigned roommate contract, and an email informing me of my impending student loan start date.

There's a four letter explicative I would like to insert right about…(here).

This month’s goals are daunting, and all the while summer is slowly slipping away into that unstoppable, seasonal darkness. The days are less likely to reach their climatic noon, or stretch so delicately into evening. It’s only September and I feel that approaching winter dread – or is it subtle excitement? I can’t tell which anymore; maybe these perceptions simply arrive as an inseparable pair.

Back to that job application: “First name, last name.”

With each keystroke I’m reminded of my temporary position. No, I think cruelly. Not one temporary positionyou should be reminded of them all.  Four months here, six months there. How pleasant it must be to have a salary, my mind says. To have benefits, to have footing – dare you dream to have some clout! Oh don’t you long for these nuisances? Or at least… they would be nuisances for you.

I click off of MediaBistro or Journalism Jobs or whatever the hell website I’ve dragged up from the depths of the internet. Enough of that for now. I sip water out of a glass fashioned from an old jelly jar. How is it so damn stuffy in this apartment when autumn has already robbed us of late evenings and 9 o’clock sunsets?

I stare off into space for a minute. Then I allow myself to ask the dangerous question that's never truly examined: What am I doing?  

Sure, I know what I’m doing today, tomorrow, this weekend and probably the next. But now I sit in silence and blink hard; hard enough to stop a flood of possible tears. Breathing in three times, I acknowledge the moment of weakness for what it is: I’m overwhelmed by possibility – choosing wrong, choosing right, choosing anything for any sphere of my life. Making a choice toward one particular direction or another has paralyzed me into an apathetic numbness.

So here we are again.

Jobless, penniless, tireless, listless – less less less!

Ah ha.
But wait?
I am not less.
We, my friends, are not less.  

The mere mention of the world less strikes up a rejuvenation in me that spurs the antonym more. And then I remember…it hits like a ton of bricks!... I am faultlessly hungry for more.

THAT is what I’m doing. And the question isn’t even “what am I doing” but how, and why, and for what reason. Do I have a worthy reason? If not, then best to jump ship now before sinking into some unexplored doom.

But the reasons, too, come flooding back to me. I don’t want a salary, or benefits. I don’t need footing, or clout. If I did, I never would have moved to New York to be that tirelessly cliché writer-type who works for ten bucks an hour and eats eggs like they’re going out of style.

No, no, no… My mentality was momentarily smothered by desires that will never fulfill what I truly long for, which is, most easily described as a voice, a story, and possibly (if I’m so lucky) an impact.

What am I doing? I’m living. What am I doing? I’m writing. What am I doing? I’m trying and failing, and succeeding and flourishing, and attempting to do all of the above over and over again until there’s not an ounce of me left I haven’t given to this story.

My story. 
Your story.
Our story.

So let me write these stories... because I can

[Editor’s Note: A big thanks to all those in the past couple of weeks who have been retweeting, reposting, and responding to my HuffPost articles and the blog. It really means the world to me that you spend precious minutes reading my work. So thank you, thank you, thank you one thousand time over].