Friday, July 24, 2009

Coming attractions

Sam's right. People blog less when they are busy and/or happy. I think. I mean that's not a definitive statement, but it seems to ring true with me.

That being said I do have a few really crucial things I'd like to get out into the blogosphere (and then I realize how silly I sound, because come on, how could any of my thoughts be that crucial to share with a world of Internet strangers?), including but not limited to: a quote from UP that made me cry at work yesterday, an indecisive statement about online dating, some deep thoughts about Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me, a quote from one Melissa Rosen that spurred some serious reflection, and an encounter with the man behind "Creative Approaches To What You Have Been Thinking About." I mean really, it is just absolutely necessary that all these topics be neatly organized by my brain and then spit out and recorded on my blog. Truly. Otherwise the world will end. LOL, get it? I'm being sarcastic, because obviously no one will give a shit if I write this stuff or not (except maybe Melissa. Hi Meliss!) But in all seriousness, I care. I don't blog as much as I did at one point and I don't think that's a huge problem, but I do intend to continue writing, and I think if I stop trying to reach people through my writing then I'll have cause for concern.

Which is all to say that right now may not be the time for me to write any of those posts. In fact, right now may just be the time to post a quick snippet of an AIM conversation and then take a nap. But they're coming. Probably accompanied by some whining, because as Sam points out (below), who am I kidding?

*I never got that permission, but I'm hoping it's cool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I have a pretty heart

I've been babysitting two adorable little boys, ages 1 and 3. Yesterday I took the older one, N, to the water park to meet up with one of his friends and his sitter. We were chatting as the boys played and she said something that struck me: "I love being with kids because they're so present." It's really true–babysitting may tire me out more than an office job, but it also gives so much more.

A sample of a typical work day:

"Why do you have boobies?"
"What is dirt?"
"I'm scared of bees because I don't like being hurt."
"You're my good friend because you help me a lot."
"It's hard to share because I like all my favorite toys."
"What's energy?"
"Can we just talk? This is how we do that: how was your day? Now you ask me."
"I love you."

And an anecdote:

I have a heart keychain that my mom gave me right before I left for college. It's fairly plain, just a simple pink heart–I think it was a "free gift" or whatever that came with some cosmetics. So yesterday N saw my keychain and really liked it. A couple of hours later, as I was getting ready to leave, he started tugging on my arm and saying, "I want to see your heart." I was so confused, and it took me literally 5 minutes (a long time in child-tugging-your-arm-time!) to figure out that he meant my keychain heart, not, you know, my real live beating one. I just kept saying, "N, you can't see someone else's heart, it's inside my body!" to which he kept looking at me like I was a total idiot and saying, "No, I want to see your heart!" When it finally dawned on me that he meant the keychain I fished it out of my bag and gave it to him. He examined it for a few moments before looking up at me: "See? I can see your heart. It's a pretty heart. You have a pretty heart."

And that's why I need to keep working with kids for forever.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brooklyn's Coming, by Jeanann Verlee

If you've been my friend for longer than say, 10 minutes, I've probably asked you to come to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe with me on a Friday night. This is because A. I love it so much and wish I could go every Friday, B. I think a lot of my friends would actually love it as well if they gave it a chance, and C. It's on E3rd between B and C and while that is not a "dangerous" area I do feel slightly uncomfortable walking alone there by myself at night (oh who am I kidding I feel totally terrified).

In all seriousness, I think spoken word poetry is one of the most powerful mediums in the world of words, and I honestly get chills watching many of the performers when I go to poetry slams. Last night was no different. I wanted to shout out one specific poet and one specific poem: Jeanann Verlee's "Brooklyn's Coming." What's it about? "An open letter to Sarah Palin after her comments that small towns are the 'real America.'"

When Palin was running with McCain back in November, I tried to write an essay for my non-fiction class entitled "If Sarah Palin is a Feminist then I Don't Want To Call Myself One Anymore." It ultimately failed because I was too angry to be coherent. Verlee's poem is literally everything I could have hoped to convey in that essay and more. I went to speak to her after her performance, to thank her for being so fucking brilliant. She was so sweet and thanked me for the feedback, confiding that she was thinking about retiring the poem soon because she wasn't sure if it was still relevant, since Palin resigned and all. "It is," I assured her. "Well, it's at least relevant for me."

Here's Verlee performing this poem at the Seattle Poetry Slam in March 09. Check out the rest of her performances and, if you're in the New York area, do yourself a favor and check out the Nuyorican Friday Night Poetry Slam. I don't care if you "don't like poetry"--these poets are fucking brilliant because they specialize in emotion, and if you're human, that's got to appeal to you on some level.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Wrote This On Monday

When my dad dropped me at the train station this morning so I could head back to New York after a lovely weekend at home, we ended up having a philosophical conversation about my future for the fifteen minutes we spent waiting for the train. I was trying to explain all the fears I have about next year, which I tend to hide in the flippant response, “Oh, English major, fast track to unemployment, LOL” when people ask what my future plans are. Usually this makes people chuckle and they forget about the question, but sometimes they feel the need to reassure me, “Oh no, don’t worry, English majors do get hired, you can do anything you want with an English major,” but that kind of just pisses me off because although I may be asking for it with that kind of response, obviously I know that English majors get hired. Duh. And it’s nice for everyone to encourage me that I can do anything I want, but I also sort of know that. The hard part is figuring out what that is. I don’t know. And I’m terrified that any move I make will hurtle me into the wrong direction, and I’ll do a great job and climb corporate ladders or study hard through law school or even just pick up and go, travel, live, whatever…and then suddenly it’ll be ten years from now and I’ll be 30 and I’ll realize I haven’t achieved anything I wanted to, and I’m not living my dreams I’m simply existing, and I won’t know how to get back on track. I think 20 is the scariest time, or maybe I mean the year before you finish college is the scariest time, because the world is open and you can literally try anything, whether you’re an English major or not…but then it seems like doors will start to shut very suddenly and with each decision you’re one step closer to fucking it all up and never having any opportunities ever again. Or maybe all 20 year olds, soon to be college grads, don’t feel that way. But I definitely do.

My dad, however, ever the rational pragmatic, had some sound advice. Be a nanny if you want to, but make sure you’re not closing doors or selling yourself short. Don’t worry about impressing anyone with you credentials or your job, just make sure you’re really happy. Realize that sometimes you make decisions not because you’ve always planned to do it that way (taking some time off before grad school), but because opportunity presents itself (a poor job market makes more school a pretty tantalizing option.) Try not to worry too much about “closing doors” or making “the wrong choice” because you can always change your mind—my dad speaks from experience on this one, and informed me that a close family friend (age 52) is starting a new job this morning. Remember that going to law school doesn’t mean you have to be a corporate lawyer. Going to med school doesn’t mean you have to be a doctor. Doing one thing doesn’t automatically lead to anything. Try not to fixate so much on a path. Then he said the best thing: “The thing is, for what you are most passionate about, there is no path. The only real path is to write. So just keep writing.”

And that is why I love my dad. And also why I need to write, now more than ever. It’s really the only thing I’m sure of.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No eyes!

At least vacillating about cutting my bangs (versus growing them out) makes Photobooth fun again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fuck the picket fence, I want a spice cabinet

Today I said to the mother of the kids I babysit for:
"I am so jealous of your spice cupboard. I know that sounds silly, but I feel like college students always just have salt and pepper, maybe some paprika or garlic salt. But grown ups always have such stocked spice cabinets. I feel like having so many spices is such a real person thing."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July

I went to Coney Island today to witness the hot dog eating competition (not the human-versus-elephant one, just the regular ol' human-versus-human one!) I also attended a lovely bbq, watched the fireworks, and dined on gelato. But the real unbelievable, amazing, absolute best surprise moment of my day occurred as I walked down St. Marks on my way home at about 8pm.

I left Josh's to go home, change, and meet Sara near the West Side Highway so we could see the fireworks. On the way home, as I walked down 2nd, I noticed a glowing light coming from the top of St. Marks. There is no other way to describe it. The street literally glowed yellow. Stunned, and excited that I had my camera with me (I've got to start carrying that thing with me at ALL TIMES), I scampered down the street, almost getting hit by more than a few taxis on my way. But it was worth it, because as I approached Astor, this is what I saw:

I mean, the fireworks were great and all, but seriously...only Mother Nature can provide this kind of spectacle. Happy 4th of July.