0 Thankful for (a few days late)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My amazing family and friends, beautiful home, two jobs, the opportunity to travel, my health, my education, food to eat, clothing to wear, and money in my pocket

0 Naomi Shihab Nye

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"The Time"

Summer is the time to write. I tell myself this
in winter especially. Summer comes,
I want to tumble with the river
over rocks and mossy dams.

A fish drifting upside down.
Slow accordions sweeten the breeze.

The Sanitary Mattress Factory says,
"Sleep Is Life."
Why do I think of forty ways to spend an afternoon?

Yesterday someone said, "It gets late so early."
I wrote it down. I was going to do something with it.
Maybe it is a title and this life is the poem.

{photo courtesy of we heart it}

0 "So I throw my hand into the air, and it swims in the beams"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It was unseasonably warm out today - one of those rare, serendipitous days that happens to fall on a Sunday. I found the Counting Crows' This Desert Life in an old CD album in my car, and played it as I drove up the West Side Highway. Even though I've been a Counting Crows fan since I was fourteen, their songs resonated with me in a new way today. Their songs approach life in a way that is honest and accessible and refreshing and humbling. From "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby":

Well I woke up in mid-afternoon cause that's when it all hurts the most
I dream I never know anyone at the party and I'm always the host
If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts
You can never escape, you can only move south down the coast

Well, I am an idiot walking a tightrope of fortune and fame
I am an acrobat swinging trapezes through circles of flame
If you've never stared off in the distance, then your life is a shame
And though I'll never forget your face, sometimes I can't remember my name...

When you have good music playing, and the windows are down, and people are out, driving through New York isn't a bad way to spend your Sunday.


1 Do you ever feel like there's a disconnect between the person you want to be and the steps you take to get there?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I guess that's a pretty heavy question. What I basically mean is, how much are any of us doing to really get what we want out of our lives? I so commend people who are "following their dreams" because it's so much harder than it sounds. Since I was six, I've kept a journal. I chose "writer" as my dream job in my 5th grade yearbook. I've always had this identity of being a "writer," but now I'm here, now I'm graduated from college with this gorgeous open expanse ahead of me and I'm not writing. I sit down for thirty minutes with an essay in front of me and I write another paragraph or two, and then I give up, I fold my laundry instead and watch an episode of "Arrested Development."

Writing is rejection, and struggle, and self-deprecation. It's sitting in front of your blank page or blank Word document and feeling as if that blank page symbolizes all your past and future failures, your complete lack of productivity and fruitfulness and intelligence. But I guess it's also running up the hill to your house and suddenly realizing how gorgeous the silence sounds, or how funny dogs looks jumping up against invisible fences, and racing back to your desk to write about it. And maybe, when you begin to write, you find yourself coming to some new idea that you'd never considered, or suddenly you come up with a crazy awesome metaphor or brilliant line break. And then maybe the next line you write is total shit and you lose steam and decide you need more coffee....but you still have one crazy awesome metaphor.

Come to think of it, I don't think writing is so much about the goal. The finished product is over-rated. Maybe one day I'll try to write a book or a few great poems. Maybe I'll find another job entirely in the meantime. "Writing is discovery," I think that quote is. I think that applies more than writing. Living is discovery. Kundera writes in "Unbearable Lightness": "We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come." And: "Man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion or not."

It's daunting that our one life is the real thing (if you believe it's the only one), the final performance without any rehearsals. In that case, why not conduct the experiment? It's better than never knowing what will happen if you don't.

0 Drought by Tracy K. Smith

The hydrangea begins as a small, bright world.
Mother buries rusty nails, and the flowers
Weep blue and pink. I am alone in the garden,
And like all else that is living, I lean into the sun.

Each bouquet will cringe and die in time
While the dry earth watches. It is ugly,
And the earth is ugly to allow it. Still, the petals
Curl and drop. Mother calls it an exquisite waste,

But there is no choice. I learn how:
Before letting go, open yourself completely.
Wait. When the heavens fail to answer,
Curse the heavens. Wither and bend.

0 Atmosphere by Susan Griffin

Learning to
draw tenderness, the
sky is full of
snow for her,
and she knows the
road curves around
her and the chill
of the air has no
fear, and she
feels her sorrow
gleaming in the
hardening river, she is
learning to take
tenderness from the