Friday, February 21, 2014


I fully expect the afterlife to contain certain things. Avocados, Brahms, Frank O'Hara, padron peppers, everyone's pets, just a few examples. Another example would be that the concept of time would unfold as a succession of free days, during which one can wander the traffic free, clean, temperate streets of NYC, stopping at tea houses and happy hour spots with every single person that ever gave you a warm feeling in your life. If that doesn't sound nice to you, I just don't know what does.

However, until I get to the afterlife, and just on the slightly off chance that there isn't one, I've decided to play hooky and meet Nancy in the Village for tea, macarons, shared writing time and other Friday diversions. Those diversions may or may not include alcohol at some point. I can't shake the feeling, traveling as I do from Long Island, that I go on a mini vacation every time I come to NYC for a day trip. I feel slightly like a character in a Jane Austen novel who has been invited to stay in London for a week with her cosmopolitan friend. I will, of course, look for Willoughby at the ball happy hour later.

Then, of course, there is the neighborhood. I swear the West Village exists in a vacuum or rather, I keep this neighborhood in a tiny enclosed space in my brain, a buzzing, slushy, concrete village inside a souvenir globe, frozen in place in 1999-2000. I might even see myself there in the background, 23 and clad in a long black skirt and Doc Martens inside the Slaughtered Lamb on a Tuesday night. Sigh. When time is gone, where does it go?

Last weekend when my sister was visiting, we were having the umpteenth conversation about whether or not I can/will/want to relocate back to the city. I have exhausted myself in the debate. Actually, I've just confirmed with a reliable source that one cannot debate oneself. I am, however, as exhausted from thinking about it as I would be under a spotlight, stood behind a podium in a navy blue blazer, fresh from a road trip on a school bus.

When I'm carrying out my life fifty miles away from here, I feel settled. As it happens, everything in my soul rebels against settling, as evidenced by my undying restlessness. When I am on my way here or arrived here, I feel the pace and the energy and neurotic mass of movement and I feel: home. But is home always what is best for us? Especially when home costs so much fucking money? Anyway, my sister thinks that moving to the city has, at this point, become some sort of Utopia for me in that a)I think it will make me happier than I've ever been (despite the fact that I was born a restless person and that when I lived here, I often fantasized about leaving) and b) that it will not, in fact, make me happy in and of itself. She gave me some insight into the fact that if I did finally decide to come back, I should do so with the full knowledge that I'm still bringing myself, restlessness, grass is greener mentality and unsettled nature included. And she's right. Life in the city is not going to inject instant contentment. Nothing will.

But try to convince my brain of this, when I'm cozy with my laptop and a pot of tea on one of the oldest streets in Manhattan and right outside my door it is still 1999 and I'm still in my 20s and my hair is long and I share an apartment that overlooks the Hudson and the world is my freshly shucked oyster.

Ok, so maybe I'm a little mired in nostalgia. And maybe that means I shouldn't move back into the city expecting life here to not have changed. I can't help it. New York is the world's biggest magnet and I think I might have little pieces of metal in my bloodstream. The moral of the blog post is that I should probably see a doctor.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


  • senescence
  • \sih-NESS-unss\
: the state of being old : the process of becoming old
: the growth phase in a plant or plant part (as a leaf) from full maturity to death

Today's word of the day is one I have always loved but rarely get the chance to use in everyday conversation. I put it in a poem once, using the second definition but if it is ever going to work in a standard conversation, it is going to have to be about getting old. For example: "I am not old. I am in senescence." Typing that out brought to my mind, for some weird reason, an image of being enveloped inside a web like cocoon, just like Frodo in the Lord of the Rings and as a result, maybe I don't want to use it in reference to myself in a conversation.

Getting old.
Also, when I say the word out loud, I'm actually surprised that there was not one band in the 90s that used this for their name. How could one not love a word that calls to mind so many things? What? Not everyone is a fucking dork? Ok, then.

Though I have no particular need to, I have thrown myself headfirst into work. Most of this I owe to other people making my schedule and some of it I owe to a deep panic about making less money. Still, there is a small part of it that has to do with my desire to create things and I'm holding on to that with white knuckles. The tight grip feels good though. It isn't fraught with "I want to do so many things but have no time" anymore. It is fraught with "I'm going to do this if it kills me." Sometimes raw determination, generally the very last stage of creativity before imploding, is what I need. Or a looming deadline. Either way, I am making every effort to not be idle.

Very few things hasten the state of senescence like working all the time. Yet when I'm extraordinarily lazy all the time I feel too old to be doing it. For example, the other week when I my local world was having its identity iced out by the unforgiving mean girl of winter and I lucked into a few snow days, I did nothing. I didn't leave the house, didn't clean up my apartment, didn't really write much. I watched movies, read some magazines. At the end of those few days, I felt worn out and old, too old to be that unproductive. When early evening rolls around and I'm wearing the same thing I wore when dawn broke, it feels like I'm one step closer to being gone forever. Of course it is a truth that just is on every day that passes but at the very least when I go to work, I can distract myself enough into thinking that at least I'll have done some small thing that will be evidence that I was there. I know it is all so stupid but it is how I've been feeling lately. So I suppose I'm grateful for the neverending work.

And because I'm a little bit of a masochist (who isn't?) I may blog every day next month. I'm not 100% on that yet though because in my senescence, I have grown fickle and noncommittal. No, I was always noncommittal. I just admit it now.

I long to have something interesting to impart in this entry but alas, I was just trying to kill some time during a lull at work. But it isn't strictly a "lull". I have things that need doing but no motivation to do them. Here is a real time snapshot of my desk and all of those papers represent something I need to process in some way, the magazines are trade journals I need to read through. On a scale of "I can't wait to do that" and "I'd rather sleep", I'm at a level "I want to run. I want to hide. I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


This morning I had to stop in the supermarket before work to pick up some healthy snacks, having run out of everything this week (apparently this happens to your refrigerator and cabinets when you don't eat out all the time, who knew?) and as has been well documented on this blog, I love supermarkets and how they are a microcosm of everyone's randomness. I love how you can surmise someone's truth from what they lay down on that automatic moving belt to the cashier. Well this morning it seemed I was all alone in the store, apart from the people who work there but fear not, randomness occurred. The store was playing an 80s radio station and "Welcome to the Jungle" was on at full volume. So as I plowed through the mounds of oranges freshly arrived from the other side of the country just looking for least genetically modified looking one (LGMLO), Axl Rose was howling like it was 1987 on the Sunset Strip. There are few things more incongruous than hair metal and pushing a rusty supermarket cart, looking for specials.

In other news, I haven't blogged much. I have been insanely busy. This coming year promises to be nonstop. I can't say this upsets me but sometimes I'd like a moment to breathe. I am beginning to understand, however, that this is how I fill up my own personal void; I drown it out with work and places I have to go to and people I have to see. I suppose there are worse ways to fill the void. I can, however, see this becoming a problem at some point but that point has not arrived so let's just plug up our ears and la-la-la for awhile, mkay?

Despite my days being nonstop, I have been doing some introspection. I don't think I am capable of living a full day without being sucked into my own navel. I know it annoys me so I cannot even imagine what it does for my close friends and family members. Mostly what I've been thinking about lately is challenges. Specifically, how I tend to avoid challenges at all costs.

I'm always a little awed by people who take challenges without being forced to. I have met so many people who willingly take on challenges, whether it is mental, emotional or physical and lately I've come to realize that that concept is almost completely foreign to me. I try to learn new things all the time but the things I try to learn are almost always things I am almost completely positive I can do. For example, the last time I truly challenged myself to do something, it was a few years ago and it involved weight loss. In fact, nearly all my physical challenges involve weight loss, but not a specific exercise goal like running a 5k or lifting a particular weight amount or even getting to a goal number on the scale. My "goals" are always nondescript and general. "I'd like to lose around 20 pounds." I think subconsciously I've always wanted to keep things like that general so that if I didn't hit the exact goal, it would feel less like failure. I know I can lose around a number of pounds so I give myself that leeway; I am very easy on myself and I'm beginning to feel like this is a detriment.

This is something I would really like to change. I'd like to set specific goals and then I'd like to work really hard to meet them. I don't really know what that feels like. People have said "well you finished graduate school!" What I rarely admit is how easy graduate school was for me. At worst I found it time consuming but when it came to grasping the concepts and doing what needed to be done to finish the coursework, I always had the suspicion that I was doing something wrong precisely because it was incredibly easy for me. I think I may have intentionally picked the degree that was easiest and I intentionally ignored the one that I was most passionate about just in case I didn't do well. Classic avoidance.

Ok, so now I know that I want to challenge myself. What should I do? I don't want to be forced into doing something that challenges me. I want to be the master of my own fate (or at least believe in the illusion of control that drives so many people.) What is more than likely going to end up happening is that I will come up with a bunch of different scenarios and I'll dissect them all into tiny little parts that become so distorted by my breaking them down that I no longer recognize them as challenges and I'll have lost interest by then. THIS IS WHAT I DO. See how annoying this is?

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about. What have you been thinking about?

Oh and for no other reason than the word "challenge" reminds me of it, here's the video to the beautiful New Pornographers song.