29 May 2013

5/30/13

May 30th I am at Book Expo 2013 Javits Center

16 May 2013

5/14/13 A Soaking Rain




The rain started late Friday night. Saturday morning I woke up early to a pearly gray dawn. Three hours later, it looked the same, as if time had stopped. Five hours later, six, and still the opalescent light. Everyone in his or her homes, the dirt road remained silent. Everything was silent, really, except the rain against the shingles and eaves. Silence that has been born out of impatience: an impatience to find a place for everything, and for me, and to have those places feel anchoring enough. In the past few weeks, I have felt the need for an Away message to hang on the door of my life—preferably one with a witty quote or Green Day lyrics for the full throwback and nostalgia effect. For the first time in more than a few years, I am no longer living out of a suitcase, the metaphoric suitcase I always felt I was living out of, that is. I own permanent shelves. I have put permanent nails in walls. I have greeted and met with people with the confidence that we will all still be right here tomorrow . . . and in 30 days, and in 6 months, and in years from now. My universe has been flooded with a kind of permanence.
I have not yet pointed the camera at the new corners that make this home now feel like me, nor have I written about the new batch of muffins I have baked here, or of the oven now having been baptized by my apple strudel creation, and chocolate Babka slice of heaven. The smell of my cologne left on bed sheets, and hand lotion on bathroom towels. My glasses perched on a book I am nearly finished reading, as a newest one waits for me on the coffee table. I realize that I have been waiting for a rain like this, an all-day soul-soaking rain, for months now. Something in me is breathing more easily, and something else feels washed away. I feel firmly planted here, bound to an address, magazine subscriptions, a barista who knows my coffee order, and a bartender who knows my signature drink. I own possessions that make it impossible to pack up and leave into the night. Nobody has ever left lightly with three coffee makers in tow. I am intrigued by all of my little shifts: the packed box, the unpacked box, the new photo on the wall, my coat hanging neatly in the hall closet, right next to his. The markers of a new chapter, punctuated by a different routine, marked by different milestones. I document the process of moving, the process of saying goodbye to a past life, the process of making a home and then disassembling it as though it were made of Lego’s, to, again, the process of building a home of permanence. The photographs freeze those transitional moments in time to remind me that life is not just the story of neat here’s and exciting there’s, but of all of my clumsy in-betweens. Once an embracer of process, I am now embracing the photos not taken, the words not written. I am living in a blank away message, waiting for the lyrics to populate it, and for new processes to appeal photogenic ally to a pair of eyes now perpetually in love.



23 April 2013

4/23/13 Within the Shadows of the House

I remember sitting on the sand, watching waves dwindle into nothingness until the vast blue sky disappeared behind the sunset. I remember the sharp, tangy smell of seaweed, the bite of salty wind. Once the sea hissed away, it left a bank of damp sand crowded with tiny shells, glass and rolling pebbles tossing in the pulling tide. I remember little legs rushing along the sand, little arms tightly holding handles of plastic buckets filled with sand. Some memories are so intact I can play them back in my mind like an old movie, others, swept away in a swollen tide, in complete silence. Sudden, swollen waves that had appeared from nowhere had impatiently licked away the memories longest out of reach. But, I do remember how summer was always the most forgiving part of any year, stripping to a daringly brief bikini and flinging myself into the sea. Incandescent with joy, sunshine hanging like a curtain down my back, convincing everyone, most of all myself, that time, summertime, altered things a bit. Breathing in great, wolfish gulps of sea air. I remember watching children play, I remember tears, I remember being heartbroken, I remember shouting into the wind, and hopeing summer never ended. I remember summer always altered things, the storms inside the house blew out to sea easier than the blizzards of winter ever seemed to be able to. The blue sea always emerged from those swirling desperate winters. Triumphant seagulls shrieked and circled overhead. I waited, always, for summer to come, but, always, it would grow cold once again.

22 April 2013

4/22/13 Shadows

I imagine her in the window, her white dress fading a little. The walls of her familiar room protecting her. She is dwelling in the possible, as she puts it. The floors are washed with a shifting sunlight that doesn’t let on to the deceiving cold of spring’s first days or the searing heat of a summer still to come. There is comfort in this unknowing place, there in hope in hesitation.
And, then I image her descending the stairs, and walking out onto the lawn. I see her steps shaking dew from the morning grass, and the goose bumps rising-up on her ankles. In that moment, she is staring back at the house, where she imagined this place so differently.
I, like her, know the feathered thing- the gentle joy of a chosen uncertainty. The real magic of this fickle world is in the nearly real, the perhaps, the “could be” of what an unbound life can offer. To describe herself, she’s left with words like “once was” and “not quite,” words that hint at incompleteness. They mean that she’s losing, or gaining something – what exactly, she’s not sure of yet. Perhaps it is her sense of place; she’s lost belonging and gained becoming. She’s not quite clear how far along she is in this process or how it will end – whether it will come quickly or be wicked away, gust by gust. She doesn’t quite know yet, what it means to claim this place. She catches glimpses maybe – in reading the comforting familiarity in gray days, and yet a familiar sadness when they go on for too long. Her sense of searching, for both purpose and simplicity lies in the transparency of these gray days. Each cloud, metaphoric, becomes a way to explain, without saying much, what she loves and now looks for, maybe even expects from life now. Trying to define herself, but each day, defying yesterday’s definition, soon she will be bare. Each day less and less recognizable, from the person she was before. Looking back, looking forward, her shadow always ahead of her, she, always fumbling to catch up with it.

21 April 2013

4/21/13

And there he was, pressed up against me, bone to bone, flesh to flesh, blood to blood, and a heartbeat that pressed so firmly into mine, it became as one..

11 April 2013

4/11/13 Trading

I didn’t notice how quiet winter was until spring came along. Last night, I fell asleep to birds chirping, and this morning, I woke up to more of the same.
Since the frenzy of winter has now come and gone, a funny sort of quiet has settled over my life. It is the quiet of two quiet people smiling at each other over steaming cups of coffee. It is the quiet of a corner house at the end of the street.
It is the quiet of working hard, mostly, or of waiting and watching for more freelance work to come along, to then, work longer and harder still. You can count on the gentle clacking of keyboard keys and the clicking of my mouse at any point during the daylight hours. Sometimes the hum of the dishwasher or the rumble of the dryer kicks in with a sort of baseline, offering signs of domesticity. ( that I still have, and haven’t forgotten how to use)
It is the quiet of a few plants nearly dying every few weeks and then graciously coming back to life when I remember to water them. Much to my surprise, a certain hand-me-down orchid has been quietly sprouting tendrils right and left despite my careful neglect.
It’s the sort of quiet I’ve always wished for, and it’s even lovelier than I’d imagined. I use to be in a noisy house where the TV was always on and voices were always raised. I wanted nothing more than to shut out the constant tumult of life lived loudly, but the sounds always seeped in through the cracks and boomeranged off the walls. I hoped very much that one day, I would trade in all that noise for a quiet place to read and rest, to write and work, to love and be loved. I have traded.

08 April 2013

4/08/13 The Art of Editing Life

I guess there comes a point in our lives when we realize that everything we own tells our story. There maybe sometimes comes yet another moment when you can’t look at all your stuff without feeling all of your yesterdays puddle and threaten... to flood if you dare look down. For me, I have tried not to look down in months.
I’m packing up my life again very soon, and I’m struggling with my story. I’ve too much stuff I don’t need and too big a tale to tell and some very sad chapters that I don’t want to remember and don’t want to forget, and it’s getting me to edit,( my life that is.) And all that reminds me of unhappy yesterdays, is being packed up and brought to the trash. And I will then walk out to the trash and throw away those ugly precious memories while I swallow sobs and look up at the stars, trying like crazy to keep each of those yesterdays with all my others.

07 April 2013

4/7/13 A Little Broken

I was still a little broken; I hid it well, but deep down things weren’t peachy. I was also still a little lost. I felt the universe had forced my hand and I didn’t understand why. I was afraid to examine the feelings too closely, so I shuttered them deep within and ignored the fact that I couldn’t speak about the fact that life, my life, had gone up in a cloud of smoke. I ignored the fact that I wasn’t sleeping well and, at times, barely breathing.
Then, I settled in to this strange new existence and accepted that maybe things do always happen for a reason, and maybe this was the reason. Maybe I needed time. Maybe I needed the time to slowly heal and accept, and then I needed the time after that to celebrate and see the possibilities again. I needed mornings spent sipping coffee, and evenings spent writing thoughts on a page. Filling page after page with smudges and stained thought. Later, I wrote in my journal that I felt “removed, relaxed, a slight sick feeling in my stomach”. I did not cry, I noted proudly, until I was walking through the tunnel from the gate of my past life.
I stood mesmerized, holding the paper in my hand tightly, the one that held the power to allow me to move on, to get over the delusions of life. I didn’t know it at the time, but I found peace in that piece of paper, a sense of quiet inner security. A calmness I had never felt, or shared before, until now. A peace in the ending.......

27 March 2013

3/27/13 Another's Pain

I enter easily into another's pain, a trait I can only attribute not to some outstanding moral fiber, but rather to my adult life, which has trained my mind and soul to inhabit the skin of another in a way that little else can. I remember the scene now, as if it were yesterday, as he brandished the coffee mug, hurling it across the room into the sink, leaving cup smashed and coffee dripping down the kitchen wall. The vision still sears in my head, as heavy fists hurled against the grey door frame of the bathroom. I'm sure I cried. I remember shaking my head and asking no - one in particular, why? As I write this I turn around and see on my shelf the faded scrapbook that contains the tattered "I'm sorry, it won't happen again," notes, tucked into a nearby shabby box are the ones that didn't fit into the scrapbook. And, together, they make me wonder, would he ever have stopped at all, if I had not been the one to stop it, by finally leaving. To finally end the trail of "I'm sorry, and this will be the last time, I promise "....... a trail of notes that seemed to continue connecting like the cars of a locomotive that went on forever. Like every other bit of my life, it has effected me for the rest of my life. It is only now that I have begun to stand still with my own memories, re - visiting a time in my life that is on a constant loop in some recess of my brain. Not that I obsess. It is just that the past is a big part of the present...sometimes memories brightly flare up, sometimes they quietly recede to the background. I feel myself fading, being pulled into a dark tunnel that was easier to stay in than consciousness. Here's another memory. He asks why I am mocking his favorite sports team. Before my confusion fully set into an organized thought he punched the wall next to my head. Domestic Violence weren't concepts I knew of yet. Because this was the most normal thing that happened everyday all the time. Each crisis was distinct and discreet behind closed doors. Obviously there were distinctions, but I never readily identified them. As we once upon a time knew, Domestic Violence creeps in silence. It is about power and control, and it often reaches death, for those that don't get out. I have my faults, some are known fully to me, and many, I am sure, are felt more expansively by others. But, Domestic Violence is not about faults, it is a a surge of physical power to control, a bullying that goes on often behind closed doors.

20 March 2013

3/20/13

Out of breath, she had to lean against the side of her car, he pulled her closer, feverishly rushing his hands down her familiar corridors, belongings that were not yet his for the taking. She picked up her key, fumbled with the lock. She was too nervous, he too impatient. It took her a moment to work it. Finally, the lock clicked, and they slipped inside with their secret. As he held her hand in the grasp of his, she felt hope grow, like a mad, wild plant she could no longer tame. The windows became fogged and heated, as the sheriff looked at them with surprise.....

04 March 2013

3/4/13

Finding a way to heal what seems totally broken is the precise imperfections of life and relationships, again and again, doubt is a creature that lurks at our door, and, again and again, we all fear it.

27 February 2013

2/27/13 Life is a Choice

The things of which I am most proud in my life have required a combination giving it up to the fates and making the arduous decisions of a warrior. It gives me great solace to imagine that I am the author of my own future and that I don’t have to wait for “blessings” to be happy. The good news is that means we can all change our lives for the better . . . it simply starts with choosing to believe that it’s feasible. I am not so sure I believe in destiny. I think what I believe in is making better choices. I battle with the notion that things are in some way preordained. The concept of life unfurling " just as it should be," and according to some magical plan beyond my comprehension, sounds truly amazing, but, better choices along the way really rolls the plan along.

26 February 2013

2/26/13 February Go Away

By now, you know how much I love beginnings. And sometimes I can deal with endings too, because they usually lead to new beginnings. In-betweens, however, are impossible to wrap my head around, and after watching Fifty - one Februaries come and go, I am certain that February is nothing but an endless in-between. Growing up in New York, I learned from a very young age that February meant still stuffing yourself into your puffy winter gear long after that winter gear has lost its luster. In fact, by February everything has lost its luster. The snow is no longer magical—it’s just cold and very persistent. There must be some important reason for February to exist—and if anyone can think of one, I hope you’ll let me know. Otherwise, I will be eagerly ticking off its last few days in hopeful anticipation of a very early spring. (And I do mean, a VERY early spring, please!)

24 February 2013

2/23/13 Future

The sound of the future arriving, turns out, makes no sound at all....it comes in totally silent, and then, there you are....in a place you never thought you'd be, or now, would ever want to leave....like mixing paint, you can't ever un - mix it, like breaking an egg shell, you can't ever put the egg back together again, can't ever put the cork back in the opened bottle of champagne, BUT, breathless, even with your coat buttoned up the wrong way, you can arrive at the future, even, with tears in your eyes.......part of her feels, part of her even knows it for certain.....

19 February 2013

2/19/13 Uncertainty



Uncertainty is one of those mixed emotion words. As I look forward at the next few months followed by the extending void of the rest of my life uncertainty inspires my mid - life youth, risk-taking, adventure-seeking, chance, and jumping in head-first. Its less satisfying other side provokes anxiety and worry, stalling forward momentum. However, admittedly, there is no escaping either side, as a thoughtful friend gently reminded me, almost everything in life is uncertain. Someone, clearly more comfortable with uncertainty than myself, stated, “uncertainty touches the best of what is human in us.” I feel it grabbing at what is most human about me, but perhaps not always the best part of me.
The past is past and the future is not-yet-known, and, really, that is all I have
to roll with, as I slowly roll along, and life unfolds.

18 February 2013

2/18/13 Partners



Firm believer, that, at any stage of life, it is important to find your person.
 To find your beacon. Find your partner. Find your path. Just one person, who believes you are not crazy to want to be a _____________. A person who holds your magic. And shares in it.
Someone who never turns off the light?
And there he was, pressed up against me, bone to bone, flesh to flesh, blood to blood, and a heartbeat that pressed so firmly into mine, it became one......and I put my hand against my heart, and remembered, who you choose for a partner, always matters, it even changes your life.

17 February 2013

Take a Moment 2/17/13


When I get run-down or particularly stressed out, the sunset is always a good reminder to breathe deep and let it all go. I like to stand outside, if its nice enough, or at a window and just be still and soak in the amazing beauty. It never ceases to soothe my soul. If you’re feeling stretched a little thin, I recommend the same. And if you can’t find a sunset of your own, or need the peace right now, here’s one of mine. Breathe deep and be grateful my friends. Life is a lovely gift.


15 February 2013

2/15/13 One door closing

The sound of one door closing
I’ve never liked the word “closure.” I know what people think they mean when they say it—this relic word from a self-help era gone by. The concept of closure seems almost darling with its naiveté and inspirational quality. In my experience, if you are employing this term, it is in the context of searching for answers and resolution to the wholly chaotic and mysterious. Human relating is sloppy and the sad fact is that much of it never ultimately makes sense. Whether relationships are historic or enduring; whether they are romantic, familial or with friends . . . chances are you might never totally get what they were as you look back or how to operate successfully within them moving forward. And this, I have found, is actually good news.
At the beginning of the end, I was confronted with the fallacy of seeking tidy understanding when it comes to other humans. I sat in a therapist’s office, where I had gone week after week, unpacking stories of conflict and misery. I was living with a man (my husband) who never really liked himself, who never really knew himself, and who didn’t appear to even particularly like me most of the time. I spent countless hours and too large a ratio of my salary on parsing this mess, and paying co – pays. I’m not sure whether my therapist had just had it with me or whether she saw that I was ready to be nudged along, but when I said something about needing “closure” in order to walk away, she simply said, ”Why?” (a question, I later learned, you almost never should have to ask).
I had taken for granted that this is what adults did in relationships. I assumed the idea was to make a careful, rational selection of a partner, ride the arc of the relationship to some logical conclusion and then, if need be, part ways with a mutual understanding of the facts. It goes without saying that I never made any kind of clear-eyed choice other than believing it was good for me to be with this man, even though virtually every moment with him was one baffling disconnect after another. So, damned if I wasn’t going to try and exert some control over its’ ending, some needed point of closure for myself.
What I learned from her “Why?” and the succession of “Whys” that followed—pursuing my train of thought until I ran out of answers, (“Why do you need to make sense of it?” “Why does it matter what people will think?” ad infinitum.)—Was that most of the need for closure was about him or other people. I was completely engrossed in his behavior, what it all meant, whether or not he was capable of change, what was to be said about me (to whom?) if I just gave up on this person I had claimed to love. It was also a way to remain perpetually engaged in a relationship that I felt terrified of ending, yet, terrified at the same time of staying in. What a brilliant excuse for staying stuck if you just continue to hang in there until you make your way out of the labyrinth! Except that almost nobody emerges to see the light of day when they are entangled like this with another person.
Like most people, true lightning bolt moments are incredibly rare in my consciousness. This happened to be one of them. I felt the gears shift in my brain and a single thought shoved all others aside—“There is no reason why.” There was no explanation THERE WOULD NEVER BE AN EXPLANATION for why he acted the way he did or why I felt the need to spend many foundational years working on the calculus proof of this person. The very instant I accepted that closure wasn’t necessary, wasn’t even possible, I had no other choice but to leave him for good.
It was beautiful. I don’t say this so much as an indictment of that particular relationship as much as acknowledging the liberating psychic gift it was. Once I realized that full and true understanding, especially when I thought I was embroiled in love, wasn’t critical or all that promising, I was much more free to go. Paradoxically, this also gave me the best chance at finding myself, a needed point, before I put foot before foot, and before, I could have ever be hopeful of finding another. I am not sure what exact transformation took place, or on which morning run, or evening walk, but comfortable and peaceful the transformation has become. I now welcome the future and the hopefulness it has encompassed back into my life. When the question arises, to stay, or to go, the answer is always to go, and sooner than later is always the right allotted answer to any timeframe. Wasted time becomes wasted years, and those years, you never get back. They become lost, for good.

31 January 2013

1/31/13 Grief, Love and Life!



Grief, Love, and Life !

As far as thieves go, grief is the greatest one. She robs us of the people we love, but—perhaps most achingly—she zaps our ability to imagine the future. Lose a place, a person, or a love and, suddenly, measurements of time become irrelevant. Grief warps time; she renders our plans for next week and dreams for the next vacation incongruous. When we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.
Imagining the future is an act of boldness. The wishful imagination of a future with being alive: a wanting, a living, an expectation of something more.
My discontent with grief comes from its blocking my boundless want. By drawing strict lines between my living and those whom I have lost, grief casts the world in harsh light. She makes it impossible to believe in forever. Instead, she injects a heinous pragmatism into sentiments that would rather be unadulterated by it. My only antidote to that has been to love – the kind of love that floods every crack and fills the vacuum of loss with the promise of togetherness. Feeling something strong enough to carve into a brick, with all the world serving as my witness. The triumph of love over loss, of affection over grief, of dreaming over pain.

30 January 2013

1/30/13 Home

Against my better judgment, I went out that evening anyway, celebrating the release of a magazine’s newest issue in a cavernous, low-lit bar, feasting on Venezuelan sandwiches and guacamole into the early hours of the morning. That night, on my snowy trek, I felt as comfortable in my surroundings as I’d ever felt anywhere. I felt confident. Even up to my ankles in snow, even in boots a size too large, even lost in a whiskey fog, I felt safe. Sturdy.
And I found my way home, a trail of footprints behind me........

28 January 2013

1/28/13 Reclamation





I’ve never liked the word “closure.” I know what people think they mean when they say it—this relic word from a self-help era gone by. The concept of closure seems almost darling, with its naiveté, it’s inspirational quality. In my experience, if I am employing this term, it is in the context of searching for answers and resolution to the wholly chaotic and mysterious.

How do we reclaim spaces and moments that we used to exist in and define ourselves by?

23 January 2013

1/23/13 New Year Begins

This is a momentary chance to take stock of where I’ve been and where I want to go.
I rang in the New Year this year with a grateful heart, filled to bursting with amazement at everything that has come into my life in the last twelve months: This time last year, I could not have imagined the wealth of happiness that 2012 would bring. Now, in retrospect, I am awed.
As the weeks of December ticked by, I found myself thinking about my hopes and dreams for the New Year. I am a lover of goals and a maker of resolutions. Still, as I pondered on 2013, I felt stumped. What could I resolve to do in a year that would bring so much change, so many unknowns? While this year is still young, I will be welcoming a new person into my life, adding a completely new element into my otherwise familiar existence. I just want this to be the year of deep, deep thinking, deep living, deep breathing, deep adventure. I don’t want to miss a second; I don’t want to get to the end of the road and regret the times I wasn’t present for the moments that counted.
And that, in the end, sums up my sole resolution for this New Year:
Deep.
Be there, wherever “there” may be.
I don’t know, here on the threshold of the coming year, what 2013 will bring. Like most years, I imagine it will carry its share of pain along with the joys, and I’m sure that keeping my temper and equilibrium after one too many nights spent worrying about it all will be a challenge. There will probably be moments of exhaustion, of bleary-eyed apathy, of downright frustration.
But there will be, hopefully, so many moments of personal absolute beauty, too.
And I don’t want to miss a single one of those moments, so I am going to breath deep, even after my daily yoga session has ended. Give myself a little grace when I inevitably fall short.

21 January 2013

1/21/13 Kisses



I was never the girl you might have found slathered in mud and eating watermelon in the rain. I was the girl who littered her apartment with candles and romanticized about the how, the when, and the why. It feels like the great unknown all over again, just when I thought I knew something, I realize I have no blessed idea. His kisses are innocent. They contain no motive. No history. They simply are. Kissing is a game to him. It's a call and answer. We will never be each others whole world, but for a while, we will be each others everything.

19 January 2013

1/19/13 Friendships



Life is, after all, about relationships with people. It isn’t about meeting a year-end friend quota. It isn’t about succeeding or failing. It’s about sharing life. And life can be downright messy, complex at the best of times, convoluted or worse at the most difficult. In this life, we put down roots where we can, but who knows which way they’ll grow? We intend to stretch out arms of wide welcome, but we end up reaching for help and support or comfort and calm, instead. The most basic, simplistic, relationship I have found, is still always a test....pass or fail?

17 January 2013

1/17/13 Vacation

Personally, I feel like January and February are the longest months on the calendar. I can only assume it’s a combination of just coming down from a holiday high, not having another three day weekend in near sight, and the frigid temperatures. Outdoor music festivals, patio dining, and fresh open-air markets are only a distant yearning. When the gloomy weather starts festering deep in my bones, I mentally drift off to warmer climates. There is something about the Florida Keys that has a tight grip on my heart. It isn't just a mental vacation I need, but a physical one as well. In a place Hemingway played and worked, a place he called home. Soon I will be writing from and having my toes curled up in the sand watching the sun set over crashing waves in the Florida Keys. A place, for at least a short stay, I'll call my home. A couple weeks and counting, and warm rays will be upon my face.

12 January 2013

1/12/13

I was anchorless to the point of adrift - weightless to the point of exhilarated. Over time, the relationship has become filled with the bouyancy of firsts and the gravity of love. And on that first day, I met you, in a kind of way that would make it impossible for me not to consider myself blessed, life became magical, and time transformative. Each of us has arrived with two - ish suitcases, the hidden load is that of the memories of all the elsewheres and people we have loved. Neither of us has unpacked. In a sense, we do not need to. There are memories spilling out of everything, slowly filling the empty space. Before you, and us, and love.

11 January 2013

1/11/12 Gonna Be One Groovy Lady


A good few weeks back I went to a concert , to see Smokey Robinson to be exact. And it was awesome. I was definitely in the minority, most of the audience was over the age of fifty, and not by a year or two, but way more than I am. But they sure knew how to have a good time!
The woman sitting directly in front of me was having an especially good time. Every time the band played and Smokey sung one of her favorite songs, she would jump up from her seat and dance in place. Sometimes other people around us were standing up, clapping and dancing, but often she was the only one on her feet. But she didn’t care. She didn’t care that she was the only one in our section dancing, or even standing up. She was celebrating this moment, this song, this experience.
Of course her celebration was basically blocking my view. Since her seat was right in front of mine, whenever she got up to dance, I could only see a third of good old Smokey himself. At one point my friend looked over and gave me a sad faced kind of grimace, apologizing that I couldn’t see. But truthfully, I didn’t care. This woman was so darn happy; it made me happy just to be around her. She was getting such joy from the music and the performance; I couldn’t help but be affected by it. Whenever she would get up and dance, I couldn’t stop smiling.
This woman was probably older than my mother, and all I could think was, I want to be that happy, that excited, that rocking in twenty five years. I want to be the kind of lady that celebrates life and grabs onto joy whenever its around. I want to rejoice in those pure blissful moments. I want to stand up at a concert and sing and dance and clap along with the band. I want all those whippersnappers to look at me in awe and say ‘that is one groovy old lady’.
But nothing happens overnight right? I can’t expect to wake up at 70 with all the answers and a convenient pair of rose tinted glasses on the nightstand. So I’m starting now, today; I’m making new habits. First, I’m going to dance more; just put on a CD in the middle of the afternoon and boogie in my living room. Second, I’m going to make a conscious effort to recognize the joy in my life. To be in the moment and appreciate the bliss that finds me every day. I’m going to celebrate my life.
And in twenty five years, I’m going to rock that concert.
I am going to be that lady blocking your view.

10 January 2013

1/10/12

When the snowstorm comes, or the wind chill sets in, or the gusts of wind blow snow up my door, it is then I realize that there are some elements of life I just won’t ever be able to beat, just I just ignore.

08 January 2013

1/8/13 Quiet Solitude


Today, as a writer, I spend an inordinate amount of time alone. Depending on my mood and the rhythm of the day, I find this both liberating and lonesome—there are times when I can’t stand the quiet; there are others when it’s nothing short of sublime.
Solitude, I’ve found, is its own kind of wilderness. Becoming familiar with the terrain requires a certain amount of exploration, and a bravery I can’t always find.
But what a pleasure it can be to surrender sometimes—to wander, to get lost, to accept the challenge. And so I've spent the afternoon alone, with a book, an avocado and tomato sandwich and a sweater to guard against the wind.
I might, at one time, have found this solitude frightening. But on this day I feel adventurous. Like a daring wanderer. Solitude can be so very sublime I now know not to complain, for in a fleeting moment, it could all be gone. The chatter of noise could fill the walls of the house, and my concentration will be shattered to the ground. Only my sweater guards me from the wind, as I touch the window pane and feel the cold against my skin. So, I know to not ever complain, even when it feels a bit lonely, it too, soon passes.

07 January 2013

1/7/13 Change is coming


It’s a gift to be able to tell when something is ready. I’ve always admired people who can identify that perfect moment to quit their soul-sucking job and completely change paths, break off a relationship that leaves them feeling terrible about themselves, move to a far-off city where they don’t know a soul, take a class in something that scares the bejeezus out of them, or even just leave a karaoke bar before the mood deteriorates from Sweet Caroline to All By Myself. I’m terrible at that, all of it, but I am still always reared up, for the next up to the moment life change.

I love supporting people who are on the precipice of change, who need some hand holding and cheerleading before they embark on a solo adventure to Nicaragua or run off to open a surf shop in Montauk (I don’t discriminate on goals though. If your dream of a lifetime is to become a real estate attorney, I will check out all the books on property law for you). You should hear my speech about how doors start opening for you when you’re following the right path. There may even be a part about how it’s like leaning into the yoga pose that you hate the most because the discomfort is a sign that something deserves to be strengthened. It sounds cheesy, but it’s very inspiring; you’ll have to take my word for it.

When it comes to my own next steps, I’m much more hesitant (An image popped into my mind of my daughter years ago poised to launch herself down a particularly steep slide when she had second thoughts, bolted toward me, and clung to my leg muttering incoherently about broken arms and bears waiting at the bottom. That’s pretty much how I feel about change, yet, as always, I am geared up for my next up to the moment life change.

Given my commitment to the constraints of the known instead of the abyss of the unknown, it shocks me to think of how many times I’ve jumped right into something that truly frightened me. That person almost seems like a stranger to me. I guess I’d really like to be her though. I’d like to be someone who says “yes,” even—no especially—to things that give me goose bumps and an ache in the pit of my stomach. And so I pretend that’s who I am when it counts.

I don’t do it often (which is quite possibly a good thing given that a certain level of commitment to your present life tends to be an asset to things like marriages and parenting), but every couple of years something proves sufficiently inspiring to compel me to be another person for long enough to send me on my way. It’s like I close my eyes, hold my breath, and commit to being brave until I’ve gone too far to turn back.*

I’m holding my breath right now.

A new year, a blank slate, a new life.

04 January 2013

1/4/13 2013 Reflections




Direction. Dreams and discovery. These are my keywords for 2013.

Don't cut me in half, let me come to you whole.........

02 January 2013

1/02/13 Reflections of 2012



2013 snuck up on me. Some of the items on my 2012 wishlist stand unfulfilled, but I am determined to give them another try. To keep an ideas notebook, I have a very noisy brain, the kind that I am trying to make peace with, rather than silence. Particularly in moments of euphoria, ideas zoom through it and most of them remain uncaptured, evading me in the moments of calm when I try to revisit them. In Summer it seemed like the perfect moment to slow down and start jotting down the thoughts born out of elation or enthusiasm become they became too fleeting to ground. The pages of that idea notebook are still blank. I still want to give it a try in 2013, because I want the mornings after ideas to be just as alive and enlivening. But still salient enough, necessary enough to stay on the wish list for another year. Then there were the wishes that remained unfulfilled, but I am willing to let them just stand as such. They either became less relevant as the year passed or I grew readier to live without them. I never found the perfect rock, or a Greek island onto which to perch my elbows, or hold the ability to firmly derive my identity, nor did I send as many handwritten letters as I had promised myself I would. I wrote a new column in 2012, but I never quite went through with the clicking submit and having it all evaluated by my literary agent first in a manner of seriousness. Unlike some, there are those items at which I failed abjectly, and disappointingly. Worry less, nope, I worried more. I had wanted 2012 to be the year of the exhale. I knew then, as I know now, that a human being cannot go on worrying at the level and meticulousness that I do. I was aware that it was time to let go of some of the anxiety, of the post - traumatic stress, of the grief, of the intensity of all of my conflict zones, of the emotional minefield that I did not know (or want) to do unemotionally. There were novelties of fireworks I craved.
2012 endowed me with journeys, novelty, firworks - and some exhales, too. But I was naive to think that those would come without more moments that cut an inhale short, trigger a gasp, or make me hold my breath till I turned blue in the face. Exhaling was beautiful and needed, but if I am to keep writing, and reflecting, and living with grave intention - then I need to learn not only to wish for the exhale, but also to master creating it for myself and living patiently within the moments that render it elusive. I failed miserably at worrying less this past year. In the scheme of life, this is a more costly failure than having failed at other items on the wish list. I am slowly realizing that in my life, item #1 on my wish year from year to year will continue to be Worry Less, until it, too, is rendered unnecessary. Until this wish has been scratched off my list, edged off by other priorities, sufficiently conquered, or - perhaps more realistically - until I make better peace with all around me.
For 2013 I want to be befallen in relationship that melts anxiety, such that elbows can sit steady and skirted legs can plant themselves firmly on salted ground and hair can billow in the wind and I can hold my breath long enough to defeat any and all blurriness, ceaselessly dance on tabletops, sing my lungs out to Queen, as Bohemian Rhapsody shouts in the background, throw hello parties, and farewell parties to my nomadic life without supporting solo cups and cheap wine.
Always have I been attached to the documentation and the rituals of recording memories. Different notebooks held disparate thoughts across eras of my life, with their pages threaded together, from notes, to conflict, to poetry, to endless nights of noted worry. Notebooks have been the only possession of mine that have traveled everywhere, truly everywhere, stretching suitcases until they bloat. January 2013 is the beginning of a new notebook, for no other reason other than its predecessor running out of pages.......it begins with outlines of hope, some laughably simple, some a bit shaky, and some dragged along strapped to my shoulder, the challenge of not their weight, but of their own merited nobleness.......

01 January 2013

1/01/13 New Places New Faces



Years ago, I couldn’t imagine building a different life anywhere else. Slowly, though, that’s starting to change. I don’t know where I’ll make my home in the future, but I do know—instinctively, and because they’ve told me—that above all, my family wishes for me to be happy and to be living as full a life as possible, wherever I choose.
When it comes down to it, my time here in New York may comprise just a chapter in my life. Or, maybe, it will be the story of my life.
Time will tell.

The rest, I trust, resolves itself.

30 December 2012

12/30/12 Hearts mend

We heal at different points, we move on or stay for different reasons, and our needs are uniquely our own. We must own all of these realities and decide for ourselves what is best for each of us in the end.
Time has passed, a heart is mended......and life does begin again...

27 December 2012

12/27/12 Recipe for Happiness


It's all in the beginnings and endings and the to be continueds. It's in the love that brought me to life and the love that nearly killed me. It's in the coming and going, but mostly in the leaving for good. It's in the dandelion that was destroyed with one wish that everything would get better. Feeling deep sobs coming from a hormonal emotional place as I said goodbye today for the last time. I toast to the half a decade it took to find myself....a period of life, gone, a period now, just beginning.

26 December 2012

12/26/12 Words for the upcoming New Year

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – screenplay

21 December 2012

12/21/12 Christmas WIsh

My Christmas Wish to you:

I wish for you a lifetime of laughter. I hope you laugh every day.
I wish for you a lifetime of patience and understanding.
I wish for you a lifetime of hugs. Say I love you every day, it's the most important phrase in your vocabulary.
I wish you breakfast in bed and dinner at midnight.
I wish for you romance. Lots and lots, and then lots more, romance.
I wish for you hours of sitting alone, enjoying the silent companionship.
I wish you movie nights curled up on the couch.
I wish you chocolate.
I wish you champagne.
I wish for you a lifetime of dreams, whatever they may be, wherever they may take you.
I wish you stories that you will tell over and over again, retelling a shared memory.
I wish you quiet smiles and loud laughs.
I wish you joy that will take your breath away and love that brings a happy ache to your heart.
I wish you a beautifully blessed relationship full of tenderness, excitement, and the proverbial spark.
I wish for you everything that life has to offer.
I wish you long walks on light filled paths.
I wish you sunrises and sunsets.
I wish you sparkly things draped in tinsel.
I wish you calm.
I wish you a hot toddy on a cold evening, shared by two.
I wish for you to find someone who embraces your strengths and protects your weaknesses.
I wish for you to navigate the jungles and ride out the storms, both prove your strengths.
I wish for you to always fight fair, and never just try to hurt feelings.
I wish you never to be too proud to say you're sorry, in fact, to be proud of recognizing a wrong and apologizing for it.
I wish you a thousand date nights.
I wish you hand holding, just because(even after it looses it's appeal).
I wish you never to share a single brain, make use of your own.
I wish for your entire life to be a celebration, I wish for you to remember that.
I wish you never to be a clone, just be you, it will always be better than enough.
I wish you heated discussions, and heartfelt arguments, as your voice should always be heard.
I wish you inward peace that then spreads outward.
I wish for you to never take your life for granted. It can all end quicker than any of us could ever have imagined.
I wish you non - violence.
My biggest wish for you, is all that you wish for yourself.

Merry Christmas, LJ

19 December 2012

12/19/12 Courage


To write this piece I inevitably have to go back some years and take a look at my former self. It's like talking about a completely different person. You know when you get together with friends, have a few drinks, and reminisce on all the occurrences in your life up to that point in time? Well my story....my story generally blows most people's out of the water. Now, I know there are many who have more dramatic tales than mine. The stuff that happens in some people's lives no Hollywood screen writer could ever make up. However, what I think makes mine a good one is that I came out a well - adjusted, fully functioning, professional member of society. It could easily have gone another way. I opted for the courage to start life all over again, and I will draw on that same courage again, if ever I should need to.

16 December 2012

12/16/12 Dear Me

Dear Younger Version of Me,
I forgive you. Darn-it, sometimes I really wish you hadn't started me on certain paths that I am still trying to rid myself of. I realize now that you did that because of ____________and____________ and though that was really f***** up, I have compassion for you now. I do not see you as broken or wrong, just human. I love your humanity, I cherish your imperfections, and I want to accept you fully, so that I can feel like a whole person, rather than this self with a shadow I'm trying to shake. Currently, I am a little afraid of you. I've worked hard not to let the choices you made back then dictate the rest of my life. However, I'm scared that by befriending you, you'll force yourself into the driver's seat once again, and my life will be taken over by a ghost of Christmas past. So, as I seek to befriend you so that I can be friends with a woman who reminds me of you, go easy, okay? Tell me when it is time to take breaks, stop thinking about stuff for awhile, live, love, and laugh a little, find imperfections okay, drink a little too much martini, and come back to it all just a wee bit later. I'm trusting you, so don't let me down! We're in this together.
Love, Current Me.

15 December 2012

12/15/12 Alone


I have run through pain, abject terror of life, through life - swallowing grief and close deaths. In times of hardship, I turned to running to be my constant companion, found solace in its repetitive simplicity. Left, right, repeat. All without tears. To stop the tears, even. We curate relationships that we hope will prevent us from being alone - truly alone - on our journey. But, I'm learning (as an unwilling student), interludes of aloneness are inevitable, even with the most loving cultivation of relationships. More than not wanting to ever face being alone, I don't want to face it alone. A very cruel irony. My brain repeats over and over again, during my runs, during desperate sinking feeling, that one day, there will once again be a hole, and I will be alone, even if the aloneness eludes me now. Empty space will be all that I will be left to wrestle with...so for now, I run, in the hopes of escaping it all!

14 December 2012

12/14/12 I Dare You

Truth or Dare?
I am game. Game on.
Let's do this thing. I will get naked. I will kiss you madly.
I will run through city streets screaming.
Whatever. Why?
I think it is because it is easier than letting you inside of my mind. Inside of
all the scary truths I carry like coins.
I think it's important to find your other side of the coin, the people who always pick truth.
They are not weanies. They are powerful totems.
Find them and hold them like lovers.
Teach each other how to be passionately truthful and daring.
Most of us are lacking in one side of the coin.
Truth or dare.
Hold hands and walk into the future.
Encourage and take a chance.
It's all we've got baby.
The chance of a life well lived.
I dare you.

12 December 2012

12/12/12 Answers

I try. I fail. I shake my head, and turn back the pages. My bible of conscience, it lives on my desk: large and square, with an embossed leather cover and heavy cream paper. Each entry has a date on it. In it you can find the wreckage, a devastated human face that shivers on the verge of being recognizable. I may. I may not. It all depends. I say. I say not. It often depends on the source of the regret. Better to burn the bridge and prevent it from being crossed and recrossed until the heart gives out from sheer exhaustion. A notebook and pen now lie in my lap, with trepidation, I once again, begin to write. I seem to be waiting for an answer, as the bartender approaches, and the napkin is placed down in front of me. I seem to be waiting, so this is what it feels like to get beyond the pain, to have some continuity in life. This is the time to watch what I am reaching for, and all that I am holding. So here we live, each with needs others cannot fill. The acceptance of sitting, and waiting for answers.

11 December 2012

12/11/12 Moment of Truth

"You were lonely in the same way I was. You understood."
You understood. What a staggering gift to have someone say,"I know what you mean." Someone who makes you laugh. Who appreciates, and relates to, and loves your eccentricities.
This is what it means to know someone.
It's what it means to understand and to be totally understood.
A moment of truth......I sound disjointed and hesitant to my own ears today, but I know you'll understand me just the same, a moment just between friends.
Go out and find your friend, the one who totally, bashfully, understands, and nothing else ever needs to be said.

10 December 2012

12/10/12 A look at Life

I have been compelled to pray, to hope that someone out there is listening. At this stage in my life, my imagination of that “supernatural something” that resides outside of ourselves does not take the form of a deity. Rather, my belief can be summarized in the following:
In the face of adversity or great irony, of what seems like undue strife, something happens to reassure me that I am not alone, that the world is not laughing in my face, that life unfolds on a continuum and the narratives of joy and heartbreak exist side-by-side. As Joan Didion advises “we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not” and, in that vein, I need to extend compassion to the self who thought she could drown grief in affection and be blind to the traits that would make the affection shallow and the grief immutable. What has lingered as the soundtrack to a segment of life for which I have never quite found the words, is

06 December 2012

12/6/12 A Starting of Something


How does it start?
They are having dinner in a very noisy restaurant. Everyone drinks a lot of wine. She remembers she is wearing a backless sundress that ties at the neck, a white cotton sweater thrown over her shoulders, eating mussels, and sipping on white wine. The white cotton sweater slipping off her shoulders and, now, lies forgotten on the floor. His words have all but departed, floating somewhere in the air looking for a place to settle. He begins to untie her backless sundress, it layers on the floor. Sweet, teasing, familiar, predictable....and it started...

05 December 2012

12/5/12 Drifting Along

The sky overhead is grey and glowering, locked with low - hanging clouds that make the earth feel squeezed. The air is cool, breezy, hovering between autumn and winter. I walk with my hands in my pockets, my coat held close with the only button that will still reach over the bulk of my twisted neck scarf. I am never sure whether I like these long solitary walks or not. I love the nip of the air, the feel of the wind on my face, the wild scent of raindrops as the light drizzle hits the pavement below me. I do love the time alone with my thoughts, the feeling of escape, the openness around me. Still, there is something monotonous about the churning of my legs, the same motion repeated again and again. After my first few miles, I decide to keep walking and widen my path. The wind picks up as I walk up a leaf - carpeted sidewalk; it snatches the leaves into the air and for several long seconds I am carried along in a rush of dry leaves, swirling around my feet and legs with a sound like rushing water. It is in this moment that I find my thoughts drifting in the wind, in the leaves, in the feel of my own body...

04 December 2012

12/4/12 Me



I think of myself as a brilliant piece of art in the works. I do not think the piece will ever be completed, I'd like to think I'll always be a 'a progressive work in progress'. I think about which musings to post, which ones are ripe and relevant, and which remain internal: the thoughts that swirl around for weeks. To say things that I hope will last, or encapsulate me at any given moment, taking my mind elsewhere, forcing me to reset.

"Ones destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things"
Henry Miller

03 December 2012

12/3/12 Holiday Thoughts

So, here we go again. The Holiday Season is upon us. Depending upon who you are, this either means a great deal or almost nothing at all. This year, I hope you all feel loved beyond belief and that you live with a sense of joy throughout the entire year. I hope you all get past old familiar haunts the minute you once again let yourself feel. I hope this for all of you, as well as for myself.

02 December 2012

12/2/12 Memories of Loss

As I sit down to type this evening I feel incredibly blessed. I am after - all, sitting down to write;that alone makes my heart race. I'm perched contently in my desk, the desk chair I found at an estate sale. Its glossy mahogany surface makes me feel connected in a way few possessions do. Tonight, I sit in my desk chair, a bottle of wine just within my reach. In front of me is, of course, the laptop I am writing on. From my chair I can see the dusk falling, I can sip a glass of wine and write about a piece of furniture, a relationship, a failing, a love, a loss, or a memory. How blessed indeed.

Memories of loss span time and place, as I grow, move, and experience new forms of loss - of place, friendship, family, love, and at times the loss of a sense of community and home, of self. The dull pain of the present intertwines with the gut - wrenching pain of the past. At times, memories bring to the surface the moment my brother died, the days, weeks, and months afterwards, tough break ups, and breakdowns, saying goodbye to wonderful friends with tear - stained cheeks, as I moved on, each moment at times still vivid. Though, some of the memories now appear hazy, they shift along with my life, their color and aching fading. The narrative is no longer one of brokenness or unglued pieces; it is now an assortment of memories, flowing in and out in sleepy afternoons and early mornings. I suppose we have a choice to remember or not; to cherish moments flooded by memories or push them down, burying them. In this false binary, I choose memories. I choose the potential emotional shifts, the latent sadness, the surprise happiness - the joyful moments, the utter sadness of sudden loss, and the longing for things, people, and places, that no longer exist. These are the pieces that woven together create the mosaic of life. My life has beveled edges and a perfection in shape and symmetry that I would have thought impossible, pieces woven together that now shape me.