writing


i sat down with a blue pen and my gray eyes
and waited for a sign
like a silent vessel on a rocking sea of his undoing,
crests and swells breaking over my seaglass heart
with all the urgency of this waning love

so please,
don’t tell me “everything changes with the dawn”
because one day, when the moon stands still
and the tides release their push&pull
no day will rise

so when he begins to fall apart,
i start to pay attention
to things like aches and writer’s block
and patterns in the sky.

once upon a time, before i got so busy that i spent zero seconds doing anything in my apartment other than diving into my bed like it was the Fountain of Youth, i used to be a writer.
or, at least, i fancied myself somewhat of one. recreationally. in my own head. when the spirit moved me. or something like an Indian Summer Day or a Pinkberry sign made me feel spontaneously inspired and glad to be alive.

then i decided i’d start a blog in case anyone else in my little world thought i might have something interesting to say (or happened to stumble upon it and have a few seconds of his/her life to devote to often nonsensical random ramblings and sometimes pretty pictures that make everything better). or maybe i just was looking for an outlet to unleash my utterly girlish side. or because “everyone else who wanted to write” was doing it and goshdarnnit if i let myself be left out.

then i somehow contracted selective amnesia and forgot about certain things in my life that i once held dear, like blogs and frozen yogurt and how amazing an early morning run along the Hudson River feels on a Wednesday, when most of the city is still fast asleep.

i went looking for THIS last night, but my local joint didnt’ have it yet. fail. will stalk until mission completed.

however, THIS certainly started my day off well this morning:

so after some well-needed introspection about what’s missing in my life and a renewed desire to prioritize my time around what i love most, i’m (hopefully)  back in action. and hoping to finally get this blog looking more like a well-tended-to child rather than a neglected little ragamuffin.

let’s hope this resolution lasts longer than my love affair with spin class (it was my knee, i swear).

i’ve always been a sucker for a fairytale.

i’ll admit it: as wishy-washy as i may seem about real-life “falling in love” and the prince who sweeps the maiden away, i crave the unreality of a fairytale with all the ardor of a little girl pinning her hopes on the Second Star to the Right and praying for the Magical to happen. if i could procure a position as a Disney princess, i’d move to that fantasy world in a heartbeat.

no even lie. tell me a pretty story, and i’m (maybe) yours forever. the more dragons and unicorns and mermaids, the more i’ll love you.

combine this fairytale affinity with my intense appreciation for all things Shakespeare, especially modern remakes of his beloved plays that add their own unique spins and interpretations, and you can only imagine my delight at winning Monday’s online lottery for Shakespeare in the Park. the play? Into the Woods, Shakespeare’s very own fairytale, starring Amy Adams & Donna Murphy (who was outstanding beyond all reasonable belief as the Witch).

photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

since i went into this summer hoping beyond all hope that i’d close it with a Shakespeare in the Park experience tucked beneath my skin, i was suuuuper excited. i expected it to be good; after all, this is a highlight of NYC theater during the summer, and set right in the heart of Central Park. what i didn’t expect was to be entirely rivted to every movement by every actor in the musical, laughing (it was hilarious!) and ultimately crying (surprisingly, at the inclusion of touching family dynamics and the realization that we need to hold close to us those whom we never wish to lose). i will venture to say this is one of the most unique, engaging theater performances i’ve seen in a long, long time. everything about it was just right.

for starters, the multi-tiered treehouse of a set was absolutely incredible. it was impossible to become disengaged for even a moment as the actors treated it like a playground, constantly drawing our eyes to all corners of the set and enacting a truly dimensional performance. i had to fight an intense desire to climb up and crawl into that hollow “tower” at the very top, where Rapunzel lounged and let down her hair.

talk about a perfect little nook!

treehouse set of Into the Woods in Central Park

i love how this play weaves together the stories of so many fairytale characters. Cinderella & Rapunzel fall in love with fickle brother princes who later leave them for Snow White & Sleeping Beauty; Jack (as in, the Beanstalk boy) is befriended by the spunky, fiesty, bold-mouthed Little Red Riding Hood (who stole the show for me, clad in an indie get-up that included knee socks and a candy-red bike helmet and admittedly almost enjoying her seduction by the Big Bad Wolf); and all the while the staple of any fairytale, the wonderful and fearsome Wicked Witch, cavorts around with her hysteria and her awesome terribleness that you can’t help adoring.

i was extremely impressed with the entire cast, as well as the song-writing (some of the lyrics were HILARIOUS). and at the ending, when the father and son had their “moment” and portrayed the indelibility of family ties, i couldn’t hold back the tears.

i kept thinking of Hamlet’s assertion that the purpose of theater is “to hold the mirror up to nature” and show humanity exactly what it looks like at its very essence, exposing the rawness of life and emotion and evoking feeling within us that might otherwise lay dormant. i felt like this play did that for me, as i sat with tears in my eyes and thought about a world where beauty and ugliness coexist; where tears mingle with peals of laughter and nothing ever turns out exactly the way we expected it would — but in the end, that’s just how it was meant to be.

and i left grateful for my little life and this small pocket of space and time, where actors on a stage reminded me the importance of holding close those who i’m blessed to love the most.

 

it’s never quite a love story in this city
until it is
the sky falling down in pieces
clouds and shadows tumbling like ghostly acrobats
bruising my thin skin
and as always, i’m caught unawares
in the clutches of dusk and you

you, who found me at my armageddon
in the days of falling skies
& shrapnel stars,
reaching for my hand with your electric touch
as though this made sense;
as though girls like me did things like kiss a familiar stranger
on a quiet street–
brandishing your charm & ego like a faithful noose when you said
“do anything but stand still”
and i couldn’t remember how to move
that first time you leaned in —

you make me tremble,
a ribbon in a storm

and we both know this is
only the beginning,
like a child opening treasure chests in a forgotten attic
with her heart in her throat
and i will leave you with my name on your lips
&  the advent of a certain kiss
wavering in the balance

In these days of smaller moons & wider skies
deep as secrets kept only until daybreak,
I struggle past feverish dreams of falling
to wake with Summer hanging on my morning lips
and you are gone but
everywhere,
just the way I hoped it’d never be

til one day or every, I will see you again
pass you like a stranger in a liquid crowd
pulsing cross a Midtown street
as you go the wrong direction
(if the right one was ever ours)
and your name will catch in my throat,
a foreign object around which I must relearn to breathe
like a child choking on a hard candy,
terrified by how something so intoxicatingly sweet
can blacken you out completely

and at best
I’ll wake up to a gray sky
& wonder if I even dozed at all,
missing you in the silences
while talking in my sleep
yet again.

if you’re female, and you have any aspirations of ever running a race that allows you to showcase your love of all things girlie while simultaneously achieving a great physical accomplishment, i advise you to seriously consider signing up for this one:

trust me on this. it’s an absolutely incredible, once-in-a-lifetime (or however many times you decide to run it in a lifetime) experience. i’ve never seen so many people run like girls.

and the best thing is, we all did it on purpose.

photo: runDisney
photographer: Preston Mack

by “we all,” i mean about 20,000 of us (5% whom were males!) Disney-crazed lunatics who signed up for a 5:30 start time for the sheer girlieness of running Disney’s Princess Half Marathon on February 26. i was more nervous about waking up at 3:30am and being able to function like a normal girl (let alone a PRINCESS!) than i was about running 13.1 miles, but as was the case in my last race, God put his little angels on my shoulders and made sure that everything went better than i could have ever expected.

i can’t lie — i was realllly excited to finally be running this race.

i’d recommend running this even if you’ve never run a half marathon before, or doubt that you can. it’s an ideal first half for a girl to choose. the energy and enthusiasm is incredibly infectious, as women of all ages, athletic abilities, & backgrounds flock from all around the country/world to run like princesses through Cinderella’s Castle (yes, that’s part of the route!). it was such a FUN race, my cheeks were sore from grinning so much.

as you’d expect from a Disney event, the race was extremely well-organized. i mean, do they ever do anything poorly? as if the energy and enthusiasm of 20,000 women wasn’t contagious enough to keep us all peppy throughout 2 hours of running, they set up entertainment for us at every mile by having various Disney characters staged to cheer us on and serve as photo opps. some were hilarious, like the barrage of Disney men (Eric, Aladdin, etc.) who posed with the runners as the song “Whatta Man” by Salt n Peppa blared in the background. (you can bet that photo line was looooong.)

if i run it again, i think i’d forgo running for a time goal and instead bring my camera to take advantage of every character photo opp i could. what a cool collage this race would lend itself toward!

sadly, i dropped the ball on procuring a costume and failed to dress up as a princess (although they ask you your favorite princess and print it on your bib! any guesses as to who is mine??), so that’s a goal for next year. i was surrounded by thousands of women in costumes — wings, tutus, glitter, tiaras, you name it — and i felt sadly unfestive.

next year, i will princess it up. anyone with me?

you sit with your guitar cradled like a first love,
held the way i wonder if you’d ever hold me
and strum me “blackbird,”
quiet as a daybreak,
blinds slowly lifting to expose a stream of newborn gold
at which i grapple to harness in my morning fingers
as you close your eyes and slip into your darkroom
of music and shadows

and this is when i love you most
& when i lose you,
every time.

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