Friday, March 12, 2010

iPhone Inspiration: Two months in random thought

As I've mentioned before, I write a lot of stuff on my iPhone. If I have an idea I consider remotely interesting or worth saving, I'll write it in the notes app of my phone, and then later I'll go through them and pick the good ones to develop as blog posts. Other times, like yesterday, I look through them and go, What the fuuuuuuck? I don't remember writing this at all. And one of the cool things about the iPhone is that it timestamps everything you write, so I even have my cell phone telling me when I wrote the things I don't recall writing. Awesome. Here, I share with you some of the most, um, memorable little snippets of things that I apparently can't remember writing over the past couple months.

March 4, 8:13 p.m.
(A drummer on the 6 train said this. I have no idea what the fuck it means. It was the only thing he said before he commenced drumming.) 

If anyone here follows science, you will know that we are in the most critical parts of life.

February 26, 9:33 a.m.
(Sometimes I see images in my brain and I have no idea where they come from, what they mean or why they are there. If I were DalĂ­, I would paint them, but since I am not, I just write them in my iPhone so  I won't forget. And then I forget anyway.) 

Image of a girl, topless, seen from behind, with a big analog clock drawn on her back.

What time is it?

February 26, 9:24 a.m.
(I guess this was right before the previous one.)

New York is beautiful because there is art all around. In the past three days I've seen at least three incidents of people on the subway making art. The other day I saw a young man with dark, pretty hair sketching other people on the train with no semblance of order, just violently scratching at his note pad with black ink. Then another day I saw a black boy, probably high school age, pull out a notebook, turn it to a blank page, sigh, pause and look at me. His headphones were in and I could tell he was thinking about what he wanted to write. I got off the train before I saw him write anything, but the promise of a creation is almost as weighty as the thing itself. And today, I'm standing next to an older Asian man who is flipping through a notebook filled with sketches, mostly of human faces. He's sketching now. Black pen. Light strokes. And I'm writing this as he draws. New York is inspiring because it's filled with inspired people.

February 22, 9:25 p.m.
(I wrote this when I first saw the writerly guy I mentioned above.)

A blank pad and a pen is everything.

February 8, 8:23 a.m.

Would you rather have amazing sex with mediocre people for the rest of your life, or mediocre sex with genuinely amazing people?

January 24, 5:56 p.m.

I find that I am surprised by roundness in the city. In a place where the very structure is made up of blocks, straight lines and corners, a rounded turn is a lovely rarity. Most of them are underground, which seems appropriate. A train curves around a bend in the track. Whether I'm on the train or standing on the platform looking at it, it's never an expected thing. While on the train, it's a bit more shocking. If I'm sitting, I like watching standing people sway and catch themselves on metal poles. If I'm standing, I never can remember when the turns are, no matter how much I've ridden the path, and my hands shoot out to steady myself or snatch a wall or pole.

January 21, 8:34 a.m.

Today is my first birthday in New York, and I am spending it with Lady Gaga. I really can't think of anything more appropriate. Last year I was in DC for my birthday, watching the first black president get inaugurated and watching the beginning of the dissolution of my relationship with A. That was a process that would essentially last a full year, and I am now thrilled to put it behind me.

But now is a different time. I am alone, but I celebrate my aloneness. I read books and magazine articles and I feel inspired to write, and I do. I tell my parents how much I love them. I pray thanks for my second family, here in New York. I pray thanks for my health, though it has been up and down for the last couple of months. I am 24, and though at times I feel much older, I am thankful for every minute of it. I have had several dreams in my life, and I have lived all of them. I still have some left to live, of course, but so far I feel blessed to have experienced things few get to.

Come onnnnn train I have a 9 o'clock mtg y'all.

January 20, 7:37 p.m.

Girls on the subway talking about what they would do with $3 million: "Get the fuck out of New York."  

January 15, 11:42 a.m.

I sometimes think I can see atoms. This has been happening my whole life. I see little bright particles swimming around in my eyes, usually when I'm looking at a light source or something illuminated.

When I was little and this would happen, I used to imagine I was some sort of superhuman. Like I had a special talent no one else in the history of the world has ever had. It wasn't really a marketable skill, being able to see atoms, but at least it was interesting.  

January 8, 9:59 p.m.
(On my way home from sharing some extremely stout whiskeys with Hannah.)  

This E train is so empty. We are at 23rd street now. I'm far from home. My feet are warm, and the tingling is gone. I really like Hannah but I sometimes have the bizarre experience of feeling like she is two different people. I hear her voice differently when I read her writing than when she is talking to me across a dark bar. I wonder if she perceives me that way too? I hope not. I want people reading me to hear me just as I am. But I wonder if that's impossible.

The underside of the left half of my tongue aches. It was hurting before I drank tonight. Perhaps I've been talking too much?

More people are getting on the E train now. Ugh, y'all, I hate the E train. It's the most unreliable train in Manhattan, which makes it all the more appropriate that tonight, when I felt I really needed it, it pulled in to the station right as I did. I have never greeted an E train in a head-on simultaneous collision, but tonight I did. Typical.

I feel so much tension in my body, all the time. In my back, in my legs, in my arms, in my head. I feel all curled up, like I need to unfurl like a snail. This woman across from me looks like an older version of this beautiful woman I met the other night at an event. After a while, everyone in this city starts to look the same, though no one looks like anyone else, really.

Except for me. I see my face in every face I see and every train door. It's inescapable. I remember this one time I was on the train and these two young girls got on the stop after me and I was listening to some music but I could still tell they were talking about me. They were standing directly in front of me and looking me up and down and saying things to one another. I have no idea whether they were saying good or bad things, but I remember feeling uncomfortable about it. I felt like I was 12 again and my friends were talking bad about me and I didn't know just what to do to stop them.

That was many months ago, and I was a different person. I think now I might feel differently.


  1. As for your Feb 8 post - I think if you're having amazing sex with mediocre people, you will lose interest and start having mediocre sex. If you're having sex with amazing people but it's only mediocre, it will improve over time (or you can train them) because you find those people amazing.

  2. The January 24 post is so poetic and insightful.

    I don't have an iPhone, but I do have a Moleskine notebook, which my writing teacher recommended I carry at all times to jot down random thoughts. Your iPhone contains more than my notebook does.

    And I think I know what the drummer on the 6 train was talking about. I saw a flier at the dry cleaner's yesterday asking, "Have you seen the star?" Apparently a mysterious orb has been observed in the sky over several locations and some people believe it's a sign of the End of Days. I tried Googling it this morning and came up with nada, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

  3. I think any creatively-inclined person carries a small notepad to write in or types notes in their phone. You never know when inspiration will hit you.
    Thanks for sharing.