Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nigh two years later, a blog idol comes to live with me

One of the very first blogs I read religiously was Jezebel, starting in August of 2008 when my then-boyf now-ex sent me a link and told me I would probaby love it. He was right - and, as a side note, we proceeded to get into myriad fights about feminism based on posts written on Jez, at which he always balked and claimed I was attacking his manhood, though he would totally deny this now - and I began reading the blog obsessively at work, and even sent in my information numerous  times to try to write for them. I was always rejected, because there was never any money of course. The first writer at Jez that I really latched onto was Tracie Egan, who wrote for a long time under the moniker "Slut Machine" - though the slut got married and is now Tracie Egan Morrissey - and whose personal blog, One D At A Time, I discovered soon after.

I remember staying up late one night just reading reading reading her blog until I passed out. She wrote candidly about her sexual escapades in New York, including her encounter with multiple STDs, her cocaine and alcohol habits, and her unabashed love for a (ahem) well-endowed man. I found her writing so incredibly, um, stimulating because I could tell it was real, and naturally - as a sexually adventurous person - I related to it. I saw something of myself in her, and I had tremendous respect for her balls at putting it all out there. She is also how I got introduced to Rich over at Four Four, her best friend and another one of my blog idols who I had the pleasure of serendipitously encountering on the L train recently.


ANYWAY. Through a really random and mostly boring story centered on my online dating escapades, I got introduced to Nic Rad about six months ago. He's a Brooklyn-based painter whose most recent project, People Matter, is a collection of 100 paintings of Internet and media celebrities. As part of the social experiment aspect of his project, he's giving away for free for absolutely no money whatsoever all 100 paintings to whoever reserves them. And yep, you guessed it, he painted Tracie.




It's so fucking beautiful, isn't it? Naturally I sent him a friendly "remember meeee?" e-mail, to which he responded that he had indeed not forgotten me. He asked me for a couple paragraphs explaining why I wanted the painting of Tracie, and told me that my writing, as well as my blog link and Twitter info, etc. would appear on his site next to the painting. I did as he wished, and he wrote me back today officially reserving the painting for me.


So nearly two years after I discovered her, Tracie will hang in my house. My life tends to work in these incredible serendipitous cycles. Nic's show opens this weekend, so if any of you are in the New York area, go to Rare Gallery on Saturday night. I'll be there trying not to fondle my new - and first legitimate - art possession.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

a poem for gaga

I wrote this poem half-asleep and sort of hungover this morning. It is Lady Gaga's 24th birthday, and I actually wrote it as an ode to New York, but since it seems highly appropriate, it became an ode to her and how she inspires me and my friends and our art. I love you New York, and I love you Lady Gaga.

happy birthday, gaga

saw a show last night in brooklyn
the lead singer was a girl
blonde
bangs
sparkly leotard
marching band majorette shit
i thought of gaga
doing this
just a few years ago
and patti
(with less sequins)
even more years ago
people have shaken new york
with their feet for years

inspired
we tromped to the L train
16 minute wait
fuck no
(why i won't live in brooklyn)
hailed a gypsy
wailed across the williamsburg
manhattan winked and took us in her arms
ludacris on the radio
cabbie laughed and cranked it
"oh my goddddddd you fucking rock"
would have loved a car yesterday in the sun
to just drive drive drive
above the city

fast forward
home
drunk
shower
i love finding the LES under my nails
after i
publish my first book
anthology
whatever
i will dedicate it to st. jerome
yes, the patron saint of libraries
but also the patron faint of rivington
where we danced in the dark
i bought a flashing nemo necklace
(four dollars totally worth it)
i found him there
and myself
under the disco ball

fast forward
bed
hungover
i want a (brooklyn) bowl
of cereal
time to go to the bodega

Friday, March 26, 2010

i feel like i'm not a real person

I haven't blogged all week, sort of on purpose and sort of on accident. I've been busy. And I've been distancing myself because I want to work on other aspects of my work. The following is an example. I was talking to Zachary about how early my roommate gets up (sometimes around 6:30), and how I can sometimes hear her morning routine.

me: showers and like fixes breakfast and stuffZachary: like a real person me: right Zachary: i feel like i'm not a real personsometimes
 me: im like lemme roll outta bed at 745 and stumble through brushing my teeth
  ME. TOO.
  i know what you mean
  gawd
 Zachary: andy warhol (obvs) has a quote about feeling like he lives in a tv show
  i totally get that
 me: ooohhh
 Zachary: and it's interesting because he said that after he was shot
and he said something like before i was shot i used to have this idea that i lived in a tv show blah blah blah
  and i thought it was going to be like after i was shot, it was like i was brought into real life
  but instead he said after i was shot, i KNEW that i lived in a tv show. we change the channels but it's all still tv
me: v interesting
  like nothing really changed
  he still felt like he was watching his life happen from outside
Zachary: "Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it's the way things happen in life that's unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it's like watching television – you don't feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it's all television."
  when i read that i was like i. totally. get. that.
  it's kind of sad but so true
me: ohhhh man
  so true
  ugh
  i talked to my friend about that like a few months ago
  how things happen but it's like they're not happening at all
 like we build up hope and expectations about these events in our life, to marcate our lives, then when they actually happen it just breezes by and doesn't feel like anything
 so like when he was shot he expected things to feel real but then they didn't, which just confirmed his belief that he was living in a tv show
 Zachary: right. you dont know what it is until you look back like oh, that was pivotal
 me: or is it? is anything pivotal?
 Zachary: but in the moment it's just life
 me: but all there is is the moment
 Zachary: i think in retrospect things can be
 me: sommmmmmetimes
  other times you're just left with this feeling that it happened, it's gone, and it meant nothing
  even though you thought it would mean something
  or it's like you didn't even fully experience it
 forget meaning entirely
  it's like you weren't fully there
 Zachary: but then sometimes it's the opposite
 me: when i look back on my life, my best best best days were the days where i felt like i was fully in the moment
 Zachary: i cant remember ever being as in-a-trance happy as i was at gaga and on sunday
 me: exactly
  i think about double decker 2007
  gaga
  sunday
Zachary: oh def dd07
 me: those stand out to me
  three. days.
  out of how many thousands ive been alive
 Zachary: roughly 9000
 me: im sure i could think of more, but the point is which days do you not have to think about to remember?
 and i sort of live with this constant fear that the BIG DAYS we all want to experience will not be like that
  such as getting married
  like will i experience my wedding day and be like.... eh not as good as dd2007 or sun2010
  not because of anything situational
  just because for whatever reason the universe was not aligned like it has been on those few days
 Zachary: not that other days are bad
 me: no it's not that they are bad
  they are just like tv
 Zachary: i dont think tv is a bad thing
 me: nope
  its not
  and it's not even that experiencing your own life like a tv show is "bad"
  it's just strange
  very strange
  and i would not call it pleasant
  it's disconcerting  Sunday, March 21, 2010 was one of the best days of my life. Evidence here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

summerlove

I completely have spring fever. It's a dire case. Inspired by the joyous arrival of spring and how it melts into summer, I wrote a poem for my friends. "Poem" being a loose term but whatevz.

--

i am so happy right now
scenes of summer
swim in (and in) my
little
head
just stupid
cobblestoned between
love and art and love
new york
new york
new york
i seeeeeeeee you
hiding
was fun while
the leaves fell
but now it's the sun and
seek
(found)
grass smiling at me through my toes
spilled some juice on my (eh, probs your) cutoffs
typical
flowers falling in our hair
determined laugh lines deepen
gifted for a future time
if we need a reminder
eyes squint
hands over brows
ow, my legs are hot
let’s move to the shade, big red
oh my godddddddd the wind
feels
so
good
sunscreen is so fucking expensive
in the city
let’s split it
but our freckles
bump with the bass
as we dance in the dark
arms over heads
hands reach into clouds
and shuffle dreams around
check check check
what’s next?
OMG what?! stop laughing at me
bia
let’s make up a world
over brunch


Photos courtesy of Jenny Anderson, obvs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A change of pace

Late last summer, when I first started writing this blog every single day and pouring my heart and soul into it, it was because I felt a natural urge to do so. Every single post I wrote for months and months came from a sincere place, and if I didn't feel inspired to write something, I just didn't. For the past month or so, I have felt an artistic anxiety unlike anything I've experienced before, and I've been unsure of how to filter it into a product. As a result - and you may have noticed this - my writing and my blog have suffered. I've tried to create posts, and have succeeded at times, but mostly I have faltered. I've noticed that the quality of my work has dipped, and my readership has dropped off. Rather than continue on like nothing is changing, I thought it best to just be honest - since my blog was born out of an honest place - and keep it real in BtoA land.

As y'all know, I write a lot on my phone. I wrote this late last night on the bus home, and I think it adequately expresses how I've been feeling recently. Mostly because it's completely stream of consciousness and unedited. So, here it is.

I feel filled with an energy I can't explain. Up until recently, I have always just wanted to write. Forever and ever I've written, and had the urge to write, and have written. I always thought that was my ultimate calling, but now I'm not sure; not because I don't want to write anymore, but because I feel some new urge to create visual and audial things. I see myself crouched over papers, stop-going on camera, splattering paint on walls. I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing or why.

The fact that I'm compelled to write this down at all means something. Writing is still my first method of expression, my go-to for needing to get things out to the universe. But I feel an undeniable thing growing inside me, to express myself and make things in ways I never thought of before. I want to wrap my arms around a guitar player and have him love me back. I want to sing and write music and stay true to myself as I create beautiful things to share with other people. I want the present, past and future of New York to live through me. I want to breathe it in and feel it grow and burst out of me in whatever ways it deems best. Nanoosh. McDonalds. Symphony Cleaners. The Food Emporium. Duane Reade. Chase Bank. C town town town. Welcome to the johnsons. Brooklyn. Harlem. The 6 train. The M15. Summer in the park. Sunlight. Green grass. Patti and Robert. Love. Art. Friendship. Family.

I want to know my purpose. What I'm supposed to make for the world. I'm pleading with the universe regularly to show me.

Show me.
Show me.
Show me.
Show me.
Please.
How do I find it?


After this post, my blog is probably going to go through a bit of a transformation. I've been wanting to experiment with photography, videography, painting, drawing, decorating, everything. So - for those of you who care - you will probably see more posts relating to that type stuff starting soon. My posts will probably be more sporadic, less scheduled, and more varied in nature. Ultimately, for me, it always comes back to writing, so it's not like I'm going to stop using words. But I'm going to start doing other things too, as soon as I figure out where to start.

On the walk home, on my block, I stopped in my tracks on 104th street when I saw this stenciled on a door outside a church.



It says, "If it is to be, then it is up to me." Then it says, "God loves you."

I've walked 104th street a hundred times, even before I moved here, heading to my old home from Zac's apartment - but I didn't see this sign until tonight. It seems, of course, incredibly appropriate.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do, which is a very foreign feeling. I hope that those of who you really love my blog and feel some sort of connection with me will hang around while I navigate this unknown part of my life. I think and hope and pray that it will be worth it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The magic of the New York food cart

New York has gone through a number of transformations over the years. From the 1960s and 70s - when love and art reigned, the time of Andy Warhol and the Factory, Patti and Robert and Woodstock and 20-cent subway rides - to the 80s, when Wall Street began to fully emerge as a driving force in the world, to the 90s, when disillusionment and safe sex reigned, to the 2000s, the New York of post-Sex and the City consumerism, which saw Starbucks and a number of other annoying trendy chain spots popping up on literally every corner. Perhaps ironically, that's the New York I fell in love with back in 2004 when I first visited the city - or more accurately, I fell in love with the city when it was in this stage of evolution. Because, ultimately, there's one thing that never seems to change about the city: its energy, and the feeling it stirs in people who are drawn to it. And that energy, that feeling, is embodied in another thing about the city that never really changes: the food cart.


The food cart is a magical thing. It's a cart in every sense of the word - it has wheels, it's pulled behind a vehicle, it's partially open-air - but it serves a higher purpose in providing busy New Yorkers with things that are edible. There are a number of different types of food carts in the city. The most common are the hot dog/sausage carts that heavily populate touristy areas like Rockefeller Center and Herald Square, and the gyro/shish kabob carts that tend to park in areas where young people gather in search of greasy drunk food: East Village, Lower East Side, Hell's Kitchen/Times Square. I still remember the first street gyro I had, in the summer of 2007 in the East Village. Life-changing.

Another staple of the food cart family, pictured above, is something I had inexplicably not partaken of until today: the coffee cart. These are all over the city in the mornings, spanning from Harlem to Wall Street. I see one on my walk to the train in the mornings at 103rd and 3rd, and then on my walk from the train to work along virtually every street in Tribeca. This morning I really, really wanted some orange juice - I know, I'm such a hardass - and, remembering I had a few rare dollars in my wallet, I decided to brave the mysterious coffee cart and partake of a New York staple.

I felt weirdly nervous as I waited in line, listening to the guy in front of me order a large coffee with two Splendas. The guys behind me, who clearly worked together, were having a conversation about their summer plans, tossing around the prospect of finding other work or maybe leaving the city. As they talked, visions of Coney Island danced in my head: the beach, sun, cool ocean breeze, sand, hot dogs, music, cutoff shorts, swimsuits. I felt warm and happy. The guy in front of me finished ordering and I stepped up to the window. The coffee cart man smiled down at me, and I told him I just wanted an orange juice. He asked me if that was it and I said yes. He told me it would be a dollar and 25 cents. I started digging my wallet for the extra quarter and he seemed to sense that I wanted a bag for my lonely little OJ, and I told him that no! I didn't need one. I fished out the quarter and laid it on the counter as he handed me the OJ and smiled warmly.

As I walked away, I felt filled with an unexpected joy and contentment. In that moment, I felt the city wrap around me for the first time in a while, protectively cuddling me from all sides. I looked around and saw the New York I had first seen in 2004: that energy, that life, that art pulsing through everything. No matter how many chain coffee houses there are, or how much money gets poured into meaningless capitalistic pursuits in this city, there will always be that feeling of endless possibility, that freedom, like if you just believe in it and want it bad enough, you can literally be anything you want. That feeling, that uniquely New York feeling, is something that everyone who ever came to New York to pursue a dream has experienced and can speak to, whether it was in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or beyond; and as I walked the block to my office from the coffee cart - which, by the way, was set up right across the street from a Starbucks - I felt it pressing on me in the most comforting way.

Despite everything I've been through, and all the uncertainty that continues to face me, I heard the city telling me it's going to be OK, and I believed it. I put my hands in the pockets of my trench coat, smiled to myself and walked on.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The reason Lady Gaga is an artist and I love her

So, yes, the Telephone video came out last night. It's good. It's really good. I have some problems with it. Namely, that the story in the video has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song - which, LBO, I'm totally willing to overlook based solely on the fact that within the first 60 seconds we see Lady Gaga's shaved vadge - and the over-the-top product placements for Virgin Mobile, PlentyOfFish.com, Diet Coke, Polaroid, etc etc etc, which kind of bothered me, but not enough to make me dislike the video.

However, there is one scene that basically encompasses everything I love about Lady Gaga. Starting at 2:15, we see Lady Gaga, coke can rollers in hair, standing in a common area with a bunch of other prisoners when a lady brawl breaks out. (PS, I basically loved the video from the moment the text "Prison for Bitches" appeared across the screen. Yes. Yes. Yes.) And guesssssss who makes a cameo during said scene.


None other than Stefani Germanotta - Lady Gaga before she was Lady Gaga. I actually mentioned to Zac recently that I wished she would go brown and make a cameo as her old self, or even do an entire performance as her old self, so thanks, universe. When I first watched the video, I wasn't sure it was her, but on a third and fourth run-through, and lots of pausing, I'm 99% sure this is Lady Gaga "dressed up" as her old self, which is sort of a brilliant idea, considering that "Lady Gaga" herself is the result of costume, makeup and the creation of a character, i.e. dressing up.

Hellllllloooo, Stefani.


EDIT: As it turns out, it's Gaga's younger sister Natali making a cameo in the video, not Gaga as her former self. Meh. This makes the video less cool for me; however, I will concede that they look a lot alike and the effect is sort of the same. It still ends up looking like Stefani, and I do wonder if that's what Gaga intended.

Aside from this moment, the video had several brilliant points. A rundown of my favorites:

After we see her blurred naked vadge, the two dyke prison guards walk away and exchange the following words: "I told you she didn't have a dick." "Too bad." BRILLIANT.

Wait, is that the pussy wagon? From Kill Bill?

"You've been a very bad girl. A very, very, bad, BAD girl, Gaga." 'Nuff said.

Bey then feeds Lady Gaga a bite of a honey bun, and Gaga says, mouth full, "Mmmm mmmm, Honey Bey." Yes. Yes. Yes.

All the gays using baguettes and lettuce heads as telephones.

I meeeeeeean. If there's a universe that exists in which this is not fucking hilarious, we should just blow it up.

 Bey wearing yellow and the sunglasses from Paparazzi. I love a throwback.

Yeeeeep. 'Twas in fact the pussy wagon. Dear Quentin, Thanks for being my BFF. Love, Lady Gaga

Considering that I've loved Beyoncé for years and my love for Lady Gaga is tattoo-worthy, this video was basically orgasmic for me. I don't think it was as good as the Bad Romance video, but I also think they're just completely different. Bad Romance is futuristic, inspired by Stanley Kubrick, and very avant-garde; Telephone is sort of a Western, inspired by Quentin Tarantino and Baz Luhrmann, and very tongue-in-cheek. Different strokes for different folks.

But I mean, prison for bitches. Pussy wagon. Gaga dressed as a pussy (cat) dancing around in front of the pussy wagon. Dykes everywhere. Oh, and this bitch and her huge fucking hairbow.
I'd say it was a success.

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.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm a gardener, part two

Here's part two of the series from Monday. I haven't written a short story in a while, so be kind.

"I can't say no to him anymore. Fuck."

She looks at her reflection in the back of the mirrored elevator doors, shaking her head and fidgeting her left knee nervously as she bounces her heel up and down and hears her own voice vector off the walls. Winter is fading into spring, but she decided to wear her heavy red coat today anyway, because she wants to remind him of the night they met. Her long brown hair is in a ponytail, but a stray rebel curls into her collar and tickles her neck. She scratches it and sighs. She bites her lip as she groans at her own submissiveness. Goddamnit. The doors open.

She walks. She turns the corner and a long corridor opens before her. The light is dim. She grips the hotel room key in her hand and her knuckles grimace. She drops the key. She bends at the hip to pick it up. She thinks about the e-mail she sent to him when she got home the night he left her on the street. It was only six words long: You're just as scared as me. He wrote her back immediately. If you're not scared, meet me at The Surrey on 76th, a week from tonight, 4 p.m. There will be a key waiting for you. She reaches the door, and slides the card into its slot. Beep. Click. Turn.

A cold blast of air hits the back of her bare neck as she turns to close the door behind her. She swings around, stepping out of her black pumps and pulling the band out of her hair in one sweeping motion. Her hair falls around her face as she notices the room. The walls are green. Light, pastel, friendly green. The sheer white curtains billow open, permitting dreary late-afternoon sunlight onto the floor. She steps into it like a puddle. If this room were food, it would be an Easter cupcake, and I would eat it.

She walks over to the air conditioner below the window, lifts the ancient metal cover and flicks it off. She leans against the cover as she tries to close it, pressing her entire weight against the window. Her lips part as she exhales, and she can see her breath. Fuck. She gets it shut and looks at her watch. 3:50. She’s early.

She walks to the bathroom, shedding and tossing her coat on the bed as she walks. She sets her bag on the vanity, clicks on the light and flips her hair over her head. She looks at her upside-down knees through her black stockings. She remembers what he said to her a week ago. She remembers telling him he was wrong. She flips her hair back over. The faucet in the bathtub is dripping. She walks over, sits one hip on the edge, and leans in to turn it off. She’s wearing a short, puffy blue dress with white polka dots. It has spaghetti straps. She’s not wearing a bra. Some water drips on her finger and she brushes it through her hair. He was right, because here I am. Fucker.

She stands up and walks to the vanity. She looks at herself, again, and feels another wave of fatigued exasperation. She looks at her watch. 3:55. Five minutes. She pulls out her makeup and starts working on her face, remembering all the times she watched her mother do this when she was young. What would mom think of me now? Corralling stray eyebrow hairs. Wiping away errant mascara flakes. Brushing on pink blush, brown eyeshadow, black eye liner. A smear of red lipstick. Pout. Pout. I don’t want to look like myself.

4:01. He’s late. Motherfucker. She walks into the bedroom and plops her bag and body on the edge of the bed. She retrieves the menu from the nightstand and realizes she hasn’t eaten today. The room is in his name. She picks up the phone and dials. She orders a steak and a glass of red wine. She smirks to herself. She lays back on the bed, one leg hanging off the side, hands across her stomach, and her hair sprawls behind her on the pillow. She watches the ceiling fan spin and listens to the sound of the city outside. Honk. Screech. Wail. 4:05.

She rolls over and snatches her bag from the edge of the bed. She reaches inside and takes out the latest issue of the New Yorker, which she had been pretending to read for several days. She flips to the fiction section and reads a couple paragraphs, remembering how good of a writer he is, how intriguingly he had expressed himself in every turn of their correspondence. She gets excited and laughs under her breath before throwing her weight down into her hips, arching her back and throwing her head back to look at the upside-down world through the window. Her arms dangle over her head. She drops her New Yorker onto the floor. When you're all dizzy-eyed over NYC and loving life I can go after your ass.

4:15. The train is probably fucked up. She sits up, rummages through her bag again and pulls out her iPhone. She remembers how he had taken it from her, without asking, within minutes of their meeting, flipping through her photo albums like he was looking for something he had misplaced. Asshole. No messages now. No missed calls. No e-mails. She remembers waking up one morning a year and a half ago or so to find that she had no e-mails, and the resulting moment of poignant panic as she pondered that perhaps she was the only human left alive after an overnight apocalypse that, for no reason at all, spared no one but her.

A noise. Something outside the door. Something against the door. Something inside the door? 4:18. Her eyes whip toward the knob and her head follows. Her chest heaves upward and pauses as she holds her breath without knowing it. She does not blink. Waiting for another sound. A motion. She sees a shadow, but it passes. Silence. Breath. A sudden headache. 4:20.

The dim sunlight is becoming dimmer as she becomes more anxious, then bored. She gets up off the bed and makes her way to a black chair sitting in front of a dresser, the only other piece of furniture in the room aside from a small table sporting a television. She sits. There’s a mirror she hadn’t noticed before. She looks at herself. He’s not coming. He was right on time last week, and talked about how he’s never, ever late. But he also said he was a gardener. A roux of lies makes for a terrible soup if one is expecting true flavor. 4:23. She bends down, reaches up under her dress and starts sliding off her stockings.

Why would he pay for a hotel room for me and then not show up? She is suddenly aware that she didn’t wear panties. She folds her legs underneath her in the chair and wraps the feet of her stockings around her wrists, effectively tying them together. She lifts her arms above her head and tries to braid her hair with her hands restrained, watching herself in the mirror. Her skin looks especially white against the taut black of her hose, and the dim light makes her look a bit sickly. She is impossibly beautiful, but she doesn’t know it.

Her hair in a side braid that hugs her right ear, she unties her hands and wraps the stockings around her neck, then around her braid. She ties the feet in a bow at the bottom. 4:30. She takes off her watch and her rings and her necklace, leaving her bracelets in place as she always does. Boooored. Where is my steak? She somehow knows she will never eat it. She remembers something she packed.

She digs in her bag and finds the black bra and panties she packed to cover the parts of her she didn’t care if he saw. She pulls her dress over her head and catches her nude reflection in the mirror. 4:35. She steps into the underwear and pulls on the bra, bending her arms awkwardly to clasp it behind her back. The carpet feels suddenly hot under her feet. She remembers the ugly brown carpet her parents had in her house growing up. She laughs at herself at her stupid stocking braid and gallops to the bathroom.

Her makeup is still strewn about the vanity. She moves it out of the way before climbing up and sitting on her heels, straddling the faucet in the sink. She picks up her eyeliner and closes her eyes. Open. Close. Open. Close. Who are you now? She uses her left hand to force down her left eyelid before using her right hand to press the liner to the top lid. Thick. Viscous. Black black black. She does the same on her other lid. She draws a tiny star at the outer corner of each eye. She remembers the neon blue mascara she had when she was 12 years old, how it only looked blue in certain light and looked black the rest of the time. She remembers that the makeup line was called Fetish. She covets it now.

She picks up her red lipstick. She looks down at her bare, pale legs and hates them. Then she loves them. She flexes her thigh muscles just because she can, and she loves them. Then she hates them again. She catches a glimpse of the insides of her wrists in the capture, one pure and veiny and white, the other marred by a black tattoo she got drunk in Brooklyn one night. She hates it. Who gives tattoos to drunk girls anyway? She draws a thick line on the inside of each wrist with the lipstick. They’re not dark enough. Again. Again. Again. 4:50.

She looks at her eyes in the mirror and for a second she doesn’t recognize them. Didn’t they used to be green? Good. She lifts her arms into a heavy box shape and presses her wrists against the cool glass. She moans. She leaves them there for a moment and feels her pulse against her reflection. Thump. Thump. Thump. She thinks about the question he asked her a week ago. Am I a woman now? She pulls her wrists away and two horizontal red lines remain on the glass. She uses the lipstick to cross them before connecting them with one beautiful stroke in the middle: twat.

She giggles and hops down, admiring her work. She licks the inside of one wrist, just to see if it tastes different. She realizes she didn’t know what it tasted like before, so she’s not really sure. It just tastes like salt and metal and chemicals. She drops the open lipstick into the sink before stepping out of her panties and removing her bra. She drapes them over the shower curtain rod, pretending she’s just returned from the opera or the ballet or a fabulous dinner, and she got caught in the rain and needs to dry out her undergarments. She imagines cab after cab passing her by as she raises her arm higher and higher in the wet air, yelling in frustration. 4:58.

She remembers that she is alone. She remembers that she has been abandoned, sort of. Except you can't really be abandoned by someone who never had you to begin with. She feels a reluctant twinge of disappointment as she flips the switch in the bathroom, turning the light off on her twat. She walks to the bedroom and presses the backs of those knees against the edge of the bed. She raises her arms into a crucifix, closes her eyes and falls backward. She lands on the bed and bounces once before settling into the thick comforter. She sighs. Her hair is still braided and wrapped up with a bow; twisting her body so that her naked hips face the window and her shoulders lie parallel with the mattress, she fiddles with her intertwined creation. She tugs the knot gently and the whole thing comes loose, a mess of dark hair spilling down onto her shoulder. She takes the stockings between her teeth, grasps the bedding in fists and pulls herself toward the nightstand.

5:00. She picks up a pen and pad and begins writing to him. He will never read it, but it doesn't matter. Someone will. The cleaning lady. The guy working the front desk. Someone in the universe will see it, will read it, will know. Naked and scrawling, she bares the parts she never really wanted him to see.

Dear David - You owe me $500.


Six more words for him. That's all. She places it on the nightstand, face up. She puts the pen down. She reaches up with both hands and drags her fingers from the center corners of her eyes across her closed lids and down her cheeks, smearing her mascara and eyeliner, deepening her sockets. She swings her legs around and stands up. The sun is almost down now. She begins walking to retrieve her dress and things, pulling her stockings behind her across the carpet.

Step. Drag. Step. Drag. Step. Drag.

5:05.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mannie comes to live with me

So, this post has two points. One is to show that I'm keeping up with my creativity maxim. The other is to explain that I now have a mannequin living with me in my new apartment.

Last Thursday night, Una and I were enjoying post-work bloggy drinks when BFF and fellow Commune resident Zac came to join us. As we were walking out of the bar, we saw two mannequins strewn haphazardly across a trash pile and Zac and I gasped in disbelief at our ridiculous luck. Two questions loomed large. First of all, who throws away mannequins? Secondly, how are we going to get these home?

We decided to house them in my office for a night so we could properly transport them uptown the next day. Then Friday we lugged them up to 104th on the 6 train, and it was a surprisingly easy trek. For now, Mannie is in my bedroom - he will move to the living room eventually, but my roomie is in the process of moving and I don't want him to be in the way - and yesterday I decided to do a little iPhone shoot with him. (Aaaaaand that brings me back around to point one: creativity maxim in action.)



The frame on the wall is also a recent addition; I'm eventually going to put a piece of fabric or something in it, but I'm not sure exactly what yet, so for now it's empty. Pretty green wall is showing through.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The bag that broke the lady's back

I just looked in my purse and the utter ridiculousness of what I saw there inspired me to dedicate an entire post to it. Currently, right now, right this moment, as we speak, my purse contains the following items (and this list is not inclusive): a wallet that will not close because it's too full, an umbrella, Vaseline (don't judge), a glasses case, antibiotics, the current issues of both New York and the New Yorker, pepper spray, a digital camera, blogger business cards, ear muffs, gloves, and, naturally, a framed copy of a letter Robert Mapplethorpe wrote to Patti Smith in 1969, which is obviously going on the wall in my new apartment.

 

None of this, of course, includes girly stuff like lipstick, chapstick, lotion and tampons, all of which are, yes, also in my purse. I'm not even kidding, this shit weighs like 15 pounds. What's in your purse right now? Murses can also submit. I don't discriminate by gender.

In other mundane news, I chopped off all my hair this weekend.



I figure the weight in my purse sort of counterbalances the new lack of weight on the top of my head, or something.

And now I have this image in my mind of a woman walking around New York with a bag full of her  own hair, and I am freaked out. Happy Monday.

Oh, and here's the text of the letter, dated September 1, 1969, written from the Hotel Chelsea:

Soakie* -

Sitting in our room – waiting for you – Thinking of all that we have gone through – knowing we have somehow done it together.

And it will always be that way- Loving you-

We’ll have a real home soon one way or another – and it’s then that we’ll be famous – with or without the rest of the world –

Just you & me together – 
Drawing, writing and loving each other –

Love you always,

Blue

*He called her this because apparently she cried a lot, and very easily. Appropriate, since I cried buckets the first time I read this.

I'm a gardener, on 92nd and 2nd

"I'm a gardener," he said, when I asked him what he did.

"Oh! That's interesting. For whom?" I cradled my coffee in my hands and sipped. It was too hot. I put it down on the table. I did that thing I do when I'm nervous, hunching my shoulders and tilting my head and raising my left eyebrow and grinning like a fucking fool. He grinned back, thin lips spreading between two bookends of a wiry brown beard, wiry fingers grasping at each other over folded napkins.

"For whoever will pay me." He laughed a bit, and his pretty colorless eyes danced around in their sockets. "What do you do?"

I told him.

He laughed and repeated back what I had said to him, word for word for word.

"Wait, what?" I sipped. Ow. Hot.

He repeated it again.

"Wait, what?" Heat still rose off my burned tongue. "We have the same job? Who do you work for?" Naivete swirled in with milk and sugar.

He laughed. "No, we don't. And I'm not a gardener; it's the middle of winter in Manhattan. There's nowhere to garden." He paused. "I work in medicine."

"Oh!" My brow furrowed. I dislike being lied to. "Are you a doctor?" Sip. Smirk. Raised eyebrow.

"No."

"A nurse?"

"I don't want to talk about work."

"Okay."

He asked me my name. I told him. He asked me my middle name. I told him. He asked me where I was from. He asked me to teach him something. I did. He didn't believe me. He made me laugh. I leaned against the crumpled pile of my red coat and told him I didn't like being lied to. He said he would be honest from now on. A blender buzzed in the kitchen whenever someone ordered a milkshake, and he told me to say something explicit underneath the cloak of white noise. The white noise ended before I got anything out. He asked me if I was submissive. I told him. He asked me what that meant to me. I told him. He took my hand in his hand and told me he was never satisfied by long-term relationships because he never got what he wanted out of them. I asked him why. He said he didn't know. He ordered an ice cream sundae, ate some, but then pushed it away and declared it was too sweet. I said well that's what ice cream sundaes are. I asked him if he had ever had his heart broken. He said no. I told him he was lucky. He said that's why he couldn't write poetry. I told him I thought his writing was poetic in a way. He said (laughing) that he kept Neruda open beside him while he wrote messages to strange women on the Internet. I told him my ex used to read me Neruda in bed, in Spanish. He said he was saving that for the right girl. He asked me what if she never showed up. I told him he couldn't live his life wondering that. He said he couldn't live his life hoping for it. I agreed.

He asked me my name. Meghan, should we go home together tonight? I shrugged. I don't know. I smiled. Shrug. Smile. Eyebrow. Sip. I don't know. Let's go. OK. I went to the bathroom. I swayed my hips a bit more than usual as I walked away from him in my heels. I peed. As I was buttoning my ripped jeans, I looked at the ceiling and stamped my feet and said out loud, "This is fucking stupid. What the fuck? Stupid, Meghan." Then I laughed and flushed and washed my hands and looked at myself in the mirror. I clicked the light off and pushed the door open.

We walked outside. We walked uptown. He asked me where we were going. I told him I don't know. I asked him the most public place he had ever had sex. He answered. I told him mine. They were the same. He slid his card into the door of a bank. We went inside. I wondered why he needed cash right now, right this very moment. He sat down on a ledge and said we needed to talk about this. I said we just talked for an hour and a half what do you want to talk about? He asked me what I wanted. I shrugged. I smiled. I don't know. Shrug. Smile. I asked him what he wanted. He told me. I was not surprised. I told him I was not surprised. He was surprised. A man came inside and got some cash out of the ATM, and then left. My eyes stayed on him, though I could feel David's on me, burning question marks into my cheeks, my neck, my hair. He stood up. He instructed me to stand up. He touched my arm, pulled me toward the table where people write deposit slips. Deposits, withdrawals, inquiries. He pushed me against the table gently. He asked me if I was nervous. I told him yes. He took my face in his hands. Music jumped around somewhere behind his eyes, but barely registered. He stroked my cheeks and my chin with his long, soft fingers. I liked it. He bent my head up and kissed me. I sucked air into my lungs and kissed him back. His beard tickled my face. I bit his lip. He sucked air into his lungs. I pulled away from him to make our breath mingle some more. He pursued. I pulled. He pursued. I finally turned and laughed. He kissed the corner of my mouth. Comisura.

He demanded that I look at him. I did. My eyes felt uncomfortable inside his. I had my glasses on and I felt awkward, wrongfully wanted. He kissed me again, his hands never leaving my face. I giggled like a child and he pulled away, walking toward the door. Do you want to be who you were a year ago? I told him I was a completely different person a year ago. He said he knew. I asked him what he was thinking about. He said curiosity. I said about what. He said about himself. I said not about me? He said he felt like he knew something about me. I asked him what. He told me. I told him he was wrong. I told him I had no reason to trust him. He walked to the window and pressed his thumb against it. I watched as he lifted his thumb away. He told me that was his thumbprint, as proof that he was not some crazy weirdo without a thumbprint. I'm still not sure because I didn't get a close look. It evaporated. He had his hand on the door now. I'm going to go home now. You are welcome to follow me. If not, we can say good night.

I said no. I invited him to my place. He said it was too cold and he didn't have his heavy coat on so he didn't want to walk in the cold. He walked out. I followed him for two blocks. I suggested a cab to my place. He said he would have been enticed earlier, but now he was just trying to make a point. I told him that was bullshit. Do you think this is some sort of power play? Yes. It's not. It's just me putting the cards on the table. That is a power play. Good night. He walked away from me, hands in his pockets. I watched him walk for half a block. He never turned back.

I kicked myself for not going with him. Then I kicked myself for wanting to be in his bed. He asked me if I had ever been in love. I told him yes. He asked me if I was currently in love. I told him no. Then I told him yes. I'm in love with New York. He rolled his eyes.

I dislike being lied to.

This is part one of a two-part series of a genre I'll call (non)fiction.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Each day, something new

So I decided recently that I'm going to make something everyday. Whether it's a piece of writing, a photo or series of photos, something I create in InDesign and/or Photoshop, a mini-collage, a shitty little drawing, whatever - I just want to create something every single day that didn't exist in the world before. That probably sounds a) a little pretentious and b) like a shit ton of work; but the thing is that it's actually more natural than anything, and shouldn't be considered work at all. When you're a little kid, all you do is create. You create all the time, every single day. You make up little stories, you draw things, you build a house out of blocks (or, in my case, playing cards), you create entire worlds in your bedroom - and you do all these things just because it's fun. You don't even think about it, you just do it.

So when does that stop? When does the creative mind take a backseat to the mind our parents and teachers - with the best of intentions - want to foster in us more than anything? The mind that makes us smart, makes us capable, and makes us, above all, productive members of a civilized economy/society? There's some unknowable point when most of us stop making art and start learning the quadratic equation and the history of the Byzantine Empire and something about the cotton gin. All that stuff is good information to have, but I reject the notion that there isn't enough room in my brain (or in my life) for practical knowledge and creative efforts. And this is my form of active rejection.

Day One. I made this.




What? It's a start! And blog posts count, too. So now I've made two things. Bam. Have a good (creative!) weekend, y'all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Commune 2010: The Beginning

I moved this weekend. I migrated downtown a bit - but stayed in East Harlem! - from 118 to 104, and as you might remember, I'm now living in Zachary's building. Jenny documented the weekend, and posted some of the best shots to her blog. And now I'm re-posting them, because I'm sort of tired and it's my blog so there.

Impromptu shoot on Zac's new couch in the back of the U-Haul. Starring me, Zachary, Jenny and Susan.

 
This shot is really amazing, and really random and unexpected. Zac and I were dancing to Britney Spears' "3" in the empty living room slash kitchen of my new place, and we were recreating that part where she hangs on the pole and sort of arches her back and drops her head backward. You know the one.

We did a pretty good job, yes? He is dancing with a painting brush extender pole, and I am dancing with (wait for it) a Swiffer. One day our kids will see this and be all "GAAAAHHHHH how embarrassing what were you doing Mom/Dad/Aunt Meghan/Uncle Zac?!?!" And we'll be like, "Cleaning."

  
I love this photo. Zac and Jenny are currently obsessed with Barbra Streisand, and after Susan and I finished constructing my bed frame, we came downstairs to find them sitting on the couch in the U-Haul, listening to Babs on an iPhone and singing along. Then they started talking about Funny Girl and I jumped up on the back of the truck and re-created that scene where she's hanging on to a boat or a truck, or something. (I haven't actually seen that film in a long time.) But whatevz this photo captures how I felt about the move. Also, those boots are the vintage snow boots I wrote about previously; a gift from Schmom B., they are straight outta the 1980s and they are the shit.

 
 We had another impromptu photo shoot late in the night on the day we painted. We sat against the blank wall in my new living room and Jenny set the timer on her cam and snapped away. Then she edited them together into a photo booth-type strip. This is my favorite. I'm obvs going to print it and hang it on my pretty new wall.

Love.Art.Life.NewYork.Commune.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter spring blooms, part two

I can't even express how fucking over winter I am, but this photo is a start.


These are flowers. I bought them for myself. On my lunch break. Just so I can fool myself into thinking it's actually warm and pretty and happy outside, and not cold and windy and soul-sucking.

They  cost me $8, a two-block walk, and only a small amount of my dignity. And they were totally worth it.

Fuck you winter. Spring 4ever!!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

iPhone Inspiration: Winter spring blooms

So I've kind of decided that winter is my least favorite season. It used to be one of my favorites, because in the South it's really mild and basically amounts to an excuse to snuggle under blankets and eat chocolate and sausage balls and celebrate the birth of a religious figure you may or may not actually believe in. I always hated summer more than the other seasons, because I despise sweating when I'm not actually doing physical activity, which is essentially the definition of a Southern summer. Summer in the South still might be one of the worst things ever, but compared with winter in New York, it ain't that bad.

Winter in New York is more terrible, because it's a stealthy little bastard. Summer in the South sucks, but at least it sucks immediately. You walk outside one day in mid-May (or April) and, fuck, it's summer. You're wearing jeans and a tank top and you're suddenly aware that it's far too hot for such garments. You turn around, go back inside and put on a cute little summer dress with flip flops. You come back outside and shut the door behind you. Your dress would blow in the wind like in a cute indie movie, but it doesn't, because there is no wind. It's just hot as balls. Stagnant. Sticky. Thick. Sauna-y. And, immediately, you're like fuck this. Then it continues for three to four months, the entire duration of which your hair is in a ponytail because if it's down it sticks to your neck and is completely disgusting. Then suddenly it's fall and you remember why life is bearable.

By contrast, winter in New York starts out delightful. It's cold, but it's bearable, and it's kind of fun walking around in your big heavy coat and cute new scarf and vintage snow boots. All your friends are bundled up too, and you might go tromping through Rockefeller Plaza to see the Christmas tree. You might stop and get hot chocolates on the way.  There are little stringy lights up everywhere, and you're all AHHH! Christmas in New York is so magical!  You go home for Christmas but you can't wait to get back for New Year's. The snow falls outside your window, light little tufts of gorgeousness that settle into a big pile of happiness.

This continues for, like, a month and a half. Mid-January rolls around, and you suddenly realize you like winter a little less. The snow gets harder, and grayer. Piles of snow-happiness turn into mountains of hard, packed together snow-ice-street-grunge... stuff. It gets in your way when you are walking to the train. Then it melts and huge puddles form on street corners but they look like pavement at night and you step in them and your foot sinks a good four inches so it's a good fucking thing your mom gave you these awesome vintage snow boots because they are the Army tanks of shoes. Snow becomes wintry mix. You're like ugh but you deal with it because what else are you gonna do?

Then the end of February rolls around, and you're a fucking fire-breathing dragon, vengefully melting snow drifts, icicles, and possibly any people in your path. You turn the corner on your way to work and an icy cold blast hits you in the face and makes it impossible for you to breathe for three to four seconds because you just got the wind knocked out of you by other wind. When you can breathe again, you take a deep one in and then yell FUCK! or maybe even FUCK YOU! Snow is still piled on sidewalks but all you see is death and destruction, be it real or imagined/hoped for. You stay inside your office at lunchtime and order takeout Thai, refusing to acknowledge that weather even exists anymore. You scarf it down shamefully, flinging rice noodles and dumpling bits all over your desk and keyboard because you just don't give a shit. You snap at coworkers who kindly ask for bagels from the kitchen. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the office mirror and you barely recognize yourself. Who have you become? What has this New York winter done to you? Is that caked dumpling sauce in your eyebrow?

And then sometimes, you get a reminder that nothing lasts forever, and that this too shall pass. Yesterday, the universe - via the 4/5 train - gave me such a reminder: a woman carrying a bouquet of red tulips - my favorite flower - in her eco-friendly grocery bag. It was so New York, so Spring, and so very welcome.  I took a photo and played around with it on my iPhone - yeah, I have Photoshop mobile, what? - and decided to make weekly(ish) segments called iPhone Inspirations, in which I post stuff I've seen/written/pondered on my iPhone. I do this a lot, especially whilst traveling by train or bus.

 
  
 

Happy early Spring, everyone.