One of the biggest shifts that’s occurred since the inception of this project: I no longer get trapped in regret. I had a habit of cycling through memory, ruminating about every wrong turn I’ve ever taken.
Tonight I thought, my eyes are ahead. And I remembered a song I used to listen to when I lived in the city, headphones on, the soles of my flats worn thin, my hand gripping a greasy subway pole, surfing the rhythm of a B train racing downtown, fearlessly barreling into the future.
(Post 206 of 365)
I’m afraid yesterday’s post sounded like a low-grade rant. It’s also one of those posts that prompts me to ask, what’s the one true thing happening here? Sometimes I come at it backwards. Rather than deciding on one true thing, I fill up the page and then challenge myself to find the small truth hidden there. Yesterday’s truth was: I took an action. Normally I would have passed by, wishing I could do something. Yesterday I actually did something.
Here’s something else I did this week: I signed up for my first writers conference. I’ve been keeping my eye on the conference scene and knew I wanted to attend October 2016 BinderCon in NYC, but I hadn’t expected the tickets to go on sale so early. It took me almost no time to consider it. I clicked the link and bought my first ticket to a professional development conference for writers. Panels, workshops, community, networking. I keep searching myself for my trademark anxiety and fear, but the only emotion I can locate is pure excitement. I can’t wait to attend this conference!
(Post 129 of 365)
First blog post from a train. First time back in NYC since before I was pregnant, almost three years ago. New York’s not my home, but I still feel at home in New York. And that feels so good.
A cold and rainy Sunday night in the city to see the luminescent Roxane Gay, who delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture at the PEN World Voices Festival. She is truth, beauty, and brilliance, with a speaking voice that sounds like song. I feel so grateful and so inspired.
Also, she retweeted my tweet, a virtual hug. I’m walking on air all over again.
(Post 103 of 365)
When I was eleven, I took saxophone lessons. Downtown, in a dim and dusty room above the music shop that doesn’t exist anymore. I lasted six months. I think it took me that long to even get it to make a sound.
It’s still one of my favorite instruments to hear played, especially on the streets of New York. Sometimes there’d be a sax player on the corner of 34th and 5th, and if I opened my office window, it would rise up, distinguish itself from the street noise, and change the entire day.
I still want to get my MFA.
I was thirty one and studying for the GRE when I met my husband. I’d been looking at the MFA program at Brooklyn. I had a boring office job (albeit great co-workers) at a home accessories company on 34th Street and I was living in an apartment in SoHo I couldn’t afford.
The year before, I’d been accepted into a writing workshop at the 92nd St Y with Josh Henkin, an excellent teacher and incredibly kind human. Almost everyone else in the class was a professional writer (editor at Scholastic, writer for the Daily News, writer for the Financial Times). The class jelled, and when the workshop was over, we agreed to continue meeting on a monthly basis. Somehow I became the organizer and host, and every month Write Club met at my studio apartment. Tall french windows, original tin ceiling, exposed brick wall, a hot water pipe that spit and hissed during the winter. I had a futon for a couch that seated three; everyone else spread out on my bed and the floor, and we’d workshop two stories a month.
My (not yet) husband was from western Massachusetts. He called that lovely little studio, those precious 400 square feet in a coveted neighborhood that I’d luckily inherited at an almost rent-stabilized rate, “jail”. He interviewed for a few jobs in New York, but ultimately landed one in the Berkshires. I was hemorrhaging money in the city. The Berkshires seemed like a bucolic dreamscape. Not to mention cheap. I was wearing the rose-colored glasses of new love, a really thick pair with no peripheral vision.
And, just like that, I let go with both hands.
Now. Here I am. Thirty nine. Husband. Baby. Mortgage. Dreams…