August 31, 2006
Six days from now is my birthday.
I’ll be 36.
While this is not generally one of the “big” years (you know, the ones where people feel compelled to razz you about your age, send you "funny" cards, and ask loudly how oooold you're turning this year..), I feel celebratory. I feel some kind of joyous vibe boiling up in my blood! I think it has less to do with my it being my birthday, and more to do with the fact that this year on my birthday, I won’t have just started classes and I won’t be “student” po’. Yet, I think it’s more than just that. Whatever the reason, celebrate I will! I’ve invited everyone over for margaritas and Monopoly.
If I’m going to be factual here, I should say that the “Monopoly” game is really a fundraising knockoff called, “The Best of Northampton”. And if you’re from Northampton, it makes the game really quite fun in a cute, “aw, that’s where I get ice-cream every Friday” kind of way. Given to me by someone at Smith and I don’t think she even realized I could technically count it as an early birthday present. (I wonder what the margin of days is on either side of a birthday where you can count a present as an early or late birthday gift...)
Clearly I’m rambling...this is what happens when I’m uninspired but feel compelled to write something.
(Painting: "Mariachi Margarita" by Steven Simon. Found at
at 8:05 PM
August 27, 2006
August 22, 2006
Her world is now vivid and sharp-edged. Her world is 13. Her world is self-important, self-indulgent, fulsome and large...yet so small to any onlooker.
I know that world, I remember it. The aching needs that must be filled while the source eludes. The terrible clamor of peer-pressure knocking at every turn. The feverish race to be in. To not keep up is to be "out" and that is no place anyone wants to be at 13. To be "out" is social death. At 13, it might as well be real death. 13 hasn't comprehended what that means anyway.
The body, oh the terrifically annoying body that is never the right size or shape...too big, too small, too round, too narrow, too tall, too short, too curvy, too flat.
13 is the world of "everyone else". Everyone else has the goods, and 13 doesn't understand it's all an illusion. If just once, they would all drop the illusion at precisely the same moment, unveil all the massive insecurity, it might cause a wave of cosmic energy so powerful that the earth would shift on its axis.
at 9:23 PM
August 17, 2006
At the traffic light I see them. He is capable, fit, loose in his body, and confident. He crosses the busy street with ease, knowing without effort how much give and take is needed to navigate the traffic. His shirt lifts as the cars pass. He doesn't hesitate, he moves like liquid between the cars.
The other He waits on the curb, smiling nervously, fists shoved into pockets as he waits for an opening that on this street, may never come. His eyes alternate between his confident companion walking away, not turning back, and the cars speeding by bumper to bumper. He flips his hair in an effort to look confident, to appear cool with it.
For the first time, my heart does not weep for the underdog. I simply see...see that one will move through his life with ease and this will burn him in ways he has yet to come to understand...and the other will agonize over each decision, each word he speaks, and this will probably bring him more security than he can now imagine.
at 9:21 PM
August 14, 2006
The sun has been shining for days now...the nights are cool and quiet, and the smell of Autumn is just around the next corner. Perfect days for folk, swing, jazz, and joyful oddities. Here are my recommendations for today:
"Shine" by Monsterbuck...Tugs my heartstrings every time. Since this is a friend of mine, I heard it for the first time around a campfire.
"Send Me a Man" by Alberta Hunter ...a wonderful accompaniment to sun and wind in your hair while cruising down country roads.
"Mountain Trip to Japan" by The Trachtenburg Family SlideShow Players...who I saw at the Iron Horse in NoHo. Up close and personal like. I think the mother is the most talented. I mean, got to keep that slide projector in working order you know!
"Neighborhood" by Space...oh c'mon, you know you want to sing along, even though it is a little, er...dark.
at 1:29 AM
August 10, 2006
Commonsense.com has parenting tips for children and the internet. They cover "Communicating" (email, blogs, instant messaging), "Social Networking" (myspace, facebook, xango), "Downloading, and a few other topics.
I was particularly interested in what they had to say regarding blogs and social networking. They recommend that teens be careful what they post because potential employers or colleges could be looking at their profile and make decisions based on what they find there....
I haven't quite processed how I feel about this. Not from a parenting point of view, but as an individual and citizen. I understand that the internet is a public domain. But so is a bar, a grocery store, a restaurant, a park, etc. I wouldn't expect that a potential employer would send out a spy to scrutinize my behavior in public. Just because it is easy to do an internet search on someone doesn't necessarily make it ok. As human beings, we ought to be afforded some privacy even in a public domain. In other words, people's past times outside of the work arena ought to be left alone.
Most of us have a professional persona, and our social persona. They can be very different, or not different at all, but the latter is rare. Would it be ok for a potential employer to call around to all the local bars to find out if you ever stop in for a drink? Would it be acceptable for them to snoop into all your friendships and relationships and then make judgements on your character? Would any of us feel comfortable knowing that letting our hair down after hours could result in termination or not getting the job?
Of course, there are always exceptions. If an employer found out that you not only stop in for a drink every once in a while, but that you tend to stay until closing every night, unless you are thrown out on the street first because of your obnoxious drunken behavior. Or that all your friends happen to be convicts or ex-convicts.
Still...what if these things were so, yet at work you were nothing but professional and on top of your game? Unless you're a public official, should it matter? Should it?
at 8:50 PM
August 09, 2006
Words hold powerful meaning in my life, not just in what they say but when and how they say it. This poem, by Mary Oliver, for instance. I heard Garrison Keeler read it on Writer's Almanac one morning, and at that precise moment it mirrored my life so cleanly that I felt like it was written for me...and that somehow Garrison had divined this knowledge and was broadcasting the words to sink into the marrow of my bones.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations--
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own, that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
(Picture Credit: "Woman Spirit - The Questfilled Journey" Painting by Susan M. Spohn. www.spiritsculptures.net)
at 12:05 AM