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Archive for the ‘out and about’ Category

Met with Sophia (my mentee) today. A lot of talking, a lot of laughing, some writing, some planning for Saturday’s workshop. After we hugged goodbye, I walked up the street, headed back to my office.

Coming toward me down the block was a group of five adolescent boys, a couple of tall ones and three small ones. They were all bunched together and doing something that had their arms in all kinds of odd raised and bent positions. I couldn’t make any sense of them at first. Then I realized one of the small ones had a can of Reddi Wip (which I didn’t know until just now is spelled this way). He was sharing it with the others. Sharing how, you might ask. Yeah. He sprayed whipped cream directly into the mouth of one friend, into the hands of another (yuck!), and — most alarming — into the Red Bull can of another! (Double yuck!) As I passed them, one of the tall boys had splayed himself against a wall with his mouth open, ready to get sprayed.

Boys be weird, yo.

I turned off that street to head over to my building. There were two women walking behind me. Content Warning: This story contains … ahem … mention of genitalia!

“You know, this is something I can do for myself. So, if I’m going to pay someone to do it, I’m going to give a big tip.”

“Do what?”

“My nails. This is — what do you call that, when you could do it yourself but you get someone else to do it?”

“Lazy?” [Laughter.]

“No, like … it’s a luxury. It’s some messy job I could do but don’t want to. So I give a big tip.”

“Cause you feel guilty.”

“I guess. A little, maybe. Like, if I wasn’t doing it myself, if I was paying some woman to wax my vagina, I’d give her a BIG tip. I’m saying.”

Ouch!

Grown women be weird, too!
__________
That title? It’s from a long-ago comment, from the first time I wanted to name a post “Overheard.”



It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices!

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Today I realized that one week from now is the 24 Hour Project. By the time this time rolls around on April 1st, I will be one or two photos from the end of my day-long extravaganza. I’ve only managed to do this successfully once, back in 2015. Last year, I had a training all day Saturday and knees that were on the path toward surgery, so walking the city for 24 hours just wasn’t in the cards. This year is different.

Yes, I am still recovering from my last knee surgery, but I think I’ll be able to make this work. I know ways and places that I can rest my leg during the day, and I think I’ll try to walk less and position myself strategically instead, find places where there will be enough random characters for me to photograph.

As is my wont, I will post my photos with super-short stories. If you’re curious, you can drop by on Instagram throughout the day to see the fruits of my labors. And at some point during the day, I’ll mosey over here and post my first poem for NaPoWriMo–because there never seems to be a possibility that I will say “no” to a challenge!

There is the lovely chance that a certain slicer might be joining me for all or part of the day, which will be so much fun. If you’re in New York on the 1st and want to get coffee with a very tired and achy street photographer, left me know!

For now, here are some of my favorites–in time order–from 2015:



It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices!

Read Full Post »

I have been trying to be more intentional about making time to spend with friends. This has and hasn’t worked. Tonight is one of the nights when it worked!

I thought I hadn’t seen Javi in over a year. When we traced back to the last time we got together, we realized it’s been more than two years. That right there? That’s ridiculous. Yes, sure, there were good reasons for our long time no see: family, dramas and complications, health problems, dissertation writing and defending. We’ve planned and canceled and planned and canceled. But finally tonight — when, in truth, I actually needed to cancel again — I refused to change plans, and we finally got together for drinks and dinner at Bogotá, one of my favorite drinks and dinner places.

Javi is one of those friends who unlocks a different side of me, a version of me that doesn’t come out and play often. I’ve missed the way I laugh with her, the way our conversations spool out so comfortably, the way she always knows the exact right thing to say about my hair.

I needed to come home tonight. I have a project that needs starting, that needs doing. But I couldn’t bear to cancel. And I’m so glad I didn’t. I needed to get home, but I needed this more, needed to be reminded of myself in this way. Now I have more energy to take on the work ahead!

A little fuzzily focused, but fine!



It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices

Read Full Post »

On Thursday I wrote about getting the news that I hadn’t been awarded a writing residency I’d applied for. In their comments, Heidi from Wordsmithing and Akilah from The Englishist expressed interest in the DIY writing retreat I made for myself in 2012, and Akilah’s comment made me realize that I’d never written about it. So today I will.

In 2012, I decided to send myself away to write. In both 2010 and 2011 I’d gone to VONA and had my heart and mind and craft blown wide open. For 2012, I decided not to apply, but rather to take the money I’d spend on a VONA week and create a two-week writing vacation.

I was nervous about doing it because I’d never been particularly successful with writing on vacation in the past. I’d turned out a few pages, but mostly spent my time vacationing and maybe (maybe) writing in my journal. But those had all been vacations and not specifically writing retreats, and I wanted to believe that calling my trip something different would actually help flip whatever switch in my brain needed flipping to get me to be more productive.

So I planned.

  1. Find a place to go. I searched on Flipkey (like AirBnB) for a place to go. I searched in Mexico, in the Caribbean, in France, in Canada … Everything looked great, nothing looked right. And then I clicked to an apartment in Tulum and the first photo won me. It was a slightly fuzzy picture of a sunny kitchen table. When I saw it, the first thought I had was, “I could write there.”
  2. Figure out when to go. The retreat was going to be my birthday present to myself, so I wanted to go in the fall, as close to my birthday as possible.
  3. Make a plan for writing. I made my schedule very simple: I would write all morning and go to the beach in the afternoon (it was going to be Tulum, after all, home of one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet). I also signed up for an online writing class and planned the timing of the trip so that I’d be in the middle of the course while I was in Mexico.
  4. Make a plan for what you want to get done during the retreat. There was a story I’d been fighting with. I knew that, if I was ever going to find my way through that story, I needed to understand this one character I’d been avoiding. So I decided that I’d use my retreat to write about him, to figure out who he was so that I could make sense of what he was supposed to be doing in my story. I don’t know if this part of the equation is necessary for everyone, but having a specific project in mind before I started helped me. I wound up writing other things during the retreat, but having this clear idea already laid out in my head helped me know exactly where to begin on day one.

So I was good to go. I was still worried about whether I’d get much work done, but I figured I’d done as much planning as I could or should, and that I’d have to trust myself.

I got to Tulum, the apartment was as lovely as the photos had led me to believe, I set up my writing corner of the dining table, and went to sleep early so I’d be ready to dive in with my schedule the next morning.

My schedule didn’t work out at all. Not even a little. Here is how almost all of my days went:

I got up early and had a little something for breakfast. I sat down with a cup of coffee or tea and started working. After working for a while, I started to feel ravenously hungry and had to stop writing … which would be when I’d discover that it was somehow 3 or 4 or 5 in the afternoon, that I had been working all day.

Two weeks in Tulum, and I made it to the beach twice. Twice. That is actually a crime, I think.

But —

I wrote like a crazy person. I wrote more in those two weeks than I normally write in a whole year.

I have never felt more content, more perfectly at ease in my body, more perfect. I was completely exhausted at the end of every day and fast asleep before 11pm … and then up with the sun to start all over again.

A big part of the success of my retreat was signing up for that online class. It was a class with Minal Hajratwala. I’d taken an online class with her once before, so I knew what to expect. Minal is an amazing and amazingly generous instructor. The materials she prepares, the exercises she gives … always fabulous. I was taking her Blueprint Your Book class during my retreat, and I had a huge breakthrough thanks to two of the exercises she gave us. She is an entirely lovely person, and if you have the chance to take one of her classes, I enthusiastically recommend it.

__________

It’s definitely not necessary to go to Tulum or to go away for two weeks to make a DIY retreat work. You can stay right in your town. You can:

  • Find an AirBnB place that’s not crazy expensive (my apartment in Tulum was $50 a night), rent it for as many days as you can, and go write.
  • Apartment swap with a friend who lives a short train ride or drive away, sit at her desk or at his kitchen table, and write.
  • Stay in a hotel for the weekend, order room service, tell housekeeping to leave you alone, and write.
  • Find a co-working space that will let you rent for 2, or 5, or 7 days, and let the fact that you’ve paid for the space inspire you to actually spend those 2, or 5, or 7 days writing.

The important things are to 1) set aside time to work, 2) be in a place where you can work without interruption, and 3) hold yourself accountable to giving yourself that time.

I’m looking forward to planning a retreat for myself for the end of the summer. I don’t know if I could ever be as insanely productive as I was in 2012, but I like having that bar to aim for.



It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices

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On my way home after a great afternoon and evening out for two different friend dates. Walking to the bus stop, I see this fabulousness:

Yes. That is all. That is all. One call for each of the next four years as THOTUS drags us toward hell.

#RiseAndResist





It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices

Read Full Post »

Before I wrote my slice, before I splurged and took a cab home from Brooklyn Heights …

before I stood in the cold on a windy Montague street laughing with Mercedes and hugging her goodbye …

before I rode the R train from SoHo to Brooklyn …

before Mercedes and I ate lukewarm-but-still-delicious asparagus soup and sandwiches in an Italian place I never saw before on Lafayette …

before I found Mercedes waiting for me in the REI on Houston where she had just bought new hiking boots for her coming-this-summer trip to Machu Picchu …

before I walked up Broadway from Prince Street marveling at how all the stores seemed to sell the exactly same clothes and that all of them seemed to think the world is peopled by young white women planning for Coachella …

before I ran into a co-worker with her mom on the train …

before I stepped outside and realized trusting the weatherman was going to leave me shivering all night …

before putting on my coat and leaving the office …

I looked at the clock and realized it was time to head to SoHo to meet up with one of the dearest people I know, my beloved sister-from-another-mister, Mercedes, who is in town from Mexico for just a few days!!


It’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge! Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see what the rest of the slicers are up to … and to post the link to your own slice!

SOL image 2014

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… and a big Panama with a purple hat band.

I’ve always loved the refrain of this silly song by Dodie Stevens, and I’m reminded of it often. On the train this morning, I sat across from a gorgeous woman who may have taken her sartorial tips from this song. Perfectly normal brown boots with no shoelaces with purple tights, a skirt that was a mix of red plaid, green paisley, and leopard print, and a faux fur vest over a leopard print top. She looked wild … but also pretty fabulous.

And then there was the guy who sat next to me at a meeting last week:

?

I asked about the socks, and was told that they aren’t his only pair! Because I guess if you’re going to wear Honest Abe on your feet, you need to make a real commitment, can’t be a once-in-a-while kind of thing!

Do you have a favorite unusual article of clothing, something that always gets looks and comments from folks on the street (or in meetings)?

_______________

I’m crazy-tired tonight, so all I can manage is this foolishness. I’ll post about my schadenfreude reading tomorrow. Good night!


It’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge! Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see what the rest of the slicers are up to … and to post the link to your own slice!

SOL image 2014

Read Full Post »

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