Writing Piece, Brooklyn

Two men are on a rooftop, Manhattan’s skyline as their backdrop. One man stands, while the other straddles the building’s ledge. His legs rest on cement fragments that push against his pants, leaving fleeing impressions in the hairy flesh of his thighs. He smothers his cigarette on the building’s side. The building groans.

I’ve written all I can. His voice jumps from rooftop to rooftop and cradles in the gray, half-moons of satellite dishes. They transmit his drama down into television sets for home viewership and up to the blackest space, secretly passing through the paths of jumbo jets, choreographed miracles racing in the sky.

The other man stands in silence. Wonders in silence. He thinks, I don’t need this, and regrets it so quickly, it’s as though the thought never happened. But it did. He crosses the roof, trudging along as if his legs were made of molasses, as if he were a witch melting, as if he had never accomplished walking. He’s caught in a bad dream. The message leaves his brain and in the time it takes to reach his legs, his heart has sent another message that means to turn his feet around, but his brain insists. Plow ahead, it screams. Go. Leave. The heavy door swings shut behind him.

Our man, the man on the ledge, watches the cars below him make perfect, left turns on green-light command. People walk on sidewalks, all wondering why the writer cannot write. Every so often, a curious man would pause to turn toward the sky and steal a glance of the writer who cannot write. Women with children run into old neighbors and exchange pleasantries, How are you? Oh fine, and you? Oh good good, much better than the writer, you see. No no, don’t look. How miserable, oh that poor man. Yes, yes, indeed, miserable. Woman repeat things for emphasis.

There’s a hole in the building’s mortar, about the size of a fist, but clearly, not made from a fist, the mortar’s too hard for that. The non-writing writer leans in, it’s several inches deep. It’s filled with dried leaves that weren’t good enough for the wind, discarded cigarette butts and match stems, and dirt. Of course dirt, dirt because the city’s filth grows like ivy, climbing every building. It’s reached the top of this one.

He pulls out a notebook and a pen from his jacket pocket. Because that is his only reflexive motion. He quickly writes a message (aha!), tracing the letters repeatedly. He tears it from the page and folds it four times to help protect it from the rain. Surely, the rain will come. He drops it into the fist-sized hole, but it doesn’t fall to the bottom with the rest of the discarded debris. It lays suspended in the fist-sized hole, half-way from the bottom. The fragile lines of a spider web bear the weight of the paper. It will surely cause the spider to starve. The spider cannot spin another web.

What would you wish for?

Writing Piece, Brooklyn

Rambling, Try to Keep Up

So, I don’t miss Baltimore, but I do miss having a home. Traveling is nice, it’s great, but I miss knowing exactly where to go to get a tasty delicious slice of Pizza; I miss reading in the neighborhood park; I miss knowing whether I’m walking around late at night in a good neighborhood or not. None of this is specific to Baltimore, just specific to living in a place — any place — for a period of time. As a Cancer, I’m naturally nostalgic for the ease of comfort. But I think growing as a person is directly related to not being at ease.

A lot of people do their best work when they’re in a state of agitation, discomfort. I think I do. But then again, there’s the equally glorious feeling of comfort. It’s all about finding a perfect balance. I mean babies love being in the womb, getting fed without doing anything, but at some point they’re going to get thrust into the world and be forced to grow, whether they’re ready or not. Right?

Basically, I got thrust into the world a few months ago. And while, I wasn’t ready for it, I’m turning out fine for it. Life is all about the way you spin your story.

But at the same time, I was super psyched to actually unpack my bag and have my very own dresser drawer and dresser top and closet and kitchen and food etc. Technically not mine, but the closest I’ve been to it in 3 months, and much, much better than being at my parents’ house. (Sorry, but true.)

On another thought: I’m starting to think that it’s other people that make the world insufferable (or amazing.) I mean we’re all happy and content living our lives in whatever way we want to, but once other people start telling us it’s not good enough, or that we should want more, or that we’re getting the short end of the stick, well, it makes it very difficult to keep on living as we were. (This is the foundation for my inevitable recluse-ness.)

Sure, other people make it really awesome, but quite frankly, from all I’ve seen that awesomeness is always temporary. Louis C.K. does a whole bit on how when you start a relationship, there’s only two (terrible) endings – you break-up and are miserable, or you live a long and happy life and one of you dies leaving the other one in misery. It’s funny when he says it, and not so depressing, I swear. But he has a point, you know.

Jezebel shared a study that showed that found that after 10 years and 11 months, people in marriages got bored and 60% often question why they married their spouse at all. Granted, I didn’t read the study, so I don’t know if this got misconstrued. But jeez, I’m really starting to think a happy marriage is like a unicorn. Part of me just feels cynical about the whole institution of marriage, but the other part of me just feels like there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t fucking grateful enough.

On another mildly related note, I went to this Dark Side of Design event thing tonight, and one of the guys talked about the prevalence of porn with the coming of the Internet and Napster and whatever. And how that was unlike anything that’s ever happened before. And instead of a virgin having sex for the first time, virgins are just reproducing ideas of pornographic sex when having sex for the first time, which is a new phenomenon.

Water for Elephants, which is a book about circus sideshow freaks, had a sideshow where a woman exposed her breasts. The book was set in the early 1900s so it was a big freaking deal. And I just can’t imagine that married men nowadays would go crazy just at the sight of breasts. In the book there’s almost a riot – not because breasts are any less amazing then they were in 1900s but because they’re everywhere now. Can’t get close enough to the breasts at the sideshow stage? That’s okay, just hop on the internet and they’re just as close as you could want — you can even specify exactly what you want, shape, size, color, age, etc. It’s just a very different (distorted?) look at sex. And I’m just incredibly fascinated by what it’s doing to us personally and culturally.

Anyway… this was a ramble. To some up: Home good. People bad. Marriage impossible. Breasts boring. For the record, I totally don’t believe in that last one.

Rambling, Try to Keep Up

30×30 Update: #10 Down

Mayhem, mayhem, mayhem!

I was super excited that while I was in Portland with M, we got to go to a roller derby bout. I never even knew roller derby existed, other than the occasional mention on Clarissa Explains It All – someone’s mom played roller derby (Dangerous Debbie). But lo and behold, roller derby is alive and thriving in America.

I never made it to a bout in Baltimore, but after seeing Whip It, I was pretty thoroughly assured that it’d be right up my alley. Cute-skanky, skivvy-bearing outfits, racing around all fast, drinking, badass nicknames, physical contact and skinny rough neck boys – yeah, I think I might be into this.

The Portland bout was great. It was the Axles of Annihalation v. Slaughter County Roller Vixens. The AOA (which are the Rose City Rollers B-team) had the home team advantage but sadly they lost it to some out of towners from Washington. Ouch.

Highlights? The badass names. My favorites: I’maeat Yurbabies; Itsallova Yaface; Viagrra Falls; Twat Rocket; Scuttlebutt; and Mistress von Trample

And On Da Sligh has got to be one of the best roller derby players out there. (Turns out she was a hockey player, it showed.) She was flying by the others girls and got past any jam like it ain’t no thang.

There was the occasional bad hit, one girl ended up on the ground for a while. The hush that fell over the crowd didn’t help anything, because all you could hear was her. Awkward.

Part of me wants to step up my 30×30 challenge, to include making it onto a team. But with all the other things I have going, I think I’m okay settling with getting rowdy from the stands. My derby name? The Nether-Regions, I’d wear a blonde wig with thick braided pigtails – you know, very Dutch-esque. Wonk, wonk, wonk.

A few very bad photos.

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30×30 Update: #10 Down

Fuck My Life

Tonight was amazing, until it became a fucking nightmare less than amazing.

I flew into Chicago today, and my friend B met me at the airport. We dropped my stuff off at his place and then went to the vegan place around the corner. We split an awesome vegetarian BBQ wrap and I got to make googly-eyes at a guy in the corner table.

Afterward, we met up with B’s friends at a karaoke bar. I was having an awesome time, drinking and singing. Seriously, one of the genuinely best nights I’ve had out in a while. And to top it all off, this very, very cute guy was making eyes at me. Quite frankly, I felt like the uber-hot chick that I am. (I’m coming off being sick and gross for two and half weeks, so having admirers was a very good feeling.)

Eventually, I got around to talking to this guy. And it goes something like this,

Me: Yeah, I’m just visiting, I got into Chicago this evening.
Guy: Oh yeah? Me too, I’m here for a friend’s wedding.
Me: Oh no kidding, where are you from?
Guy: Baltimore.
Me: No fucking way! (I get really excited) I’m used to live there!
Guy: Yeah, yeah, I live in (wherever).
Me: Awesome, I used to live in Mt. Vernon.

Conversation continues but takes a turn for the worse.

Me: So what do you do in Baltimore?
Guy: Oh, what I do enjoy or for living?
Me: What do you enjoy?
Guy: I’m a bassist and play drums.

::FLASHING WARNING SIGNS ARE GOING OFF IN MY HEAD – WALK AWAY HEATHER. WALK AWAY RIGHT NOW. MUSICIANS ARE EVIL::

Me: Really? What kind of music, where do you play?
Guy: Dixie-land stuff, (he names some bands I haven’t heard of, phew). At the Windup Space and…
Me: What?!
Guy: What?
Me: The Windup Space?
Guy: Yeah, I used to do the sound there.
Me: Oh, fuck no.

I kid you not. I am hundreds of miles away from Baltimore, and I meet a guy, a guy who is into me, a guy I’ve been “flirting” with all night, a guy who is texting me right now at 2 am, from Baltimore who knows my narcissistic, cheating, lying ex-boyfriend, Adam. Even worse, when I tell him that I’m Adam’s ex-girlfriend, he kind of drops an, “oh… uh…” awkwardly, as if he knows who I am through some vicarious circle or he likes Adam enough not to want to say anything bad about him. FUCK ME. I HATE MY LIFE. Oh wait it gets worse, we converse a bit more about other musicians we mutually know, and then he’s all like, I shouldn’t say this.

Me: What?
D: Well, it’s weird.
Me: What?
D: Well, I’ve probably had like six people tap me on the shoulder calling me Adam.
Me: I don’t understand…
D: I’ve gone out, been out at bars and stuff, and people have tapped me on the shoulder thinking I’m Adam Hopkins.
Me: Are you fucking serious?
D: Yeah.
Me: Okay, this is too weird.

Conversation ends awkwardly and I slowly step away from the fire.

FUCK MY LIFE! How can I not escape Adam. Is his reach so far? (I bet that narcissistic fuck is just loving this.) I seriously, seriously was having an amazing night. I was seriously, seriously not thinking about Adam anymore. And yet, and YET this shit is brought to the forefront all over again. FUCK MY LIFE. For the love of God, I’m in CHICAGO, how is this possibly happening to me. This is why I LEFT Baltimore, so this bullshit wouldn’t happen to me. FUCK MY LIFE.

Update: you can tell how melodramtic i’m being from my liberal use of all caps. ahh alcohol. in retrospect, it’s not a big deal, just a terrible coincidence. He was very good looking. oh well.

Fuck My Life

Service

I’m couchsurfing in Seattle right now with M, and our hosts are having this shindig for their friend T. T was a photojournalist for the army in Iraq. He just retired and got back to Seattle, and he was sharing his photos with us tonight. He has over 200,000 photos and they’re amazing. And he’s unlike most men of my age – being that he’s about 5 years younger than me and my friends, and that I don’t hesitate to refer to him as a ‘man.’

It was a really amazing juxtaposition from when we first arrived at the house. It’s a super cool place, where 4 mid-twenties guys live, filled with ghetto blasters and a vintage 70s dentist chair. They have a he-man shooting range on one end of their ping pong table. M and I talked about how our childhood toys were no where near as cool. Our host equally agreed and said we probably got the shaft on toys as girls.

For some reason, while watching T’s photo slide show, I got thinking about male privilege. And while this may be a stretch of an argument, I can’t help but think all American men should be required to serve. Generally speaking, the average white male is going to lead a life of privilege – they’ll get paid more, they’ll advance faster, they’ll have more options available to them in nearly every facet of life, they’ll accrue more power and wealth more easily than a woman or minority. And everyone talks about making things equal, but I’m starting to think, screw equal. You know what, I’ll keep making less money then a man, if that man does his “masculine” duty and defends me and my country – and more so HIMSELF, HIS PRIVILEGE and HIS COUNTRY.

I’m not sure if I wholeheartedly agree with this or if it’s just a feeling right now. I’m pretty much a pacifist, so the idea of war and killing and whatever, is pretty much against everything I believe in, and the idea of forcing someone to do so (via mandatory enlistment is dreadful.) But if men are going to have all these advantages for being born a certain way (white and male), the very least they could do is live up to them. They could earn them and at least “deserve” the special treatment that is being handed to them anyway. Granted, most men don’t think it’s their fault since they were born into it (just like everyone else was born into their position of disadvantage); and thus, shouldn’t have to do anything to fix it. I just don’t agree with that train of thought. I think people in a position of power — by default or earned — have a right to help those more disenfranchised.

I don’t know, I’ve been thinking a lot of strange thoughts. I guess I’m at a threshold, trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life and what that means. And I’ve been around a lot of privilege recently – I am aware that I’m coming from a position of that equally to – but I’m just getting more and more frustrated from it. What can I do? And why aren’t more people asking themselves that question?

Side note: When people see I’m typing on a computer, why do they insist on talking to me, as if I’m not doing something?

I think I’m ready to move to the countryside and live as a hermit. Solar panels. Garden. High speed internet. Making pretty things. Self reliant.

Service

30×30 Update: #21 Down

There was once a time in my life when I was in love with wine. I sold it, I tasted it, I drank it, I bought it, I paired it, I poured it. I absolutely reveled in it. I fantasized about making labels and settling down in the countryside with a few acres of vines on a sloping hill where I nibble on dirt and talk about terroir to other oenophiles. I fantasized about writing verbose pages of critique about the aromas and taste (a forward nose of dark jam with a lasting finish of black currant and a hint of clove with the body of a plus-size model: round, curvy and luscious), of always having a glass available in arms reach, of spending the days in a gentle wine-haze. And although my professional life took a different path, I am still enamored by wine. And will no doubt have a long (expensive) hobby to look forward to in my life.

While visiting Portland, OR, my friend, M, and I decided to go wine tasting.. This was my first time (the one in central, NY just doesn’t count) visiting wineries I actually knew and had tasted before. We went to Willamette Valley and tasted Beaux Freres, Penner Ash, Adelsheim and Chehalem. This area is great for elegant, French-style Pinot Noir (personally, not my cup of tea) and the wines were fantastic as were the views and the tasting rooms (well, on one occasion at least.) Photos and notes below:

Tasting at Beaux Freres. My favorite was The Upper Terrace PN 2007 ($90/bottle) – the one I’m holding. For a PN it had good body. M just liked the silk quality, “it’s notable.” (Inside joke.) We had to make an appointment to go here, which seems weird but actually made the experience a lot more personal. We made nice chit chat with Rebecca and got to learn a lot more about the wines and vineyard, than at some of the other places. If you have the chance to go to an appointment-only tasting, they’re much better.

Posing outside Beaux Freres.

Yay, Penner Ash uses real French oak barrels. Yum! This probably only means anything to about 2 people reading this.

M tasting some of the Penner Ash reds – They make a “Rubeo” which is a Syrah, PN blend. I enjoyed it, Moe wasn’t as keen on it though. They were also one of the only places that had whites to taste, which was nice.

Penner Ash had an amazing tasting room, with a fireplace. This is my Romance novel cover courtesy of M.

Penner Ash definitely had the best view. Absolutely gorgeous.

M posing.

Me being silly.

Some tasty, plump Pinot Noir grapes.

The view of Penner Ash’s vines.

Adelsheim won out on best logo. This monogram is lovely in an art nouveaux kind of way. They had hazelnuts to cleanse the palette with which was cool ‘cept I’m not down with hazelnuts. They’re one of the oldest vineyards in the area (5th family in the area), but I didn’t fall in love with any of the wines. Although, after this one, I was definitely starting to feel it after having spent the early afternoon drinking.

30×30 Update: #21 Down