Thursday, December 28, 2006


I'm ready to steer my future into the tide. I’ve been still in the current for a while now.

Stagnant, immovable, holding tight to things that used to work but have slowly but surely lost their purpose, their rightness, their veracity.

I was a heavy rock, misplaced and plunked into a lap pool. I caused imperceptible swirls around me which passed without my conscious permission. My so-called important movements foamed away and still I sat. I got nowhere, and the truth is, it was because I didn’t really want to.

I think that’s why things do or don’t happen to us in this life. Our wants don’t translate into what is actionable. We sit and we watch and we think the waves around us happen because we did something, because we weren’t just still. But waves happen regardless. We only impact their direction when we move ourselves.

Today, I convince myself that I am in control, even in the smallest of ways. This thought keeps me positive, elastic, open to the world of changing tides.

Four applications down, seven to go…

Next year at this time, there will be an alternate reality that I have chosen by flowing with the challenges to tunnel under hurdles. I will have moved, physically and mentally.

Moved away and moved on.

I wonder where I’ll be. I wonder who I’ll be. Who will know me and what I will find important once the rest of my body has caught up to my heart…

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Feel, again

I feel them. Those little creepers of sunshine piercing through Wednesday. They still exist. Ladybugs marching, small centipede feet. It’s on my throat and in my stomach. It’s the back of my head. These are hands out the window, feet in the water touches. There is no winter, only the prospect of spring. Bare shoulders and toes and warm rain cannot be so far away.

I feel them more and more, especially when I sleep, sound but in fits, lips parted, across the length of the bed. My blanket is chronically askew, backwards and jumbled. I create the folds in swift movements imperceptible to me, by no true fault of my own. Now no one’s here to tell me it’s wrong and it’s bad and it needs to be smoothed. Throat tight, eyes shut, feet to the wind…I’ve done it all but no more, not today.

No one can tell me that it’s impossible, that I’m impossible. I’m all I’ve got, so it doesn’t suit my soul to hate myself. To disbelieve my hopes and dreams is just that. I want to nap at one in the afternoon twice a week. I want strong coffee with milk at three in the morning, on a park bench, with or without someone else. I want the only lying to be on grass, I want to use my dog as a footrest when he’s sleeping and him to use my arm as a pillow when I am. I want to build a fort, I want to touch linen on my cheek, I want an outdoor shower, a homemade aquarium for sea snails, green apples in a bowl, wooden furniture. I want a well-tended garden that someone else weeds, to walk on weathered stones, to inhale lavender, to shut off my cell phone. I want the ribbon to hold fast in my hair and flowers in my fists before glass jars. I want to be good to the world. I want the world to be good to me.

Everything is within reach. Naysayers keep on; the gleam of the brass ring doesn’t fade. True, my eyes were on the floor for a while. I was averted all the way. Never again will I doubt myself knowingly and willingly. There is no one to fight for me; there is no one to fight with me but me.

Negativity breeds and then it’s screaming in your living room. It swells in your ears; you’re bad, you’re not worth it, you never were. You’ll never be good enough.

But who wasn’t good enough? You or that voice? The one that purported to know you and then cut you down. That bad man on your shoulder. The weight on your chest in the morning. The sleep in your eyes at all hours.

And you may ask yourself who will fight for you, with you, but you?

I feel the newness of liking again, the weightlessness of it all. Things are not as important as they seem, and then they are so much more than we could ever realize. Life in moments, in consciousness, in being kind and knowing when to contribute and when to fall away without hate in your heart.

Breathing deep is beautiful, the crushing burden of pain is bliss when it stops. It’s calm and flows, fingertip to fingertip. I spread my hands out to the city and let it radiate out. I give it to anyone who will have it in return. I give it to you but not to your little voice and not to mine. They don’t get to rule us anymore.

In return, they’ll let us stop spinning as long as we want, they smile back as they shrink, they’ll let us twist the blanket and they won’t say a thing...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Try, try again...

I took the GRE this morning and let me tell you, I did AWESOME…

…on the math.

What’s that? I’m trying to go to grad school for creative writing you say?

Right, that means I’ll have to take it again on January 8th. I actually did fairly well on the verbal, but to get to go where I want to go, I have to do fabulously (aiming, if you can believe it, for the 95% and above mark). I’m unfazed—you’re talking to a girl who had to take the SATs three, count ‘em, three times. Hey, no one ever said I was a good test taker. Or smart.

Luckily I have enough time to take it again. I called a few programs due around that time and they’re fine with reporting the scores after the manuscript is in. Now all I have to do is get the gumption.

I’m looking forward again, because this has been a rough year and 2007 has got to be better. New job and its stressors, long term relationship dissolution, parent battling a life-threatening disease, and applying to eleven graduate schools all happened within a three month period. In 2007, I’m going to take it s-l-o-w. Pool and star-gazing. Lots of cocktails served poolside by pool boys. Annabella and I already planned a week in St. Maarten for April and if all goes well, I’ll ditch the 9 to 5 for good in July. I’m promising myself a French bulldog in October for my birthday. Next Christmas, I plan not to invite cancer, thank you very much. That’s my plan, and I feel good about it.

Now to hell with dorking it out like I’ve been doing for the past month. Classes are over and I’ll study on my own time, which means cramming the day before and somehow pulling it off by the skin of my teeth.

Tonight, SushiSamba with a shimmering blonde and her shimmering brother. If all goes well, we’ll hit Milk and Honey and I’ll have fodder for a descriptive scene filled with fatty tuna, coiffed bartenders and artisanal raspberry coulis served atop a strong drink.

I’ll need it. It’s been a rough fall. But all that means is just picking myself up and steadying for the next. So I’m going to try again.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Can' test...just days away...solidifying my future...

Must...focus...algebra...permutations...long hideous passages on the historical relevance of gun powder tax...

Must...look away...from...kitten wars...

This is not working.

(Go to the top left and click on "winningnest kittens", if you're like, into that stuff)

Monday, December 11, 2006


Days began to run into one another. Commute, work, commute. Sometimes there were ramen dinners in Queens at the one apartment she found she could afford. Sometimes there were lectures from parents. Sometimes there were leftover bagels in the conference room and Avalon would save her powdered soup in the lower left drawer for the following day. Sometimes she drank a contraband grape soda in the ladies’ room, crouched over the toilet, gulping as the bubbles burned her nose.

Most times it was thudding across gray carpeting, hunching over a warm keyboard, straining by the florescent overhead, half-smiling at people who did not smile, half or otherwise, back. Suddenly, it was mid-September and kids had been at school for nearly a month, and Avalon, for the first time, was not.

Stewart insisted she purchase that new drug dealer video game, the one mothers condemned on the news, for his nephew, though Avalon took too long for such requests. The death of summer in the city was not something she had experienced before, not really. Outside the air swirled clean and clear. Days were sadly sun-drenched, shadows dappled across brick facades, branches bowed under the weight of beautiful afternoons. Moments outside became precious, pristine as the city cooled. She floated ethereal to the subway with the purchase and fought the unending urge to sprint, her skirt billowing behind, hair to the wind, to finish the line somewhere else. She breathed too hard, too often, inhaling too much, a guppy flopping by an overturned fishbowl, greedily consuming her freedom. When she returned, she placed the game on his desk, her cheeks flush, and Stewart asked what the hell was wrong with her. Avalon did not respond; she was afraid of what she might say.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Yesterday, our day went from super-late brunch on the upper west side to walking around--a bit too full on hot chocolate and organic BLTs, as the wind whipped strands of hair fixing fast to my lip-gloss-mouth (very attractive, I must say)--and then to the front of a movie theater.

It was serendipitous, because we didn’t want to part just yet. It was one of those rare moments when you’re just absolutely the conversation and can’t have it end. It was 4:35 and The Fountain was starting in fifteen minutes. I’ve been dying to see it for a while, but hadn’t been able to go with anyone yet, or really was unsure who I could see it with (after Requiem for a Dream I don’t think I functioned normally for about a week, my boyfriend at the time and I broke up shortly after, and I really didn’t need that to happen to any degree this go around, in a strange neighborhood no less) but figured this might very well be the time and this might very well be the person.

A litmus test. Were we willing to ruin a perfectly good day together with the possibility of walking out of the movie theater, never to look at each other again? Could our time together withstand Darren Aronofsky?

We had to. I had free tickets. It was a sign.

Inside, gold and black soft cell coloring. Rachel Weiz incanting, “Finish it” over and over again. Primate surgery. The lotus position. Lots and lots of the lotus position. Trees and their sexual life fluids.

I thought parts of it were awesome. Others I think I could tell they didn’t have the budget initially projected. Definitely depressing, but not as much as I had imagined.

We left, quiet for a moment, and then continued joking. We walked many blocks to the subway, light and laughing. We poked holed in the plot, not willing to speak about the bigger meanings of our world. It was dark by then, and very cold, and very much winter, and we didn’t want things to end philosophical. I decided I’d think about it on my own time. And so I’m thinking about it now.

And I feel a little funny today…waxing on the sadness of never-ending life, death and love…their purpose and everything after.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bottom Five

For some reason…I’m noticing things I don’t like today. As in annoying, get under my skin stuff. Drumroll please...

5. When they count in the song. Especially when they add an “uh” to the beginning of the numbers. As in “and uh one, uh two, uh one, two three!” Extra annoyed points for saying uno, dos, tres if the artist isn’t a native Spanish speaker. Come on, dude. Just stop it.

4. People who REFUSE to move when they are in front of doors, blocking the exit. Love this one particularly in elevators. We stop at a floor, you and your stupid briefcase are in everyone’s way, yet you stand there like a dingbat, blinking with this glorious “Who me???” look on your face when I shove you from behind. The button that made the elevator stop on this floor was pressed for a reason, now quit making me even grumpier that I have to be as I'm already well aware I'm going in to work.

3. Fergie’s humps.

2. That Dunkin’ Donuts coffee commercial with that ‘indie riff’ with all those actors with shaggy haircuts and hip glasses to make them seem ‘real’ who can’t decipher the language in which they are ordering their coffee, in song no less, “Is it French, or is it Italian? Maybe it’s Fritalian?” (At Dunkin’ Donuts, you order your coffee in English! So come on down!) I really hope no one abroad sees this, because it’s some heavy making-fun-of-Americans fodder right there. I mean, I hate Fourbucks with the best of them, but seriously, it’s not that hard to order a ‘latte’ instead of a ‘coffee with half milk’ is it?

1. Whiny twenty-something bloggers who have nothing better than to spit toxic instead of celebrating their good fortune. Oh…wait...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


To everyone, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.

We just found out.

At this point, it looks like only one node is positive (AMAZING NEWS!) and they will know more next week.

It's the best of a bad situation now. Thanks again for thinking of us. Happier posts from your misanthropic blogger to come...and improperly using even more GRE vocab as a bonus.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Positively Negative

Positive is supposed to mean a good thing.

In this case, it doesn’t.

One lymph node is positive (abnormal pathology, positive for cancer cells). There’s a question about the second one, a blip on the report that contradicts. My dad’s life hangs in that blip. My mom and brother and me, our lives too. They have to retest.

They sent him home without an answer.

If the other node is also positive, that’s the negative, bad outcome. That means a very tough course of radiation with a lower chance of getting through this intact. We won’t know until later this week.

So if ever you wanted to think thoughts that negate what could be positive, please think them now. We need your good negative thoughts and good negative prayers.

Send them this way, and hope that the power of positive thinking can not produce a positive result, but instead a positive outcome for him...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What You Make of It

"The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. . . . we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our attitudes."

-Charles Swindoll

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Beforehand, I had wine in the Gramercy Park Hotel with my advisor and a group of intellectuals. As such, they talked of intellectual things. In a certain regarded film studies department, a professor explained the ongoing research of his students. One was quickly emerging as a preeminent voice on Fat Studies. Yes, it’s called that, and apparently it’s really hot right now. Grants are being handed out like hotcakes for Fat Studies.

Another was the western influence on Turkish commercials of the early nineties, another was recording train sounds in South America, just train sounds, to highlight the impact of industry (how you ask? That remains to be seen). Excuses just to visit these places under the guise of thesis and research? You be the judge.

But the best, by far, was this: the symbiotic analysis of tampon commercials. With a long and verbose study entitled: Blood on The Page (Male Writers and Menstrual Sex).

This is not a joke.

So I went to my math class. On a Friday night, I went to a math class. Dorkery abound. I need the extra help for when I take the GRE on December 19th.

And then today I took a practice test on-line. My math score jumped 100 points. My verbal score was not so lucky. That one went down more than 120. I wondered why so I looked at my notes.

Without edits, I present to you the following, my shorthand, for one of the reading comprehension sections where we are to put notes in our own words for quick reference later:

Pocket vetos. Return. Pocket. Too much power?

No! Different. Support is pocket = democratic.

Flaw is loophole. People want president to just chill for congress. Pres wants to delay. People think he’s a jerk.

Leg. supremacy goal? Then pocket bad.

Deliberation goal? Pocket good. So it’s good.

Academia, here I come. And my dissertation on the role of jellybeans flavors on society may just be right around the corner…

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Blog, meet the beginning of very-rough-draft-needs-lots-of-work Writing Sample. Writing Sample, meet neglected blog. Now, can't we all just get along?

The books told Avalon to dress a position or two up. The books were wrong.

Though she was not on the marbled floor of the storefront, but somewhere deep into the in-house media and marketing department, the cream tones so integral to the brand had continued. Yet there was a marked difference between the rich paint and suede of the ground level and here, on the fourteenth. The walls bent bruised, scarred from deliverymen’s oversized packages. The carpet, dyed dark to disguise the amount of filth it contained, bubbled up at corners. Stacked cardboard boxes carved a labyrinthine path for the employees.

Avalon perched at the edge of the beige banquette, always a beige banquette it seemed, on the farthest side and watched workers enter. One thing envisioned and in glaring reality, another seen. No separates, coifs shiny as mink pelts, slim bracelets, peep-toe sandals. No power as tall postures, silver-haired bosses sashaying past well-stocked supply cabinets, swinging distressed leather briefs, settling in at new computers emitting a saturated glow.

Instead, grumbling employees, each arriving more rumpled than the last. They were hunched. Their eyes were rabbit-pink. They sipped from enormous cups and did not concern themselves with combing their hair.

Avalon wondered for a moment if she was in the wrong place. Surely this was not the Fortune 500 company of Mitchell’s, with its shimmering Fifth Avenue flagship. The oasis for the rich with its famed window displays. Where a gorgeous woman, by design or by dollar, could tip-toe in on crocodile stilettos led by a teacup pup with its nails painted orange—and as she swished past the revolving doors she’d giggle to herself that orange was the new pink—and she’d scoop potions, plumpers, glosses, laquers, vials of glimmer, creams as thick as butter, and small powdered squares of fuscia and turquoise before tossing her golden locks by the elevator to take her to the next floor, and the next.

She could see, as the reception area was a strange communal room that bore two florescent hallways, that even the interior offices did not look so nice as she had hoped. She walked the reception counter and waited her turn. A woman smiled, not warmly.

“I’m sorry, this is so embarrassing, but I don’t know who I’m supposed to see.” She resisted the urge to pick at her nails. “I think maybe we talked downstairs? From the lobby phone?”

“Hmmm. Are you Babylon?” The woman’s lipstick bled out from the edges of her mouth.

“Avalon. Avalon Shaner.”

“Wooo. I was going to say…” the woman laughed and then frowned. “Still strange though.”

Avalon stretched a smile thin.

“You’re here to see Pam right?”

“Yes!” She skipped a little. “That’s right. Pam. In HR.”

“Just a few minutes.”

She retreated to the couch. She did not do as usual (that would be to kick off her shoes and tuck her legs underneath her) and instead stared at her heels, the right one in particular, where a wide scuff had carved itself into the toe. She licked her finger and tried unsuccessfully to buff it out. It must have happened at the subway escalator when a middle schooler’s skateboard came crashing down on her feet. Or perhaps outside it was inside Grand Central; all hurried, panicked, green and confusing. Where businessmen swirled through throngs of gaped-mouthed tourists and clusters of students.

All her years of Christmases in the city, frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity’s, skating at Roc center under the glow of lit angel trumpets, her mother’s crisp Saks bags and the calfskin gloves that gripped them, her stepfather’s tweed hat dusted with frost, and her joy at every age, particularly when she was younger and had red patent-leather shoes, seemed very far away. A Connecticut girl’s impression of New York in a swaying winter, under the protection of boughs and a rabbit-lined hood couldn’t be further from August’s job search, swollen toes, bundles of papers and no clue how, or if, Broadway differed from West Broadway, East from West 12th, and Sixth Avenue from Avenue of the Americas.