(Below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 3/11/2017)
On Monday I had to cover for Angela. It was a very long day but I decided to go to the Balenciaga store in Soho after work to buy a black Balenciaga city bag, the one I have wanted since it came out, I think in 2002. The store is on Mercer Street so I took the subway to Canal Street and walked the rest of the way, which was still a pretty long walk but luckily I didn’t get lost. The store closed at 6pm that night so I was trying to walk quickly, since I had stayed at work until 5pm that day.
The store was quiet and a guard stood just inside the door and greeted me when I walked in. I walked down a flight of stairs because I didn’t see any handbags on the top floor. They were all downstairs and they were all so beautiful. So many Balenciaga purses in so many different shapes and sizes and colors.
I was greeted by a male salesperson and then a blonde, female one who asked if I was finding everything OK. I asked about a Balenciaga city bag that I saw on a shelf in red, but asked if they had one in black, and she went to look for it.
The saleslady was refined, calm, quiet, pristine, and confident. I never felt more rough around the edges before in my life. I had a rushed, harried air about me, and my hair was in a curly, low ponytail. I was wearing a cheap, black cross body purse, and I spoke more loudly and hurriedly than she did.
She asked if I owned any Balenciaga bags and I said no, that I have wanted one for many years. She brought out two bags with different hardware styles and I picked the one I liked the best. It was slouchier and less structured. She asked if I wanted anything to drink, like water or coffee. I thought for a moment and said no, that I was fine.
She went to see if the bag I wanted was in stock but it turned out that the display bag was the only one left. She invited me to inspect it and said she would never sell me my first Balenciaga bag if it wasn’t in excellent condition. She was so calm, cool and collected. And she brought out a little form for me to fill out and sign so that they would have my ‘profile.’ She was also very gentle when opening/handling the bags.
When the form was filled out, she invited me to sit on a black leather bench and gaze upon some very expensive shoes. She asked if I would like her to package the bag with the stuffing still inside, which I thought was kind of odd, but said yes that was fine. She told me the total of what the price came to, a little over $1,900, and I gave her my credit card.
She asked for my ID as well, which I wondered if was standard but assumed it was, and she ran my card and asked me to sign. She handed me a beautiful, pristine white shopping bag (with ‘Balenciaga’ printed on the front in black, block letters) which held my lovely, new purchase. She gave me her business card, for if I had any issues or questions, and asked if I wanted to be handed the receipt or have it placed in the bag. So much formality.
I said that in the bag was fine, and thanked her a lot before going back up the stairs where the guard held the door open for me to leave. The saleslady had also tried to sell me some $30 bag cream to rub into the leather periodically to smooth it out after it starts to show wear. But I told her I would come back for that another time.
Honestly I don’t know if I will. I kind of want the bag to look a little worn after some use so that it adds to the character of the bag’s look. And I do plan to use it daily so I assume that wear will likely happen. I bought the purse as a late Valentine’s gift to myself. Last month I didn’t really have the money for it.
The title of this post is a line from the song ‘Pleasures of Soho’ by the Soho Dolls, which I had stuck in my head while walking on the way to the store.
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 7/28/16)
Last night was the Garbage concert on their tour for Strange Little Birds. And as usual it was epic, incredible, amazing, beautiful, inspiring, uplifting and so fulfilling and entertaining. I bought a VIP package in which I had access to a three song sound check, and a Q and A with the band, along with early entry access to the show. Also as part of the package, I was given a Garbage bracelet, a poster and a VIP laminate necklace. It was so much fun and so awesome. It was a long wait but I started getting excited listening to the sound check.
Before we were allowed in officially, I could hear the band practicing ‘Night Drive Loneliness’ which sounded so beautiful live, I tried to just block out everything around me but the sound of Shirley’s voice. While I was in the lobby, they were also practicing ‘shut your mouth.’ It was just so cool, I always love hearing Shirley’s voice in person. It is so powerful and just one of the most gorgeous sounds on earth.
We got access to the sound check and that was great too. They sound checked with ‘Beloved Freak’ and ‘Stroke of Luck’ and I’m trying to remember the third song. Then the band sat on the stage in front of about 13 of us VIP fans at the front.
A female couple from Brazil was front and center and one of them started to cry. Shirley asked if she was crying and then got up to hug her. It was sweet. A few people asked questions but it was a bit hard to hear them. Garbage mentioned not wanting to take part in 90’s band package tours, as they prefer to be on their own tour. Butch was not there due to being sick, so it was just Shirley, Steve and Duke on stage.
Then at the end I finally got to ask my questions. I said that I had heard them say in interviews several times that New York City is one of their favorite cities in the world, and I was curious about why they loved it so much.
Steve answered my question and said that he grew up in Westchester (which I didn’t know) and as they stayed in NY currently, they loved taking a boat to see the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks I think, and that there was a particular place that they liked to go to eat. I told Steve I didn’t know he grew up in Westchester.
I asked my second question to all three of them, which was- what was their favorite song on Strange Little Birds. One of them said ‘favorite track on the new record’ which I think was Steve to Duke, and Duke said he loved all the songs but especially ‘Night Drive Loneliness.’ Shirley then answered, first time ever that she spoke to me!! She said that they meant for the record to be played from beginning to end and be heard as one whole piece and they considered it to be a vinyl.
She mentioned that it’s very dangerous the way society has been moving towards not having any attention span and that everything is in bits of information and consumed in 140 characters (for example). I said, “Exactly.” She ended by saying that she would have to agree with Duke and say that every song is her favorite, and then she smiled at me. I smiled back, tried not to look too nervous and then looked at Steve for his answer. He said his favorite song was ‘Sometimes” because it was interesting to see everyone collaborate on that song and agree to have it on the record.
After he was done, I said to them all, “I just want to say thank you…for everything you do, and everything you are.” I made sure to emphasize my words and speak slowly. And I sort of made a gesture of my hands over my heart. They all smiled and looked a bit embarrassed and then Shirley looked up at me and said ‘Thank YOU’ while raising her eyebrows and with a serious expression and it was just a surreal and amazing moment that I will never forget. I don’t think I ever smiled so hard in my life.
After that, the band got up for the meet and greet pictures with the fans who had bought that part of the package. I unfortunately hadn’t, which I was really regretting, so me and one other girl were given our posters by the concierge, Emily and sent out to the lobby. I thought how incredible it would’ve been to have my picture taken with the band.
One day I will do so, but I think would prefer that Butch were present as well, so I could have a picture of myself with the entire band. I took the chance while I was waiting, to buy two band t shirts and to roll up my poster and secure it with a hair tie I had around my wrist.
I wish people could understand my love for this band, the people in it, and the treasure of their musical catalogue. They have very sincerely blessed my life, made me feel like someone out there was like me and sees and processes the world the same way that I do. They are totally insightful, eloquent, and articulate in each of their interviews and it’s just a revelation. I am so happy that they all exist and have blessed so many with their gifts. Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig, I love you with all of my heart.
There are no words to describe the feeling I got when at the end of the show, Duke came close to the end of the stage to hand guitar picks out to the fans up front. And he handed one to me! So much joy! My life felt complete at that moment and I probably could’ve died happy. I was so excited it was kind of crazy. I loved him for that and thanked him on Instagram, I will try to tweet him as well.
I left them several comments on their Instagram pictures saying ‘Your music lights the way for us all, thank you’ and also ‘Shirley, your voice soothes my aching soul. I hope you never stop creating beauty in this world that needs more.’ I hope they see my comments.
After the fact of buying the VIP package, I learned that I could’ve brought a gift for the band, like a card or a letter and handed it to Emily the concierge, to give to the band. She said she’d make sure the band got the fans’ gifts. But I didn’t know that was allowed, and therefore didn’t bring anything and that made me sad. But there is always next time.
One of the fans I met outside, Jason, said that the band was planning an anniversary tour for their Version 2.0 album, in which they would sing that album in its entirety, like they did with the 20 Years Queer tour for the Garbage album. I really hope that happens.
Shirley was absolutely amazing on stage- energetic, so forceful, so emotional and so beautiful. She is true, genuine, and beautiful on the inside and out. She is flawed and able to laugh at herself. She is at ease with herself and confident, while also just being a woman, real and at times jealous and insecure. She is just all around wonderful. And I think at one point during the show she looked at me directly and smiled. I simply adore her.
I adore her as a human being, I love all that she stands for, the meaning and beauty and comfort she has brought to my life over so many years, the way she thinks, her insights, her love for her fans and her constant appreciation and the way she stresses that the band’s work is not a one way street, that we are all a part of it. I also love that she pointed out to us that although the world seems dark and dangerous, there is still so much beauty in it and good things in it to enjoy.
I think the band mentioned the possibility of releasing a book at some point, maybe an autobiography or a memoir? I couldn’t hear the fan question too clearly but Steve said something like ‘it’s going to happen’ and Duke made a joke about them all getting in a room and writing together. It’s lovely to see them laugh and joke around with each other.
They are just down to earth and the coolest people alive, in my opinion. I hope they really do write a book! And I’m so happy that they are releasing music on their own label now- StunVolume, so that they get to decide the course of their careers and aren’t told what to do. I think this has led them to their best record to date- Strange Little Birds.
Prompt: List 50 Wishes
1. I wish to make friends with like-minded people
2. I wish to retire early
3. I wish to travel to Japan
4. I wish to travel to Italy
5. I wish to travel to Spain
6. I wish to travel to Greece
7. I wish to fall in love again
8. I wish to become more confident
9. I wish to become stronger mentally
10. I wish to become stronger physically
11. I wish to meet Shirley Manson
12. I wish to see Garbage in concert again
13. I wish for a vacation spent at home with no place to go
14. I wish for a secluded cabin in the woods
15. I wish to become an author of several books
16. I wish to own a bookstore or stationary store
17. I wish to have a popular blog
18. I wish for happiness in my life
19. I wish for simplicity in my life
20. I wish for purpose in my life
21. I wish to have complete independence and autonomy
22. I wish to read more books
23. I wish to live without distractions
24. I wish for more energy
25. I wish to meditate frequently
26. I wish to exercise regularly
27. I wish for Ipod speakers that you don’t need to charge
28. I wish for new books about clearing clutter
29. I wish for new books about journal writing
30. I wish for more adventures in my life
31. I wish for less anxiety in everyday life, and more ease with breathing deeply
32. I wish to have more fun in my life
33. I wish for the simplicity of the life I currently lead to continue
34. I wish libraries could be open on Sundays
35. I wish I knew how to cook more healthy meals
36. I wish I was more adventurous and spontaneous
37. I wish to find work that interests me and engages me
38. I wish for as much peace and quiet as I can get
39. I wish for my niece and nephew to live life true to who they are
40. I wish to live without anyone’s influence
41. I wish to continue to make my own decisions without worrying about letting people down
42. I wish to get enough sleep on a regular basis
43. I wish to find a good hair dresser so I no longer need to blow dry and wash my own hair so often.
44. I wish to have the security of a large savings account
45. I wish for a new pair of black jeans that fit well
46. I wish to clear out my home of anything old and/or useless
47. I wish for people to stop trying to tell me what to do or how to be
48. I wish for my parents to find hobbies to bring them joy and help them pass the time
49. I wish to have peace of mind
50. I wish for the courage to say how I really feel, all the time
(Entry below was handwritten on 10/25/2015)
Last night was the Brooklyn stop on the 20 Years Queer Garbage tour, where they are performing the entire first album for the first time as well as all the b sides released between 1995 and 1996. The show last night was in Flatbush Brooklyn at Kings Theatre, a historical, huge theater that was recently renovated.
It’s a pretty spectacular place. Even Shirley Manson had to comment on how it all took their breaths away when they walked in the first time. I was in Section 3, row Q, seat 14. I had an extra ticket so I gave it to a guy who was standing outside asking if anyone was selling a ticket. I offered it to him for free, just so I could have someone accompany me. He was nice and normal enough, and bought me a drink to thank me.
My seat was pretty good, but I still wished to be closer to the stage to get a better view of Shirley. Those spots are always difficult to get. I missed the opening band, Torres, but I didn’t mind that much. I was there for Garbage. Dom, the guy I gave my extra ticket to, said he saw Garbage the previous night in Long Island and that their set started around 9:10pm. But the band came on pretty much on time in Brooklyn.
Before they came on, a large projection showed a short clip on how life was in 1995, and everything that was happening in the world then, along with some clips of Garbage in candid moments backstage. It ended with their most recent publicity shot, one band member appearing at a time, and the white screen stayed up throughout the first song, a b side, ‘Subhuman’.
It’s always a real treat to hear them play live. The music just fills my body and makes me feel so joyful and alive. I wasn’t as close as I would’ve liked to be, but I could still see Shirley’s face and make out that it was her. Her hair is short again, almost to her shoulders, and is dyed a bright pink. She wore a pink sheath type dress with black stockings and black arm cuffs, and a long necklace with what looked like a jeweled lion’s head pendant.
She was sweet and humble and funny as usual, saying how she was told once that Garbage is not a Brooklyn band, to which she replied, ‘What the fuck does that mean?’ She told the audience that they were now playing in Brooklyn, which proved that person wrong, and she said something to the effect of “That’s why you must never think of yourself, the way other people think of you. People try to keep you defined in this little box of their idea of who you are.” And she is right, of course.
That is the whole philosophy of the band, to be an individual, regardless of whether or not that makes you an outsider.
It was strange and wonderful to hear Shirley sing songs from the first album, like ‘Not my Idea,’ ‘Dog New Tricks,’ ‘Sleep,’ and b sides like ‘Trip My Wire’ and ‘Driving Lesson.’ Many of those songs I had never heard live and had only seen them performed on old VHS tapes of concerts from their first tour that I bought on Ebay.
Listening to all those songs: ‘Supervixen,’ ‘As Heaven is Wide,’ ‘Stroke of Luck,’ transported me back to being 16 years old and discovering the band and so many other things back in 1995. It was a strange feeling because I instantly remembered the mindset I had back then, all my longings and insecurities, and all my naiveté about the world- the real world outside of my school.
My world, mentally was so small and limited at that time. And while I have grown considerably, that lost, lonely 16-year-old girl still exists inside me, the one who just wants so desperately to experience love and maybe even more-so, lust and passion. Garbage vocalized all those desires I had so perfectly in that first album, as well as all of my frustrations about feeling misunderstood, a misfit without any idea of what it meant to have friends or enjoy my youth.
I was way too busy intellectualizing it all the time, trying to find rationalizations for things, and trying to express a mass jumble of feelings and emotions through journal writing and poetry writing. The lyrical content of those first Garbage songs just really spoke to my soul, spoke the words that I couldn’t find a way to say myself, and resonated with my heart on a very deep level.
Shirley Manson always amazes me, she always puts on a killer show and entertains the hell out of her audience, and does it always humbly and with grace. She is a beautiful person, but still real, and she has more energy on stage than any 25-year-old would have.
I watched her and realized that she lives in a world separate from mine. Mine is mundane, while hers is full of creativity and self-expression and glamour and fantasy. I despaired knowing that even though this band and their music has had such a profoundly positive affect on me throughout my life for the past 20 years, they will never know who I am or acknowledge me in any way. And that I can only admire them from afar.
I thought about what I would do or say if I had bought one of those meet and greet packages where you get to meet the band, get something signed and take a picture with them. And I imagined that I would be so starstruck and tongue-tied that I’d barely be able to string two words together coherently. But it would still be so amazing and a miracle to actually speak to them face to face. I think the excitement of that would totally overwhelm me, but it would definitely be worth it.
Garbage is supposed to come out with a new album next year. If that happens, I hope I’ll muster up the courage to buy one of those VIP meet and greet packages so I could finally meet the band that I have idolized and adored for much of my lifetime, and which I will continue to love and find the deepest comfort in, in years to come.
This deep connection I feel to their music and their message will always be a fundamental part of who I am . And will always be a major source of joy and inspiration in my life.
“you must never think of yourself
the way other people think of you.”
(Entry below is an excerpt from one that was handwritten on 9/26/2015)
I’ve really been into listening to Rose McGowan’s new song, RM486, and watching the video. I find the song inspiring and thought-provoking and the video as well. It’s unapologetic-ally in-your-face artistic, and I respect and appreciate that. I love people who are not afraid to be themselves, and express themselves.
People who are true artists don’t care what anyone thinks of them. They just do whatever they are compelled to do. I love having this whole weekend for me, to do or not do as much as I please, to meditate, appreciate where I am in life, and feel hopeful for a positive direction for my life to take.
There is a lot of potential and possibilities for me, and I wasn’t seeing it. Suddenly, something like a new, beautiful song can awaken you, and make you see things from a different perspective.
I try to tell myself that instead of change being scary, it can be refreshing. It can invigorate you and wake you up to reality and truth. Rose McGowan is 42, has no children, and is a total badass. She is an artist, living on her own terms only. There isn’t any set formula for how a person should go about living their life.
A person can explore many identities if they choose to. They can choose to throw away all the old things in their surroundings and start fresh. It’s really a simple thing to realize. But there are options in life, everyone’s life.
This is what Rose McGowan said in an interview about her new song, RM486. I love her response-
Interviewer- ‘What do you want people to take away from this song?’
Rose-‘I just want people to take away freedom. That you can be free. You can do anything you want, you can create anything you want, you can be anything you want, and it’s completely okay and better to be different, in fact. I think if we’re just 10 percent more artistic in our lives, great things can happen. That’s all!’
(Entry below was handwritten on 4/23/15)
Prompt: Writing makes me..
Writing makes me happy, makes me feel like myself, makes me feel that I am leaving a mark on this world- leaving behind a legacy. No one may care after I’m gone. But I still write because it is a must. I have to do it. I don’t have a choice.
I enjoy it so much that I sometimes wish I could call in sick to work to spend the day with my journal, writing books and writing prompts for inspiration. I write when I should be sleeping, like right now. But writing now allows me to sleep better, to unload my mind.
Writing makes me discover what I’m thinking about, obsessing over. Writing seems to give meaning to my life, which at times can feel so small and pointless. Writing makes me feel connected to the energy of the universe- to get the feeling that I do play a role in it and have a right to participate fully in life.
Writing makes me feel heard, as there are so few people in life who actually listen. Writing makes me feel accomplished, whole, connected to who I am and who I was at other stages of my life. Writing is the common thread that has always been there for me throughout my life. I would be lost without it.
Writing makes me relax, helps me breathe more easily, reminds me of who I am, reminds me that I can be creative. Writing allows me to have a deeper awareness, to question things, to work out thoughts or problems, to have epiphanies. Writing makes me feel good about myself, makes me feel that my thoughts matter and have importance.
Writing shows me that my whole mood can change, just by focusing on an activity that gives me pleasure. There are still so many new experiences to be had, lived, written about. There is still all of my life ahead to explore and discover, and I need to learn how to ‘never say never’ because I can’t predict the future.
Writing makes me feel blessed to have a working mind, to have abilities, intellectual interests and stimulations. Written words are beautiful, they are captured energy. Writing is a simple pleasure that reminds me of simpler times when I didn’t have many worries weighing on me.
Writing makes me hopeful, makes me anticipate upcoming adventures, however small and solitary, that I can enjoy describing later in my journal. Writing is something that never gets old or stale. It is always fresh, relevant and exciting. Writing arranges my brain in a way that makes it easier for me to get on with living.
Writing always makes me feel like a fascinating person, exploring her talent.
(Entry below is an excerpt of a handwritten entry from 2/18/15)
I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo which has been really enlightening for me. I got rid of, threw away and donated tons of crap: DVDs, books, VHS tapes I never watched, a bag full of clothes, costume jewelry and shoes, clear plastic sleeves holding magazine pages that I saved in a binder but rarely looked at.
I even went through my Ipod and deleted old songs and albums I no longer listen to, and songs that take me back to the past in a negative way, bringing up memories that I’d rather forget. I consolidated my storage space as well, by following the author’s tips on how she stores handbags inside other handbags (to help maintain their shape) and how she folds t-shirts. I folded a lot of t-shirts and placed them neatly in a drawer, which freed up a lot of closet space instantly.
While reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I was already considering all the things in my possession that didn’t bring me any joy at all and how much I couldn’t wait to be rid of them. This is a book where you have to stop several times while reading because it’s so convincing that you can’t wait to get started clearing out your old stuff.
I immediately went through my closet and pulled out things for donation that I knew I didn’t love, didn’t wear, and had been meaning to get rid of for so long. I could suddenly recognize them as definite clutter. I could never seem to take the last step berfore, but this book somehow did the trick. The author helps you deal with feelings of guilt for items never used or money wasted or things kept out of a feeling of obligation, like unwanted gifts from others.
The advice is so clear and absorbing that it just ends up making perfect sense. This is one book that truly resonated with me and I am reading it now again for the second time. I also went through and read all the reviews of the book on Amazon.com, just out of curiosity about how others went about their clutter clearing journeys. And how their lives changed as a result.
I think it’s good to clear things out because it creates the space for something new- or a new idea or perspective to come in. I still want to work through my kitchen drawers which tend to collect a good amount of junk. It was a relief to go through my cupboards the other day and throw away a bunch of bottles of vitamins and spices that had expired.
I’m more interested now in the fresh and the new, in what’s to come in the future rather than what has been in the past. If I continue to evolve for the better, so the circumstances and people in my life should follow suit and be better for me than anyone or anything that has come before. I have so much more space now in my home thanks to Marie Kondo, even though I thought I was already pretty minimalist.
(Entry below is an excerpt that was handwritten on 11/21/14)
I sometimes wonder, am I just happier and better off on my own? Without anyone making demands of me? Some days I feel I’m too lazy to be in a relationship. I’d rather sleep or rest or read or write or exercise, then get dressed up and go out. Staying in is usually way more fun.
Like tonight. It’s Friday night, and after a rejuvenating nap after work, I got so much done. I sent out a few emails, did a workout, did a meditation, took a shower, put away laundry, washed dishes, had dinner, and now I’m writing.
Sometimes, usually, I want to be writing but then there doesn’t seem to be much to say. I remember when the writing urge used to take me over completely. I let it take over me without worrying that I may be missing out on something. The words that emerged from my own mind were way more interesting than any book I could read or any movie I could watch.
I would not procrastinate on it. I’d simply sit and get to it whenever the feeling struck me, and I was always inspired to write often, and a lot. I went through and completed many journals that way.
I think I’ve come a long way this year. I remember how it feels to be happy on my own again and to have peace of mind. People grow only at their own pace, when they feel ready. This is not something that can be forced by another person- no matter how much that person wants the best for the one they are trying to help.
Maybe my journey through this life requires my being alone in order to learn the things I need to learn- and to do the things I came here to do. Life is a mystery, but I feel that people over-complicate it. People should simply pursue what brings them happiness- even if those things are not the norm: like being solitary, introspective and observant.
I think people beat themselves up way too much over things that can’t be controlled, and torture themselves for not being a certain way that they want to be. It’s good to want to improve oneself, but not at the expense of the true self. A person should never try to go against their primary nature and natural inclinations.
I think if you accept yourself as you are, you can find contentment and peace of mind. You have to be who you are, even as the world and people around you, and family try to make you become the person they see you as.
I need my solitary pursuits and my pursuits of inspiration and spiritual satisfaction. It’s only one life that we get, and we need to let ourselves live in the best way we see fit. Maybe some people are born to make a big impact on the world, to affect it deeply.
And maybe others are here to take in as much as they can, to learn through experiences, to absorb information from others, from books, from creative endeavors, from work and from play.
Everyone plays in their own unique ways. Some play through work, or sports, watching films, writing, dancing, singing, completing little self-created projects, trying experiments in living, volunteering, giving to others, enjoying live music, creating music, journalling, laughing with friends, trying new and thrilling experiences, or simply breaking their routines.
I don’t think there is any wrong way to play as an adult. We are all free to be and do what we want, and we owe it to ourselves to explore those things and ask ourselves honestly: what do we really want?
(Entry below is an excerpt of a handwritten entry, written on 12/6/14 a little after 1am)
I try not to fear having many regrets in my old age about my life. I feel I’m doing the best I can with what I have been given. It’s not in my nature to be an extrovert with many friends and constant social outings.
It’s not in my nature to be a thrill-seeker. I prefer the quiet and contemplative side of life. I enjoy observing the world and wondering of my place in it, and I need to stop telling myself that there’s something wrong with that, or with me.
I get so happy when I have a free weekend with no social obligation to attend to and no work to do. I can just be free and enjoy being me and doing whatever I want to do. No one can tell me what to do or not, and I don’t have to answer to anyone.
For me, the written word was my first true love, and there are always more books to read, more things to learn, more experiences to write about, more writing topics and prompts to discover that can inspire more reflection.
There are always people around to observe, and to learn from. People complicate things, expect life to be perfect but it never is. So I take note of the little things- the little pleasures and luxuries that are wonderful but are often taken for granted:
Like the gentle beauty of nature, a beautiful song, a delicious meal, a good nap or a good night’s rest, the unconditional love of family, sleeping in, working out, reading a good book or article, watching a movie that makes you think, discovering a new interest or talent, throwing away old junk and clutter, helping other people in some small way, having a healthy mind that can learn and absorb information, having a healthy body to carry you through the world.
I know things are good for me and I have everything I need. So I just need to always remind myself not to compare myself to other people, and just live one day at a time.
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 7/26/14)
It’s Saturday afternoon and it’s raining. So I’m glad I got my errands out of the way. Yesterday I went to a poetry reading for the first time in a long time. It was at a bookstore and was hosted by Afterword magazine. I took 3 free copies of back issues that were being offered, and also showed up hungry so I ate a lot of the cheese and crackers and pepperoni slices they were offering, along with some red wine. They didn’t seem to mind though.
I started chatting with John, the editor-in-chief, and his friend, Pat, also a contributor and part of the staff. We talked about my town and Jersey City, and this Lowe’s theater there that shows many classics like Hitchcock and Carrie and movies like that. I don’t know what John’s day job is, but Pat said he was a train conductor. They were both personable and friendly. And it made me feel comfortable to talk with them.
I told Pat how I used to write a lot of poetry, but haven’t written much lately, so I hoped that I would be inspired by coming to a poetry reading and listening to other people’s words. I told him how that usually works to inspire me and it ‘opens the mind.’ He agreed enthusiastically.
We talked how summer is so busy with friends and family events, and how John hoped people would show up to the reading. They plan to have another reading in October, to celebrate the release of the next issue. John has been publishing Afterword since 2008, which I found impressive.
The reading started late, and I found I was the only female there in attendance, with about 8 guys. Most of them read their work. They were good readers and their poems were interesting. And they even started a ‘collaborative’ poem, in which each person passed around a piece of paper with a poem (a few lines) that John had started, so that everyone could add their own couple of lines. That was fun to do and something I’ve never seen done at a reading before.
The poetry had many of the same themes- loneliness, isolation, heartbreak, some humor, human observation, anger, outrage. All in all, I was glad I attended and was exposed to different perspectives and new images. I was glad for the chance to get out of my own head for a while, and realize that everyone feels fucked-up every now and then. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
This afternoon, the library was closed so I sat here on my couch and read the 3 issues of Afterword that I brough home from the reading. It was nice to be immersed in poetry again, in the insights of other people. Reading the issues inspired me to write a poem called ‘Adulthood’ – it’s a few pages back before this entry. It’s a fairly OK poem, nothing great but also not terrible. It feels good to be able to write anything at all.
John read our collaborative poem at the end of the reading, and said it would be published in the next issue. When giving the instructions for the collaborative poem, he said to just write ‘whatever is in your head,’ so that’s what I did. I didn’t want to think about it too much and miss out on the poetry that was being read.
John spoke about the importance of creativity, and how the whole point of the evening was to spark the creativity of those who attended. And I think the reading was successful in that mission. He talked about how we all work our day jobs, but when he gets home, he picks up his pen and expresses himself creatively. He said we should all be creative, just for ourselves, just to add interest to our lives, and make them more fun. And he was right.
He said not to worry about writing for money or publication, or fame and fortune, however great those things may be, but just for the joy of it, to be creative just for creativity’s sake. And I found that I could completely agree, and relate. Even though I usually don’t write or create as often as I’d like to, I still long to do it. To listen to myself and rediscover who I am at this stage of my life.