Prompt: Write about why you want to write.
I want to write because my inner voice is incessantly chattering and I want to give it an outlet. I want to write because the physical act of writing is fun and feels good and natural to me. I want to write because when I do, I feel better about myself. I feel that writing is my purpose.
Writing allows my voice to be heard and improves my mood. I want to write because writing makes me feel important, and happy. Writing is the easiest way for me to express myself.
I want to write in order to leave a legacy of my own. I want to write in order to illuminate the shining moments in a mundane life. I want to write in order to leave proof that I existed. I want to write because getting a chance to have my say is refreshing.
I want to write because I have a unique point of view. No one has ever seen or will ever see the world exactly the way I do. I want to write because not writing is painful, and opening the floodgates through writing is a great release for pent-up emotions.
I want to write because of the way it soothes the raw places inside me. I want to write as a form of communication- in the hopes of forming a connection to other human beings. I want to write because I am flawed, but writing makes me feel powerful and in control. I want to write because I have a few empty, waiting, beautiful journals to fill with my words and my thoughts.
I want to write because writing is quiet. It’s a calm respite in an extremely loud world. I want to write to connect to my own inner stillness and peace. I want to write so that my thoughts have somewhere to go and rest. I want to write for the possibility that someone else may finally understand me.
Why do you want to write?
Prompt: Write about the happiest day of your life
The happiest day of my life was maybe a toss-up. I was happy at many times in my life, when I went to Paris and London, when I moved out on my own and had freedom. When I met a certain person. The greatest memory that stands out to me though was probably when I got to go to Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) for the first time with I— and we meditated together on the beach.
We asked if we could use these beds out on the beach that were used by the staff for giving massages. I felt peaceful and happy and complete because I was sharing something that brought me a lot of joy with someone I love. It was quiet, breezy and serene and I can’t remember ever having another moment that was as perfect as that. The first night we arrived we sat and watched the bonfire pit on the hotel grounds.
I felt amazed that my life had become like a dream. I felt I was at the most secluded spot, the edge of the world, and it was finally my time to have fun. My time to enjoy my life. I felt it was finally moving forward in the direction of my dreams. It was a high like no other.
When you meditate with another person, it makes the meditation process easier. And when you go away someplace tropical with a person you love for the first time, you realize how magical life can be and you remember that trip forever.
Prompt: I love to…
I love to be at home. I love to watch movies and listen to music. I love to escape reality. Maybe that’s not healthy. But I’ve always been more of a dreamer. I’ve always believed more in an idea of myself than in the actual person I am.
Because humans are limited and average and I never wanted to be that. I always want to believe in the possibility that I could be and have something more than a regular life.
I love to watch movies because interacting with people in reality is strained for me and always feels awkward. I try to change this but I find that every interaction I have is basically the same. I fear that people will not like me and find me strange, and I find it difficult to really relate to anyone.
Maybe I do not express myself well or come across as guarded, I’m not sure. But while people can open up to me about themselves, they rarely show any interest or pay attention to me when I start to speak.
Maybe that has to do with a lack of confidence in who I am, because I fear that person is not good enough and not like everyone else who is ‘normal.’ Maybe most people feel they are ‘off’ in some way, but they know how to manage/fake it long enough to have friendships and relationships.
It’s hard for me to find any common ground, or to feel confidence about my ‘offness’ and abnormality. I have never been able to keep up some sort of social mask that isn’t who I really am. I’ve always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve.
Affirmations are something that I could never really get into, but I suppose they do work for some people. You have to have discipline to remember to tell them to yourself. I saw a show once on TV about people who have won lotteries and how it changed their lives.
There was one guy who was reading a book about positive thinking, when he noticed an ad in the paper for a raffle. The raffle was $150 to enter to win a choice of one of two houses, or $1 million in cash. and he ended up winning and choosing the money.
There was another man on the same show who had an affirmation written on his bathroom mirrors. It said something to the effect of ‘You are looking at the source of all your happiness.’ I found that to be really interesting and really profound.
I think affirmations work a lot like gratitude, in that you choose to focus on the positive, instead of lamenting over the negative state of things in your life. You change your focus and expect the good things. And being thankful for the good things is always attracting more of those good things into your life.
When I say my prayers, I usually thank God for all of my blessings, because I know I am fortunate and I don’t take things for granted. It’s not good to pray just to ask god for help, you need to thank God as well for all he has done for you.
I am healthy and have a good job, a wonderful family, a loving friend. I know where my next meal is coming from. I have a roof over my head and a warm place to sleep, I am able to support myself. All these things are blessings and there are so many more.
I expect to always be taken care of by the universe. I expect good things and happy experiences and positive people, so that has to be my experience. I will not settle for less.
Prompt: Write about firsts
I remember the first time I became aware of existential crises. A friend in high school had parents who were divorced. She was troubled, a chain-smoker. We were walking down the street one day and she said she wondered what the point of life was. She wondered why we were here just to experience happiness at times and sadness at times and then ultimately we would just be dead.
It hit me because I was a worry-free teenager in school, just going along with life, taking for granted that my parents were still together and I came from a stable home. I became aware that other people struggle with thoughts like this that I had never paid much mind to before.
I remember when I first became acutely aware of my life, and of the passage of time. I was in college and had just arrived hom after some morning class or classes and it was about 2:30 in the afternoon. I felt the day very concretely. It was a brief moment as I was walking from the car to the house where I thought about my life and what I was doing with it.
I thought, ‘I’m in college, I’m earning a degree, I’m using my time productively right now.’ I felt that I was being purposeful in it and wasn’t wasting my time. I felt the sense that the day had passed, and I had used it in a way to propel my life forward, to work towards something meaningful. I used to have this obsession with keeping up with everyone else.
I’ve since realized that life is not a race, and it’s OK to go along your own journey at your own pace. In my 20s, I was in a rush to experience life. In a rush to complete college, get my first job, move out on my own. And in my 30s, I’m more reflective, more thoughtful about my choices and more aware of my life and the passing of time in a new, healthier way.
(Entry below was written sometime in 2010 before I canceled my cable)
I have become completely obsessed with that new show Storage Wars on A&E. I could watch it all day long. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s about people who go to auctions to bid on abandoned storage lockers (lockers kept by people who have failed to pay their rental bills for three months). The bidders get to look inside an open locker that is up for auction for 5 minutes, but they are not allowed to walk inside or open any boxes.
When they start bidding, they really are just guessing as to the actual contents of the locker that are not visible, if they are way in the back or packed up in boxes or covered by a sheet for example. It amazes me that people pay to store things, sometimes valuable things, and then don’t pay their bills which allows other people to bid for their things!
There was even a storage locker that used to belong to a famous rapper, so it begs the question, did he just forget that he had his stuff stored there? Because surely he was able to afford the bill to pay for the locker.
Anyway, some of the drama on the show is clearly manufactured, which is why I hate and can’t watch reality TV. Like the husband and wife bidding team where the wife is constantly bitchy and mean to her husband for no real reason other than to create drama for the cameras. There are a few ‘regulars’ that go around and show up at every auction and get very competitive with each other, so these guys are like the main characters of the show.
When they finally win a locker, the best part is watching them open up the boxes and explore the contents of the unit they just bought, having no idea what they will find. It’s like watching people dumpster dive without all the dirtiness and grime.
And I just think how I would love that, I’d be thrilled to go through some one’s disregarded things which are packed away in bags/boxes and forgotten about. After they take the things they think are valuable, the show follows them to appraisals where they find out what they bought is really worth and how much they can resell it for.
I don’t know what it is about used/secondhand items that give me such a thrill. Maybe I am meant to work at a storage unit place in the office, or at a thrift store. Or maybe I can own one and go through every one’s donations myself! I think that would be a lot of fun.
Like all those stories I read in Davy Rothbart’s Found books which were included some stories written by people who worked in used book stores and found all kinds of interesting and weird letters/photos inside of used books. They even found money at times. those Found books are so fascinating.
I remember once being in a really crappy mood and wanting to be by myself one day after work. I was walking home from the train with my boyfriend and suddenly we decided to go into a thrift store near my apartment. once we did, my whole mood changed. I felt happy and energetic and curious and really awake.
I don’t know what it is about used merchandise for cheap or free that does that to me. I guess it’s the thrill of the unknown. The thrill of finding that one perfect or valuable thing that you never knew existed, and that you now have a chance to own for yourself.
Here are a couple of performances I caught in Washington Square Park beneath the arch (while I was waiting for the to Bohemians and Beats of Greenwich Village Literary tour to begin)
Yesterday I took a tour called ‘Bohemians and Beats of Greenwich Village Literary Tour.’ It started at the arch in Washington Square Park and ended at the Strand Bookstore. Along the way we saw where several writers once lived, and enjoyed some of their poetry (courtesy of the tour guide) who read them from his Ipad. He also showed us pictures of the writers we discussed.
Among them were Allen Ginsberg, Edna St. Vincent Millay (one of my favorites), Edgar Allen Poe, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan. We saw the once home of Edgar Allen Poe and learned about his short life, his alcoholism and madness, and were treated to a short poem of his describing that descent into madness. Watching the tour guide trying to compete with all the noise of the New York streets and battle the heat of the 89 degree day was also a bit of a spectacle.
At the start of the tour, the tour guide asked, “So, how many of you currently live in the Village?” To which I replied “I wish.” And the tour guide said, “We all wish, honey,” which I thought was pretty funny. There were people from Long Island, New Jersey and one couple from Toronto on the tour with us. So mostly it was locals.
We stopped by the favorite hangouts of Kerouac and Ginsberg, saw the location of the first cafe to use snapping instead of applause for Poetry, it was called The Gaslight. They used snapping in order not to upset the neighboring tenants with their noise. And we stopped by Cafe Wha where Jimmy Hendrix was discovered. The tour guide told an interesting story about when he got to meet Ginsberg in the 90s at a reading, and had one of his first journals signed by the famous poet.
Things I learned: Ginsberg was homosexual and his poem, Howl was almost banned for its pornographic imagery. Edna St. Vincent Millay was openly bisexual, a free spirit and very beautiful, which made everyone at that time fall in love with her. She married a rich man and he took care of her in her later years, after many years of affairs and lovers of both sexes.
She also preferred to be called “Vincent” instead of Edna. Her middle name was in honor of the people at the hospital, St. Vincent’s, in which her uncle’s life was saved just days before her birth. Edna St. Vincent Millay died of an aneurysm after falling down some stairs when she was 55 years old.
I also learned that there is a door on the side of the arch in Washington Square Park. Apparently, years back, some artists climbed in and went up to the top to drink a lot of wine and party. We learned a bit about the area and small townhouses where NYU now keeps their faculty housed. It used to be servant’s quarters for the rich who lived close to the park.
The most expensive real estate in Manhattan is close to parks (like Central Park) because it’s the best place to get the most oxygen in the congested city. And we saw the townhouse where the movie, I am Legend filmed a scene. The townhouse was used as Will Smith’s residence after some zombies chase him under the arch in the park.
Also, on our way to the bookstore at the end of the tour, the tour guide explained to us that when we see bright orange signs and traffic cones blocking parking on the street, it means that a movie will be filmed there. We passed by a sign on a pole that indicated there would be a filming of a scene tonight, and it had the name of the movie on it but I don’t remember it. I regret that because I wanted to look it up.
The signs are there in case there are cars parked and they get towed due to filming, so that the car owners know who to call to retrieve their car. There were many of those signs up all around the area of McDougal Street
The beat poets were called beat poets because they were linked to the beat of the heart, tribal beats in their words, and the symbolism of being beaten down by “The Man” for not conforming to the rest of society in the way that they chose to live. I really enjoyed the tour and though it was very interesting, well worth the price.
Last night I attended my first class for the next course on my list to get my Certificate in Editing from NYU. It’s called From Writer to Reader: An Introduction to Book Publishing. And it’s taught by Esther Margolis. She founded Newmarket Press, I believe it was back in the 60s, when it was unheard of for a woman to do something like that.
She told some amazing stories. Like being the only woman in a sales meeting of 300 once, and getting to work with the Nobel Prize-winning poet Maya Angelou. Esther worked on the publicity for one of Angelou’s first books. And she created an event (to be covered by the press) in which Angelou would speak to school children in Harlem.
Maya agreed to do so on one condition. She asked Esther, ‘What will they pay to listen to me speak?’ and Esther said, ‘Maya, these are school children in Harlem, what do you mean?’ And Maya said ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s just 10 cents or a quarter. They should pay something because they will listen differently if they have paid to hear me speak.’
And Esther said it was one of the biggest lessons she learned in her career doing publicity for book authors. Maya Angelou is a poet who’s words I fell in love with in high school, and here was this woman who had worked with her, just casually telling the story as if it were anybody.
She said Maya was extraordinary though. And how could she not be? The kids ended up paying a quarter to get into the auditorium to hear her speak, and the money raised by her appearance did not go to her either, it went to charity.
We also watched a brief video about the publishing business, which featured Nikki Giovanni, another amazing poet that I love. And I actually never even knew what she looked like. I was encouraged by the way that the authors and editors described all the different facets of working in publishing, And how someone could tailor their particular interest into a career in it.
They can start as editorial assistants and move their way up all the way to senior editor, or someone could start in administration or HR or even in the legal side in the contracts department, or production, art, or many others. I know there has to be a niche somewhere in their for me. Right now I feel like it may be editing. but I’m not absolutely certain yet.
I guess it just takes getting your feet wet to see where you most want to end up. The first homework assignment is really interesting which seems promising for the whole course.
One summer night a long time ago, my boyfriend and I were walking through the city. It was rainy and misty outside and I kept fussing about my hair and worrying that it was getting frizzy and messed up. My boyfriend finally got fed up and said to me, ‘Who cares? life’s too short, just enjoy yourself.’ And for some reason, I really got the message. And felt foolish about my constant need for perfection and control of my circumstances.
I learned a big lesson that night. and I think of it often when I find myself fussing and stressing myself out over dumb little things. It’s not the end of the world if things don’t go just right, or just the way I planned or imagined. I really learned that from him. As everything that went wrong before in my life used to be like a big tragedy to me. And I wouldn’t let it go, bemoaning the unfairness of it all.
It was really immature and I’m not sure where I got that mindset from. It used to be (and still is at times) so hard for me to just let go of things and expectations and just relax and go with the flow. It’s something that I’m still working on in fact. And something that I hope I can improve about myself.
I remembered this lesson again recently when my boss asked me what my plans were for the Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t really have any plans so I told her that, and she suggested that I go to the beach. I said I wouldn’t because it was supposed to rain I think it was that sunday, and she said, ‘So who cares? You’ll get wet, just go anyway!’
And I thought, there it is again: the need for something to be perfect, at the expense of doing something just for the hell of it. Just to get away somewhere. And then I thought about the fact that I have never let myself get caught in the rain. I always seem to be prepared. And being so prepared for every little inconvenience in life is probably costing me some living.
So when I feel a deep need for control over something, I have to remind myself to let go and just let things be how they will be. Just because I spend one sunny day at home, it doesn’t mean that will be my last chance ever to enjoy a sunny day.
I could go out and be having the time of my life when I’m 36 or 41 or 47. I tend to have this all-or-nothing type of attitude. It does not do me any good and causes much unneeded stress, but I’m grateful that now at least I am aware of it enough to catch myself when my mind wants to latch on to some outcome, when I pin all my hopes onto trivial things.