Monday, December 30, 2013

it's the end of another year

another year, fading away. i look ahead toward new beginnings and realize that i need to make things happen. more creating and less consuming in 2014. more challenges beyond the comfort zone. the challenge to be conscious in the present moment.

i don't want to be at lunch some day in the future just casually mentioning that the past decade has just flown by. like a blurry blink of 10 years of life.

i want more.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

10 feet from the summit

another thanksgiving has arrived--another day of mourning. it was 9 years ago this week that i started writing here, almost one decade ago. and i'm still here. still writing. still mourning. still navigating this profoundly cruel and unjust world. but also still giving thanks for all the beauty and inspiration, for all the amazing people i have known and loved during this time.

so 9 years later, i find myself living in philadelphia; in the third neighborhood of my nearly 5 year journey here. my life is completely up in the air right now. i'm sitting in the waiting room, struggling to finish, now, my first draft of the master's thesis by next wednesday morning. everything is completely on hold until that is complete. from now until then, i will immerse myself in the writing. i will get into the zone and make this happen.

i just got off the phone with my sister who shared something very helpful from her experience in art school. one of her professors looked at a series of paintings she had done and responded, "it's as if you were 10 feet from the summit and then just turned around and went home." 

10 feet from the summit.

that's where i'm at now. after nearly two years of this low-residency program at goddard i am so close to being done. almost there. and yet lately, my focus and determination has been nonexistent. i have felt isolated from the process. i need to treat this challenging task ahead the same way i approached moving out of my house and into my current living space early last month. i didn't over-prepare. i just focused my determination on accomplishing what urgently need to get done. and i did it, despite everything. despite trips to the emergency room and parking tickets. i made it happen.

after this task ahead is complete next week, i will be free to figure out what the fuck i am doing with my life. i will update my resume, research job openings in philly and beyond, and spend most of my time writing cover letters and pursuing something new. a new life.

for now, i'm 10 feet from the summit. but i'm not turning around.  

Thursday, November 07, 2013


fall has arrived and i'm ready to change with the leaves. embracing all the upheaval, the crumbling of foundations long taken for granted. i walk all around this city now, my bicycle broken and quietly resting in the parlour of my temporary living space. walking, we notice the details of the changes going on around us. yes, the leaves do change colors in the city. they are bright and then earth-toned...and then dead. i walk miles to sit in a coffeeshop, one that i will be not getting paid minimum wage to be inside. sitting there, gazing out the window, instead of diligently writing, i see the one face i would prefer to never see again pass by. it's unclear whether we made eye contact or not. but in that moment, i think to myself: i need to get the fuck out of here. i should leave. and fantasies of starting a new life in a new place are so comforting. like the change of the seasons. but for now, i am here. and i am writing. i am changing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

supervising myself, against all odds

i'm sitting at my desk in my new room, looking out onto my new neighborhood as the sun begins to set once again. another day. another massive challenge and nothing to show for it. i'm feeling pathetic. this is my last chance to get my first draft of my thesis to my advisor and i can't even begin to write. not a single word. what the fuck is wrong with me? i think back to 6th grade. sitting at my childhood desk in my bedroom 20 years ago, i struggled to write my report on the man-o-war jellyfish. i missed the due date and my authoritarian social studies teacher marked me down. then i think back to my first year living in northampton, struggling to write an article about an antiwar protest that was overdue for a friend's website. i was getting paid for that one, but i still couldn't find the focus or determination to make it happen. then my dear friend liz accompanied me to the public computer lab at smith college's library. she graciously acted as my chaperone, making sure i kept on track. sitting behind me, she kept looking up from her graphic novel, providing much needed supervision until i finished the article. eventually, i wrote it. and then we were free to leave. liz saved my life and i will forever be thankful for that. before i go to bed tonight i need to somehow find the strength and the focus to write a rough draft of the main body of my thesis. then i will wake up in the morning, pump out a draft of the concluding chapter, put it all together and send it off to my advisor before i head to my coffeeshop job in the afternoon.

inhale. exhale.

i can do this.

Friday, July 12, 2013


one month ago i fell off my bike. i fell as a result of a driver's reckless behavior. when they drove directly through a red light just ahead of me, along my route to work, i slowed down in disbelief. i turned my head as they continued driving south to yell the only word that made sense: "WOW." i then lost balance and hit the pavement with my bike. i scrapped my left elbow and then, with most of my body weight, landed on my right hand. with adrenaline racing through my bloodstream, i rose back on my feet and hopped on my feet and back on my bike. wow. i biked the remaining two blocks to work with my right handlebar slightly bent, my elbow bleeding, and my right wrist sore. i made it through my work shift despite everything, thanks to some pain relievers, a bandage, and a lot of extra help from my sweet coworker.

a month later, the scab on my elbow has almost disappeared, but my wrist is still pretty fucked up. sometimes our bodies heal like we expect them too. other times, they need some assistance. our wrists are made up of dozens of tiny bones and tendons and some of the pieces of my right wrist are still damaged, one month later. as one of the millions of americans without health insurance, i do not have access to a doctor to fix this. and even the community acupuncture clinic in my neighborhood is not an option for me financially right now.

so i wait. i patiently let my body heal itself as i walk around the city now. i walk everywhere and embrace the new perspectives offered as a pedestrian. i slow down and turn my head, and say to myself, "wow." does it really have to be like this?

Friday, May 31, 2013

revolt against adulthood

i turned 32 in april and i've spent the whole year thinking about 10 years ago, back to when i was finishing college. in that last semester, spring 2003, i decided to just do everything: write most of my senior project, save the old gym, try to stop a war, and even start a new band. i was fueled by radical ambition and i made it all happen. everything seemed possible.

10 years later, i returned to that college where i graduated at age 22. there's too much to say about the reunion here, although that story will  be told, but i do want to mention the driving theme heading into that experience and which defined last weekend for me: forging a balance between navigating the responsibilities of being in one's 30's and a dedication to redefining, or even revolting again, adulthood. escaping the trap of what-are-you-up-to-now? conversations, i squatted the reunion.

a few nights after i returned to philly, i realized that something i need in my life now is new challenges, new experiences, and to push myself into the unknown, out of the comfort zone i have sculpted this past decade.

this year, i will be writing a new thesis and finishing a masters program. it is what lies beyond this that will offer what i need. something bigger. something radically ambitious.