Freeewriting for no reason other than because I never do it anymore...
Last Saturday night, I took myself out on an amazing date to see Shawn Colvin at World Café in Philadelphia, and it was everything I could ask for in a concert, and a concert venue. I can't believe I'd never been there before; for an acoustic show especially, it was so intimate and gorgeous, and I think everyone else was as extremely present as I was. It was a show that felt less like a performer on a stage and more like Shawn was right there in the midst of us. I sat, utterly enraptured, as The Royal You opened and harmonized beautifully, and then it was just Shawn and her guitar and that voice and those songs, including "Polaroids," which I first heard sung by Mary Lou Lord when I was a very different person, living not so far physically from where I live now, but with a 100% different point of view about pretty much everything. I sometimes think hearing that song on a benefit album was the first step in leading me to a different way of life, one certainly with its share of ups and downs, but one that will always fit me better than the even the best legal job could have.
Anyway, tonight was much more prosaic, but much as I like to escape, I am a pretty routine girl. I like familiarity, sameness, solitude. I like being able to wander and discover the infinite universe of magic, mundane or magnificent, that streets of New York City offer me, and now that I've realized my days here are probably pretty numbered, I feel like I value them all the more. I returned from a few days of fireworks and domesticity with my boyfriend and dragged myself to the gym. I like going on off hours when it's emptier, and I read Rurally Screwed by Jessie Knadler, which seemed particularly appropriate, because we talked about possibly moving to North Carolina, and while that's not necessarily imminent, something went off inside me, the way it does when I know I have to visit somewhere, when he was telling me about the cost of living. I have little desire to live in a barren suburb where there aren't coffeeshops, let alone culture. I love the fact that I was able to run across the street just now, as the rain and lightning started up, to get toilet paper and seltzer from the deli owner who knows that I almost never need a bag. I love that even though I've been a bad bad theatergoer, awaiting me in my inbox are so many options at the tip of my fingertips. I love that I got asked to cover two stories yesterday and one of them has absolutely nothing to do with sex; to me that is the true mark of having "made it" as a writer, though of course I'm aware that back when I was the stupid little law student, naïve about New York, about the world, about myself, basically clueless about anything that mattered, including how the hell to pass her classes, I didn't really think much about branding or bylines or what the fuck I was doing with my career. I'm not sure that I do all that much anymore in that I'm not so strategic in the big picture sense; I'm more about sitting down and banging out the words and studying the market sand trying to figure out where my ideas and experiences can fit.
So back to tonight, after the gym, I was walking through Union Square, on my way to Barnes & Noble ostensibly to buy a magazine I plan to pitch, but really because it's my shopping spiritual escape, my place to run my fingers and gaze over shelves where I could have had my book nestled, and where I someday still might, though for sure a different book. I love being surrounded by so many ideas, and I whip out my iPhone and type notes about cozy mysteries to request at the library, and hope that the spark of inspiration, a snippet of conversation, a cover, an idea, will slip by me. I was also reading Fifty Shades Darker on my phone as I walked, because for whatever reason Kindle for Mac decided that my download no longer exists and rather than wanting to punch myself in the face or taking a hammer to my laptop in the process of removing the book from my device and redownloading it (ah, to have any clue how to do that), I am just going to read it umpteen screens at a time on my phone. I was doing that and walking and all of a sudden a skateboard was very close by and then crashing into me and I fell and my glasses and phone fell with me. My first thought was that I cannot afford new glasses, which is a sign of what happens when you lack both a paycheck and health insurance. The skateboarder and a kind stranger asked if I was okay and I was so happy when I picked up my glasses to see that they were fine that the very minor scrapes on my knees and left palm were nothing. I was a little shaky but kept walking to the bookstore and realized that sometimes, like the last few days, I just want to block out the world, but it wants me here. Yesterday I took an accidental nap, and woke up groggy and angry at myself for wasting time, and then, despite my time wasting, these assignments landed in my inbox, and I realized that life goes on, even when I hate myself and think I won't be able to tackle everything on my to do list and have no idea what the future holds.
So now with the fan blasting on me, back home, which feels increasingly special and cozy the less time I'm here, I'm kindof savoring that slight twinge in my palm as I try to get back to what I was supposed to be doing the last few days. Instead I watched some pretty kickass fireworks and baked kale chips and marshmallow brownies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and learned how to use a hand mixer and bought a jigsaw puzzle shaped like the state of California, my former home, with all its beaches and jagged edges. I didn't even know they made jigsaw puzzles that weren't rectangular.
I must get back to the ongoing list and get ready for this assignment, I just wanted to write something, anything, which these days I more often put aside, or write and not finish the story, essay, pitch, application, because I'm sure it sucks so why bother. I also bought a new journal tonight, because my old one has a bit of a rocky history and now is in high demand as a holder of important documents, money and assorted papers, so many that to displace them would wreak havoc with what little organizational systems I have. I liked the idea of starting over, starting something new, for no reason other than that I appreciate the idea that every day is not only a gift, but a chance to crack that clean slate and blank page and create something. I forget sometimes that for every awful thing I've ever done and all the messes I've made of my life, I wake up every single day to as many blank pages as I want. I just have to get up and greet them and be ready, slips, falls, mishaps, blocks and all.
Video of "Love Well" by The Royal You. When I heard them sing this live, I definitely gave myself a little reality check about the times I haven't loved well, when I haven't treated the people I care about the way I'd want to be treated. Lately, I have been extremely focused on just trying to survive and prove to myself I can do this ridiculously insane wacky thing called supporting myself as a writer/editor/blogger/miscellaneous creative person. It still seems supremely laughable some days, and exactly what I should be doing on others, but mostly it feels like it requires 24/7 vigilance and attention to potential stories, to reading everything and trying to be everywhere at once, which certainly doesn't make me a great girlfriend, so I'm trying to be a little better about balancing those things. And also that loving well means taking care of and loving myself, too, to the best of my abilities. I'm trying, even when I fall, hard.