Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nerd Fest.

I'm teaching the Hero's Journey ( to the youth and I'm finding that I'm becoming way more of a dork than I feared was possible. I spent my evening watching analyzing the first Harry Potter movie. Then I watched a George Lucas interview with Bill Moyers called "The Mythology of Star Wars" and it was ridiculously interesting. I'm now motivated to watch A New Hope, which has been sitting on my desk and clogging my Netflix efficiency. Previously, I didn't want this kind of science fiction to relate to my love of story (which is the same thing I said before I feel in love with The Lord of the Rings).

Clearly it's too late for me to do any more serious thinking, but just get excited. And clearly, I have no hope for ever being cool. I'm seeing the Hero's Journey everywhere and I have a feeling that what my posts are going to be about in the coming weeks. Just to get you as excited as I am:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

two things happened last week.

The leaves came back to Union Street and!

My best friend since 8th grade had a baby and this little man was born! 
Welcome Jackson Edward Mount!

Friday, April 25, 2008

an ode to the midwestern air. or, maybe home is anywhere I can smell trees and dirt.

two nights ago,
my face pressed against the screen,
i breathed deeply.
most days back in brooklyn, that's all i want to do.
i'm not saying it's magic, but.
there is something about the midwestern air
that hit me
the literal second I walked off my plane.
i don't have to be in the middle of a field--
my parents' yard is enough.
i camped out beneath the window last night, reading,
incapable of pulling myself away.
it hurts the depths of me
in the best of ways
and reminds me
of being 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How a Book from Third Grade Still Resonates with me at age 27.

For the past week before I've fallen asleep, I've been rereading one of my favorite books from elementary school, Mandy, by Julie Andrews (yes, Sound of Music, yes, Mary Poppins).  Reading a book that required little thought and offered such delight was my escape during my ridiculously busy schedule and overloaded mind last week. 

The book is named for the ten year old main character, an orphan girl who adventures over a wall of the orphanage's walls and stumbles upon an abandoned cottage.  Mandy adopts the cottage as her own and sets out to make the garden beautiful and clean the inside...which becomes fun because it seems to be "her very own" home.  

It makes perfect sense that I loved this book when I was younger: I spent a lot of time in the woods and one of my favorite pastimes was to create spaces that I could pretend to live in--and I would create these worlds and scenarios in my mind that seemed incredibly real to least until it was time to head home for dinner. 

The scary (or delightful) part is how I still resonate with Mandy fifteen years later.  Besides the fact that I sometimes dream of skipping out of New York and into the woods and a quiet garden, I realized that there is still a part of me who wants to create spaces to live in.  The desire to take a space and transform it into something that feels like home is with me nearly everyday as I turn to design*sponge and dwell, cottage living and apartment therapy.  And of course I feel less shallow when I think about the metaphor for all that home can represent. 

Can you tell I'm on spring break?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

a good day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

an explanation.

it's just
that i
every petal that
as the wind brushes them
                                   across the street.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bradford Pears

blooming, announcing
remind me of home
the one I can't return to
Atchison Road
where spring was an artisan;
lending its hand
to suburban midwest.
Atchison Road
where I didn't try to carry
the world on my back
because I didn't know
beyond my yard my woods my neighbors

And sometimes
on cloudy spring days in the city
the colors seem to
and my heart is grateful for this town--
how beauty is different and deep here.
and yet I long
for my house upon a little hill
and the times when i could always

"Il bel far niente"

I recently finished Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I picked it up during that time when official, calendar spring has technically begun, but when we're really all just languishing in the fear that it may never get here. This is when my desire to get out of the city and travel is at it's peak. One would think that with winter being over, that my anticipation of the glorious weather in the waning days of cold would be filled with hope. But no. Anxious and angry might be a better way to describe those days. So reading a travel memoir seemed like the perfect antidote to liven up early April.

My reactions are mixed. In short, her writing wasn't great, but her motives for going on her journey and the dedication with which she pursued them admirable. Needing time to "find herself" after an ugly divorce and another heartbreak, Gilbert journeyed to Rome to pursue pleasure in it's simplest form: eating. She then traveled to an Ashram in India to pursue spiritual peace through praying and yoga and discipline. Finally, she traveled to Bali in Indonesia to find some balance between the two, and not only did she feel freed from her demons, refreshed and healthy, she fell in love. (Would this book have sold as many copies if it didn't end this way? Sorry, my sometimes cynical literary voice was begging for a cameo.)

She did have some interesting insight into a few things: "Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment...Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don't really know how to do nothing."

An expression she picked up while in Italy was "Il bel far niente," meaning the beauty of doing nothing. I don't think this passage is interesting to me only because I may or may not have spent my Friday night decompressing by watching 3 episodes of Bones and a movie, eating a dinner consisting of cheese and crackers. It is interesting to me because my brain constantly has a to-do list. I am always mapping out the hours of my days. I have fallen into the habit of working every weekend. Somehow I have turned myself into a person who has to constantly be doing something productive. Every time I realize I do this, I try to become more balanced. At the end of high school, I stopped wearing a watch. In college, I gave up my planner with its minute by minute details of what I needed to do and where I needed to be. I am still a chronic list maker, whether in my head or on post its. I still get a lot of satisfaction crossing things off those lists. Have I learned nothing? Aye.

So. What I did appreciate in this book, is that her peace came from letting go of those lists, intentionally pursuing the spiritual and then being able to experience freedom, though my own pursuit of the spiritual has a completely different foundation.

This post actually took me on a journey. It was initially going to be about my frustration with "journey" books, why I like fiction better than fact sometimes and what that says about me...or people. Alas. Maybe next time. I suppose I unconsciously decided not to stick to the mental agenda I had set out for my day.