What Is Real

These were in the sky Friday evening:





Some friends and I surfaced from the 2nd Avenue stop from the F train. In the Lower East Side, the skyline is lower than just about anywhere else in town, and I looked up, and I just kept looking up. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Of course, with the camera I couldn’t capture the clouds the way my eyeballs did at the time. This is pretty close, though. The colors and the textures and shapes, the brushstrokes; the orangey-pink light suspending rows and rows of cottonballs just beyond my reach, this is all real. My friends saw the sky, too, though I can’t account for their experience. Even if I didn’t have the camera, and I couldn’t convince you, I know what I saw, if only for my personal witness – the instantaneous speechlessness, wonderment and veneration in my soul as I raised my eyes to the sky – burned into my memory.


Just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking. And boy, has there ever been time to think. And there has been time to come up with ways to keep from thinking too much. What’s the name of my blog? Right, “A Little Thinking.” And maybe I’ve been writing too much, if you can call it writing.

I’ve been kind of cheating, jotting down thoughts here and there, scrawling out drafts of pieces, pieces of drafts, even letting people read them. By “people,” I mean friends and fellow writers. But mostly friends. What’s up with that, letting people see the product, far from finished? It didn’t used to be that way.

Maybe all of that is the essence of the break. I just don’t feel like polishing and tightening drafts right now. Ever since Mrs. Faircloth returned assignments with “Revise, please” written on them, that triggered something in me never to publish, post, discuss anything with anyone until the drafts are final.

And so sits at least eight posts on their respective back burners. How big is my stove, you ask? Even I don’t know that. But maybe I’ve been insecure and self-conscious, and maybe a little prideful. So now, sometimes, I can share what’s a little (or a lot) rough around the edges. Whatever pushes me to strive for honesty in my writing says it’s okay to do this.

I really appreciated last week’s guest posts. My friends give great insight about their approaches to life. And to writing. Which is about life. One could find definite commonalities in each of the entries; the differences are obvious. For me, they cause me to reflect upon relationships: with other people and my dynamics with them; with things/ideas/sports that I don’t like and reconciling with them; with words and my obsession to get them right and to do my bidding when in fact it is I who ends up submitting to them.

Good reminders, all.

The DVR (Super Maynard) at Becky’s is still broken, even though she now has a free month of HBO and Showtime for the inconvenience. Andrea still probably really hates all other sports but super-hearts trapezing, and the utter delight on her face proves that. And Alicia’s woman, with the tiara, she’s just not ready yet.

At some point, we all have to wait.

The process is seldom easy, and not always pretty.


Anyway, I’m well aware of what’s going on in the world. My good friend Brian, his twitter feed keeps me current.

Just a Thought

So, three girls at a banana split social. It’s a girls’ social. And they have these bananas. And ice cream – vanilla and chocolate flavors. And walnuts. And caramel. And chocolate syrup. And maraschino cherries. With stems.

After these girls finish their sundaes, they’re found concentrating. Sitting together. On a bench. Away from the crowd. Not talking, but intensely focused. On tying their stems into knots. With their tongues. Of course.

That’s got to be the reason these girls are single, right?


I Must Still Need A Break, As This Is Not A Sunday Thought

Quote of the day:

“May, we are grown women. We do not need to be living with teenagers.”

Let me just say, when I stay out late, I have the good sense to stay out all night, or at least not to make any noise when I get home, or not to bring home someone to be crying at 4 am to her boyfriend and sleep on the not-your couch for her to smear her makeup or drool on (remember my drool issues?). And, also? at least I keep my mess confined to my half of the room. Yes, she’s sweet and nice and fun to talk to, and I can understand adolescent drama, but seriously. Remember the episode of Friends where Ross dates a model and she’s a complete slob? And they go to her place and Ross gets scared? And they start making out on the couch and something is moving inside an old bag of chips and Ross hits the bag repeatedly with a shoe? Or is it a bat? I don’t remember. And then they discover it’s actually her missing gerbil or hamster or similar rodent? Well, at least I don’t have to worry about that. My rabbits have some pretty good sense, too.

My mind is still a bit jumbly-wumbly from the trip. Still sorting through stuffs.

New York, I’ve missed you.

Summer To-Do List

Toss a ball
Fly a kite
Paddle a canoe
Drive to Palmyra
Ride a bike
Explore a Governor’s Island
Chillax on a beach
Enjoy Shakespeare in the Park
Enjoy more live music
Experience all the kinds of NYC hot dogs
Attend the circus and boardwalk at Coney Island
Camp in the woods
Hike on a trail
Sit and read in a park
Don’t get mad whenever my roommate’s half of the room explodes onto my half
Et cetera

I love what’s crossed out. It happened this evening. All day, actually. Seriously, Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater is amazing. This production was excellent, and it’s probably the best way to experience Shakespeare. Of course it deserves its own blog post. And I’d love to do it again, but maybe without all the waiting for 8 hours. I wonder how that would work.

My friends and I are working on what’s not crossed out yet. I’m working on one item in particular. Struggling with it, actually.

Sometimes My Muse Takes a Vacation

by Alicia, Guest Blogger

May texted me last week to ask if I would guest blog. My reaction was somewhere between excitement and fear. This is May’s blog after all. I needed something fitting for her blog. Something smart and poetic and thought provoking. That’s a tall order from someone so short…

So last Wednesday, after she asked, I got off work and headed for Inwood to see an outside production of Merchant of Venice. (It was amazing. And it was free. I really love New York). While I was on the train, my imagination was totally taken over by a vision of a woman sitting in a dark room. Alone and deeply distraught.

I got out my Moleskine notebook, the one that May’s been encouraging me to buy, and began jotting down the scene. It wasn’t great writing, but I had to get the idea down. I could make it pretty later. Satisfied I’d captured it I sat back, basking the great post I’d have for May’s blog.

I thought about the scene for several days. I let it stew, if you will. And then on Monday I decided it was time to give it birth. Let it live and breathe through my writing. I opened a word document and looked at that flashing cursor and found that words didn’t want to come play. Maybe they were napping. Or hiding. It’s hard to say exactly.

I struggled, maybe even broke a little sweat. And then it started coming. Words filled the page. Backspace. Look up a word. Move this here. Delete. Make it flow. Let it sing.

And there it was. This little piece that was neither a poem nor a prose. I looked it up and down with a critical eye. I might have given it a voice, but it wasn’t really mine. Too many questions lingered for me to really take ownership.

What happened to her? What is her story? Why is she bursting with these disturbing emotions? Why is she sitting alone in the dark with that tiara in her hands?

She won’t tell me. She won’t even acknowledge my existence. I’m left in the dark, just a different kind of darkness than the one she’s living in. Sunshine is beginning to come through her window, but it won’t enlighten me. The story has come to a staggering stop. Is this writer’s block? So not cool.

So I’m left with no great, poetic post for May’s blog, only the frustration of an imperfect creative process.

The Sports Gods Smile Upon Me

by Andrea Boerem, Guest Blogger

I don’t like sports.

There, I said it.

It’s just that I have this genetic defect that prevents me from understanding sports lingo. Also I was born without any hand/eye coordination. Tragic, really. What happens is my eyes sort of glaze over whenever a sport is on TV, and you might think I’m paying attention but actually I’m planning what I’m going to wear tomorrow.

If a ball is thrown at me, I will automatically duck and scream. If I have to throw the ball….well, I still duck and scream.

I’ve tried to like sports. Really, I have. I tried to like them in grade school when my friends Stephanie and Meridth were on soccer teams. I went to their games. I screamed really loud, because I thought that’s what sports fans do, which I guess is true except no one told me that people will also think you’re obnoxious.

Actually I thought I could be a soccer player for like five minutes, until someone kicked the ball at me, and I felt like peeing my pants and crawling under a table except there wasn’t any table because there generally aren’t any tables on soccer fields.

So, I decided I hated sports. Junior High gym class didn’t do too much to help. I mean, jeez! Pull ups? I still have nightmares about hanging from that awful bar, glancing back at the line of girls waiting as I willed my spindly arms to propel my body upwards, something I knew would never happen.

Running the mile was extra bad. I wanted to be a runner, it was just that I hated running. I hated running for two major reasons: first, we always had to run on a day when I had freshly crimped hair, and second, I was slow. So slow! Tiffany Efflund, she always finished in like five minutes, and would exit the track glowing and barely out of breath, whilst I limped around the track muttering to myself that section from the Doctrine and Covenants that talked about people who obey the Word of Wisdom. Yep. That was me, a ninety pound weakling with damp and frizzy hair repeating “run and not be weary, walk and not faint. RUN AND NOT BE WEARY, WALK AND NOT FAINT!! I never did faint, so I guess that’s saying something.

The only thing I was ever good at was the sit n’ reach, and is that really something to brag about? That I could sit on my boney gluteus maximus and push my fingers over a ruled line?

In high school we did step aerobics, and I felt pretty optimistic for about the first five minutes. Kathy Ireland can be pretty motivational, you know? She just sucks you in with her unnaturally bright eyes and super tight leotards. It turns out, however, that I have no coordination. None. Remember, genetic defect?

So, I gave up on liking sports. Not for me, I decided. I’ll just be the girl staring blankly at the TV screen during football games who every so often yells out IT’S ALL ABOUT THE OFFENSIVE LINE, because I know that is true at all times and can be busted out even if I have no idea whatsoever what is actually going on.

Until Monday. Everything changed on Monday. Why, you ask?

Trapeze class.

I went to a trapeze class, and it was magical.

It turns out that the Sports Gods created a sport for underweight weaklings with no affinity for sports lingo! You get to swing!! THERE IS A SPORT WHERE ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SWING!! I’ve been training for this my whole life! Nobody told me when I began my amateur career at the local swing-set that swinging was a sport!

So, I guess I love sports.

There, I said it.

– Andrea Boerem, 6/25/09

Peace is a Parabola

by Becky, Guest Blogger

An evening at home with May, Alicia, and Deena:

When I got home tonight May was still high off of yesterday’s energy drink.

So I explained to everyone how binary and hexadecimal numbers work. Though, of course, May already had a sound understanding. 

It was Time Warner Cable’s fault that the subject came up; I had to call them tonight when Super Maynard (Deena’s DVR) decided to stop working.  I explained to Ronald that our cable box had been doing funky things and he asked me what kind of funky things.  I told him that it suddenly shut off and started counting down backwards from 500 in hexadecimal.  For whatever reason, Deena found that quite hilarious and laughed during the rest of my conversation.  Ronald complimented her on her laugh.

Without the ability to watch Chess on DVR, we listened to music on my computer.

I like it when May points out key changes in songs.  I laugh every time.  And I mean laugh.  And I mean every time.

Deena got up, after some encouragement, and agreed to play the game where I choose a song and she has to interpret it through dance.  Alicia accurately observed that Deena is not just a back-up dancer.

When that got old, Deena played ringtones on her phone for us.  What’s more fun than that?  They were mostly snippets from movies that she would make us guess and then glare at us when we couldn’t.

Alicia finally left to go do something “productive”.  May followed, as it was quite late for a week night.  Deena made parallelograms with her fingers as they were leaving and called them parabolas.  I missed May when she was away last week.

The cable box is counting down backwards again, in hexadecimal.

Introduction to the Rest of the Week

If you are reading this, it’s not because I’m back (even though I am). It’s because I’ve quite enjoyed not writing for a week, and I think it would be nice not writing for a little while longer.

If you are reading this, it’s not because I haven’t thought ahead (because I have).

You see, I have these friends who are pretty awesome writers. Their words are full of power and punch and are appropriately saccharine. That’s a good thing, because I really need to cut down on my sugar intake. Maybe the caffeine, too. Well … maybe not.

So, these pretty awesome writers who are my friends, I’ve asked them to take over my blog the rest of the week. They’re guest blogging! And this is the first time I’ve done this sort of thing, but this sort of thing is the sort of thing I’ve always wanted to do, and these friends, who are pretty awesome writers as well as pretty awesome friends, have agreed to appear on my blog.

Appear, like magic? I hesitate to say no. And yes just isn’t strong enough.

Wait until you get a load of this.

Wednesday, my friend, Becky, whom you all should know and love, will dazzle and entertain. And you’re going to want more. She can crank out just about anything about anything at any time. Her post will prove that; her post will chase doubt’s shadow away; her post is like high noon.

Thursday, my friend, Andrea, will captivate you with honest legerdemain. Her voice is so distinct and rife with her personality, you can’t help but feel you know her like she’s your best friend. I have the privilege of feeling this way all the time. How you read her is what she’s like in real life. No lie.

Friday, my friend, Alicia, will finish off the week with some signature Alicia. Her writing is otherworldly; I like where I go when I read her. Her style is commanding and raw, yet polished, and it effortlessly comes from a place I could only wish to reach in my wildest dreams. How does she do it?

Lest you think these claims are specious, read for yourself. Check out their blogs and peruse their archives. Then you’ll discover that these friends can write; they can write circles around me. They often do. Their friendship feeds their writing, as well as mine; you’ll understand why it’s impossible for us not to be friends. You’ll see what these friends can do is so much better, bigger, and bolder than magic.