Hap(1)py(2) Birth(3)day(4), You(5)

I started out with the typical birthday list of 25 things, you know? Then I realized that 25 is a pretty fun number to play with. Massaging the list a little bit, each item is somehow related to 25 or its square root, 5: 25 words or syllables or letters; or 5 words or syllables or letters. Here are some poems or sentences or ideas about one of the greatest, most beautiful friends on her birthday. The only thing is now everyone knows how old she is.

Are(1) you(2) okay(3) with(4) that(5)?

Thank(1) you(2) for(3) being(4) born(5).

Alicia’s Awesomeness
Sincerity is genuine with her.

Quarter
Five squared is a quarter
25 times the calendar turns
One fourth behind her now
Three quarters ahead of her
Enough for a pay phone

France
Elle aime la France, tout Paris.

Ukulele
Strumming and singing by firelight helps my bones fight the chill the feeble fire cannot grow to extinguish.

Red hair
I wish I had it.

Dance moves
She has one.
Demand it.

Service
She gives. No questions asked.

Friendship
Twenty-five syllables cannot adequately capture what this one woman manifests in friendship.

Alicia’s Sign
Nothing fishy on this pisces

Music taste
A large percentage
of my own music
comes from free downloads
she passes along
and it’s amazing.

Greg/Ingrid
She says she doesn’t stalk them.

Frosting
Creamy confection on brownies? What?!

Writing
Words float from the page
Drifting into my lone eyes
Painting what I can’t deny
What I can only see
As purity dancing without shame

Sleep
She likes it. A lot.

Smile

Generosity
Heart Sized Large Holds Plenty

Loyalty
She picks you. Done deal.

Determination

Hard work
If she has a cause
She will work for it
She will meet her goals
She will not back down
Precisely focused

Competitiveness
Guitar Hero humbles us. Sometimes.

Summertime
and the livin’ is easy…

Imagination
The girl doesn’t dream small.

Stubbornness
She stands her ground. Oy.

Schemer
She won’t even flinch when it comes  to deceiving and stealing to surprise her friends and to make them smile.

Loves her family.

//

[Untitled]

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.

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.

This Weekend

Friday night, I visited a sick friend, which was nice. We caught up and shared feelings and bonded. You know, the way friends do.

Then I went to another friend’s apartment, and we watched a movie and ate Mexican food. There I continued to develop a crush that will develop no further than a crush. It was fun spending time with those friends, though.

I woke up at 6:45 Saturday morning to get ready for breakfast with a friend. I went down to Chelsea and met my friend and we ate and caught up and it was great. This friend recently got engaged, and I am worlds of happy for her.

Then I went into work for almost four hours and listened to General Conference. After that I went down to watch the New York City chapter of World Pillow Fight Day.

I headed back up to Inwood to catch the second session of Conference. I thought I was going to stay uptown, but I didn’t want to go home just yet. So I called a friend and headed to Midtown. The trip took less than 45 minutes.

Another friend was with this friend. Can I just say Becky and Alicia? Can I do that? We caught up briefly then spontaneously decided to ride the tram to and from Roosevelt Island.

Coming up on 60th Street we saw Serendipity 3, so we put our name on the waiting list and headed to the tram.

The tram is fun. Roosevelt Island is cool, if only for the quarter-fare buses and grass and watching my friends frolic along the sodded shore and singing songs from Phantom of the Opera and Sound of Music. We took pictures with Becky’s iPhone, too. 

When we returned to Serendipity, we were thrilled that we were next on the list to be called. They seated us, and we shared a frozen hot chocolate and got really full from the food we ordered. Some of us got a bit more full than others and felt a little bit sick.

Still, we laughed and talked and advised like good friends are supposed to. We shared secrets and feelings and I was getting all sorts of sentimental. Sometimes we said really funny things.

We rode the NRW to 34th, and Alicia stayed on, where she was probably getting off at 8th street. Becky and I waved to her.

It wasn’t even midnight by the time we got back to Becky’s. We talked a while and I was getting sleepy, so I slept. Then I woke up in the middle of the night with a coughing fit, and Becky got me water. It’s enough when coughing disrupts my sleep, but when other people wake up because of it, I feel bad.

I woke up at 7:45 Sunday morning and headed back up to my neighborhood. I took a shower and went to the morning session of Conference. I talked a little bit with my mom and brother before the afternoon session.

Today’s my brother’s birthday, you see.

Then, the last session of Conference was over, and when the weekend is done, it doesn’t seem like eight hours of church just happened. But it did, and it was inspiring and encouraging and my heart is full of love and hope and I pretty much want to help save the world.

Anyone with me?

Then I talked for an hour with my baby brother. We laughed and talked and reminisced and exchanged opinions on various things. We’re adults, which sometimes is the most bizarre thing to me. We still have our own language, which is English but with weird affectations, and we have our inside jokes, which we’ll always have. I cannot express how much I love that kid. Happy birthday, Boo Boo.

Then I made some dinner.

Then Becky called, and we talked about conference and followed up on some things we discussed the night before with Alicia.

And now, I’m going to eat some popcorn and then get ready for bed.

It’s definitely time for bed.