Archive for September, 2011

old school charm

September 16, 2011

my coworker was going through a box that had been sitting in a shared space for quite some time. by quite some time, i mean there are documents in there from as early as 1951. (see above). i will transcribe it for you because it’s been sitting in a box for far too long and it’s about dang time this charming carbon copy saw the light of day.

January 2, 1951

Mr. A.N. Murray
31 Geneva Road
Melrose, Massachusetts

Dear Mr. Murray:

Early today I learned that as of this date I will be denied the daily privilege and pleasure of working with you. This knowledge makes me feel as though I had been fired from a job that I liked very much — and I’ve had mighty little notice too. Your retirement will make my work at this Press less interesting, for I shall sincerely miss our friendly business relations.

May your ample store of good humor and wit help you hurdle the problems of retirement as they did the problems of business. And may you enjoy a long, happy, and healthy retirement.

Most sincerely yours,

BLS: EB

isn’t it exactly the type of letter you hope to receive one day? i sure hope to. and, come to think of it, it’s the type of letter i wish i’d had in my possession a couple of months ago when my beloved boss retired. i definitely and whole-heartedly would have given it to him.

and now, just now, i’ve re-adjusted my life’s plan. i want to receive a letter like this some day when i’m old and gray or, you know, tomorrow would work just as well.

may you all find something noteworthy today. go forth and search. and then report back.

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believe

September 13, 2011

jeannie moon’s friend jolyse barnett left a comment on jeannie’s blog and it ended with a single, profound statement:

“Believe in yourself, and write what you love. Nothing’s more real than that.”

yup. this. do it.

and if you need to, replace the word “write” with what you do.

teach, learn, coach, cook, sing, create, draw, drive, run, swim, jog, say, bike, read, skate, sail, jump, climb, sleep, row, etc.

*big, squishy hug for you all*

go do something grand today.

familiar quotes

September 9, 2011

i was reading IMAGINARY GIRLS by nova ren suma when i came across this quote:

“…and our telephone voices were nearly indistinguishable, so she could pretend to be me or i could pretend to be her if we wanted to fool you into leaving a message.” pg.11

it describes sister E and i to a T. countless times i’ve answered the phone and the person on the other end will start talking to me as if i’m her and vice versa. we haven’t taken full advantage of it because the age gap between us means we haven’t lived under the same roof since 2003, but the next time i’m home for the holidays, i just may steal her cell phone…think of the prank calls i can make! *cackles*

and then i came across this passage and hello, sister J:

“[She] was a killer of a listener. The [girl] understood fragmented people.”
THE PIPER’S SON by melina marchetta, pg. 125

as for the eldest of the mumford children, brother G, well, this right here is him:

“He recalled Galloran stating that being a hero meant doing what was right regardless of the consequences.”
THE BEYONDERS by brandon mull, pg.420.

i don’t need to elaborate much because, well, brother G embodies everything that makes up a hero and it’s not just his kids who see him as super.

have you ever read anything that reminded you of someone you know?

new muse: SLAM POETRY

September 6, 2011

i don’t read much poetry and i don’t really write it either, but i have been to many slam poetry shows because there’s something so unique about the rhythm, the ebbs and flows, and the electricity created from words spoken aloud. there’s no accompanying music just the naked truth of the words themselves.

when done right, it’s stunning.

when one is in the middle of a writing drought, there’s nothing better than sitting in a room where words are being yelled, whispered, twisted, combined, formed, turned, beaten, caressed, produced, changed and revealed because they’ll sneak in through your ears and also through your heart.

boston hosted this year’s national poetry slam, which ran from august 9-13 and while i wasn’t as a dedicated viewer as adriana, i did attend the festivities one night. i was verbally assaulted in the best kind of way. watching these people stand and deliver whole words about broken experiences showed me what bravery really means.

it didn’t make me want to jump in front of a mic, per say, but it did make me want to pull out my paper and pen and be brave too.

there were a zillion lines i wanted to remember, but to write it down during the poet’s performance was to miss the other sizzling combinations of words, so i listened carefully and hoped my memory would ring true. (i’ve been eating a lot of blueberries this summer, which i hear is good for that sort of thing.) anyways, these poems are meant to be heard aloud and seen performed because not only does the sound of the voice affect the words, but the hands and the legs and the torso and the fingers and the feet. and let me tell you, these poets were performing the crap out of these pieces. from the tips of their tongues to the soles of their souls.

there were three poems that stood out to me, but i could only find one of the poems online (what, are poets from the 19th century?) and so the best i can offer is a cut and paste. for what it’s worth in this limited (read, not heard) capacity, enjoy.

omar holmon’s NEW WAYS TO SMILE

Things I know about this girl,
she is cuter then a panda bear deciding which end of a bamboo stick to eat first
and moves like the martyr of a high school dance floor,
The first sacrifice of care free, blooming life from hips and hair

While the best of us fake inanimate cool because we’re still too afraid of our own bodies
plus, I think she’s single cause when the DJ said “all single ladies make some noise”
I specifically remember her… making noise

Now what follows is a list of things I’m trying to bring myself to tell her
but can’t, yet have no problem telling a room full of strangers. . .

1
I don’t have a train of thought it’s more like thoughts running a train on random
I’m all quips and out of context statements, a nerd without a sound theory
but a strong hypothesis that you are scientific proof that there are still new ways to smile

2
My emotions can best be described
through obscure web comics and internet videos since pixels
capture in better quality what we can’t convey through words at the time

which now explains the youtube link I sent you
of two otters asleep holding hands drifting with the water current
it’s the way I say you got this nature that garners you in remarkable.

3
I’m going to need you to understand that if we see a superhero movie together
and it strays too far from the comic book it is my right as a fan to be upset
so if I’m like “why’d they kill Jazz in Transformers?
What even black robots die at the end of movies also?”

I need you to chime with an “I know right?
an what was with Christian Bale’s Batman voice?”
which in turn would lead us to discussing what he’d sound like
in the bat-mobile singing along to the radio

3a)(Batman Voice) “Hold on Rachel! …Umbrella-ella-ella-a”

4
This is could be classic like Boy Meets World, season 4 episode 17
Topanga Lawrence coming back 300 miles from
Pittsburg to Corey Matthews in Philadelphia

5
My mother has this barbwire in full bloom personality
I’m talking keyed a few cars in her day, unbreakable type status
But found her writhing on her back, like spiders before post mortem

eyes chasing constellations of voiceless echoes
her mind a two way mirror with the belief
that reality isn’t on the other side looking in.

When she got out the hospital I asked her if she saw Elvis
She still laughs at that, we all face our monsters differently
just because I smile while I do it doesn’t make me any less serious.

6
When my father was still the man he use to be
he’d drive 177 miles, 3 hours and 27 minutes to see my mother every weekend.

My sister found her husband 3,302 miles away in Singapore
While living in Tokyo, that’s a 55 hour drive
thru the Pacific Ocean floor or a 7hr plane ride…

Destiny has a history of making my blood line run the distance
so even though your window is 537 miles 8 hours and 21 minutes that way,
I want to stand outside of it even though I don’t know which one it is,
with a boom box over my head singing,

“Straight up now tell me do you really want to love me forever? Oh. Oh. Oh.”
and you’d be all “What are you doing its 2 o clock in the morning?”
but I’d be like, “What? I can’t here you over the sound of all this awesome!”

7
Roy Sullivan was a park ranger
that got struck by lightning seven times and lived
The human body is a beautiful conductor, our words hydrogen bond

I held your hand, felt every electron coursing the current
on the life line in your palm and had a flash forward of us looking back
discussing when we first met to smaller four eyed fragments of ourselves.

This is complex simple science
but you are the most gorgeous social science
because I’ve been treating each text message as an updated data entry
and each phone conversation as research on what smiles sounds like

hitting the GO button

September 2, 2011

as soon as i hit pause on my writing life, everything else seemed to hit GO FAST NOW BUSY IMMEDIATELY CRAZY, but i survived and not so surprisingly learned something along the way:

seeing is believing.

i know, i know, the whole santa clause and easter bunny and tooth fairy things, but it’s a tough thing, these early stages of a writing career, when the stuff you’re producing isn’t fit for public consumption and so the only appropriate thing to put out there is this blog and the main people who are your audience are related to you and they assume you know they care. and i do know, but it never hurts to have things like that reiterated.

like the time i was at the dinner table in my parents’ house and my dad asked my mom if she’d somehow unsubscribed to my blog because he hadn’t gotten any emails regarding new posts lately. (thanks for reading, dad!) and then my mom and sister E laughed and said, well did you read the last one? (thanks for reading mom and sister E!)

or the time when i opened my mailbox to find a handwritten letter from sister E that was so full of encouragement, i almost got punched in the face by the pom poms. (thanks for the syrupy love, sister E!)

or when sister J basically chased baby mac down the hall because she was chanting “abby abby abby” and i hadn’t yet heard my name from her lips. if that’s not some great cheerleading, i don’t know what is. (thanks for the extra effort, J! and for making me one of your words, baby mac!)

or that afternoon when my friend L attempted to teach me how to play cribbage and i quickly realized that when one can barely add to 15 (especially under pressure), one better work harder at her writing because simple math is not what’s going to bring the paycheck home. (thanks for your patience, L! i’m gunning for you  now, dad and grandpa. you may have kept all the mathematical genes for yourselves, but with practice, i too can add to 15 and 31. “that’s all there is and there is no more.”)

or when brother G sent me an email with “guess who put on his shoes” as the subject line and this as the body of the text:

which reminded me that no matter what age or what subject, we are all making mistakes, BUT it’s all in the name of learning. (thanks for the lesson, G (and newphew L), but more importantly, thanks for the laugh.)

or the occasion when my friend N, who never comments online, made a comment to me offline about how he still checked my blog throughout august just in case i posted something… (thanks for being such a consistent, if mute, reader. :)

or the time when all my loyal commenters wrote me words of encouragement, left me bits of advice, warned me not to keep my distance and basically left me a most needed trail of breadcrumbs. it made it much easier to find my way back to the interwebs. (thanks adriana, jeannie, karla, kelly, kristen, and linda for understanding!)

or the moment when my grandfather emailed me this poem and wished me a prosperous time in the land of pause. (thanks for reading and commenting and dispensing wisdom and thinking of me, grandpa!)

‘I learned her name was Proverb’ by Denise Levertov

And the secret names
of all we meet who lead us deeper
into our labyrinth
of valleys and mountains, twisting valleys
and steeper mountains-
their hidden names are always,
like Proverb, promises:
Rune, Omen, Fable, Parable,
those we meet for only
one crucial moment, gaze to gaze,
or for years know and don’t recognize

but of whom later a word
sings back to us
as if from high among leaves
still near but beyond sight

drawing us from tree to tree
towards the time and the unknown place
where we shall know
what it is to arrive.

i can’t say i’m 100% sure i’ve arrived or that i know what it entails, but i do know that in terms of blogging, I’M BACK AND I MISSED YOU ALL.