A couple of months ago I joined hundreds of New Yorkers in celebration of Margaret Atwood’s birthday. I sat in the audience, by myself, as Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman engaged in witty conversation, running the gamut from books to politics to film to America. Something Ms. Atwood said resounded so poignantly, it moved me. Mr. Gaiman told her that he counted her as one of the few role models he could look up to, for she was a poet, a screenwriter, an inventor, and an author of speculative fiction as well as historical fiction.
Justin is a man, but almost a boy, or at least he looks more like a boy when you get up closer. His beard is deceiving, his big worn hands are deceiving, his homeless status is somewhat deceiving. On my first go around, I saw a dark head tilted down into a jutting collarbone, dwarfed by a large cardboard sign that said, "Anything helps" (anything helps, need work, I am trying to pull my life together, please) I made it three stores down before I turned back. When I addressed him with my perky and sunny "Hi" he immediately looked up.
Last weekend I went to my first comic convention. Let me clarify, for of course I have been to comic conventions before, but this was the first time I had my own booth. Let me clarify, again, for even though I had a booth that showcased my comic and the adorable JLLT underwear we had made, it was not, in fact, “my own” booth because I shared it with five other comic creators.
One year in Manhattan. New friends aplenty; I am still surprised with the amount of friends I have managed to finagle. Old friends who are like new again. Two weddings attended, two more celebrated. Two bike accidents, one visit to the ER. Countless novels read, dozens of comics written. One short film, three scripts tossed aside. A trip to New Hampshire. Montauk. Long Beach. Rhode Island. Catskill. Hiking in Jersey. Hiking in apple country. Hiking with four crazy dogs. One day of leaf peeping. Picnics in parks and beaches and on the Westside Highway.
Last Wednesday I went to my first audition. You heard me . . . AUDITION. Am I an aspiring actress? Nope. Have I ever done this before? Not really, unless you want to count the church auditorium before my freshman year when I auditioned with my then boyfriend. (We nailed it, by the way, and went on to wow multiple church audiences all around Orange County.) Am I currently funemployed with occasional open afternoons on my hands? You got it!
I just want to make sure we're on the same page.
Or: It's becoming obvious we're not on the same page. Would you mind flipping to mine?
Or: I want this to appear like a mutual decision, and I hope you fall for it.
Or: I thought we'd discussed this already, but it appears you need to be schooled again.
Or: So, listen, open up and expose what you are feeling (I will take it in), then sit back and accept how I want things to be.
Or: Do you like me? Then nod and agree, “Totally, we're totally on the same page”.
There were four of us in matching puffy coats, waiting for the light to change. And I was the only one on a girl's bike (lovingly categorized as “vintage”), even though there were two other girls in the group. Clouds of heat puffed out of our chapped lips, and I regretted leaving my gloves at home. The girl to my right intrigued me. She had on dark green riding pants and a black velvet riding helmet perched on her short, blonde hair. Like you wouldn't be surprised to hear her say, “No, no Mummy. No time for tea.
The unkempt man behind me could not wait his turn. Maybe in his fifties, casually dressed, his demeanor was one of barely controlled panic. “Miss? Nurse? I need to take a sh*t. Please. Check me in for a colonic. Did you hear me? I need to take a sh*t. Let's do this, can you hurry, please?” Apparently the blood on my cheek did not warrant respect in his book, like he deserved to go first for his obvious emergency.
I resisted Facebook for a long time. I remember using words like “lame” and “trendy” and “not gonna last” when my friends first started peer pressuring me to join. But then, I caved. And now, I post photos on Fbook on a regular basis, and I love looking at friends' photos, and I certainly am entertained by the ridiculous comments that my hilarious friends post on my photos. But. But! Facebook is of a certain strain of evil that is weaved into our world so deftly it is disguised as fun. One obvious element is the fact that it can be (and is for most) a total time suck.
Ok, and so you were here, in my city, in my new home (although you never did end up seeing my home and yes I told you I was disappointed because I was but that doesn't mean I should have told you so loudly with that look in my eyes) and I saw you walking my streets. Did it feel large and overwhelming or large and magnetizing or was it just plain big? And on one hand it was amazing having you here, my brother with me in this new place, my brother hugging me and crushing my broken bones with the embrace I have missed. And yet.