Friday, June 12, 2009

The Sun Also Rises, in Philly

Early in the morning, the world silently yawning, you sip your coffee and tip toe around your mind. Caffeine turns your eyes on, wide as a lantern fish. Another cup and the tiptoes will be cha-cha-chas. You make sure to swallow a big gulp of air before it’s tarnished with the angst of bustling commuters. The sky yet to be taken for granted, lights up gradually, in increments, inch by inch, as if operated by a store bought dimmer. Birds, so content in their solitude forget to pick at the ground for treasure. The sun begins to purr and licks at the skyline, smaller than the one you are accustomed to, but just as majestic. Anything can happen and will but this moment is yours. Until the garbage trucks rumble and shake, breaking the spell and the skittish birds fly to their nests, with nothing to show for themselves but ruffled feathers.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Junk Drawer

I’m in the kitchen frantically looking for a new sponge to replace the one that is now mysteriously caked with mozzarella on its scrubby side. I yank out the drawer next to the sink. In the tiny junkyard of useless things, among the sealed mouse traps, loose batteries, wayward nails and various busted cork screws, I see it lodged between a key less pad lock and a postcard from my dentist’s office that reads “Happy Birthday, time for a cleaning!”

This plastic anachronism pulls me out of my day. I travel to a place in time where I was the epicenter of all things because my smallness and innocence required it. This relic of my childhood stares up at me and I snatch it from the drawer, coveting it as if it might evaporate if left unacknowledged.

The object consists of two lighter size picture viewers, one pink and one blue linked together by a rusty ball chain. It’s the kind of novelty item that serves as a souvenir from a trip to the shore or a wedding and can be found dangling from key chains – a reminder that you were there. I remember marveling at the pictures when I was a kid. Wondering how they made my tall heroine tiny enough to fit inside its narrow tunnel and then I’d wield the ball chain around my grubby fingers at the kitchen table – wishing I were big, wishing I were her.

Today, I look through the first eye hole and hold it up to the light, magnified is my mom. She is smiling, alive and radiant, wearing a white dress with black polka dots. I scrunch my eye closed again and peer into the other time capsule, expecting to see the familiar image of her in the handmade, clown costume she wore to the Eastern Airlines employee Halloween party. But instead of seeing her making one of her signature silly faces and honking her big, red clown nose there is nothing but a brown smudge.

The euphoria of my nostalgia sinks realizing that somehow in my many travels the tiny glass must have popped out from the eye hole and with it went my itty-bitty circus mom. I begin to cry and damn the caked on cheese that spawned this discovery. There are things unlike sponges that cannot be replaced and although I have hundreds of pictures of her that particular one is now lost forever.

My mom has been dead for so long that she has taken on the mystery of a mythical creature that appears in my reflection when I least expect her. I remember all of the details of our short time together but none of them are in motion. I have ten years worth of vivid pictures, sharing the same power source, rigged with brown extension chords, running down the length of me. To avoid a blackout I turn each picture on slowly in my mind’s eye and watch it until it begins to move. I scrutinize the details. I tug at my senses until I smell her L'air du temps perfume. I slowly conjure up the sound of her voice, her perfect teeth, the softness of her cafĂ© con leche skin, her laugh and the way she always looked at me as if I were the most important person in the world. This is how I have survived twenty-two years without her. I don’t need a stinking peephole to remember these things!

I hold the picture viewer up to the light one more time and stare at her sitting in the little plastic shrine like a Virgensita waiting for a prayer. I say one and put the plastic time machine back where I found it and continue to search for a sponge.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Once upon a time I had a blog. It was dark, brooding and completely ridiculous. I was a slave to it but for all the wrong reasons. I had a friend who was a blogger and a prolific writer to boot. I wanted to be like her and write as much as she’d write. We fought with one another and blogged about it. We fought with other people and blogged about it. We hated, loved, ate, danced, drank and blogged about it. It was out of control! I exploited my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis and revealed myself under the guise of fifty-cent words and half-truths. It was like a hang over that had to be constantly feed to fend off nausea.

The friendship died and the blog went with it. I don’t know which I miss more. Sure, there was a great deal of dysfunction between the person who inspired me and I but the one thing she always encouraged me to do was write. I think that my reluctance towards writing had a great deal to do with her absence. I associated blogging, journaling and even writing essays and fiction with that part of my life.

There are other reasons why I stopped writing. I had nothing left to say. The fire had been snuffed and the desire to be noticed and praised had wilted. I changed everything: my geographical location, my hair and my habits. I convinced myself that I was not interesting enough without the catalysts I believed made me a good writer: drama, drugs, alcohol and self-loathing. I broke up with New York City as well as with that insatiable need to be a sought after party girl. The transition from chaos to peace was painless but the need to write clawed at my insides like a jaguar in captivity.

This is not going to be a forum for every infinitesimal or sordid detail of my life. I am not sure what the theme or purpose of this little corner of the Internet, with my name on it will represent. Like life the journey not the destination is what counts. I may write every day or not. I have wasted too much time worrying about who lurks in the darkness of this mass high way of communication. I feared that old friends would stumble upon my words and laugh at my ill use of commas and newfound confidence. It’s silly, really. But that’s how I felt. What kind of life is that? Not my life anymore, that’s what! I know I have a gift and I’m not going to tuck it into a journal or a folder titled “Things I will Someday Publish” on my desktop.

So visit me if you’d like. Mock me all you want. Write me nasty, anonymous emails until the cows come home. I am not hiding anymore. I am going to be the best writer I can be and the only way for me to achieve this is to write.