December 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

I started taking pictures because I wanted to remember beautiful things, and as time passed, I began buying tools to help me capture those beautiful things more beautifully — spending thousands upon thousands on increased pixel counts, larger sensors, and wider apertures.

These days, with all my textbooks and the constant studying, I don’t get many chances to take my 7D along with me, to record the beautiful things I see every day. Forlornly, the camera collects dust with its older sisters on a shelf in my apartment — hardly used.

Meanwhile, down the street, I notice the way sunlight passes through a corner apartment, flickers and reflects off the window’s glass, and falls on an orange sign made of wood and words, “Men working” on Amsterdam Avenue. I think it’s touching how simple a moment can look and feel — and in that moment, I yearn for the 7D, but I carry nothing to record this tiny snippet of life. Only my mind and my words and a mental note to take a picture of it one day. If one day ever comes.

Sometimes, my mind will just have to do, but I find it sad that, in a few years, I won’t be able to look back and remember a specific second of unexpected appreciation. To remember how I was suddenly touched by something so forgettable, and how the world is so rich in moments like that. You feel something, and you move on. You are affected and then unaffected. I guess that’s why I write, why I take pictures.

I want to remember the beauty of experience.

I want to remember the amazing minutia, the bits and pieces, the forgettable moments, and then I want to make them last forever.


sing to me

May 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

in the world
is usual today.
This is
the first morning.


Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.


Even though
these pine trees
keep their original color,
everything green
is different in spring.


Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I’d have no regret.


I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.

— From Izumi Shikibu’s love poems

remember to be missed.

May 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

On most days, I convince myself that I violently hate what I do.  It doesn’t help that what I do now is just for the interim.  In my mind, I’m three months ahead from now, I’m gearing up for Columbia, and I’ve got a whole new life.  By living ahead, I constantly forget to look around to realize that I’m still in May, that I may actually miss what May could be if I don’t take a second to feel what right now is.

It’s hard because I’ve always looked to the future. I can almost see the path I’m going to take in the horizon, but I’m tripping all over the place where I currently am. Lately, I’ve been working the days through on autodrive.  Until today.  Until I realized again that I am good at what I do.  I write, and I’m even better at it when I try — when I give of myself.  And, lately, at work, I haven’t been giving any of myself.  Perhaps writing for someone else isn’t where my heart is or where my future is, but it is where my hands can make a difference now.  Every day in May.  I can make a difference through my words, right now, and that may not be true two months from now.  But in May and June, I have words that drive change, and I should give it all I’ve got.

Today, I self-edited two senior-level writing projects for publication, two pieces I’d had such a hard time bringing to fruition over the past week. But today I remembered who I am, what my capabilities are, and I rocked them. And then, as usual, I’d been assigned several last-minute, high-priority items to edit, to transform jumbled thoughts into inspirational calls for action. I sent the pieces back to my editor, and asked her to tell me what she thought.

And the outcome was this: I remembered that I’m going to be missed.  And that is enough reason for me to make these last few months all the more dynamic and stellar.  I’m going to end these last three years of writing for a hero with grace and excellence, and I’m going to remember every day that this is my last chance to wear this unique pair of shoes on this particular road, and that as much as I will be missed, I will also miss what I leave behind after May and June have come and passed.

For now, I’ll be living in the now, where I stand, where I am. And that will be more than enough for now.

be bold.

March 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

I know what I want.  I won’t pretend like I’ve got my career figured out, but I do know what certain parts of my life equation can be.

For one, I want to always write.  I realize that I can always write.  It’s something that has been mine since forever, and I will never lose my passion for it.  I can pen my thoughts and hope someone listens, but I will never stop — no matter what I end up doing in life.  And whether I quit my day job as a writer, my quill will still be the lens by which I view the world for all my time.

Secondly, I am going to heal people.  I say this with a new sense of vigor and authority, because I am on the road now.  I may have taken just a tiny first step in a long and winding path, but that first step is momentous.  That first step is an act of true boldness and defiance of the status quo.  And for the first time in a long time, I am nothing close to complacent; I am dynamic.

Until now, my dreams were just dreams; in this moment, they are also goals. They are tangible — it’s like, if I could reach far enough, I could touch these dreams.  They are mine to mold, and shape and reshape again.  And, in the beauty of all that is going to happen, the most satisfying part of all this right now is that I’m doing something about those dreams.

I am building my own world now, and I am in love with the future.

i love this poem.

March 10, 2010 § 3 Comments

Poema XX by Pablo Neruda

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.

Escribir, por ejemplo: “La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos.”

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.

En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos.
La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.

Ella me quiso, a veces yo también la quería.
¡Cómo no haber amado sus grandes ojos fijos!

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdido.

Oír la noche inmensa, más inmensa sin ella.
Y el verso cae al alma como al pasto el rocío.

¡Qué importa que mi amor no pudiera guardarla!
La noche está estrellada y ella no está conmigo.

Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta. A lo lejos.
Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca.
Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.

La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles.
Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.

Yo no la quiero, es cierto, pero cuánto la quise..
Mi voz buscaba al viento para tocar su oído.

De otro. Será de otro. Como antes de mis besos.
Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.

Porque en noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos,
mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido. 

on waking up

January 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am a thinking person.  I think, and I analyze.  I remember, and I honor the experiences that have made me who I am.  I wonder, and I hypothesize what could have been — had the past been something different.  And throughout my thinking days, I write my thoughts down, to record them.  It’s something I’ve done since my father died, a way for me to cope with life and living it.  It’s always helped me see myself more clearly.

A few months ago, I wrote the post, “For Fear of Losing.”  Since writing that short piece, I’ve had a hard time writing on anything.  Maybe because I put so much of myself out there on that one, and it’s taken me a while to even get back here, in front of a blank screen, ready to think through words.  To think aloud.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to write when it means so much to you.  The very act of putting words onto this screen is a sacred act of creation, of acknowledgment, of revelation.  Sometimes, when I don’t write, it’s because I don’t want to think.  It’s because I’m afraid of the points of realization that always seem to rise out of my writing.

I guess, sometimes, you don’t want to learn about yourself.  You just want to turn off, and I think that’s what I’ve been doing, in some sense, during the last two months.  The last two post-less, diary-less, record-less, thoughtless months in my life.  When I just let myself turn off for a while, and just feel things for what they are, not for what I think they are, or what I remember them to be.

I was in the moment these last few months, with my family and friends, feeling life in the way most people feel it — in drips and floods, in a trajectory that only flows forward.  On the other hand, a thinker moves freely through space and time, reality and make-believe.  But that freedom can be like a prison, a heaviness I can’t escape.  But maybe I’m done with running without ever stopping to wonder.

After this vacation from thought, I believe that I’m ready to start learning again.

i’m eyeing you, short stuff.

December 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m currently obsessed with “short” literature.  Essays, poems, quotations.  I recently purchased Harold Bloom’s The Best Poems of the English Language.  Though Bloom can be seen as a crabby member of the critic literati, his selections are wonderful, and his commentary is useful for anyone who hopes to learn more about reading poetry — whether you ultimately agree with Bloom or not.  In regard to my knowledge on poetry, I deem myself unassuming and not learned enough to ever thoughtfully disagree with Bloom, but at least I can try to appreciate the handwork of some of English’s best poets.

I’m not one to write poetry myself (anymore), but I have always found real satisfaction from writing essays.  I need to start writing more of them, more developed short pieces, and I hope that, as I progress as a human being, a woman, a friend, a lover, a doctor, a leader, whatever, that I will continue to use writing as a lens for learning.  Like a focus on a camera, the written word has always helped me see things more clearly. 

Here’s a book of essays I’m hoping to buy soon.  (Is it dorky that I get excited every time I use my Barnes&Nobles member card?)

sing to me

November 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

Reluctance by Robert  Frost

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question “Whither?”

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

sing to me

November 13, 2009 § 2 Comments

Words touch me. I thought to share some. Here’s the first of a series of great poems, excerpts, essays, sentences, quotations that have made their way into my repertoire and somehow made an impression on me — both as a writer and as a person.   To quickly see what’s inspiring me, click on the “sing to me” tab up top.  I’ll let Auden take you from here:

WH Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

word nerd

October 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

The other day, as I was reminiscing about the burger I found in my pocket, I thought about something else I would sometimes (more like all the time) keep in my bag and, when it would fit, in my coat pocket.

On one of those drunken nights around the East Village, Takafumi and I were roaming around, probably heading back to my place or stumbling away from some bar on Third Avenue.  I was feeling inside the pocket of my giant brown winter coat, looking for my keys, and as I yanked them out, my little secret betrayed me.

It was an old pocket thesaurus with a worn purple paperback cover, edges frayed and torn.  The pages were a deep beige, tanner than my own skin, discolored from years and years of use.   I first found it in my basement about 5 years ago, used by someone once upon a time.  He or she had written in the margins and underlined a few words, and as the thesaurus slowly became my own, I, too, would highlight especially good synonyms here and there.

For “show,” I like “illustrate,” but of course, that doesn’t always fit.  In other cases, I would use “demonstrate” or “exhibit,” but those always seemed so clinical to me.  For “effusive,” I go with “gushing.”  For “possibility,” I’m tickled by “chance” and “promise.”  For “support,” there is no good synonym, and I’m still looking for the right word to highlight.

I don’t carry it around with me anymore, but I still find myself constantly paging through the new love of my life, The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, a compilation that any respectable writer would own (and also  the one thing I asked all my loved ones to buy me for Christmas; to my own dismay and mine alone, no one did.)

It was more than a year ago when the thesaurus fell out of my pocket.  It was like a slow motion dive to the pavement, and as I let out an exaggerated, “Noooo,” the secret was out.  Takafumi grabbed the little purple monster before I could conceal the truth, and he looked at me with this mischievous look, both startled and intrigued, ever so slightly mocking.  He poked fun at me, and I blushed at the revelation of my nerdy inclinations. But nevertheless, I believe, at that moment, as he discovered the maniacal highlighting of my favorite synonyms ever, he realized right then that he was in love with me.

I’m sure that was the moment he knew.  I’ll just continue believing that. In other words, I’ll assume, trust, fancy, or suppose that’s the way things happened.

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