Monday, April 30, 2007

Top Eleven reasons to smile

11. The sky is a brilliant blue and I hear a chirping bird
My bike did some serious hills yesterday
9. I get pizza tomorrow instead of a journalism lecture
8. We had corn on the cob last night for dinner
7. We found a
really eccentric local coffee roaster
6. I'm doing a free yoga class in half an hour
5. I got an advance copy of the new Feist album (due out tomorrow) for 6 bucks!
My parents were here over the weekend (yay!) and they brought us a bottle of Dad B's wine
3.We're now registered for the MB half marathon (yikes!)
2. We leave for INDIA on Thursday

and the number 1 reason I'm smilling today...

1. I'm gonna be published! (see April 10th's post...they want it!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


This morning I went for a walk. No running today, just the slow saunter of a leisurely walk.There is so much a runner can learn from walking. For me, it is chiefly a reminder: to enjoy the passing world, the melting world, the world around me speckled with brown and green. When I run I feel machine-like: the clicking pulse and pumping heart, the mechanisms of the lungs and muscles. When I walk, I am a grazing animal, free of fences. I leave the concerns of time and distance behind me, and I remember how to play.

One of my favourite New York State authors walks every morning. Thoreau says walking will keep me from rusting, should I “stay in my chamber” all day. He says there is “nothing in it akin to exercise…but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”

This day, canopied with blue after so many grey ones, is a day worthy of so many small adventures. Warmed-up homemade tomato dill soup and a veggie nori wrap, finishing an article, an hour of yoga in my favourite room, gathering my wool for tonight’s first Syracuse “stitch n’ bitch” with 7 women I’ve never met.

But the best adventure was the walk. The sun on my skin is like the embrace of an old friend. The snow melting off houses patters like rain, and under my feet gurgles into a hidden urban brook. The neighbourhood comes alive as nature sheds its final coat of ice, people push windows from their dusty rigidity, and the mighty exhalation of adventure impels every one of my steps.

(picture is from my cycling trip last May)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

idleness and barbeques

I just sent my first official query to a magazine. Querying is what optimistic freelancers do in the hopes of getting assigned an article. It’s the first one I’ve sent to an editor I’ve never met. The first editor who is not a benevolent friend trying to help me get my words out there. It sounds self-depracating, but the pros tell me to expect rejection and then keep trying.

Classes are quickly approaching their end. My mysticism class is wrapping up with Moby Dick, a voluminous American classic dotted with spiritual and philosophical illumination—all on the back of the 19th century whaling industry. Meanwhile, on the other side of campus (I’ve been listening to too much Carrie Bradshaw), journalism class provokes me to long afternoons in the sun pondering the craft of writing.

Take last week’s journal entry:

I want a recipe for good writing, but it is a pull-everything-out-of-the-pantry-and-get-creative kind of endeavour. It is full of holes and half-attempts. Cliches become casualties on the road to creativity, and my best risks just threaten an alienated readership. I’m taught what not to say, and how to be clearer: “Look, who would actually say that?”(I would.)

Current mass journalism seems to be the pursuit of clarity at the expense of beauty. It corrodes the temples of words I’ve built in my mind, making them seem superfluous, gaudy, ornate.

Perhaps they are right, and good writing is clear, full of what people would actually say, and only that. For I am no Austen, no Dickens, or Thoreau even. I live today, in the 21st century of shortened words, of “text.” Of WTFs and LOLs and all the rest of language’s vestigial parts.

And so today, rather than writing, I feel like doing anything else. Wandering, dreaming of idleness, barbeques, a new tattoo. In joy the days slip by with ease. In the absence of joy, every minute is lead.

Cheers, it’s spring in New York State! Let’s go publish!