Archive | August, 2011

what do hemen and hemingway have in common? shitty luck, as it turns out

31 Aug

i’ve been on quite the book reading jag lately and yesterday’s selection, the paris wife, is getting to me. it is about hemingway’s first wife, hadley richardson, and their time in paris. this is the same hadley richardson who famously lost ALL OF HEMINGWAY’S WORK on a train out of paris. well, in a bizarre twist of evil sympathetic magic, i seem to have accomplished something similar. not that the comparison between hemingway and i goes much further, but i’ve lost the usb drive that houses all my stories, sketches, scripts and notes from the last few years.

now, knowing me it’s not really lost so much as misplaced in my, shall we say, disheveled room. at least that is the hope. but the fact that it’s missing at all has given my overactive imagination license to do terrible things to me.

of course you can’t lose an idea or a story in the same way you do a physical object, but here’s when a writer’s work on an idea is very much physical object: you are sculpting the raw material of the rough draft into your best version of the story. you cut a word or phrase away or you mold new words onto the structure and by the time you feel done (even if you’re never really done), you have a singular representation of your idea. you lose that object, that well-molded story (well, molded story anyway), and you have done just that. you have lost it. you can write on the same subject, with the same characters, following the same plot, but it won’t be the same. it can’t be and it can’t help it – you are writing a new story.

in a lot of ways this is extremely freeing, though. while there are a few things i’ll be sorry not to see again, there’s also an amount of crap i’ve been puttering with that will have finally been cleared out. nothing to do but start fresh.

and all of this is as good a lead-in as any to the fiction project i wanna start posting. i’ve got characters and a few situations for them but nothing’s truly jelling yet. maybe if i put them up here, together in one place, i’ll see what i’ve been missing (or perhaps someone reading will and be kind enough to clue me in). if nothing else, i know i won’t be able to lose the damned things if they’re posted online!

so, up next: the characters…

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the eye of the storm

29 Aug

i actually drove towards the eye of irene only hours before it hit niantic, ct.  yes, drove at it.  in the driving rain (no pun intended).  slamming on breaks when the folks ahead were too scared to guess at staying on the highway.  since you couldn’t see squat.  20 mph? let’s try 50, 60 or even 70, people.  i can squint and see moments of the white line or sometimes the yellow.  HOLD THAT THOUGHT.

let me back track.  i live seven houses from the ocean in a quaint little beach community (minus a few hell-beast neighbors, stacy, loud mouth next door, you know who you are) called Point of Pines.  so when i hear we’re due for an ocean surge and sure-fire flooding (not to mention winds upwards of 75 mph) i’m pulling everything off the floor in the basement, moving important furniture and sundries upstairs, and dragging every toy and lawn furniture indoors.  where is my husband you ask?  can’t wait for him.  it all has to happen now! i’m a doer.

anyhoo.  my little angel was with grandma and baba and i had to go rescue him from the imminent danger of irene in ct.  plus, i was gonna pick him up saturday anyway. talk about white knuckling it.  so pick up goes fine.  big d sleeps through the sweaty drive home and then we hunker down for the storm… oh yeah and jakie and charlie come to watch pirate movies and Rio.  hot dogs and fun for all.  then wait for the storm. the storm?  hello, irene?  oh well.  just another storm that i rearranged my life around. that’s what happens when you live by the ocean and are a perfectionist (and believe the hype that only TV and weather dudes/dudettes can deliver).

disaster preparedness, hipster spinster edition

29 Aug

don’t know if you’ve heard, but there was a spot of bad weather out here on the east coast over the weekend. i don’t have a television so i didn’t get the whole escalating weather report treatment, a small mercy and the major reason why i met the apparently apocalyptic threat of hurricane irene with relative calm. other than erratic rain jags and a window-rattling burst of wind or three, i spent sunday indoors reading, catching up on project runway and misfits (an awesome bbc show about a group of juvenile delinquents sentenced to community service when they gain superpowers through a freak storm. like you do.) and finishing up a little embroidery project.

i had begun this as an inexpensive gift for my friend beth’s b-day. although i had a whole hour before the party and then a few minutes on the bus (thus earning the title hipster spinster from my dear friend dave), i didn’t get much further than the gesture that day. beth wanted it to be a patch, so now that i’ve finished the image, i’m working on a blanket-stitched edging. i’m thinking once i finish the purple edge, i might go in with another color (pink? orange? blue?), in between the purple as a way to hide my massively uneven edging (hey, i can’t draw, cut, paint – and at certain times walk – in a straight line so i’m not gonna get too hung up on the fact that my sewing follows suit. acknowledge and adapt, i say).

i wanted to teach myself how to embroider after seeing some of the really awesome work a handful of artists have been turning out lately – great examples from the pricked: extreme embroidery show at the museum of arts and design in new york can be seen here. i’m definitely not up to that level but i’ve made a decent start, no?

let them eat cake

25 Aug

the start of the academic year at a certain college in massachusetts is next week and the students are already here in full force. it is a low-level chaos  chaperoned by over-animated parents whose attitudes range from terror to hysterical happiness to overbearing mastery (don’t worry kids, we want to punch the more obnoxious of them in the face just as much as you do. or should).

for the most part, though, the kids could give a shit. there’s caution tape blocking off the walkways so cars can inch along to the various dorms in the yard. for those of us who have places to be or at least know where we are going, this is the day to learn patience.

on such an anarchic morning walk to work, who is there to save the day but little debbie in the form of two smiley young people passing out individually wrapped bits of chemical sweetness (and if you know me, then you know how genuinely psyched i am when faced with free sugary-crappy food).

after all, a cloud cake by any other name will still taste as sweet as a twinkie.

looky-loo

18 Aug

okay, so this probably isn’t helping the cause of getting out of boston, but since i’m here…

i’ve been looking at condos. it’s as close to the bottom of the market as it’s likely to get so the pickings are better than they’ve been since i landed in this burg. not that i make an insane amount of cash – i can still quality for affordable housing loans for those with low incomes in boston- but i figure i have enough behind me to stave off a monthly mortgage if the price is right. the mitigating factors? i don’t have a car so i need to be close to public transportation. i am living in central square in cambridge right now paying a laughably low monthly rent (laughably, as in -all the way to the bank) in an almost perfect location as far as i’m concerned. unless i find the Exactly Right place, there’s not too much incentive to move. well, except for the whole building up equity thing.

and that’s the heart of this venture. i’m no slouch at the savings account but i’ve started from zero – not even zero, actually. much less than zero, from the moment i arrived on the east coast. student loans, not much in savings, absolutely no financial help from any quarter. not an enviably position, but it is a point of pride (i take what i can get, okay?) that i have gotten myself firmly up to zero and managed to save a pittance besides. but it’s taken me about six or seven years to do that. i wanna see what i can do in my last couple of boston years with my largest monthly expense – rent – going back into my own portfolio.

i’ve been out looking twice so far – once in cambridge, once in the south end. the cambridge place was gorgeous, move-in ready, and straining the limits of my budget. the south end places, if you could get past the psuedo-sketchiness of the neighborhoods, required a little imagination but could be viable options. today it is fenway. the places are in my price range (which is kind of pitiful, but a girl’s gotta start somewhere, child), close to the t or the #1 bus (the lifeline from cambridge to boston via mass ave). i’ll be interested to see what the spaces are like in person. on paper i got the impression that they would be modest little studios.

so when the location and price line up, the thing that interests me is how to know when the place i’m looking at is The Right Place. which is, i guess, a state informed by the purpose to which i want to put my last few boston years. i’ve got a book to write to earn my creative writing degree, so i want a place that is conducive to that kind of work. i’m also looking forward to the solitude, a space that is just mine (that in itself would make a space conducive to writing. it certainly is the missing element in my current living situation). i’m hoping for something open, too. something that could admit gatherings of friends, fellow writers, interesting and creative people in need of a meeting place. it’d be fun to be in the middle of a movement, or at least to have the space to start one. even a movement of one – i’m just imagining having an art room, a place to paint, sew, make and do. all the stupid little projects i’ve piled up in my head and haven’t yet found a compelling enough excuse to get to work on. hmm. i guess it’ll be like that old saw about pornography: when i see it, i’ll know.

so, fenway it is. we’ll see what can be seen. more to come…

Oh Sun

17 Aug

Oh Sun. Shine, shine all over me. Heal me. Refresh me. Awaken to this day and all of its splendor.  For I am the breath of life.  And you are in me.  Around me.  And forever my friend.  I bow to you.  I thank you.  And in turn, I thank myself. And you, Fernando.  Thank you for opening my eyes and telling me I am the breath of life.  I will hold this thought through out my day.

hello world

10 Aug

It’s me, Leigh.  (hello Leigh).

I’m stuck… in a rut, no, in a job and a place, in space, that is squeezing the will out of my spirit.

So this is the space and a place that is virtual, virtually freeing my mind for the time I must spend trapped in this job, this office space.

I will share all the tools of foolery I use on myself with you (s).