Archive for February, 2010

I like this poem.

February 28, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday in my wanderings I decided to check out  the Edgar Allen Poe exhibit at the Boston Public Library. I’d never known that his history was so deeply entrenched in Boston. It was very interesting. This poem was on display, and I absolutely fell in love with it.

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea

Edgar Allen Poe

Categories: Thoughts Tags: ,


February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I was reading through my old posts this morning, just remembering things that have happened over the last couple of years, when I came upon this old post. And I liked it so much that I decided to re-post it. Not for any reason in particular, but more because it just reminded me of a book that I loved. Now I need to read it again.

“She had something in common with him, the possibility of spending Christmas alone with nothing for company but a big book. And something else: a kind of stillness in the face of being left. She had friends, she had her work, but in some essential way the important thing had already happened to her. I was back, yes, but I didn’t ever want to feel that way, that there was nothing new up ahead.

‘Are you lonely now?’

She looked over at me, my mother in her burgundy linen work dress, glasses hanging from a cord around her neck. She shook her head. ‘Lonely is a funny thing,’ she said slowly. ‘It’s almost like another person. After a while, it’ll keep you company if you let it.’ “

Ann Packer, “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier”

I realize I just posted all about this book, but I felt like this deserved it’s own post. I love this scene. I’m not sure why.

Categories: Thoughts Tags: ,

No matter where you go, there you are.

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I finally came out of my self-induced funk today. At least a little. Ever since the Great Job Mishap of 2010 I’ve been keeping to myself. Laying low to the ground. Reshaping how I think about finding a job, living in Boston, etc. It didn’t help that I’ve been sick for a week now (to the point where it was difficult to lift my head). I let a few too many discouraging thoughts slip in for comfort.

Getting out of my apartment and throwing myself into the city makes me so happy. It’s like exercising: Sometimes it takes a lot of effort, but in the end it’s totally and completely worth it. When you’re sick/tired/sad, it’s difficult to want to make the effort. Which means you stay in and feel worse. Which makes for a vicious, miserable cycle. So today I got out. I didn’t have a particular plan in mind, but I figured I would (as usual) start at the bookstore and figure out where to go from there.

Too bad I stayed at a bookstore for 7 hours. Yes. Seven.

I knew today was going to be amazing when I hopped on the T this afternoon. The driver was exceptionally excited about his job. And really, how can you not be happy about life when the man who drives the train is wishing everyone a good day over the loudspeaker? And asking if anyone has a birthday, and if someone does have a birthday today, could they please come to the front of the train so he can properly wish them happy birthday? Oh, boy. It definitely got everyone smiling.

I had the added pleasure of having an interesting seat-mate on my journey to the Prudential Center. A man sat next to me with an inch-thick envelope on his lap. He pulled out the contents and starting reading through the pages. They were notes from interviews with people who were applying to freaking Harvard Medical School. Geez. That makes my mediocre journalism degree look terrible in comparison. After he read each transcript from the interview he would go to another page that listed each person and then would either put an up or down arrow next to the name. I saw people’s medical FUTURES decided in front of me. It was great.

At Barnes and Noble I grabbed my favorite drink (a grande extra hot chai, remember?) and then started searching for a book/magazine to read. As I’m in the middle of a great book now I didn’t originally intend to get caught up in another. I wanted something I could “half-read” if you will–meaning I needed to read something that didn’t require any extra effort or thinking. And this title caught my eye: Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single.

Sounds perfect! A guaranteed chick-lit read. So I snatched up the book and went in search of a good seat. Although my table-mate was less than desireable (an older man reading UsWeekly and grinning lecherously at me) I managed to snag a seat at my favorite. It’s at a table that overlooks the busy street below the Prudential Center. I turned my chair around so  I could prop my feet up on the windowsill (and thus not be distracted by anyone walking around) and settled in for what I thought would be a little while of reading.

Ah. But then that little gem of a book turned out to one of the best things I’ve read in quite some time. Here’s my favorite quote: “I’m trying to look on the bright side, and I will. As soon as I find it.” Perfection. The book was so good.

And funny too, unfortunately. It’s unfortunate because I am the type of person who refuses to laugh out loud for no apparent reason in public. So this is what ensued:

(Something funny in the book)

Me: Snort-giggle. (Trying to be quiet. So I squash my laughter into my scarf.)

Then I glance around to see if anyone noticed, which of course they have.

(Something else funny.)

Me: Giggle-snort-giggle. Major coughing fit ensues from trying to stifle laughter. Still reading. Begin uncontrollably giggling at the inappropriate things going on in the book.

People staring. Table-mate leaving. (Good.) Guy next to me looking over his shoulder. People stopping. More staring.

Me: Laugh.Out.Freaking.Loud. And it’s not a cute laugh either. It’s a constant, awkward, giggle. I am that person. The one in quiet coffee shops or bookstores that you hate because they won’t shut up already. Yeah…hey.

And so on.

Suffice it to say that book was entirely enjoyable. So enjoyable that I spent seven hours reading it today. And finished it. Three hours in I took a break and decided it would only be fair to switch from Barnes and Noble to the Borders down the road. And I was getting hungry.

So I got dinner. Then I went to Borders. Whereupon I continued the unfortunate read-snort-giggle-stifle process. Until I finished the book.

The book ending surprised me, to be honest. Unlike most chick-lit books, the heroine in this story did not have a happy ending. Despite  a declaration of love from the man she loves and despite knowing she does not want to get married (like she thought she did through the entire book) and admitting it aloud, she GOES THROUGH WITH the marriage.

You fail, Jennifer. Utter fail. This fictional character let herself be roped into a life she didn’t want; a life that every single other character in the book pushed her toward because she was getting older. Because it was the appropriate thing to do at her age. Because she needed to “be taken care of.” Because once again getting married is the ultimate expectation from other people. Bah.

I like this author. I like that she wrote a book that I thought was going to be predictable. Instead it made me think. It made me think about how so many people get roped into lives they don’t want. That’s one of my biggest fears. I’m scared of waking up ten years from now, looking around me and saying “What the eff am I doing?” It’s one of the major reasons I picked up and moved. It was unexpected.

After finishing this book I started walking back toward the Prudential Center. I just needed to think and clear my head. On my way there I passed so many groups of people. Friends. Couples. You name it. I overheard so many conversations about people’s plans for Friday night. Where they were going. What they were doing. What they would eat or drink. What they would wear. If fist-pumping what appropriate. I so badly wanted to hop into one of those conversations. I wanted to giggle with the obviously drunk group of girls and gossip about who kissed whom the other night. I wanted to make plans about who and when and where to meet. I wanted to go dancing with a group of friends. My friends.

What’s ironic about this whole thing is that earlier in the day I had turned off my cell phone because I just wanted to be by myself. I didn’t want to worry about phone calls or answering text messages. I just wanted to be.

That stupid short walk reminded me of how much I miss my friends. Argh. It brought me down just a tad from my 7-hour reading high.

After seeing all those people I decided it probably was time to take myself back home. I went down to the T, where I saw a massive group of junior high schoolers chattering to each other. Yeah. I immediately turned around, walked back up the stairs and opted to walk home.

Truly it was not the best night for walking. There was a pretty steady mist coming down, but I needed it. I needed the sharpness of the air on my face. I needed to hear the constant clicking of my heels on the pavement. I needed to hear the sirens, the honks, the sounds of cars rushing past. I don’t know why. I just know it made me feel less like I was about to float away and more as though I wasn’t alone.

Don’t ask me why. But it made me feel better.

While I was walking home a quote popped in my head: “No matter where you go, there you are.” It reminded me how I used to be unhappy back home. Not unhappy with the people I was around or anything like that. I just knew Texas was not where I was supposed to be. I thought moving would be the ultimate answer to that feeling. I thought it would mean instantly being happy, all the time.

I was terrified that when I moved I’d still feel restless and unsettled. Unsatisfied. Although I don’t, it’s manifested itself into loneliness. And that quote made me realize that truly, happiness is a choice. While I walked I listed the reasons I’d had for moving. I reminded myself they were good reasons. They made sense to me and they still do. I made a good choice. A darn good choice.

So now I have to realize that this is where I am. Boston. Yes, it’s far, far away from the familiarity of home and my friends. I need to settle down, and make more choices that allow me to stay to true to myself and make me happy. I need to change things so I’m not lonely anymore, and if that means reaching out more, opening myself up, so be it. I have become more guarded than I realized, and that’s not a healthy way to live life. It takes time. I know this. It’s a process. But I will find my way. After tonight I have more confidence in that than anything else.

Here I am. Right here.

Rain, rain: go away.

February 26, 2010 1 comment

I am laying in my warm bed in Boston. My window is open, not only because this teeny room gets stuffy at night, but also because  the rain outside my window sounds wonderfully soothing. It’s the perfect rain: steady, light and constant. No huge rumbles of thunder. No shocking bolts of lights. Just a steady patter on my window. Rain is perfect when I am inside, warm and preferably curled up with a book, a blanket, and a hot cup of coffee.

And yet. (You knew it was coming.)

Yet I feel cheated. Didn’t I move to the East Coast? Shouldn’t there be more snow? New York is getting snow. Washington D.C. is getting snow. Pretty much every state in the Northeast is getting snow.

Except for Boston.

Not cool. So. Not. Cool.

Rain is not fun. Rain reduces everyone to shivering, dripping creatures. It’s gray. It’s wet and cold. I begin to resemble Shirley Temple, what with the gold curls and all. (Sadly, I’m not even exaggerating on that one. Oh, how I wish I were.)

Stupid rain. Bring on spring.

Categories: Uncategorized

Kids are lucky.

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I miss being a little kid. Don’t you, ever? When I was a kid, the sky was the limit.

In my backyard in Midland we had a swingset that was against the back wall of our house. Any time I swang (swung? went swinging?) I would pump my little legs as hard as I could to make that swing go as high as it could. When I was on the swing I felt like it was as close as I could get to flying. I used to dream of lifting gently out of that seat and floating over the back fence, over the alley and over the neighbor’s huge pine tree. I never thought about where I would go after I went over that tree though. I wonder why.

Anyway, the gist of this is that little kids are lucky. They have the capacity to dream and believe in a way that we, as “adults” (blah.) do not. I’ve always been called the ‘innocent’ one in any group of friends I had, but I miss the genuine innocence of childhood. I liked not knowing things could go wrong.

I don’t like being cynical. I don’t like it when I’m forced to confront reality. Make-believe is so much better. I can play that game.

Sigh. Anyway.

I want to hang this on my wall.

“you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.”

–E. E. Cummings

I have developed a recent obsession with E. E. Cummings. It is bad. But not really, because he was an extremely talented poet. If I had any artistic inclination I would come up with a creative and fitting way to get that short poem onto my bedroom wall.

Speaking of my bedroom, I finally decorated it a little yesterday. I figured that since I was sick and would be spending the day in my room there was no better time to brighten it up. Especially since it was such a dreary and rainy day outside. I put pictures up on the walls, and it’s amazing how much that did to make my room just a little friendlier. I love it.

The problem with having a blog everyone knows about…

February 24, 2010 3 comments

is that everyone knows about it.

Which makes it difficult to post how I’m really feeling sometimes, because then people actually talk to me about it.

Or, when someone really annoys me, I can’t say anything on here for fear of offending him/her.

Like that time when someone said he/she was so glad I moved to Boston instead of Manhattan. Because, according to him/her, if I got this screwed over in Boston I would definitely have crashed and burned in New York. Oooh.

I did not appreciate that comment. Writing it makes me just a little livid. If you can be just a little livid. Do not, you person who hardly knows me, ever tell me I can not do something. Because guess what? It just makes me all the more determined. I am obstinate.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

If you want to hear God laugh…

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The best thing about life after college (and yes, I realize how pathetic it is that this is my highlight) is getting to read whatever I want and whenever I want. I love it. Today I even made a list of books I want to read and books I want to re-read. Is that genuis or am I completely lame?

Books to read:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (He wrote my FAVORITE short story ever–A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings–so I feel like I wouldn’t be a true Marquez-lover until I sample one of his novels.)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Ok. I tried reading this a few times when I was younger. Specifically, it was when I was in 4th grade. And I don’t think my little 9-year-old brain could appreciate it.)

Little Bee by Chris Cleave (My friend just told me about this book. It’s a pretty recent release, so I may hold off on it until it hits the library.)

What is the What by Dave Eggers (Um, yeah. After reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius I am dying to read more by Eggers.)

7 Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman (It sounds fascinating. And depressing. It’s just a massive book and a bit daunting.)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Saw the movie a long time ago. Figured I should give the book a shot too.)

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (Saw this movie last weekend. Must, absolutely read the book as soon as possible.)

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (I’m a huge Dan Brown fan.)

Lucky by Alice Sebold (Her memoir. I must figure out why she writes about the things she writes about and I figure her memoir might give some clues.)

Rage Against the Meshugenah by Danny Evans (Hehe. This man is the author of the Dad Gone Mad blog that I follow. He’s hilarious. And if his blog can make me giggle for three hours at a time I figure his memoir must be entertaining.)

Books to Re-read (This list is a lot shorter. But I’m sure I can come up with more at a later time.)

A Separate Peace by John Knowles (There’s something in this book I’m determined to find.)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I remember reading this in junior high and loving it.)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (I remember this book from my English class my junior year of high school. I think the entire class boycotted reading it because we hated our teacher so much. Oops. But everyone always says it’s a fantastic book.)

I think that’s all for right now, on the books front.

Anyway. It’s been a week since the whole job implosion. And it’s amazing how much better I feel about it. Everything truly is going to be fine, and I came out of the whole thing more determined than ever. So that’s a plus. I was amazed at how kind everyone has been.

I’ve decided one of the keys to making it in a city is to never get cocky. Never think you’ve got everything under control. Because I feel like the rug can get ripped out from you at any time.

It’s like that quote: If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.

Just don’t even try. Maybe it’s all about simply learning to go with the flow.

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