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Archive for the ‘On Inspiration’ Category

Blink.

Last night the winter solstice coincided with a lunar eclipse. The first response to come out of my mouth when asked if I would stay up to see it was, why bother? A million pictures better than anything I could ever see on my own were sure to pop up the next day, so losing sleep just to say I saw it live seemed, well, pointless. Even so, I set my alarm, and at 2:31 am my cheek was pressed up against a window as I watched history unfold. Of all the emotions to experience, I felt something I haven’t felt for sometime now…

Fear.

The moon, an absolute that I take for granted, was cast in shadow by forces I couldn’t begin to understand. My problems, my neighborhood’s problems, my city’s, the state’s, the world’s, they all disappeared with the sunlight, their insignificance brighter to me in their absence than they ever were out in the open. Moment’s like these, when nature puts me firmly back in my place, remind me of my one and only fear: nonexistence. In the same time that it takes me to write this blog, I will cease to exist. Don’t believe me? Okay. Blink. If that seems familiar, it’s because it’s the first thing I asked you to do in this post. Yet even now, both blinks are a part of your past, no more so than the third time I’ll ask the same of you, even if you haven’t done it yet. The future is the past, we’ve all already slipped into nonexistence.

Us, those who loved us, the very memory of us, gone.

Still, I cling to the now that slips from my grasp, I claw at the present as though I might catch hold of it. If all I have are memories until I become one myself, I’ll be damned if I don’t fill them with as much love, friends, family, cooking, and writing as I can, while I can. So for those of you who missed the eclipse:

Blink.

See? It’s already a memory.

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So our bathroom is being remodeled, and the time has finally come to paint. Being the obsessive compulsive that I can be (it once took me eight hours to mow a lawn, let alone four years to write a book), I’ve promptly taken over for our contractor, not trusting him to those perfectly symmetrical lines of color that I’ve come to love. As soon as I gave him the good news, the first thing he asked (after hugging me) was what color we were going to use. I told him brown (coffee bean), to which he promptly replied, in his thick Brooklyn accent:

“Brown? You kiddin me? Really? Brown? It’s going to make the room feel tiny, mo. Really? Brown?”

It gets better. Our (usually) supportive landlord’s response:

“No, I don’t mind. You going to paint it white before you leave?”

Where’s the trust? The vision? The support? No where! And you know what? I can’t blame them. Were they recently inspired by a trip to IKEA like Jen and I were? No. Where they (and are they ever) able to see outside of whites and creams? Nope. And could I have given the contractor advice on how to have done his job better? Hell no. But wait…what does that have to do with anything?

Some most people have opinions on things they really aren’t qualified to judge. A Northern New Jersey police officer and an unlicensed contractor should defer to a designer (best bud), retailer (wifey), and, well, me, but that didn’t stop them from speaking their mind, or from being wrong (it looks great!). Not convinced? Consider this anecdote:

When I was eight years old, I was actively drawing and writing stories. Dubious of my parents’ opinions regarding my work, I cooked up an experiment. After tracing an image of the comic book hero, Wolverine, I showed them the finished product, and after claiming to have made him up all on my own, asked if they thought he’d make for a cool superhero…

They didn’t like him.

So whether you’re writing a book, or pursuing a dream that no one seems to understand, do yourself a favor and learn to filter the constructive criticism from the bad. Just imagine where we’d be today if Marvel had consulted with my parents…

That’s right. Summers without Superhero movies!

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Last night I had my surrogate mom (my best friend’s mom…mine passed away years ago…sigh), her mother, and her brother over for dinner (wife’s birthday, Happy Birthday J-Lo!). What started as some simple mass cooking in the morning to carry us through the day quickly turned into my very own little proving grounds (grandma is a notoriously tough critic). With their being Irish and all, I decided on deep fried meat stuffed pastries (empanadas), spanish rice (a reliable hit), and what I like to call “sun-chips,” fried plantains, a potato-like banana sliced and flattened into chips. Grandma enjoyed everything very much, especially the empanadas, but described the chips as bizarre. Not satisfied, I decided to finish the night with a bang: home-made apple pancakes with hot-off-the oven candied raisin/apple/walnut syrup topped with a generous a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Verdict?

THEY LOVED IT!

I took a risk with a tough critic and knocked it out of the park. Woot.

The Dead Don’t Cry is my literary risk. It’s my four year home-made pancake, and I want the toughest critics to give it a taste. Does the time spent on it validate anything? No, because if I really spent that much time cooking a pancake, I’d end up with a charred, disgusting mess. But I believe the passion counts for something. So here’s hoping I find some book starved grandmas out there!

PS. I really should start photographing my culinary concoctions…the attached pic does not do dessert justice.

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I changed my homepage today from Google blog reader to my email account. Not because I get a lot of email, but because I have well over 1,000 blog posts that I’ve neglected – and have zero intention of ever reading. I started off strong, and there were many posts that I enjoyed reading along the way, but there was also something deceptively misleading about it all. Bloggers are too friendly, too supportive, too willing to devote their precious time to helping others like themselves.

How is this a problem? (more…)

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If you ask my kids what sunglasses are they’ll tell you they’re called ‘hater-blockers.’ And if you ask them what hater-blockers are for?

To block the hate.

When I was a child, all I remember people telling me was to follow my dreams. Want to be an artist? Great! Draw and follow your dreams! Want to be a world record shattering runner? Fantastic! Keep running and challenge yourself to be great! Reach for the stars, the sky’s the limit, never give up, be all you can be (ok, the last one may have come from my Army recruiter, but you get the idea). And then I became an adult, and curiously enough, the rhetoric changed. Suddenly it’s get a real job, you need security, but what about your future?

What happened? (more…)

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If you’ve ever spoken to someone who is passionate about running, you would know that their devotion can sometimes border on fanatical. I know, because I was once one of them. A runner. Not just any, I might add, but a long distance runner, all of whom I’d wager are in fact some kind of crazy. After all, who else would willingly submit herself to physical and mental exhaustion on a regular basis in the hopeless attempt to improve upon an unattainable level of perfection?

Oh right…you. (more…)

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