Faking it

January 12, 2017

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Monday I’m taking the One train downtown for a meeting on Wall Street. I know very little about the NYC Metro system and even less about the stock market, but here I am.

Faking it.

I don’t belong there, but I am doing my best to blend in. Wear your black winter jacket and knee-high boots. Don’t make eye contact. Walk fast, and with a purpose. Don’t let them get a whiff of your insecurity. Answer your emails with one hand and sip your overpriced coffee held by the other.

No one notices that I’m ten thousand miles away from my comfort zone.

Tuesday I’m writing a short story in a coffee shop tucked somewhere between my hotel and Times Square. Just start with a sentence. Write fast and with a purpose. Brush off the impostor syndrome that sits with the devil on your left shoulder. Scribble notes with your right hand and sip your overpriced latte held by the left. I haven’t taken a class or written fiction in years, but here I am.

Faking it.

Torn

Two men get out of their cars at a rest stop on I-90 in New York. Both noticed that the American flag was badly torn and ready to detach due to the wind and weather. It had probably been like that for weeks, yet no one bothered to fix it.

Both worked together to make sure that it was properly removed, folded, and stored. One man is a military veteran, the other is not. One voted republican, and the other democrat.

And yet – look what happens when folks work together towards a common goal. When people who have been polarized, meet in the middle to take action and to take responsibility when others will not. To restore respect for our country and our flag. 

Funny how that works. I want more.

So Fresh

January 6, 2017

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Nothing marks a fresh start quite like a new notebook. Clean lines, a stiff spine, and endless possibilities are tucked away in unmarked paper waiting to meet its pen.

It’s no secret to you, but I’ve been struggling to tighten up my writing habit. To sit down every day and scratch my pen against the eager pages.

My grandfather used to write in a journal every day, and some of those pages recently landed in my lap. I was young when he died and know him mostly through stories my Dad and my Gram Sara tell. Each time I turn a page, I can feel myself getting to know him better, even though he left us over 20 years ago. Some days are boring– recounting the weather and what he ate for lunch. But others describe his grief when his niece died in a car accident and when they lost the family dog, Meg. I feel tethered to him through turkey sandwiches and trips to the bank. Through family dinners and long walks. Through stories about my dad and uncle. Through grief and uncertainty and bouts of unbridled happiness.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? We are connected by the profoundly ordinary.

Most of us don’t live flashy lives. Our days are strung together by fleeting moments of love and pain and mailing the water bill.

I have been making this much more difficult than it needs to be. I don’t need to dream up a new story to tell. Perhaps our own stories are interesting enough.