Archive for the reading Category

Drinking and facebook

Posted in 37, reading with tags , on June 13, 2011 by ana


I love to read. I don’t do it as much as I used to when I lived in Brooklyn, and had a 45 minute commute to the museum I worked at in Queens, but I try to read at least a little everyday. Someone once said to me- those who love to read are never alone. And I think it’s true. A whole other world exists out there that you can get to only through books. More often than not when I read something I love I feel inspired but every once in a while it can be incredibly intimidating and paralyzing.  And then I know I must start to write, no matter what it is I write about, or I will loose my nerve. That is what I’m working with today. The fear that I will judge everything I write, deem it not good enough, and then spiral into a frozen abyss.

Last week I went for drinks after work with a few of the cooks and my friend who was managing that night. We went to Bigfoot, which is not that far from work, and also where Leo and I met. I had not been there since that day. The bar was nearly empty and we stayed until the lights came up. Then once the bar closed we stood outside talking for awhile. I didn’t really think of Leo, even though all we did was talk about relationships and sex and heartache, but of course he was still there in spirit*

I don’t know if it was the G&Ts or if being in that bar made me nostalgic but when I got home I logged back in to my facebook account. I don’t do facebook anymore. I find it doesn’t contribute anything of value to my life. Sure, it was fun seeing what people I went to elementary school with looked like as adults. Sure, it was fun reconnecting with old summer camp buddies or long lost friends but after that it just became a time-suck and the whole thing is just weird. But there I was at 2:30 am looking at what 150 of my closets friends had been up to in the last five months. And, of course, eventually I wondered over to Leo’s page. Now if you read this blog regularly you know that that is not my style. I have tried very hard to not bring any extra Leo stimulation into my life. But there I was. And there he was looking thinner, smiling, cavorting at his friend’s wedding wearing a shirt I bought him (or at the very least insisted he buy) at Paul Smith. And it shook me up. I couldn’t help thinking this should have been my wedding (or at the very least I should have been cavorting with him at that wedding.) Now, don’t think just because I’m writing this that I wish that things would have turned out different. I don’t. But a part of me, a smallish part of me, couldn’t help thinking how strange that his friend got married but we didn’t.

Ever since that night I have felt liberated. Not all at once but little by little as the days went by. And more and more my personal truth about the disintegration of my relationship emerges. That, as has always been the case in all my long term relationships, I outgrew it. The safety, the warmth, the companionship, the support, the fun, and even the periods after the break-up have always shown light in the missing pieces of myself and helped me grow more confident.


* “The experience of a city is made up of a constant negotiation with the ghost and residues of previous experience, most notably in Paris, with the ghost of insurrection and revolution, but also in Berlin which for Benjamin was above all a city of ghosts.” Howard Caygill (Walter Benjamin: The colour of experience)

A bucket full of patience

Posted in reading with tags on May 3, 2011 by ana

Years ago, in Puerto Rico,  I ran into my dad’s neighbor at the airport in San Juan.  She and her husband were traveling with their kids. I don’t know if our plane was delayed or it was just that her kids were running around and driving her nuts but she just turned to me and said- sometimes you just have to bathe yourself in patience, you just have to take a bucket full of patience and pour it over yourself.  It was one of those random things that just stuck and it pops in my head when things are taking too long.

I’m meeting Nai and Alabama in Las Vegas this weekend. I’m driving there so it seemed as good a time as any to drop my car off for an oil change and a check up.  I always put it off because it always ends up costing me more than just an oil check and check up. I know what you are going to say, that I shouldn’t get all that stuff done at the dealer but I used to take it somewhere else and they messed up my car and it cost me even more.

As I waited for the paperwork for my car to be done I pulled out my notebook and started writing. Every night before I go to sleep I try to write a list of every thing I did in my day. If I’m too tired I write it in the morning. The skinny, older, slightly scruffy man helping me asked if it was a journal and I said sort of.  He said, “there was a time I used to keep a journal. I don’t know what happened to them. Boy, I would love to read them now. I went traveling when I was young. I drove to Arizona, Washington, Oregon.” He told me a story about his truck breaking down during a rainstorm. He’d run into a church to keep warm and the pastor had asked him if he needed a place to stay. The pastor gave him a bed and food and in the morning they both drove to a reservation to hand out medicine and insulin. “That was one of the best days of my life,” he said. As he told me the story I could see what he looked like forty years ago driving around. When I was  doing my meditation workshop something similar happened with the man running the class. He told us that when he was seventeen he had only read one book for two years- Leaves of Grass. He had carried in his back pocket as he traveled.  Reading over and over had been a meditation to him. The meditation teacher was much older than the man at the car place but he also transformed before my eyes as he told the story.

My car wasn’t ready by the end of the day, and I ended up with a rental. It felt like a million things kept making me think about the bucket of patience. Things beyond my control kept making me late for everything.  I thought about the man at the car dealership and how he had wished he still had his journals. I told him that I had huge, flat boxes underneath my bed full of journals- fifteen years worth. I didn’t tell him that I had been thinking of getting rid of a large chunk of them.

When I drove home in my rental Fleetwood Mac’s Sara was playing on the radio. I can’t remember when the last time I heard that song was but it took me right back to being in eighth grade and staying in my mom’s car listening to music, reading Tama Janowitz, while my little brother finished soccer practice. It made me feel both old and young. Old because I feel that I have stories about times when I was a lot younger. Old because I see my sister and hear her stories and think- Oh, I’ve felt that way, I’ve done that. Part of me misses being that young but part of me doesn’t. I feel old because at 37, even if your early thirties were an extension of your twenties, your twenties are long gone. I feel young because I am but it also feels so present that thirty-seven is the precipice of something new.

risky business and horoscopes

Posted in reading with tags on March 6, 2011 by ana

Today is one of those days where I’m simply not getting out of bed until I absolutely have to. I made a cup of coffee and climbed back in with my computer, an Elle UK, and three books I want to finish reading.

I’m filled with lust over someone I can’t have- at least not now. It’s slightly torturous to feel something so lovely. I constantly have to remind myself to put it in a back burner somewhere, and just cross my fingers and try to forget that it’s there.

Sometimes the only thing that helps is a little retail therapy. It has come to pass that I often find myself looking at expensive underwear online. In part it feels like an auspicious move- any new beginning certainly must include new, hot underpinnings. But I also have to ask myself is Agent Provocateur helping me stay in the moment or is it just feeding the growing fantasy over my charming, hot, and smart lust man. But it’s not just that. Clothes are a major part of everything in my life from the day-to-day inspiration to the creatively imagined reveries. I buy soft white t-shirts, leopard print flats, a slim pencil skirt, and tissue-thin black shorts with magnolia blossoms to sleep in. I’m thrilled to be wearing my new things just as much as I’m enjoying imagining myself in them this summer in Italy.

I would love a fling. (I suspect you already knew that!) There is nothing I can do about it. If it is what I really need then I’ll get it. That is how it has always happened in the past-unexpectedly. I know this is a period of time just for me- to meditate, to drive aimlessly, to mend my heart, to write. But I also don’t want to be passive. I was so passive in my relationship with Leo. He would always say-in regards to us- you have to let things unfold, and I believed him. I still somewhat believe that. But you can’t just let things unfold because if you just wait for them to unfold the moment might just pass you. You have to seize the opportunities- you have to unwrap them rather than unfold them. Which brings me back to my lust, which I want to unwrap- but perhaps is wiser to let unfold.

Walter Mercado said that in 2011 to conquer in love I had to be patient and disciplined. Reading Walter’s horoscopes on December 31 is one of my most long standing New Year’s eve traditions. I have several. During the day I always try to have lunch with my dad at the Plaza del Mercado, a market four blocks away from my apartment in PR. In that area there is usually at least one person selling tuberose. I always buy a bunch to put by my bed and to give to my mom and/or my sisters. If my cousin is in town we usually try to get a last minute hair or nail appointment to no avail and end up at the drugstore buying mascara. This is an unofficial tradition that we’ve had since I was in the sixth grade. After lunch with my dad I usually go in search of the newspaper so I can read my Walter Mercado horoscope for the year. I love Walter. He is the Liberace of horoscopes. I took it as a personal wink from the universe that he was on my plane home from PR after these past holidays. In the past, when my grandmother was still alive, I would walk over to her apartment and read our horoscopes out loud. When she still had her wits about her she would laugh whenever he would give her a horoscope about sex or love.

And since we are talking New Year’s eve my last little thing that I like to do is write on my hips or torso with a sharpee a word or two for the new year. Nothing huge just little wishes like LOVE, ART, CELEBRATION to carry with me all night long.

This year so far is living up to its wishes. Is it possible to fall in love with your life? To have no idea where you are going but be happy and in love with no one but yourself?

New York was like a mini survey of my life. Streets, corner stores and store fronts are filled with memories. This is where I went to school (21st Street), this is where I kissed so-and-so (Seventh Ave. South), this is where Coco and I stopped in our tracks laughing (all over the city), this is where I had my first job after art school (25th street), this where Jones and I broke up (staircase in Union Square heading to the L), etc.

There is this brilliant English psychic that I have seen for years (LA does that to you.) And she always says that when multiple people or things from the past crop up seemingly out of nowhere you are closing one chapter and beginning another. I had forgotten that she had said that until my friend Milly described my weekend as filled with the ghosts of boyfriends past. It was really quite sweet to see two different loves from my past and to have mini exchanges with them both. One was someone I truly, truly adored and the other a decadent, loving mini-fling. They both hold such dear places in my heart and it was a little gift to hear that I did the same for them. I love when life is sweet like that.

At the airport coming home it felt like things had come full circle because I was so happy this time around. The last time I was at JFK I cried all over the terminal and all the way home. It was horrible. I think I knew then without knowing- it was the beginning of the end. I saw it all unravel as I sat next to Leo on the plane. I couldn’t handle it so I cried. We had just had such a marvelous time in Spain. This time around I marveled at how much lighter everything felt. How much easier. How much more me. This woman, this life coach, I talked to recently said- sometimes your life has to unravel so you can stand in your proper place. Those words could not have been more fitting.