Friday, March 30, 2012


I first read On the Road as an impressionable 15-year-old. It changed everything for me. Suddenly, there was a world of possibilities I'd never considered. It gave voice to all the longing I'd never understood. A vehicle for the restlessness that had nipped at my heels. It lit fire to my soul. For the next several years, I lived, breathed, and dreamed anything beat. And the first chance I got to shuck my old skin for a new one, I didn't hesitate. Days after graduating high school, I packed a suitcase, bought a one-way ticket to New Orleans, and with just a few hundred dollars in my pocket, went in search of life and adventure. I wasn't thinking about college, long-term goals, or a secure future. I wanted now, to live in the moment. To "simply be--be--be--."
{from the passage, "Hold still man, regain your love of life and go down from this mountain and simply be--be--be-- the infinite fertilities of the one mind of infinity, making no comments, complaints, criticisms, appraisals, avowals, sayings, shooting stars of thoughts, just flow, flow, be you all, be you what is, it is only what it always is -- Hope is a word like a snow drift--This is the Great Knowing, this the Awakening, this is Voidness -- so shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don't be sorry..." Jack Kerouac, Desolation in Solitude}
Originally, a good friend was supposed to go with me but she skipped out at the last minute. I decided right then and there I would never base my decisions on whether I did something or not on anyone else, even if it meant going it alone. I've kept that promise to myself.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid but I was young and naive, an idealistic day-dreamer and romantic. It still astounds me that my parents allowed me to go on my own. But then, it never occurred to me I couldn't. Years later when I asked my father about it, he said, "I couldn't have stopped you." And of course he was right. Even then, I rarely changed my mind once I'd made it. When the plane landed in New Orleans, I lingered for hours at the airport, feeling alone and unsure. For the first time, I was on my own with no one to meet me and nowhere to go. And suddenly I felt very small in a very big world. But eventually, I took an airport shuttle to the YMCA. I figured, if it was good enough for Jack, it was good enough for me. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my romanticized expectations. Not only was the Y on the wrong side of the tracks and a fair distance from the French Quarter, it was also frequently raided by the police at 3 A.M. But it was cheap. I stayed in New Orleans, first at the Y, and then in an attic share near Loyola University, for nearly two months. That's how long it took to decide there was nothing fun or romantic about being broke. So, I had my dad immediately wire me a ticket home. But even if my adventure hadn't panned out quite as I'd imagined it -- what a story I had to tell.

That solo adventure to New Orleans turned out to be the first of many. I've traveled to back roads and far places, from our own beautiful country to most of Europe, India, Nepal, and SouthEast Asia. I think the urge to be and see more is innate within me, but the spark, the possibility of it, was fueled by the pages of On the Road.

So, I'm thrilled that after several unsuccessful attempts there's finally a film. I've got my fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint. Francis Ford Coppola who first bought the film rights back in 1979 hired Brazilian director Walter Salles (The Motorcylce Diaries) and cast Sam Riley to play Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, Kristen Stewart as Marylou, and Kirsten Dunst as Camille. The film's release date is set for this year (2012.)

"It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow." - kerouac, on the road

Monday, March 26, 2012


"Make a remark," said the Red Queen, "it's ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding!" - lewis carroll, alice in wonderland
I've got a bit of a craving for chocolate pudding pie. Odd, since I hardly ever eat puddings. But the thought of something not only chocolately but thick, smooth, and creamy sounds delicious. I found this scrumptious recipe by Melissa Roberts at gourmet. Note: I swapped out her pastry dough for my own all butter crust. You can find her original recipe for pastry dough here.

Chocolate Pudding Pie
1/4 cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finally chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 blind-baked, 9-inch crust (*recipe below)
  1. Whisk together cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. If possible a flat whisk works best. Brig to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, two minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Pour filling into cooled shell. Place plastic wrap over surface to prevent a skin from forming. Place in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
  3. Just before serving, beat heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar just until soft peak form and hold. Spoon onto pie and garnish with chocolate shaving.
All Butter Pie Crust (one single)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick, cold unsalted butter
2 1/2 to 3 tbsp ice water, more or less
  1. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Dice one stick of very cold butter into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour, and using the pastry blender, cut butter into the flour. Make sure to work the pastry blender evenly over the mixture until the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas.
  4. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of ice water (not the ice) over the flour mixture. I find 3 tablespoons of ice water usually is enough but sometimes 1 or 2 additional tablespoons may be necessary BUT add 1 tablespoon at a time. It's always easier to add more water, then to try and repair a too wet dough. Using a rubber spatula, gather the dough together. Remember, you want just enough water for the dough to come together. Once you start to get large clumps with the spatula, use your hands to gather the rest of the clumps together into a single mound.
  5. Place mound on a large sheet of saran wrap. Shape into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for one to two hours, before rolling out.
Prepare Crust:
  1. I find rolling out dough between two sheets of plastic makes the cleanup easier. Roll out dough into an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge but leave a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang under and flute the edges.
  2. Prick bottom of pie shell, then chill shell in freezer for 30 minutes. This will prevent shrinkage.
  3. While shell is chilling, preheat oven to 350º F with a baking sheet in the middle rack.
  4. Butter the shiny side of a sheet of an aluminum foil. Firmly line the frozen pie shell with the foil (buttered side down.) No pie weights necessary.
  5. Bake on baking sheet until pastry is set and edge is pale golden, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove foil, then bake shell another 15 or 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown all over. Cool shell completely.
ph//stephanie foley via gourmet

Sunday, March 25, 2012


childhood living is easy to do
the things you wanted i bought them for you
graceless lady you know who I am
you know I can't let you slide through my hands

wild horses couldn't drag me away
wild, wild horses, couldn't drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
now you decided to show me the same
no sweeping exits or offstage lines
could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind

wild horses couldn't drag me away
wild, wild horses, couldn't drag me away

I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don't have much time
faith has been broken, tears must be cried
let's do some living after we die

wild horses couldn't drag me away
wild, wild horses, we'll ride them some day

(wild horses, the sundays)

Saturday, March 24, 2012


"Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And eat men like air" - sylvia plath

my instagram//paridiso

Thursday, March 22, 2012


"A human being is part of a whole, called by us - universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it's beauty." - albert einstein

ph//georges seurat, seurat's mother//wayne levin, circling akule

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This lovely pink poet's dress reminds me of my favorite style of vintage dress - collared shirt dresses with pretty pleat details and simple tie-belt. A perfect example is the 1970's Schrader Sport Shirt Dress in lavender (below.) I found the exact same dress in fuchsia several years ago at a thrift store in Florida. I don't know what it is about this particular style but I definitely have a penchant for them. Maybe it's the simplicity of the design coupled with the fact they're so comfortable to wear.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I came across this great story via make under my life called "Leaving the City of Regret" by Larry Harp. A lot of people have been folding under the heavy weight of uncertainty, fear, and regret. I think it's important to remember that we only have control over what's happening NOW. Let go of the past, don't worry about the future, and enjoy the present.

Leaving the City of Regret
by Larry Harp

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."

I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help it.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful.

By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. Here's wishing that you find this great town. If you can find it - it's in your own heart - please look me up. I live on I Can Do It street.


Monday, March 19, 2012


I was channel surfing when I happened to catch Wolfgang Puck talking dessert on an episode of Food Network's The Best Thing I ever Ate! He was raving about the banana cream pie at Emeril's in New Orleans. And I have to admit, it looked like no other banana cream pie I'd ever seen. For one thing, it was over-the-top decadent from the ten, count them, ten bananas that go into each pie to the rich pastry cream that stands up on its own, nevermind the whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and chocolate shavings! So, I immediately looked it up and wanted to share the recipe with you. I will be making this in the very near future.

Emeril's Banana Cream Pie
custard filling:
5 large egg yoks
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 to 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

9 bananas, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

whipped cream topping:
2 cups heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp granulated sugar

caramel drizzle:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream, heated until warm
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. To prepare custard filling, in a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, and 1 cup of the heavy cream. Whisk to blend well. Set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining 2 cups cream, sugar, and vanilla bean in a large bottom-heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and bring to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes.
  4. Slowly temper in the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour it into a glass bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap down over the surface of the mixture to prevent to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool completely to room temperature.
  5. When cooled, remove the vanilla bean. Whip mixture until you have a thick and creamy custard. If the mixture won't combine, add another 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  6. To prepare the pie crust, in a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and mashed banana. Mix throughly. Add the butter and mix well.
  7. Press the mixture into a 9-inch cake (or pie) pan. Note: It's a thick crust so you may want to use a deeper cake pan. Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. To assemble pie, spread about 1/2 cup of the custard on the bottom of the crust. Arrange a layer with 1/3 of banana slices over the custard, crowding them close together. Next, spread 1 cup of the custard over the layer of bananas. Then, arrange another layer of banana slices over the custard. Top with another cup of custard, then banana slices again. Top with remaining custard, covering the bananas completely to prevent them from browning. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
  9. In the meantime, prepare caramel sauce. You may want to read these tips as making caramel can be tricky. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow the mixture to come to a boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber and has the consistency of thin syrup, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  10. Slowly stir in the hot cream. Use a heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If lumps develops, return the saucepan to the heat and stir the sauce until it regains the consistency of thick syrup. Cool. The sauce can be refrigerated until read to use. Allow it to reach room temp before drizzling over pie.
  11. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with a topping of whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and chocolate shavings.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


more or less
it's just a change in my liberty
oh, my, my
coming and going
i watch you look at me
watch my fever growing
i know just where i am

but how many corners do i have to turn?
how many times do i have to learn
all the love i have is in my mind?

well, i'm a lucky man
with fire in my hands

something in my own place
i'm standing naked
smiling, i feel no disgrace
with who i am

I hope you understand

(the verve, lucky man)

Friday, March 16, 2012


"You lost your way home, and you felt like a passenger left by the road, well I'll tell you the reason you couldn't get home, cos home is nowhere you've been and it's nowhere you're going, home is only a feeling you get in your mind from the people you love and travel beside, you may feel like a passenger, but now you're the driver, you've got to keep traveling and traveling on, cos if you break down, it's a cold hard shoulder, so fuel up your mind and fire up your heart, and drive on, drive on, and when your days are darker, put your foot down harder and drive on." - fuel up by stornoway

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I just happened to catch this Heineken commercial on television and it's fantastic! The music initially caught my attention, but the highly stylized and over-the-top production kept my interest. The spot is about a guy on a wild date at a Hong Kong nightclub. I love the contrast of using Indian music with what's unfolding visually. Some of you may be familiar with the song, "Jan Pehechaan Ho." It opened the film, Ghost World, starring Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi, and Scarlett Johansson. But the song was originally sung by Mohammed Rafi for the 1966 Bollywood flick, Gunman. There's nothing more entertaining than a Bollywood movie - the fantastic music, the kitschy dance numbers, and the high drama. They're better than Korean soap operas, hands down.


Love, love, love... nina ricci fall 2012 rtw. More looks via vogue.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I've been eating a lot of baked sweet potatoes lately. There's something comforting about them, maybe because I'm from the South and remember eating them as a child. Except, it happened to be my mom who gave them to us as treats. Koreans love sweet potatoes too.

I don't know about you but I can't figure out the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. People use these terms interchangeably but it turns out, the two aren't even related. And get this, they aren't even potatoes at all but tubers.

Yams are native to Africa and Asia, and are drier and starchier than sweet potatoes. Yam comes from an African word, which means "to eat." They are usually found in international markets.

Sweet potatoes, originated in South America, and come in many varieties, with skin color ranging from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. U.S. sweet potatoes come in two main varieties, classified as either 'firm' or 'soft'. One has golden skin with creamy white flesh and a crumbly texture. When cooked, this 'firm' variety remains firm. The other has copper skin with an orange flesh that is sweet and soft. When cooked this 'soft' variety becomes soft and moist. This 'soft' variety is often mistakenly labeled a yam, an error perpetuated by the U.S. government. It may go back to colonial times when Africans referred to sweet potatoes as yams because of the similarities between it and their own native yams. What you find in regular grocery stores is more than likely, sweet potatoes. Zoe Bakes got in on the sweet potato vs. yam debate and came up with some interesting results.

I found this recipe for sweet potato pie from she simmers, who in turn adapted Chef Leah Chase's recipe of Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans. That recipe can be found in the book, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs. I haven't actually tried the below recipe but I'm willing to bet it's absolutely delicious. I like the addition of pecans to the pie crust and the fact there's only a 1/2 cup of sugar. I would swap it to brown sugar, and maybe roast/bake the potatoes in the oven (skins on) instead of boiling them. I find you get more flavor out of sweet potatoes that way. After they've cooled slightly, just enough to handle, the skin peels away easily. Here's another Southern Sweet Potato Pie recipe from a previous blog entry.

The Best Sweet Potato Pie
(adapted from Leah Chase's recipe)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely-chopped pecans
1/2 cup cold butter *(original recipe/vegetable shortening)
1/4 cups ice-cold water, or as needed
  1. In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients plus butter in short bursts until mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add water through the feed chute as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough that pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl.
  2. Form dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap in plastic; chill for one hour.
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp melted butter
pecan halves for decoration
  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Roll out the chilled dough into a 12-inch round and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is set and begins to brown slightly. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let cool.
  3. Put the sweet potatoes into a medium pot and cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil slowly until the potatoes are tender with absolutely no resistance at the center when pierced with a fork.
  4. Drain off the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Do not use a potato riser or food processor.
  5. As you mash the potatoes, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. The butter goes in last.
  6. Once the filling is well-mixed, pour it into the baked pie crust. Arrange pecan halves around the outside edges and sprinkle the top of the pie with more cinnamon.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is set and the edges of the crust have browned.
  8. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, March 12, 2012


My friends' nanny was sick so I spent my day hanging out with baby Gaël and their feline, Aldo (who pretends to only speak French.)


"I am a feather for each wind that blows."

william shakespeare

andrew wyeth airborne//my instagram

Sunday, March 11, 2012


of all the foolish things to do
i became a connoisseur of great excuse
and my pessimistic past the blame
will never make this go away
of all the foolish things i've said
that keep me sleepy almost dead
i'm sorry if i've let you down
my eyes were closed, they're open now

i'm waking up
i am waking up
i am waking up
i awake

and this has all been said before
i've listened but then i ignored
my ears grew deaf
my head gave up
the junkie knows not when to stop
of all the foolish alibis
the constipated push for why
i've had a blanket pulled over my eyes
oh hush now baby don't you cry

i'm waking up
i am waking up
i am waking up
i'm awake
i am waking up
i'm ready
i am waking up
(damien rice, the connoisseur of great excuse)

Friday, March 9, 2012


"The cure for anything is salt water -
sweat, tears, or the sea."

isak dinesen

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know... I'm on the slow boat because I'm sure all of you finished the entire series ages ago. For those of you not in the know, The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy about a post-apocalyptic world in which The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, holds absolute power over the rest of the nation divided into 12 Districts. Each year one boy and one girl from each district is chosen by lottery to participate in the The Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which only the winner survives. The story is told in first person by 16-year old Katniss Everdeen who volunteers to take her younger sister's place in The Hunger Games. The trilogy falls into the Young Adult category but it's a great read for any age. I absolutely loved the book and can't wait for the movie release on March 23rd.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


"I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living." - anaïs nin

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


One of my favorite things is to take long walks through Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It's beautiful any time of year, even in stark winter. I often pause along the way to take photographs. Lately, I've been using primarily Instagram. I just don't think it's possible to take a bad picture with this app.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Unless I'm hankering for something sweet on the spot, I rarely purchase treats I can bake at home. However, I love pie shops or shops that serve pies. I've passed by Ivy Bakery on Houston more times than I can count. Something about the place kept enticing me in but I was always on my way elsewhere or in too much of a hurry to stop. Finally the other night, I simply couldn't resist. Stepping in, I was immediately taken by the shop's warm and inviting atmosphere, not to mention the delicious smell wafting through the air.

Chef-owner Daniellan Louie has 500 plus items on rotation at her bakery, all of which she bakes from scratch. She has everything from cupcakes to confections to pies and tarts (just to name a few.) I was predictably drawn to the pie case and even with the half-dozen or so selections, my eyes instantly locked on Buttermilk Pie. I rarely see it outside the South and it happens to be one of my favorites. If you've never tasted this Southern tradition, you're first reaction might be, "ugh." But this melt-in-our-mouth, custard-like pie comes out of the oven creamy, sweet, and with a slightly tart and tangy flavor. In addition to the star ingredient, buttermilk, the basic filling consists of eggs, melted butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla; and sometimes nutmeg or lemon juice.

Ivy's Buttermilk Pie was a perfect slice of heaven. Particularly so because I got the first slice out of the pie and it was still warm from the oven. Every bite was rich and creamy. The tang from the buttermilk balanced the sugar, giving it just the right amount of sweetness. The crumbly, cookie-like texture of it's all-butter crust suited this type of custardy pie. And I liked that it wasn't too bottom thick, and had just enough overhang for the perfect combination of filling and crust in my mouth. The caramelized sugar coating was the perfect finish, adding a nice texture. My slice of pie was served in an adorable, parchment lined, 6-inch round cake pan; a nice visual touch since most of us eat with our eyes, not just our stomachs.

Ivy also specializes in custom ordered treats, meaning they can bake whatever you like, including for those with special dietary needs, such as allergies or intolerances, vegans, and diabetics. They currently have a variety of selections- gluten-free, sugar-free and more -readily available in their shop.

And for all you would-be bakers and cake decorators, Ivy Bakery also offers classes by special appointment.

Here's an article from the NY Daily News about how Louie baked her way out of the projects.

Open daily except Mondays. Hours 9am to 11pm on weekdays and Sundays, 9am to 2am on Fridays & Saturdays.

138 West Houston, W. Village, (347) 598-3452

Sunday, March 4, 2012


say a word for jimmy brown
he ain't got nothin' at all
not the shirt right off his back
he ain't got nothin' at all

and say a word for ginger brown
walks with his head down to the ground
took the shoes right off his feet
they threw the poor boy right out in the street
and this is what he said

oh! sweet nuthin'
she ain't got nothin' at all
wow, oh! sweet nuthin', hey, hey
she ain't got nothin' at all
oh, let me hear you

(the velvet underground, oh! sweet nuthin')

Friday, March 2, 2012


(from Henry Miller on Writing, New Directions via biblioklept)

I hit a wall about 7-8 months ago. Not just as a writer, but in general. It was an extremely disappointing and frustrating period for me. Not because I'd never experienced disappointment before, believe me I had, but because I wasn't prepared for it. It began with my decision to leave Los Angeles. The move back to NYC was a huge transition for me, something I hadn't been willing to admit at the time. I'd thought, "Been there, done that, no biggie. How hard could it be?" But I had a lot riding on it, or thought so at the time, and when things went awry, I sort of fell apart. Which in my case was to just withdraw into the rabbit hole. In retrospect, I must have thought I could easily slip back into my old life as if nothing had changed, that my friends would be standing by to welcome me back into the fold, and that everything would just fall into place as it had many times before. As if somehow I, myself, had not changed but remained the same. Of course, none of it unfolded as I'd imagined.

Six years in LA had changed me, some good, some not so good. A West Coast sensibility had infiltrated my East Coast veneer. I'd lost my edge, my hustle. You could even say, I was stuck on a lackadaisical, sticky fly ribbon. I've been trying to get unstuck since. But it's not easy adjusting your mindset, even if you're used to taking risks. There's a tiny part in all of us that will always resists change, even if it's a positive one. I think part of the problem is too many of us dissect ourselves into sections. One for the past, another for future, and what's left over for the present. It leaves us less than whole. We spend our entire lives trying to bring all the parts of ourselves together when we should be focusing on right now, working with what we have and not what we lost or want from tomorrow.

A few weeks ago, I tagged along with a friend to an introduction to meditation at the Tibet House. So much of what Yuri Dhara discussed resonated with me, the most important of which was that, 'There is only now. The past only brings you pain. The future only fear'. Here I had believed I'd been trying to embrace change when in fact I was being hindered by the past and paralyzed by the uncertainty of the future. But happiness can only be found in the present, not externally, but within ourselves when we align with our life's purpose. What is our life's purpose? Only we know the answer. But first, we must learn to ask ourselves the right questions.

The reason I mention all this, is because I figured out some of my writer's block. And a lot of it had to do with not being present. I kept thinking about the time I'd invested into my craft, what I'd sacrificed, and what if it all came to naught? The more I was sucked into that negative thinking, the more it took over my thoughts. I began to second-guess myself, every word I'd ever written. I found myself editing and re-editing the same first five sentences of my book and it was torture. Day after day, week after week, month after month, until 7 months had slipped by. Then I was tortured by the time wasted; it was a vicious cycle. All I really had to do was show up and work. Even when I felt there was nothing to wring out onto the page. Show up. Work. 'Consciousness follows the path of repetition.' This is something we can all apply to our lives. Show up. Work. Despite our thoughts. We are not our thoughts. Our thoughts become our reality, but that reality is not truth. Awareness is consciousness before thought. Be present.