are you writing?

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About a year ago, my mom sent me a Hemingway quote on Instagram:

you are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.

But more on that in a minute. It’s only partially related to what I have to say.

Hello, old friend. It’s been a while. I haven’t blogged properly in months, actually, and it feels strange to be sitting here typing what seems like my age old story… which, honestly, is an overly dramatic way of saying “Hi! I turn 25 tomorrow and I’m unemployed again!”

But this isn’t a story about how I got fired (although I’m happy to talk to you about it if you want to know; this isn’t the space for such things). This isn’t even really a story about being unemployed–or at least, that’s not all it is.

For those of you who don’t know, I went to a Quaker high school. Quakers, in case you don’t live in a city founded by them, believe in that of God in everyone. A light, if you will. Now, I don’t entirely agree with that belief, but it’s a good metaphor for what I’m trying to say, so we’re going to roll with it for now.

I’m not very good at seeing my own light.

No, perhaps that’s not exactly what I mean. Perhaps it is better to say I know what think of myself, mostly, but I don’t know what others think of me–or rather, I don’t know how what I do and think translates to what other people perceive and experience.

This is pretty normal. I am, after all, only human, not telepathic.

you are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering, mother told me, and I wondered at that because I am many things but I am not particularly brave or particularly quiet.

Continue reading “are you writing?”

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Dear America,

We’re going to start with a story and end with a reading list.

At some point in my childhood, I over heard a conversation between my mom and her mother. I don’t remember when, and I certainly don’t remember what they were discussing. All I remember is one of them turning to me afterwards and telling me that not choosing was making a choice.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Not just in terms of politics and elections and the United States, but in terms of how I’m living my life. I’ve written before about how I don’t want to live passively, or out of fear, or from despairWhat becomes us? Action.

I don’t want to live in a world where my friends feel their very identities and experiences completely dismissed by the leader of our nation.

It is absolutely no secret that I supported Hillary Clinton in this campaign, but I’m not here to argue why she should have won the presidency (and you know, did, by the popular vote). I’m also not here to yell at everyone who voted for Trump, whether I know them or not. In my experience, yelling at people tends to make them more likely to do exactly what you’re telling them not to do. 

And that, I think, is the heart of the problem. Telling. Yes, this election was entirely vitriolic, and yes, we were steeped in it for well over a year, which was far too long. The primaries were bitter, and the election itself was even worse. But even the most vitriolic of campaign ads–and there were plenty on both sides–aren’t what I’m getting at here.

What I’m getting at is this: The moment we stop listening to those with different experiences and accept our own struggles as the only truth is the moment we lose the war.

Continue reading “Dear America,”

forward motion.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time these days editing Just Making Cents when I’m not co-running W(REC)’D… which is probably why I’ve been posting here so little. I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime check out why I think physics & finance have more in common than you’d think.

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When JT first asked me to write a blog post or two for this site of ours, I put him off because I wanted to get his voice established. After all, he’s the driving force here, not me. I just clean up the commas. (… Okay, I do more than clean up the commas.)

Then I put him off because I didn’t think I had anything to say.

Then he went haring off to Greece with his wife and sent me an e-mail saying Hey, can you write up a post for Monday? I had an idea, but make it your own… so here we are! JT and M are enjoying the Mediterranean, and you’re probably starting to wonder what JT’s idea was and how I made it my own.

Or maybe you’ve looked at that picture and realized this is not the blog post JT suggested, but one of my own invention and, wait a second—why did she start this post with physics?

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the microcosm of hope

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I have not been good at writing of late.

Oh, I’m still writing, per se. I still journal every day. I still scribble story ideas and character names into a small notebook I carry around just about everywhere. I’m still reading my way through the Free Library of Philadelphia and writing up book reviews (have you heard about the newest project Basia and I are working on? We call it W(REC)’D).

But as more than one friend has mentioned, I’ve been curiously silent here on my own blog.

It’s not because I’ve run out of things to say. I’ve started blog posts at least a dozen times, each of them petering out because they weren’t right. I don’t just mean in a perfectionist sense, either—I mean in a “no, this isn’t for right now” sense. A “this one isn’t what I need to write at the moment” sense. A not yet sense.

People write for all sorts of reasons. I write because I have to—which is in of itself a fairly common reason—but also because I need to. Writing is how I make sense of the world. It’s how I take the messy, broken shards of my life and experiences and piece them back together into something resembling a narrative. Writing is how I’ve taught myself to find hope when everything feels overwhelming: it lets me rearrange what I’ve seen and experienced and said into something whose shape is less foggy and whose meaning more clear.

Continue reading “the microcosm of hope”

The Year of No

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I’m going to be straight with you: 2015 was not my year.

I will not be sorry to say goodbye when the clock strikes midnight in just a few hours. Zora Neale Hurston famously wrote that there are years that ask questions and years that answer. This was a year that answered, and that answer was a pretty resounding No.

No job, no motivation, no confidence, no energy, no aspirations, no idea what I was doing or what I wanted to be doing–no, no, no, no, no.

I got my yearly report from WordPress about this blog the other day. Do you know what it told me? I blogged three times during the last twelve months.

Three times. In 2014 I hit post thirty-two times, and 2013? forty-three.

So 2015 was also the year of no blogging.

Continue reading “The Year of No”

98.6

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I’ve been out with the flu all week. It has not been the most… thrilling of experiences, to say the least. I’d go so far as to say it’s been pretty miserable. Being feverish, achey, coughing, and general unable to walk more than ten feet at a time is not exactly my idea of pleasant.

The problem with the flu is it just sort of knocks you down and makes you lie around for a few days until it’s done with you. Plans? Cancel them. Work? Call in sick. School? Hope you have a friend to get those notes. You can’t even concentrate on a book, usually–it’s just television and movies and feverish dreams.

We had a discussion at dinner the other day as we all hid behind bowls of soup and hoped we were recovering. My mom asked if we–me, Tucker, Dad, Grandmother–remembered being sick as kids. Tucker doesn’t have many memories about it. He said he blocked them out. Dad had awful asthma as a kid, and remembers that; Grandmother had a few stories. So did mom.

Personally, I have a list a mile long of stories I could tell you about when I was sick: late autumn nights on the huge swing under the oak tree, huddled under a blanket and coughing with the croup. Shuffling between the kitchen and the living room in New York to watch Persuasion with a mug of theraflu in my hands. Lying on a pallet in my parent’s room. Hallucinating about Mary Poppins in the hallway when I was eight and had the stomach virus. Swine flu, twelfth grade: 104ºF fever, three seasons of 30 rock in two days. I don’t remember a single episode. Catching laryngitis and reading the fourth Magic Tree House book, then trying to talk to my grandparents on the phone. Generally, when I was growing up, sick days were when I attacked a pile of books and drank a lot of gatorade.

One time when I was about seven years old, I came down with some sort of infection. I don’t remember what it was that time around–a stomach bug, the croup, the aforementioned time I got laryngitis–but I do remember that I was stuck in bed all day long. I was homeschooled at the time, so most of my schoolwork became reading work: math and writing would wait for me to feel better, but reading has never been a chore.

Continue reading “98.6”

get up and go

A few weeks ago, I had an idea for a blog post.

Get up and go. 

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That was it. I wanted to say those four words. I wanted to tell you all how I’ve come to realize their importance, to want them to mean something for you the way they mean something for me: I wanted them to reach inside of you and grip you and send you running out your door to just go. Sometimes the destination isn’t as important as just getting started. I wanted to ask you to try this for me: to spend your weekends outside of your comfort zone, if only briefly. I wanted to ask you to push yourselves. Get out there. Hit up that restaurant you’ve been eyeing, or maybe just visit the local farmer’s market. Check out the weekend’s festivals. Get out of the house. Go.

Continue reading “get up and go”