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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in a's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, October 5th, 2008
10:52 pm
"Too many women throw themselves into romance because they're afraid of being single, then start making compromises and losing their identity. I won't do that."
Julie Delpy
Sunday, September 21st, 2008
2:41 am
"it's a popular belief that that women tend to use the left more emotional side of their brain and men, the right more logical side but is it really that cut and dry? it seems when it comes to affairs of the heart there's a battle between what we know and what we feel. so what do you do when you find yourself in a situation that leaps back and forth between the left and the right side? when it comes to relationships, is it smarter to follow your heart or your head?"

sex and the city
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
12:07 pm
"Sometimes I dream about being a good father and a good husband. And sometimes it feels really close. But then other times it seems silly like it would ruin my whole life. And it's not just a fear of commitment or that I'm incapable of caring or loving because... I can. It's just that, if I'm totally honest with myself I think I'd rather die knowing that I was really good at something. That I had excelled in some way than that I'd just been in a nice, caring relationship. "

-Before Sunrise
12:06 pm
"I always feel this pressure of being a strong and independent icon of womanhood, and not making it look like my whole life is revolving around some guy. But Loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. I always make fun of it and stuff. But isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?"

-Before Sunrise
12:01 pm
"I mean, I always feel like a freak because I'm never able to move on
like......this! You know. People just have an affairs, or even... entire
relationships... They break up and they forget! They move on like they would
have changed a brand of Cereals! I feel I was never able to forget anyone I've
been with. Because each person have... you know, specific qualities. You can
never replace anyone. What is lost is lost. Each relationship, when it ends,
really damages me. I haven't fully recovered. That's why I'm very careful with
getting involved, because... It hurts too much! Even getting laid! I actually
don't do that... I will miss of the person the most mundane things. Like I'm
obsessed with little things. Maybe I'm crazy, but... When I was a little girl,
my mom told me that I was always late to school. One day she followed me to see
why...I was looking at chestnuts falling from the trees,rolling on the sidewalk,
or...ants, crossing the road...the way a leaf casts a shadow on a tree
trunk...Little things. I think it's the same with people. I see in them little
details, so specific to each other, that move me, and that I miss, and... will
always miss. You can never replace anyone, because everyone is made of such
beautiful specific details."

-Before Sunset
Monday, August 11th, 2008
6:05 pm
"I have an aunt who whenever she poured anything for you she would say 'Say when.' My aunt would say 'say when," and of course, we never did. We don't say when because there's something about the possibility, of more. More tequila, more love. More anything. More is better."

There's something to be said about a glass half full, about knowing when to say when. I think it's more of a floating line, a barometer of need. Of desire. It's entirely up to the individual, and it depends what's being poured. Sometimes all we want is a taste. Other times there's no such thing as enough, the glass is bottomless... all we want is more."
-greys
12:19 pm
“Later, I got thinking about safe sex. Odd how only when our physical life is at risk, do we follow certain guidelines to protect ourselves. What about our emotional lives? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a little pamphlet to warn us what behaviour might be high risk to ourselves or our relationships? Even if you take all the precautions and emotionally try to protect yourself, when you crawl in bed with someone, is sex ever safe?”
-satc.
Saturday, February 23rd, 2008
12:02 am
quote.
"Being a photojournalist is like loving a man who doesn't love you back."
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
2:13 am
Publication Date: 1/25/2008 Nation Newspaper


President Kibaki, Raila and all Kenyans stand accused

I write this letter as my final mortal action upon this earth.

I have determined to collect email addresses of the prominent people that I know and my friends and send it to them from an anonymous email address for two reasons.

First, to spare them the distress of knowing beforehand what I am doing, therefore saving them from culpability, and second, because my identity is now and in future irrelevant — it could be any of those men around the country who feel like I do.

As you might guess from my style of writing, I am a well-educated man. I am a graduate of Nairobi and Strathmore universities.

I have been privileged to be educated around the world.

I have worked in Berlin, Stockholm, London, New York and many other places. I speak six languages fluently.
Even with all these achievements, I have no more reason to live. If you will want to look for me as you read this, go to City Mortuary where I have determined to fester among the anonymous people there.
I will explain why in this letter, and like Pavlov, I shall retire. This is my only protest.
Mr Kibaki, I indict you.

You stole the election that I stood for six hours to participate in. By your actions, my life irrevocably changed. History will now forget the great achievement and legacy that you were poised to make and it shall remember that for your self-righteousness, people lost lives, property, and most of all, hope. On the blood of my people, I indict you.
Mr Odinga, my chosen president, on the blood and tears of my people, I indict you.
Because of your bitterness, justified though it is, my life irrevocably changes. My greatest achievements, my family, died in your name. My son, my heir, named after my great ancestors, went up in smoke before he could say my name, or his great name. Koitalet.

My twin daughters, Wanjiru and Sanaipei, were found by my burnt house in Eldoret, having bled out of their wounds. My wife died with the seed of six men inside her, demented and finally catatonic. This happened in your name, Sir. Because you have to get justice. Because my wife was from the wrong community. Because you must get what is yours.
You will read this and feel nothing. You will rationalise it as accepted collateral damage. Some must die in the pursuit of justice, isn’t it?

Kenyans, on the blood of my children, I indict you all. You lost the ball. You forgot that our ethnicity is something we joke about, as we go about our business.

You forgot that we do not fight, we mediate. You forgot that we are a great people, built on the back of great people. You forgot that it’s just elections.

On the blood of my children, on the tears of my dead wife, on the tears of our mothers, on the tears in the sheets of those people who are sleeping in the rain, I indict you.

PATRIOT,
Nairobi.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
11:40 pm
"But it's not the physical pain that wounds us, not the chains that we wear around our necks that torment us, nor the incessant ailments that afflict us. It's the mental agony caused by the irrationality of all this. It's the anger produced by the perversity of the bad and the indifference of the good."





-Lt. Col. Luis Mendieta in the letters that Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez carried after a tearful parting from the other captives.
Mendieta is the highest-ranking Colombian security officer still being held captive in Columbia.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/01/16/colombia.letters.ap/index.html




-aL*
Monday, January 14th, 2008
7:01 pm
NY Times OP-ED
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Sex and the Teenage Girl

By CAITLIN FLANAGAN
Published: January 13, 2008


THE movie “Juno” is a fairy tale about a pregnant teenager who decides to have her baby, place it for adoption and then get on with her life. For the most part, the tone of the movie is comedic and jolly, but there is a moment when Juno tells her father about her condition, and he shakes his head in disappointment and says, “I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.”

Female viewers flinch when he says it, because his words lay bare the bitterly unfair truth of sexuality: female desire can bring with it a form of punishment no man can begin to imagine, and so it is one appetite women and girls must always regard with caution. Because Juno let her guard down and had a single sexual experience with a sweet, well-intentioned boy, she alone is left with this ordeal of sorrow and public shame.

In the movie, the moment passes. Juno finds a yuppie couple eager for a baby, and when the woman tries to entice her with the promise of an open adoption, the girl shakes her head adamantly: “Can’t we just kick it old school? I could just put the baby in a basket and send it your way. You know, like Moses in the reeds.”

It’s a hilarious moment, and the sentiment turns out to be genuine. The final scene of the movie shows Juno and her boyfriend returned to their carefree adolescence, the baby — safely in the hands of his rapturous and responsible new mother — all but forgotten. Because I’m old enough now that teenage movie characters evoke a primarily maternal response in me (my question during the film wasn’t “What would I do in that situation?” but “What would I do if my daughter were in that situation?”), the last scene brought tears to my eyes. To see a young daughter, faced with the terrible fact of a pregnancy, unscathed by it and completely her old self again was magical.

And that’s why “Juno” is a fairy tale. As any woman who has ever chosen (or been forced) to kick it old school can tell you, surrendering a baby whom you will never know comes with a steep and lifelong cost. Nor is an abortion psychologically or physically simple. It is an invasive and frightening procedure, and for some adolescent girls it constitutes part of their first gynecological exam. I know grown women who’ve wept bitterly after abortions, no matter how sound their decisions were. How much harder are these procedures for girls, whose moral and emotional universe is just taking shape?

Even the much-discussed pregnancy of 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears reveals the rudely unfair toll that a few minutes of pleasure can exact on a girl. The very fact that the gossip magazines are still debating the identity of the father proves again that the burden of sex is the woman’s to bear. He has a chance to maintain his privacy, but if she becomes pregnant by mistake, soon all the world will know.

Pregnancy robs a teenager of her girlhood. This stark fact is one reason girls used to be so carefully guarded and protected — in a system that at once limited their horizons and safeguarded them from devastating consequences. The feminist historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg has written that “however prudish and ‘uptight’ the Victorians were, our ancestors had a deep commitment to girls.”

We, too, have a deep commitment to girls, and ours centers not on protecting their chastity, but on supporting their ability to compete with boys, to be free — perhaps for the first time in history — from the restraints that kept women from achieving on the same level. Now we have to ask ourselves this question: Does the full enfranchisement of girls depend on their being sexually liberated? And if it does, can we somehow change or diminish among the very young the trauma of pregnancy, the occasional result of even safe sex?

Biology is destiny, and the brutally unfair outcome that adolescent sexuality can produce will never change. Twenty years ago, I taught high school in a town near New Orleans. There was a girls’ bathroom next to my classroom, which was more convenient for me than the faculty one on the other side of campus. In the last stall, carved deeply into the metal box reserved for used sanitary napkins, was the single word “Please.”

Whoever had written it had taken a long time; the word was etched so deeply into the metal that she must have worked on it over several days, hiding in there on hall passes or study breaks, desperate. I never knew who wrote it, or when, but I always knew exactly what that anonymous girl meant. When I looked out over the girls moving through the hallways between classes, I wondered if she was among them, and I hoped that her prayer had been answered.


Caitlin Flanagan, the author of “To Hell With All That,” is working on a book about the emotional lives of pubescent girls.



-aL*
Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
11:53 pm
interesting
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bedford-Stuyvesant (also known as Bed-Stuy) is a neighborhood in the central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 3, Brooklyn Community Board 8 and Brooklyn Community Board 16.
It is officially bordered by Flushing Avenue in the north (On the Williamsburg border) to Classon Avenue on the west (bordering Clinton Hill) the south at Park Place and Ralph Avenue on the east (bordering Crown Heights), south of East New York Avenue (bordering Brownsville), and west of Van Sinderen Avenue (bordering East New York).
Over the years, it has been a cultural center for Brooklyn's African American population. This has occurred since the 1930s when blacks left an overcrowded Harlem upon the opening of a new subway line and more housing availability in Brooklyn. From Bed-Stuy, blacks have since moved into and became the predominant ethnic group in surrounding areas of Brooklyn such as East New York, Brownsville, and Fort Greene.
The main thoroughfares are Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street. The large part of what is considered Bedford-Stuyvesant is actually made up of four neighborhoods: Bedford, Stuyvesant Heights, Ocean Hill and Weeksville.
Contents
[hide]
1 Early history
2 Establishment as an urban neighborhood
3 Ethnic changes
4 Post-war problems
5 The Sixties
6 Current renaissance
7 Bedford-Stuyvesant in the popular media
8 Notable natives
9 Landmarks
10 References
11 External links
[edit]Early history

The neighborhood name is an extension of the name of the Village of Bedford, expanded to include the area of Stuyvesant Heights. The name Stuyvesant comes from Peter Stuyvesant, the last governor of the colony of New Netherland.
In pre-revolutionary Kings County, Bedford, which now forms the heart of the community, was the first major settlement east of the then Village of Brooklyn on the ferry road to Jamaica and eastern Long Island.
With the building of the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad in 1832, taken over by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in 1836, Bedford was established as a railroad station near the intersection of current Atlantic and Franklin Avenues. In 1878, the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railway established its northern terminal with a connection to the LIRR at the same location.
The community of Bedford contained one of the oldest free black communities in the U.S., Weeksville, much of which is still extant and preserved as an historical site. Ocean Hill, a subsection founded in 1890 is primarily a residential area.
[edit]Establishment as an urban neighborhood



Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstones
In the last decades of the 19th century, with the advent of electric trolleys and the Fulton Street Elevated, Bedford Stuyvesant became a working class and middle class bedroom community for those working in downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City. At that time, most of the pre-existing wooden homes were destroyed and replaced with brownstone row houses, which are highly sought after in the neighborhood's contemporary renaissance. Many consider the area to be the black mecca of Brooklyn, similar to what Harlem is to Manhattan.
[edit]Ethnic changes

During and after World War II, large numbers of blacks, migrating from the Southern United States upon the decline of agricultural work and seeking economic opportunities in the North, moved into the neighborhood, often preferring it to the available housing in Harlem, then the city's pre-eminent black community.
[edit]Post-war problems

A series of problems led to a long decline in the neighborhood. Some of the new residents who had been rural workers had difficulty finding reasonably paid work in the urban New York economy. The city itself was in a period of steady decline, exacerbated by abandonment of parts of the transportation network, decline of public facilities and services, inability to deal with increasing crime, and difficulties in municipal government. The movement of significant parts of its population to suburban areas ghettoized a racially diverse neighborhood.
[edit]The Sixties

The 1960s and 1970s were a difficult time for New York City and impacted Bedford-Stuyvesant seriously. One of the first urban riots of the era took place there and social and racial divisions in the city contributed to the tensions, which reached a climax when attempts at community control in the nearby Ocean Hill school district pitted some black community residents and activists (from both inside and outside the area) against teachers, the majority of whom were white and many Jewish. Charges of racism were a common part of social tensions at the time. In 1964, race riots broke out in the Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem after a white NYPD lieutenant, Thomas Gilligan, shot and killed a black teenager, James Powell, 15.[1]. The riot spread to Bedford-Stuyvesant. This riot resulted in the destruction and looting of many neighborhood businesses, many of which were Jewish-owned. Race riots followed in 1967 and 1968, as part of the political and racial tensions in the United States of the era, aggravated by continued high unemployment among blacks, continued de facto segregation in housing, the failure to enforce civil rights laws, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other blacks.
[edit]Current renaissance

Beginning in the 2000s the neighborhood began to experience a renaissance which continues to the present day.[1]
The two significant reasons for this are the affordable housing stock consisting of handsome brownstone rowhouses located on quiet tree-lined streets and the marked decrease of crime in the neighborhood, which is at least partly attributable to the decline of the national Crack Epidemic which occurred in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.
In July 2005, the New York City Police Department designated the Fulton Street-Nostrand Avenue business district in Bedford-Stuyvesant as an "Impact Zone." or the most dangerous area in NYC. The Police Department has also ranked Bed Stuy as two of the most violent neighborhoods in NYC besides Harlem. The designation directed significantly increased levels of police protection and resources to the area centered on the intersection of Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue for a period of six months and was renewed for another six-month period in December 2005. Since the start of the Impact Zone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, crime within the district decreased 15% from the previous year.
Despite the improvements and increasing stability of the community, Bedford-Stuyvesant has continued to be stigmatized in some circles by a lingering public perception left over from the rough times of the late 20th Century. In March 2005 a campaign was launched to supplant the "Bed-Stuy, Do-or-Die" image in the public consciousness with the more positive "Bed-Stuy, and Proud of It".
Through a series of "wallscapes" (large outdoor murals), the campaign hopes to honor famous community members, including community activist and poet June Jordan, activist Hattie Carthan, rapper and actor Mos Def, and actor and comedian Chris Rock. [2] Additionally various artistic and cultural neighborhood events and celebrations such as the area's annual Universal Hip Hop Parade[3] seek to show off the area's positive accomplishments to the rest of New York City as well as visitors.
This ongoing revitalization and renewal of Bedford-Stuyvesant has prompted an increasingly diverse range of people to seek affordable housing among the many blocks of handsome brownstone rowhouses. The appeal of affordable homes and apartments that are still numerous in Bedford-Stuyvesant along with convenient access via mass transit to Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan is fast making the area a favorite for students, artists and young families.
As a result, Bedford-Stuyvesant is becoming increasingly racially, economically and ethnically diverse with an increase of both the Hispanic and white populations. As is expected with gentrification, the influx of new residents has sometimes contributed to the displacement of poorer residents, but in many other cases, newcomers have simply rehabilitated and reoccupied formerly vacant and abandoned properties.
Some long-time residents and business owners have expressed the concern that they will be priced out by newcomers that they disparagingly characterize as "yuppies and buppies" and that the neighborhood's ethnic character will be lost. Others point out that a 70% African American population remains; and furthermore Bedford-Stuyvesant's population has experienced much less displacement of the African-Americans population, including those that are economically disadvantaged than other areas of Brooklyn, such as Cobble Hill.[4] Especially since a many of the new residents are upwardly mobile middle income African American families, as well as immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean.
It is further argued that the positive neighborhood changes will benefit all residents of the area bringing with it improve neighborhood safety and creating a demand for improved retail services along the major commercial strips, such as Fulton Street, (recently renamed Harriet Tubman Boulevard)[5], Nostrand Avenue, Tompkins Avenue,Greene Avenue, Lewis Avenue, Flushing Avenue, Park Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Dekalb Avenue, Putnam Avenue, Bedford Avenue, Marcy Avenue, Malcolm X Boulevard, Gates Avenue, Madison Avenue and Jefferson Avenue. And that this in turn will bring an increase in local jobs and other economic activity to the area itself.
[edit]Bedford-Stuyvesant in the popular media

Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the neighborhoods in New York City (including Harlem of the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz Age, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, the East Village, Greenwich Village, Coney Island, Borough Park, Crown Heights and Flatbush) to possess a distinct identity and culture that is known to audiences outside of New York City.
Bedford-Stuyvesant's prominent neighborhood identity is due in part to the neighborhood's portrayal in a variety of popular media. Director Spike Lee has prominently featured the streets and brownstone blocks of Bedford-Stuyvesant in his films, including Do the Right Thing (1989) and Crooklyn (1994). Chris Rock's UPN (later CW) television sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, portrays Rock's life growing up as a teenager in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1982. Billy Joel's 1980s hit single, "You May Be Right" mentions the neighborhood with the lyrics "I was stranded in the combat zone / I walked through Bedford-Stuy alone / even rode my motorcycle in the rain" when discussing crazy things the singer had done in his life. The neighborhood was also the setting of Dave Chappelle's 2004 documentary Block Party, in which Chappelle and many prominent Rap and Soul artists performed an impromptu concert at the Broken Angel house.

Hip hop Portal
A large number of well-known Gangsta rap, and hip-hop artists have come out of Bedford-Stuyvesant, including such notables as Deemi, Aaliyah, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Lil Kim, Big Daddy Kane, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, Maino, Fabolous, Papoose and Gza.
In "Scan," an episode of the television show Prison Break, fugitive Fernando Sucre flees to Bedford-Stuyvesant to meet his friend, only to find out that his sweetheart will be getting married in Las Vegas.
In a YouTube.com video [2], a little girl haunts a house on Bainbridge St. It was accepted to the 2007 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
The Notorious B.I.G. song "Unbelievable" starts with the line referring to himself as "Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the livest one." Also the song "Machine Gun Funk" contains the lyric: "Bed-Stuy, the place where my head rest" referring to Biggie's roots in the neighborhood.




[edit]Notable natives


Aaliyah
Big Daddy Kane
Mike Street, rapper from the group Emstate.
Deemi (Tahu Aponte)
Fabolous, rapper.[6]
Disco Richie and Mike Music (Old School hip hop group, "What people do for Money"
Divine Sounds
Courtney Hamlin
Lena Horne
Lil' Kim, rapper.[7]
Maino
Nixzmary Brown
The Notorious B.I.G.
Papoose
Talib Kweli
GZA
Homicide
Mos Def
Busta Rhymes
Jay-Z
Trav (Of Team Arliss)
James "Rocky" Robinson
Chris Rock, actor, whose autobiographical Everybody Hates Chris is set here.[8]
Lenny Wilkens (1937-), former basketball player and coach.[9]
Juan Williams
Vanessa A. Williams
Unique Zayas





-aL*
Monday, October 29th, 2007
10:55 pm
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT by Joan Didion

How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and and ten—
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again—
If your feet are nimble and light
You can get there by candlelight.

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was. When I first saw New York I was twenty, and it was summertime, and I got off a DC-7 at the old Idlewild temporary terminal in a new dress which had seemed very smart in Sacramento but seemed less smart already, even in the old Idlewild temporary terminal, and the warm air smelled of mildew and some instinct, programmed by all the movies I had ever seen and all the songs I had ever read about New York, informed me that it would never be quite the same again. In fact it never was. Some time later there was a song in the jukeboxes on the Upper East Side that went “but where is the schoolgirl who used to be me,” and if it was late enough at night I used to wonder that. I know now that almost everyone wonders something like that, sooner or later and no matter what he or she is doing, but one of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.

Of course it might have been some other city, had circumstances been different and the time been different and had I been different, might have been Paris or Chicago or even San Francisco, but because I am talking about myself I am talking here about New York. That first night I opened my window on the bus into town and watched for the skyline, but all I could see were the wastes of Queens and big signs that said MIDTOWN TUNNEL THIS LANE and then a flood of summer rain (even that seemed remarkable and exotic, for I had come out of the West where there was no summer rain), and for the next three days I sat wrapped in blankets in a hotel room air conditioned to 35 degrees and tried to get over a cold and a high fever. It did not occur to me to call a doctor, because I knew none, and although it did occur to me to call the desk and ask that the air conditioner be turned off, I never called, because I did not know how much to tip whoever might come—was anyone ever so young? I am here to tell you that someone was. All I could do during those years was talk long-distance to the boy I already knew I would never marry in the spring. I would stay in New York, I told him, just six months, and I could see the Brooklyn Bridge from my window. As it turned out the bridge was the Triborough, and I stayed eight years.

---

In retrospect it seems to me that those days before I knew the names of all the bridges were happier than the ones that came later, but perhaps you will see that as we go along. Part of what I want to tell you is what it is like to be young in New York, how six months can become eight years with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, for that is how those years appear to me now, in a long sequence of sentimental dissolves and old-fashioned trick shots—the Seagram Building fountains dissolve into snowflakes, I enter a revolving door at twenty and come out a good deal older, and on a different street. But most particularly I want to explain to you, and in the process perhaps to myself, why I no longer live in New York. It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city only for the very young.

I remember once, one cold bright December evening in New York, suggesting a friend who complained of having been around too long that he come with me to a party where there would be, I assured him with the bright resourcefulness of twenty-three, “new faces.” He laughed literally until he choked, and I had to roll down the taxi window and hit him on the back. “New faces,” he said finally, “don’t tell me about new faces.” It seemed that the last time he had gone to a party where he had been promised “new faces,” there had been fifteen people in the room, and he had already spelt with five of the women and owed money to all but two of the men. I laughed with him, but the first snow had just begun to fall and the big Christmas trees glittered yellow and white as far as I could see up Park Avenue and I had a new dress and it would be a long while before I would come to understand the particular moral of the story.

It would be a long while because, quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again. I remember walking across Sixty-second Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out out of the West and reached the mirage. I could taste the peach and feel the soft air blowing from a subway grating on my legs and I could smell lilac and garbage and expensive perfume and I knew that it would cost something sooner or later—because I did not belong there, did not come from there—but when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month. I was making only $65 or $70 then a week then (“Put yourself in Hattie Carnegie’s hands,” I was advised without the slightest trace of irony by an editor of the magazine for which I worked), so little money that some weeks I had to charge food at Bloomingdale’s gourmet shop in order to eat, a fact which went unmentioned in the letters I wrote to California. I never told my father that I needed money because then he would have sent it, and I would never know if I could do it by myself. At that time making a living seemed a game to me, with arbitrary but quite inflexible rules. And except on a certain kind of winter evening—six-thirty in the Seventies, say, already dark and bitter with a wind off the river, when I would be walking very fast toward a bus and would look in the bright windows of brownstones and see cooks working in clean kitchens and and imagine women lighting candles on the floor above and beautiful children being bathed on the floor above that—except on nights like those, I never felt poor; I had the feeling that if I needed money I could always get it. I could write a syndicated column for teenagers under the name “Debbi Lynn” or I could smuggle gold into India or I could become a $100 call girl, and none of would matter.

Nothing was irrevocable; everything was within reach. Just around every corner lay something curious and interesting, something I had never before seen or done or known about. I could go to a party and meet someone who called himself Mr. Emotional Appeal and ran The Emotional Appeal Institute or Tina Onassis Blandford or a Florida cracker who was then a regular on what the called “the Big C,” the Southampton-El Morocco circuit (“I’m well connected on the Big C, honey,” he would tell me over collard greens on his vast borrowed terrace), or the widow of the celery king of the Harlem market or a piano salesman from Bonne Terre, Missouri, or someone who had already made and list two fortunes in Midland, Texas. I could make promises to myself and to other people and there would be all the time in the world to keep them. I could stay up all night and make mistakes, and none of them would count.

You see I was in a curious position in New York: it never occurred to me that I was living a real life there. In my imagination I was always there for just another few months, just until Christmas or Easter or the first warm day in May. For that reason I was most comfortable with the company of Southerners. They seemed to be in New York as I was, on some indefinitely extended leave from wherever they belonged, disciplined to consider the future, temporary exiles who always knew when the flights left for New Orleans or Memphis or Richmond or, in my case, California. Someone who lives with a plane schedule in the drawer lives on a slightly different calendar. Christmas, for example, was a difficult season. Other people could take it in stride, going to Stowe or going abroad or going for the day to their mothers’ places in Connecticut; those of us who believed that we lived somewhere else would spend it making and canceling airline reservations, waiting for weatherbound flights as if for the last plane out of Lisbon in 1940, and finally comforting one another, those of us who were left, with oranges and mementos and smoked-oyster stuffings of childhood, gathering close, colonials in a far country.

Which is precisely what we were. I am not sure that it is possible for anyone brought up in the East to appreciate entirely what New York, the idea of New York, means to those of us who came out of the West and the South. To an Eastern child, particularly a child who has always has an uncle on Wall Street and who has spent several hundred Saturdays first at F.A.O. Schwarz and being fitted for shoes at Best’s and then waiting under the Biltmore clock and dancing to Lester Lanin, New York is just a city, albeit the city, a plausible place for people to live, But to those of us who came from places where no one had heard of Lester Lanin and Grand Central Station was a Saturday radio program, where Wall Street and Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue were not places at all but abstractions (“Money,” and “High Fashion,” and “The Hucksters”), New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. To think of “living” there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not “live” at Xanadu.

In fact it was difficult in the extreme for me to understand those young women for whom New York was not simply an ephemeral Estoril but a real place, girls who bought toasters and installed new cabinets in their apartments and committed themselves to some reasonable furniture. I never bought any furniture in New York. For a year or so I lived in other people’s apartments; after that I lived in the Nineties in an apartment furnished entirely with things taken from storage by a friend whose wife had moved away. And when I left the apartment in the Nineties (that was when I was leaving everything, when it was all breaking up) I left everything in it, even my winter clothes and the map of Sacramento County I had hung on the bedroom wall to remind me who I was, and I moved into a monastic four-room floor-through on Seventy-fifth Street. “Monastic” is perhaps misleading here, implying some chic severity; until after I was married and my husband moved some furniture in, there was nothing at all in those four rooms except a cheap double mattress and box springs, ordered by telephone the day I decided to move, and two French garden chairs lent me by a friend who imported them. (It strikes me now that the people I knew in New York all had curious and self-defeating sidelines. They imported garden chairs which did not sell very well at Hammacher Schlemmer or they tried to market hair staighteners in Harlem or they ghosted exposés of Murder Incorporated for Sunday supplements. I think that perhaps none of us was very serious, engagé only about our most private lives.)

All I ever did to that apartment was hang fifty yards of yellow theatrical silk across the bedroom windows, because I had some idea that the gold light would make me feel better, but I did not bother to weight the curtains correctly and all that summer the long panels of transparent golden silk would blow out the windows and get tangled and drenched in afternoon thunderstorms. That was the year, my twenty-eight, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and ever procrastination, every word, all of it.

---

That is what it was all about, wasn’t it? Promises? Now when New York comes back to me it comes in hallucinatory flashes, so clinically detailed that I sometimes wish that memory would effect the distortion with which it is commonly credited. For a lot of the time I was in New York I used a perfume called Fleurs de Rocaille, and then L’Air du Temps, and now the slightest trace of either can short-circuit my connections for the rest of the day. Nor can I smell Henri Bendel jasmine soap without falling back into the past, or the particular mixture of spices used for boiling crabs. There were barrels of crab boil in a Czech place in the Eighties where I once shopped. Smells, of course, are notorious memory stimuli, but there are other things which affect me the same way. Blue-and-white striped sheets. Vermouth cassis. Some faded nightgowns which were new in 1959 or 1960, and some chiffon scarves I bought about the same time.

I suppose that a lot of us who have been very young in New York have the same scenes in our home screens. I remember sitting in a lot of apartments with a slight headache about five o’clock in the morning. I had a friend who could not sleep, and he knew a few other people who had the same trouble, and we would watch the sky lighten and have a last drink with no ice and then go home in the early morning, when the streets were clean and wet (had it rained in the night? we never knew) and the few cruising taxis still had their headlights on and the only color was the red and green of traffic signals. The White Rose bars opened very early in the morning; I recall waiting in one of them to watch an astronaut go into space, waiting so long that at the moment it actually happened I had my eyes not on the television screen but on a cockroach on the tile floor. I liked the bleak branches above Washington Square at dawn, and the monochromatic flatness of Second Avenue, the fire escapes and the grilled storefronts peculiar and empty in their perspective.

It is relatively hard to fight at six-thirty or seven in the morning, without any sleep, which was perhaps one reason why we stayed up all night, and it seemed to me a pleasant time of day. The windows were shuttered in that apartment in the Nineties and I could sleep for a few hours and then go to work. I could work the on two or three hours’ sleep and a container of coffee from Chock Full O’ Nuts. I liked going to work, liked the soothing and satisfactory rhythm of getting out a magazine, liked the orderly progression of four-color closings and two-color closings and black-and-white closings and then The Product, no abstraction but something which looked effortlessly glossy and could be picked up on a newsstand and weighed in the hand. I liked all the minutiae of proofs and layouts, liked working late on the nights the magazines went to press, sitting and reading Variety and waiting for the copy desk to call. From my office, I could look across town to the weather signal on the Mutual of New York Building and the lights that alternately spelled TIME and LIFE above Rockeffeler Plaza; that pleased me obscurely, and so did walking uptown in the mauve eight o’clocks of early summer evenings and looking at things, Lowestoft tureens in Fifty-seventh Street windows, people in evening clothes trying to get taxis, the trees just coming into full leaf, the lambent air, all the sweet promises of money and summer.

Some years passed, but I still did not lose that sense of wonder about New York. I began to cherish the loneliness of it, the sense that at any given time no one need know where I was or what I was doing. I liked walking, from the East River over to the Hudson and back on brisk days, down around the Village on warm days. A friend would leave me the key to her apartment in the West Village when she was out of town, and sometimes I would just move down there, because by that time the telephone was beginning to bother me (the canker, you see, was already in the rose) and not many people had that number. I remember one day when someone who did have the West Village number came to pick me up for lunch there, and we both had hangovers, and I cut my finger opening him a beer and burst into tears, and we walked to a Spanish restaurant and drank bloody Marys and gazpacho until we felt better. I was not then guilt-ridden about spending afternoons that way, because I still had all the afternoons in the world.

And even that late in the game I still liked going to parties, all parties, bad parties, Saturday-afternoon parties given by recently married couples who lived in Stuyvesant Town, West Side parties given by unpublished or failed writers who served cheap red wine and talked about going to Guatalajara, Village parties where all the guests worked for advertising agencies and voted for Reform Democrats, press parties at Sardi’s, the worst kind of parties. You will have perceived by now that I was not one to profit by the experience of others, that it was a very long time indeed before I stopped believing in new faces and began to understand the lesson in that story, which was that it is distinctly possible to stay too long at the Fair.

---

I could not tell you when I began to understand that. All I know is that it was very bad when I was twenty-eight. Everything that was said to me I seemed to have heard before, and I could no longer listen. I could no longer sit in little bars near Grand Central and listen to someone complaining of his wife’s inability to cope with the help while he missed another train to Connecticut. I no longer had any interest in hearing about the advances other people had received from their publishers, about plays which were having second-act trouble in Philadelphia, or about people I would like very much if only I would come out and meet them. I had already met them, always. There were certain parts of the city which I had to avoid. I could not bear upper Madison Avenue on weekday mornings (this was a particularly inconvenient aversion, since I then lived just fifty or sixty feet east of Madison), because I would see women walking Yorkshire terriers and shopping at Gristede’s, and some Veblenesque gorge would rise in my throat. I could not go to Times Square in the afternoon, or to the New York Public Library for any reason whatsoever. One day I could not go into a Schrafft’s; the next it would be the Bonwit Teller.

I hurt the people I cared about, and insulted those I did not. I cut myself off from the one person who was closer to me than any other. I cried until I was not even aware when I was crying and when I was not, I cried in elevators and in taxis and in Chinese laundries, and when I went to the doctor, he said only that I seemed to be depressed, and that I should see a “specialist.” He wrote down a psychiatrist’s name and address for me, but I did not go.

Instead I got married, which as it turned out was a very good thing to do but badly timed, since I still could not walk on upper Madison Avenue in the mornings and still could not talk to people and still cried in Chinese laundries. I had never before understood what “despair” meant, and I am not sure that I understand now, but I understood that year. Of course I could not work. I could not even get dinner with any degree of certainty, and I would sit in the apartment on Seventy-fifth Street paralyzed until my husband would call from his office and say gently that I did not have to get dinner, that I could meet him at Michael’s Pub or at Toots Shor’s or at Sardi’s East. And then one morning in April (we had been married in January) he called and told me that he wanted to get out of New York for a while, that he would take a six-month leave of absence, that we would go somewhere.

It was three years ago he told me that, and we have lived in Los Angeles since. Many of the people we knew in New York think this a curious aberration, and in fact tell us so. There is no possible, no adequate answer to that, and so we give certain stock answers, the answers everyone gives. I talk about how difficult it would be for us to “afford” to live in New York right now, about how much “space” we need, All I mean is that I was very young in New York, and that at some point the golden rhythm was broken, and I am not that young anymore. The last time I was in New York was in a cold January, and everyone was ill and tired. Many of the people I used to know there had moved to Dallas or had gone on Antabuse or had bought a farm in New Hampshire. We stayed ten days, and then we took an afternoon flight back to Los Angeles, and on the way home from the airport that night I could see the moon on the Pacific and smell jasmine all around and we both knew that there was no longer any point in keeping the apartment we still kept in New York. There were years when I called Los Angeles “the Coast,” but they seem a long time ago.

[1967]












-aL*
Thursday, October 18th, 2007
3:04 pm
"Were you being bitten in your dream? If so, you may be feeling badgered by a problem, addiction or person, or there may be someone in your life who doesn't deserve your trust. It may be time to confront the problem straight on. Perhaps you've been procrastinating on a task or ending a bad relationship.

If the bite came from an animal, try to connect the animal with the part of your instinctual nature or a human quality that it symbolizes. For instance, a dog bite might represent a loyal person turning on you. Dreaming about a snake biting you may be a warning to watch out for a "snake in the grass."


unbelievably accurate

-aL*
Thursday, October 11th, 2007
1:06 am
"Every song has a CODA, a final movement. Whether it fades out or crashes away. Every song ends. Is that any reason not to enjoy the music? The truth is, there is nothing to be afraid of. It's just life."
-aL*
1:05 am
"Most of our lives are a series of images, they pass us by like towns on a highway. But sometimes a moment stuns us as it happens and we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image. We know that this moment, every part of it, will live on forever."
-aL*
1:03 am
"Someone once told me, Every song has an ending Jake, but is that any reason not to enjoy the music?"
-aL*
1:02 am
"Because it´s only when you´re tested that you truly discover who you are. And it´s only when you´re tested that you discover who you can be. The person that you want to be does exist, somewhere in the other side of hard work and faith, and belief and beyond the heartache and fear of what life has."
-aL*
12:59 am
"Sometimes i wonder if anything's absolute anymore. Is There Still right and wrong? Good and bad? Truth and lies? Or is everything negotiable,left to interpretation, grey. Sometimes we're forced to bend the truth, transform it, cause we're faced with things that are not of our own making. And sometimes things simply catch up to us."
-aL*
12:57 am
"The fantasy is simple. Pleasure is good. And twice as much pleasure is better. That pain is bad. And no pain is better. But the reality is different. The reality is that pain is there to tell us something. And there is only so much pleasure we can take without getting a stomachache. And maybe that's okay. Maybe some fantasies are only supposed to live in our dreams"
-aL*
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