Monthly Archives: May 2007

Exuberation

Times Square

I feel–exuberation. For the first time in weeks! Exuberation. And I can’t help but give my trip to New York great credit for this renewed energy. It has been too long since I have visited the city where I was born, where I feel so in sync with the world and all its contents.

As much as I love San Francisco and Berkeley in comparison to the sleepy surburban town where I spent my schoolgirl years (really, the minute I stepped into the Bay Area as a college freshman I felt a reprieve from the suffocating Los Angeles suburbs), I love New York even more. As much as SF and Berkeley has made me feel alive and indigenous and happy, New York makes me feel…exuberant.

Even when it is hot and humid. (Is that a compliment or what?)

The first day in New York was frenetic and beautiful and historic and curious and stimulating. “What should we do next?” was an oft-uttered question that day. We touched three boroughs, tagging a point in my history, and raced back to the present, ending the day in a midtown bar. After months of sickness and grief, the world became timeless. We really could have been travelling through time, holding hands in the summery warmth of Manhattan, jackets over our arms, following our whims.

I loved it. We had 36 hours in the City, and my visit was years overdue (I “normally” visit New York every year or two)…I had so much to squeeze out of 12 hours of consciousness in this brilliant setting!

My checklist the next day had dwindled mightily after our first day. And still, it would have oodles of meaning and delight.

I meant to eat breakfast with my hubby, who had a packed work schedule (after all, this was a business trip) the second day. But I could not will my eyes to open. They really would not open, I swear. So I lay in bed, eyes glued shut somehow, listening to the shower run, and the muffled footsteps to and from the closet…and then the goodbye (“goooobye” I murmured, eyes shut)…and then the door shut. Then the world became quiet–though the morning light through the room’s curtains burned red behind my eyelids.

Sometime later, my alarm went off, and I knew I had to get up–for I had lunch with W.

I have great faith in meeting people off the internet. I think this is a realm where great connections can be made–and if we are brave enough to take the step and meet each other in “real life,” some great relationships can follow. (And you all know who you are).

I do love making connections in the universe–somehow, it makes me feel more alive. I can’t quite put a finger on HOW it makes me feel more alive exactly, but it makes me…happy. As W and I talked about the literati (Park Slope!) and writing and writing life and New York and The Strand…I felt buoyant.

Really–now I have begun questioning, “Why does meeting new friends feel so particularly awesome?” Is it because it makes me feel like my potential has expanded? That there are even more possibilities?

And thus, in a buoyant mood, I found myself bouncing up and down Manhattan (uptown for our luggage, and then back downtown to rendezvous with the hubby before heading to the airport). I sat, in a dim midtown bar, luggage around me, sipping a cocktail, eating nuts, writing in my journal, and reading Murakami. Happy as a clam. (Even though I am not sure clams can be happy, I happen to like that phrase).

I could have checked my luggage again at this hotel bar and headed over to do some more sightseeing–but somehow, I found that place, state of mind, and the act of reading and writing, an incredibly satisfying way to close out my short visit.

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hindsight!

There were quite a few things I didn’t have the energy or the time to get around to doing while in New York City (yes, I’m back home already). The MoMa, for one…it’s a regular stop of mine when I’m in town. And BEA–totally slipped my mind!

Still, I’m very happy and satisfied. More to come.

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Making it to NYC

soho

I have made it to New York! Thoroughly exhausted but entirely satisfied by a visit to my hometown. Yesterday, with just a few hours sleep under my belt, we:

  • had lunch at Blue Ribbon Sushi
  • walked the streets of SoHo
  • went to Queens to find the apartment where I lived from birth to the age of five. I had not seen the place in nearly 30 years. It was still standing.
  • walked along Prospect Park in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood.
  • took the subway back to Manhattan, where we walked through Chinatown.
  • went out for pizza for dinner. Ahhh. True New York pizza with its unique thin crispy crust.
  • subway’d back to Times Square at night after dinner.
  • had an observation about all the Street Drama in Manhattan (breakups on the street, for example). I guess the apartments are just too small to live your life exclusively indoors.
  • stood outside more than one publishing house, pausing for a second to dream.
  • had drinks at the Four Seasons’ bar in midtown, and tried to spot a $1K/hr “hooker”
  • Collapsed, exhausted.

On to my second and last day, even though I’ve got a bit of a late start!

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touching and funny all at once

Check out this post on Rice Daddies. I won’t give anything away–but hopefully, you’ve been reading the news and will put two and two together somewhere during the reading of the post.

It starts out hilarious, just hilarious for its own sake (I, being Korean American, found it especially funny for the way it reverberates facets of my own childhood)…and then takes a turn towards deeper meaning.

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the gift of touch

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I have been mulling over the sense of touch for a couple of weeks now–trying to figure out a short story character of mine, someone who has not had human touch in weeks. I’ve been thinking about this essential need for human connection, and the essential human need for physical touch, in great silence. Not on purpose really, but because the whole topic of touch rarely comes up.

I mean, people talk about smell and taste over the course of something as common as a meal (“That smells good! That tastes good!”). The same goes with hearing (“Great music!” or “Do you hear that?”) But touch? It doesn’t really come up…especially the deep human desire to BE touched. Yes, that includes being touched emotionally…but I’m talking about physical touch: a hug, a squeeze on the shoulder, a playful push, or even a pat on the butt.

This desire to be touched–it makes one feel vulnerable to admit to it. It crosses boundaries of propriety to ask to be touched (nevermind the misunderstanding such a request can cause!).

Like I said, I was thinking over all of this silently, when Wildguppy wrote about touch too, today. And now I feel a liberty to write about it here.

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plagues

Today I had a headache all day–I took a total of 8 Tylenol and spent most of the day napping. Yesterday, I woke up with a headache, too (I took 4 Tylenol and wished it away). The headache went away sometime in the afternoon.

These were not the little nagging headaches, that I often get and never mention.  These were migraine-level headaches (though thankfully without the aura and nausea).

Hence, my lack of blogging (and writing). My life is one big headache!

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a 30 year old diary

bee

Richard Grayson says he’s written in his diary everyday since the summer of 1969–and it makes me further embrace my commitment to my personal journal, the literal written word.

He has posted on Champion’s blog, excerpts from his diary while at Breadloaf 30 years ago. While he is afraid the excerpts might be a terrible bore, I was touched by his personal thoughts, and fascinated by the moments he encountered while there…moments that clearly, in the writing, show great interest and passion and innocence…and precede a greater literary writing life.

He narrates moments that we do not realize are great until hindsight, such as his mention of Toni Morrison’s reading of her new novel (at the time) Song of Solmon and John Irving’s reading of his upcoming book The World According to Garp:

We made it back to the Little Theater just in time for John Irving’s reading of the start of his forthcoming novel The World According to Garp, which sounds like it will be hilarious; I wasn’t bored for a minute.

I nearly gasped as I read his impression of one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. I was born too late to experience the newness of these beautiful works–by the time I could read them, they had already established themselves in the literary canon. What was it like to experience these works as they were born into the world?

Richard Grayson’s diary posts are amazing in that way–I was able to see how someone experienced these things for the first time.

It makes me wonder what I am capturing in my life and how I can share my thoughts and impressions with the world–with the ultimate goal of providing illumination and perspective that was not there before.

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