Sunday, April 17, 2011

Creative Writing Excercises

So, I've been betraying my L.O.L status lately by having not one, but two jobs at the same time. Was a necessary buzz kill, but I must admit, I loved the challenge and welcomed the cash, but I miss my days of lounging around the city doing some fun new activity or people watching in the park. There must be some way to balance that insane rush of pressure to achieve with the incredibly relaxing and serotonin inducing life of the Lady of Leisure.

One such pleasure I had been neglecting which I am now revisiting is the purely selfish creative writing process. One of my favorite exercises is as follows:

Take a sheet of paper of draw a line through the center horizontally and a line through the center vertically. When you're done you should have four boxes. In each of the four boxes write the following: a sound, a color, a taste, a country, male or female, a memory, an animal, a weight, a flower, an occupation and a secret. Try to write all the sounds first, all the colors second and so on an so fourth. Once you have your 4 lists, read them out loud and select 2 of the boxes. With two boxes create a story that involves as many of the items in both lists as possible.

I just did this with you because I'm a giant dork and here is what I came up with. Clearly, I have been watching too many soaps this week.

BOX 1: kissing, purple, chocolate, Paris, Male, Sleeping in the rain, horse, 25 pounds, Iris, artist, cheating.
BOX 2: Siren, blue, apple, Norway, female, bringing Walter home, dog, 10 lbs, rose, doctor, test results.
BOX 3: gunshot, black, licorice, Russia, Male, hiking, bear, 2 tons, lily, assassin, a lie.
BOX4: piano, red, pasta, Spain, female, booking my first concert, cat, 8oz, hydrangeas, pop star, stolen music.

I mixed boxes 1 and 3. Free writing for 4 minutes, with a timer,  without stopping to think about it, just writing.

I was in my own childish romantic comedy that took place in someoneelse's horror film. As we kissed in that tiny apartment, the rain muted the outdoor gunshots, screaming prostitutes and drug dealers. We may as well have been in Paris in the summertime with the amount of warmth between us. In between breathes I looked in his eyes and could see remnants of half eaten chocolate strawberries and empty wine bottles on the table. This man was going to be the death of me. Literally. He was a strange mix of clumsy and vulnerable on the inside and cold and calculating on the surface. Within the licorice colored walls of the apt everything was perfectly neat the way you would expect the home of a Russian assassin to be. I kept waiting for him to tell me that it was all a lie and I was the kill target of some spy film. The heir of some drug lord harboring 2 tons of heroin who would have to be done away with. All they would find next to my body would be a lily and a teddy bear with a note that read "I used to love her." Looking into his eyes I knew I would never be so lucky. No. I would fall deeper in love with this artist in his cliche Brooklyn loft and he would rip my heart out of my chest, still beating, eventually. We would never make it to Paris in the summer or horseback riding on the beach because even though our lips were purple from the lack of circulation in every breathe, married men never leave their wives.

I have obviously been watching way too many unrequited love stories lately - but that's what spit out. Try it it! The things that end up coming out are strangely enticing and if anything will keep the creative juices flowing. Its on of my favorite excercises. Sometimes you have incredibly insightful things to say and others just random stories in various closest of your brain mush together. I love that layering exercise!

Yesterday's commute

I almost missed the subway. My back foot just barely missed the snap of the subway door. My hair is wet and cold and my umbrella broken and soggy. Every seat is taken with butts, babies and shopping bags. After I take a moment to collect myself and plot out my route I realize that I am in the underground transit version of single hell. A couple's train. Everyone in my train car is a couple or a family. I don't even understand how this is statistically possible, but even the homeless guy is paired up. I keep waiting for the candid camera to pop up but nothing is happening. Luckily after a stop some rowdy annoying, obnoxious, single new yorkers join us. The sound of rude sigh's and "move" commands are now sweetly filling the air enough to make some observations about the couples' creatures that inhabit this 6 train experience.

There is the 'clingy girlfriend' couple. She is talking and staring into his eyes. He is doing the obligatory few second stares back and then checking out the lesbians making out in the back of the train. They are beautiful. the pretty lesbians are obviously in art or fashion because they are wearing a short and tapered pants paired with what looks like this season's dolce and gabbana blazer and the other with a long flowing sweater and chic trench coats. They are effortless and on some planet where only they inhabit the subway car. Next to them is the obvious power couple. They are furiously typing away on their blackberries while talking to each other about dinner. They are both wearing suit jackets, scarfs, tailored jeans and boots. The rock on her finger could come in handy if we get stuck and need to cut our way out of the car. The high school couple to my left is ridiculously adorable. They are pimply and awkward looking. He obviously hasn't grown into his body and she has grown way too quickly into hers. The annoyed couple on the train is growing ever more annoyed by the lovey dovey ladies and the way the 'too-in-love-will-probably-get-pregnant-tomorrow' teens. They obviously hate each other. Their body language is annoyed. Their tone of voice to each other is annoyed and they are arguing over the color of wall paint.

By far though, my favorite couple on the train is the cute, short, little hispanic couple who just asked me for directions to get to brooklyn. Our train is headed uptown to the bronx and they are looking at a good hour headed back in the opposite direction. When I informed them of their folly, they laughed and lovingly blamed the other for getting turned around. They barely spoke english but playfully insulted the other in broken versions of both languages. Maria and Anibal have a shot I think.

They waved at me as I got off the train on 96 street. They didn't get off the train for some reason. The last thing I saw was her punching him in the shoulder as he presumably said something inappropriate. I'm rooting for those guys. Wonder if they every made it to brooklyn.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cheating on my Laundry Guy

When I moved to the upper east side two years ago, like every new yorker, I found my "spots". I found my local deli where Amir knows exactly how I like my coffee and and breakfast and actually knows that I usually don't drink coffee in the morning so he'll give me a diet coke in the AM and if its an afternoon run, he'll give me coffee. I found my gym, my yoga studio, my movie theatre, my corner bar and my laundry place.

My laundry guy is an adorable little man named Chin who not only delivers my laundry, but calls me when its been a while to remind me to drop it off. He's wonderful and has been my laundry guy for years. Unfortunately for Chin, Jenny just opened a laundry place that not only does my laundry and dry cleaning but also specializes in alterations and shoe repair. Having just lost 8 lbs (being a lady of leisure) and being that I live in NYC and get more than sufficient wear and tear on my shoes, this is extremely convenient.

She is also about $2.00 cheaper than Chin. I know that its only $2.00 but that's the tip and as a lady of leisure, my income is not as grandiose as it once was, therefore, I cannot shy away from the $2.00 savings just to avoid hurting Chin's feelings.

But I'm a coward and I cannot break up with Chin, so I'm having a laundry affair with Jenny and its getting serious. I lied to Chin when he called me this week and told him I had been out of town, then I told him I had been sick last week. To complicate matters, chin and jenny are on the same block, literally six doors from each other. I try to go at strategic times in the day or just call to have it picked up so I can avoid Chin at all costs.

Jenny is on to me too because she seduces me with specials on my shoes and even altered my dogs bikini for free (I know, i have serious issues...yes, my dog has a bikini). I don't know what to do here. I can't break up with Chin. Sometimes I even send my laundry out half and half. That is what I did three weeks ago. It is stressing me out.

I shared my plight with Amir, my deli guy, who responded with with questions of my fidelity to him. He wanted to know if I regularly go somewhere else for my weekly regular purchases. We both agreed that going to the subway on the corner doesn't count, but now I think he is keeping an eye on me and my commitment issues.