Write About Living

I recently had a surreal experience. A friend of mine was taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning (she’s totally fine!) and I went with a couple friends to keep her company and then take her home.

While we were there, an unconscious man was wheeled into the room directly next to where we were waiting. (We were in a hallway because my friend wasn’t a serious case, and under normal circumstances probably would have been in and out of the ER pretty quickly). On the other side of us was a sitting room, and it began filling up with the man’s family. None of them spoke English, but it was easy enough to gather that his wife, baby daughter, and 6 or 7 year old son were there with a handful of other loved ones.

Long story short, the man died. We were there when he died. We were there to hear the way his family reacted to the news. We heard his son asking why this had happened.

We witnessed what will undoubtedly be a defining moment in that little boy’s life. We were bystanders to their grief, unable to offer comfort, trying as hard as we could to blend into the walls.

In a weird way, I felt like I was watching a hospital drama on TV. By proximity I was closely involved in what was happening, and could hear it and feel it, but was still utterly removed. It also felt totally unreal.

So that was five days ago now. I’m still kind of reeling from it.

I ordered Chinese food last night, which isn’t that remarkable, except I usually only do that when I’m STARVING or am celebrating something. But I had a taste for it and suddenly dieting just seems silly. I’ve also had impulses to tell people I love and appreciate them because it seems silly to be afraid of that as well.

I know these feelings will pass – not the love necessarily but the sense of urgency to declare it. I’m still processing what I saw. And when I was thinking of what to write tonight this event was the only thing filling my brain.

So. I’m not sure what message I want to end on here. If you’re reading this – thank you. Sorry I’ve been too busy to write. And I know it sounds corny, but just take a moment this week to not take something for granted, if that makes sense.

And in case this worries any of you, I promise I’m fine. I’m living life normally and not walking around in a traumatized state or anything. I didn’t know that man or his family, and as much as my heart ached for them, I would never try to claim part of their grief. But writing this all down is a relief because it’s impossible to witness any human suffering and not be affected. It’s impossible not to look at your own life from a new perspective after something like that. But I’m happy and well, and have a lot of exciting things to look forward to, for which I’m so, so grateful.

Anyway. Love to you. I will try to make my next post more fun.

Write About Living

Write About a Hero

I went to Lollapalooza yesterday. Lolla is a three-day music festival in Grant Park that thousands of people flock to each summer. The heat and the crowds are not very appealing to me, but I went this year because none other than Sir Paul McCartney was headlining.

Christina and I waited in the sun for hours at the main stage. We saw some really cool bands – one woman called SZA (pronounced like sizz-ah) who was really cute. The Cold War Kids and Alabama Shakes put on great shows. And we were delighted by a British band called Glass Animals we hadn’t heard before.

The only reason we saw these bands though, is that I am a crazy person and insisted on not giving up a spot at the stage where Sir Paul was playing. That meant we went to the bathroom and to get food and drinks in shifts. We also aggressively guarded a towel we would sit on whenever there was a break in the crowds.

Towards the evening, though, there was no chance to sit. There was barely room to move. A bunch of frat stars kept encroaching on our space and one even got in my face when I let him know politely that we were not pleased with the way he kept shoving us. But I was determined. By 7:45 we were hot, sweaty, dirty, and thirsty. But we were close to the stage. And then Paul McCartney came on.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to see someone like him. I grew up on his music, it’s been a major part of my life. I have tons of fun memories of driving with my brother and belting out Beatles songs (we do the harmonies). And I just finished reading a huge biography called The Beatles a couple months ago, so I felt I had even more insight to this person.

I know I don’t actually know him and never will, but seeing Paul McCartney was like seeing an old friend. Whenever he did the little Beatles head shake or bowed at the waist (which he did after a ton of songs, it was really cute), it was like recognizing a friend’s mannerisms. And when he spoke to the crowd he was just so goddamned charming.

I only cried when he played Here Today. And Something on the ukelele as a tribute George Harrison. And a little during Maybe I’m Amazed.

But here are some of the songs he did:
Magical Mystery Tour (opener)
Let Me Roll It (I mean, come, on, this is a great song!)
And I Love Her
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Something (my favorite love song and possible favorite Beatles song)
Here Today
Can’t Buy Me Love
Ob-la-di Ob-la-da
Hey Jude
Get Back
Back in the USSR
Band on the Run
Lady Madonna
Blackbird
Let It Be
Live and Let Die (complete with pyrotechnics and fireworks)
Helter Skelter (!!!)
and the end of the Abbey Road Medley.

The last words he sang were: “And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

I’m proud that I didn’t sob through the whole thing.

He still sounds great. He still plays with amazing energy. He still clearly loves to get a crowd worked up. He’s a hero.

I will never forget seeing him.

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Write About a Hero

Day 38 – Write Something Silly

Scene: the court of Elizabeth I

A Lady:
By my troth, Rebecca, regard her backside.
It is quite broad.
She appears like one of those musician’s mistresses.
But, verily, who can make out their speech?
They only court her because she dresses like a lady of ill repute.
I daresay, her backside is so uncannily large.
I can scarce believe its rotundity! It’s – I mean – regard it!

Lord Mix-a-Lot:
I enjoy shapely women and I cannot lie,
My kinsmen cannot deny,
When a lady enters with her corset tight,
And her ankles all in sight,
You get aroused! Unsheathe your sword,
If thou art a manly lord,
When you see the gown she’s wearing,
Her bustle hath got you staring,
Oh, lady, I wish we were alone,
So I could write you a poem,
I know I should cool my head,
But I won’t stop till we are betrothed,
Ooh, skin of alabaster,
You wish to ride in my carriage?
Well lay me, slay me,
Because you are the rarest lady.
I’ve seen them dancing,
No need for romancing,
She’s sweet, meet,
And very light on her feet.
I tire of proper ladies,
Hiding their backsides dainty,
Take a proper gentleman and and ask him,
She cannot be thin!
So, gentles? (Yea!) Gentles? (Yea!)
Does your lady have the rump? (Indeed!)
Tell her to carouse! (Carouse!) Carouse! (Carouse!)
Revel with that shapely rump!
My lady hath back!

Day 38 – Write Something Silly

Day 37 – Write a Reminder

I’ve had a very busy weekend with the theatre company Christi and I are launching together. We recently posted auditions and have been scheduling people to come in for what feels like three straight days. It’s a lot of work but it’s very exciting, so today I thought I’d share a quote about theatre that really speaks to me. Please forgive the fact that it’s a quote from Doctor Who:

“The theater is magic, isn’t it? You can stand on this stage saying the right words with the right emphasis at the right time. You can make men weep or cry with joy. You can change them – you can change people’s minds just with words in this place.”

Day 37 – Write a Reminder

Day 36 – Write Something Positive

Last night my roommate Christi and I decided we were in the mood to watch a scary movie. After quickly googling “Best Scary Movies Streaming on Netflix 2015” we decided to watch The Babadook, written and directed by Jennifer Kent.

The movie was amazing.

First of all, it was very, very scary. It’s about a widow raising a  young son who’s obsessed with the idea of protecting his mother from a monster. She thinks he is just disobedient, until a children’s book called Mister Babadook appears in their home and she begins to realize the monster he is seeing is real.

The camera work in the film is artful. I know it sounds pretentious to talk about things like ‘the composition of the shots,’ but they were so thoughtfully done and visually stunning that I have to mention them. They also made me afraid of nothing. One shot in particular, where the mother (Amelia) is reaching up onto the top of the fridge made me jump even though nothing happened. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie where the camera work alone elicited a real emotion from me.

The themes in the movie also kept Christi and me talking for a long time. The Babadook is a real monster in the world of the film, but also a very real metaphor about grief. The Babadook gets stronger if its ignored, and you can never get rid of it. It gets inside you and makes you do horrible things. It makes you say and do things you normally never would. The movie blurs the line between being a horror film and a tragic film about a woman crumpling under the grief of losing her husband.

There were also motifs that kept returning. I know, I know, pretentious. But it was so cool. There were call backs to knocking, magic, elderly people, flowers, and insects. Every time one of them was referenced it was so subtle and artful that I couldn’t articulate how blown away I was. I felt like a cartoon character with “!!!” over my head because I couldn’t think of anything to say.

And because the movie was so beautifully done, even though it was scary, neither Christi nor I went to bed afraid. There were parts that I watched through my fingers because I’m a big ol’ baby, but the horror was not the point of the movie. It helped the movie along.

[Soapbox] Also, I’m all about works that were created by women, especially in the film industry. The gender of the writer/director of this movie has no effect on the fact that the movie was amazing, but I do love that something this gorgeous was created by a woman and also received critical acclaim [End Soapbox].

So if you’re looking for something scary, I cannot recommend this film enough. Even if you’re not into scary movies, I would recommend it. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens, but it is so, so worth watching.

Although I will say that Christi and I are a little more aware of the cat staring at nothing today.

Day 36 – Write Something Positive

Day 35 – Write About Hypocrisy

Chicago Weather Conversations:

November: “How is it cold already?! We didn’t even get a real summer! I hate this city.”

December: “It’s so cold. I didn’t think it was possible to be this cold.”

January: “This is the coldest I have ever been and I’ll never be warm again.”

February: “What is the point of living when it’s this cold?”

March: “It got warmer! Wait…no, it’s snowing. But it’s in the forties now! Wait, no. Now it’s a blizzard. Can’t it just be summer?!”

April-June: “I’m so ready for it to be warm, I can’t believe I’m still wearing a jacket, this is bullshit! It was the coldest winter ever and now we’re not even getting summer!”

July: “OH MY GOD IT’S SO HOT I’M GOING TO DIE OH GOD WHY!??!??”

August: “Hot. Hot. Hot. Why is it so hot? My elbows are sweating.”

September: “I’m so ready for cold weather and pumpkin spice.”

October: “PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!”

Novmeber: “How is it cold already?! We didn’t even get a real summer! I hate this city.”

Day 35 – Write About Hypocrisy