Saturday, August 15, 2009

Common Scenarios of Writer's Block Rescue

So there I am, sitting on a low-slung tree limb, pen in one hand and water damaged, 99 cent store notebook in the other. Small children are playing with their au pairs, trawlers and cruising craft are sailing or motoring by this picturesque perch, and cleverly placed art pieces are tucked under bushes, hanging from tree limbs (approved by the city, unlike me), and hidden behind small hills. Considering all of Manhattan lies within my view, framed by the two metal arms called the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, I really couldn't ask for a more encouraging environment for personal expression. What with the architecture, nature, and progeny so numerous I'd have to be artistically deaf, or worse, untalented, to feel unresponsive. But there it is. Literary constipation.

Naturally, in an Adaptation xerox, the solution to the Block is to write about the experience of the Block. My sentence could easily be commuted/resolved through any of the following scenarios.

1) As she sat gazing vacantly upon the not-so-distant metropolis across the water, she was set upon by rabid (but cultured) Italian tourists who mistook her for an artistic poseur, a hipster. Death ensued.

2) A tall, lanky boy with a scruffy beard and non-prescriptive glasses strolled underneath the tree. He smiled in a charming, bohemian kind of way that said, I have access to illicit drugs, and I will take you home to my festering Williamsburg apartment where you can lay in my unwashed sheets while I make poor, lackluster love to you and later we can eat organic mangoes and Doritos. What he actually said was, "Put the finger on the right pulse and you'll find the heart beat of your story." Walking on his hands backwards he faded away between the mirror mobile and the quilt sculpture.

3)Torrid public sex scene. (Toddlers are a glance away from total traumatization.)

4) A uniformed security guy said, "Ma'am, for safety and security reasons there is not sitting or climbing of trees." When she stared blankly at him he said, "Just get the fuck out of the tree, lady. And put your pants back on."

As there are no hipsters, infected tourists, and alas, there are pants, we have to wait for option 5) in which, "Like Athena, the truly great inspirational idea (that will develop quickly enough so that she won't lose patience with herself or the story) sprang to her mind fully formed. Writing frenzy ensued."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I actually love Wall Street

Distraction is key in the battle waged on the dark, narrow walkways placed awkwardly between architecture on Wall Street. Jumbles of colored signage, garish in their attempt to out-sign their discount neighbors, do not coax so much as jabber all-time-low selling points. While the Exchange patriotically and grimly bears its financial woes, and the statue of George Washington silently bespeaks good sense, the dollars and cents racket deteriorates to outlet trash around the next corner.

Those who have chosen careers that do not lead to managing hedges or any other kind of botanical funds keep their eyes to the ground as they hurry down the dank alleys between major thoroughfares. The Espresso Café is book-ended by Vivi Vixen and Cents-able Fashion, where even a nearly-empty wallet can purchase enough spandex and hole-y jeans to successfully transition into the marginally more profitable field of street whore.

That’s not to say that it’s all knock-ups and knock-offs in the Financial District. True love occasionally flowers in a rejected pair of Nine West sandals or an Italian leather boot wasting away on a dusty shelf. More often, though, it’s marketed infatuation for the luckless blue-collar worker who glanced up from the trash on the pavement to try to find the sky above the ramparts of capitalism. Instead of air and space it’s a banner for Bernie’s falafel with free coffee or tea. Not that there’s anything wrong with a deal, but can a fellow ever get a break that doesn’t cost him more money?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Has camera, will tourist

After living in NYC for seven months I finally have a digital camera. Let the revolution begin! I've adapted to the street pace, the instant anger, the transit delays and transitory friendships, the jaw-drops along the waterfront and the Dow drops along Wall Street. Even though I can blend in with the best of them, I'm just now pulling my new camera out and photographing everything I think is fascinating about my new city.

Everything they say about the first child getting all the attention is true. Mostly. There are several photojournals stuffed with my adorableness. Mom and Dad looking young and sexy with my puffy face peering out of jackets as we stroll in Michigan. Me staring at a cat like it's from outerspace (the feeling was moo-tual). Me in a box of stuffed animals. Me watching over the edge of the crib because I absolutely-hands-down refuse to fall asleep while the adults are up. There's a very long track record of how wonderful I was as a child because my dad loved photography and me.

My little brother got a good share of this attention when he finally wandered onstage. After all, he's the first boy. However, by the time we got to my little sisters my dad had outgrown his camera passion along with the time he wanted to dedicate to getting us all cleaned up for photos. There's a whole stretch of time completely undocumented except for birthdays. We were all nuts about our birthday cakes and had to have them recorded for posterity every year. Most of the time mom made us squeeze into the picture too.

Digital cameras should've been our saving grace, and I'm really not certain why that didn't latch on sooner. Maybe because my dad has always been very strict and careful about electronics with the ultimate result being that nobody ever used it except for him. And since he only thought to photograph special occasions or the dog being especially cute, the camera languished downstairs in the Game Closet along with Battleship, Risk, and Trump, a card game completely unrelated to wall street success.

Then came one of the undocumented sisters, who with a fascination for science and a logistical brain streaming with data, realized she could save herself alot of time if she took pictures of everything she wanted to remember like the information plaques below exhibits. This doesn't mean that we have any more photos of our family or life events, but at least the camera's getting some use.