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no other reading in your whole life does.

ImageI’ve toyed over and over with the idea of getting an e-reader. I think I’m one of the only people I know who doesn’t have either an iPad or a Kindle. (Well, I do have a hand-me-down Kindle but that’s not the point.)

The point is that I excitedly loaded a few (free) literary classics that I had been meaning to read and then promptly read none of them. I signed up for an online literature course and downloaded the whole reading list to the Kindle and then read none of those.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of being able to carry ten, twenty books with you at any given time in addition to magazines and newspapers too. BUT I couldn’t get on board with the feeling of it. And I could never put a finger on why. And today, Austin Kleon’s blog included an Mark Athitakis excerpt that just nailed it:

“[I read] almost always with a pen or pencil in my hand, ready to underline a sentence, scribble a margin note or, if I’m particularly struck by something, dash off a trio of exclamation points. I don’t think of this as something I do in addition to reading — it’s how I read. So something always feels a little off when I read a book on my Kindle or iPad… E-books promise all sorts of frictionless interactivity, except the one I really want.

Note taking is just one problem. Books aren’t just in conversation with readers but with themselves: What happens on page 362 harks back to something on page 15 that foreshadows events on page 144. Noticing these connections is part of my work, and it wasn’t until I began reading e-books that I realized how much bouncing back and forth I do in a physical book, something e-books don’t easily facilitate. Readers enthuse about being immersed in a good book, but e-book progress bars encourage us to read only one way: straight ahead, at a sprint.

Basically, in the wise words of Kathleen Kelly via Nora Ephron, “when you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does…”

And the way you read that book as a child becomes a part of you. E-readers won’t ever become part of my identity because they’ll never have the same feel or smell or breed the same sentimentally that a good old fashioned book can.

Amiright? Or shall we agree to disagree?

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looks good?

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I have long struggled with this sentiment because it’s easy to read and harder to do. I think as someone who is a internet-phile (did I just coin that term?) it’s especially hard to not get down on yourself. 

This giant world is made that much smaller by the posting, tweeting, instagramming, vining, texting, trending that happens. Which is a beautiful thing. It also makes you feel like crap sometimes right?

It’s that much harder to go to your boring 9-5 job and plug away at your desk sucking down crap coffee when you see that your friend of a friend just made the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. 

It makes you depressed that your dinner was beef jerky and leftover potato salad from your work meeting when your friend posts pictures of her organically harvested, slow roasted three course dinner.

There’s an interesting discussion that your presence on the internet and social media is no longer just a record of the goings-on of your life. It has become your brand. And let’s face it but no one is putting up unflattering pictures of themselves or posting about their worst nights. So it’s like comparing your life with someone’s highlight reel and that’s not really fair or productive.

SO, I’ve been busy peeking into other people’s lives and getting down on myself for not hitting every career goal, not making enough money, not Skyping enough with friends, not calling my mom enough, not having the perfect outfit, and effing up yet another hare-brained Pinterest project, BUT I’ve also been enjoying the fresh snowfall, trying out Vietnamese dishes, eating an ungodly amount of hot wings, and chilling in a newly acquired onesie.

But you didn’t see all that. Cause it all happened (mostly) offline and it felt good.

And isn’t that what counts?

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Thanks for F-O-X.

Every few weeks, for what has been the majority of my life, TNT or ABC Family or USA or Bravo or Lifetime has aired You’ve Got Mail. And I’m sure in the coming weeks this programming will just exponentially increase (alongside her other works–When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie & Julia–heard of them?) in the light of Nora Ephron’s passing.

Tangent: It always astounds me how quickly the NYT and its peers can turnaround such well written, fully fleshed out, and insightful obituaries about people like Ephron overnight. It makes me wonder if there are a few people tucked away somewhere in these big print companies who are solely tasked to write post-humous, pre-death articles to keep at the ready for notable people. I’m sure those measures are in place for big name heavies like the President but I wonder if there are pieces about Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld, Mark Zuckerberg, or Sophia Grace in case of untimely death?

In any case, although Ephron is most celebrated for When Harry Met Sally, the work that means most to me is You’ve Got Mail. I’m not sure when my first viewing was but I do know that the opening sequence kickstarted with an AOL Dial Up tone was totally relevant. I was well acquainted because of typing and internet classes (?!) at my elementary school. What I do know is that it resonated with me on some strange cosmic level because I didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on those first few times. I just knew that I liked it.

I liked it because Joe Fox’s Aunt Anabelle and brother Matt mirrored the age gap between me and my siblings. Because it’s funny to hear grown-ups trying to sing in a round. And because I completely subscribed to and still believe Kathleen Kelly’s belief that “when you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does…”

And a movie you love as a child, and then as a teenager, and as an adult becomes a part of your identity in a way that I can’t begin to tell you about.

Every year when I pass the Back to School section in Target I think about a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.

Every time the elevator stalls I think back to Patricia’s inane conversation and realize what I don’t want in a relationship.

Every time someone bogarts a part of seven-layer dip or scrapes additional topping onto their plate I think “That is a garnish.”

And now that I live in New York, and on the Upper West Side more specifically, I find myself living this story I love so much.

When I pass Cafe Lalo and grab the fence saying “She had to be. She had to be!”

On a nice fall day when I’m walking down to 72nd street, I feel like there’s not a sound on the city streets, just the beat of my own heart.

And when I stop into Zabar’s I’m always wary of the cash only line. “She has no cash. She has no cash? She has no cash.”

When I recount the days of the week, “Maunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday…”

When I run past the 79th St. Boast Basin and yell “HELLO NEW JERSEY!” (I really do do this. People smile and then politely run around me.)

When I mentally psyche myself up because I’m a lone reed. Standing tall. Waving boldly. And then promptly punch the air in true Meg Ryan fashion.

And when I walk through Riverside Park, listening to dog collars jingle, I think of Brinkley.

But more than all the perfectly timed quips–and there are a lot of them–it makes me feel like everything will be alright. And I know how ridiculous of a statement that must sound like but it’s true. Sometimes I write not because I want a response but just to send something out to that void. And when I wonder about my life, I’m comforted in the knowledge that I lead a small but valuable life. And when you find that life has stood you up, boycotted your company, and you’re living in your boat, closing down your mother’s bookshop, or entering the Over Thirty Chat Room, is that things can and will turn out better.

In Nora Ephron’s Commencement Speech to Wellesley grads:

“What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands. And this is something else I want to tell you, one of the hundreds of things I didn’t know when I was sitting here so many years ago: you are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever.

Did I say it was hard? Yes, but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words, nobody said it was so hard. But it’s also incredibly interesting. You are so lucky to have that life as an option.”

When life found me on another coast, in a new job, missing CA friends & family or after a less than pleasant wedding experience it also found me curling up in sheets and visiting with NY152 and Shopgirl.

Thanks Nora.

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Summer Wednesday!

Every morning on my way to work, when I get out of the subway there’s a man handing out AM New York and Metro papers. Some days he’ll talk about the major headline like Obama’s validation of gay marriage or Bloomberg’s super-size soda ban. Other days he’ll pick something fun like Justin Bieber’s free poster. Or he’ll yell out “Happy Monday, excited to get the week started!”

But every day he counts down to summer.

112 days till summer! (My internal monologue: Really, right now? It’s February.)

93 days till summer…

41 days till summer… (But it’s still Monday.)

25 days till summer! Almost there. (Yeah! It’s going to be warm and nice soon!)

15 days till summer, just around the corner. (It.is.raining.)

And most days, I give him a nice smile and take a paper.

But today IS the first day of summer.

And this is how I feel about that.

Photo Cred: Brett Spigelman @NeonTurbine

So on this 20th of June, I hope you have the loveliest long day.

Some songs that remind me of summer.

And LFO with some choice lyrics.

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Wednesday Pick Me Up

We’re half way through the week team.

A high school teacher of mine used to always call Wednesdays “Hump” Days which always made me feel uncomfortable. Wednesday is already a bummer of a day and giving it a vaguely scandalous name made it even more unpleasant. When it would rain on a Wednesday she would write “Happy Wet Hump Day” on the board.

Although, in retrospect, maybe she was amusing herself by making all of us teenagers queasy. In which case, I respect her a little more now.

Anyway, to get myself through Wednesday I usually pump the jams while chugging along.

Here are a few of my recent and throwback favorites to get your day going.

And, of course, Harvard Baseball boys dancing in a van. I especially like the one that’s asleep the ENTIRE time while the radio is blasting and the car is shaking. He’s got some mad sleeping skillz.

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Thanks guys!

Dude.

Months ago, when I vowed to myself that I would revamp this blog and post more often and hopefully get some more views in this post–I never thought it would take off the way it did last week and especially yesterday.

I was walking on cloud nine last week when I had 53 views, an all-time one day high–and then the internet (and mostly you guys) worked some magic and sent my blog, and consequentially my heart, through the roof with 167 views in a day!

An 11,000% increase!?

When I first started writing over five years ago, I did it mostly to keep friends and family in the loop about my European travels. All five of them. And now this blog is something that has traveled with me through some big life changes and I’m so grateful to have it so I can see snippets of what my life has been like from taking college finals, applying to a job, getting a first and second job, paying loans, and switching coasts. And I am especially excited and happy to have had you join me on this adventure. If you’re a long time reader or if you’ve just come on board. Thank you and I hope it keeps getting better.

I mean anything is better than when I was typing with a Belgian keyboard right?

In other news, NPH’s Opening Number last year was better.

Happy Tuesday!

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10 Cents on a Typewriter

A few years ago, I had the great pleasure of listening to Ray Bradbury recount his early days as a writer. Many people don’t know but Ray Bradbury actually wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a typewriter in the basement of UCLA’s Powell library for the hefty price of ten cents per hour, if memory serves me correctly.

He joked that he had no idea the story would garner as much success as it did and thought he’d deserve at least a plaque noting that it was created there. I mean, JK Rowling has a plaque in the hotel room where she finished writing the Harry Potter series. I think we could muster one for Ray too, right UCLA?

Update: Danielle Solomon, UCLA librarian extraordinaire, just let me know there is a plaque that was added in 2009. Check out the picture of Ray Bradbury (white hair, bottom right hand side) checking it out here!

In any case, sitting in that packed auditorium, I felt like Bradbury was speaking right to me. And it’s not often that that feeling comes to me. I’m not the kind of person that thinks that each Oprah episode is meant for me. Although I do think that Lizzie McGuire was a TV show crafted exclusively for my tween viewing pleasure.

ANYWAY, I was unsure of what my path would be. It was nearing the end of my Junior year of college and I had no idea what I was going to pursue. I tinkered, and by that, I mean wrestled with the idea of non-profits, grad school, writing, cooking, moving, relationships, student loans, and nearly everything else under the sun. I felt like I had all of these directions I could go in but had no idea how to navigate it. And then Bradbury said something that I furiously proceeded to scribble down on my Festival of Books itinerary (yes, I made an itinerary.). And these words have forever stuck out in my mind. They continue to help me navigate these murky waters called life and growing up.

It’s not just about writing. Or work. It’s about trusting yourself enough to let go of everything else.

It reassures me and invites me to author my own life.

Ray Bradbury, thank you for those words that day and thank you for the words you have given us to read always.

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