Abra Goes

on theatre, running, writing, and looking up

Archive for January 2008

Boo: Shoe Shopping in NYC

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I have an annoying hole in my boot. My New York City essential, black flat boots, that I have already had repaired twice. I bought these boots over a year ago, and wore them practically every day except over the summer because I dislike shopping for myself so I tend to wear the same shoes for as long as they will hold together.

At (3) pairs, my shoe collection is smaller than my sisters’ for sure. Probably smaller than most men’s. So it is with no enthusiasm and much reluctance that I direct myself downtown to Century 21 tonight (open till 9PM on Thursdays!)

Shopping is no fun for me. I go into the biggest stores and feel guilty when I don’t find anything I love. And I can’t just like something or see the practical need for it (i.e. pants that aren’t jeans) – I have to fall in love before I’ll take it to the register.

I usually leave stores feeling like a failure and compensate by purchasing a shirt for my bf because I do enjoy picking out men’s clothes.

HELP!

26-yr old female seeks sturdy, comfortable shoes that mean business to be worn every single day for many years to come. Must go with every possible outfit and resist all weather. Must be bargain priced and lovely. Eye catching, but not obnoxious. Low maintenance with no expectations of being polished. For long long walks all over NYC, occasional evenings out, and rush-hour sprints through the closing subway doors.

Please let a shoe box fall into my arms as soon as I enter the store…and please don’t let it rain tonight because my feet will get wet. And please let there be an empty table at my favorite bubble tea place, Green Tea Cafe, in Chinatown for some after-shopping comfort.

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Written by abragoes

January 31, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Posted in NYC

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Some Zucchini with my butter?

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I have a long list of things I miss about freelancing full time, but I won’t bore you.

At the moment, I miss the food most of all.

Temporarily working in an office is affording me the luxury to pursue my dream – I must remind myself of this each day. The company covers everybody’s lunch here. Normally I would bring a healthy lunch everyday, but who am I to deny myself this rare perk?

With a staff of mostly men who like their meat, ‘healthy’ is a dirty word: In an effort to stand out in the world of online menus, even the salads come topped with something fried, crusted, or fire kissed and glazed.

At home, food is simple. I wash vegetables and steam them. Make soup, brown rice and chop up fresh fruit. I loved everything about lunch at home and felt energized after.

For me, it is exceedingly difficult to make smart food choices. The novelty of the work I do here is gone; I’m at the stage where lunch is the highlight of the day and words like creamy really catch my eye.

It’s stupid. I consider myself a conscientious eater, but when I’m not the one preparing the food I turn a blind eye.

Dear God of Working from Home, throw me over your shoulder and take me back sooner than later.

Written by abragoes

January 30, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Posted in freelance life

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Research Day

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The library is open till 9pm tonight, which gives me about 2 ½ hours to read back issues of magazines and work on the leads for two queries.

 

NYC’s public libraries are institutions at their best. The 4th floor of the midtown library (not to be confused with the 42nd St beautiful research library across the street) has aisle after isle of back issues bound in hard cover by year. Some of these collections go more than 10 years back.

 

The key to getting work done at the library is to forget you’re at the library. Too often I’ll load my arms with 20 Plus books, bring them to a table, crack 3 open and then check out 10 and murder my back hauling these soon to be over-due library books onto the subway. It’s a vicious cycle.

 

My library card is a point of pride because it’s a design they don’t make anymore. Solid maroon. It’s a testament to how long I’ve lived in and learned from this city. Hopefully, someday soon, I’ll get to contribute more to New York’s wealth of culture.

Written by abragoes

January 29, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Crushing My Goal – Or Why I am Fabulous

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42 miles for January!

42 miles I ran so far this year.

42 miles is my monthly goal in order to hit 500 for the year. And I did it.

It wasn’t easy. Yesterday was my final 2.9 miles. I loaded up on carbs at lunch for the energy, but pasta makes me sleepy so that backfired.

Then I drug myself to the gym half asleep and whining, wanting nothing more than my PJs, solitude, notebook and wine. But the delight of reaching my goal changed that tune and I chatted with my sisters all evening.

Running regularly has energized the force of my writing. I’m not referring to my craft here, I mean discipline. Running is influencing a practical approach to laying out what needs to be done and doing it whether I’m tired, moody, or need to do laundry.

I’ve tried setting both running and writing goals many times before to no avail. But this feels different because I’m structuring goals with the big picture in mind and concentrating on what I have control over. For instance, I can run 500 miles this year if I have the will and grace of health to do so. I can also write at least 10 queries this month.

I’m not setting instant financial or acceptance goals with my queries because I have no direct control over those things. I am writing queries and stories to the best of my ability with enough belief in myself that I will only get better the more I write.

There are some major submission deadlines coming up in March for playwrights, which I desperately want to submit to. But my script isn’t close to ready. Does anyone know who I can petition for 10 more hours in the day?

Written by abragoes

January 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Posted in running, writing better

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No Pre-Rejections

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A leak in my wall kept me from going to the library to do research this weekend. While I waited for the maintenance guy to finish his sausage and cigarette, I went to author Elizabeth Gilbert’s website and got a hefty dose of perspective.

 

Gilbert is the author of Eat Pray Love, which I just started. She’s also an accomplished journalist who writes with clarity and humor. I went to her page to learn a little more about the articles she’s written, how she got started, and of course what her secret magic trick is for writing so well.

 

I didn’t get farther that her Thoughts on Writing.

 

With a small stack of partially written queries at my side I took this statement to heart: Don’t pre-reject yourself.

 

I was primarily going to the library to research Body and Soul magazine and the Saturday Evening Post. I took the water running down my wall as a reality check. Why would either of these magazines consider my query? They probably won’t even send me a rejection letter. I’m not good enough to ever write for them.

 

Gilbert points out: someone has to get paid for writing what these magazines publish. Why not me?

 

You have to at least try, right? Try to give your work a life.

 

As Elizabeth Gilbert, my new favorite writer says, you are a writer so you promise the universe that you will write. And that’s what you do. You never promised to be a brilliant writer.

Running Update – 39.1 / 500 Abra Miles

Goal for  the month = 42. Almost there!

Written by abragoes

January 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Posted in writing better

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My Sabateur

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I have to hand-write every first draft regardless of what I’m writing. As a revisionist, the process of working off of a first draft while typing up my story is a good first, less self-conscious rewrite.

But lately every time I put my pad down, I lose it. When I lose my train of thought or forget an idea before writing it down coherently I let it go and presume it will come back to me if it is really worth writing.

I’m working on three stories about topics that interest me. They don’t keep me up at night, and it does feel like ‘work’ to write about them. But it is work.

Is my body trying to tell me something? Like maybe I need to fit in time for more creative work…

Ever find your body going out of its way to tell your mind something? When they’re not working in conjunction together nothing gets done. I intend to propose a compromise, half an hour of creative writing for every 2 hours of professional writing.

Perhaps a word count would be more effective. I happen to have an insider perspective and know this body can be bribed with wine, ice water, and pistachios.

RUNNING – ABRA MILES = 31.45

Written by abragoes

January 24, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Posted in writing better

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think of Mars on January 30

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meteor hitting earth

(artist rendering on CBC news site of a larger asteroid hitting Earth than any that has ever taken place)

Since moving to New York City over ten years ago, I’ve grown accustomed to a never-quite-dark enough night sky. Though I can almost always find the moon, it takes some imagination to see the stars.

A small procrastination stint on the web yesterday led me to the NASA Science News site. I stayed because this counts as peripheral research for the article I’m working on.

One of my sisters will be having a baby this year. There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to teaching the baby, as its favorite aunt, but there are many things I still know so little about myself.

Lately, my pitching has fused with this curiosity to learn as much as I can before another member of my family comes into the world.

If it’s a girl, I’ll call her Lorna (no matter what my sister names her) and if it’s a boy I’ll call him Oliver (no matter what my brother-in-law names him). For now it will be Lorna/Oliver.

If Lorna/Oliver were born today, I’d say in my scariest non-scary voice: Look up on January 30th. There’s a meteor that just may hit Mars creating a crater about a half-mile wide. There’s a 1 in 75 chance the meteor will hit Mars, but scientists don’t know for sure because they haven’t been chasing it long enough to predict it’s path.

I’m sure Lorna/Oliver would come up to the roof of my Brooklyn apartment with me on January 30th and worry about a meteor landing in our living room killing us all, but she won’t be born yet. Luckily, it looks like the month of July will be rich in meteor showers so we can fret together then.

ABRA MILES UPDATE – 29.45 / 500

Written by abragoes

January 23, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Posted in looking up

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