lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Criticisms

Sometimes, the harsh criticism of someone else can seep under your skin and never leave.

This semester, I am in one of the most intensive classes of my academic career. It is a fiction writing workshop where twelve of us sit at a table and hash it all out. We read, edit, comment, and provide suggestions to one another about how our work could be improved.

I've chosen to submit four chapters of my memoirs. I am the only person in the group to concentrate on non-fiction. With two installments under my belt, I've received a lot of feedback. Most of it has been encouraging. "Maybe try this." Or, "I like this part." "I am confused because I didn't understand this."

Going through every line edit from twelve people can be perplexing. But, I wasn't prepared for last week. One of the students in this class is a jerk because he thinks he's the best and wants everyone to know it. This person lacks finesse. Unlike the others who are tactful, he doesn't know the definition of sensitivity.

About an hour ago, I decided to look at the notes on my papers. His was the last one. According to him, my writing is," atrocious and unintelligible." He makes another comment,"your grammar is terrible and your word choices frequently make no sense. You need to work on vocabulary; as well as style and story structure."

I've heard criticisms before, but nothing like this. I am angry and hurt. In the three years that I've been enrolled in classes at The New School, nothing has surfaced such as this. When I render my critiques, I try to be thoughtful and aware of what I say and how I say it. In fact, I've been extremely cautious about every comment I think of before saying it.

Now, I am in a state of doubt. It makes no sense that a fellow undergraduate would have the audacity to be so forthcoming with their two cents. Even as I am writing this, I am paranoid with word choices. Why do we allow the bullies to have the last word?

I realize he is just one person with one opinion. It makes me question myself as a writer and the direction I want to take with my book. When I read comments like his, I want to confront him and ask why he feels the need to be my teacher. I just want to hide and not write anymore at all.

I don't care if he doesn't like me or my work. I have chosen not to elaborate further on the additional comments he has made, because he is simply not worth it. I prefer people like him to know when to shut up and leave well enough alone.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A world without Liz...


As a little boy, I was entranced by her illustrious body of work and felt transported to a different time. She is and will always be the quintessential movie star.

Since yesterday, the world is a lonelier place. The passing of Elizabeth Taylor still hasn't registered. I am waiting to see if this it is just a bad dream. A terrible mistake. My heart is heavy and sad.

Among the many layers I admired most about Ms.Taylor was her style, elegance, and wit. She exuded class in the way she smiled to her fans in the crowds, the manner in which she answered questions to the media, the roles she chose, the causes she passionately believed in, the lives of others that she contributed to, and the loyal people she surrounded herself with.

To every imaginable extent, Ms.Taylor was one of my heros' because she didn't care what others thought. Even when she stood up for something, she did it with conviction and guile.

The indescribable stunner was a pioneer for AIDS awareness/research, a trailblazer for gay rights, an humanitarian, a philanthropist, friend, mother, grandmother, survivor, woman right's activist, fashion maven, and undoubtedly, a gifted actress. In spite of the fact I didn't know her, I felt like I did. Growing up, I personally had wished she was my mother because she represented universal acceptance, compassion, and unconditional love.

Perhaps the millions that didn't know her, felt like they did too. The world needs people like her where these powerful forces seep deep within in our pores and won't let go. Humans that are forever giving, relentlessly strong,present and non-judgmental. It crushes my heart knowing that hatred and intolerance continues to run rampant, dictating how others think and treat people they don't even acknowledge let alone know. If there were more Elizabeth Taylors'walking the earth, hope would be eminent and flourishing.

I'd like to believe that she is embarking on an adventure in this unknown abyss,sharing her enormous lovely grace and intelligence along with her remarkable soul. Wherever you are, Ms.Taylor, please know that no one will ever fit your shoes and that you will be sorely missed and not forgotten.

XOXO to you, Sweet Dame Liz...Rest well.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The power of tacos...

Last night after a long shift from work, I headed to my beloved taco stand for some much needed grub. I've been patronizing this place for well over a year and love how the truck is always there at their location, on the weekends with their bright green and red neon lights flashing from a distance.

Something interesting happened as I thought I was alone, about to devour my food like a hungry caveman. After a eating the first chicken soft taco with mounds of salsa verde, I noticed a handsome man from behind who smiled at me. I stepped aside from the counter and smiled back. After he paid his tab for his newly ordered food, he checked his phone and and looked up. When my second taco came out, he smiled again...at me. I was happy about his smile because I thought he was cute. No. Not cute. Handsome.

When his pork tacos came out, he went right towards me and began to ate.

"So, what do you think? Good tacos?" He said.

"I come here at least twice a week. And, yes. They are awesome. Carnitas?"

"Yeah. (Pause) Ah, man. They are good. So, where you from?"

The thing I noticed was his sincere smile, his beautiful eyes. I don't remember if they were blue or brown, but that they were round and rich. We began talking about Mexican food and suddenly the subject of where we were from came up. Here's what I know about him. Oh, did I forget to mention, his name is Matt.

Matt is from Southern California and has lived in New York for sixteen years. He works in design and often travels to Paris for his job as a designer. Also, he speaks fluent French and a decent amount of Spanish. Matt mentioned that in spite of living all over the place, New York is the only place he can live.

Immediately, I thought how random and interesting the encounter was. I liked how he was approachable and easy to talk with. I mentioned how I was also from the west coast and how I have a conflicted relationship with it as well.

Honestly, as pathetic as it sounds, it was the first conversation I've had with a man in a long time. And, it felt good. I knew he was gay. He didn't sport a ring, but I didn't know if he had someone. Matt was probably around my age or perhaps a few years older. He had a little grey hair (which by the way is hot) and was dressed with fitted blue pants, a grey sweater tee and a stylish black coat that matched his bourbon colored wing top shoes.

I kept wondering what would happen next. After about fifteen minutes of discussing life, traveling and Colin Farrel(don't ask) we stood for a few minutes and talked a little more. Eventually, we shook hands and exchanged our names. His hand was warm and soft and large. I could even smell his cologne.

I didn't want to seem desperate, but I wanted his number. Even if we were to just talk over a drink, I didn't care. However, we parted and swapped goodbyes without taking it further. As I walked away from my taco stand and Matt, I kept badgering myself for not asking for a business card. I'll never know why I don't put myself out there more or take chances. It seems that these little moments of eating your tacos in silence and interfacing with a mysterious, handsome stranger are the times when one could meet their partner?

After all the online dating horror stories and countless rejections, is it worth to get up again and try? I am not sure. Most of the time, my internal message board says that I am too busy for it with work and school and writing and that men are a lot of work and mostly just too high maintenance. But, once and a while, a stranger from out of nowhere who eats tacos with you, shifts your perspective and allows you to believe again. I wish more gay men could be like him in this city. Gay men that are kind and decent to one another.

As I stew in regret, I hope to run into him again. This is New York. Anything can happen here.