lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let it go...

A few days ago, I received invaluable advice from my writing professor.

"Find a way to love them, even if you hate them. Therefore, we will love you."

What he was referring to were the people in my personal memoirs. Yes, I am writing this crazy book about my turbulent childhood in Nevada and how I escaped it.

Over the past couple of years, I've experimented with writing. Initially, I lacked distance from the material and felt I wasn't ready. Now, four years later, things have progressed.

Going back to school has not only saved me, but challenged my assumptions that I can't write.

Thus far, I've submitted three installments in this particular class. Mostly, about seventy pages and still counting. What helps about this process is the immeasurable feedback one receives from fellow classmates with their numerous line edits, questions and comments. The funny thing about this workshop is that it is actually an advanced fiction writing course where the other students submit fictional pieces. After I was allowed permission, I had no other choice but to tackle this opportunity and spill my guts.

The first couple of months were brutal. I was afraid on how to tell my story without sounding like I was vying for pity. Trying to find your voice with any book can be an obstacle. I knew for a long time I wanted to access this project, but wasn't sure the form it would follow. After a few attempts, I think I am getting it.

This week was great in that I got to workshop another twenty-five pages. Everyone's reaction to my work has been collective with one central component: love your characters, even if they've betrayed you. And lastly, to slow down with my journey, to take the reader by the hand and show them how it all happened through this tangible prose.

This is not an easy thing to do.

He is perhaps one the very few teachers of my academic career who has said something at that exact moment where everything hits you like a ton of bricks. Not only is this professor a good teacher, he is a revered, published writer, based here in New York, with five novels to boot. In a sense, this man knows the writer's field inside and out.

Honestly, I still harbor anger towards my family and the painful residue left after their abandonment and rejection. But, I am finding something from within which allows me to move ahead, knowing that I am a stronger person, capable of sharing my art.

As he spoke, a sense of relief swept by as I sat back in the tiny chair, almost hunched down with my stomach in knots, accompanied by my clammy hands. His powerful words immediately infiltrated the defense mechanism that I sometimes show to others.

I don't want anger to burden my heart. I don't want to be one these writers that is scorned. Over time, I've learned that anger can be a good thing (temporarily speaking) if you know when to let go of it.

Writing my memoirs is a chance to heal.

I do think that some of us come from these highly dysfunctional, unattached and unloving familial units where we are left wondering where to pick up the pieces. I am not promising anything to anyone, much less myself, but I am taking his suggestion and running with it. I am not certain how my writing will become impacted, but I can't wait to discover the possibilities.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good friends rock!

Aside, from my highly, if not pesky, introspective self, I am expressing my gratitude and fondness for the people that matter most: my good friends. They are the family I didn't get. They are the people that rest inside of me when I am doubtful and dark. They are the creatures I take with on my journeys when they can't be there. Perhaps much of my posts involve the things that grate on my nerves or the creative blocks I am building to create for the future I envision. What I sometimes forget to mention are the riches I am grateful for.

Let's face it. Finding good friends anywhere is challenging; especially the older one becomes. New York City, for example, makes this a daunting and exhausting process. But, I've discovered something recently. If you stay along enough in this city, good friends incorporate themselves into your hectic schedule and life. They enter your circle, because it is kismet. The most beautiful component to this cycle is that a majority of them remain. Even, if they are far away.

For those friends that know me personally and who are reading this, I feel a connection to you and realize that your words and actions have a profound impact on my choices and views. When I was younger, it was more about the quantity rather than the quality. Now, it is different. I would much rather have a few close friends than pockets of fair-weather friends who don't mean a pile of beans.

I am not one to be constantly surrounded by others or have the desire to be assured or held when I am down in the dumps. That just isn't me. I do know that I can call most of them at any given moment and they will be there, just as I try to be there for them. Just speaking or even texting them, comforts me. I am not alone in the world and that at the end of the day, someone is listening. I'll try and spare you additional cliches. My point is plain and simple: the power of good, strong friends make the difference.

I know all of us are out there in this scary world, pursuing our goals and cultivating the life we aspire. Continue to do that. But, don't forget the people that carry our weight and that love you without conditions. Today, I got up and realized that in spite of my woes and concerns, I am loved. Is there anything better than that?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flattery is well... just flattery

I was asked out the other night by an older man. He isn't the dapper type with distinguishable features. Forget about John Slattery in Mad Men. With all due respect, this guy was well into his sixties. Perhaps he was even 70?

I was flattered when he handed me his number on a scrunched, yellow post it as he deliberately placed it in my hands. Incidentally, this was done in front of his seven other friends.

He continued oohing at me with pensive stares. When he further inquired about my background and what I was doing in New York, his angle was obvious: get the younger guy. Me.

It has been awhile since I've garnered one's attention. I have to admit, it was flattering, for a minute at best. The act of what he did felt good in that another man would have the gumption to suggest a date. I loved his act of chivalry. It was endearing. But, at the end of the day, he's old enough to be my father. And I don't want to date someone like him.

What I realized as the night progressed is whether you're a man or a woman, regardless of your age, asking someone else on a date in today's brutal and uncertain world takes balls. In our society where appearance is everything, no wonder many are scared of rejection and become lonely as a result.

After I read his little message on the note, I threw it in the trash when he wasn't looking. How could I possibly explain this situation to to my nephews who visit from out west? That this guy is older than their grandfather? After all, I have standards to maintain as an active, handsome,thirty-six year old gay man in Manhattan.

Yes, with luck, hopefully, I'll be there too someday, older and wiser, lounging in a track suit with balding hair and large and protruding hairy eye brows, asking out younger men. But for now, I would rather take a guy that wasn't born before World War 2. Sorry. That's just me.