Thursday, June 16, 2016

I logged into an old email account yesterday by accident and stumbled upon an email my boyfriend wrote to me while I was in Honduras. “I hope all is well,” it started off. “Pretty crazy week here in America. Have you been getting the same barrage of news down there? I could imagine it seems like the U.S. is falling apart from down there. But all is well for the most part.”

I didn’t know what he was referring to so I looked it up. 04/21/13. Google told me that this was around the time of the Boston Marathon bombing. The irony that he was calming me down, telling me that everything was fine in America was illuminating.

The past week has been a rough one for us all. A few Mondays ago, I was able to see a friend who flew in from California briefly. My friends and I got together to pick up brie and salad makings and wine after work. We proceeded to sit in my backyard underneath a blue sky, picking at the food, talking about the Stanford case, gentrification, and the spike in shootings that have come with summer. It felt necessary to vent, to move inside when the sun had set and continue talking it over.

Then Sunday morning came. I quickly learned that it was Latin night at Pulse; the club was divided into separate rooms playing salsa, merengue, bachata, and reggaeton. The news of the shooting hurt for many reasons. Oddly enough it hurt me as a dancer. It hurt as it does when you expand your community and learn to know other places of refuge.

I have been reading a lot about individual action lately and whether or not it can attempt to address the societal woes that plague us, namely segregated communities and the violence it maintains. I could paraphrase the articles that have stayed with me but that wouldn't be doing the work justice so instead, I’ll just highly recommend Nikole Hannah-Jones' piece about segregation in New York City and Josh Michtom’s advice regarding gentrification and the futility of individual action in general. 

These articles remind me that there are answers out there. Not easy ones, but I'm okay with that.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wrote two different posts and deleted them both. 

I'm still working on how to write meaningfully, quickly. 

Until then, a photo of fuchsia roses and a tangled garden hose; 
some meager beauty for this strange day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In case any other readers are Chicagoans, I thought I would type up a late night, thunderstorm-induced, summer to do list. I won’t get to all of these things but in case you have also spent many summers in Chicago and are looking for something new to do, here are some thoughts:

TO DO: Bike the North Branch Trail, which offers relief from the crowded Lake Michigan trail and ends
at the Chicago Botanic Gardens
Bike the prairie path and end with a beer at Two Brothers Brewery in Warrenville
Drink wine at art gallery openings every second Friday of the month in Pilsen
See the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform live while watching Titanic at Ravinia (!!)
And of course, picnic at the Pritzker Pavilion either for the summer concert series or movies 
in the parkEven better, dance salsa in the park for the summer dance series or rock climb at

GETAWAY: Lake Michigan camping (Sleeping Bear Dunes or Nordhouse Dunes)
Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois 
Red River Gorge near Lexington, Kentucky

EAT/DRINK: For patio dining, there’s Lula Café, Longman and Eagle, Parson’s Chicken and Fish, Big Star, and Happy Village. I’d also like to make my way to the Green Mill. Maybe this will be the year! Though most likey, I’ll be spending my nights in my backyard with a clara con limòn, which sounds perfect too.

Anything else that I’m missing?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It’s Spring, the season in Chicago where everyone is pining for summer heat but then ends up disgruntled because all we get is rain and a few sixty degree days here and there. I’m not one to complain too much, and so I’m just happy that everything has turned green and I’m able to walk to the neighborhood drugstore at night underneath an archway of newly budding trees.

I’m usually hesitant to use this space to ramble when I have little to say or to share photos of my weekends when the majority of my life is spent at a desk underneath fluorescent lights. But I like the passive voyaging that comes with blogs so in the off chance that you’re interested, I’ll provide an update...

I'm currently: 

reading Bel Canto, surprised to finding myself enjoying being held hostage in South America with an opera singer;

listening to Chance the Rapper's newest mixtape and brimming with pride to see his face all over the city;

checking my bank account to see if I can afford to take up rock climbing (it seems that going once a month as I've been doing isn't very conducive to progress-making);

lusting over Jeanne Damas' style and wondering if I can find similar items at Goodwill;

applying to grants and researching MFAs, which is probably a futile endeavor but one that I figure I’ll do anyway;

and reminiscing about last weekend's trip to Shawnee National Forest. I didn't bring a camera but the drives through overgrown, rural roads and the days spent climbing up sandstone bluffs reminded me of what summer could be.

Hope your days have been (somewhat) sunny and full of promise as well!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A few weeks ago, I took a solo trip out West. 

I travel alone quite a bit and don't mind the solitude that comes with getting from point A to point B. Planes, however, aren't my favorite mode of transportation so going from my friend's house in Portland to another friend's house in California, I bought, for the first time, a Greyhound bus ticket.

There's too much fluorescent lighting in airports. Too much CNN, too many people pining for an outlet to charge their smartphones. Though to be fair, a Greyhound is not any more romantic of an option. On my fifteen hour bus ride, there were a lot of neck tattoos, men who bent over to get their luggage without sufficient beltage, a woman across from me in grey sweatpants and a matching grey sweatshirt with all of her belongings in a cardboard box. I had an idea of where she came from and when she got off at Mt. Shasta, I wished her luck with where she was going.

Despite the unpleasantness that is America's bus system, I'm reasonably content given a book and a good view. Riding through small Northwestern towns, past creeks and through foothills, I had time to read old editions of Ploughshares and take notes for a short story I've been working on for years, though only seriously for the past three months. I tore out stories in the literary journal that had a rhythm I wish my writing had. I looked out the window a lot and wondered  though there's no use  when my writing would resemble the writing that I kept saving. Writing that accumulates in binders back at home. 

After a week of seeing friends that live across the country in much nicer climates and hiking through what felt to me like summer heat (also rain and hail at one point), I arrived back to Chicago at 5 am on a Sunday morning. Once the post-vacation malaise wore off, I began working on my short story again, finishing the piece and then editing, tweaking, copy-editing, worrying about the underdevelopment of characters, the tone, the mediocrity of it all. But finally, I decided that it's finished. I read it over the other day and thought to myself very briefly, not bad. 

Though what I like most about it is that it's done.