Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Art of Gift Giving

There is nothing more satisfying than finding that perfect something for another person. I love giving gifts, and I'll gladly celebrate birthdays, wedding days, and even a random Tuesday in order to present someone with the perfect present. Maybe I want to be the Martha Stewart of gifts, choosing and wrapping each one ever so carefully, hoping that the recipient knows just how much love is behind each crease of the brown paper packaging (tied up with string).

I have had gifts backfire on me. There was that one time in high school when I made my best friend a scrapbook of our adventures together, and her lackluster enthusiasm broke my heart. There was also that time earlier this summer when a birthday present for a certain someone resulted in him avoiding me for weeks. Whatever the outcome, though, I still try to find something meaningful for the people who mean the most to me.

So, with limited funds and a stunted imagination, I went out today to find a birthday present for my friend Tyler. It was a challenge that I feared, mostly because my previous gifts for him have just seemed to appear in front of me. Then, it happened again: the perfect gift presented itself to me, and I had no choice but to hurry and buy the awesome handcrafted magnifying glass to show Tyler how much he means to me on his 22nd birthday.

I know it sounds tacky, and maybe I'm making more of this than there really is, but I just can't help the fact that I love surprising people with something that says, "I'm glad to know you." So, if you've gotten a gift from me (even if it was way lame), know that it's because I care about you. And, if you haven't ever gotten a gift from me, sorry. I'll try better next time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New York State of Mind

My affinity for the Big Apple began in 2000, when I had a layover in the Newark airport. I remember looking out the windows facing the Hudson and seeing the Statue of Liberty and these two massive buildings taking up the skyline. I even took a picture, but my 30mm makes the twin towers look like toothpicks, rather than the behemoths that they were. I never got any closer to them than that, but I felt a connection with the City, and I knew I'd be back to visit before long.

Well, that trip didn't come until 2008, but in those eight years between, something changed inside of me. My love for New York grew exponentially after September 11, and I quickly became the high schooler with an absurd amount of NYC paraphernalia. I spent countless hours looking at pictures, reading stories, and learning all I could about the city, and I feel like I know it better than I know my hometown. In the (very) short amount of time that I've spent in Manhattan, I feel like I've come to a place that makes me whole. That city is my city.

No amount of words can do justice to New York City. It is dirty and crowded, beautiful and energizing. The people are unlike any other, and I found a renewed hope in mankind as I wandered the streets, talked to the NYPD, and sipped chai from Balthazar's. I could spin my short time there into a novel, but suffice it to say, I love New York.

So, as I've shed tears today for that tragic day ten years ago, I am forever grateful for my New York State of Mind. I reverence those whose lives ended that day, but I know that the City - in all of its imperfect history - has made me who I am today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Write

A good friend texted me today to let me know that he'd been reading my blog. As shocked as I was to realize that people actually read this stuff, I'm even more shocked that I haven't written in over a month. Sorry to you three readers; I'll try to be better.

I'm currently auditing a graduate fiction writing class at the university. (Auditing: a fancy way of saying that I have to do all the work without a grade... but I don't have to pay for it!) Well, as my first creative writing class, I'm starting to see just where I lack in terms of my writing abilities. I don't have a knack for stories (other than my own), and I'm not cut out to think of an original or eye-catching plot that will leave my readers debating their own existential dilemmas. In fact, the one line I've written so far describes crickets chirping, and I'm pretty sure that's the response I'll get from people trying to workshop my stuff. Whoops.

Nevertheless, I'm bound and determined to try my hand at fiction writing. Maybe it's because I promised myself that I'd have a novel to one-up Stephanie Meyer. Maybe it's because I'm a glutton for those red marks all over my papers. Really, though, I think it's because I know somewhere inside myself, there's a story that's itching to be told.

I've just got to find it.