an urban lifestyle + travel blog by liz norment.

Tag: stories

Up in the Air | Words Written on Airplanes.



what is it about being on an airplane that makes you want to write? i think it’s the charged and temporary captivity. you’re moving yet nearly immobile, you’re up there, you’re somewhere, you’re a little scared and maybe these will be your last words. maybe they won’t be. maybe they’ll just be words written on airplanes. i’ve compiled some such tales below, snippets from trips, simple plane text. come along with me.


Plane Meals.

I always eat everything on the little airplane meal. every fucking bit of it. I use all of the butter on my bread. I pick up and scarf down every single grape. I scrape around the perimeter of the little cup of salad dressing with my finger and make sure u get it all. I eat the dessert right away, I save nothing. This is mine. and then i package it all back up into the little boxes and secure the little flaps and am painfully content with my compact little meal.

Plane Time.

Why do they create a new time zone on the plane? It was 10am in New York and 4am in Hawaii and in 2 hours they served us dinner. The lights were out and they ordered all the shades such tight. We were to be quiet. We were to sleep. Breakfast was served at 2pm Hawaii time, 7pm New York time. Breakfast. Do they know some sort of jet lag equation I don’t know about? Because this feels like forced adult nap time and I do NOT like that.


Plane Sky.

the sky here is vast, eternal. its liberation hangs heavy, smothering the landscape. breathing life into rolling hills,flat plains, shallow rivers before settling slowly and heavy between buildings, over rooftops, streets, park benches. it colors I. The gray, the sidewalks and stone with tones of orange and red, altering their natural state to be part of this sunset, this experience. An opening and a closing. A slow drift toward the night. It gently touched my skin, kissed my cheek, penetrated my soul as I stepped off a plane 7 months ago. weary and excited, displaced, it embraced me. It grazed my summer-tanned skin. It lay before my uncertain feet. it filled my heart with light and lightness, a tangible warmth, an intentional deterrent from any former plans. and it will stay with me, additional baggage as I handover my boarding pass and step onto a plane. it will fill in the gap as my soul splits again, leaving behind the jagged ephemera of my being, to hold and be held, to be guarded and used. it will occupy this space.

Just plane sleepy.

The guy behind me is yawning audibly in such a melodic way I don’t even want to listen to music. my headphones are in but the sound is off. he sounds like an adorable little bunny desperate to notify anyone with earshot that he cute but he sleepy.


Plane Short Story I haven’t finished.

“I’ll get us fired up,” he said with easy confidence as he rolled away his black suitcase swiftly. Dunkin donuts was supposed to open at 5am, everyday. all they had to do was put the donuts into the case, donuts that had been pre-made in an industrial kitchen in queens, and fill the coffee filters with grinds and turn on the machines. that’s it. those simple activities, by 5am, every morning. Here it was 5:18 and he was waiting in an ever-increasing line with his co-pilot. Not his life partner or partner in crime, his actual co-pilot. The man with whom he’d flown over 700 times, each trusting the other at the helm as himself, knowing the others’ actions and reactions, anxieties and (excitements) before they even occurred. So, he’d get the plane fired up while Jim got the coffees. Fuel for the pilots so they could fly the plane that would take us all out of snowy New York City right to south beach. It see me like a glamorous job, jet setting around the world, seeing the sun rise and set over the horizon in any number of countries each year, appearing and disappearing out of sight through the lens of the windshield as if you were the last person on earth. And that was definitely the draw at first- that freedom, that independence. But now, what kept him in the air, flying from destination to destination, arriving, departing, was the sense of complete control. Of importance, of discipline. The constant routine and processes that were now second nature- they were his refuge, his sanctuary. The buzzing machines and beeping gauges sung like soft, calming hymns as he meticulously prepared for takeoff. Jim would come back with the coffees and maybe some sort of sweet confection that he always hid between them until they were about to taxi down the runway. “Hey-” he’d say, his eyes sparkling mischievously. “There’s a little something else here for ya, maverick.” and playfully punched him in the shoulder. Jim was only 5 years his senior but this was their dynamic- the playful, caring older brother type. And so he played along. It have them a sense of family which was often missing up in the air. Which he felt more than ever now.


Plane Sadness.
I love you.
Te quiero.
in each of our languages, a confession, a promise. in three words or two, a feeling shared, a joining of our hearts that won’t be broken by time or distance. a beauty in the blending of his culture and mine. a steady embrace. an imploring stare. an impenetrable sadness. a goodbye.

at the terminal gate I look in his eyes, my hand cupped softly around the curve of his jaw. Feeling he warmth of his skin, so familiar. and with hot tears swelling in my eyes, I finally squeeze his arm and walk towards security, knowing that with each step, we will grow farther apart. he watched me from the other side. he gave me our secret wave and an assuring smile. I blew him a kiss and my heart ached. It begged me not to go. when I finally looked back and saw that he was gone my heart waited, waited, inhaled and finally receded back back far beneath to the place it was before. waiting finally for him, until he appears again, until I can run to him, can hold him, can grab his hand and kiss his cheek and show him that despite the time and distance, that I’m his. and he’s mine. that from the other side it will still be I love you, te quiero.


Plane Tale from 2009.

9am wednesday. RIC airport. gate 9.
justin is a physical therapist in seattle. and i’ll never forget him.
you know, i don’t think he’ll forget me either. not anytime soon.

his kids are jake, and finley, 5 and 8. his girlfriend, maxi, is in germany. just before we parted ways i gave him a richmond postcard i’d been saving for just such an opportunity, in exchange for a promise to buy an international stamp and send it to her. they met when she tore her ACL. “she had her eye on me for a while… i had no idea.” part of me believed him. he was reading ‘Chicken Soup for the Lover’s Soul’. i was the only one who would verbally make fun of him that day. his simple justification: ‘well, i’m in love.’ they took the most beautiful photo at dawn on charles bridge in Prague. he said i looked czech with my high cheekbones and bright eyes.

it’s funny, now that i think of it. overhearing my response as to why i was going to colorado. ‘i have no idea,’ he laughed and forged a uniquely cliche introduction– ‘what’s your story?’

and here i am, writing his.


Plane Pretzels, 2016.

I challenged myself to eat the entire snack mix packette before he returned with my wine. I can do this, I thought, I can eat this entire fucking thing. come on, I encouraged myself as I uncomfortably stuffed dry pretzel rounds into my adult mouth. COME. ON. I demanded, my mouth dry, eyes panicky as i watched his slow and graceful return. NOOOOO. I fumbled with the remains of the snack packette. I tried to act cool with the thick pouches of wet pretzel tucked between my gums and my cheeks. Nooooo. I handed him my debit card. Defeated. He asked me if I wanted a receipt. Do I loom like I’m traveling for business? I’m so full of pretzel I can hardly enter my pin.  No, I smile. Your wine glass is just below your water cup. He smiled flawlessly. I shift my gaze toward the double stacked plastic vessels sitting deep and cozy against the shallow rim of the tray table indentation. Oh! I exclaim. Lovely, I tell him. And as he turns I empty the snack pack into my mouth victoriously. thinking of how much I don’t even want it. Just the sweet and salty victory. The dry mouth of a champion. “Victoryyyyyy” my crumb filled tight lipped solemn and pronounced war cry.



jay rinsky of little cinema

Profile of a Hustler | Jay Rinsky of Little Cinema

as creatives and residents in this sprawling metropolis, it’s easy to get so engulfed in your own project that you hardly come up for air. but we need to remember that on this island, we are not islands. which is of course is why we live here. we suffer through relentless winters and astronomically high rent prices and, you know, the rat thing… and this is why we do it. in this city we are surrounded by creators, dreamers, thinkers, mover, shakers, hustlers. you can practically breathe in the creative energy as soon as you walk out of your cramped 5-floor walk-up.
jay rinsky is at the pulse of all of the creativity, inspiration, and talent that paints the perfect picture of artistic collaboration in new york. i was reminded of the beauty that comes from this vital practice as i sat in the dining car of an amtrak train, heading east. i had set up a phone interview with jay and he had been almost suspiciously nonchalant about the time. the past 3 days had taken him from alaska to seattle and back to new york. “call me whenever, no need to worry about time,” he said. even this stressed me out. what?? giving him a ring from the train, i fully expected him not to answer. “hey liz! sure i can talk now…”
the next 45 minutes unfolded into the most inspiring and entertaining interview i’ve ever conducted.
jay rinsky is a modern renaissance man for a generation of hustlers. he’s the founder and creator of little cinema, an immersive cinematic experience that combines film, theater, live music, and audience interaction to bring a film off of the screen and make it into a living, breathing thing. familiar stories explode with life and give the audience, and the performers and creators involved a completely new perspective and feeling about what can often be a one-dimensional art form.
jay’s entire life seems to exist within the combustible ether of spontaneity, something that was palpable as soon as he answered the phone. “you were just in alaska?” “yes. i was on a 2-week artist residency on a 100-year old tug boat with a crew of 6 other artists, none of whom had any experience with boats. i made us all life aquatic costumes using materials i kind of patched together from amazon. we were out there for 8 days, and part of the project was a one-shot documentary film shot with a super 8 camera, which means there’s one scene, one shoot, no edits. once it develops, that’s your story. we had no idea what the film would be about and were filming as we were going through glaciers, and ended up running into a giant iceberg. so we parked next to it and chipped ice off of the iceberg and made cocktails from it and that’s what the film ended up being about, finding ice to make the perfect cocktail.”
and this was my introduction to jay rinsky. as i barreled up the east coast on an amtrak train, i was taken on a journey through his creative psyche and could barely hold on.
my conversation with Jay is below. keep reading.
yep. this is the 100-year old tug boat.
Brooklyn, I’m Trying what is your artistic background?
Jay Rinsky i’m mixed bag of many things. I was born in new york, grew up in israel and spent most adulthood in austrailia. I’ve been back in new york for three and a half years as a video dj and artist. i use old dj turntables to mix both sound and picture and apply dj techniques to videos, and little cinema is the culmination of these two creations through movies. through my work i’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a 40-piece orchestra, i’ve performed at the israeli opera with an orchestra where we custom built a huge video screen. on my own video shows, i create a fusion of a dance party and video party, so it all combines film and other content into video art that stands on its own two feet.
BiT how was little cinema born?
JR i was working on a project that was very tedious in the editing room. it got me a bit lonely, and made me want to collaborate with other artists. i noticed that there’s not much going on in terms of live action and screen and interaction bw two, doesn’t make sense. i knew that my skill set could lend itself to a dialogue with other artists and performers to meet and use.
BiT how did you take this from idea into an actual performance?
JR I took a chance and pitched this idea briefly to House of Yes before they opened up. The first show was a collaboration with Anya and Kae, who are the founders and performers at House of Yes. They brought together whole other elements that i wasn’t experienced in before, including theater and circus and costume and put it all together in front of screen. I was in charge of that mixing in and looping video live, and thus somehow Little Cinema was born in that way, by accident.
BiT what was it like to see that first show come to life?
JR The first show was a tribute to david bowie, and we performed it the day after he died. we put it all together in 24 hours.
BiT it seems that the shows gain energy from this spontaneous creativity.
JR they do! we approach the whole thing with the goal of keeping artistic integrity present and personally having fun. the ground rules include fearless creativity, try something new every show, incorporate anyone who wants to be involved in this project, and to create and perform shows relentlessly. our first year we produced a new show almost every week, sometimes multiple, 33 unique show in about 18 months. this project has grown and developed to 1-2 performances that combine live action and interaction that is happening every 5 minutes and taking place in all forms; multi-sensory experience of sight, smell and sound; performers, projector screens, anything we can do or get or hands on.
BiT what challenges have you faced along the way?
JR (laughing) every single show is a challenge because we have no idea how it’s going to work. i always feel like i’m in over my head because inevitably, art of this kind with this set of rules creates problems. we’re trying something new every show which becomes difficult. as we progress, we still need to invent new things and that becomes challenging. what would be something we haven’t done before? we incorporated a live bingo game into our last show, which the audience didn’t expect. another huge challenge is logistics as the shows end up having 40 or more people involved in them, and it’s all produced and put together between friday and the tuesday of the show, and communicating to so many people as a little operation is hard. i’m at the heart of everything, constantly trying to fuse everything and everybody together. it’s a challenge but also that creative energy is what makes it feel like magic.
BiT so all of this basically unfolds live on the night of the show?
JR yep. during the performance, our communication becomes a different challenge because it relies a lot on improv. the artists are encouraged to bring their own creative touch to things. we never know exactly what will happen. even just a lighting standpoint, it’s important to somehow have everything punch at the right time. we never have a rehearsal so it all unfolds live on stage, and we just have to have a lot of trust that it will go well. there’s a lot of stress because the whole thing gets tightly compressed until the day of the show. for at least half of the shows, we are often writing the ending as the performance is starting. we have no idea what’s going to happen.
BiT was there ever a moment that you realized holy shit this is actually happening?
JR this whole project is collaborative and it’s an exercise in a creative democracy. i collaborate with other co-directors on the conceptual bigger level and make sure i bring in talent who are encouraged to self-direct their acts. in the beginning, i had no theater background at all so i was still observing and learning about circus, theater, lighting, stage management. i am so engrossed in the show during the performance that i don’t get to experience it until 1-2 days after when i get to look at the footage. i get to look at the other artists’ works and that i don’t get to see the night of the show and i always think, “wow, you completely nailed that there. i didn’t even know that happens!” all these things wasn’t aware of, it’s so fascinating to see how well it works on the screen. those moments is when i realize how amazing it is, what we’ve created. every time when i come back home and see this amazing aerial piece happening in front of screen and i think, this is the best cinema ever! (laughing)  where else is this happening?
BiT how do you choose performances?
JR the films i choose are usually a combination of things. for the big lebowski, it felt seasonally appropriate and we knew it would be fun and a little crazy. i always get inspiration and suggestions from whom i’m creatively collaborating with, and i always wants some variety to keep things fresh. we’ll do a fun one, then dark one, then a documentary, then a comedy. we try to keep the curation very eclectic and diverse. and i always want to have a personal connection to the film so that passion is reflected in the performance.
BiT any surprises for the upcoming showing of The Dude Immersive that you want to share with Brooklyn, I’m Trying readers?
JR well you know, I don’t want to give anything away. guests will have action happening in all parts of the room, on stage and beyond stage, above their heads. they will be sprayed and hit by certain things, but in a pleasant way. you’ll see various metaphors come to life, like a drag queen representing a room that gets tied together. there will be a drinking game folded in, and lots of metaphors with objects brought in as people, pysch dreams interpreted by aerial performances, a lot of trapping and changing. about every 5 minutes the audience will get hit with something different, so just as they sink into thinking, “hey, i’m watching a movie,” something else entirely will happen.
BiT i seriously cannot wait to see what happens. can you tell me what’s next for Little Cinema?
JR I don’t have an idea yet for the next project, but for now I’m looking to plan out and curate a season and to establish a Little Cinema membership. I’d like to see the project grow up a bit in that sense. this whole project is very personal, as it is created and runs on people wanting to create and giving them a platform to do so. my goal is to keep it that way, both from the collaborator’s and from audience’s points of view. looking at our history, there’s several hundred people that have seen 5 or more shows, and we want to keep them coming back. in a way it doesn’t make much sense that we put so much work into one-off performances, but that’s what makes sense to us. we keep trying to keep magic alive and crazy and wild and ever-changing for as long as we can.


BiT …anything else you want to add about The Dude Immersive?
JR yeah. you can enter into a raffle for your chance to watch the show from a bathtub.


as much as i wanted to press him on this… will this person in the nude? what is the bathtub filled with? and where is said tub, on stage? however, i could tell by the reluctant divulgence of this statement that jay was actually doing me a favor by keeping this magic and mystery hidden until i see the show tuesday night. we hung up the phone around the time that the skyline came into view and that pure unadulterated love for this city and its inhabitants filled my soul once again.
  little cinema

“we often are writing the ending as the performance is starting. we have no idea what’s going to happen.”

by assembling so many talented individuals and giving them a platform to perform and create, the story and performance of little cinema unfolds in a masterful explosion of sound, lights, movement, words, music and pure kinetic energy that is felt by the audience and stays with them way after the curtain is drawn.
in this way, little cinema feels much like a metaphor for the life that jay has created. work hard and dream harder and contribute every fiber of your being to a project, and where there are gaps, surround yourself with people who are the best and believe the most in their craft. let life unfold in a harmonious cacophony, a tenacious performance to which the ending has not yet been written. and if i can tell you one thing, there will be plenty of twists in the plot of the life and work of jay rinsky, and the next scene is far from being written.
immerse yourself in the genius of his creation at little cinema. performances tonight and tomorrow are sold out, but follow Brooklyn, I’m Trying on Instagram to immerse yourself from afar, and check back with your social coordinator (i. e. yours truly) for their next performance, more info and ticket sales and all that jazz are here on their website and absorb all of the magic you can by following little cinema on instagram.
little cinema

My Experience at the Russian + Turkish Baths in New York.

i first heard about the russian bath houses during my first year in new york. i was on a train coming back to the city from virginia. the entire northeast was in the middle of a relentless snow storm, and thus my usual 6 hour trip was on hour 10 and counting. we’d been stuck in philly for over an hour and i met a guy at the bar in the train station who was also heading to new york, and also intentionally getting drunk to pass the time. we boarded together and made plans to meet in the dining car. i had a bota full of wine, he had a bottle of dewar’s – our christmas spoils. as we sat and drank, he was a plethora of knowledge about the city. he drew me a map of manhattan and all the things i needed to know; which parks were prettiest in autumn and which ones you could consistently score drugs in, neighborhoods with the most authentic cuisine from a range of cultures and why you should use the staten island ferry (just as a free boat ride and then to turn right back around and come back, he advised). i still have this map, and the spot on it where he showed me his favorite russian bath house was. he looked at me very seriously as he described the nearly religious process of going room to room, the russian men that would beat you if you asked for it and sometimes even if you didn’t, the absolute euphoric feeling in your body after you left. he marked it on the map, and told me i have to go. then he pulled a lighter from his pocket and started burning the edges of the map and we were both laughing wildly, drunk and restless from the ride. they kicked us out of the dining car. we ran into the area between the cars to hide, laughing loudly and then he pressed his body against mine and we made out aggressively and madly all the way through new jersey.
seven years and, well, quite a few makeout sessions with strangers on trains later, i finally made it to the russian & turkish bath house. thankfully i went with someone who knew the routine, and now i will pass that knowledge off to you. the whole experience was insane and hilarious and hard and uncomfortable and then completely, corporally euphoric.
first, bring a bathing suit. honestly, i’d say a one-piece is best, but a two-piece works too. they have little cotton shorts that you can (and should) keep over your suit, and if you happen to spend the night away from home, then your uniform can simply be a borrowed sleeveless tee and just the shorts. which i kind of thought was hip. regardless of what getup you choose, go in the locker room, change, and loop the key around your wrist or ankle as if your life depended on it. trust me, you don’t want to know what they do if people lose them.
choose a pair of rubber slippers, a towel, and then go downstairs and enter into a tiled basement of different rooms and the knowledge that your dignity is far, far behind you. i arrived with my hair tossed up in a top bun, smiley and bright-eyed and mistakenly wearing mascara. within minutes i became a desperate, drowned rat.
the whole scene transports you back into history, imagining this activity in countries all over the world, a social scene. built in 1892, this is clearly the oldest activity in New York, other than drinking and lying. it all kind of felt like being at the gym, just without the working out. everyone is suffering, out of breath, wanting the activity they are doing to stop but also trying to push through it. some people talk, which usually consists of “god it’s just so hot in here.” some people just moan every so often. most just exchange eye contact that says, “are you ok? because i don’t know if i’m ok. and if i pass out, will you drag my body out of here? because i’ll drag yours.”
there are 7 rooms, i think. honestly i lost track and along with my sense of direction because when you enter one room, you take a deep breath knowing it will be the last time you can actually fill you lungs for the duration of your stay, and when you exit, all you can think about is submerging your body in the ice pool. which, as soon as you do, all you can think of is getting out of the ice pool. the room that i suppose i decided was my favorite, which i don’t know if that means it was the most tolerable or most challenging, was a stone cave that looked like part of a putt-putt course. it has tiers of wooden benches that you can’t sit on straight away because you’ll burn your buns off. literally. i saw it happen. you sit on your wet towel and every 30 seconds you force your body to walk over to a well of cold water and dump an entire bucket over your head. i was hesitant to do this at first because it looks ridiculous, just shaming yourself with a bucket of water in front of a group of strangers. it felt as dumb as the ice bucket challenge but the only charity it’s supporting is you and your own momentary survival. my hesitance quickly evaporated along with every ounce of moisture on my skin, lips, and hair. that bucket saved my life, again and again and again and again.
the steamy rooms felt like you were in confession with a large group of strangers. you felt, saw, and heard all of their sins exiting their bodies. then all of our sins hung there in a heavy cloud together as we all sat paying our public penance. everyone sits leaning over, their shoulders heavy, their breath short. just sitting and trying to continue sitting, somehow.
every so often a large man with a gold chain wanders through the rooms saying “who wants a platza!!” to which, without inquiring, i would recommend going with, “no sir, i would not like a platza today.” i saw one man being platza’d, which took place in the hot stone room, in front of everyone. he was instructed to lay down, turn over, sit up, stand up, all while being beaten with a wet rag and having water and some other liquid poured over him. it was like a public shaming, and i felt the desire to help him but of course, all i could do was muster the energy to drag my body over to the well and baptize myself every 30 seconds. he chose the platza. now he must suffer.
at some point, you carry your tired body up the steep stairs to the roof for some sun. this, again, is not a glamorous experience; you lay your body upon some old rubber mats and close your eyes and feel your heart nearly beating out of your chest from the intense environments you’ve been experiencing. men are walking around with some sort of thick white mud face masks caked on their faces, looking like mimes. mimes are walking around without any face masks, looking like men. you realize you may never leave the rubber mat. you are trapped in a glass case of corporal instability. you and the mimes.
you descend back into the basement and wander again from room to room. into the pool and immediately back out. breathing in steam and heat and sins and nothing at all. you sit in the social room between the other wet humans. everyone seems to be marginally surviving and you think, maybe, you will too.
i remember being concerned that my boobs were showing through my wet clingy man tank top or that my baggie shorts were exposing everything beneath and then immediately thinking that i should concentrate on breathing. inhale, exhale. nothing is private here, we are all exposed.
and that’s when anthony weiner walked by in a tiny speedo and started doing slow, languid ballet moves with his tiny tight leg upon the bar in front of me.
when you finally leave, putting back on your clothes and saying goodbye to the sassy little shorts and shoes, you emerge out onto 10th street and new york is still happening all around you. i kept wanting to ask people as they passed on the sidewalk – do you have any idea what is going on in there? my body felt completely cleansed and euphoric. my skin felt new. i felt grounded and displaced in the city i knew so well.
the russian & turkish baths are not only the best hangover cure i have ever experienced, they are a glimpse into an ancient history and a strange social experience you can’t find anywhere else, unless i suppose you actually do slip into the confession booth in your skivs with a bunch of strangers and steam.
also, it’s the best way to see Anthony Weiner’s wiener without giving him your phone number. because he is always, always there.
the russian and turkish baths are located at 268 east 10th st.
check the site for the schedule, because there are men-only and women-only hours in addition to the co-ed and anthony weiner hours.

Invincible Summer | Brooklyn I’m Trying

In the depth of winter I finally realized that within me lay an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus
This quote I came across today on a board inside the powerhouse arena bookstore/multi-use space/my preferred location to buy cards… and it struck me. First, that the sign was inside. It was even too cold for a sandwichboard sign to be outdoors. Something used to draw people in was just there among the books, knowing that people would be entering just as a form of warm refuge if nothing else, and yet it was still there, humbly offering warm inspiration. The thermometer today read -1 when I woke up. -1. And somehow, in this absolute inhuman climate, do we seek and find summer and hold on to it. How do we react in a way that instead of being debilatatated, isolated, stagnant, that we keep moving. The air may be -1 but feels like absolute zero. Where all movement ceases.
Last night I found myself standing outside with a friend, smoking a cigarette in the frigid air, hardly able to hold my cigarette let alone inhale, here both of us having given up cigarettes for lent and yet still standing outside in the windy tundra, smoking. And as I shivered and wondered what I was doing, and asked aloud what I was doing, and then, “where is everybody?? They’re inside, why aren’t we inside.” He responded, indirectly to my inquiry with “I love this, silence. It’s completely desolate in this busy street…” And with that, I inhaled- summer. found.
I awoke this morning, late, for my jury duty, clambering to get dressed, receiving a missed call and voicemail from a mysterious NY number that of course I dismissed. I don’t answer calls from strange numbers. Not because of inconvenience but because I have too many things I’m running from. Collections agencies, ex-boyfriends, bar tabs, monsters. I ran out the door, waited for the G that had become the F that became everyone wondering what the fuck was going on but automatically boarding the train anyway in silent, paranoid solidarity. I walked swiftly to the Supreme Court house, late. i got in the security line, late. Removed my gloves coat scarf late late late and dropped them all on the conveyor belt and looked to the uniformed guard, waiting for my cue. LATE.
“Hey, aren’t you in my jury?” The white-toothed cop smiled at me.
“I am! I’m so sorry. I’m so late,” I cringed.
He smiled wider. “Judge called in sick. my dear, you’re free to go.” What??? “What?” “You don’t have to be here.”
I was confused. “I’m gonna go through, let’s talk on the other side.”
I grabbed my cost gloves scarf. …err, late? “So wait, does this mean I have to go to work?”
“No ma’am. Since you showed up you count as venue here for the day. I’ll make sure it’s taken care of.”
I put down my items. “High five me right now.” I said, with my hand already raised.
He walked me over to the desk and took down my jury number and I couldn’t believe what was happening. “What are you going to do now? Don’t tell me you’re going back to bed.”
“Hell no! This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened.” I skipped out the door with my lunch packed in my bag, already showered, full mug of coffee in my hand and looking at the onset of an absolute gift-‘a free day, all mine. And I entered the freezing cold air and inhaled and smiled- SUMMER.
a story to warm your chilly little winter hearts, based on the realization that summer, after all, is never gone. It isn’t waiting. It isn’t dependent on the phases of the moon or the tilt of the earth’s axis or those first glimpses of human skin in public or the neighborhood restaurant finally opening its windows, setting tables out on the sidewalk. Summer is laying dormant, but not for 9 months. It’s waiting for a spark. It’s looking for an awakening. It isn’t a season but a significance, a calling. An opportunity, a surprise. An inhale. A grasp, an outstretched hand, a warm embrace.


Find yours. Thaw it out. Breathe it in. And don’t wait.

a straphanger’s tale.

the relentless anxiety that pours in, wondering if this train will be mine as it is approaching the station. I size up everyone- boy appearing not to give a shit about anyone else, with skateboard. where will he put that skateboard? we won’t have space for it. man looking nervously important, with briefcase. he is worried about getting to work on time, I can tell. and he probably showered this morning. I’ll stick near him. woman holding child’s hand, using it as some sort of free pass to the front, pushing and prodding expectantly. I feel sympathetic while also wondering if there is some sort of child rental service for situations like this. I feel guilty for thinking that but also highly entertained. shit’s funny man. besides, on the subway platform we are all the same. we all deserve a spot and don’t deserve a spot. there are no rules here, no lines. I feel the thought creep into my head- I’ve been here the longest, they must know. I dismiss it just as quickly. no one cares. i don’t care.
an automated announcement dictates what the countdown clock tells us- 9 minutes until the next train. NINE MINUTES. it’s an eternity. I must get on the next train, the one that’s coming barreling down the tunnel and I don’t dare scoot back, risking my coveted spot on the edge. I realize if I had been blessed with my mother’s breasts I would likely be nicked. I’m momentarily grateful as the whoosh of wind hits me and i lean slightly into the other penguins standing upon the ledge, i don’t care, i won’t budge. I’m betting that the doors open exactly in front of me. I know if it’s just a few inches off I’ll be pushed back too far.
a muffled announcement tries to calm the mounting anxiety. “there is another train directly behind this train! do not try to get into this train! there will be another train approaching the station immediately behind it.” no there won’t be man, stop lying to us. we all saw the clock. we believe the clock. it’s nine minutes away and we will all be fired in that nine minutes and I am getting on THIS train.
the doors open and we all hold our breath and squeeze in. we grumble. we cling tighter to our items. it closes and we exhale, knees and stomachs and shoulders filling the gaps as we expand together. we choose silly things to hold on to for dear life. I am pinching an inch-wide sliver of plastic on the ceiling and have my chin nearly resting on my neighbor to steady myself.  everyone smells of coffee and their own apartments, it’s familiar and invasive and someone is smelling you. you wonder how you smell to other people.
i make eye contact with someone 15 bodies and three feet away. we both exchange the exact same look that says,”this is fucking ridiculous and no one should have to stand this and there must be a better option and this is the most efficient public transit according to whom and I think that guy’s back hair just went in my nose and I don’t even want to go to work! and we live in the greatest fucking city in the entire fucking world.”
and then the train lurches to a stop and everyone collectively groans and the doors open and we spill out like bats from a cave and we all move intentionally and rapidly forward and up, ascending, together.


brooklyn, i’m trying…to plan a trip.


i have $1000 from selling my most prized possession (a 1998 Jeep Cheerokee), a passport, and a map. I have the knowledge of the places I must go- Madrid, the keeper of a significant piece of my soul; Istanbul, a city whose mysterious appeal has taunted me for the past three years, and Cappadocia, a place that with one photograph captivated me enough to relentlessly haunt me in my dreams, sleeping and waking. and with those resources I hope to create enough displacement, enough momentum, enough moments of pure awe to last me until the next. to follow along with me, sign up to get Brooklyn, I’m Trying updates delivered conveniently to your inbox or look to my instagram feed for views of the world through my lens. and if you have any advice for the 6 days to fill in between the places I am using as anchors, please leave your suggestions below. or, you know… come along. in any capacity. come.