"Courage breeds creativity."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
My little blades, what a perfect day to write you of my BAD's of last year -- "BAD's," which were actually perfect.
Not that I thought this at the time. I actually was what I like to call "Les Mis" -- pronounced like the musical, for dramatic, flamboyantly humorous effect. Zoiks! That was a mouth-full.
But seriously, blades, I went through "the winter of discontent," though it was a warm, mushy summer in Los Angeles.
And I felt like -- nothing was happening. Why? I wondered and cried, why? I had no updates, no date dates, no money, nothing remotely sexy of which to write. I was just a girl in a city-less city with nothing to share.
And I longed for the me who had updates. Who was, as I was sharing with my dear friend Jade, when I was in NYC last October, "golden."
When I was the girl who was popular in high school, dated Kyle Andre during ice hockey season because he played ice hockey. Okay -- it wasn't that bad, I wasn't that bad, Kyle was cute and I had a crush on his wavy, almost black hair, and I could only imagine where he grew up -- the mysteries of attending prep schools with boarding students -- you always have the mystery lingering around in our head... Where is he from? What are her parents like? I'd love to see their houses!
But, yes... I felt golden.
Then, I went on to Barnard where I graduated early -- and before that, I established the Barnard Literary Society, won awards I never knew existed before I won them, wrote for The Barnard Bulletin, The Columbia Spectator, created a literary magazine, wrote a poem a night, worked out prodigiously, ate ritualistically & healthily because of my dance class and swimming and running -- and no, I wasn't neurotic. I was ALIVE. I was living my dreams.
I remember my friend Bebe saying to me, "We should have our own literary society here at school. Why don't we have one?" And we were way up in the top floor lounge of the newish dorm called Sulzberger Hall -- yes, named after the Sulzbergers who owned The New York Times, and then -- guess what?
I founded it. The Literary Society. I went around posting signs all over Barnard. I asked people questions. I talked to professors. I created something. No, I created something. I made something real, tangible, just because I thought it. My thought -- my friend's thought mixed with mine, as is so often the case, mixed with mine -- and then, I created it.
And I loved it. I tended to it like a garden. And I remember one of my all time favorite professors coming to my Barnard Literary Society's Coming Out Party -- that sounds like what it's not -- but you all get the point -- this was my way of sharing my society with everyone!
And so... Professor Edward Taylor came to the party. And I remembered how he looked out at everyone sipping their drinks and munching on the hors d'oeuvres and leaning in to say to me, "After so often a student does something like this. And I think it is amazing." And I beamed.
I was in love.
He attended Yale and I'd hop the Metro North almost every weekend of my sophomore and junior years to be with him.
I started writing my memoir -- which at the time, I called "my novel," I actually saved it on my desktop as "my novel." Zoiks!
I was listening to Seal and not just retelling stories about my mom and her past -- I was flying -- because I was c-r-e-a-t-i-n-g her story. I wasn't retelling, I was imagining. And it felt like slivers of heaven whenever I saw the ice cubes in the iced tea of my beautiful Aunt Lila at her lovely ranch home in Mississippi. Her sliding glass doors leading out to her flat, green backyard...
Because at least in my mind, it was these things. And in my mind, she'd tell me stories as she sucked on the ice cubes from her iced tea -- sweet tea -- and I'd just listen, happily listen... Nothing better than a tall glass of sweating sweet tea, and the sugary southern voice of our beautiful aunt as she drips nostalgic about her childhood with my mom.
At least in my story, in mind, this was how it went.
And I actually won a Ford Foundation Grant to go down there -- I ended up traveling to DC to interview various women and men who worked at Arab American organizations. And the most rewarding was my trip to The Museum of Natural History where I visited The Arab American Archives and got to listen to my Great Uncle John retelling what it was like to be a Lebanese man in Mississippi in the 1930's. P.s. -- not as bad as you would think. They were, I believe, the only ethnicity allowed to vote in that state before the Civil Rights Movement.
I'd interned for Joel Siegel -- I was the only intern he'd ever hired to be his personal assistant and he paid me out of his pocket. I stayed at his penthouse while he was away, I attended more screenings for movies than I made dinners at home.
I met Morgan Freeman, I B Roll-ed the Golden Globes for GMA in LA. I had a lusty night with a young producer there. I wore a great dress, smiled widely and happily. And I decided I was going to be an actress.
Then, Broadway ensued shortly thereafter.
I was on stage with Natalie Portman and Linda Lavin, Broadway stars such as George Hearn (who originated Sweeney Todd on Broadway), Pulitzer Prized Nominated Austin Pendelton and -- The Diary of Anne Frank was our show! I am half Dutch and my Dad was in the camps in Java, Indonesia as my grandparents were missionaries.
This story spoke to me. Broadway spoke to me. (I'd grown up going to shows with my family and I dreamt of the stage. )
Golden yet again.
... But somewhere amidst the traffic of Los Angeles, the uninspired television shows, and the lack of men whom I was falling for, I started to feel less golden, more like a thinly plated silver...
But, I was told my a number of bright, bright, evolved souls to hold tight. One even said, and I think I quoted this in my last blog, "It's gonna get so good for you, you're gonna laugh that you ever worried."
Welp, I had to go through the valley of darkness to get there/here, but I am seeing it all again... This time, as a woman.
It feels good, my little blades. It feels good.
But -- let's leave it as this -- this is only part 1 of the BAD. I'll get into the specifics of this time period and what brought me here in my next blog.
This one has been long-long-long. But I hope it's been juicy,juicy,juicy!
And that you've dug some of my past dalliances with gold in my past. Because what is rising within me now is golder than any gold I have ever known.
Perhaps sometimes, my little blades, we need to put ourselves away, soften up our edges, snuggle into our own consciousness before we can go out into the great wild yonder and be extraordinary.
Or perhaps as my former neighbor Jenny Miller so wisely put it, "Kieren, you were building little buildings before. And now, you are building skyscrapers. And they take longer to build."
And with these words of inspiration, think, my little blades, of what skyscrapers you are currently building... Think of what buildings you created in the past and how your golden present is vaster, shinier, more loving, more courageous than ever before.
Or think -- of what you CAN create. Pull the seat belts off of your dreams and see what it feels like to fly down the unbeaten path with nothing holding you back. Where would you go?
I... alas, am going to bed. Hehe.
But I shall write you more tomorrow. The tangibles of this time. And how I grew. And grew. And grew.
Thank you for reading.
I send you all Love... Always.