Tuesday, September 30, 2008

go forth and... write?

So I'm somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist (or maybe just confused?), but there's this religious saying/message/thingy that says that when the higher power judges you at the gates of whatever you believe in, he/she/proper pronoun for greatness (?) will first ask what you did with your time on earth and the talents that you were given. I think that's a good question to ask, regardless of the religious implications.

What the hell are you doing here, just taking up space?

Ashley was a publicist. Fuck, no.

I have a few great loves of this earth: politics, writing, jeans and ice cream (I don't know, there may be one or two more). Note that none were publicity and/or dealing with snarky journalists. At various points in my life I wanted to be a politician or a political correspondent for the Today Show (see my high school yearbook); a novelist (both when I was 11 and, I guess, now); a fashion designer; and, in my most simple/I hate corporate ridiculousness phase, a Cold Stone ice cream tester. If I could not get fat and make over $100K a year, the ice cream tester would win hands-down.

But what am I really here to do? I know, I know... its an existential, no easy answer, its all up to me, oh you're in your late-twenties/approaching 30 and everyone feels this way sort of thing. I get it. But, I don't get IT. The what/who do I want to be.

I have friends encouraging me to write (partially, in fact, because of this blog of whiny complaining... I don't get you people! Don't you want me all bright and shiny?). They are awesome and say nice things about me and my skills/abilities/potential talents. I like them. When I was published for the first time a few months back, they thought I was a rockstar. Some even used the word proud. Again, liking them.

But then I also have me. Not as big of a fan of me. When me sits down to write, she struggles and reminds herself that just because I can string a few words together into a sometimes reasonably witty coherent sentence, it don't mean she's a writer, yo.

I've been trying to write this essay on anger since the date of that damn post. Have I written a word of it since? Nearly, no. Meanwhile I have friends writing jokes for NPH and co-writing the next Broadway hit.

Maybe I should stop reading biographies/autobiographies about/by people who do really great things? Like the Hillary Clinton autobio I just finished. She was a law professor, like, out of the womb. What. Ever.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

superhuman strength

Tonight, I met a superhero. A real-life person who pushes their mind and body to the limit, while also inspiring others.

I "judged" Dean as he literally ran towards the Guinness World Record for the longest distance run on a treadmill in 48 hours. Not only is he attempting to tackle this incredible feat of human endurance, but he's doing with an national audience. He's on webcam constantly, and passersby consistently stop on the street to stare/cheer him on. It must be a ridiculous amount of pressure. I can't possibly imagine staying awake for 48 hours, let alone being active almost the entire time.

And he's determined to finish all 48 hours. When I left this evening, it didn't seem like he was going to break the record, but this man is seriously amazing. He inspired me, and there are few things I hate more than running. He reminded me that sometimes the best possible thing to do is clear your head -- and just go.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

blast from the past / something equally cliche regarding nostalgia

The last week or so has been a strange one over here at Plays One... I had just started writing an essay about me potentially having an anger problem (this is still up for debate, I suppose?), when, that very evening, I was contacted by one of the possible stars of said essay, my college roommate. We hadn't spoken in about four years. And the essay, in part, was about how I've had more than a little trouble letting go of how quickly and sourly our friendship ended during our last year at school. I've even discussed it in therapy at length. In the last four years or so, her name would be mentioned, or something would remind me of her, and I would become angry. I often had dreams where, for one reason or another -- never logical, mind you -- I would have to once again share an apartment with her, and I would wake up livid. It was strange. I had rarely felt such anger before; the only other person I felt that contempt for (another star of my little essay, my stepfather) -- I felt with reasonable cause.

In college (prior to the festering anger), my roommate and I could have definitely been considered friends in love. Not in love romantically, but very much infatuated with our friendship and platonic love for one another. We shared almost everything. We lived for cooking and baking together. We even fell in love at the same time, with boys who were also roommates. We were disgustingly adorable.

And then, well, things unraveled. I've written about that at length, and I don't need to rehash it. It was difficult, and, well, then came the blinding anger.

Fast forward to about a week ago: she contacted me. It was a pleasant message - asking me how I was and saying that she often thought about me - and I responded the next day. I barely thought about not replying, actually. And I didn't reply in a snarky, snotty way (yay for emotional growth!). I asked about her, what she's doing, about her husband (she married her above mentioned roommate), her family, her cat. I felt eerily settled as I drafted my response (which I remember to check pretty thoroughly for grammatical errors because who wants to look dumb to someone who has two post-grad degrees?), and sent it off.

We've written once or twice since then, and its been very friendly and warm. I thanked her for contacting me. I know the condensed version of what she and her husband have been up to. So I suppose I'm through with my long-winded, barely rational rage.

Which is positive, right? Even if I haven't written another word of the essay I started. Damn devilish muse.

Having said all of this, still no response from this past. But I guess I'm not angry. Just disappointed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Republicans who Boo

First thing's first: yesterday my boss called me "more left than Karl Marx." I think I need to tell my dad that one. He'd love it.

I would have liked to watch more of the Republican National Convention than I did, but it has been a very difficult week and a half for me personally and more often than not, I fell asleep before any of the major speeches. I really did try to stay up last night for Sarah Palin's acceptance speech, but I didn't make it. So I caught it on YouTube instead.

Okay, I get the whole Palin "sexy librarian" thing that people are digging, but are you really going to coin VPILF? I'm vomiting.

For a while, while watching Palin's speech, I thought I might punch my computer. But I really love my Mac, so I refrained. When she spoke about looking down on community organizers, I was wondering if she forgot that she started in the PTA...? And I will never understand the modern Republican argument that Dems just want to raise taxes. It's made in every GOP speech, and, especially this time around, just makes no sense.

Overall, though, I suppose she did what she needed to do. She needed to look tough. Maybe too tough - I was thinking almost mean. (Please don't track me down with your moose-hunting gun when I vote Dem.) I don't know that she sold the qualified angle, but she sold the reform angle pretty well, for what it is.

I find her voice pretty annoying, but she does have some cute kids, even if their names are a little, um, Alaskan? Oh, and what does racing snow machines entail, exactly?

Emily's List, what do you have to say?

Since I missed Palin live, I did make a special effort to get home in time (and, more importantly, stay awake) for McCain. In the interest of full disclosure, I, like many democrats, once really liked John McCain. Might have even adored him. After the 2004 election went so horribly wrong, and all of the buzz (like, the next day) was on a McCain/Clinton contest for 2008, I often said that it would be a very difficult choice for me, should the cards fall that way. And I really meant it. McCain always seemed to be keepin' it real. I have a great deal of respect for John McCain - as a politician who routinely crosses party lines to get things done, and for his military service. As a military daughter myself, it is difficult for me to dislike anyone who serves our country, particularly anyone who withstands the torture that he did.

But, the McCain that I loved so in 2004 (and in years prior) is not the one I'm watching accept his nomination for the presidency on CNN. I don't have any new insights on how or why this happened (its obviously been written about in excess), its just become painfully obvious that he has had to (for whatever reason) pander to his party and its leaders - many who are ultra conservative and/or ultra religious. McCain's turn makes me sad. Watching his speech tonight, I didn't expect to feel inspired, and I didn't. The one thing that honestly bothered me tonight was the "boo" responses from the crowd during the middle of McCain's speech. Seriously? Booing? That's so classy, GOP. I don't believe the old McCain would have stood for that kind of response. I don't recall any mass booing at the DNC, and I watched pretty closely.

It was a fine speech, though; he's just not my beloved not so Republican Republican anymore. Boo?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yes We Can!

Yes, I did it. I watched about 24 hours of DNC coverage over four days last week... My father, and numerous colleagues, called me a freak. It's a bit belated, but just in case you were waiting with bated breath, here are a few of my thoughts on Days Three and Four of the DNC.

Day Three:
* It's amazing how, when you're watching Bill Clinton speak, you know you're watching one of the great orators of history. He continues to be remarkable and inspire like few others. The Obama/Biden campaign should be thrilled with both Bill's and Hillary's speeches. They rallied the perhaps hesitant troops.
* Oh, Joe! You didn't blow me away, but you were still great.

Day Four:
* Al Gore is right up there with the creators of Coldstone ice cream. Why doesn't everyone want to save the environment?! Not quite sure what to make of the comparison of Barack to Abraham Lincoln. I might have loved it, even if it did seem a little, um, much.
* Obama was, of course, stellar. He was, of course, inspirational. He, of course, laid the framework of his plan to change America. But who on earth decided to close with Brooks & Dunn's "Only in America"?! Seriously? Maybe Journey would have been a better choice? Reach the nostalgic Starbucks crowd and Middle America. Just a thought when it comes to choosing a campaign song. And, as Jon Stewart reminded me, "Only in America" was the same song that was played after Bush's 2004 acceptance speech. C'mon, the DNC must have a researcher somewhere on staff...

All of this talk of public service over the last few days reminded me that I am not doing enough with my life. As a freshman in college, I applied for a summer internship with Emily's List, a Democratic political action network. My favorite TA, Brett, suggested I apply. I would have anyway, but it certainly didn't hurt that I was in love with Brett, too. Unfortunately, I did not get the internship, nor did I get to spend that summer running around the Mall holding a sign that read, "Women Belong in the House... and the Senate!" It's a shame. That internship could have been the start of something beautiful. Not to say that I couldn't toss aside my ultra-posh New York City lifestyle for Washington, DC to get my hands dirty in something that I truly feel passionate about. Complete upheaval, anyone?