A Glorified Bucket List

{ Sunday, February 26, 2012 }
A bucket list.

Sure, they are incredibly cliche, have had movies made after them and are bound to (potentially) remain untouched, but I have spent the afternoon mentally crafting mine into something of substance. Recently I have realized that I need to do more living. Life has been such a whirlwind lately that the days bleed into each other and Fridays fly by like nothing. Honestly? It's a little unnerving. I want to grasp as much life as possible. I want to taste, touch, feel, see. I want to force my eyes to see the unseen and my ears to hear the sweet nothings that I have grown so deaf to. Maybe this list will be a disappointment, but maybe it won't.

I don't want to put things off anymore. Not out of fear of death, but out of fear of being idle. Senseless. Numb. Jaded. All of the things I have fallen victim to so recently. I want my open heart back, and my open-book ways. Thankfully my kindness has not deserted me, but I don't want to censor it as I have.

So, without any more introduction, The List:

- Have something personal I have written published. [ ]
- Pet the soft, velvety part of a horse's nose, just to feel a sense of child-like wonder. [ ]
- Share a kiss in the middle of Times Square. [ ]
- Have the courage to read a poem I have written to the person it was inspired by. [ ]
- Do something radical in Christ's name. [ ]
- Get married at the right time, in no rush, when I know all is well with my soul. [ ]
- Spend all day in bed reading anything and everything I can get my hands on.
[ ]
- Work as a barista at a coffee shop. [ ]
- Crowd surf, although that may be more fit for my 13-year-old self. [ ]
- Own a bookstore, even if it is small and out of sight. [ ]
- Live in New York City. [ ]
- Sing karaoke in front of a crowd. [ ]
- Sleep outside without a tent. Just me and the earth. [ ]
- Walk the entire Brooklyn Bridge, in either direction. [ ]
- Go on a mission trip. [ ]
- Travel outside of the country. [ ]
- Ride on a two-seater bike with a friend, just because it looks ridiculous and I would love it. [ ]
- Befriend a complete stranger in a foreign city. [ ]
- Meet Stephen King, to thank him for growing my heart for the craft of writing. [ ]

These are all obvious things my heart longs for, for some time now. I may complete the list in five years or a lifetime. The mystery, intrigue and possibility of completing the list is absolutely invigorating. Of course there will be room for updates and changes, but I need to hold myself accountable for these longings.

My heart will thank me later.


Tea & Sympathy

{ Saturday, February 18, 2012 }

I was sitting in the cafe when I saw them --
Sitting by the hazy window, hands clenched across the table with only a copy of "The Great Gatsby" between them.
They were transfixed, as was I.

He followed every word she mouthed, carefully studying her lips and nodding in accordance.
Every now and then his thumb would quickly circle over hers; a comforting gesture.
Although the day was overcast, a single shard of light gleamed off of her thin, simple wedding band.
A golden loop of eternity.

He drank his coffee heartily, sans cream, and warmed his hands with the mug.
Looking pensively out the window, he hastily jotted something down in pen and stowed the notebook back in his pocket.
It could've been a short sonnet, a thought, a yearning --
I still wonder.

And then he looked back to her, eyes alive and afire with ardor.
She glanced up from her dainty teacup coyly, smiling.

He couldn't be a day over 80.
And she, 75.

This F. Scott Fitzgerald-fueled romance captivated me, absorbed me, inspired me.
It's the words that are the kindling, the basis for the fire.
It's the words that got them,
And will get me.

After one last glance, I pull out my own notebook,
Jotting down the words I am waiting, in earnest, to hear.
And then I leave, boots plodding through the puddles,
And wonder if there's any place for fire in the rain.

A Bit of Narrative Journalism, October 2011

{ Friday, February 17, 2012 }

As I step out of the taxi onto the bustling West 35th Street, the uncanny aroma of asphalt, exhaust and sweet promise hits me in the face -- I must be in New York City. Sure enough, I am.


After receiving news in early September that I had been chosen out of over 2,000 international applicants to attend Teen Vogue magazine's annual fashion university program in the city on Oct. 23, I had spent every day preparing for this ironically anticlimactic arrival.


As the inner journalist within me feels compelled to immediately begin snapping candid photos of the impeccably stylish passersby and scribble down every little detail of the Empire State in my reporter's notebook (the crosswalks in New York are massive compared to ours at home!), I resist the urge and set out to conquer the city on foot, one stiletto-clad step at a time.


Destination? The majestic Hudson Theatre near Broadway, where I would be taking a full day's worth of classes learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry -- the world I have so intently wanted to be a part of since picking up my first glossy issue of Teen Vogue at age 13.


Ducking into the dimly lit theatre smelling faintly of last week's popcorn and Chanel No. 5 perfume, I nab a plush red velvet seat as the day's keynote speaker, legendary designer Michael Kors, takes to the stage for his opening remarks.


Kors describes his long and dramatic journey up the fashion industry's brutal ladder, highlighting his setbacks and biggest accomplishments as a women's sportswear designer since the early 1980s. "As for now," Kors says, "I am always coming up with new takes on classics," when asked how he conjures up new designs after being a staple in the industry for nearly three decades. Hearing the designer speak in person is undeniably inspirational, and once dismissed, I set off for my day of classes in incredibly high spirits.


Heart pounding in my chest, I cross the street to the looming Conde Nast building, a marble monster of architecture that is home to coveted publications like Teen Vogue, Vogue, Lucky, and Glamour. After passing through security, I hop into the first available elevator and head to the fourth floor for my first seminar of the day on blogging.


I learn that blogging has become much more than an online hobby over the past five years, generating much revenue through corporate sponsorships, high profile advertisers and word of mouth fandom. I let out a sigh of relief and make a mental note that my addiction to blogging is, indeed, worthwhile and that compulsively updating my Twitter account is just as important. Take that, social media critics.


After leaving class I bump into Teen Vogue fashion news editor, Jane Keltner deValle, and immediately introduce myself. In a sense, deValle is the "golden ticket" into the magazine, and I make sure to steady myself, ask ample questions about interning and end our conversation by passing off my resume and delivering a self-assured handshake. Well done, Lindsay, well done.


Up next is my lunch break, and in customary New York fashion, every corner deli is promptly packed with hungry patrons. I opt for Subway, where a frustrated sandwich artist barks orders at me while putting together my standard veggie on flatbread. Normally my feelings would be hurt, but I smile. My first encounter with the atypical "rude New Yorker" makes me feel at home; as though I have been inducted into the club of "those-who-are-not-tourists."


Scarfing down my lunch and guzzling a piping hot venti Starbucks (coffee, black, no cream -- the New Yorker's staple), it's back to Conde Nast for round two, a Q&A session with star of MTV's "The Hills" and "The City," Whitney Port. As I walk to the classroom in my brand new heels (black, open toe, a $7 steal from Target) a second pair of heels (black, impossibly high, $500 Christian Louboutins) behind me begin "clack-clack-clacking" along in unison. Turning around, I am face-to-face with and immediately starstruck by Ms. Port herself. Fortunately, I squeak out an effervescent greeting and accompany the fashion maven into the classroom where she is soon to begin speaking.


Port name drops fellow coworkers and humbly promotes her first clothing line, "Whitney Eve," while explaining to eager audience members that, although the fashion industry is difficult to break into, it is still a very tangible reality. "Go the extra mile when interning in the industry," Port says. "Be sure not to become discouraged by demanding bosses or setbacks -- success doesn't happen overnight."


Feeling upbeat and still buzzing from my chance encounter with Whitney Port, it's back to the Hudson Theatre for the final seminar of the day. My naturally fast-paced walk puts me back at the venue around 5:30, where I am just in time to grab an excellent seat for the Teen Vogue editors talk. It is here where I will hear directly from the source what the magazine looks for in its editorial staff and interns.


My future co-workers file onto the stage (oops, did I really slip and say that? The editors, I mean) and open up the session by describing their position and what assets they contribute to Teen Vogue. "Do your homework by researching the publication you desire to work for," says editor-in-chief Amy Astley. "Mention past issues of the magazine, parts of the issue that you like, and any new ideas that you would like to contribute as a writer."


Entertainment editor Danielle Nussbaum chimes in and adds that writing for a fashion-based publication isn't solely about reporting on shoes and the latest runway shows. "It's not just about fashion, but about culture as a whole," Nussbaum says. "We like well-rounded individuals who know fashion, but also know how to blog, tweet, and brand themselves as savvy writers."


The bit of advice that resonates with me the most is delivered by accessories editor Shiona Turini, one of the youngest editors at Teen Vogue. "Work hard, be humble, and be ready and willing to learn," she says. This universal piece of advice can be applied by any college graduate to any field, and I am immediately inspired.


The speaking session closes, and the editors receive ample applause and praise for their helpful, candid speaking session. I'm on the verge of a standing ovation as I feel the hint of a tear welling in my eye, but I force it back with a smile and utmost respect for the talented and driven individuals standing before me.


As I retreat onto the dusky streets of New York City for the nine block walk back to the hotel, palpitations of promise beat steadily in my chest and guide my steps. My mind reels and thinks of how this industry is composed of much more than beauty, beautiful clothing, and familiar faces, but also of art, hard work, sweat, and untimely tears.


A cab breezes by me on the right, and the Empire State Building pierces the descending skyline on the left. I breathe in the culture, vibrance, and diversity of the beautiful melting pot surrounding me. No, this life isn't for everyone, and it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. That evening I fall asleep and dream of bright lights, coffee runs, crosswalks and deadlines -- elements of the beautiful concrete jungle otherwise known as my destiny.

{ Sunday, February 12, 2012 }

The song is beautifully written. He is beautifully created. The execution of the music video is pure magic. Need I say more?

February 10, 2012

{ Friday, February 10, 2012 }
As I stood in the midst of the buzzing, intoxicated crowd of my peers tonight, I watched the past meet the present like an unforeseen kiss. A bittersweet caress, at that.
The 90s music served as the perfect soundtrack, forcing me to remember where I was at the exact moments I first fell in love with those dated songs. The pool, the park, the back of my father's pickup truck. I was nine and full of innocent curiosity and boundless wonder.
Now, all of those curiosities have been satisfied. Some, in the most unsatisfactory of ways. Two distinct decades of my life collided this evening, but through all of the white noise and rigged lighting, you would never know. I stood, seemingly, in another dimension this evening.

I don't know when the day will come where I will untangle myself from this life-long love affair with nostalgia. Each day is another memento, something to hold onto; to toss into the trunk of my mind.
My thoughts still weld together like permanent post-it notes, often sticking and digging in their roots in the more inopportune places.
I still wake up on my own all throughout the night, systematically grabbing my pen and scribbling something incoherent on paper, to be read in the morning when my head is emptied of its dreams and filled with actual reason.
I still rest in bed for hours, carefully contemplating where I could make the most impact four, five years from now.
I still wonder how everything is in metamorphosis from constant to merely temporary, and if anyone ever truly stays, or just flits away into the air.

I'm still entangled in memories, yet, I cling to the future and its promises. The promises of change, travel and vibrant experience. Of 'just scraping by' and genuinely appreciating the breath of life over my soul. Of using these beloved words to actually make a living, falling more in love with the craft of writing with each scribbling of the pen.
I don't know where I'm going. But, I know it won't be boring.
No, it won't be boring.

A Letter of Resignation

{ Thursday, February 2, 2012 }

Memo:

I'm leaving today.
Packing up my things to traverse the East coast on a jetliner,
Never looking back.

And when I hit the tarmac and sneak glimpses at the vast cityscape,
I'll wonder:
How will you follow me here?
Through letters penned in poignant, black ink,
Or faraway midnight pillow talks that last through the bismuth rising of the sun?
Through a crumpled map and a hand-me-down car,
Or plane tickets clutched tightly to your chest?

Or will you not follow me at all?
Maybe you will write me off for naught, or better yet,
A figment of the imagination.
'Just a someone I know through someone I used to know.'

And I'll walk the bridge each night,
Landing myself in Brooklyn by nightfall,
And I'll scour every gallery, bookshelf, crevice.
And I'll wonder why there isn't a trace of you here.