To the Poor Sap Whose Screenplay is Not Getting Picked Up…

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Dear Poor, Unfortunate Writer,

Today I spied your screenplay being read by a woman sitting next to me on the subway.  She read it off of an iPad, page by page, scrolling down every thirty seconds or so.  She seemed to read your writing diligently and carefully, never skimming passed the boring parts (if there were any.)

For a second I thought she might be an actress, but generally when actresses read screenplays, they read them from hard copies with scribbled notes in the margins, and they quietly recite their lines.  Occasionally they purse their lips and admire their reflection in the windows located across from them, causing random men to think they’re flirting.  The woman reading your screenplay didn’t do any of those things.  She was all business as she read with furrowed brow skepticism, a few times shaking her head back and forth (in a good way or bad way, I couldn’t tell.)

I was dying to know what she was thinking, so when she whipped out her iPhone, I knew I had to discover the truth.  I couldn’t help but peak as she furiously punched letters into a text message.  She wrote, “It’s boring…who cares about a wannabe monster who shows people his heating bills?”  Whoever she was texting agreed, and they went on back and forth about how they didn’t like it.

As simple as that, you were out.

In your defense, I actually thought your story sounded kind of interesting.  A wannabe mobster who runs around showing people his heating bills?  I’ve never seen anything like it that’s for sure.  Was it a comedy?  A drama?  I was already invested in your story and I had never even read it.

So, there’s that…

I guess I felt a little defensive on your behalf, because I’m getting ready to have my screenplay critiqued by my classmates next Wednesday night.  All of the potential writers in my class (all of which are really talented) sit in a circle and analyze each others screenplays.  The feedback isn’t all rainbows and lollipops, either.  It’s brutally honest, and I can definitively say that I’ve never sat in on a class where everyone agreed that someone’s creation was simply amazing and that there was nothing negative to say about it.  So, Poor Sap, I understand what it’s like to put your stuff out there only to receive feedback like:

“Your main character didn’t grab me…”

“Your story is too quiet.”  (Whatever that means…)

“Too much wordy dialogue.” (But I like wordy dialogue…)

“Why are we supposed to care about this character and their journey?” (Because I wrote it, and I care!!)

Getting a negative response after you’ve worked so hard is tough, but it’s part of the process.  Poor Sap, I hope you sent the wannabe mobster story to lots of other agents, and that someone ends up loving it, and if they don’t…

Keep writing.

Photo by http://yaherd.tumblr.com/post/22070322260/collectingaesthetics-thanks-but-no-thanks.

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How To Find Out If You Still ‘Got It’…

The title of this post might be slightly misleading.  Don’t let it fool you.  This isn’t much of a how-to guide at all, but rather my own personal story.  I hope you find it funny…

It all started one random Tuesday morning.  I showered, ate breakfast, and dressed for work.  I put on my black skinny jeans, black high-top Converse sneakers, a crew neck cream-colored sweater, and rhinestone button earrings.  Once I was ready, I grabbed my Kindle, and rushed out the door to get to the subway.

After a few stops, I settled into a seat on the train and began to read.  Not long after, a group of high schooler’s, all of them clad in plaid uniforms, hopped on the train, and began to converse loudly.  I tried my best to read, but the kids’ voices were boisterous and distracting.  Soon the lady sitting next to me got up and moved, and in her place, a gangly, freckled-faced boy with wavy brown hair sat down.  He was no more than fifteen or sixteen tops.  I continued to read (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and I felt as though he was reading over my shoulder (I really hate when people do that, by the way.)  I ignored it, but after some time he quietly uttered, “Hey,” under his breath.

At first I assumed he wasn’t talking to me, so I continued to read (I was at the part where Sam stands up in the car while listening to Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.)

“Hey,” he said again, this time louder.

I raised my eyebrows and looked at him.  “Hi,” I said.

“What are you reading?”

“The Perks of being a Wallflower.”  And with that, I went back to reading.  (By this time Charlie was talking about Aunt Helen.)

“What school do you go to?”

I took note of his penny loafers, navy blue stock, uniform pants, and tried not to laugh.  This kid thinks I’m in high school?  I asked myself.  Wait.  This kid thinks I’m in high school.  Awesome.  I thought.

“What school do you go to?” he asked again.  “Saint Ann’s?”

I considered letting it go on, but he was so sincere that I felt a little bad.  “No, I go to college actually…and I’m 29…almost 30…and married.”

“You are not.”

“Yes,” I insisted.  “I’m afraid I am.”

“No, you’re not.  C’mon what school do you go to?  I’m not gonna stalk you or anything.”

“I’m serious.”  I showed him my ring to prove it.  “See,” I said.  “I can show you my driver’s license, too, if you want.”

“No, that’s ok,” he said, convinced now.  He stood up, and flung his backpack over one shoulder.  “Nice meeting you…,” he mumbled.

A few minutes later it was time for me to get off the train.  As I walked to work, I couldn’t help but laugh.  I looked down at my Converse shoes, and realized that maybe I was dressed kind of young.  I mean, I am young, but not sixteen.  Still, it made me smile, and inspired me to promptly put a status update on Facebook.

In other news, my dad has edited my name in his phone-book to “Mrs. Robinson.”

And that my friends is the story of how I found out- I still got it.

~The End.

The Woes of Being a Short Person…

This past weekend I went to a concert with my very tall friend, Reagan.  We went to see Morrissey at Terminal 5 in NYC.  One of the reasons I was so excited about this concert was that it was a small venue and standing room only, which meant a great view and an opportunity to get close to the stage.  So, why is Reagan’s height significant to this story you ask?  It’s simple.  She could see and I could not, because well, I’m short.

Sure the music was great, and Morrissey can still sing like he did in the 80′s, but I might as well have been listening to him on my iPod, because I couldn’t see a thing.  Nada.  Not even a little bit.  You know what I think is funny?  (You short people will hopefully identify, and appreciate this) All of the tallest men in the whole damn joint were somehow strategically placed in front of me!  Why, Why, Why does that always happen?

Throughout the concert, I became accustomed to watching other people’s faces around me for their reactions, because I couldn’t see anything myself.  Occasionally the crowd would “Ooooh” or “Ahhhhh” and I just had to assume something really cool was happening.  The most exciting part of the concert was when Morrissey sang the lyrics, “Close your eyes and think of someone you physically admire,” in his Bri-ish accent and followed it up with ripping his shirt off like He-Man.  The only reason I know this happened was because my tall friend who could see, turned to me and squealed, “Oh my God, Sar, he just ripped his shirt off!  That was crazy!”  I had to judge by her reaction of shock, then laughter, and then glee that she was thoroughly entertained by his antics, and that it was the highlight of her experience.  However, I did not see any of it.

At one point I blindly held my camera up in the air, set the zoom mode all the way up, and took a pretty decent picture.  In fact, I didn’t realize how good it was until I got home and saw for myself.  Geez, the lengths short people have to go to, to see what’s going on!

Not bad, huh? What can I say, I make the best of my circumstances.

On a side note, I left with a cool souvenir.  I bought myself a t-shirt with Morrissey in a barber’s chair, getting that signature ‘do of his.  How fitting for my profession!  Although I didn’t buy one, they were also selling tote bags that said “Shoplifters of the World Unite.”  Ha!  I thought that was quite cheeky and clever (forgive me for the British slang, but I’m going with a theme here…)

If I learned anything from this experience it’s that next time I go to see one of my favorite artists live, I will invest in some really, really good seats or skip the “standing room only” shenanigans all together, because it was kind of the pits.

Can any of you short people out there identify with this?

~The End

Where Were You On September 11th, 2001?

I wrote this post a year ago while I was still living in Grenada.  I thought that I would share it again because I sat down to write another post about September 11th, 2001, and well, I decided that I couldn’t have said it any better than I already had.  

This year I am living in Brooklyn, New York and as the day approaches, it is impossible not to feel its presence among every New Yorker.  Though it’s a painful memory for many, it is a day that we can never forget and should always take time to reflect upon. 

******

September 11th…It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since it happened.  It’s the  “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” question of my generation.  I will never forget where I was…

I had just woken up in the house I grew up in, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  My dad was getting ready to leave for work, and I was just about to start eating a bowl of Oreo O’s.  I flipped the television on, and I saw a Breaking News banner flashing across the screen.  I saw two enormously tall buildings; one of which had a gaping hole toward the top of it with explosive smoke pouring from it.  I yelled for my dad to come in the living room, and neither one of us could believe what we saw.  At the bottom of the television it said that a plane had crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  I kept saying to my dad, “All those people in that plane, and all the people who were just sitting at their desks at work where that plane hit just died.”  My dad sat down on the couch next to me, and we just watched in disbelief.

My dad got up to call my mom at work to tell her what had happened, when the second plane hit.  I was glued to the television the whole time, and my bowl of cereal sat untouched on the coffee table.  All of the sudden I saw a second plane hit the second tower.  I started screaming for my dad, who was now on the phone with my mom.  I heard him telling her that she was never going to believe it, but another plane had hit Tower II of the World Trade Center.  I had never seen anything like this in my life, and I could not comprehend what was about to happen to the world I lived in.  I know now that talk of terrorists existed long before September 11th, 2001, but up until that point in my life, it’s not something that I had to ever think about.  My mind never even went to that place, when I watched the terror sweeping through NYC from all the way back in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  The first time I had even heard about terrorists was when I heard President Bush’s speech later that day.  I was so naïve to the idea of terrorists, that I distinctly remember saying to my dad over and over, “What are the chances that two planes would hit two buildings like that within just minutes of one another?”  My dad, never really being one at loss for words, just looked at me and shook his head.

I was 18 years old when September 11th happened, and I was getting ready to move to New York City the following month on October 16th to begin a musical theater conservatory program.  Suddenly my whole world was turned upside down…Terrorists, war, talk of drafts…It was bizarre.  My parents didn’t want to let me go, but I insisted that everything would be okay.  I think back now, at age 28, and I admire my fearlessness.  I must admit, I am not nearly as fearless anymore.  I think as I’ve gotten older, I have begun to think about the ‘worst case scenario’ much more often…or maybe the world I live in has just changed…either way, I don’t know if I was the person I am today, if I would have went through with the move to NYC.  However, I am glad I did, and I am happy I am the person I am today, but at the same time, the person I was 10 years ago.  After all, I ended up meeting my husband in New York, and many other dreams came true for me there, too.

Last night, I was thinking about what September 11th meant to me, and the fact that was participating in a 5K 9/11 Remembrance Run.  It’s so petty, but I realized I didn’t have anything red, white, and/or blue to wear.  It suddenly really bothered me, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I am living in Grenada, and far from New York, but it suddenly became dire for me to represent my country and all those who died that day, and I just felt like I had to do something.  I looked in my closet and I found an old navy blue shirt I didn’t care about anymore, and I found a white tank top, and a little sewing kit I brought here one and a half years ago that I have never touched, and I decided to just make something.  I don’t know how I even got started, but I just began sewing.

I decided to cut out letters and numbers that would read “Never Forget 9~11″ and sew them onto a white tank top.  I don’t know why, but it made me feel better, and it made me feel like I was doing something for my fellow New Yorkers.

The final result…

A shot from the race today…

The race today was fun, and very early, but it was so worth it.  I brought my iPod with me, and I decided to do something that I never ever do.  Instead of selecting a song at the beginning of my run, I simply turned it on, and randomly flipped through all my songs without looking, and decided to listen to whatever song I stopped on.  As I started running, I pressed play, and the song “If I Die Young” came on, and I couldn’t believe it.  It was so beautiful, and it almost made me cry when I heard the lyrics, “The sharp knife of a short life, well, I’ve had just enough time.”  It broke my heart to think of all those people who died that day long before they had enough time.  It was a very humbling moment.

I didn’t know anyone who passed away on September 11th, 2001, and I wasn’t even living in New York when September 11th happened, but I truly feel for all the families and friends who lost loved ones.  I will never forget the events of that day, and someday when someone asks me where I was when September 11th, 2001 happened, I will tell them my little piece in very big history.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001

I’m In A New York State Of Mind…

Have you ever noticed how many delusional people exist to this world?  I’ve always said that New York is a sort of Mecca for people with unrealistic expectations, and the kind of place where it’s okay to dream really big.  In fact, you can’t not be a dreamer and survive in New York.  Just think of the teeny, tiny apartments that cost thousands of dollars a month to live in, and all the inconveniences that go along with New York living; having multiple roommates so that you can cover rent, grocery stores that are miles away, five and six-story walk ups, schlepping heavy laundry for blocks in the dead of winter.  Why would anyone go through all this?  It’s simple.  Because there is no greater place to make big things happen in your life than New York City.  Period.  I guarantee every person you pass on a bustling, taxi-honking street has some sort of dream or expectation about being in New York.  Whether it’s to star in a Broadway show someday, become chief editor of the New York Times, hit it big in the corporate world, become a famous blogger, become a famous fashion designer, publish a best-selling novel, write a screenplay that will win you an Oscar, etc. etc…And I should know, because as you may have already guessed, a few of my biggest dreams were mixed in there.  You see, this massive fool’s paradise is probably why I love New York so much to begin with, because let’s face it, I’m a little delusional, too.

You’ve heard the old adage about New York:  “If I can make it there (insert robust drum beat here) I’ll make it anywhere.  It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

Obviously this guy made it in New York…just look at him.

Everyone has also heard the success stories about making it big in New York, but the one thing nobody ever seems to talk about, are the thousands of people who come here year after year who don’t make it.  They’re the people who New York eats up and spits out.  They’re the same people who once got goosebumps while listening to those Frank Sinatra lyrics, but can no longer bear to hear the song.  They are those that slowly fade into the distance or simply “go back home” eventually.

My pondering on the subject started last night on my subway ride home from work.  There was this early twenty-something-year-old girl sitting nearby on an extremely crowded, yet surprisingly quiet rush hour train.  Her friend was standing in front of her and they were sharing an iPod as they listened to music.  Suddenly at the top of her lungs she decided to act out an entire scene from what I presumed was Mary Poppin’s, complete with both male and female roles (including an astonishingly bad imitation of some sort of British accent.)  She totally got her wish; every person in the subway car stopped what they were doing to stare.  Her routine climaxed when she impersonated a crash, which highlighted her ability to do sound effects as well.  Her male friend, a seemingly sweet and quiet type, stood there looking slightly embarrassed by the spectacle, but remained supportive as he said, “That was amazing.”  She replied, “I know, acting out the scene in its entirety is part of the process I go through before a big audition.”

I really wish my story ended here, but unfortunately it didn’t.  When she was done with the show tune extravaganza, she moved on to Nicki Minaj, so that we all could see that she was a gal of many talents, including rapping.  She rapped the entire song of “Super Bass” and also sang the hook as loud and as tone-deaf as her voice could carry her.  All the while, her friend stood there, ear phone in one ear, trying his best to look carefree, even though his cheeks had turned a slight shade of pink from embarrassment.  She paid no attention and was thoroughly engrossed in her rap, when she suddenly stopped and stated the following: “I watch every interview I can find of Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, and do you wanna know what all of them have in common?

Girl’s Friend:  “What?”

Girl:  They both say that they like to impersonate characters every day of their lives, because it makes life more interesting, and because they love standing out.  Isn’t that just like me?

Girl’s Friend:  Totally.

Girl:  (smug) I guess that must mean I am going to be famous someday, too.

Girl’s Friend:  Yup.

Just as this conversation wrapped up, it was time for me to hop off the subway.  On my walk home I couldn’t help but envision all the rude awakenings that I was sure this girl was going to get, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her, too.  I guess I could see some of my younger self in her…Untainted confidence, hopefulness, and even though she was extremely annoying to me after a long day at work, I could still admire something about her.  She believed in herself.  Wholeheartedly.  I had to give her credit for that.

Maybe not everyone makes it in New York, and maybe some people do eventually fade into the dust, but I guess everyone has to figure it out on their own.  Still, I hope someday I can say that I made it…really made it…in New York.

~The End.

Photos by Pinterest.

How Sarah Got Her Groove Back.

So, Matt and I finally made it back to New York.  We are settling in quite nicely, and I have wasted no time getting back into the swing of things.  Like, work for instance.  We only got back last Friday, but I couldn’t wait to get back to my job.

As some of you know, before Matt and I moved to Grenada so he could attend medical school, I worked as a hair stylist in the city for years.  One of the hardest things about living overseas was not being able to work.  Because jobs are scarce in Grenada, Americans are not allowed to legally work, so I was left to my own devices, which usually included me doing hair cuts in our teeny apartment for other medical students.  It actually became a pretty lucrative business, if you ask me, and I managed to keep up my skills as best I could while away for two years.

Now that I’m back in New York, New York, the city that never sleeps, the place where dreams are made…and broken, I was eager to get my groove back, and start wielding those scissors (not violently, just cutting hair) again.

New York, New York...Ain't nowhere else like it...

So, I kind of thought I was going to go back to my old routine, without skipping a beat…you know just pop back in where I left off?  But I must confess, I skipped a beat, or a few beats for that matter.

The night before my first day back at work, I couldn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned, having nightmares of over sleeping and being late for work.  When my alarm finally went off at 5:30 AM I felt like I hadn’t slept a wink.  I got out of bed like a zombie, hurried up and got ready, and managed to down a cup of coffee before Matt drove me to the train that takes me into the city for work.

While buying my ticket for the train, I fumbled, as three people impatiently waited behind me for the train that was to arrive in three minutes.  Suddenly I felt like the “out of towners” that I used to get so fed up with back when I was in my New York groove.  Back then, if someone was in front of me that didn’t know exactly what to select of the touch screen to buy their ticket, I would mumble something under my breath to hurry them along, and then grunt something like, “Tourists,” as I scoffed away, coffee in hand, scarf thrown around my neck.  P.S.  I am sorry to any of the people I did this, too.  Just know that I got pay back yesterday, and I totally deserved it.

When I got off the train, I walked up to the little coffee stand on the street, where I used to order my uj, a small coffee with vanilla coffee cream.

Look at all those delish treats...

However, much to my chagrin, the coffee man who used to know me so well, didn’t so much as blink my way.  I was really hoping for one of those custard-filled donuts that he used to so kindly give me for free back when I was a New Yorker, but yesterday I got nothin.’

When I walked into work, I immediately saw some of my peeps, and things quickly started to turn around.  It was so good to see some of my old friends, and everyone was so welcoming.  Before I knew it, I had a client, and it was time to start doing some hair.

Let me just tell you, I only had four clients yesterday, but by the time I was finished I felt like I had run a marathon (not that I would know what that feels like).  I was so absolutely exhausted, that it took me all night, and all of today to recover.  The pure exhaustion took me back to the days when I was first doing hair in New York, and how I would go home at night and just crash, sometimes still in my work clothes.

While riding the train home yesterday, I began to marvel at the stamina I used to have. Around the time I left for Grenada, I could work non-stop for nine hours, and not feel a thing.  I could work a busy Saturday, then go home and go out to dinner with Matt, watch a movie, then go shopping, etc, etc.  I was like a fine-tuned machine!  I think it’s safe to say, I wasn’t a machine yesterday.  I was more like a car that needed some jumper cables.

Despite my elderly-esque exhaustion today, I really feel like I got my groove back yesterday.  I survived my first day back to work, after not working for two whole years, and I didn’t get eaten alive.

And any real New Yorker knows that’s an accomplishment.

~The End.

Photos by elizabeth-aboutnewyork.blogspot.com and pinterest.

Would You Rather…Part Deux

Would You Rather…

Be smart and ugly?

Eeek...

Or dumb and hot?

Kendra says some pretty boneheaded things, although her hubby claims she is actually very smart...Not sure if I concur.

Would You Rather…

Be too short?

Danny Devito is said to be about 5 feet tall, but I think he is more like 4'9".

Or too tall?

At least your theme song could be "Brick House." So, there's that...

Would You Rather…

Be able to see the future?

Just think you could know how everything is going to turn out before anybody else...

Or have more money than you could ever spend in a lifetime?

Not sure if he's in that status, but you get the point...

Would You Rather…

Be imprisoned in a foreign country for three years?

Oh Foxy Knoxy, what did you get yourself into...

Or have every one of your teeth pulled while your conscious?

You could always get falsies...

Would You Rather…

Watch an episode of True Blood with your parents, where Bill and Sookie (or Eric and Sookie) get down in the dirt?

Can you imagine how awkward that would be? Eeew!...Just think happy thoughts...happy thoughts...

Or accidentally witness your dad slipping your mom the tongue?

Ummm...Eeeek!

Would You Rather…

Have your life depend on running the full 26 miles of the New York City Marathon, or be killed?

Ooooooh, I don't know...

Or take the Bar exam (without any previous knowledge or schooling) and have to pass, or be killed?

Yikes. I don't know which is worse...

Would You Rather…

Get caught singing at the top of your lungs in the mirror by a loved one?

"You make me feel like a natuuuuurrrrallll womannnnn..."

Or have a stranger open the door to a dressing room while you’re in your underwear?

Well, maybe if you're Heidi Klum you wouldn't care...

Would You Rather…

Make headlines for heroically saving someones life?

But you might have to jump in front of a New York City subway to do so, like the "Subway Hero" did.

Or win a Nobel Peace Prize…

Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Well???

What would you rather?

~The End

Shall We Brunch?

There is something so divine about brunching, isn’t there?  When I’m in New York, one of my very favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to go to brunch, and to order my uj of a goat cheese, tomato, and basil omelet, a spicy (non-alchy) bloody mary, a cup of coffee with full fat half and half and two splenda’s, and a homemade muffin to pick at on the side.  That’s what I usually order at my favorite brunch joint, Isabella’s, anyway…

So, lately I’ve felt a little melancholy about my old brunching days, and just a little reflective about NYC in general.  Since I’ve been in Grenada, this time of year has been the hardest for me, because you don’t really know me, if you don’t know about my love for the fall in New York.  I mean, there’s a reason why they’ve made movies called Autumn in New York.  It makes me sad every time I think about another fall season going by that I’m missing.  There is just something about drinking a non-fat extra hot chai latte, while traipsing around  Central Park and looking at the beautiful changing leaves.  In my opinion, it’s just the most gorgeous time of year, and as a friend and I once dubbed it: the most amazingly awesome weather for fashion ever (hence the perfect time to sport a t-shirt and a scarf, a skirt and cute riding boots, a dress with a light fall jacket, etc.)

Can't you see why I love it so?

So, when I was invited over by a friend of mine for brunch at her apartment, it came at the perfect time and when I needed it the most.  I took my invitation to the brunch very seriously and baked a homemade pumpkin bread from scratch.  It was raining while I was baking, and for a minute, the spicy smell of the bread made me feel like it was really fall weather out, and not the 100 degrees that it really was.

I honestly looked forward to my little event with the girls all weekend, and when it came time, it was just so much fun to do something different for a change.  It can get pretty monotonous around here, so it was fun to shake things up a bit.

We had good conversation…

FYI: This conversation was definitely not as serious as it seems to be...

We had a delish spread of treats…

Yes, the watermelon is yellow here...Weird, huh?

Delish egg fritata, watermelon, blueberry bran muffin, pumpkin bread, and a mimosa to top it off right...

A cute little puppy for company, too…

Chewy was so ready for his close up...

Wouldn’t be complete without a little girl talk…

A little gossiping never hurt anyone...okay, so that's not true, but let's face it, sometimes it's needed.

It was a fun morning, and definitely did the trick in making me miss New York a wee bit less.  However, when I walked outside after my lovely get together, and I felt the heat beating down on my shoulders, I realized there was unfortunately nothing that could make me miss my favorite season in New York less…except for maybe New York itself.

~The End

Central Park photo by stephaniefrost.net

Where Were You On September 11th, 2001?

I wrote this post a year ago while I was still living overseas in Grenada.  I thought that I would share it again, because well, I sat down to write another post about September 11th, 2001 and I decided that I couldn’t have said it any better than I already had.  

This year I am living in Brooklyn, New York and as the day approaches, it is impossible not to feel its presence among every New Yorker.  Though it’s a painful memory for many, it is a day that we can never forget and should always take time to reflect upon. 

******

September 11th…It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since it happened.  It’s the  “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” question of my generation.  I will never forget where I was…

I had just woken up in the house I grew up in, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  My dad was getting ready to leave for work, and I was just about to start eating a bowl of Oreo O’s.  I flipped the television on, and I saw a Breaking News banner flashing across the screen.  I saw two enormously tall buildings; one of which had a gaping hole toward the top of it with explosive smoke pouring from it.  I yelled for my dad to come in the living room, and neither one of us could believe what we saw.  At the bottom of the television it said that a plane had crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  I kept saying to my dad, “All those people in that plane, and all the people who were just sitting at their desks at work where that plane hit just died.”  My dad sat down on the couch next to me, and we just watched in disbelief.

My dad got up to call my mom at work to tell her what had happened, when the second plane hit.  I was glued to the television the whole time, and my bowl of cereal sat untouched on the coffee table.  All of the sudden I saw a second plane hit the second tower.  I started screaming for my dad, who was now on the phone with my mom.  I heard him telling her that she was never going to believe it, but another plane had hit Tower II of the World Trade Center.  I had never seen anything like this in my life, and I could not comprehend what was about to happen to the world I lived in.  I know now that talk of terrorists existed long before September 11th, 2001, but up until that point in my life, it’s not something that I had to ever think about.  My mind never even went to that place, when I watched the terror sweeping through NYC from all the way back in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  The first time I had even heard about terrorists was when I heard President Bush’s speech later that day.  I was so naïve to the idea of terrorists, that I distinctly remember saying to my dad over and over, “What are the chances that two planes would hit two buildings like that within just minutes of one another?”  My dad, never really being one at loss for words, just looked at me and shook his head.

I was 18 years old when September 11th happened, and I was getting ready to move to New York City the following month on October 16th to begin a musical theater conservatory program.  Suddenly my whole world was turned upside down…Terrorists, war, talk of drafts…It was bizarre.  My parents didn’t want to let me go, but I insisted that everything would be okay.  I think back now, at age 28, and I admire my fearlessness.  I must admit, I am not nearly as fearless anymore.  I think as I’ve gotten older, I have begun to think about the ‘worst case scenario’ much more often…or maybe the world I live in has just changed…either way, I don’t know if I was the person I am today, if I would have went through with the move to NYC.  However, I am glad I did, and I am happy I am the person I am today, but at the same time, the person I was 10 years ago.  After all, I ended up meeting my husband in New York, and many other dreams came true for me there, too.

Last night, I was thinking about what September 11th meant to me, and the fact that was participating in a 5K 9/11 Remembrance Run.  It’s so petty, but I realized I didn’t have anything red, white, and/or blue to wear.  It suddenly really bothered me, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I am living in Grenada, and far from New York, but it suddenly became dire for me to represent my country and all those who died that day, and I just felt like I had to do something.  I looked in my closet and I found an old navy blue shirt I didn’t care about anymore, and I found a white tank top, and a little sewing kit I brought here one and a half years ago that I have never touched, and I decided to just make something.  I don’t know how I even got started, but I just began sewing.

I decided to cut out letters and numbers that would read “Never Forget 9~11″ and sew them onto a white tank top.  I don’t know why, but it made me feel better, and it made me feel like I was doing something for my fellow New Yorkers.

The final result…

A shot from the race today…

The race today was fun, and very early, but it was so worth it.  I brought my iPod with me, and I decided to do something that I never ever do.  Instead of selecting a song at the beginning of my run, I simply turned it on, and randomly flipped through all my songs without looking, and decided to listen to whatever song I stopped on.  As I started running, I pressed play, and the song “If I Die Young” came on, and I couldn’t believe it.  It was so beautiful, and it almost made me cry when I heard the lyrics, “The sharp knife of a short life, well, I’ve had just enough time.”  It broke my heart to think of all those people who died that day long before they had enough time.  It was a very humbling moment.

I didn’t know anyone who passed away on September 11th, 2001, and I wasn’t even living in New York when September 11th happened, but I truly feel for all the families and friends who lost loved ones.  I will never forget the events of that day, and someday when someone asks me where I was when September 11th, 2001 happened, I will tell them my little piece in very big history.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001

Part 1: Stories from the Good Ship Lollipop

Backround:

When I was 11 years old, I had just finished the national tour with Les Miz for two years as Young Cosette, and after that, I found myself struggling to get acting jobs.  I was at that awkward age when you’re not really a kid, but not a teenager either. A struggling actress already at the age of 11?  How special.  It always seemed normal to me, though.  I had acted for so long at that point, that the in’s and out of showbiz were nothing new to me.  I was accustomed to being treated like an adult, and it never bothered me that I was not a normal kid like all my friends at school.  I distinctly remember not wanting to be normal. I can remember receiving very candid criticism from casting directors at a very young age, and I learned to take the kind of critique that most people don’t experience until they’re starting their first jobs out of college.  I was this little pseudo adult in a child’s body, dealing with real adults, in a very grown up showbiz world.

My dream was to be just like the childhood star Shirley Temple, but even Shirley Temple struggled to get work once she reached adolescence.

Me on the right as Young Cosette. Yes, that is dirt all over my face.

NY, New York, 1994.  Some apartment somewhere in Manhattan:

I’m wearing my favorite pea green dress, with pea green tights, with a pea green cardigan,  pointy toe brown ankle riding boots, and a matching beret (because hats were my signature.)  All from Gap Kids, naturally.  I have been sent by my agent to visit a dialect coach, so that I can polish up on my English accent for my Secret Garden callback.  It’s for a replacement for the part of Mary Lennox in the Broadway production.  I have wanted this part so bad for the last year, and I have listened to the soundtrack in my Walkman for months and months.  I really want this part.  Bad.

I am sitting on an old, musty smelling loveseat in a smoke-filled room somewhere in Manhattan.  My parents are waiting for me outside, my dialect coach is shuffling around some papers while a ciggy hangs out of her mouth, and I am taking inventory of the room.  She has headshots of different kids she’s trained before me wallpapering her apartment.  I am looking at them, and wondering which of the kids got the roles in whatever they had auditioned for, and which kids did not.  I am searching the wall, which at the time resembles the Great Wall of China to my 11-year-old perspective, trying to look for some clue, when I see a little girl that catches my eye.  All the pictures are in black and white (because that’s how they did headshots in the 90′s), but I can still tell that the little girl in the picture I am looking at, is blond.  I think she is really pretty, and I decide that this b*tch has got style.  She is wearing an open jean jacket, with her hair pulled half up and half down.  Classy broad.  I scan for her name.  Laura Bell Bundy.  Hmmmm.  Who is she?  Well, whoever she is, I decide that whatever she was auditioning for, she probably got it, because she is pretty, and because I like her jean jacket.  Just as I am about to drift farther into my own thoughts, I am abruptly halted by the dialect coach, who from here on out I will refer to as That Old Wench.  Please take note, that I do not mean “wench” as in the Old English sort of way when they speak about fair maidens.  I mean wench, in the most unflattering way possible. Ok, thanks.

Don't ask me how I found this picture...

So, my daydreams are interrupted as That Old Wench is suddenly standing right in front of me.  She is short and stout and resembles the kinds of Humpty Dumpty.

She says, “Well well, little girl what are we working on today?”  She is speaking to me in an English accent, but I know she is not of the likes of the English, and that she is indeed American, because I had listened to her speak to my parents before they left me to wait outside.  So, naturally I am confused.

“Well, I am working on my audition for The Secret Garden,” I manage to spit out.

“And?  And?????”  That Old Wench demands.

“And I really want to get the part,”  I finally concluded relieved and satisfied with my answer.

That Old Wench looks me up and down and pulls another ciggy from her pocket, lights it, and slowly saunters to the couch opposite to me, plops down, and says in a very cavalier way, “When I speak to you in an English accent, I expect you to speak back to me in the same way.”

“Okay,” I say in my American accent.  Wait, thats not it, “Okay,” I correct myself in an English accent.  She looks somewhat pleased with me.  Wow, she’s a gem (<–sarcasm.)

She looks me up and down again, “You know, plenty of kids come in here, and sit right where you’re sitting, and before they even open their mouths, I can tell if they are gonna get the part,” she boasts.

For some reason I find this very intimidating…Wait what am I talking about?!  Of course I find it intimidating, I’m 11 years old.  I really don’t say anything to her at all, but I smile and nod nervously.

She looks at me plainly and says, “You, little girl, just don’t have the sparkle I am sad to say.”

Well, eff you too, lady.  Okay, that’s not what I said…or thought.  I was 11, but I am sure I thought something to that effect as she attempted to squash my dreams.  It’s okay, even at 11, I could take care of myself.

“Really?”  I said in my English accent, “That’s not what I’ve heard,” I said without skipping a beat.

To be continued….

Photos courtesy of stars-portraits.com and laurabellbundyfans.com