Long Time, No Read…

Is anybody out there? …

I repeat…is anybody out there?

Bueller?

Bueller?

Ha.  It’s been a long, long while, but just wanted to pop in to say heyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  Oh, and to give you the link to an essay I wrote, which was featured on HelloGiggles today.  Hooray!  Very excited about that.

And just so you know, I miss you guys like candy…or candaaaaaaaaay (insert Mandy Moore’s twangy voice.)

I promise I’ll be talking to you soon!

http://hellogiggles.com/ode-long-lost-granny-sweater/#read

xo

Sarah

 

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

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 12.50.22 PM

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.

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.