The Earth Shook Light

Onna, Italy, 2009.

While roaming around all alone, I found myself jolted from the ground beneath me, vibrating through the air violently. On the way back down though, in the most unearthly of ways, the earth around me lit up. Giant, vibrant orbs of every shade of every color I’ve ever encountered in this life flew around me. It wasn’t just the illumination that was so striking-it was the perfect union the light made with the sky, sounds, and earth. I had read about it once, the earthquake lights I mean, and it all seemed rather rational. But, when you see it for yourself, no science can tell you what you saw wasn’t magic.

Some people think it’s aliens. That’s what the articles and the research say, they say people think it’s aliens or UFO’s or something, but I know what it really is. It’s the Earth doing something it was always made to do, but we were always too blind to ever really succumb to the wonder.

I realized that day that us humans aren’t in touch with our universe anymore. We created our own that doesn’t coincide with the one around us, and we won’t be able to survive much longer-authentically at least. I want to get back to the basics of what it means to be human, and that means accepting that we are animals. I am an animal. I cannot stress that enough. I am an animal and so are you. I don’t think we think about that enough, how we are animals I mean. We are supposed to be players on the stage that is nature but we too often believe we are the directors and stage managers when we’re the farthest thing from it. We need to remember we are not in control.

We have to not only remember who we are, but what we are.

If you don’t believe me, you will one day. Everyone will have their moment where they see the lights during an earthquake, it just won’t always be an earthquake. It might be the sole flower in a cracked, orange desert. It might be during a staring contest with your family dog. It might even be you looking at yourself in the mirror-I don’t know and neither do you. But, the raw beauty is in the mystery, and after all, everything that’s ever happened is just that.

 

 

 

Somewhere in Ireland

Hidden deep within the crevices of my body is a small sliver of my being I let you dwell. I vowed to never let it grow again, so each year-each day, the section of me that’s you gets smaller.  It gets smaller, but never small enough. That little part of you in me attacks every ounce of love that’s left, and congeals the blood around my heart so it’s just useless goo. Like a forgotten Olympian, your presence is still mighty even if I cant remember why I was ever impressed to begin with.

Years from now when our paths cross again, I will feel nothing for you. But, by Fate’s bidding, we will meet again. I will find you somewhere in the countryside of Ireland in a dimly lit and grimy dive bar; it will look like the one we used to dream up and you will be bartending collecting dust with the top shelf liquor. I will sit at the very end of the bar and ask for a whiskey. Our eyes will meet and you will either look surprised or scared and I will stare blankly back as I shoot back my glass and swallow the whole cup in one gulp. When I’m done with my drink, I will return what’s left of you in me, place it on the bar, and walk away, free.

 

Author’s side note-

I’ve always taken a liking, for an unknown reason, to writing stories in the second person. They are always very short, but they seem to have some kind of therapeutic quality. It’s like writing a letter you’ll never send to that person you’re just SO MAD at. It’s so personal. When I read something in the second person it seems so relatable. So, my hope is somehow you can relate to some of my little experiments into the tense that is the second person.

 

 

 

 

mobsters who write

“In the end the guys hand gets chopped off.”

“So?”

“What do you mean, “so?” The guy doesn’t have a hand anymore.”

“Sure it’s sad, but it’s not tragic or anything.”

“Well, then how do you propose I end the story, Shakespeare?”

“End it the same-just add another layer to it. Wow, surprised you even know who Shakespeare is.”

“You think I’m stupid or something? Frank, what the hell are you talking about, layers?”

“I’m talking about making the guy a carpenter or something. Like his whole identity is based off of how well he uses his hands. And without his hands he doesn’t know who he is anymore.”

“That will take forever to factor in… think of all the rewriting I would have to do, how ’bout he loses his wedding ring when he loses the hand, that adds a layer, no?”

“Jesus Pauly that’s material shit. You want to write a good story or a just alright one?”

“Yeah, yeah a good one.”

“Well then, you gotta put some effort into it. The same way you put effort into wacking people who disrespect The Boss.”

“Louie’s supposed to be here soon, yeah?”

“Not until…shit, he’ll be here any minute-put your damn sissy journal away and pretend we’re playing poker.”

“You get the cigars!”

“Is there lasagna anywhere, or a gun or something?”

“You’ve been working here your whole life you know the lasagna’s in the fridge and the guns are in Tony’s room.”

“I’m just nervous is all, alright?”

“Okay, would it be the worst thing if everyone besides me knew you liked something other than lasagna and poker?”

 

 

 

 

 

Driving with Modernity

The technology of this generation is, at times, unsettling. Apple culture. Tablets. Apps. It’s all kind of weird, but completely commonplace. We’ve fully accepted these things as not only normal (this, of course, is the natural progression) but constantly desired. We want these things to encompass every aspect of our lives. Our technology doesn’t have a “time and place” it is the time and place.

Think about it-isn’t it slightly disturbing when you’re watching a film, totally immersed in it and the world of the characters, and you see an iPhone, or watch a person use Tinder? For me, this provides an awareness that removes me from the story. I think this is in part because none of these things provide a “timelessness” feeling. It makes it apparent that the story is only relevant to this very, very specific time in human history. You can’t ignore it-you are forced to notice the branding (The latest installation of the Jurassic franchise is a good example of this). You don’t notice an actor is on the phone in a particular scene, you notice he’s on his Samsung Galaxy s6.

But, I digress. This post is actually about my Uber driver hitting on me at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Whenever I get into an Uber, I clutch my smartphone and I’m happy to have a ride home. I am a millennial that is benefitting from the culture my generation has created for me-doesn’t mean I’m ga-ga in love with it though. The consequences of our creations are just different than previous decades, and part of the problem is we aren’t really equipped for the repercussions. We don’t know how to deal with it yet because we simply haven’t yet.

So, what do you do when your Uber driver expresses he would like to, if he could, “drive you around all night just to be with you.” Or that he, “could hear you talk all night baby.” It’s sweet (I guess?), but awkward. I mean, I was shoving a plain double cheeseburger in my face just trying to get home to cuddle with my roommate’s dog.

Is this funny because it’s my Uber driver? My friends certainly thought so. But, then, I thought what if I told the same story, but it was a cab driver? Or my bus driver on my daily commute? Then it’s a different story. It’s not funny or cute-it’s creepy. I came to the conclusion that because Uber is associated with hip technology that youth identify with, this behavior was deemed acceptable and made a good story. And is this fair? Probably not, but that’s how culture seems to be painting it.

I participate in the inventions of my generation, but I think there’s worth and value in evaluating them every once in a while. Like a juice cleanse or a hot yoga class-you can handle it every once in a while. So, every once in a while you should take a step back and think about what technology is doing to this generation, where are we going right and where are we going terribly, terribly wrong?

Regina Coeli

If Regina George from Tina Fey’s classic Mean Girls were a city, she would be London. There are a myriad of reasons why, but I will delve into them later. For now let’s go with the obvious. Regina, of course, means Queen in Latin, Italian, and Romanian. Regina is the Queen Bee of the Plastics just like England thinks it’s the Queen Bee of Europe, but they love their Queen across the pond – she’s everywhere. I think if they had it their way she wouldn’t even have to share a bank note with Charles Darwin. I’m assuming that she either is a narcissist and basks in the notion there isn’t one pound not donning her face, or is terribly embarrassed and tells people, “Well, no, no, it certainly wasn’t my idea!”

I’m more of a twisted Janice Ian type, so I knew we wouldn’t get on too well. In the beginning though, I thought London would be my girl crush, but I slowly caught on to her signature scent of dirty history and stagnant air. In all honesty, London is like the homecoming queen of Europe.  She is painfully gorgeous but has a bland personality and is kind of a stone cold bitch (literally). If you really want to get to know her you have to squeeze yourself into the places you were never meant to go, far off from the winding road your hotel was supposed to be on, and even further from another living soul. The place is one miserable circle where one street has five different names and every hostel claims to be on “Buckingham Palace Road.” I’m being harsh. She’s not all bad. She has some good qualities. For example, I will say the public transportation is phenomenal.  As the anxiety ridden spastic girl I am, I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it- I mean I’m from New York and I still have to ask myself, literally, every time, am I going towards Downtown and Brooklyn or Uptown and The Bronx? The glorious underground though, gave me no such problems.

Due to my lack of knowledge of all things London, I reached out to the few people I knew in the city. My best friend’s brother is in London for the summer and we decided to go for a pint. He called me and said, “Come now to Farringdon.” He’s been there two weeks and he refers to London as “his city.” I knew he knew I didn’t know where the bloody hell Farringdon was in relation to my location, but I was up to the challenge. I retrieved my blue oyster card (the much more elite equivalent to the Metro Card) from my purse bogged down by little Queen Elizabeth II’s and made my way to the nearest underground. To my surprise, the maps made sense. The lines were clear as to which direction they were going, and luckily for me, Farringdon was a stop. I thought I finally had this London girl all figured out, and for the most part I did. I had eight stops to go, and sat observing the incredibly rude people did not help my eagerness to get off.

As I popped off the tube, I scanned my surroundings. There was one pub called “The Castle,” and then nothing. Since there was relatively no one and nothing, finding my friend’s brother proved easy. I followed him into his apartment which is wildly similar to his personality; extravagant with a hint of douche. There wasn’t much to do except remark on the lone lemon in a bowl on the table and how his dress shirts were not properly hung up in his closet. Somehow, this led to a pre pub whisky.

“So little lost girl made her way through the tube.”

“Yep.”

“Whats your necklace mean?”

“September.”

“Cool. Well you look nice.”

“Haha, thanks, you too.”

“Want a tour?”

“Sure.”

We snaked around the apartment slowly, careful to note the Piet Mondrian paintings and discuss his part in the neoplasticism movement. In his bedroom where I guess I was supposed to be seduced by his three pairs of dress shoes, he told me I should stay with him.

“You could stay with me ya know.”

“This is nicer than St. Georges in, which is the farthest thing from holy, but I’m good thanks.”

“Oh come on. We could play house, it be fun. Let’s go get a pint now and get out of here.”

We went to the pub down the street and at the bottom of my beer I realized just how weird this place made me feel.

***

Go see the London Eye. Don’t get on it. It’ll most likely ruin the nostalgia of your first ferris wheel ride at your respective hometown’s fair with that boy you liked with the freckles.

Communicating is often difficult with the lack of free WiFi, so to meet my friend Laurel and her friend, Erin and I had to get old school. I went off on my own looking for her along the pier that shares a shadow with the Eye, and maybe it was the whisky, but everyone seemed to be attacking me with their words. A man with a speaker and a terrible tie shouted at me, “Susan! Stop stalking me or I’ll have to get a restraining order.” On the way back from my search, I encountered the man again, who proceeded to follow me around. “Susan, not again!”

My name’s not Susan, and no London, you’re not very nice.

Take Away The Details

The day of that party I walked up the stairs to your apartment, and a fourth of the way up it dawned on me the stairwell was unfamiliar to me. I couldn’t remember how many steps there were, or how to navigate them in the dark-something I easily mastered many drunken nights before. When I reached the top, I kind of just stopped and stared at you for a moment through the glass slats on your door. Then you caught my glance and waved me in, but we stayed locked in that moment for a while-I think because maybe we knew it would be the only real time we would have together that night. Even if we weren’t in the same room yet. You looked so different-matured or some character trait that resembled maturity, but I don’t know, mainly because I don’t know you anymore.

It was painful to see you, so painful in fact, I took my glasses off so you and everything else around you was blurred-I knew you were there but I didn’t have to see the details. The details were the always the worst of it anyway.

Review of “Persefone,” directed by Grazia Tricarico

If you never thought the words “necrophilia” and “gorgeous” could be in the same sentence, you haven’t seen “Persefone” yet. An official selection of the 26th annual New Orleans Film Festival, I had the honor of attending the screening a few weeks ago with the director, (e mia amica nuova), Grazia Tricarico. Although only about fifteen minutes in length, this short film explores the force that propels a young boy to follow through with the act of sleeping with a female corpse he encounters at sea. Not to reveal too much, but like the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, the boy traps her in his own “underworld” of sorts. You can only marvel at the screen and wonder what gears are turning through the boys mind-is it plain curiosity, a much anticipated longing, or the intoxication that power and ultimate control produce?

As for the gorgeous part-the mise-en-scene is as well calculated as it is beautiful. Each frame is more gorgeous than the next thus allowing the viewer to feel connected to the characters rather than immediately disgusted. Even with minimal dialogue, this film has so many layers you can peel back for hours of discussion. With a passion for the taboo, Tricarico somehow manages to extract the “gross” factor of the topic and paint a new picture; one that invites you into the mind of a boy who happens to be a necrophiliac.

Grazie, Grazia.