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Having little time tonight, I’ll start slowly.

This weekend I watched the movie Frances Ha.
Frances-Ha-02

I loved the French New Wave feel of it, the lightness, breeziness even in the midst of angst-ridden situations. Because this is youth, this is joy and the exuberance of 20-something life in New York City. I loved the French New Wave feel of it. It took me back to my own 20-something years in Manhattan. I was studying at NYU, took French in Paris for six weeks in the summer of 1979 — one of my best times ever. On my wall I had a photo from Breathless, actually a poster from a European film festival at the Regency. Something about that photo made me happy and symbolized something about the life I wanted:

breathless-still

I remember sitting on a blustery day at the counter at the Chock Full o’ Nuts on the NE corner of Washington Square Park. This was before the days of coffeehouses — well, except for the real ones, the original ones in the heart of Greenwich Village: McDougall St., Bleecker St., etc. I saw one of the TAs for my Beginning French class, a class I loved. Normally, I don’t care for cold gray weather. But on that day, as a new returning student at NYU, grateful to be back to college life and in New York City at age 23 in the fall of 1977, it was part of the energy, and I was very happy.

More about NYC in future posts.

Happy 2014!

Hello AGAIN, world, and Happy New Year. Small attainable goals. That’s what they say to do. So today, in keeping with my vow to start this blog *for real* on January 1, even though it’s late, I will announce my Hello as this baby boomer rides the crest of our generation wave trying to make sense of it all… and also rhapsodizing 🙂

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When I think of myself as a girl, in fifth grade,living on Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, I can hear two sounds in my mind’s ear. One is the periodic roar of B-52s taking off from the flight line just down the road. We got used to pausing in our lesson, everyone quiet until the plane was high in the sky, where we could no longer hear it.

The other sound, which I liked much better, was that of the Air Force band across the quad, practicing “Rhapsody in Blue.” I didn’t know what it was called then, just knew I loved the swoon, the sweetness and melancholy of that tune. Here’s a poem I wrote once for a beginning poetry class at the Loft:

March 17, 2009

Rhapsody

In fifth grade in Puerto Rico
we learned to pause
when planes lifted off the flight line down the street,
carrying my classmates’ dads in pilot jumpsuits
for a mysterious two weeks “on alert.”

And wafting through our classroom window
late mornings, passionate music
from the boxy building across the lawn,
the Air Force band rehearsing.

Amateur musicians in uniform
with trumpets and trombones,
taking a break from desk jobs and airplanes, to practice
a daily melody I learned to love but couldn’t name,
under summer skies all school-year long

that return to me on a cold spring night in Minnesota
when I hear Gershwin
on the radio.

I remember those days when my sunny dad
whistled off to work in officer’s khaki,
and me at the pool in November with friends
and the school where we studied
in shirtwaist dresses and madras.

And I miss my father tonight,
how he played jazz piano
easily, naturally, in every key.

And that’s what I wish to do here: rhapsodize in every key, without gatekeepers and without fear. Without perfection, without self-censorship. To have writing be *fun* again. If there is a theme, it’s a loose one. Baby boomer mom tells of the life and times in which she grew up, the children she raised, her passions (those children being among the greatest of those), who she was as a girl and who she is now — which is that very same girl with a lot more wisdom.

When I was a girl, Anne Frank and her diary were among my first inspirations to write and to keep my own diary. A place for far-ranging thoughts. So this will be, in part, my figurative red-checkered cloth diary AND my rhapsody, from one who has always thought she was probably meant to be a musician more than anything else. As I didn’t learn the piano very well, these, on the laptop, are my keys.