Part 34 - SOE

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    she wrote near to twenty pages already. It is two forty-two, so there is still time to write more.

    for today.

    - - -

    she has to leave this place, but she will miss the instant companionship of the knitters, they are

    all so very friendly, so very well-behaved. She likes it here. Maybe she should learn how to knit,

    knit, knit. Instead of writing. Maybe she will be able to do that. It does not seem to be too

    difficult. Maybe, one day. For now, she writes, she animates. Shell leave, shell walk through

    New York City dreaming of lighttables, missing some things she does not really know how to

    articulate. She wishes for peace, maybe, the embrace of a lover, maybe, the wind in her face,

    maybe. false creek, so very maybe.

    - - -

    tedium seems part of this knitting business, it seems to be part of the bricklaying business,

    tedium is part of writing. She ponders whether her philosophical musings are valid. She

    selfdoubts. Which is fine. In this vacuum of beauty.

    - - -

    she sits down in this Deli at the corner of 14th and 8th, remembering vaguely that one is a

    Street, one is an Avenue, but at this point of the day she is slightly confused, which is which,

    because there is East, West, South North to be put in the mix, she did not want to get out here,

    but it is fine anyways, she knows how to get home from here, on the other side, there is this big

    Gourmetplace called Balduccis, she is still slightly sick, slightly squashed by her cold, the lights

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    from the ceiling are reflected in the green marble of her table, she can see people coming out of

    the subway from where she sits, the window is exactly near the steps of the subway which is

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    fascinating, she looks at people, notices vaguely that there is no music in this place, which is a

    first in all her constant travels, in ontario, in qubec and in new york, a place that does not need

    music, that relies solely on visual entertainment, the noise from the street, conversation, music is

    not part of the equation, then again, maybe there is some music somewhere, somewhere in the

    distance, she looks outside where the world runs by, where life runs by, this place has a certain

    unhappiness, a certain uneasiness, she suddenly can hear music, which was there all along, which

    was there all along.

    - - -

    She ponders if simply repeating words will make for good writing. Of course not, it is very

    skilful filing away at sentences that will propel her adventures here in literatureland, in the

    linguistic landfill that she is dropping her insights into.

    Outside, the city goes by, moves by, people are coming out of the subwaystation, there is a

    beige stairway going up here. She should have a tea, but it does not really hault her cold. The

    person at the other table is drinking a Red Bull, the author ponders if that kind of energy drink

    would supply her with energy, she is tired, still full of pangs of fever, that make her sit here and

    rest, that make her try to regain her strength, to go into a state of normalcy, where she can

    breathe and swallow easily, again.

    The person at the table opposite of her eats and talks to himself while eating, a fly bumps into

    her face. Something smells, some foul smell. The Deli is situated at a very strategically valid

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    corner, it must make a lot of business.

    She wants to leave.

    - - -

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    She sits down on a bench in the subway. A woman with red nail polish is reading. So she, the

    author, thinks, that maybe she should sit and write here. It is rushhour people rush by, transfer

    between L, A, C and E trains.

    The subway, breeding ground for musicians, visual artists. Looking at the writing pad, while

    seeing all those legs rush by. Walking cycles, lots and lots of biped walking cycles.

    All kinds of colors, red pants, brown shoes, black pants, wheels of strollers, of suitcases on

    wheels, people rushing and running, striding, strutting elegant persons and non-elegant ones.

    high grey heels, pumps, that were bought at a cheap outlet store. She writes away, Someone

    wheels by canned fruit, behind him someone wheels by a stroller. Someone reads, someone

    writes. Someone talks, someone listens.

    The author smiles. Her observations get more profound, the more her surrealistic state of

    tourisme, of dislocation progresses. Will she be able to adapt to normalcy, once she is back in

    vancouver. She cant really sit back home at the Metrotown skytrain station and write like this.

    She would feel weird, strange. Here, on the other hand, this seems normal, writing to combat

    insanity, uncertainty, dislocation. That is what pens are made for.

    - - -

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    She just writes away.

    - - -

    she is now back in the dunkin donuts on 9th avenue at the corner of, maybe 24th., maybe 25th.

    street, she cannot see it from here, she ordered 5 munchkins, or, actually, she wanted 3, but she

    always gets 5, they always want to up her sugar and fat intake, here, take more, clog your

    arteries, for free, its on the house, some person at the donut place has a bypass surgeon in her

    family, it is just one big conspiracy, corporations and other culprits, organized anything, it is just

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    horrible and it is getting worse, by the minute. She feels sicker by the minute, then again she

    feels a tad better than before. That does not really make sense, but, basically, she would like to

    feel really, really great. And this cold is just draining her, interferes with her creativity, her ability

    to pen accurate illustrations of the world around her, substandard writing being the obvious

    consequence. Sorry, we are not writing War and Peace here, we have a cold. The poet doesnt

    know it, the cold makes her write down rubbish.

    Outside New York happens. At this point, everything here seems ordinary, she has her favourite

    hangouts, her favourite food, her favourite pastimes. She meets the same bums at the same time,

    and they meet her. Useless lives. she is slightly pessimistic. She fishes for her cellphone. She

    detests that she has no access to the internet, she has to walk for thirty minutes to get to the

    nearest internet caf or take the subway, take the A or the E, and then change to the L and then

    walk again. Too complicated, much too complicated. She will take the subway and go to Macys

    where the world circles around what matters, fashion and the ability to fit into certain sizes. That

    is what we are fighting for. Shallow ideas, clothes et. al.

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    She ponders what to do. Should she take the train uptown and have fun. She wrote already

    thirty-five pages, that seems to be enough for today. The more she writes now, the more she has

    to type, once back in vancitay. The more trees have to go down, the more ink will pollute the

    ground water, the more petrochemicals to make pens, the more blood for oil.

    stop convoluted answers, stop convoluted answers. Stop simple answers. She thinks of the guy

    with the grey t-shirt, whose T-shirt said I love Jahad, with the I written as I, the love as heart and

    the jahad written in Arabic. Fusion, in your face. Take that, islamophobic US. She is mad, at a lot

    of things. Ragingly, but then again maybe not mad enough. What is she doing here anyways?

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    Talking like these people, walking like these people. Her alliances are multi-faceted. As if that is

    an excuse. For anything.

    A biker, a stroller wheel by. Life outside of the dunkin donuts window. Passes by, slow and

    fast. A pigeon, two persons. And so many cars. Roaring, whooshing. Music on the overhead.

    Rhythm, staccato. People talk behind her. Something Urduish or so. She has to leave, wants to

    leave. This is getting unbearable. So much to write, so little, so very little time. So little time left

    on this planet. For the myriad of things she still has to achieve. World peace, that kind of stuff. In

    her spare time. While having fun. Lots of fun. And making a buck. And dreaming of romance.

    That is always good, goes with anything. With any pair of shoes.

    - - -

    she sits down near the photographer who takes pictures of flowers. She looks up at skyscrapers

    and wonders, ponders, whether she let go of what matters most, so very, very tall buildings,

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    scrapers of skies, of clouds, buildings that take her breath away, that makes the gasp in her lungs

    hault, for a second. Delirious Manhattan and The Manhattan Transcripts, buildings,

    buildings, buildings. That have their own narrative, their own storylines. Midair wonders. People

    rushing by, 2 kids discussing stuff in Arabic. The world, the world. A woman with 3 blue bags

    walks by. She haults her writing. She watches the world. She writes, writes, writes.

    - - -

    she finds herself down in the cellar, the basement of macys, with a peppermint tea, trying to

    figure out whether she should still keep on writing pure trivia, whether she should even be here,

    whether writing is a vocation, the usual. The fleeting feeling of non-entitlement. The idea that we

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    should all be trailblazers is some vague idea that moralizing individuals will bestow upon us.

    Something like that.

    She is deep in the heart of touristy big apple, a foreigner in a foreign country surrounded by

    Strangers. Neil Young is singing some Neil Youngishy song. It comes with the territory of being

    Neil Young. She writes in front of this glass partition that reflects her writing hand. She sees her

    hand write, sees the shadow and the reflection. It is strange, weird visually. Writing times three.

    It does not really make any difference, not for her, at least, whether she writes good or bad, 10

    out of 10 or 0 out of 10, as long as she can watch her hand write in 3 different, shapes, the pen

    being an extension of her hand, gliding over paper, leaving marks in its trail.

    She looks up. she sees so much but does not feel like reflecting about it, on it. She longs for

    quietness, when the urge, the obsession to leave ones mark seizes. Maybe that will be once she

    is dead and ice-cold. Hopefully, that will be, when she seizes. Not before. Not a second before.

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    And now to happier topics. To life. To happiness. To writing. To pens and pencils. To paper. To

    dreams and hopes. That take us through life. Salute.

    - - -

    We drink to that. With a slowly coldening peppermint tea. In the basement in macys. In NYC.

    In spring of 2008. Oh, and at the age of 52. The author tries to drown her stagnant inability to

    pen down heavy, fluffy, sweetish prose by accumulating number after number. Quantify the

    moment.

    - - -

    Quality might follow. Will follow. In this little basementy public space. Where the music is

    loud enough.

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    - - -

    she wonders whether she should still write. whether she should still describe this place and

    whether it has enough gritty-ness, enough dimension or whether this is basically the underbelly

    of late capitalism, the basement of macys and whether she is even in a position to complain

    about capitalism and whether capitalism is sheerly, purely a monster, we like to hate, the beast

    that feed us, that builds us up and tears us down. The author listens to the music, brought about

    by some loudspeaker built by some corporation, built by the man. She smiles, because if she ever

    publishes this, the man will publish it. Anyhow, blame it on the man.

    She listens to Simon and Garfunkel on the overhead, here in the basement of this very

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    tourist-oriented store, all the songs are so very recognizable, all top ten hits of, well, actually,

    since she was born. She holds her phone to her ear, because she thinks that she missed calls and

    she does not really know, how to work this piece of new-fangledness, she must be the last

    dinosaur who is totally clueless about the workings of a cellphone and decidedly so.

    The less she can be reached, the more time to pen words. Every woman is an island. At this

    time of the day, platitudes have to suffice for intellectual insights, clichs propelled by listening

    to loud but light music, songs, she can hum to, she has heard before, she writes her days away for

    nearly all of the last month, putting down all these words and watching the notebooks pile up on

    the brown, rustic coffee table in the small apartment in chelsea, between 8th and 9th, in the street

    so reminiscent of the street she grew up on, so many, many years ago. This is a far-away country,

    a far-away city, but the street is still the same, so very much the same, the eeriness is palpable.

    Then again, it is not really eerie more ironic, utterly ironic in a funny, visceral way.

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    She likes this place, each and every song she knows and that is what is important, continuity,

    the feel of community in a strange city, points of recognition. She does not really care about the

    no-tv, anti-everything crowd. Viva commercialism.

    She ponders whether she managed to pay lipservice to basically all different viewpoints, that

    exist. Or, on a lighter note, whether she managed to offend friend and foe.

    She has to go now. It is getting late here. People eat their food and stare straight into the front

    of them. She writes her days away. It is fun and it is a tad tough, it is difficult to find the right

    words, the best words. Night must be near, she ponders, whether to stop and make her way home.

    How much longer can one person spin a yarn? How much longer into the night? She feels

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    like a train careening into the night, racing by points of orientation, signs of whereabouts, she

    shoots by hoping to get somewhere, hoping to get a moment in time, something like that.

    Something so very kitschy like that. She writes her days away. Writes, writes. And stops

    abruptly. This is far too exhausting.

    - - -

    Time to find her way home to her apartment in chelsea.

    - - -

    It is april 15, 2008. She is sitting here in harvard square. It is 10:10 in the morning. The sun is

    shining. She is meeting someone at eleven, so she still has 50 minutes left. She is sitting here

    near this grey, golden thingie, statue-sculpture creature behind her, looking up at the cambridge

    savings bank, is writing, kind of like a geek, but this is what she does these days. Yesterday was

    fun, she was all over Boston, a woman with a Yale handbag walks by. Well, Yale bag. A Fed Ex

    truck drives by. She balances the notebook on her lap, aha, you might call that Laptop. She did

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    not have chocolate-chip ricotta cannelloni at Mikes Bakery in Little Italy, she has to lose weight.

    To be able to make it through some more years on this planet. There is lots of construction going

    on at this harvard square here. policeman yells at person, person leaves cursing. harvard, harvard.

    she subwayed by MIT, too. She loves the subway here in Boston. It is called the T. It is very

    clean, very neat. The wayfinding system is superb. The transit card is called charlie-card. Lots of

    charles named places and streets, lots of revere named places. Little Italy. She loves the accent of

    the people here, she thought they are all Scottish or British, until someone told her that this is

    Boston accent.

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    She likes the mall near her hotel/house/residence. Everything is very clean. She liked the

    busride from New York to Boston. She liked Renzo Pianos New York Times building. The sun is

    shining and she likes everything. Everything. Everything. She is kind of disappointed at the

    cutsiness of everything, though, it seems too far removed from straight scholarship. Well, maybe,

    it is more straight scholarship, with the world neatly arranged into colored blocs, in primary

    colors, without mirroring complexity, messiness, multifacetedness. Everything arranged neatly in

    categories, so very, very formulaic. Abstraction as the only way to deal with the world,

    abstraction because of the incompetence to mirror the world accurately.

    This seat is getting cold. She has to find a warmer, warmer place. She goes into the Cambridge

    Savings Bank and sits down in a nice, warm chair, an armchair. She starts writing some more.

    She ponders if her observations about this place were accurate, or if they are biased. Predisposed

    into a certain area, only based on the subway she took. And what is wrong with the neatness of a

    legoland like subway, without the grittyness and filth of big city subways. What is wrong with a

    mall, the glib cleanliness? What? What?

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    And, to take this further, what is wrong with brash statements in an essay, that do not pierce the

    status quo? Brash without being brash. Cookie-cutter brashness? She still has twenty minutes to

    wait. She did not have cannelloni. She ponders and looks at her new shoes. Her so very pretty

    new shoes. She will go sightseeing, museumhopping. It is better than writing. So much safer.

    Consumption versus production. Consume ideas, do not produce ideas. When ideas mean

    scratching power. Power that manifest in scholarship. And is so utterly debatable. And Galileo

    went home mumbling under his beard. The very nature of scholarship. Since the beginning of

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    time, to the end of time. So very, very sad.

    Maybe evolution will bring us further, when we do not dare to do revolution. We dont do

    revolution. We do not need the blood, splattered all over these walls. Of capitalism.

    She is sick of writing in sickening metaphors. She will get ready to sightsee. Now. In spring 08.

    In Cambridge, Massachusetts. At a quarter to eleven. AM, which means before noon.

    - - -

    so i am sitting here in front of MIT, looking at a red bike, feeling scientific and hot, eating a

    cliffbar that is too gooey, writing, writing, thinking that I have not what it takes to be a scientist.

    Daydreams take me away.

    She notices that she uses the wrong tense, the wrong, pronoun.

    She should go back to NYC.

    It is hot, so she soaks up the sun. a lift truck drives by, all scrunched up. She likes it here. The

    steps are very dusty.

    She feels scientific. She reads the words: couscous-couscous- falafel kitchen on the truck on

    the other side of the street. She writes away, trying to pinpoint down, where poetry and science

    meet. They, of course, meet in the pen she uses, applied science materialized, used to construct

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    word figments, that might go somewhere, might not go somewhere. Like a scientist

    experimenting. Or something like that. It is too hot.

    - - -

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    she sits down in this store and tries to write. It is not easy, because there is no table. This is not

    conducive to writing. She ponders what to say. The name of the store is garment district. She

    stops. She leaves.

    - - -

    she sits down in the train that leaves Boston at 6:45. Her feet are so very tired, she sightsaw

    every second for the last two days, which is, of course, an exaggeration. But so it seems and her

    right knee seems to quiver and exhale and inhale and something inside is knocking to get out.

    She is happy to finally sit down and write, the blue interior of the train is soothing in its

    graininess, the air conditioner commands respect. Penn Station, here I come. She paid 59 bucks

    and she thinks the bus might have been cheaper. But she came by bus (yesterday morning) and

    she now wants to go back by train. This was a lot of adventure, though today just stretched

    forever and forever. She liked the sailboats on the charles river, when the train drove, rode over

    the bridge from Boston to Cambridge. She toured Harvard, a tiny bit, and MIT, more. A Frank

    Gehry building she saw.

    Outside, Boston, says good night, dusk, reflections of the sun against the grey of the concrete,

    the train, grey and yellow, beauty of industry. city through dramatic bridges. Au revoir, Boston.

    Loved yer. For two days. Mysterious fascination, funny, fine accent. The city is so very majestic.

    South Station Back Bay Station. The train goes on. Luckily nobody sat near her. As of yet.

    Tunnel Yellow lights.

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    The train stopped and now goes further into dusk, further near to the night. She looks at the sun

    like a golden dollar, bright behind the trees. Or silverdollar or golden coin. trees swirl by, she

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    tries to write. Outside feathery trees, flying by, branches dark against slight white. She writes

    away. There is no time to sleep, is there?

    - - -

    She would have never chosen to write. It is an obligation, a chore now. She has stopped for too

    long. Life happened. Writing had to wait.

    - - -

    she shivers. She cant really hault the beauty of this trainride, pin it down and draw an image,

    pour the very peaceful, very visually silent surrounding onto a surface, the dark that flies by,

    orange lights, the rumourless springnight, the rush towards New York, the commute, the moment

    in time, the moments in time, she can take notes, but the dream evades. Restlessly, peacefully.

    - - -

    Outside, the shadows draw reflections, the lights pass by, she writes all these so very short

    lights of observations, curly orange light floods by and down on her notepad, cities like

    providence and pawtucket flood by, the night of the Eastern US rolls by the train, the spots of

    lights roll by like a suspended firework, frame by frame, on a long timeline, on a neverending

    storyboard. Some city outside, she wonders, which one.

    - - -

    she looks out the window between new haven and stamford and grapples with selfdoubt,

    should she and could she, can she write? Genreless narration, lines of thought on paper,

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    motionless narratives, suspended storylines. Negativity encompasses everything, stomps her

    lingo in the ground, flattens the words, hinder their flight into the spot, the spots next to the sun,

    above the moon.

    Words are so very difficult, so plain, so hard to paint with. Crayons theyre not.

    The train slides her from side to side, roaringly it tugs along towards Penn Station.

    Relentlessly.

    - - -

    she drives by a place called port chester, the train drives by other stations, cars on a freeway

    drive towards the train window, outside lights, outside a truck, fog, lights, sparkles in the dark,

    for nanoseconds, splitting by, parked cars, a place called Harrison trees, houses, a silent city, her

    reflection in the window, her image, she writes, while others read, outside the fly-by-world, a

    freeway, a truck, an underpass, a station, the world flies her by. Boston was so very beautiful, so

    easy to miss. It is just a city, a city, though, with very distinct songs, its own rhythms, its own

    drummer. Beauty personified, mystified. New York seems to be here already, the city lets you

    arrive. A place called New Rochelle on its way to New York.

    She stretches her legs, wanders what time it is. Outside business, dreaminess. A powerstation,

    bridges, underpass. Lights.

    - - -

    The lights quiver in the water. The city is here. Tall. Majestic. Finally. The train stops. in front

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    of a fence. wrought iron, line after line, a house, cars parked, street lights, a bus driving by,

    turning, a car, another one. Silence. trees slightly ghostly. She anticipates the city, she looks at

    the two red lights, that vanish once the train moves, a parking garage, the train shuffles, stalls,

    then moves along, not that fast, more quietly, subdued, an Orchard Beach Highway sign, a

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    yellow stretched light, a glimpse of a light behind trees, a glistening truck, apartment buildings

    en masse, the city, the city. She sketches what she sees, but knows she has to stop, find a place

    for her notebook in the macys bag, she writes, she writes.

    - - -

    A super-deli, a mini- market. This mysterious city after the other mysterious city, Boston, New

    York, somewhere on the East Coast, somewhere in 2008. The train rolls into Penn Station, there

    is nothing more to write. Her hand puts letters on the white, the train toots its horn, it is

    elevenish. The city is quiet from here, lights subdued, lights in rows. Like vines on a vineyard.

    The trainstation opens its arms.

    - - -

    selfstorage signs and billboards say hi, she seizes to write. It is mysteriously, mysticly chilly.

    The mist of the lights rolls by. The wagon has a lot of friction is so very heavy.

    - - -

    it is wednesday. it is april 16, 2008. she waits at the corner of 34th. and 7th.. In front of Macys.

    The place is chokked full with people waiting for the 10 AM opening. weather is nice, sunny. No

    showers, no flowers. store is at the brink of opening. Hop and Pops are rushing by.

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    She smears ink on her fingers.

    - - -

    she finally made her way down into the basement at macys, balancing a green tea, that is

    supposed to be refreshing ( it said so on the package of the teasachet, thus it must be ), her bag,

    her purse, her writing tablet, she scours all the brown tables for the best one, one is wobbly, one

    round, one square, there are high ones, low ones, lightened ones, darker ones, some with noisy

    neighbours, views of interesting, invigorating people, she finally sits down, someone moves a

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    blue kitchen cart by, that makes a lot of noise. She feels she has to catch up on her writing, with

    her writing, she definitely has not done forty pages per day, she was busy with her life, writing

    was somewhere on the backburner, a notebook tucked away somewhere in her bag, like her

    knitting. Not that she knits, but she writes in knitting shops, she writes in department stores, she

    writes in all kinds of places. A bright orange jacket over the back of a seat catches her eye, she

    looks up at the sandwiches sign. When she was on the seventh floor at macys she noticed this

    longwinded writing over a neatly made bed, writing in white on black, different lettersize, and

    the writing resembled her writing, it was citytalk, very eary, very berlin alexanderplatz, she sat

    down on the nicely made bed, knowing that everything has been done before, knowing that we

    are merely clones, dollys, artist clones, poet clones, little numbers with souls. She misses

    something, someone. So very much someone, that it hurts somewhere in her intestines, makes

    her stomach turn, the void scratches from inside. She loves that, she feels alive because of this

    her constant longing, her violent wishes for his smile, that make her stall in her stride.

    A girl with long hair and a blue coat walks around with her breakfast on a tablet and tries to

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    find the best spot in the restaurant. Her little brother and her mother follow her around. Tourists.

    Everyone here is a tourist. She is out of ink. She has to find another pen. She finds her greyhound

    pen, that she got from the bus station. It writes very thinly, she has to put on her glasses to read

    what she has written with it. She has to count her pages. She has to do this and that. So much.

    She finished six pages already, which is good, given that it is not even noon. Six down, thirty-

    four more to go. Everyone here holds a map. Or maybe she is seeing things. She should go

    somewhere else, see something else. Change of scenery is always good. It brings out the writer,

    inspires. That kind of thing. She has to force the ballpen onto the paper which interferes with

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    wordsmithing. big girls dont cry, sings Fergie. The author is not a big girl, she is a small girl,

    feeling inadequate, non-strong, up against words that do not fall into place, that have no deep

    insights to illustrate, no worldchanging thoughts to image down on the paper, nothing to say.

    Nada. she scratches her head, maybe she should just roam the city, sightsee, figure out how to

    make her way to the statue of liberty, to the Whitney, to Pentagram. She has seen so much of

    New York already, this must be her tenth time to this city, in this city. Maybe more times, maybe

    less. She has lost count. She writes. With the wrong ballpen. The inkless one. The one with the

    stalling ink. She tries the marker again, but it is basically out of ink. The pen from greyhound has

    ink, but the marks he leaves are barely visible on the white. She writes away. No one writes here,

    whereas everyone writes or reads in Chelsea. The writing brigade does not gather at macys. her

    tea is getting cold, it splashes all over her. She looks up at the sign that says Cucina & Co., she

    does not like it in here, not that much. She feels her cold coming back. She feels like falling

    asleep, she tries to listen to the music, she has heard it before, the singer is from Vancouver,

    something about a bad day, but she cannot really hear it, there is too much noise here, she likes

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    the music video, she looks over her tea with the tiny lights in it onto the writing that goes into,

    onto the paper very vaguely, not deep enough, but still making a stand, putting down a trace,

    cursive letters in line all nodding to the right.

    She can see the kitchen from here, the bakery, it is supposed to be a showcase, one can see the

    big round clock over their head, everything is white and grey, all the breads are stacked on

    shelves, it is sanitary and clashes with the brown of the tables in the eating area. She could write

    here forever, no one minds, though this place is more a respite for shoppers. She has been here so

    many times, that she ended up buying a pair of shoes, on saturday, the shoes are not as

    comfortable as the ones, she is usually wearing, but they are prettier. Pretty uncomfortable. She

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    wore them in Boston, in Little Italy. She walked with them forever, until her feet could not carry

    her anymore. She hardly made it back to South Station. She should do the same in New York, get

    a map, start walking. Walking with a cause, not moving aimlessly from street to street. wherever

    the wind takes her. But she likes that more, has found all the fascinating encounters. The knitting

    store in Greenwich-village. The 12 chair restaurant. Pratt. The streets take her, invite her to

    follow them. She came upon the new New York Times building by accident. She never saw

    Le centre Pompidou, but she now saw this Renzo Piano piece. Yesterday she came upon a

    Frank Gehry building. At MIT. To her there is no difference between a building that looks like a

    box, and something that looks like motion suspended in midair, a dancing building. She draws,

    she can make her lines dance more pronouncedly. She scatters words over paper and hopes for

    the best. Magic, music. She misses art school, art class. She misses talking about form. She

    misses listening to individuals talking about form. She sits here and writes. She should have had

    the canolli in Mikes Bakery up on the hill in the Little Italy of Boston. There

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    must be a little Italy in New York, a chinatown. Oh, and a statue of Liberty. Somewhere near

    battery park, somewhere glimpsed upon from the Staten Island ferry. Shed rather write, listen to

    the elevator music, shed rather sit here, safe and secure, where she can finish her writing for the

    day. Forty pages, forty pages. Until the pen drops out of her right hand and she keels over this

    round, brown table, until she loses it and breaks down in tears. It is twenty-five to noon, the

    lunchcrowd is streaming in. She has to count her pages. She should stop. For now. She makes up

    random structures, random time lines, dead lines while she goes. Superimposing order, structure

    could string the sentences along.

    - - -

    Like pearls, like beads.

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    - - -

    Abba is singing, pretty loud, though the restaurant noise overpowers it, muffles it down, makes

    it generic, too sweet, which is difficult to do to Abba music. The author wonders, if, whether she

    should take her notebook and find another place to plant herself down and put down her notes.

    She is getting tired, is gliding to the brink of exhaustion, she misuses words, she starts doubling

    them up, tripling them up, interrupts the musical flow of the rhythm, the rhythms, the words are

    so very reluctant to dance themselves into newer, higher, fresher configurations, she stumbles

    over her own heavy-handed lingo, the clumsiness, that has to be worked through to jump into

    elegant, eloquent pirouettes, above the soil, far over the ground, flying suspendedly, in muted

    colors. She listens to the music which is artfully in a commercial, replicable, replicated sense,

    more so because of the place, she is sitting in, a public place, a restaurant. This is not an opera

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    house, where people listen in awe, it is a food place, where people gather to eat. The music has to

    play second fiddle. She is tired.

    - - -

    She wrote too much already. Nineteen pages. And it is barely noon.

    - - -

    she makes her way up the stairs in a wendys near penn station, the floor here is carpeting, all

    red and blue and beige shapes, out of the corner of her eyes she thought, it was all linear

    triangles, turns out, it is more wavy, curly triangles, like curly fries, she is hungry, but is only

    having a tea, for now, she should go more for salad and fruits, so she is snubbing fast food and

    eats better stuff, though everything might be slathered in grease and absorbed into the veggies

    without noticing it, without the end consumer noticing it, in the same way that her writing seems

    to absorb tons and tons of trivia, smushed in with quasi intellectual musings, semi-scholarly barf,

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    nauseating shit. She feels that sprinkling her lingo with profanity might mask her lack of

    profoundness, she is at a point now where quality rides on the back of quantity, her

    neverstopping pen, her never-ceasing ink will, must eventually garner semigood results. She

    looks out the window, she can see the Wendys logo plastered all over the windowpane, and the

    little girly-face, too. On the other side of the street, there is a Fed Ex Kinkos, a nun is going

    around collecting money for an orphanage, the author informs her that she is a muslim. No luck

    here. The nun mumbles God bless you, or something, and walks to the next table.

    The author writes, writes, writes. This place is very warm, conducive to writing. The words

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    seem to flow onto the paper, with ease, without stalling. The music on the overhead is rhythmic,

    rolling stones, should i go or should i stay now, it is cheerleading in a very inobtrusive, matter-

    of-fact manner. The author likes it here, she numbers her pages and is now on page 23.

    Doublespaced, doublespaced.

    She puts down all her words, until she will finish thirty-six pages. The words have to come.

    They just have to. Outside it becomes spring, there are blossoms, there is green on the trees. In

    the city, in mid-town Manhattan. It is spring now, time to buy flirty skirts, sandals. Fresher

    colors, flowery fabrics. She will be fifty-3, come May. Old age, old age. The edge of the red wall

    near the window is chrome, it shines and glistens, she looks at the plastic salt and pepper shakers

    in front of her. Behind her coffeemug, which is brown and yellow. All of it matches the table, the

    wall, indescript yellowness. So is the smushed-up napkin, with the used teabag. The author

    ponders, wonders, how much longer can she go on covering her tablesettings, describe trivia,

    banal surroundings, logistic layouts, spatial configurations ad nauseum. She is now on page 25,

    she has only fifteen more pages to scribble. This book does not have enough pages, so she has to

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    finish this notebook and then buy another one and start filling that one. Her greyhoundpen now

    comes into its own, the ink is flowing smoothly, this pen is outdoing all the other pens. Go

    Greyhound.

    She looks out the window, wonders what is happening on the street. This table is on the second

    floor, she cannot really see the street, except the upper part of a Fed Ex truck. and half of a green

    street light, somewhere cut in the middle, the upper part is non-visible, so is the lower part. The

    midriff, though, shows. The chairs here are black and green, she thinks of all her days in the Tim

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    Hortons in Kingston. She found more to write about, maybe, because the place was more close-

    knit, where as here in New York City, there are people from all ways of life. The downtown

    crowd, or in this case, the midtown crowd. She is slightly hungry, living on tea here. But first she

    has to write this, force this through, finish this very notebook, she cannot really stop. people are

    streaming in, talking, teenagers, telling each other their stories. Older people follow. The author

    looks at her pen glide over the paper, all preppy letters coming out. The pen spits its words out,

    demarking, highlighting the boredom of her existence. Someone asked her, so, what did you do

    here for the last sixteen days, she answered: I wrote, but somehow that seemed not be good

    enough, not tangible enough. Not enough of an achievement, writing only as exploration of

    where the words can take her, seems not to suffice.

    But she knows that this is what she has to do, is forced to do. The words have to take her, will

    eventually take her. On a flight, up the stairs, down the stairs. Into nonsensical territory, into

    utterly sensical territory.

    She might venture into Spanish Harlem today, rush over to Columbia. She has to do more than

    just write, write. But writing grips her, and the pen does not let go. Only 29 pages, only 29. That

    is far too little, not far too much. There are so many more sentences waiting in line, patiently, to

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    be put down. The overhead is playing something psychedelic, which is not exactly very

    conducive to sanity, what with all the loud conversations around her, the laughter, the eating,

    what with all the hunger pangs in her tummy.

    She wonders what to do next, once the writing ceases, once the daily is filled, once the

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    muses have, what they need, once the exhaustion is unbearable, sticky and gruesome. She writes,

    writes, writes, mechanically, in the same way, she used to draw, draw, back in her animatordays.

    In the animationlab on Granville Island.

    She ponders, she wonders what time it is. Something way past noonish. Her fingers cramp up,

    she should stop. Writing is not an end in itself. Or maybe, it is. A blessing, an obsession. A

    marching-order somewhere in her head, that forces her to write, that proclaims: Write, write,

    forty pages, forty pages. Everyday, until you die. Until you fall to the ground and disintegrate.

    Into small scattered pieces, bones, nails. Disgusting.

    There should be nicer, sweeter metaphors available, on a sunny, beautiful day like today. When

    music is in the air, literally, when flowers shine, actually, literally, too. The blossoms on the other

    side on 34th. are drenched in haulting sunshine. She ponders whether she will ever be able to use

    the language, any language virtuously, so that it can paint an image, replicate the truth, the

    reality, that she sees from this her chair, from her vantagepoint.

    She ponders how to use the language, sheryl crow wants to have some fun, that is all she wants

    to do, the lady in the chair next to her is singing along, while dropping some white paper on the

    ground.

    page 33, give or take some, she might have miscounted, misnumbered the pages, she fibs ever

    so slightly, she cheats herself, she does not know if her writing will ever go anywhere, if she

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    even wants it to. She herself likes to be a visual artist, make sculpture, make sculptures in the

    middle of the town. Inscribe the world with her structures, splatter her suspended forms over

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    town. Put frozen musique into the sun light, into the night lite. String blueprints into bricks, into

    stone. Like Henry Moore. And that will never be. So words have to suffice. For now. In this her

    life time. Page 34 is finished.

    - - -

    it is thursday, april 17, 2008. She finds herself first thing in the morning in the coffeeshop in

    chelsea and is flabbergasted how many joggers, exercisers she meets. This being the city, people

    still have very typical suburban lifestyles. For some reason city for her means still a place one

    dresses up for and ventures to, not a place of living. But if this is your neighbourhood, you act

    like that, decitify the city, transforming it into a neighbourhood, taking it out of the formality, the

    elusiveness, the exclusiveness.

    three women come in, a man with a suitcase, a woman in exercise shorts, a man with the

    number 89, no, 47, on his shorts. Outside a pepsi truck, outside a rainbowflag, outside an

    emagedental business, outside the new Venus restaurant. The day gets into gear, it should be

    sometime between 7 and 8 in the morning. The street outside is predominantly grey, with all

    these spots and dots of interest. The author just writes, jotting down, what she sees, remembering

    the collage lesson, she took last summer. The task was to let all the images, all the fagments of

    visual stimuli, all the fragments of overheard conversation, sound amalgamate into a visual

    collage, something 2D or 3D that manifests the multifaceted experience, that is the city.

    Something of that sort. The author remembers the animation she made three years ago, the one

    she named downtowne, the one she submitted to the cineurbana at the Urban Forum in

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    Vancouver. The author remembers the graduation projects in animation at Parsons, which she

    saw four years ago and which all had The City as subjectmatter. And she remembers the

    student who complained about the city being the overriding subject of each and every

    gradyear, the problem being that there is only so much one can produce pertaining to the city.

    But the author knows, that the city is endless, an endless inspiration for artwork, the epitome

    of human existence, of human interaction, of man made structures and of tiny creatures walking

    their little dogs in the alleys between slabs of concrete with tiny holes in them. The city is the

    ever-pulsating existence of animate and inanimate together in close proximity. Longing music

    wavers in the air, long lost lovers not hearing it, but the singer still has to tell her story about

    drifting apart, still has to bemoan, why she cant be with him, for whatever reason, for whatever

    fucking sad reason.

    The author scratches her head, tries to careen her writing back to describing bricks, concrete,

    steel, tries to steer clear of notions of emotion, glimpses at romance. Rationalism, pragmatism

    should soak and seep into her writing, not wishy-washy femininity, that only plays into the

    stereotype of woman as underling. A girl looking dreamily out of the window wishing the body

    of the boy next to her, his skin within inches from her, that is not what will build the west, not the

    spirit that will make us as species rule the world. You go girl. Do we really need those kind of ra-

    ra-ra ish slogans still? Yes, we do.

    The author looks at the schoolbus outside, she looks at the writing saying capezio on the

    womans bag, she looks outside at the New London Pharmacy, she listens to a singer singing

    about London and Tokio. The author wonders how many pages she put down already, kind of

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    like a drunk would count the beers she poured down her throat. The pen glides over the paper,

    while pigeons walk by. On the pavement. Someone sweeps the ground in front of the new venus

    restaurant. The author has to go back to the little flat in Chelsea, she will write more later. This

    has to do for now. A bike rolls by. This is spring. In NYC. In 2008.

    - - -

    And she put down seven pages already. Not bad. Or at least, good enough. For now.

    - - -

    she missed the train, so she sits down on the bench at the subway station, at the 23rd street

    station, she fishes out her notepad and starts putting down letters, the person next to her starts

    reading, letters fascinate us, guide us, to a place of higher contemplation, higher understanding,

    maybe not higher, more as tool for more, more knowledge, accumulation of glimpses of

    understanding, of making sense, of ordering stimuli, while the A-train rushes through the tunnel,

    while the A-train rushes me by.

    The author puts down her letters, while the mid-town bound train comes in, stops, then leaves.

    From where she is sitting, she can view three tracks simultaneously, moles under the street,

    rushing to work. She wants to know if the person next to her is reading the book, she had to read,

    but she restrains herself and does not ask. A woman with golden shoes sits down next to her, the

    shoes are not all golden, only golden arabesques on shiny black. Another A-train careens by. The

    reader fixes his shoelaces, jumps on the train. The author notices that he was really reading the

    book she was interested in, it was heavily promoted anyways. It was written by this slightly

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    controversial woman, who called Clinton a monster. She was nice and she was right. So much

    for politics. The author is now sitting in a breakfast place in either brooklyn or manhattan, it is at

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    the foot of the brooklyn bridge. The author thinks she is in the brooklyn heights, in front street,

    washington street. Something like that. The heater near her is way too hot. The author thinks that

    she should not have really seconded Samantha Powers remark pertaining to Hillary Clinton,

    who cares about politicians anyways. And Samantha Power apologized profoundly, so did

    Geraldine Ford, when talking about Barack Obama. Politics are not that interesting for the

    author, politicians come and go, regimes come and go, ideologies come and go. Marxism,

    capitalism, who cares. Religions come and go. The only thing constant is the here, the now. The

    moment. Of us, the people. The only thing constant is the pen scratching over the paper, the

    words that feed upon each other, catapult each other into meaning, into scratching the surface of

    understanding. The author tries to let go of the constant newspollution in her back, the TV

    bringing down the news, the noise, the words that let not write her, the words that intermingle

    with her writing. She is not able to listen to her own words, because the voice on the overhead is

    talking about the Gucci loafers of the Pope. Her tea is getting cold. She looks out at people

    walking by, she is sitting a tad lower than streetlevel, so she sees the legs of people walking by.

    She has enough of listening to the rubbish on TV. She would rather listen to a lovesong. Politics

    and religion leave her cold, icecold. She looks at the sign that says Bon Appetit with the

    accentegue on the e. Outside the street is beautiful, a tree is green, a tree grows in Brooklyn. She

    smiles at her connotations, she looks at the sign that says Manja. She picks up the flyer of the

    restaurant, it is something Italian. Her tea is getting cold, she tries to concentrate on writing.

    Baseballtalk on TV, which is nicer, it does not make her blood boil like other issues. She looks at

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    the stacked spaghetti in the bottle near the Manja sign, which is actually a plate with the image of

    a slice of pizza with one pepperoni, one mushroom and one green halfmoon reminiscent of a

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    piece of pepper, a slice sliced out of a green bellpepper. It could be cucumber too, it is something

    green.

    Three men are sitting at the other table and having breakfast. The applefrittereating one with

    the earring talks a lot about food, sugar and grease, while packing on the fat and shovelling it,

    make that, forking it into his body. They talk, some masculine stuffy-muffy. She smiles, trying to

    figure out if her descriptions are even close to accurate. More legs are walking by, in socks, in

    skirts, in pants, all kinds of legs, all kinds of walking cycles, wheels wheel by, up the hill, down

    the hill, some lassie like black and white dog brings her owner for a walk. She writes and moves

    her lips while she writes. Writing, why would she do that? Will it bring her anywhere, will it

    become better and better or will the words take her down into a pitless abyss. Is this the right

    language to converse in, is it the right medium for her. Why is she letting go of other modes of

    expression, is this really the only mode of expression left for her. Can she not make it in the

    world of images, the world of visual forms. Is this, where she stands after seven and a half years

    of formal artinstruction. She leaves the world of visual expression to enter the world of linguistic

    expression. In a foreign language, to boot, in a foreign country, to boot, on the other side of the

    planet, to boot. A stranger in

    .

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