Cardboard Tubes

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When I was five, my mom was the church pianist.
She practiced Thursday nights, and I was left
To raid the church basement.
My shoes kicked off and tangled in a heap
Just inside the first classroom door.
I ran, with outstretched fingers brushing brick,
Like a librarian tickling the spines of her books.
The church basement was mine; it was made for me.
The crumbling walls, the ghosts from the black hall,
All lined up when they heard my whoops and hollers,
And when my feet went slap slap down the stairs,
They knew that I was master of this heaven
Built from animal crackers and garage sale toys.
I charged the halls, tongue hanging out with my effort.
I ransacked the rooms, bouncing Fisher Price people
Down the slide and into the doll bed.
I climbed into cardboard barrels and rolled down the hall
Until my hair became knots as it streamed out the end
And white blocks flicked past the opening like streetlamps.
When I grew tired, I melted into the floor,
And counted the square clouds above my head.
In that second of rest, the ghosts, the Bibles,
The spare piano and old green walls
All bowed to me as I lay panting.
For they knew the truth: I owned the church basement.

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“One foot in and one foot back”

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I’m finally back home after a lovely trip to New York City.  Looking back on it, I have a few thoughts.

First of all, I have a bit of a bone to pick with Hollywood.  Prior to this trip, the only things I knew about NYC were from movies and TV.  WELL, let me tell you, Hollywood sure gave me some unrealistic expectations!  There were a lot of things I was anticipating about NYC that just didn’t happen:

1.  I didn’t encounter the stereotypical rude New Yorker.  People were incredibly nice.

2. I didn’t see Spiderman at all there, not even for a moment!

3.  I didn’t jog through Central Park and get murdered.

4.  I didn’t see an invasion of any kind, whether it be from aliens,Godzilla, or the mafia.

5.  I didn’t see any famous people!! Or at least, I didn’t know they were famous.

However, we did almost get mugged in Harlem, so that’s something.

Altogether, it was a wonderful trip.  I loved Broadway, the Met, and battery park; meeting my uncle and aunt was fun; and the city really is beautiful.  I could see myself going back.  But the whole time my heart was pulling for home, so I’m glad to back in the flat green of Illinois once again.

See you later, NYC!

Broadway makes my <3 sing

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I went to Broadway last night. Real, authentic Broadway, with hundreds of people, huge tv screens advertising everything, and musicals everywhere. I got to sit in the third row of Majestic Theater and see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Could my life get any dreamier?

When the legendary prologue started and the chandelier flew back up to the ceiling, I actually started crying. Here I was, a small person surrounded by a huge legacy of art and theater and this musical that has been around for decades. I’ve sat in the same seats as every other theater student before me who has ever dreamed of theater. I have the great honor to be a small piece of this art we call theater, this art that has survived millennia. I may not ever work in theater professionally, but I have a place here, in the tradition of those who dream of acting and designing and living for theater, and that’s enough.

New York – part 2

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I woke up today in the city that never sleeps, and learned why that is. New York is loud. It is bright. Lights shine in the windows all night, sirens scream, and late night neighbors come up the stairs too loud. I woke up ready to take a nap, and – frankly – go home. I’m really enjoying it here, but I only got two days home after school before coming here, so I’m really just ready to go home again. That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not doing exciting things here.

I. I went out on the fire escape today! It was odd, because it was surrounded by dozens of neighbors’ fire escapes. I guess I always assumed they would be private patios, but they’re not. It was fun too, because I felt like I was part of West Side Story or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

II. We walked through Central Park. It is perfect. Flowering trees and tulips are everywhere. It smells nice, and you can barely even hear the city. If anyone ever wants to romance me, that would be the place.

III. We tried to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it was closed to the public except for a group of people dressed much nicer than us. Instead we went to the Museum of Natural History. I’m not a huge fan of big buildings filled with dead things, but it was kind of interesting.

IV. We almost got lost on the subway. Three separate New Yorkers asked if we needed help. And to think – we were told they’d be rude! We must have looked pretty helpless.

V. Overall, I’m just not feeling it today. It’s not bad, but I’m ready to go home.

VI. Here’s a picture of me on the fire escape. Image

Until tomorrow,

– Meredith

The apples aren’t any bigger here….?

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I woke up this morning at 4 AM to board a plane to New York City with my parents. After a few hours of sleepy flying, we were met at La Guardia airport by my great uncle Denny. He took us on a driving and walking tour around the city, and then out to an Italian dinner with his wife. I’ve already seen Broadway, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Plaza, the Empire State Building, and the new World Trade Center, though they were all from a distance. We also went on a sort of pub tour as they showed us some local haunts and we watched the drunks for entertainment. In my first day in the Big Apple, I’ve already learned quite a few things:
1. I’m starting to wonder if I have a small form of social anxiety. I get incredibly anxious when faced with large crowds. I love people, but crowds are scary.

2. For this reason, I figured I’d hate NYC. But actually, I like it a lot. It still makes me nervous, but I’m really enjoying it here. It’s lovely, and the fast pace is exciting, at least for a short time.

3. Remember in Aladdin when the genie says “itty bitty living space”? Well yeah, he was actually talking about New York. The apartments here are teeny.

4. It’s hard to tell if the guys here are gay, or just well-dressed because that’s how people dress in New York. I mean that in the nicest possible way, too, please don’t take offense. All the boys look fly. But they’re not interested in me.

5. Whenever possible, take vacations where you can visit people. It’s way cooler to get the authentic, personal experience than the mass-produced tourist one.

6. There are lots of Jews in NYC.

7. Cats are awesome the world over.

8. You never know the cool people who may be in your family. My aunt is apparently an actress in the city, and Denny was a very successful artistic advertising photographer for large companies. They are legit, and I never even knew.

That’s all for now, folks. Tomorrow we’re going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. I’ll be back later with more life lessons or adventures or something!

Aside

Today I stopped for coffee on the way to class.  As I was leaving I saw a little boy dressed in a Superman costume.  I thought about stopping to ask for a picture with a real strong superhero.  I thought of my class waiting for me.  I realized I had time.  But I kept walking.

I’ve never regretted anything so much.

Take time to love the people around you.

Me vs. Gravity: a tale of daily struggle

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I was just part of the most epic showdown between me and gravity.  Let me tell you the story.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  I was on a diet, and yet I was allowing myself one exception: a peep.  I held in my hand that glorious, neon pink bird, like a precious gem, or an orb of magic light.

Alas, he was the last peep.

I stared at him, one last sugary miracle of this spring, come so late and gone so soon.  With much anticipation, I raised him to my waiting lips.  But as he neared my dripping, yearning tongue, that elusive bird slipped from my grasp!

I watched without breath as he fell to my bed, bounced off the sheets, lighted for a moment on the back of my desk chair, only to tumble once more 

down

      down

            down

                    onto the chair below, where he fell yet again and stuck in the gap between my laundry basket and my chair.

There, one mere foot from the floor, my wingless bird rested safe from his flight.  Without so much as a second thought for my safety, I threw myself after him and plunged down the gap between mattress and bed frame.  My grasping fingers stretched, but as I reached to free the bird, he slipped through my grasp once again and went crashing down to the floor below.  Deeper I plunged on my rescue mission, contorting the small portion of my body still on the bed to best anchor me down, lest I fall to my very gruesome death and never eat that sparkling peep.

At long last my fingers enclosed around my prize, and my face glowed with pride.  But the pride was fleeting, as I soon realized I was stuck.  To keep with priorities, I initially set my peep safely back on my bed.  I then proceeded to wiggle my body back and forth, inching slowly backwards up onto the bed.

At long last my dear peep and I were reunited in safety.

So I ate him.

The end.

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