Friday, May 30, 2014

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:
  • On Tuesday, I waxed poetic about leaving our first apartment and Manhattan for our move to Brooklyn. I still feel a little sad about it, but after installing a bit of shelving into our very own in-unit washer/dryer, things are looking up! Also, I'm feeling pre-tty handy this move! Actually moving stuff has not gone well (we have a long list of things I've broken in the past week), but I installed our blinds and shelves with just a little help from Roger and I feel pretty proud of that.
  • Emily Hughes was our featured writer for Writer Wednesday, and it could not have come at a better time. She's been fighting the good fight for equality over on Twitter, and I'm so glad I could lend her a little support during this week. It's still shocking to me that some people hate women so much.
  • And then yesterday, I announced one of my big goals for this year: I'm running a marathon in January! The goals for the year, in case you forgot, are 52 submissions, 45 books, and 1 marathon. I'm making some progress on all of those, so I'll try to do an update soon.

Writing in other places:
  • My Late Night Conversation with Lee Briccetti went up at Late Night Library this week. It was great interviewing such a smart, strong woman, and hearing more about her deep passion for poetry. I hope you'll have a listen!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My First Marathon!

Remember that time, almost exactly three years ago, where I said I didn't want to run a marathon, but if I did run one, it would be the New York City Marathon even though I secretly love Disney World?

Well, it turns out I was wrong on many counts. I am going to run a marathon! And it's going to be the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon! 

I'm as shocked as you are, but a few weeks ago, I signed up along with two of my favorite runners, Shelby and Courtney, and so come January, this is happening. I'm likely going to follow the Galloway training plan, because I found it so helpful for the half-marathon I ran in December. I don't do a run-walk combination like he recommends, but I do allow myself walk breaks when I feel like I need them, and his mileage has been really helpful to me in the past. Training officially begins on July 3rd.

And until then, I'm signed up for a few more great races. On Saturday, Shelby and I are going to run the Freihofer's Women's 5k, the very first race I ever ran. A few weeks later, I'll be running my second half-marathon (one that I am woefully undertrained for, so we'll see how it goes), also with Shelby and a few friends from Roger's college. Then, a fun 5k out on Coney Island in June, our annual 4th of July lake run, and my third half-marathon on the Rockaways over Labor Day. Nothing's planned for the fall, but I'm hopeful that I'll have a few more fun things schedule as the weather gets cooler. I'm also planning to start doing a few weekday runs with my local Jack Rabbit store, because I know I'm better at actually getting out and running if I feel like someone is waiting for me.

In January, I guess that someone will be this guy:

Plus, who wouldn't want to take a little trip down to Florida in the middle of January? I'm excited that Roger will be coming to cheer us on (our first trip to Disney World, aww!), along with my parents, Shelby's husband and parents, and hopefully Shaelyn (if her husband can get late entry into the race). It will be such fun to have a big group together.

Have you run a marathon? Any tips you have for keeping motivation up through the long training cycle and long runs?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes is awesome. She's one of my favorite childhood friends' best friend, and so I met her for the first time when Alisha brought her to my going away party right before I studied abroad. I sometimes wish she were *my* best friend and we got to hang out all the time because every time I've talked to her, she's been wonderful. A fellow publishing-worker and travel-lover, Emily also juggles three awesome Tumblrs that you should probably read immediately after finishing this interview.

Also, this is timely because earlier this week she became internet-famous for being a feminist, which is basically the best reason of all time to become internet-famous. Seriously. She is just a normal person fighting the good fight for equality with one tweet that really struck a cord, and in addition to being quoted by Fox News and Ms. Magazine, she's also gotten a lot of hate for that insight. So after reading this, go send her some love, because I know ya'll are also fighting the good fight. 

Emily in Istanbul
Who are you? I'm a book publishing lifer working in digital marketing at one of the Big Five. I've been a New York City resident for the better part of nine years but am still a relatively recent Brooklyn transplant. I pour most of my spare money into travel (just came back from a trip to Istanbul) and most of my spare energy into the internet.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Oh god, everywhere? My most-used outlets are Twitter and Tumblr, definitely. My personal Tumblr just celebrated its fifth birthday (!) though that's only intermittently writing-focused - it's mostly a catchall for inspiration, pictures, funny bits and pieces, publishing minutiae, and so on. I've also got a photography Tumblr that I use as an outlet for the thousands of travel pictures I've taken over the years.

More recently I've been putting a lot of time and energy into Proof Reading Books, where I recommend book and booze pairings. Some of the posts are relatively straightforward, where others are a little more experimental in form and content. I find myself using the format as a sandbox in which to play around with short-form fiction and different voices, and the response I've gotten has been really encouraging.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I... don't remember? Livejournal, I guess, back in early high school. That was all very sophomoric, raw, reactive "I'm a teenager and everything is terrible!" writing that I'm mildly to moderately embarrassed about now, but hey, it had its place and its time and its use. Since then, though, Tumblr is the first thing I've really stuck with. The community piece of it is key - I don't feel like I'm just dumping words into a void.

Why do you write? Usually because it's cleansing. You have a thought kicking around your head in various permutations and it doesn't go away until you've put it down somewhere. That kind of thing.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg over at The Toast are basically doing everything I aspire to do online, ever. I've found some deeply cool people on Tumblr as well, especially Victoria McNally and Dude in Publishing, the best of the book Tumblrs.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Ooh, Australia and New Zealand. Everywhere else I think I can get to under my own steam and on my own dime, but ANZ... man, that's an expensive flight. The problem is I want to go pretty much everywhere, so I'm choosing ANZ on a purely financial basis. Hell, just get me a flight into Sydney and a flight out of Auckland six weeks later and I'll figure the rest out myself.

What is your favorite place on earth? This is SO HARD Kristin why in the world would you ask this? Dammit. Okay, I've been thinking about it for twenty minutes now and I just need to decide. The Cloisters, way uptown in Manhattan. An outpost of the Met, the museum is cobbled together from parts of a bunch of different medieval European abbeys, and it's situated in a really beautiful park overlooking the Hudson and New Jersey. It feels like you're properly out of the city even though you just spent $2.50 on the subway ride there. I've been dragging my friends up there once a summer for a picnic for almost seven years running now.

Anything else you'd like us to know? Just take a moment once in a while and realize all the ways in which the internet is the best thing that ever happened to our generation. Also, never pass up an opportunity to pet a cat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Island Life

Goodbye, Manhattan.

We moved this weekend. I'm of two minds about the whole thing, and have so much more sympathy for people who have to move than I have before. It's a hard thing, even when it's as easy as could be. Roger found our new apartment and handled our paperwork and hired our movers and packed up many of our things while I was busy feeling anxious and being busy. Our landlord let us out of our lease early without any trouble. My parents generously gave me some money to help with paying the movers. And our new home is just gorgeous. It's so big and has lots of beautiful natural light and it's close to so many of our friends and has such a good commute for both of us. It's so right.

And yet, it's a hard thing. I'm heart-broken and teary-eyed about it, at weird times. This morning, I was aghast at both how quick my trip to the office was and at how sad I felt to be getting off on the opposite side of the Herald Square subway platform. I hardly ever bought cookies from Levain Bakery, but when I saw they are the number one recommendation on Trip Advisor for restaurants in New York, I was incredibly sad not to live a few blocks away anymore. At times, I'm overwhelmed by the sadness I feel over leaving a place that didn't have heat for the entirety of a winter that was so cold, it has its own Wikipedia page. When I'm not overwhelmed by the sadness itself, I'm overwhelmed by feeling any sadness at all.

It was our first apartment together and although I was anxious about moving in and although we had some of our very worst fights there and although we had been together for seven years before we lived there, it still feels important. It still feels like home and safe. I thought we'd live there for years and then maybe buy a house. It felt like the first permanent living arrangement I'd had since leaving for college. Feeling like I had a permanent living arrangement, finally, finally, was vital to me during those first two years. It let me live through the destabilization that was grad school without feeling completely destabilized.

It was also likely the only time I will ever live in Manhattan or in a neighborhood so fancy as our little section of Harlem. We don't make a lot of money and unfortunately, to live in Manhattan, you kind of need to. We certainly weren't fancy urbanites. We just got lucky with a rent stabilized apartment in a neighborhood that blew up right after we moved in. But for a little while, it was fun to pretend. It was fun to tell people where we lived and hear them say how nice the area was. We live in a nice part of Brooklyn now, but it won't ever have the same cache as living in Manhattan, and that's okay. It just makes me a little sad to think about. At Christmastime, it was adorable to live on Saint Nicholas Avenue, and it was there that I first decided to make celebrating Saint Nicholas Day a tradition for us.

It was also an appreciated taste of island life. It hardly feels like Manhattan is an island, but it is and it being an island always felt important to me, a water baby and a Pisces. We lived through two hurricanes there. I ran on the paths next to the Hudson and East River. I kept saying I would go to a beach and then never going. I suppose living in England counts as having lived on an island, but Manhattan was the first place I lived that ever felt like an island. It's so isolated in many ways, even as cosmopolitan as it is. In my poetry, I spend so much time wandering alone on the shore, and that's what a lot of Manhattan felt like. Yes, there were many days spent wandering with Roger and meeting up with friends and going to movies and galleries and readings. But there were also all the hours spent home alone or running up and down Central Park or staring at my churning laundry. So much time spent being alone surrounded by millions of people.

It's quite the island, and although I know I'll be back five days a week for the foreseeable future, it still hurts to leave.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Nicole Dieker

I'm not exactly sure where I found Nicole Dieker's blog first, but I do know that what most impressed me about it was her feature on how much money she makes every week. As anyone who knows me knows, I love talking about money, and I feel like the more honest we are about it, the better off we'll all be. For revealing all her numbers, I think Nicole is not only really brave, she's also doing an amazing service to all us freelance writers out there trying to figure out what's up. And, of course, her writing itself is awesome. I especially loved her piece of where the American Girls are now. I hope you'll follow the links as you read through her interview!

Nicole Dieker

Who are you? My name is Nicole Dieker. I am a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter, and I am also a freelance essayist and fiction writer, which I am discovering are all very different kinds of jobs. In addition to this work, I also perform regularly at nerd conventions -- I sing original nerd-folk music with my guitar, under the band name Hello, The Future!

So... I work a lot, and that is usually the answer to the "who are you" question. Here are a few other answers: rock climber, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons player, Sea Monkey, Browncoat, avid reader, Fireball whiskey drinker, good friend.

I mean, I hope. I hope, about that last one.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you. They want all the details. If not, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it. If I were in a hot tub with a stranger who started asking me about my work, I would totally self-deprecate and change the subject. I mean, who wouldn't? But if they really wanted to know, would tell them that my copywriting is designed to be invisible; that my ghostwriting is designed to seamlessly integrate into an existing publication; that my essays are either about money or about classic children's literature, including a huge piece I just did on American Girl, since these are the two subjects for which people want to pay.

(Clicking on those links gets you some of my best essays. I assume we're all on the same page here.)

Still in the hot tub, we would no doubt start talking about money. I talk about money a lot. It is my battle cry. Freelancers need to make money. Every week, I tally up the money I've earned and the work I've completed and post it to my Tumblr.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? Blogging was a natural evolution from keeping diaries. I started blogging almost as soon as it became an option.

I also literally started writing as soon as I could manipulate a pencil. My first book was called Marijana's Dream, except I spelled it Deram. I was five, and the story contained maybe 50 words total. But I wanted to write a book, including folding the paper in half and drawing a cover, and so I did.

Why do you write? So many different reasons. I write because it is one of the few effective ways to make something happen. I write because I believe that stories explain life better than actual life does. I write because I like to ask questions and then look for the answers. I write because, like Jo March and Emily Starr discovered, it is one of the few ways for a person to earn money that doesn't require significant overhead.

Oh, look, I managed to turn the subject around to money again. And classic literature. And it only took four sentences.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? Heather Havrilesky, who posts these amazing long essays about life and relationships every week at The Awl. Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg, the two editors at The Toast. My friend Alice Lee, who single-handedly created Yearbook Office. Also Josh A. Cagan, who not only is talented in his own right but also has the unexpected skill of being able to mentor other artists.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Right now I'm about to head off on a yearly nerd cruise called JoCo Cruise Crazy. It would be nice if that could be retroactively paid for.

Otherwise: Geneva. I've been to a lot of European and Asian cities, but I haven't been there. I've heard it's very organized.

What is your favorite place on earth? A library. Any library. Currently I favor the Seattle Central Library.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I think if you click every link in this post, you'll have everything you need.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Vacation Message

...sort of. More like, "I can't do this anymore! Send help!" message.

Moving takes a lot out of a person! Even if they are hiring movers for the first time in their life! Whoo boy. Nothing like putting every object you've ever acquired into boxes and spending a solid 60% of your savings in one month to make a person want to crawl into a hole of take-out and never come out.

Another perhaps not great life-decision we made was jam-packing our schedule this month and next, so there's also no time to pack and come to terms with the fact that we're leaving Manhattan, probably forever. So now I'm worried about mortality, too. And also if I can possibly fit in this awesome MoCADA benefit alongside all the other ridiculous and ridiculously fun obligations I've given myself this week.

Anyway, this is to say that I'm sorry I've already totally failed at The Great Shakespeare Project and that my Mexico recaps still aren't up (and neither are the Florida recaps from 6 months ago). Probably I'm not going to magically start succeeding now. But maybe next week, when we're safe and sound in our new Brooklyn loft, I'll get back on track. See you on the flip side, friends. And in the meantime, this is pretty rad (though easier to read on the original site):

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Kinzie Ferguson

I met Kinzie Ferguson for the first time when she came to New York to do a photo shoot for me and a few friends.  She is an incredibly talented photographer, but even more than that, she's incredibly talented at showing people the best side of themselves.  She made me feel instantly at ease and spent our entire session alternating between hilarious and encouraging.  If you're in Savannah or Champaign , definitely check out her site and consider her for your next photo session!
Photo of Kinzie by Jesse Folks

Who are you? Hello! My name is Kinzie and I am a women's empowerment photographer. I have a goal of conquering the world and making every woman realize how beautiful she is.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? I have a blog through my website where I post my most recent photography, as well as occasional vegetarian recipes (bonus points if they can be made in a crock pot!), stories about my three ridiculous cats, and adventures in my new town of Savannah, GA. I also have a feature I call Thankful Thursday, in which I strive to appreciate big and little things in life a little extra.

What inspired you to start blogging? When did it happen? To be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. I have blogged here and there over the years (I even have an old LiveJournal from high school that I can't break into because I've forgotten the password), but it was always in fits and spurts. When I lived in France, I was pretty good about keeping up a blog called Ukulele in Rouen and the thing is, I love looking back at it. I wish I were better at blogging life events more consistently, but so far, it's not been in my nature. And now? Well, now I'm a photographer in a web-driven society, and I have a message to get out there, so I blog. I struggle to carve out time for it, but I always feel glad that I've written, so I keep it up. Plus, my mom says I am a good writer, so there's that too! :)

Photo of Kinzie by Jesse Folks.

Why do you write? I write to remember the little details. I have a terrible memory, so it's always a treat to go back to an old post and relive something I have forgotten about entirely, even from just a few years back. I also love the sense of community that blogging creates. The idea of shared experience through writing is incredibly powerful to me, and I'm proud to contribute to it.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? I am incredibly inspired by other photographers I look up to, including Christy Tyler ( and Chamonix Thurston-Rattue ( The thing that I love about both of their blogs is they put it all out there and even during the tough times, they find a string of positivity to hang on to. I admire that, and strive to be more like that in my everyday life. (I'm actually so embarrassed to even be including Chamonix in this list because I don't think she even knows how much I admire her blogging and her photography, but there you have it!)

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Oh man. My first instinct would be to go to France or Italy because I have an incredibly fond spot in my heart for those two places. And there are so many people in France whom I miss dearly. But... all expense paid? Dang. I think I'd choose Australia. I don't know why, but I've always wanted to go there.

What is your favorite place on earth? I love waking up in my bed on a Sunday morning next to my husband, with various cats down by my feet (or on my pillow...), knowing we have a relaxed day full of cooking and cleaning and recharging for the week ahead of us. Lying in bed and watching the sun stream in through the blinds is about as perfect as it gets. Another favorite place of mine is standing by the stove, with my nose directly over a pan, while I'm sautéing onion in a lot of butter. That is the best smell in the world. Mmmm perfection.

Anything else you'd like us to know? When I was little, I used to tell everyone my favorite food was salad. Now, my favorite food is mac n' cheese. I think I've got it backwards

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My First All-Inclusive - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Since I just got back from Mexico, where I stayed in my second-ever all-inclusive, I thought I should post about my first-ever all-inclusive, so you have some background about why I was hesitant about this trip. 

I went to the Dominican Republic with two of my closest friends (and roommates at the time), Sarah and Stephanie, and while we had a nice time, we were all incredibly uncomfortable. It was a hard year for all of us, I think, our first out of college. We were navigating finances, time-management, public transportation - all the things that make real life real hard - for the first time. This was a vacation I couldn't afford, so my parents very generously paid for it for me, as a birthday gift, and it was meant to be a bit of a break from the stress we were all feeling. We had a nice time. It felt like the first time we'd all really hung out and relaxed since college, but it also felt painful in a lot of ways that I've outlined below.

When we came back, a lot of things changed really quickly, including our friendships. We asked our fourth roommate, who had stopped paying rent behind our back, to leave, and the apartment that I couldn't afford got even less affordable. I think as a result, I got even more self-righteous than I already was (in case you couldn't tell from the below post, I was pretty self-righteous) and some household relations got strained as a result. Stephanie moved out and went to grad school in Italy, and a few months later I moved out and into my parents' house, and I think ya'll remember what happened from there. Despite having seen each other more or less everyday for five years (give or take summers and the year when we all lived abroad in different places), this was our first and last trip as a threesome.

It was a hard time, and looking back on it, I think this trip was sort of a turning point in a lot of ways, but, a day after returning, I didn't realize any of that. I was just remembering myself from days earlier, reading Modern Life and feeling like everything was so unsolvable. It was just a few months after the intense hope we'd all felt at Obama's election, but things still felt terrible. Looking back, things worked out. I wish some things that changed after that trip hadn't, and that we'd all been able to live in the fairy-world that is Sarah Lawrence forever, but that was never a possibility. Instead, things went on in their way, changing fast and slow, and leading me to one day return semi-willingly to an all-inclusive, just five years later. I'll write more about that trip in the coming days.

Originally posted on Small Reviews, March 31, 2009. Photos are new to the post.

March 27-30, 2009

Looking toward the uncertain future?

As you may know, I spent the weekend in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Excellence Punta Cana, a resort about an hour and a half away from the airport. I drank, ate, swam, had a spa treatment, did some yoga, and talked to a lot of the staff and none of the other guests. Other than this, I did nothing except lounge in the sun.

First day on the beach. We were all so gorgeous.

This could be the perfect weekend. In some ways, it really was. The food was mediocre at best (the only thing I really enjoyed was lobster at a restaurant that serves nothing but lobster), but the drinks were excellent (by excellent I mean that some had lots of alcohol and all had lots of fruit), and we definitely drank our money's worth. The ocean water was rougher than I'd seen before in the Caribbean, but we did swim in it, and made ample use of the resort's two pools, one of which had a swim-up bar. There are beds on the beach and near the pools, and lounging around in the sun was fantastic. The resort was clearly made for couples, and honeymooners got a special sash for their doors, so my two roommates and I definitely got extra attention from the staff, two of whom gave us their e-mail addresses. There was always someone walking around ready to take your drink order, and at times, just passing out drinks or food. It was lovely to partake in this bit of hedonism.

Before our first dinner.

The beach on our second day.

But, at the back of my mind, there was always a pushing feeling of exploitation, and at times it made it difficult to enjoy myself. The resort system is built to replicate a system of servitude, and while it can be wonderful to be waited on, it's bizarre to be staying in a hotel centered around that. (Did I say this was my first experience with an all-inclusive?) I felt badly for being there because of the food waste, because of the low wages, because of the instability of the job, because I was enjoying myself, and because I was feeling badly. Most of my vacations contribute nothing to a place, but I usually don't go about them so problematically. This, of course, led to my thinking about all the things I enjoy, which of course, led to the thought, all of my happiness is built on exploitation and the suffering of others. My bargain hunting, my traveling, my addiction to diet soda, my ceaseless use of electricity and paper, my existence means that someone somewhere is existing in a completely different way. I don't like having to think about this sort of thing while I'm on vacation, and that's a lot of what I did.

This soup was fine.

The only picture of all three of us from this trip.

I'm not saying that I regret the trip; I don't. I got to spend time with two of my closest friends, who I haven't really spent much time with since graduation, and remember why I liked them so much. I got to rest and relax, and not go to work. I got fantastic drinks and a tan. I also got a more personal awareness of the problems with tourism. The trip was a welcome break from the mundane world I face in my cubicle everyday, and it definitely helped me learn a little bit more about myself. I'm glad that I spent the past weekend in paradise, but I don't think I'd ever go back in the same way. From now on, I think I'll be a little more careful about my priorities as I plan my trips.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekday Wanderings: Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, NY

On April 22, the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair opening and just a week shy of the 75th anniversary of the 1939 World's Fair opening, the New York State Pavilion Paint Project opened the pavilion up to people for the first time in three decades. I heard about it in March and knew instantly that I'd be taking the day off to go.

I've been interested in World's Fairs for a long time, probably since I first heard about the 1964 one at Disney World. The Carousel of Progress and It's a Small World are two of my very favorite rides there, and both first appeared at the World's Fair in Queens.

Both of my parents attended the World's Fair (though not together - my dad was twelve-years-old and my mother was nine, and it would be another twelve years before they would meet in the Bronx), and my father says it was one of his favorite places to visit when he was a kid. He went many times over the two years it was open, sneaking in through a hole in the fence of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and since he's retired, it wasn't much of a problem for him to drive down and visit with me. The last time he was in the park was in the 70s for an Iron Butterfly concert. (It's worth noting here that when he told me this, I thought he meant Iron Maiden and I was pretty confused, since that's really not his jam.)

He picked me up from the apartment at around 8:30, because we were convinced we'd hit rush hour traffic and it would take hours to get to Queens and then we'd have to search for parking. It took 17 minutes and because we were so early, we were able to park in the lot just outside the Pavilion. So, we wandered around the park taking a lot of photos, and waiting for my friend Sheena, who lives near the park and was meeting up with us.

My dad had printed out some maps of the original World's Fair set-ups, and Shaelyn had set us up with a map of the current park, pointing out each of the sites, which was really helpful. As a result, we were able to wander around and see some of the footprints and remains of what were once crowded buildings for states, countries, and companies.

Our main target was, of course, the New York State Pavilion, where the Tent of Tomorrow, Observation Towers, and Theaterama were housed in 1964. The tent was open-air, but protected by a ceiling of colorful plexiglass panels suspended by cables, and the floor was a reproduction of the Texaco map of New York. Apparently after the pavilion was closed, there was a plan to transfer the floor to the World Trade Center, but it was never enacted and once the plexiglass was removed, much of the floor was ruined. The tent of tomorrow was also used as a skating rink and a concert hall for some time after the World's Fair. Theaterama originally showed a film about New York, and now part of it as used as the Queens Theater. The observation deck was one of the highest points in the park, and allowed visitors to see the park from a bird's eye view. The elevators that went up and down the exterior were recently removed for fear that they would fall off and hurt someone, but until then, you could still see one half-way to the top.

I can imagine that it was really beautiful when it was constructed, and the New York State Pavilion Paint Project did recently repaint the bottom, which makes it look a bit more cheerful, as you'll see in some pictures below, but without the ceiling and updated painting on the top, it's a bit gray, though it still appears as a backdrop in some movies (most famously, Men in Black). For more information on its history, DoCoMoMo is a really great resource.

We wandered over to the Unisphere, the symbol of the 1964 World's Fair, and one of the most iconic statues in Queens. According to Wikipedia, the theme of the World's Fair was "Peace Through Understanding" and the Unisphere represented the theme of global interdependence. It was dedicated to "Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe".

I'd seen images of the Unisphere so many times, but I'd never actually seen it in person, so that was a real thrill.

Me in front of the Unisphere!

A view of the NYS Pavilion, the Unisphere, and the former New York City Building, now the Queens Museum of Art.

We made our way across the high way to the other side of the park, and saw the Terrace on the Park, formerly a heliport for the World's Fair, where dignitaries and others would fly in from various points in the city and the Hall of Science, which is now a hands-on science museum for kids.

I also noted some benches from 1964, which reminded me of Shaelyn's recent post and made me pretty sad she wasn't with us in New York, since I know she would have had a blast.

And some original water fountains. I love their modernist design:

After that, we headed back toward the Unisphere, to meet Sheena, who was coming in from near Citifield. She said, "I'll just follow all the crowds," which was pretty surprising, because to that point, everything had been pretty empty, even right near the pavilion, where we'd been just a half hour earlier.

We spotted her, and the three of us headed over to the pavilion, where, to our horror, we discovered that in the half-hour we'd been gone, a massive line had developed, and we were forced to wait on the bridge across from the pavilion.

Sheena and me

And let me tell you - it was a wait. They had a little entertainment on the line, so we took some photos with their fake postcard stands, and chatted with each other. I hadn't seen Sheena in over a year, so it was great to catch up with her, and my father and I always have something to talk about. After about two hours, we finally made our way to the front of the line, where we were given a ticket to enter at the front, where a man was calling out numbers. The number he was calling at the time was 320, and our number was 970, so we were in for quite another wait.

Luckily, a few food trucks had set up to sell their wares, so we were able to grab a snack in the meantime. Wafels & Dinges was there as a tribute to the fact that the first waffles to really take hold in the US were the "Bel-Gem" Waffles that Maurice Vermersch introduced at the 1964 World's Fair. Although the waffles we so enjoy are actually called Brussels Waffles in the rest of the world, the "Bel-Gem" name stuck, so now Americans are the only ones to call them "Belgian" waffles. While I usually love mine with spekuloos, the only one that seemed appropriate to order on this particular day was the 1964 - with strawberries and whipped cream, just as they were served at the fair.

The line for waffles was nearly 45 minutes long, but since we had no where else to be, we decided it was worth it, and chatted with some of the people in line around us, most of whom had also been at the fair in the 60s, like my father. One woman was wearing a lovely silk scarf that her mother had purchased at the fair, and asked if I was wearing teal and orange because those were the fair colors. (I wasn't, but it was a happy coincidence!) She also had a children's book about the fair that she showed us, and the man behind us was happy to exchange memories of old Queens with my dad, since they were about the same age.

Before we knew it, our number was called, and we donned our hard hats and headed in!

Being inside was so cool. I usually wish I was alone during these sorts of things, since tourist attractions are mostly so beautiful but so crowded with disrespectful people, but this was different. Perhaps because it was likely only New Yorkers who were willing to take a day off, or perhaps because so many people visiting had been in this very space 50 years earlier, or perhaps it was just because they were good about not letting too many people in at once; but it was very serene and everyone seemed to realize they were in a special place. With the interior open for only a few hours, I think we all knew it wasn't likely any of us would be back.

Some of the salvaged floor tiles were also being shown off. I can only imagine how gorgeous it must have been in its heyday, because yes, I'm a little obsessed with maps.

My father and me under the pavilion!

And there were some relics from the pavilion's slightly more recent history, as well, like this sign for skate rentals:

The paint job really did make it a bit more cheerful. I hope they're able to accomplish their goal of one day restoring the building.

And one last view of the exterior main entrance:

Afterward, we took a walk to the Queens Museum of Art. Usually they are closed on Tuesdays, but they kept a few parts of the museum open for us, which was really nice. They had a little exhibit of World's Fair memorabilia, and then the Panorama of the City of New York was open for viewing. The museum describes it as "is the jewel in the crown of the collection of the Queens Museum and a locus of memory for visitors from all over the globe," which I think is just beautiful. It was enormous and so much fun to pinpoint certain locations, like our house!

I definitely hope to make it back out to the museum on a day when they're actually open, because they seem to have some other really great exhibits.

After that, we ended our day with a visit to the Ice King of Corona, another place that feels almost folkloric to me, but which I've never visited. It was delicious! The licorice and cherry flavors had chunks of each in them, something I've never had in other Italian ices before, even fresh ones. It was the perfect ending to a really lovely day, and I can't wait to visit again one day this summer!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writer Wednesday - David McLoghlin

David and I met at NYU, and while we never had a class together, during readings and nights out, he was warm and friendly.  When I first read his book, Waiting for Saint Brendan, I was struck by his talent and depth of emotion as well.  A native of Dublin, we're so lucky to have him in New York right now.  I hope you'll check out his poems after reading this interview, and as always, if you're interested in being featured in this space for your writing or other artwork, please email me

Who are you?  David McLoghlin, author of Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems, published by Salmon Poetry in 2012. I’m an Irish poet who has lived in Brooklyn since August 2010. I moved to NYC to study the MFA in poetry at New York University. I hadn’t planned to end up in New York, which had always seemed too big for me (it still is, in a way, but over the years I’ve slowly found my niche, and so it’s manageable, barely, now!) Once I imagined the possibility of studying an MFA (creative writing degrees are only beginning to appear in Ireland, and since the USA has always attracted me, I decided to apply here), I thought of myself in a college town like Madison, Wisconsin, Lawrence, Kansas, Ann Arbor, etc. NYC took a lot of getting used to, but the NYU Creative Writing Program was very nurturing. It put me in touch with several great teachers (Sharon Olds, Kimiko Hahn, Breyten Breytenbach, Matthew Rohrer, Marie Howe), and perhaps more importantly, it gave me a sense of a literary community that I had been lacking before. I might have been subscribing to the “isolated artist” model before! In workshop, I began to understand that feedback from other poets and writers could help me to break through the final 10% barrier between making a poem good and potentially great (Obviously that’s up to others, and not us, as writers. I mean, “great” in the sense of making every word count, and not having any lazy words in there). After I graduated, I held onto the 2 or 3 reader-friends whose opinions I really trust, and they have been a great boon to me creatively. Lawyers, pilots, engineers, construction workers, electricians all pal around together, talk shop, and are understood best by others in the same field, so why do writers imagine they can do it alone? Truth is, we can’t, and we need poet-friends or novelist-friends. That has been the best discovery of moving to New York (that, and meeting my wife!).

Where can you be found online?  Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?  If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation?  Let see: I have a website, I also have a blog (which became unattended in the busyness of getting married, but which I plan to send to rehab soon). My blog,, began as a place to register the culture shock of moving to NYC. The shock was mainly in quickly realising that I had no space here. I noticed that a lot of people in New York City have been drinking too much of the Kool Aid, and I thought that having my own complaint space would be a place to vent some steam. Its subtitle is “digested by New York” (peristalsis is the movement of the gut on the food to pass it through the intestines: better definitions exist, of course. But, I chose that byline as a way of expressing the experience of feeling digested by a crazy city where one felt psychologically assaulted everything you went out your door), and the blog was designed to register the shock of, among other things, lack of space; difficulty of finding a bar stool / café / park bench where invasive others weren’t; it complains, humorously, about the phenomena of an inspiring, infuriating, crazy city. It began as a separate project from my poetry, and has remained, somewhat, separate.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging?  When did it happen?  A teacher at school, whose name was Mr. Love (really!), one day set us to write a poem for homework, and I never stopped. My years-that-I’ve-written now outnumber the years that I haven’t written, and it is as natural and as important for me as breathing. That said, it drives me crazy, I get blocked, react against the imperative to write, like most of us do. I have a daily need to write, as a minimum, 3 pages in my diary (I refuse to use the word “journal” – damn! Said it!). 3 pages is really half an hour, and it acts as a psychological self-bleeding, or leaching of my mental humours. After that, if I have the time, the inclination, I work on poems, or other prose projects.

Why do you write? It’s a mystery. Need, most of all. I think it starts on the brute level of self-therapy, and then it starts to move into the level of art. I see it as a compost heap. The pocket notebook is for brief jottings in the street or the subway; the larger book-sized diary is for more stable, café- or home- or library-writing – still messy, still off the cuff. Some good ideas get germinated there amidst the sprawl, but, the important thing is for there to be no pressure, no need for neat penmanship. No need to even record things that might, in the future, be valuable to read. Why? Because the obligation would further complicate the writing process, which is complicated enough as it is. Sometimes, some seeds from the compost shit heap sprout, and become “art”, “literature”. But, it all starts down there. From the diary / notebook, handwritten, to the laptop, to the print out, more crossings out and notes by hand; further typing up, it’s a process.

My favourite part is when listening to, say, the soundtrack to The Piano by Michael Nyman, and you cross what Heaney calls “The Frontier of Writing”: it becomes “a game”, a meditation, with some ecstasy in it. That’s when what Patrick Kavanagh called lift off happens. Without that sense of connection to something larger inside and outside myself, I wouldn’t be alive.

Your writing inspires me.  Who inspires you? Thanks Kristin! Let’s see. As a teenager, Rilke and Rimbaud. The translations of Robert Bly. As an adult, Lorca and the Generation of 1927. Seamus Heaney, Sharon Olds, Marie Howe, Michael Hartnett, Bruce Chatwin, many many more poets and creative nonfiction writers, as well as novelists and short story writers. Raymond Carver, Eamon Grennan, Basho, Miloz’s anthology A Book of Luminous Things. Poets of witness. Ted Hughes’ animal poems like “The Thought Fox” blow my mind wide open, and approach my reason for writing, which is not about words at all: the possibility of some transcendence, in which what is “transcended” (the earthly, the body) is not left behind at all, but reinfused with – “spirit”? (that was already there in the first place: “your Buddha nature is as good as any Buddha’s Buddha nature”, they say). That’s what poetry is for: to say the unsayable in a way that captures “the moment” in an uncheesy way. I’m most interested in those writers that don’t write for the lowest common denominator, and yet, have a simplicity and directness to them that allows self-claimed “people who don’t read poetry” to have an experience that “blows the heart open” (Heaney, “Postscript”). I write for those people. Firstly, though, I have to write for myself, and then I hope to reach down into myself to a universal place.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Well, all-expenses paid?! Bolivia, The Himalayas, Bhutan, Patagonia, the Trans-siberian railway…

What is your favorite place on earth? My favourite place on earth is the Dingle Peninsula (in Irish Corca Dhuibhne), in the summer: a timeless peninsula in the south west of Ireland that has a green mountain range running the length of it, old green mountains, little lane ways of fushcia and blackberry bushes; the sea on both sides, white beaches, blue skies in the summer and wild rain and wind in the winter; Gaelic speakers, ancient archaeological sites, Ireland’s 2nd highest mountain, Mount Brandon. And, it’s where, more or less, Brendan the Navigator, is from, the man credited with reaching North America, in a leather skin boat, before the Vikings. I lived there for close to three years before moving to NYC. There is only one traffic light on the whole peninsula. As you can imagine, NYC came as a shock. (That’s not to say I’m not an urban person. I’m neither rural nor urban. I can live in either relatively happily. Even in the right kind of suburb, as long as it’s not the soulless kind.)

Anything else you'd like us to know? I’m working on my 2nd book, The Room, which follows the themes of poems of self-witness (in the sense of waking up to realisations of past betrayal and past abuse), travel, spiritual exile and hunger explored in my first book. I’ve also finished the manuscript of Santiago Sketches, a book of poetry I first wrote while living in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain in 1993. The book sat in notebooks until 2009, when I put it on the laptop in a tortuous week-long process at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig that made my tendons feel like ship’s hawsers; then, after graduating from NYU in 2012, and after Brendan was published, I spent a year winnowing what had already been winnowed, and came up with 60 pages of small, short poems: moments, of daily life in the pilgrim city of Santiago: from the point of view of the café terrace, of course, not the pilgrimage! But, with that theme of quest running through it, too, and flashes from Ireland within the Iberian fabric of it. It’s very different to Brendan and The Room, and I like that. It also encapsulates a form of literary recovery that I like: this book could have been my first book, but: it could also have never made it into manuscript form. I could easily have lost those notebooks. Luckily, I kept them safe, and now the manuscript exists. It’s mysterious how things survive, or don’t, and how we make things be born.

Finally, although I know a lot of folks are interested in words and meanings floating away from each other, I have to admit that I’m of the camp where they cohere. I think, too, that readers who aren’t poets come to poetry looking for succour, and, they grow impatient if you play around with the food you’re offering when they are really hungry for nourishing sustenance.