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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Hopes and Dreams


I snapped this pic over the weekend because wishes greatly exacerbate my sentimentality. There's just something about wishes. They're personal, oftentimes they're private, and they represent what we hope for most in our lives. In the professional world, "Hope is not a strategy" has been beaten into my head, and probably for good reason. Hope gets nothing done, it doesn't bring results. But wishes are a different animal, and many times the things we wish/hope for are things we don't have the ability to bring about in any way; things on which we cannot necessarily affect change. And in these instances, hope is perhaps the only strategy we've got.

When in NYC a couple of months ago, I went to the Times Square museum. From the replica of the New Year's Eve ball to the relics and costumes from various Broadway shows, it's a colorful place. But the most striking thing in there (honestly it looks like the beginnings of a parade float) is the Hopes and Dreams wall. It's little squares of confetti paper stuck to the wall, each bearing a handwritten wish from someone who's come through. The best part about these confetti squares is they are what gets shot into the air on New Year's Eve when the clock strikes twelve. All that confetti you see sailing through the air on TV? It's people's wishes, and something about that made me clutch a hand to my heart and steady myself just to absorb the impact to my sentimentality scale.

Of course I wrote down a wish, something I will never get, something not even hope can bring me, but I'm one of those dewey-eyed dopes who believes it's important--even if you know you'll never get what you want--for the universe to know how you'd like things to go if it were up to you. Silly, I know. Pointless, I know. But still. When my wish sails through the sky at the moment the new year begins, I hope it settles near the feet of someone who reads it and hopes that I got my wish.



Ode to the Salt Mines

I hate you, salt mines.

Yes, it's day one back at work after a nice, long vacation, and while what I really need is a slap in the face (I'm grateful to have a job and all the benefits it provides me), it's always a bit depressing to return to real life. And Cleveland is always a bit depressing after NYC in particular. (Isn't ANY city?)

But, no matter, my real life is pretty fun too, at least that's what I tell myself. Sure, there are expectations of me, I have to cook my own food, and I end up at home most nights instead of out seeing a show or eating cheesecake at Carnegie Deli at midnight (or frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity). Sure, my editor has told me that manuscript #2 needs some work. Sure, I miss home and family and there are things about my life I wish I could change, but I'm fresh off a trip to the city, and for the moment I can't be anything but grateful. Hard to ask for more than a view like this.



Specs and the City

If you're leaving on a ten day vacation and have an early morning flight and so throw on your glasses, you might want to make sure you have packed your contacts. Because if you don't, you might have to spend the first few hours of your vacation trying to convince an optician to sell you some contacts even though the brand your doctor faxed over on the prescription is not one they carry. This vacation city optician may refuse to so much as sell you a trial pair of lenses, so you might end up having to buy two full boxes of lenses that are not your brand and do not even match the curvature of your eyes. The ridiculousness of not being able to buy lenses even though a valid prescription has been faxed over might cause you to yell or cry, or both, or maybe it's just the vacation hours slipping by wasted that will wither you. Just remember as you walk out of the optician's office with two boxes of off-brand lenses (and a 4-pack of lense cases because they wouldn't just give you one like they give EVERY SINGLE PATIENT) that any price is worth not having to experience ten straight days in glasses. Even if they're cute.


Rain Across the Border


After being stuck in NYC for Hurricane Sandy, I'm a bit sensitive to storms when I travel. So when it started torrentially downpouring in Toronto on Monday while I was in town for work (we're talking record-breaking rainfall for them), I got a little panicky when the rain didn't stop. And when the subways flooded. And when the cab ride to dinner took an hour because all the stop lights were out. And when the restaurant ended up being closed because they had no power. It's one of the only times while on business travel that I ended up with a pocket of time to read the book I had packed, simply because it was too nasty to go outside and explore. Can you say silver lining? I can.


The Greenest Grass


Not sure why I always feel such a pull to be in New York City, but I do. I feel this pull pretty much every day when I think about the time I've spent there and the possibilities that undoubtedly exist. There's probably some rose-coloredness going on here, as living in NYC would be hard in some ways, I'm sure, not to mention it would drain my savings. But the pull is still there.

My good friend L lives in the city (she's the one I mentioned in this post who bought a one-way ticket), and every time I talk to her, I hang on every word. She's walking to Times Square, she's just coming up from the subway, she's smelling a street vendor's cart, she's afraid for her life in a sketchy block, she's shadowing a performance of Phantom of the Opera. Even the picture she sent me (now that I have a phone that can receive them) of a flamboyant character jump-roping in the middle of street filled me with a longing to be there. I could see the street in the background, the green awnings of various businesses.

I've had some very real examples in my life lately that completely disprove the "grass is always greener" theory, but why am I convinced that NYC grass is the greenest? Why can't I shake this pull? What I can do is book another trip, so that's exactly what I've done. I haven't been since the week of Hurricane Sandy (talk about a bizarre week to have been in NYC), and I've been feeling the need to get back. Never underestimate the power of the pull.




When I think of New York, I think of it as a very bookish city. From the Barnes & Noble on Fifth (yes, I looked myself up on their computer) to the little indies like this one I photographed in the West Village, people there love to read. Or it could be that there are just so many people period that there are, by default, more readers. I'm not sure which. Just like I'm not sure if more people smoke in NYC than average, or if there are just more people. Hence more smokers. In any case, I made it back from the city and am happy to report that I wrote more than 3,000 words while cooped up in the apartment. This may not sound like a lot to those of you whose professions involve writing, but as mine does not, I have precious little time to devote to writing. To hobbies in general, of which I have many. Not to mention an existing book to sell. So 3,000 words is more than I've written in months, and it felt good.

I got a call from a colleague at my company late yesterday who works in another state, and his sole purpose for calling was to tell me that he just read my book and loved it. It makes my day when this happens. Because it's not like I've been able to shout from the rooftops that I've written a book. At least not at work. So it's fun to hear from people as they find out and come to me to ask where they can get the book or to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Yesterday's caller complimented my writing style, my wit, my edge (someone thinks I have edge!!), and then asked if there would be another book. Which brings me back to my 3,000 words. For those keeping track at home, I'm about halfway done with the next book. And while I've been halfway done for months, it was nice to get back down to it last week and make some progress. So about ten vacation-turned-hurricanes from now I should be done. Is it too early to start a paper chain? Don't answer that.


Stuck in NYC

There are worse places to be, surely, although it's somewhat torturous to be in a city as fabulous as this one and have there be absolutely nothing to do. And I really do mean nothing. Everything is closed, all transportation at a standstill. I walked down Fifth Avenue today, and it was so bizarre to see all the stores closed. Especially since I had remarked to my aunt J when I saw that my trip was coinciding with this storm, "At least Tiffany is open rain or shine." Au contraire.

I'm in town for a week-long class, although not surprisingly, my class has been cancelled. I did get a few days of NYC fun in before Sandy hit, but now that the city is all but shut down, my options are somewhat limited (read: there are none). But true to writer-form, I've been reflecting on how grateful I am. Not only because a tree didn't fall on my rented apartment last night, but also because I now have a few days to get some writing done. What's more, I'm grateful that I have hobbies; grateful to have things I enjoy doing that can occupy my time and satisfy my need to create, to learn, and to pursue my goals.

Another thing that becomes apparent to me when I'm in NYC (or when I'm on any kind of trip, really) is how much my writer-mind is different from most people's. I tend to focus on details and find myself wanting to know more about things that don't really matter. Am I overly curious? I guess I just wonder about things, about people, and I'm always thinking of how something could be written up and used as a metaphor for life, as a killer story, or simply as a fond memory of something I once experienced. Case in point: While lying in bed last night looking out at the storm, it wasn't the wind that had me captivated. Rather it was the windows of the towering apartment buildings across the street. There were trees blocking my view, but as wind blew the branches around I would get glimpses of the few windows that were lit up, and I found myself wondering who lived there and how they came to be living in New York. Probably not a normal thought process during a hurricane, but if a description of a high-rise window shows up in one of my books someday, you'll know where I got it.