Monday, July 13, 2015

On The Importance of Windows

It occurs to me that I have not written since February.

This has not been for any particular reason. It's difficult to do things, really anything, when living in an underground room with no windows. This is something that should seem obvious, but doesn't. You don't think about your lack of productivity in windowless spaces until you happen to occupy a windowless space.

As it happens, I'm currently in a library.

When I was a teenager, keeping this Blog up as a way to have a diary without having to admit to having a diary, I wrote a lot of my entries in libraries. I say "libraries" but it was really just one library. They were usually written during Honors Choir - a class that, for reasons I can't entirely remember, I tended to end up in the library for. I wrote, as you tend to in high school, with desperate fear that whoever was next to me would read what I was writing.

The library at Exeter High School had many windows. At least, the second one did. The old high school library at the iteration of Exeter High School I attended my freshman year, was, in fact, located in a basement.

It's funny how things work out, sometimes. Often.

The library I currently occupy is the Uniondale Public Library. I had not heard of this library in high school. I had not heard of Uniondale in high school. Were I to, somehow, hold a conversation with myself in high school specifically on the trajectory of my life, it would go something like this:


NELLY and TEEN NELLY sit at a table in the back of the library. It's fourth period. Besides the two of them, it is deserted. The sun cascades in from the large, luxurious window. 

Enjoy windows. 

That's it? 

Also, you're going to move to New York, change your major, dye your hair, meet two different incarnations of the Doctor, travel to South America, get tear gassed, win a screenwriting award, study religion, work for the Girl Scouts, and somehow end up narrating audiobooks.


Right? Take advantage of windows.  


Also, you're going to stop updating your Blog for long periods of time every once in a while. This is usually meaningful. Sometimes, it's not. 

That's vague. 

Most things are. Windows aren't. Make sure you have windows. 

And so on.

It is entirely possible this would go on for several hours - my past self never fully grasping the importance of windows, even as I attempted to drill the concept into my own mind with maddening enthusiasm. Some things are not meant to be understood until they are experienced.

I should also note that I graduated from college this past May, and have since been focused on the process of forcing my somewhat ill-fitting self into the guise of an adult. It's a bit like trying on pants.

Eventually,  just as in high school, I will pack up my things, and leave the library. I will end this Blog entry, and allow its contents to fade away, like a strange dream. My day will continue. I will be presented with problems I will wish I had addressed earlier - possibly, when I was younger. I will look at my life and wonder why it isn't somehow different.

I will wish I was an adult.

And of course, eventually - though there is no telling how long that eventually will extend - I will find a place with windows. I will look out at the sky and be reminded that there is a world out there, that life is inherently more complicated and more exciting than the walls of my room and my head. I will realize that this exact moment is not as absolute as it seems. And then, most likely, I will forget that.

But I will have a window. And, as lost as I might feel, at least I will know what is around me.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Grandfather's Picture

I have a picture of my grandfather on my desk.

It's on the left.

I've had a number of desks over the years. Desks are my base of operations. When I move, it's the first piece of furniture I think about, and the first thing I settle into. Even in Peru - during that period I moved just about every week - it was always nice to find a hostel with a desk.

I've had this picture on my desk, every desk, since I've had desks.

Or, at least, I think I have. I realized today, about ten minutes ago, that I don't actually remember how or when I received this picture.

The picture of my little sister, across the desk on the right, is easy to date. I took it with me when I left for New York, five years ago. I was eighteen then, she was ten. She looks ten. Round glasses that are too large for her, a smile that is at once unsure but just a bit too young to be self-conscious, some sort of plaid shirt I know she doesn't own as a teenager, a natural hair color - and of course, no make up. Looking at it reminds me that I need to get a new picture. This one says nothing but "2009".

Next to that is a picture of David Bowie with a large dog. It rests on my microphone, waiting to be tacked onto the wall. I got that in New Paltz. Where else?

Returning to the left, I have a picture of myself and two of my friends posing at mini golf course in elementary school. It is not an old picture. In the grand scheme of my relatively short life, you could say it is. But, it isn't. My friends and I are probably around the same age my sister is in her picture. As old as the picture feels, thirteen years is not that long. Or, near thirteen years, rather.

I remember the picture being taken. I remember three copies of it being framed. I remember all of this taking place, but not exactly when. It's in that strange, foggy period of "childhood" that after a while seems to blend together into a soup of experiences - the exact chronology of which is confusing, and mostly irrelevant.

And then there's my grandfather.

It is, technically, a picture of both my grandfather and grandmother - back when they were a unit of "Grammy and Poppa." They are sitting together on a red bench, with water as a backdrop. I have no idea where they are, or why they are there. It's most likely Maine, as the picture is dated "1985" but it could just as easily be New York.

I was not alive in 1985, but I remember when they looked like this. I remember when my grandfather was alive and they lived together on Reg Rock Road in a cavernous house made for a large family with a large history. I remember it, but I know that my sister does not. I remember playing in the basement, and the attic, and at Poppa's thoroughly modern desk.

And now, here I am, at my thoroughly modern desk. My macbook pro sits in the center beside my USB condenser mic. The drawers hold external hard drives and digital camera chargers. Knick knacks I pick up as I go litter the edges, and a clock appropriately looms above it all.

In five years, how will this desk have changed? How antiquated will today's "thoroughly modern" be, and what pictures will go with it?