Song Of Parkland

mürmur had the opportunity to preview an early screening of Song of Parkland at HBO headquarters in Midtown New York.

Song of Parkland tells the story of Parkland drama teacher Melody Herzfeld and her students.

Directed by Amy Schatz, the 30-minute documentary follows the production of Go! Vikings, the musical the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas were rehearsing the day of the shooting.

For students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, it was through song that they attempted to overcome their trauma.

It started through text message. They were sad, angry, confused and hurt. Once they returned back to school, Melody helped put those words into lyrics.

They wrote over 30 songs in total, and all were placed on a Google doc. Three of those songs made it into the documentary.

For her work as an influential educator, Melody was honored at the most recent Tony Awards.

If you are worried that this documentary will be too hard to watch, don’t be. The doc is much more hopeful than it is tragic: from pain, comes triumph. As soon as they returned to school, Melody’s infamous tough love takes charger. The students put on their Go! Vikings show as planned, and the entire Parkland Community comes together to watch it as a celebration of life, love, and peace.

The screening ended with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a Q&A with director Amy Schatz, Melody and her two students Ashley and Alex.

From that Q&A, we found out that the drama students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have made a lasting impact on the Parkland Community. Ashley is highly involved in Camp Shine, an art therapy camp for students coping with trauma. Alex, who you might recognize from Time magazine, continues being an activist for March For Our Lives, and hopes to “make activism cool again”. Not surprisingly, the 2018 mid-term elections in Florida had the highest voting rate in 25 years for the 18-23 demographic.

They put on a community-wide show, they sang at the Tonys, and they started a national movement, but they don’t want us to forget that they are still just kids.

I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo.

There is a story behind every emotion - a story that sets into motion who we are today.

Sadly, the more invested we become in one thing, the harder it becomes to recall the genesis of our actions. Why we started it in the first place.

I was on a date a few weeks ago, heading towards a restaurant when a mürmur flyer caught the corner of my eye. My intention, being more playful than vain, impelled me to ask whether she recognized the person on it. She walked over and quickly turned around to make a face that screamed bloody horror. This girl, was mortified. The terror in her eyes. She was visibly creeped out. Was it the technicolor sweater? The teddy bear? The open invitation to my apartment?

For the rest of the night, I felt as if she was treating me like a sad freak. 

I began to question whether these flyers were appropriate for me to keep posting in the neighborhood. Perhaps, she is right — the teddy bear shtick is getting old.

I started to feel hurt. I really did.

And even though I found myself semi-considering her stance, I also couldn’t ignore the fact that these flyers, once upon a time, meant the world to me.

Sometimes, we ourselves grow out of what we once held to such high-esteem. But all that we leave behind, at one point, meant something to us. And as long the remnants of this past model of thinking — either through poetry, song, or conversation — was written from a place of truth and passion, there will always be an audience for this message to resonate with.

Radiohead has become a completely different band since the release of “Creep” - a song Thom Yorke has profusely stated his disenchantment for. But the band still play it from time to time. And when they do, although Thom is miles away from the same headspace he was when he first wrote the song - the message still speaks to an entire stadium. 

Fashions come and go. What’s more important is not the fabric, but the person strutting the accessories.

I still get a lot of phone calls from people who discover the flyer on this street. Why should I stop because one person thinks it’s weird?

(Originally Published March 5, 2018)

a piece of chocolate tastes better than the entire bar. 

New York City is beautiful - like a playground where all of your wildest dreams are brought to reality without the necessity of time. Partnerships and connections are fostered quickly. It doesn’t take long for an idea incubating in your head to suddenly be thrusted onto a consuming audience. It’s the perfect paradise for the impatient daydreamer. 

But there is also a dark side to this fickle utopia. Callousness, narcissism, and egotism slowly pervade through without warning. Eventually, you notice how everyone’s interaction solely revolve around two variables: “Will this person advance my career?” or, “Will this person sleep with me?”

It’s a tough pill to swallow.

But I’m not an enemy of New York City - just an observer. I’ve just had an opportunity step out of the bubble for a few weeks, so I’m simply reporting on my sightings - can you dig it?

Let me explain something.

If you bake a pie, and cut enough slices for every person around you to have a bite, i can promise - that it will have a greater overall impact — than if you were to give the entire pie to just one person. 

Who the hell wants to eat an entire pie in one sitting? They’ll just resent you for trying to get them fat. Give just enough to keep those around you enticed.

So keep feeding those hyenas with little snacks here and there, but never provide an entire meal in hopes that they’ll be kept satisfied forever.

Sometimes a piece of chocolate is worth more than the entire bar.

(Originally Published February 25, 2018)

The Adventures of Pete & Pete

I’ll never forget getting Nickelodeon for the first time. It’s arrival was profound — it happened at a time when there nothing quite like it in Istanbul. Little did I know, how the network would prepare me for what to expect when I arrived in America a few years later.

One show in particular, “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” went one step beyond just teaching me about American culture. It was different. There was something about the show that perfectly captured the innocence of childhood, and the melancholy associated with leaving it behind. It displayed the growing pains of becoming an adult while still remaining both odd and youthful. It was unconventional in it’s esoteric references, but me and my friends nonetheless felt connected to it’s unique frequency. I found great solace in the two Petes.

To go from being an 8 year old boy who worshipped this TV show in Turkey, to actually sitting down with the elder Pete (Michael C Maronna) - and have a mürmur with him 20 years later, is something I can’t even use words to describe. I wasn’t too nervous but I was very, very tongue tied - it was such a surreal experience, something I’ll never forget.

I want to thank you once again Michael. Despite you encountering a life threatening accident a day prior, and having a soccer match to tend to on the day of our talk - you still came to mürmur with me. That speaks volumes in terms of what a man you are. And don’t think it has gone unnoticed in my eyes, your multiple efforts to correctly spell my name with the Cedilla under the C. Not many people do that, actually, no one does. And let’s not forget about the care you took in teaching yourself to correctly pronounce the word Döner.

We have a saying in Turkish - “Nerden Nereye”. It’s practically impossible to translate, but implies on the passage of time. How we start in one place, and end up somewhere completely unexpected and surprising.

So with that I say to you, Nerden nereye…

(Originally Published in February 15, 2018)

The Wi-Fi Password

I was about to walk out of the cafe due to the stench of grease that greeted me at the door — but I opted to stay instead and challenge myself in hopes of improving my adaptability - to find charm in the unpleasant. I asked the waiter for the WiFi password and got promptly turned down with an excuse. Had this happened a month ago, I probably would have been bitter and sensitive. 

But I managed to remain cool, and even extend sympathy for his refusal. Perhaps his job is on the line. I’m sure he is a good guy, he isn’t doing this because he hates me - we just met. He must have sensed the understanding in my response, because in no more than a few minutes, a receipt with the contents of my desired data was silently passed through my table. Maybe it’s not so much the city, but the internal energy that dictates the outcome of everything. 

And remember, sometimes life comes in streaks. If you’re doing everything you need to do, and still not achieving the desired results, it’s not your fault. Sometimes you find gold in a trash can, and junk inside of a treasure trove.  This life is horribly meaningless and devoid of any sense. But that’s the curse, and the blessing.

By the way, I didn’t even end up using the WiFi.

(Originally Published February 13, 2018)

Hell of a Time

I try to grasp the source of my sadness with my two hands. It’s like an elusive butterfly that camouflages itself to any background. I see it’s contour fluttering away before my eyes, but I can never capture it. I do wonder again, is there anything actually wrong? Perhaps in my desperation to expose this metaphorical butterfly - I’m instead perpetuating the problem.

Part of me is stubborn. I refuse to lose my innocence. I want to continue giving, and loving people - even when I’m the most desperate for that love myself. 

As I say these words, it makes me a little sullen as to how I could have fallen so deep into this predicament. It was always my love for humanity that gave me the strength to stand up and keep marching. But I’m having hell of a time seeing the best in people anymore.

(Originally Published January 22, 2018)

Alejandro Escovedo

When I interviewed Alejandro Escovedo a few months ago, I remember asking him if he ever felt tired of playing music. The question visibly startled him. He looked at me in a perturbed manner before answering no.

Perhaps, it was improper of me to ask such a question to a long time veteran of rock and roll — but truly, how do you fall back in love with the very thing you had once adored?

Struggling to answer my own question, I reached over for the nearest jar of Speculoos Cookie Butter - aka Devil’s Ketamine.

Standing over the kitchen sink, and while licking the last remnants off sweetness off of my spoon, I thought back to a particular bike ride in the East Village. As the silhouette of the Empire State Building beckoned me to surge forward, and the wind joyfully whipped me in the face - both a longing to live, along with an imminent fear of death, washed over me at the same time. 

“This life is so beautiful, I hope I don’t die soon.” was my exact thought. 

Earlier in the day, I pandered through another mürmur. We initially started strong, but slogged somewhere in the middle — a recurring dilemma I can’t seem to solve.

Out of nowhere, my eureeka moment came to rescue.

After a momentary pause, instead of pressing on further about whatever mundane topic we were expounding on, I simply said: 

“I got a new roommate today.”

Silence.

“Oh, yeah? How did that go?”

Boom. Suddenly we were back to having a back-and-forth..

In any other occasion, I would have gone directly into the discourse about my roommate without being prompted. But by presenting the question in a fashion that allowed my guest to respond, it put the power in their hands to make further inquiry - making the conversation greatly more dynamic.

Instead of rushing through the answer, I found myself sculpting my thoughts with a few choice words. I managed to find myself speaking less, and saying more. I felt not only connected to the moment, but also to my guest.

It’s all excavation. We’re all digging up gold from the same ground we’ve walked over a million times. It’s both exciting and frustrating at the same time. You feel pleasantly surprised, but also angry that you haven’t stumbled upon it before.

I look forward to enjoying Speculoos again. I have few more gold nuggets to dig up first though.

(Originally Published in January 18, 2018)

Truth or Silence

In the midst of transformation - realize that you’re still a work in progress. In those moments when you get too cocky and try a trick you haven’t yet mastered, don’t be embarrassed.. You’re going to fall, it’s going to hurt. Whatever.

Just when you think you’re back in the saddle again - you’ll go on another stupid tangent. Each syllable digging the grave waiting for you back at your apartment one foot deeper. By the time you finish, everyone is eyeing their laps as though they’ve just grieved a loved one.

Except it’s you who they’re grieving. Not their moms, not their uncles. 

All of this is to be expected - it’s ok.

This period of uncertainty has not been kind to me in terms of winning over new friends. Especially when it comes to potential roommates. I’m always anticipating for the moment when they ask, “Oh, so what is your podcast about?” 

Before I even begin to talk, they’re on their way out.

Telling the truth is more difficult when you are certain of being misinterpreted.

My mind goes to something that my last roommate Max said: “The beauty about honesty is that it forces you to acknowledge your shortcomings, from there, it’s up to you to decide how you frame it to others. What may have been perceived as a shortcoming before, can now be seen as a positive in the eyes of others, because you were truthful”.

But perhaps - sometimes, it’s more truthful to not say anything at all.

(Originally Published January 17, 2018)

Cucumber & Carrot Juice

I had a moment this evening as I was blending up some cucumber and carrot juice. After having realized a few of the friends I had been expecting tonight for a light gathering were either running late, or had things come up - I decided to call off the whole arrangement to be all alone with myself. Did I even want see anyone tonight in the first place? Was I using people as a distraction to keep myself away being with my thoughts? Do I even like being around people anymore? 

It might come across as dramatic, but my next thought was to kill myself. Before I let that thought sink in, I turned the blender to max speed.

These days, everything has been happening in weird spurts. I go through enlightenment, rage, peace, melancholy, and numbness all in a matter of minutes.

It’s almost as though every ingredient has been thrown in the blender, and nothing tastes distinguishable for one and other. What am I? Who am I? What is this confused spatter of emotions I’m feeling?

One thing is for sure, I am not liking who I am morphing into.

Just a moment ago, a mutual friend of my ex-girlfriend messaged me to tell me that I need to first and foremost invest in myself. A message that was meant to counter my adage about continuing to give love even when you need it yourself so desperately.

How dare she? Don’t you realize how much I’m struggling to keep it together right now? Why are you criticizing me as you’re still in talks with my ex-girlfriend - the girl who I felt so bad for, that i introduced the two of you so that she wouldn’t be all by herself and forlorn in Queens. Why have you never asked me how I was doing in 5 months?

In my mind, I flipped over a table.

I ended up deleting my comment, and hers all together. After a moment of stillness, I started rubbing my forehead telling myself “Dude. Everyone just wants the best for you. Nobody is trying to criticize you”.

These spastic outbursts that come out of seemingly nowhere - How the hell do I make them go away? I feel like I’m sinking further and further into a pit of quicksand that’s becoming impossible for me to envision a way out. 

Do I keep being forcing myself to be around people, or do I temporarily isolate and dive deep within.

Or is there a sweet spot that I have yet to discover?

Maybe a way to not give so much to others, but also love them more at the same time?

Is there a way to do that?

I just want my old self back. 

(Originally published January 14, 2018)

Grateful

Here are the things I’m grateful for.

-Being blessed with the most magical childhood in Istanbul.

-Appearing in a film alongside Robert De Niro.

-Eating more Sushi than the entire population of Japan.

-Mürmur being featured on NPR, The New York Post, Sirius XM and the Paris Review.

-Overcoming my fear of looking at people in the eye.

-Meeting Radiohead - my all time favorite band - a couple blocks away from my apartment.

-Learning how to dance without feeling self-conscious. 

-Every single time a girl ran her hands through my afro in high school. 

-All the times my father took me to see the movies as a kid. 

-The moment I puffed my first cigarette to “Ballad of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest”.

-Having a friend like Nader Shirazi who I can always count on.

-Going on a life changing road trip from  New York City to Los Angeles - and then back again.

-Seeing a ghost.

-The sturdy Italian leather boots that saved my foot from being dismembered.

-Tripping over and falling on Prince.

-Spending only a day in jail while everyone else was there much longer.

-My mother who left behind everything for my future.

-The lady who gave me her $545 Leonard Cohen concert ticket without taking a single penny from me. 

-The opera singer who took a chance and flew me out to NYC - and saved my life.

-My dogs Simsek, Hubert, and Pepper.

-All of the people who saw my dumb street flyer and showed up to my apartment to be my friend.

These will be the things that I will forever cherish. I’m shutting Facebook after tomorrow. But I want to remind all of you to be true to yourselves and honest to those around you. Let’s let each other speak our thoughts instead of shunning those who deviate from the popular consensus. But most importantly, don’t let anyone condemn you for being vulnerable. Love love love. I will always give it all, even when I need it the most myself.

(Originally posted on January 13, 2018)

Eviction - Update

Hey friends, I want to give all of you a much needed update.

As they say, when it rains it pours.  But in this case, the blessings and misfortunes are enter-twined together. Even if it’s a little confusing to me, it’s also just as much humbling at the same time. 

I could dwell on the bad. But I’ll refrain. I’ll grind my teeth as hard as I can from letting that happen.

First and fore most, a big THANK YOU to all those who’ve contributed to the mürmur campaign. Your support has given me a boost of confidence that I would not have been able to bolster on my own. 

Thanks to you, I’m standing up right now.

I also have not forgotten those who I’ve promised to send mürmur t-shirts to. The move has been heavily exhaustive. I promise to send out your package by Monday.

So let me get to the GOOD.

Mürmur has found a new home in a location that I will NOT be openly disclosing from this point on. If you want to be on the show, you know how to contact me.

Starting November, mürmur will also have a second home at Radio Free Brooklyn. Once a week, every Tuesday at 2pm, you can hear mürmur live on the radio.

I’ve also begun working as the host for Bowery Electric’s new podcast - getting paid to interview punk rockers whose music saved my life during high school.

What goes around, comes around.

I’m gaining new clients for my recording studio, and planning on starting a small PR firm to help those who want to promote their brand in the media.

Columbia Journalism Review is writing an extensive feature on mürmur that will be published later this month. 

But most importantly, I just wrapped up a segment with NPR’s “The Big Listen” that will air on October 19th.

I look around and ask myself, “How can I be bitter?”

The answer lies in the fact that I’ve spent so many years investing in other people, that I’m finally realizing it’s time to invest in myself.

I am now sensing a shift in my attitude. It’s especially tough for me, as I’ve always relied on my inner child to guide me through life - like a compass. To shed that layer of innocence, is something that’s very hard for me right now.

But I have to be honest about one thing. For every bad thing that has happened to me recently, something good has come along immediately after. Even though I can’t fully appreciate it at the moment, I have to keep reminding myself.

So, thanks again to everyone. And please, if you have personal ties with Kid Rock, let me know, I’d very much like to have a heart to heart with him on mürmur.

Love to all. And thank you.  xoxo

-Uluç Ülgen

(Originally published October 13, 2017)

Eviction

Hi, my name is Uluç - The host of mürmur.

For the last 3 years, mürmur has allowed complete strangers of New York City a platform to openly talk about their lives in my humble East Village studio apartment.

Yes. Complete strangers. No background checks. No nothing. Everyone is welcome.

Through a simple street flyer, 250 of these unannounced guests have randomly appeared in my home, for completely spontaneous, one hour conversations. 

Honoring diversity and all walks of life, everyone from homeless, rock stars, and even a deaf person, have appeared on the show.

But I’m most proud to say, that I have never denied anyone from entering my home to express their voice, because I viewed them as being unfit, or threatening.

These engagements have proven to be a rich source of learning, understanding, courage, and hope for both myself, and my guests - It is both powerful, and therapeutic in a time when collective compassion seems to be at an all time low.

Unfortunately, my landlord is putting an end to mürmur.

Even though mürmur is entirely cost free, and not a business, the owner of the building considers it a liability to the rest of the tenants.

I am now given an ultimatum. If I continue to stay, I'll be routinely inspected to ensure that I have no audio recording equipment of any kind in my apartment. 

Meaning, someone showing up regularly to dictate what I can, or can't have in my own home.

If I don't comply with these conditions, I will be evicted and sued.

I need your help.

I'm not here to fight my landlord and be defiant. If anything, he is an OK guy. However, mürmur now needs a new home, and I will have to move out in the next month. 

I started mürmur to pay homage to the strangers that saved my life. I want to keep the project alive, so I can keep being of service to others in need of a friend, or a shoulder to cry on. 

The least I can ask of you is to SHARE this post. That's all.

If you'd like to go one step above, please contribute to the link I placed in the comments section. My gratitude to you will be infinite.

Through celebration and acceptance of our differences, in a non-judgmental, inclusive dialogue, mürmur acts as a vanguard against oppressive, and intolerant forces of the world.

Mürmur is my air, and my purpose for living - the only thing in my entire life that I've been proud of.

Please share, and support. God bless, and thank you. 

-uluç ülgen

(Originally Published September 16, 2017)

Purple Rain

during the final encore of the show, he indicated that he wanted to be taken backstage. my manager and i stood right next to him each step of the way as we escorted him from the VIP booth, down to the front entrance, and then all the way around to the game bar area. he was purposefully taking the long route and enjoying every instance of 'ooh's and 'ahh's coming his way.

i was just doing my best to not lose my shit. the purple glitter of his gold tinted stratocaster (which was no bigger than him) was so blinding that it literally blurred my view. i stumbled on my shoe lace and fell straight into him.

there is a saying at first avenue that if you ever look prince in the eyes, you will end up getting fired. well, i broke the cardinal rule. the purple one shot back such a stare, that all i could do was meekly regain composure while doing my best to avoid eye contact. (it must not have been easy walking on those six inch high heels).

i could have easily knocked him over on accident, but thankfully, it was just a quick collision.

when we finally got him side stage, he got plugged in and started playing around a few licks while warming up off stage. the band started to slowly realize who was standing a few feet away. the story gets a little blurry here, but from the sound of things, everyone on stage was pretty intoxicated and no one was able to find the proper courage to invite him up to play.

but he just patiently waited for the moment to come. he wanted the band's blessing first before taking their spotlight. it was his way of showing respect.

thinking back, it was a moment of modesty that was pretty revealing of his character in a strangely bittersweet way. i'm lucky to have witnessed it.

after a few moments of waiting, he finally decided to unplug his guitar and retreat back into his limo. and that was that. nobody besides a handful of people knew that he was even there. nobody got to hear him play.

even in spirit, he always had a vital presence in that club. i worked there for 5 years, so he was pretty much part of my life every day, even if it was only in spirit.

THAT OLD FEELING

I saw a younger than usual conversationist standing on my stoop. I couldn't help but ask for an age.

"I'm 14." 

"Oh, Wow, that's a first,.. Come on in."

It's funny how quickly we get disconnected from our inner child. Just 12 years ago, (JUST 12 years ago?? oh man..) I too was a 14 year old, starting out high school and exhibiting awkward attempts at gluing together 3-5 words to talk to anyone who may have also heard of the same Japanese noise rock band that I was constantly listening to on my newly acquired Technics turntable.

And talking to girls? Forget about it. (thank god for AOL Instant Messenger). 

I was the worst. A socially illiterate snob with a tongue full of venom. No wonder why nobody liked me except for my best friend Zach. 

Throughout our talk, I had to channel deep within. What was it like to be 14 again?

Somehow, in this adult world of careers, taxes, mortgages, tinder etc. we get detached from the years that helped us develop into the oversized bodies that we gracelessly lug around today. 

I couldn’t believe it. I was actually looking for wisdom in someone half my age.

How come I didn’t have the same level of calm mannered, cool headedness when I was his age? 

Where was that person to teach me these things in my life?

But then I remembered. “You went from being the most socially awkward person in the world, to inviting complete strangers into your apartment”.

That’s a big leap. Especially when it’s taken me 14 years to finally land. 

It’s OK though. We all need moments so that we can say, “Oh yeah, I guess I did come a long way”.

Because we forget, or we don’t think it’s worthy of remembering where we came from. 

No matter how embarrassing or how hurtful it may be, take a moment to remember and smile at the former self that you’ve hatched out of. 

Thanks again for the reminder Ari.

-uluç ülgen

(not) OK COMPUTER

It's just as frustrating for my head as it is painful to my heart. 

It looks as though a few of the mürmur talks from late April-early May have unfortunately disappeared from my Dropbox.

I suspect the problem had something to do with a syncing issue that automatically removed the files from my "cloud storage" after I deleted them from my computer.

I thought that the files were safe in Dropbox. But I was wrong. 

Besides letting this be a cautionary lesson for the rest of you who are relying on services like Dropbox for the safekeeping of your personal documents, I want to really, really, apologize to the people who came out to talk with me.

Anthony Pascual
Lawrence Godwin
Johnny Mez
Rick Toscano
Nadim Hobeika
???????????

So many great talks. Rick had opened up about his tough relationship with his father, Anthony and I had a long heart to heart on practically every subject under the sun, Nadim turned the tables around and put the spotlight on me for once, Johnny Mez talked about the recording of his new album, and Lawrence... I don't remember but we talked about but I remember loving the guy!

Last but not least, the photo in the middle... This was a very a special talk for me. Unfortunately, not only have I lost our great talk, but also, the contact info to reach you by. I'm very sorry brother.

Forgive me everyone. Really, really sorry.

If any of you would like to do another talk, I will get you in ASAP and promise to put up our talk immediately after the recorder hits stop.

Even though I no longer have the proof of connection we've established to share with the rest of the world, I am more enriched for having talked to each and every one of you. 

Thanks. And again, sorry.

-Uluç Ülgen

Let Loose

Tonight.

While riding my bike around the east village, a drunk girl yells at me admonishingly,

"YO! Don't go down that street. There is a dude jerking off".

After stopping to let the visual premonition sink in for a moment, i decide to joust on.

As promised, a twenty something is pleasuring himself in complete disregard to the surrounding cat calling,

A short conversation ensues between him and I. 

"Hey man. Don't let them ruin your fun."

"I know. Right?"

"Why do they gotta be like that?"

"I don't know man."

"You just keep being you, OK? Don't let them stop you".

"Yeah, ok."

"You're just out here doing your thing. They don't get it man. If you enjoy it, that's all that matters".

"Thanks man".

"Just keep keep being you."

"Ok."

By this point, he has gone completely flaccid. He zips up his pants and walks off.

I turn around to lock eyes with a man sitting down on a stoop smoking a cigarette.

"Only in New York" he says to me.

Only in New York.

SAY YES!

this one meant a lot to me.

thor invited me out to swans soundcheck at the bowery ballroom before jumping into a cab with me to conduct this conversation in my studio apartment.

i didn't realize this until later, but.

10 years ago, i bought my dad a father's day gift of one of the records that he had played on. 10 years later, i'm sitting with him in my apartment having a conversation about fathers.

life is too funny.

as i was walking to nublu at 2am last night, i couldn't help but to suddenly start crying in the middle of the street.

if you'd told me 5 years ago that i would one day manage to leave the midwest, to not only live in new york city, but to have my own place, live life in accord to my heart, and finally be happy with who, and what i am... i would have thought. "sounds nice. but that won't ever happen to me". 

sometimes all it takes is one person in your life to help align the rest of your life trajectory. sometimes that person is a complete stranger, and sometimes it's just you. and sometimes, it's through your own perseverance, and the opportunity that someone else bestows upon you, that you arrive where you need to be in life today.

be open to others. don't close up. stay true and receptive to what's around.

if a big black opera singer who you just met at a downtown YMCA 3 days prior asks you to fly out to New York City with him to be his assistant. 

SAY YES!

what's the worst that could happen?

Either he'll murder you, or you'll murder yourself by living a slow life of decay for not ever living up to what you have to offer to the universe. 

that to me, is worst than dying.

plus, how cool is it when you survive to tell the tale?

Time Out

on the day of our talk, she wasn't exactly open to the suggestion of having a photo taken since the spark of beauty wasn't within her. i obliged for another time, so we ended up meeting again a week later. although i though it unusual to meet outside on such a brisk day, i also didn't really mind it. sitting next to her on the bench, i noticed a brown paper bag containing an elongated metallic can with a trace 'bud light' logo casually exposed. she called it 'breakfast.' between sips. we sat there. laughed. and watched people. at some point, she pulled out her phone to show me pictures from her youth. my god. i don't think i've seen anyone so beautiful in my life. with each swipe of the finger tip, every photo that slid across that broken android screen was like another cupid's arrow tugging deep down into my heart strings. i realized in that moment that i once could have really fallen for this woman...

but i think my timing was a little off.

"you can write an essay without a crayon, but it wouldn't be any fun"

I don't know a feeling more self-defeating than that of eating a hearty breakfast on a full stomach.

I got lucky this morning though, my appetite answered just as the plate full of blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes hit the table. 

as I was about to fork over the first bite into my ever so patient but anxious jaw, the elderly man next to me politely gestured towards my notebook to ask me if i was a writer. 

"no, but I like to keep my thoughts stored somewhere". 

His name was Bob. Sweetest guy. A total marshmallow. 

I told him I preferred a pen and a notebook as opposed to a tablet

"you can write an essay without a crayon, but it wouldn't be any fun"  he said to me.

... huh.

or at least that's what i think he said.

within the span of 15 minutes, we somehow ended up talking about everything from Philip Roth to masochism. 

as he was parting ways from his side of the booth, i reached over to shake his hand. at first, i couldn't tell if it was a flinch, but he shut his eyes and reacted with an apprehensive smile as he allowed me the gesture. 

"oh, you know, i have many phobias, i don't normally shake hands with strangers".

but he let me anyways.

Update: Dec 30 12:47pm. In a surprising turn of events, Bob has personally reached out to clarify all the hullabaloo. The original quote...

"You can write an essay using a crayon, but why would you bother?".

Thank you, Bob!

brief encounter

babel. what a film. feeling a bit bluesy after that ending.

finally moved in. it's been a long time coming and quite frankly i'm slightly overwhelmed by everything. i've accomplished so much, but so little.

even though i feel i have more to prove to myself now, i also can't help but get anxious at the prospect of potential failure. it's genuine ambition with a heavy dose of fear. more specifically, for the fear of self-sabotage, rather than failure through external circumstance. 

i really can be my worst enemy at times. no, cross that. ALL OF THE TIME.

ok. maybe, just most of the time. 

i went out at some point tonight to grab a slice from 2 bros. it was 3am, and even though they were shown as being open on yelp, st marks. place was as quite as christmas day once i arrived. instead, i ended up vouching for a joint called stramboli pizza that i happen to pass by through pure chance.

i had been feeling slightly disconnected, so naturally, a craving for  a slice of extra cheese and warm dough was imminent. 

it's usually during these unnecessary moments of self-doubt that something beautiful happens. a stranger and i will lock eyes, make slight gestures of acknowledgment for each other's presence, then a couple of heartfelt stammers of "how goes there?" and before you know it, we're both talking as though we've known each other our entire lives. All within the span of 8 minutes.

i live for these moments. these are the moments that not only remind me that i'm human after all, but also, that i'm OK.

tomorrow mike is coming over for a chat. he will be the 2nd person i will be talking to. 1st chat went well. no awkward moments. just gotta make sure to not smack my lips so much.

do as one..