Life in General, Writing

The Problem With Ideas

Lilies by Dessa Kirk in the South President’s Court
of Chicago’s Grant Park

The problem with ideas is that I have so many.

But there was a time in my life, when I was a wee baby writer, that I was afraid of my ideas. I was afraid that if I used my best ideas for a novel, the only ones I had at the time, I would never come up with more. Or the ones I did come up with in the future wouldn’t be quite as good as the first. I was afraid I would be a one book wonder, if that.

And now, I have so many ideas I barely know what to do with them.

But the problem with ideas is that they are fleeting. Unless you jump on one and ride it out immediately, it is bound to run off into the horizon, to scatter in the wind, to shift and jumble, or to flat out disappear, never returning with the same strength or brilliance it once had. Many times I have made the mistake of not harnessing my ideas immediately, sometimes because I was afraid of wasting them, and other times because I didn’t think I had the time or life experience to properly develop them. And now, those ideas don’t seem as promising as they once did.

The problem with ideas is that some ideas stifle others. The practical ideas get in the way of the creative ones, halting any promise of what could be in favor what seems to be. The problem with ideas is that the bad ones masquerade as good, whispering that you don’t have the time or energy for them right now. The problem with ideas is the good ones can be too shy to properly introduce themselves as the marvels they are, and they slip away, unnoticed, soon to be forgotten.

The problem with ideas is that, even when they are right in front of you, strong and new, shiny with promise, and you have -no, make- the time to capture them, they are scary. Even if you catch the flow of creativity and are buzzing with the possibility of what your idea may become, the fear that you may not do your idea justice, or that you idea is not good enough. At times, the fear is enough to make you halt, mid sentence, and never…

The problem with ideas is that, if not handled with care, they can become self inflicted wounds. They scab and scar, never quite healing no matter how diligently and tenderly you tend to them or how long you leave them alone. The proof of their existence is there, with only the regret of what you could have done better to keep you company until the next one arrives.

The problem with ideas is not knowing exactly what to do with them once they sprout, how to properly cultivate them. And not always recognizing when the bud of an idea is aching to bloom.

But I have an idea.

In honor of spring, which I’m hoping is right around the corner, I think it is time to stop thinking about my ideas and start doing something about them. It’s time to tend to the seeds and see if they can blossom.

Lilies by Dessa Kirk in the South President’s Court of Chicago’s Grant Park

Life in General

The More Things Change…

…the more they stay the same.

It has been nearly a year since I last posted here, and, as it was originally penned in French, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

Because, if we rewound exactly a year from today, you might not notice much difference at first glance:

I was and am still trying to hit a stride with my writing, consuming so much of other people’s work and writing my professional reviews but not truly dedicating myself to my own projects. At least, not in a way that feels meaningful; let this blog’s recent history be an example of that.
I was and am still figuring out a workout routine that hit the balance between happy yoga and healthy running and strength training; a happy medium between working to get ahead and stopping to smell the roses (and snap a few Instagram worthy photos of them, too).
I was then and am still a Chicago-dwelling, happily married dog mom, very much in love with my two favorite guys and my city.
I was and am still a nervous wreck about the state of our country, doing everything in my power -from marching on the streets to having conversations with loved ones to cold calling registered voters and elected officials alike- to make a difference.

But if you linger on today and focus on the scene before you, you’ll begin to see the subtle and not-so-subtle differences:

Back then I was in an inarguably urban condo overlooking the lake and presently I am in a cottage-like, nearly-suburban home with a garage and a yard and a twenty minute commute to work (down from nearly an hour).
A year ago my hair was a newly-transformed shade of rose-gold pink and today it is very close to my natural, dirty blonde hue (with plans to go even blonder soon).
I often called my thumbs black, almost with pride, as I couldn’t even keep a succulent gifted to me alive (I over-watered it). But another gifted plant lives in my house these days: a fiddle leaf fig, the mother of all Millennial trophies, and a challenge for even the most seasoned gardener. And yet, she thrives, and encouraged me to pick up another little green friend, a corn plant, for my bedroom (and I have my eyes on a ZZ, spider, and snake plant, too!).
While I have always been a traveller, I had not yet been to the European cities of my dreams: London, Brussels, Paris, and Amsterdam (in order of my desire to visit them). Nor had they permanently shifted in what they would mean to me and how much I would want to return to them: Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Brussels, in that order. I am now what I refer to as ‘a Paris girl’ (more on that soon).

And here, this place, it’s changed a bit, too.

You might have noticed the new layout if you visit from time to time. But I am always playing with that; tinkering to make things more aesthetically pleasing, more me: learning as I grow in content and coding.

Most notably, however, is that now I have a domain of my very own.

I’d been toying with the idea of making the jump for some time, but I am a sucker for sales and so… Happy Valentine’s Day to me. Hopefully this place where I am right now becomes and remains a place that I love (and that perhaps you do, too).

Life in General

Pulsing with Pride

IMG_5590When I moved to Chicago in 2012, my roommate (and more recently, the Maid of Honor in my wedding) and I settled on an apartment on the North side of the city. Barely a block from the Addison Red Line Station, my means of transportation to my (non-librarian) job in the Loop, our apartment was situated smack dab between Halsted Street and Sheffield Avenue.

If you’re somewhat familiar with the Chicago Cubs, Addison and Sheffield might ring a bell: they are two of the streets that border the Cubs’ home, Wrigley Field (the other two streets being Waveland and Clark). That was a huge reason for our move to this particular location: we were very excited to be part of the sights and sounds of Wrigleyville. We could literally hear game days and concerts from our bedroom windows; it was a dream come true for a girl who bleeds Cubbie blue.

Little did I know that, between Sheffield and Halsted, despite my deep love for Cubs baseball, it was the latter of those two streets that would win my heart. As it turned out, another neighborhood lay to the East of Wrigleyville, one I didn’t know existed until I lived in it: Halsted is the epicenter of Chicago’s gay community and the main drag of Chicago’s Boystown or, as it is oft affectionately called, the “gayborhood.”

Looking for lunch one day, my roommate and I wandered East from our humble abode and stumbled into a rainbow-plastered wonderland of flashy drag shows, quaintly decorated bakeries, cleverly named sex shops, and lunch-special alcoholic slushies. Despite our being straight in every sense of the word, this neighborhood and its residents welcomed us with open arms at all times of the day and night without question and without reservation. The pocket of time during which I first explored Halsted Street and Boystown will forever remain one of the best of my life.

It is during that time, in fact, at a special bar in Boystown where I started talking to the man who would become my husband. And as much as I owe my relationship and my future to this place, I understand so gravely the irony of that situation.

Looking back, it struck me dumb how a community of people discriminated so heavily against were so quick to turn around and do the exact opposite. These people, this community, they know who they are, they love it, and they are delighted to share it with you. Life in your early 20s is about finding yourself, and part of that is finding the type of people you want to emulate. I was lucky enough, at the age of 23, to find them. I wanted to emulate this community’s openness, tenacity, and, to use the perfect word, pride. In return, I make it a point to be their advocate and to share heartily in their joys and their woes.

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Perhaps it goes without saying, but the events of Pride quickly became mainstays in my city life. To this day I look forward to that week of June beginning with Pride Fest and ending with the Pride Parade; events that still take place just blocks from where I live. Although Boystown (like many neighborhoods in cities around the country) is more or less a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, I understand why Pride is so important: it is a time when all people in this community can celebrate themselves despite what the rest of the world might think.

FullSizeRender copyAnd what the world thinks is still changing so drastically. Last year, I found myself in San Francisco for the Pride Parade and joyously celebrated marriage equality in what is arguably the most thriving gay community in the nation. This year, just two weeks after a woeful massacre at a gay Orlando nightclub, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States to date, I celebrated the same enduring strength that won me over and continues astonish and inspire me.

And so this post is my way of saying thank you to this community, and openly celebrating them in a shadow of what they truly deserve; to share with them and with others my unabashed admiration of their gumption; to shine light on the long road they have already travelled, and to show what a long road still lay ahead. Perhaps the way the way I have been inspired can inspire others to advocate for this community and accept it as they themselves accept all. Because they deserve love, they deserve respect, they deserve community, and they deserve pride -not just one week in June, but every damn day.

So please, whatever you identify as, do your best to celebrate everyone and who they are -with pride- every damn day. Who knows: it might just become the norm. And how special would that be?

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