An ode to my favorite fall music

Now that it’s officially cold outside (I’m in a hoodie every moment I’m not in “fancy” dress clothes!) and I’m running in and out of my heated car and office building, it’s time for some excellent cold weather tunes!

Everyone has music that reminds them of special things in their life — summer, winter, senior year, college, first love . . . music is what connects all of us and brings us back to those really incredible points in life like nothing else can. Between music and getting a random sample of cologne while out innocently marching through a department store or grabbing groceries, I can find myself nineteen again — or five, or twelve, or twenty-two.

And musically, the fall for me is all about . . . thinking, reflecting, becoming all nostalgic and crazy. I guess it’s the whole cyclical nature of things — getting ready to usher in another holiday season, looking back at all the time that has already passed, putting away the sandals and replacing them with boots and jackets. It’s another transition. And these are the folks that always come along for the ride with me . . .

Ingrid Michaelson

I adore her whimsical, light and pitch-perfect voice. I don’t think life gets much better than hunkering down in your Toyota, waiting for the heat to kick on and defrost your windshield while humming along to “The Way I Am” (the sweater song from the Old Navy commercial — yeah, you know it), “The Hat” or one of her newest ones, “The Chain.”

“The sky looks pissed. The wind talks back . . . my bones are shifting in my skin. And you, my love, are gone. My room seems wrong. The bed won’t fit. I cannot seem to operate. And you, my love, are gone. So glide away on soapy heels and promise not to promise anymore . . . and if you come around again, then I will take the chain from off the door.”

I bought Ingrid’s album Girls and Boys last fall and listened to nonstop through Christmas . . . it’s one of my favorite albums to listen to while writing. In fact, my NaNo novel last year was built in part after listening to “The Hat” for the hundredth time! Such an awesome song.

“I knitted you a hat all blue and gold to keep your ears warm from the Binghamton cold. It was my first one and it was too small; it didn’t fit you at all, but you wore it just the same. I remember the first time we danced. I remember tunneling through the snow like ants . . . What I don’t recall is why I said, ‘I simply can’t sleep in this tiny bed with you — anymore.’ I should tell you that you were my first love.”

Her lyrics sort of punch you in the gut with their simplicity — when you say “I should tell you that you were my first love,” there’s no real hiding from that — or misinterpreting it. It just is.

Continue reading

all I can do is keep breathing

I’ve had Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing” on repeat all morning — along with Coldplay’s “Warning Sign.” I don’t know why I’m feeling all mellow today . . . I guess it’s partially due to the fact that today really feels like fall is approaching. Considering it’s the second day of school locally, I guess that’s only fitting. The morning was cool today — almost cool enough to wear a jacket. I’m going to have to start digging out my long-sleeved work clothes!

The leaves on the parkway near my office are all starting to turn, which is a bit of a scary sight. I have no idea where the summer went. Now I’m getting scared, honestly, because of a series of self-imposed deadlines I made for myself are rapidly approaching.

More than a year out of college, I’ve been working two jobs since June 2007 — saving money where I can, running around like a crazy person, trying to get a game plan going. I told myself I would stay at my current newspaper job until at least June 2008 — a year is a good amount of time to get settled, figure out where I’m going, etc. I figured within that year, I would start looking for a job in something I would ultimately love — something creative. Because I like my job at the paper, but it’s not exactly . . . inspiring. It’s a job. I work with great people and it’s close to home, but I really, really, really want to . . . write.

So I’ve been writing. Within that year framework, I wrote two novels and am currently working on the third. In between everything else, I think I’m doing pretty well! But I have to find an agent . . . I have to get published. I can’t let my resolve on that wear thin because I’m too exhausted to keep pursuing it. I have to just keep plugging away.

But the year has now come and passed . . . and here I am, 23 years old, sitting at my desk in my dim office thinking and thinking. Many people I know — including my younger sister, friends and coworkers — are all heading to college or getting new jobs in the city or across the country. And I have to make a decision — where am I going? What am I doing?

But how do I decide that?

I keep thinking the answer will just — present itself. Appear in my morning cup of tea. Scribble itself across the notebook in my purse. Sing out to me during a routine phone call. Some catalyst — however tiny and seemingly insignificant — will call my attention to the fact that I need to make a change. Do something. Be something.

Because I know I’m here and I’m doing things — I know, of course, that I already am someone. Someone real. But I don’t think I’ll be able to reconcile any of these scattered thoughts until I figure out what I’m doing with my books. And I hope that means I’m moving forward with them.

I have eight queries floating around inboxes somewhere in New York City, D.C. and, I think, Wisconsin (?). I’ve heard back from the two agents so far. One website I was on mentioned “not hearing something” back from agents is, in fact, actually hearing something — no. But I have a hard time accepting that. I know we’re all very busy and important people, but I can’t really bring myself to say, hey, some people are just way too involved to actually do the right, professional thing — sending me a form letter.

I guess I’m naive. I don’t know. But I’m waiting, waiting, waiting . . . It’s been about two weeks, going on three. The waiting is the worst part — the dangerous part. It’s enough to make anyone crazy.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of work to do . . . But I have managed to have some fun lately! I went with my family to Rehoboth Beach on Sunday. I have a ton of photos, but I haven’t had a chance to upload any of them yet. Maybe tomorrow . . .