The trouble with writing.

January 17, 2013

Life is on a weird rhythm. Working at home for a month is a dream and a nightmare come true.

Once I spent a summer writing. I wanted to write a memoir – my great ambitious masterpiece – with 21 years of wisdom under my belt. It amounted to 60 pages and a lot of g-chatting. I decided I wasn’t ready to write a book.

Now, with 9 more years of wisdom, I have one month to relive my life as a writer. Except, instead of tackling the lessons learned from working at a syringe exchange, I’m writing about cholera. So far it’s amounted to a few outlines about the sanitation movement during the industrial revolution, and some long emails to my boyfriend. I’ve also convinced myself to eat more fruits and vegetables. I guess that’s productive. (Get it…? Produce? Productive?). And, I’ve rekindled a relationship with craigslist — a dangerous love story, dating back to 2005.

Apparently a desk in an empty apartment is all I need to appreciate a good cafe. Yesterday I went from Harlem to the NY public library to the Ace Hotel. Today is Brooklyn bound: Sit and Wonder Cafe, then probably the Brooklyn Public Library once my coffee is done.

I’m trying to find ways to punctuate my days. Next week I have a date to go to  Uniqlo with Adriana on Monday. Tuesday I have an eye doctor appointment. Wednesday my board scores come in (eep). Thursday I have a meeting to discuss my rank list for residency interviews, and then the week is finally over on Friday. Oh. And I turn thirty next week. New York readers, care to celebrate with me?

I used to wonder if I could make it as a writer. The difficulty isn’t simply finding places to publish, or things to say. After all, here we all are on the internet, and my incessant internal monologue babbles faster than I can type. The real problem is finding ways not to write. Well. I’m working on it.

Reader, if you want to gchat, I’ll be online all day. Any interruption from cholera is more than welcome.



Asheville is as charming in January as it is in November. A second look at a hospital is basically a second date. You wonder things. Questions have to be asked delicately, because you already know you like them.

I don’t have much experience with second dates in relationships. I have experience with second months, second years, even second break ups. The only second date I’ve been on involved a motorbike ride over a bridge, and ended in a tree house.

As for questions, I tried to weave them into everyday conversation… “So, how is it doing elective abortions in the south?” “So, how hard was it for your partner to find a job here?” “So, are all the residents married already?” “So, is it true Andy MacDowell lives nearby?”

This second date ended in an antique store, the morning before my flight. I hung out with the store owner’s 4 year old son. We talked about Winnie the Pooh, I taught him how to do a backwards summersault, and he told me all about monster trucks. Then he asked, “Are you a boy or a girl?” Shout out to Trent (even though you can’t read yet) for reminding me to be straight forward with my questions.

I’m back at my little lovely desk now. Did you know that the cholera outbreak in 1832 was a catalyst for major sanitation reforms in Philadelphia?

In other education matters, tonight is my first class on Buddhism and fearlessness. For those of you in NYC, if you haven’t heard of the Interdependence Project, check out their website. And, darling reader, if you want to tag along one Monday night I would love to see you in person. : )

NC, Blue Sky, and Yellow

January 10, 2013

I’ve landed. Hello from a Barnes and Noble in Biltmore Park, Asheville North Carolina. For you regular readers, you might remember this mountain town from back in November, back when I was green to the interview experience…. so long long ago. Now – a seasoned(?)/ mature(?)/ expert (?) applicant – well, I’m here to take a second look. So far, their Barnes and Noble is lovely, and the sky is blue. Could this be my Barnes and Noble next year? My blue sky in January?

To commemorate a potential future I bought a planner. It’s the old fashioned kind: monthly calendars in the front pages, a fat weekly section in the middle, and a designated place for “notes” in the back. It’s bright yellow, and says “2013” in gold letters in the top right corner. Classy, no?

There are also maps at the end. Maybe I can use them convince myself that New York and Asheville are really only 1.5 inches apart.

me map


3 posts at once

January 9, 2013

post it 1 post it 2 post it 3

2013, epidemix, tomorrow

January 8, 2013

2012 ended with 9 hours of multiple choices, 2 giant cracked mirrors left on the sidewalk, and  a strange nesting period that has continued into 2013. My living room has framed maps hanging on the wall, and curtains. There’s an uncracked mirror in my bedroom. Last night a desk arrived.

Here’s where I am right now:

photo (7)

It’s nice to have a place to sit. The last desk I had was in college. It was used for laundry. I did my work on the floor, my laptop on an upside-down crate. I decided desks were useless. After that, I lived a deskless existence. I wrote at kitchen tables, on my lap, in libraries, diners, bars, cafes, sometimes in a bathroom when that was the only room with a lock on it. In Vietnam I wrote on a folding table in my room, which I wouldn’t consider a desk so much as a side table.

Anyway, here I am. In my nest. An old sewing table has been reincarnated into my work space. It feels good. Little. Efficient.  I’m writing a paper about epidemics in Philadelphia. That’s for school (no kidding). Did you know the first time the American government consulted doctors for public health advice was in 1793, during the yellow fever epidemic?

I’ll also be blogging more – from my new desk. I have a month to myself to sit around and think about epidemics in Philly. Stay tuned, reader… I know you’re as curious as I am about the effect cholera had on social change for Irish immigrants.

Speaking of non-sequitors. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Aunt Sarah and Uncle Eddie! Much love to you both.

As for what the future holds: tomorrow is my last residency interview. Thursday it’s back to Asheville for a second look at the hospital that does water births, and the Blue Ridge mountains. Then I’m home this weekend… in time to watch cartoons from the 80’s in a movie theater in Williamsburg. Reader, if you’re in brooklyn, care to join?

Oh yeah. Happy New Year.