Archives for category: Writing

I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later, but I’ll do my best now.

A Saturday morning, legs crossed, one foot pressed against the boards. On the other side of the wood and glass, hockey players circled the rink—tall, bulky, padded black-and-goldfish on skates. They largely focused on their drills, motivated by short blasts of a whistle. But they snuck occasional looks, grins, stick-on-glass taps to the 100 or so of us on hand. I saw my favorite guys. The new guys. The boys, 18 or 19 years old, fighting for what amounts to a roster spot two seasons from now.

The buzz I’d expected to sense during my trip to Fort Myers back in March was finally here—six months late, different sport, right at home in Boston. This is what training camp is supposed to feel like: Players are competing for their spots, proving their worth, while diehards show up with their smuggled-in bagels to sit around, talk shop with fellow junkies, and get sneak previews of lines and pairings from vantage points significantly closer than anything they’ll experience during game play.

I made my way around the rink to take in the view from the other side, feeling my late morning stretch into an early afternoon. My later plans were much more flexible than the Bruins’ schedule, and I was reluctant to leave without seeing my favorite player skate in the second session. No stress in the preseason.

Two subway lines later, I navigated a collegiate crowd I’d spent the past month avoiding. Harvard Square wasn’t as congested as I’d feared it would be. That said, it would still be a few weeks before I’d return with any sense of regularity. But Harvard’s running shop was the easiest to visit on the way home and Mark Stuart had led to a time crunch. I was in and out in seven minutes: running socks, the sports beans that would give me a carbohydrate boost during long runs, and a couple other odds and ends I would never have imagined needing even a year ago.

Two hours later, the socks were on and the beans were tucked into the back pouch of my hydration belt, along with my cell phone, keys, transit pass, credit card, license, and health insurance card.

(Once you’ve cleared at least two hours in your schedule for running purposes, you ought to be prepared for anything.)

The route felt shorter this time. Perhaps it was that I felt stronger this time. I suspected that it was a combination of the two. Regardless, the doubt about whether I would be able to reach the twenty mile milestone had come and gone, replaced with focus and the flood of endorphins that kept my feet moving in time to the Ryan Adams song playing on my iPod. It was my first genuine runner’s high of the season. And it propelled me through Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston.

For twenty miles.

After the endorphin high faded and the muscle stiffness set in—albeit not nearly as badly as I’d anticipated—I sat on my couch, toasting the day with a glass of pumpkin beer and vanilla vodka while discussing how much fun was going to be had picking apples the next day …

… after getting out of work at Fenway Park.

Again, I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later. That said, I’m certainly doing my best right now.

I stood in line, having examined each of the oversized wall calendars on display on a wooden bookshop rack, holding a gleaming new hardcover copy of Juliet, Naked and examining my options.

A yellow Post-It had my name on it. I could keep it on the title page of this new book or place it on the corresponding pages of either my well-worn movie-edition paperback copy of High Fidelity or my slightly less worn but equally loved paperback  copy of Housekeeping vs. the Dirt. Whichever book was chosen as Bearer of the Post-It would leave this bookshop inscribed by Nick Hornby.

(The obvious answer to this, one would think, is d) None of the above. “Songbook, you idiot. A book about songs? Could there be something more fitting for you, Victoria?” The truth of the matter, however, is that Songbook was a good read and a reflection of good writing, but it didn’t grab me with the iron grip some of his other work did. I should reread it, but my copy is missing in action at the moment. And my hardcover copy of A Long Way Down seems to have disappeared – temporarily, I hope. And I haven’t been able to find my copy of Fever Pitch since I moved from Vermont. I suspect it’s in one of the boxes of newspaper odds and ends that I really just need to go through already.) Read the rest of this entry »

As has been pointed out by several bright and savvy friends, today marks National Punctuation Day. Billed as a “celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis,” this day brings to light an issue that tends to be pushed into the shadows. This issue is real. It’s obvious. And yet people don’t know how to talk about it.

I’m talking about ellipsis abuse. Read the rest of this entry »

A member of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign staff appeared before a crowd of several thousand supporters in Boston Common on Tuesday night clad in his Red Sox finest. Governor Deval Patrick also linked the Illinois senator’s political bid, which he officially endorsed this week, to the Boston baseball team, noting that “around here, we know how to come from behind and win. And that’s what we’re doing here tonight.”

As for the man of the event, Obama offered congratulations to those in the heart of Red Sox Nation and acknowledged that he, too, is a Sox-lover. But his chosen team, he said, is of the White, Chicago kind. Lest he lose any potential votes by the admission, he explained that his loyalty lies with a team through wins and loses, year after year.

The remark served as a nimble knock on the political candidates that have been donning Red Sox caps in recent days – Republican presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani most recently – while endeavoring to solidify Obama’s stance as a politician hoping to recreate Washington politics. Obama told his audience Tuesday that he would not be content with a political party change in 2008.

“Change begins by getting rid of George Bush, but change doesn’t end there,” Obama said. “We are going to have to do more than change parties. We are going to have to change our politics. We can’t be satisfied with a politics that says it’s smart to divide a nation – we’ll just activate our base and not worry about the other side. We have to create a new kind of politics that represents each and every one of you.”

Tuesday’s Boston Common rally came after Patrick announced that he was throwing his support behind Obama, with whom he campaigned for Massachusetts governor in 2006. The announcement came after speculation over whether Patrick would endorse the Illinois Senator or fellow Democratic candidate and New York Senator Hilary Clinton, whom Patrick knew before then-President Bill Clinton selected him to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Department in the 1990s.

Patrick acknowledged his affiliations with both candidates on Tuesday during his introduction remarks, but said that he felt a need to set aside personal considerations and ties. The Massachusetts governor told supporters that the 2008 election cycle should not be about the candidates, it should be about the constituents.

“We need a leader who is ready to call in our times for our service, and our sacrifice. You see, this election is not just about who we want,” Patrick said. “It’s about who we are. I want a president who understands that. I want Barack Obama.”

Patrick’s Obama endorsement rally came the same day his predecessor, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, stated during a South Carolina campaign appearance that Obama was urging terrorist unification in Iraq.

“Actually, just look at what Osam — Barack Obama — said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield,” Romney said, according to reports from the Associated Press. “It’s almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded.”

An audio recording believed to feature the voice of Osama bin Laden was aired on Al-Jazeera television on Monday, and the recording called for insurgents to rally together in Iraq. A Romney spokesman told the AP on Tuesday that Romney had intended to use bin Laden’s name instead of that belonging to the Democratic candidate.

If you’ve seen the lightning-quick manner in which Matt Nathanson can pluck a zinger out of the air or get a person laughing, you’ll understand why I was nervous – in a good way – to interview the singer-songwriter for Bostonist.

Fortunately, I was able to keep up with him and type quickly enough to get our conversation down on paper (or screen – whatever). It’s now online and available

In other news. My phone rang earlier today and reminded me of just how much I enjoy living here.

“You working tonight? No? What time do you get out? Want to see the Sox with me?”

Awesome. As long as the rain lets up and Gagne goes nowhere near the mound at any point during the game…

“You look great,” she said. I laughed, skeptical.

“Really? Thanks! I haven’t been sleeping well at all lately.”

“It doesn’t look it. I meant to mention it earlier.” She smiled at me. “Rosy cheeks, bright eyes, ready to go.”

If anything, it was the result of cream blush and coffee. She had one out of three right: I am ready to go, at least in terms of action.

But there are so many boxes. The ones that are still in an empty stack in the living room, needing desperately to be filled. There isn’t as much stuff — much of that has already been transported and stacked in the other living room, the one to which I officially move on Sunday — but there are still dishes to be sorted, bags to be filled with things that will eventually be thrown away and the desk and small tables that will be loaded into my (angelic) brother’s van over the weekend.

I haven’t been sleeping well, not for the last couple of weeks. Tonight will be an early night if I’m unconscious by 1:30 — which is doubtful anyway. There’s just been so much to do. The funny thing is that my late-night hours haven’t been spent doing any of it. They’ve been spent online. Watching television. Delaying the processes that mark a sense of finality.

I wish I had professional movers and packers at my disposal. I’m tired. Read the rest of this entry »

I interviewed monologuist (and current Zero Arrow resident artist) Mike Daisey yesterday for a Bostonist interview that appeared online today. Head on over and check it out. A quick excerpt:

It’s funny how the dramatic structure works in our lives — like, times happen and they become charged with significance for us. You look back afterwards and realize there’s a shape to them. I think the thing about our lives is that everyone has stories, and that’s one of the fascinating things about working in this form. Knowing that unlike most of the forms, absolutely everyone can tell stories. It makes it a really interesting form to work in, because it’s so innately populist…