An Open Letter to Gwyneth

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Let’s Try More Smiling, and Less Hitting, Okay?

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Smiling no hitting

Walking across 96th Street from the east side of Columbus Ave to the west, a woman in an old Toyota turned through the crosswalk only feet before me. It is certainly legal to drive through a crosswalk if the light is green, but I do believe that the law states that no pedestrians may be in the crosswalk at the time. I was not only in the crosswalk, but almost directly in her path.

On a different day, I would’ve reached out and WHACKED her car with my hand (or my water bottle as I did on one occasion) all too ready to bear the consequences of what might come of it (not really- I don’t know how to fight and I hate confrontations.) How could she? Who does she think she is?? It’s a good thing I didn’t have my kids with me, or then I would’ve really been pissed (please note: in actuality, she has absolutely nothing to fear as, again, I don’t know how to fight and I hate confrontations.)

But today I tried something new. As her pseudo-beater of a car made its way past me, though I considered sticking a part of me out to “teach her a lesson”, I decided to smile instead. I smiled as this lovely child of the universe drove past me. “Have a good day,” I thought for her. And though I felt like a hippie with too much weed in my Raisin Bran, I arrived on the corner without a scratch on me, and with a slight smile on my face.

What does this have to do with my writing career, as I now sit here getting ready to continue my revisions on my script? My clear head allows me to think of good ideas, while my angry head helps me to slip into a pit of anguish and anger, which will ultimately cause me to throw my hands up and say “I can’t write today. I suck anyway.” Because I smiled instead, writing may commence.

To the woman in the Toyota, I say, “Have a lovely day.” To myself, I say, “Keep putting the aforementioned weed in your Raisin Bran.”

Point of fact: no weed was put in my Raisin Bran this morning. In fact, I ran out of Raisin Bran a few days ago. But my hippie southwestern husband did make me eggs with beans and salsa this morning and you never know what those Arizonans are gonna do to your food.

May the Schwartz be with you today, my friends. May the Schwartz be with you.

schwartz

A Whole Foods Vacation

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The Whole Foods on Columbus Avenue and 99th Street in Manhattan has a large dining room for customers to eat their goods recently purchased from the¬†behemoth¬†“Whole Paycheck” grocer. This dining area appeals to me greatly. I get to sit and work on my computer with no fear of (a) annoying a waitress who wants more than a tea-drinking customer; and (b) feeling guilty that I’m taking a table that someone else wants. There’s no table service here and plenty of tables for everyone, and then some. I buy my tea and I sit, unafraid of imposing on anyone. Free of guilt. There’s another type of person who loves the Whole Foods dining room: women taking care of small children.

This dining room is practically overrun by stay-at-home mothers and nannies, all with children under 2 years of age in a stroller. The children either sleep in their strollers while the nannies chat with their nanny friends or the toddlers sit in their little booster seat (thanks for providing, Whole Foods) while their mommies feed them mashed up and small pieces of food. I’ve never brought my kids here. The older one is too old now (sitting at a table in a big room she could otherwise be running around in = no fun) and I’m never alone long enough with the little one to require a place to go.

Do these women absolutely love the California Rolls at the sushi bar? Do they dream of the cous cous at the pre-made foods bar? No. They’re looking for a place to go. Yes, I’m making a grand generalization. They need a place to be OTHER than the living room. God save me from being at home all day with a small child.

On a rare day, you’ll meet a woman who looooves staying home with her kids and not working. On a rare day, you’ll meet a woman who looooves working a 9-5 and only seeing her kids for bedtime and on the weekends. But the majority of us yearn for a happy medium: lengthy, quality time with our little ones as they learn everything in front of them and time away to build our careers, our sense of independence, a sense of being something more than a mother.

Note: one of my tag words for Search Engine Optimization on this post is “stir crazy”.

I get two hours every day at the Whole Foods to work on my script. Not bad. I could use a lot more time, but childcare is too expensive for us right now. So I sit here in the morning, surrounded by women looking for respite from the howling on the living rug or the flashy noise of PBS Kids programming (on the Upper West Side, we watch PBS Kids. None of that Disney Jr. for us educated folk… okay, maybe a little Handy Manny and some Charlie and Lola.)

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30 minutes gone while writing this post. Now back to work on my screenplay. I’ve got 90 minutes left to find my career, my independence and feel like I’m not a liar (or a poser) when I say: My name is Awesome, and I’m a writer.

Back in the Inspired Saddle

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ImageSure, I have adorable pictures of my two girls looking perfectly sweet together, posed for the camera, smiling, happy, commercial, yada yada. But that’s not really what our life is like here on the Upper West Side. It’s a little more like this impromptu photo of my 4 month old staring blankly at my iPhone while I stick her feet in front of her face.

Finishing my meditation this morning, I felt compelled to be a better writer, a more inspired artist, a more optimistic creator, an open mind to the possibilities of the thoughts that come my way today and how they could be transposed into a fantastic writing career that is useful and helpful to others.

And then I peeled an orange for my almost-three year old and breastfed my 4 month old. I suspect in a few minutes, I’ll be changing one, if not two, diapers. Then the wet, uneaten orange on the floor will need to be cleaned up. Even as I write these very words, my older daughter is fake crying next to me about how she can’t have any of her candy today, since she didn’t listen to Daddy last night when he told her to do something. Needless to say, my beautiful Dalai lama-esque, Buddha-like, meditative and inspired writer within me has been replaced by a woman who smells like sour breast milk and has 50 pounds of children currently sitting on her lap while one squeaks a rubber toy for the other one’s amusement.

But I’ve heard that JK Rowling was a financially-struggling single mother when she wrote Harry Potter. So who am I to complain?

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Good looking broad, ain’t she? Brains and beauty together at last. (You too, Margaret Thatcher)

Off to the shower and then to the Whole Foods dining area to work for two hours while my husband watches the kids. My renewed inspiration will return… probably after another cup of caffeine.