POV: Magic.

Friday, August 23, 2013

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.
  

Sunday afternoon, a friend DJed a party in McCarren Park. Rain showers came and went, and Megan and I sat under a tree near the speakers, poured whiskey in our coffee and watched the people around us dance. Someone twirled a sequined scarf in the air; a man in a pink t-shirt spun in circles with his arms outstretched. 

“Maybe I’ll write about this,” I said. 

Weeks earlier, I interviewed an artist at his home in Manhattan. He showed me his backyard, littered with trash he’d collected from the streets. He took a seat in the middle of it all, on a sun-bleached leather armchair, legs outstretched. A gold-painted fingernail glistened in the heat.

“I can’t wait to write about this,” I said.

On Saturday, I played frisbee in Central Park. The sun had gone down, and bats swarmed in the air around me, diving into tall grass, fluttering between leaves in the trees overhead. A firefly kindled in the distance.

If I wrote about this, I thought, what would I say? I envisioned the sentences and the words I’d use: flutter, tall grass, the light in the trees.

---


“Our lives seem so romantic in your writing,” a friend told me recently. “I was there for so much of what you write about, but we experience things so differently. You always find a big lesson in everything, or some sort of magic.”

I thought about this for weeks afterward, each time I wrote anything about my life. Am I over-romanticizing? I’d wonder, and amend things here and there.

“Your life sounds like an episode of GIRLS,” another friend said. 

“It’s all like a dream,” someone else remarked. “All these things that happen to you.”

I scrolled through pages of writing. “But they happened,” I said.

--

There was a heat wave in July. For days, temperatures hovered above ninety, and each night, Jamie and Lily and I would sit on our roof, dipping our fingers into glasses of ice. One evening, Megan came over and brought us wine. Our friend Charlie joined soon after, with sardines and Japanese mayonnaise and thin slices of bread. We toasted with our sardines, holding them by the tails and knocking them together in a floppy, fishy way, our fingers slick with oil. 

A train crossed the Williamsburg Bridge nearby; below us, across the street, lights on strings twinkled in the trees outside a neighborhood bar. Charlie went downstairs in search of cigarettes; Jamie stood at the edge of the roof, calling his name into the darkness, howling at the moon.

“If I wrote about this,” I said, “in the way that I write about everything - with the moon, and the train, and the toast - would it be too much?”

“You could also include that one of us just got dumped, and that we’re all probably wondering whether it’s a good idea to eat bread this late at night,” Lily suggested. 

I sent a text to a friend, and showed it to Megan: We are eating sardines with toast and mayonnaise and the moon is out and it’s magical.

She smiled. “That’s so you,” she said.

I listened to the train, the sound of its wheels, its horn blaring. It was deafening and ugly, and I loved it. 

I’ll write about it, I thought.

As someone who feels like she’s learning to live life after many years of being too afraid, the ordinary things are the most beautiful, and always full of magic. 

And looking hard enough, I find, there are always fireflies and the fluttering of bats. Lights in the trees. Reasons to howl at the moon.

---
You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, hereThank you so much, as always, for reading! 

35 comments:

Paw said...

all artists ask similar questions and thankfully they (and you) answer in the affirmative -- and continue to create. i love this post, one of the very best

girlseeksplace said...

Can we be friends?

the southern hostess said...

Loved this one. Your writing is magical. I get swept away by every word to a place I always want to go.

angela said...

It's wonderful to hear about your experiences embracing the magic!

dakotabee said...

I adore your writing. As always, great post!
xoxoxo
Dakota
http://dakotabee.wordpress.com/

Kathy said...

This is beautiful! I love that your reality is filled with magic and wonder, and not just something that takes place in dreams.

sherry said...

LOVE. Very special.

Anonymous said...

for lack of a better word, magical.

Shoko said...

Dad, thank you.

Brianna, I consider us friends already! :)

Angela, Natalie, Dakota, Kathy, Sherry, Anon: thank you so much. So lucky to have readers like you.

dee said...

I love your outlook on life and I strive to let it inspire something in mine. It's hard to live in the concrete jungle without some magic b/c it truly can wear you down.

ps. I know I've said it before but gosh your pov posts are SO good. They're my favorite and I really look forward to them every week. :)

Shoko said...

Dee, thank you. That means so much.

max said...

this needs to be published in a magazine, in a book, somewhere, anywhere. it's beautiful and magical and inspiring and i want to read it again and again.

margaux said...

YOU are magic. xx

HY said...

Thank you again for your beautiful words, Shoko! I, too, believe that the everyday magic is the best kind of magic. I'm trying to savor more simple moments this summer.

Angela said...

I wanted to say something about your writing being magical, but that has already been said.
Ah whatever, it is true: your writing is magical!

Shoko said...

Thank you, thank you for all your amazingly sweet words!

Rachel said...

This is exactly what makes you such a wonderful writer, and what makes these posts of yours so fun to read. I think you bring out the magic in everything that we all feel at some level, even if it's so deep inside of us that we don't have the words to describe it for ourselves. It's very inspirational; as someone who hears a train horn and thinks Cool, there's a train in the distance - what's that pain in my side - oh no, do I have stomach cancer - shit, did I pay that bill - why don't I own any cute outfits like that girl is wearing - what is the meaning of life?!?!?!, your POV is a nice breather and a reminder to chill the eff out and look for the magic. =]

Chelsea C. said...

The other night in NYC, we were waiting for a table at a restaurant in the heights. My friends and I wandered over to look at the GWB and the sun happened to be going down. Everybody just stopped talking and watched. I was thinking of you, and how you'd write that moment. Because it definitely was a moment. I think those moments are everywhere, and it takes someone special to notice them -- you're teaching us how. <3

Mariola said...

i just want to thank you for constant inspiration. for nights like this one, when i feel a bit sad and discouraged but after reading your words i can see beauty even in these feelings. in this moment of my life. in myself. it's really magical, especially that you live seven thousands kilometres from me. thank you, once again.

burntfeather said...

your words are so well written, was so lovely to read along :)

samm blake said...

love your writing. love your POV :)

Akiko said...

I know I always say how much I love your writing, but this is one of the best..! It seems magical and romantic the way you write, but maybe our everyday life is magical, sometimes we just don't realize it. That's why I love your writing! xo akiko
Style Imported

Camila Faria said...

I guess that's what good writing is all about: making the most ordinary things magical.

POV = love

theshellhammer said...

Oh Shoko. When I first started reading, I knew that a raw talent existed in you. And then meeting you, I realized you are an inspiration in many aspects of life. You prove it over and over. This one is special. Not many people see the magic.

Cherish it.

joeycake said...

I love how you see the world!
:)

Jocy said...

"And looking hard enough, I find, there are always fireflies and the fluttering of bats. Lights in the trees. Reasons to howl at the moon."

LOVE this. Yes, yes. There are always reasons to howl at the moon.

Shoko said...

Really can't thank you all enough. So blown away by your kindness. I'm beyond flattered, beyond honored that you take the time to read and to respond. Thank you so much.

Fai said...

I love your POV posts. I feel as if I were reading a novel. Looking forward to the next one :)

Trish said...

Beautiful imagery! Sounds like a perfect summer evening!

Mel said...

Never lose this. I have a friend who tells her experiences in the most fascinating ways, turning mundane encounters into lessons and reasons to wonder at the world. You have a similar gift in your writing. We flock to storytellers like you; you give perspective and meaning to sardines and mayonnaise. We wonder in the moment whether we should be eating bread this late, but looking back, reading your writing, we all know the answer is yes.

Hannah Margaret Allen said...

My heart leaps when it reads your POV's. I am the exact same way. Over-romanticizing some would say, I just see it as viewing the everyday through optimistic and beautiful lenses. There is something to be said about being that kind of person.

I love this beyond words. Rooftops, whiskey and the moon. How Brooklyn, how lovely, how perfect. xo

kelly said...

i always have your blog up in a permanant tab and i just can't seem to ever close it... it's so sweet and perfect and i love coming back to it again and again, especially for those POV's.

Shoko said...

Thank you all, sincerely. I'm floored to have such amazing readers.

Claire said...

I think we think and notice the same things. I think we both get surprised when people notice our noticing too. For me it's because I don't think it's unusual, it's just me - is it the same for you?! I am happy to find a kindred spirit so far from me in this tiny world of ours at the end of a long year of change and almost exhaustive noticing of probably too many things! Merry Christmas to you and I hope there's so much more magic in 2014 for us :)

L▲UR▲TJ said...

i've been really out of the loop with blogging but everytime i came back to read your blog it's always been a pleasure and make me feel good, your writing IS magical and i want to try find magic in every day ordinary things like you do! happy 2014 shoko x

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