A New Read and A Southern Memory

I began reading a story about Savannah and all of a sudden I came to miss the old city.

John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was everywhere when I was there in November. And not just in the books stacked and smooth little replicas of the iconic Bird Girl statue laid out on shelves in the gift shops scattered around the squares, but in the allure of this hostess city she’d claimed to be. I could see it in her oaks hung in that mystical moss, the homes still hung up on the next batch of guests from far and wide and wide, eager to see what tricks this fine lady might still offer.

Midnight_in_the_Garden_of_Good_and_Evil_coverI would have never received the same book for Christmas that I now obsess over, if not incidentally for last year. Last year I turned 22. I wasn’t feeling it despite what Taylor Swift tried telling us. Don’t even remember much of it other than a nice breakfast with my dad and boyfriend and the generous Tiffany necklace he got me with a DVD of On the Road. Well what I remembered was nice. But 2013 was a weird year for me; I just graduated and just got out of a jobless slump and was barely grasping the ropes of a really creative job that veiled the evils of retail. Celebrate one thing, but still feeling out where I was in life, climbing the slopes into hopefully something greater that I could proudly toast to next year.

And on my 23rd birthday, I’m fresh at a new promising job and a growing list of work publications under my belt. I’m not at the top of any mountain though, just at a better elevation to take a rest and see the magnificent views that brought me to where I stand now. With all that behind me, the November 4th week of this year was nothing but surreal, blissful, and not in the traditional sense, either. When I turned 23, I did something different. I went to the South.

Savannah SquareIt began in Orlando where my mom had already been a week for work business, and from there our travels took us towards more unknown lands on this side of America, and I can still recall the way back up to this town. A Saturday morning coasting up 95 North towards a fairytale place and getting tailgated the whole way up. It was a peaceful drive regardless. I fell asleep sometime before the Florida-Georgia state line and only awoke when we pulled off the road to refill the car and get us some Dunkin Donuts for the first time. It was the start of a weekend with my mom, three thousand miles away from home and somehow in the one spot of the US we never thought we’d see. I commemorated this moment with playing Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” rendition, in all its playful well-strung glory that could capture the sounds of the brown creeks and tall trees scratching up against each other while the wind stirred them. It was all just right for the journey northbound for the Old South. Georgia was full of rawness, withered down charm made from the many hotspots of turmoil and beauty only history books and Margaret Mitchell could tell me about. It just felt funny seeing so much of something before my eyes as our car went further up and deeper into the Dixie realm. Funny to see that beyond California, there still is the rest of America.

Savannah GA

And I could move back to Savannah. The way the stillness and grace of those wide Victorians give color new meaning and renew those old bones that have seen much splendor and its share of heartache across the centuries. There’s mystery there too, gossip and secrets and once a murder, some things the local paper might never spill out, should those like me ever come back. But apparently they like it that way. Undisturbed by the world outside, ready to dine on its own troubles in the company of familiar faces.

Savannah RiverfrontIt’s nice to become acquainted with an old belle as She; amid her taffy and cheap cameo jewels from the cold docks on the river, through the streets darkened by damp chill and those curtains of moss shrouding the houses from the ugliness of carpetbagged progress of this new century, there was kindness, and new faces that laughed and bundled up against the bleak November in boots and floral scarves and shared their comforting delicacies of the best fried chicken and cheddar biscuits you could ever eat. Happy to hear it’s your first time in  Georgia, those in the Lady and Sons Restaurant truly show you a good time. And that butter really is everything.

Old Houses Florida

LadySons Savannah


Let’s continue this story. For I feel towards its end I’ll be traveling back to that highway on the coast that passes the wrecked shrimp boat stuck in the riverbed and up to that little sweet city, to really see this happy ending for myself.

The Paris Market Savannah

All Children During Christmas Time

Sometime in December of 2013 I lost ten dollars from my pocket. It was going to be my lunch money to enjoy the little half hour I had for my retail job of that year during the busy holiday season. This year the luck only shortened, having lost a public transportation card preloaded with sixty dollars onto it for a week’s worth of train commute into San Francisco. It fell out of my pocket as I mindlessly fumbled my hands around in my pockets as I went shopping, browsing, the stores downtown with my sister.

I’m mostly mad that the sixty bucks left put me back on my personal Christmas budget by a lot. But, not for the presents I can’t buy for family, not for scrambling enough change to get those frivolous supplies for the crafting party I had planned for that coming Sunday of Christmas week, not for Happy Hours after work on a Tuesday to celebrate the end of work for only a few days. It was about these things, and then it wasn’t anymore.

A few days after the misfortune my parents came out to San Francisco to meet me and my sister for a beautiful dinner after we got off work. We were finally going to the lovely Thai restaurant right on the Embarcadero overlooking the Ferry Building and a busy ice rink. But it wasn’t all lovely, not with being sat right behind a speaker blasting soft techno and the dim lights against low ceilings that gave me a headache throughout the whole meal. I didn’t say anything to not bring down the mood, but I hadn’t any clue that my dad’s mood was already dampened long before our family dinner began.

He avoids coming into the city if can help it. He hates driving here and he’s very suspicious of crooks in a big city like here, especially when his two daughters are freely walking around it. But tonight when we were home, he told me the one reason I already knew. And it had to do with a child.

He saw the same little girl I always do, usually my commute going back home and down the escalators into the BART station. Her mom is standing right there with a little sign made from a newspaper and she doesn’t say anything really, just smiles. The little girl is in a stroller. By now I’ve numbed myself to look sad at the sight of her– but do nothing. I haven’t carried change lately and I am so eager to just jump the next train home to think twice. When my dad described her again, that was enough. Together we talked and we began to feel like the worst people in the world.

First off, I never used to be numb. I can’t stand the empty resolution for anyone homeless to “find a job” or “get off the addiction” or whatever you may say to justify not even a dollar given. I haven’t carried around change lately, but I used to, and that’s the worst. It’s just been easier for me not to do so, and now I suffer the regret of not doing my part, as little as it is, to get someone back on their feet, or just restore a bit of faith in humanity. And now for this one child, I found out that the dinner wasn’t so great. Not so great now that my family could still afford to have a dinner out and not being able to give back to those not so fortunate.

If I had my sixty dollars, now, in a heartbeat I’d go out and get her a present. No matter how you feel about homelessness, no child should have to suffer it. No matter how they got there, it’s never the fault of a child. But I have nothing left to give– nothing new, at least. I decided to do what I could given the circumstances. Taking from my closet the best and biggest stuffed animals– from childhood and past Valentine’s Days or Easter where the toy was just a filler to a basket given to me by my parents– I made sure they were in only the most mintest condition to be wrapped up in big Macy*s bags and stuffed with tissue and tied off with frilly ribbon and a candy cane. It wasn’t much to give, but if it looked the part, I was going to find children downtown to dole out these little things I had once treasured.

With my luck, I did not see anyone at the station escalators the next day– yesterday. I expected that to happen, because life works in mysterious ways, usually to make you feel worse about yourself, but I wasn’t feeling defeated. I walked through the whole station and up back to the streets of downtown again, and still no luck. But there just a block away, a young woman sitting beneath a dead tree and with a little girl asleep in her arms, about four years old. This wasn’t the same woman or girl. New faces yes, but still a sad, familiar sight. I walked over and presented my gifts with a smile. I can’t really recall what I said as I was awkward and didn’t want to embarrass the mother anymore than I already was. I’ll only share her simple and kind words that matter, anyhow,

God bless.

I didn’t find the mother and child I’d encounter many times. Who I did give my little gifts to were not the right people I had in mind. But they mattered just the same to me– they helped me to not forget about them, anyone in need and on a last limb looking for just a glimmer of hope during the holidays. I’m glad I could give more than that, but still I’m saddened all I had to give was an old toy.

This Christmas I lost sixty dollars. A lesson to learn is to always check your pockets. And if you find lose change, make it count. Make someone smile, and that’s something you can surely never lose sight of.


The Bishop’s Wife: My Favorite and Forgotten Holiday Classic Film

Classic, black and white films perfectly capture the Holiday Season. They’re perfect in their cheesy, simple, and heartwarming feel-good presentations set in a world completely ascending our own tech-laden, fast paced and commercial way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. I escape from the things meant to make the time easier into a time that was just that in itself. But of course, I’ve seen Miracle and Wonderful Life just about every December I’ve lived on Earth.

Something new captivated me this year. One Friday night that week of the Christmas month, a new movie so timeless in its tropes and story plot (and year) was on the Hallmark Channel. I’d never heard of it before, The Bishop’s Wife. But it was famous, and an unforgettable favorite among Cary Grant’s films. This was also my first Cary Grant film since watching him opposite Audrey Hepburn  in Charade– and DAMN. But a dashing and youthful Cary Grant was only a part of it.

In fact, the story of an overworked Bishop being assisted by an angel who brings guidance and happiness back into his life (and especially that the titular character, Julia played by Loretta Young), is all around a marvelous tale. From the beginning, the scene is set for a standard Christmastime scenario– a children’s choir singing around a fiddler on the snowy streets, florists reluctantly bargaining for their scrawny pine trees, and colorless but deliciously animated storefronts depicting pretty hats and Santa’s elves at work. The warmth is there, so why ruin it now with frustration? Any good story cannot be without conflict of course, but little unsuspecting details within dramatic irony can really mess up the movie. So when Cary Grant reveals off the back to the Bishop his true identity, that takes care of that; no longer am I sweating and twisting my blanket, yelling at the screen because everyone hasn’t figured out by now what Cary Grant really is… It’s better to know, at least for the audience; it’s Christmas after all, and the only surprise and frustration you really needs is guessing what your present is.

And from there, everything just goes right. Vicious, wealthy widows become feeling and tender, hapless college professors are renewed inspiration to write, and a household is glowing once again as the angel Dudley restores cheer and happiness back into the Bishop’s life. I just love Dudley’s modesty and sweetness through aiding everyone in the film, even down to humble cab driver who partakes in the epic ice skating scene with Dudley and Julia– Julia, who herself begins changing Dudley’s outlook on his own existence.

I’m surprised at how little recognized this film is in comparison to other Christmas classics. Maybe too dry? No complications? The story is well written enough, and with well played comedic elements along with dazzling little special effects. It’s perfect, what a holiday film should aspire to with little plot complication and all the warmheartedness of the season. The message of the movie sticks to you, especially in one of the most ironically depressing times of the year– have hope, for as they say,


be not inhospitable to strangers,

lest they be angels in disguise.

Alt Lit Pieces: Part III

May 29, 2011

SHIT REGGIE. you seriously need to get your shit together and stop being a hermit or some shit. you must be kind of a big deal— all your friends AND your dentist office keeps calling or texting me. contact your friends on your new number and tell them you changed numbers.’

January 31, 2011

i mean, of course there’s been guys, but like, they’re definitely not my priority. the right guy will make me happy, for sure, but why do i have to wait for him to come along and put all happiness aside? i got other things to do to get this high on life: writing, friends, reading, exploring places, dressing up and make-up experimentation. when i do get too involved with the idea of wanting someone, i think it’s partially my sister to blame, but that’s not a bad thing; she just emphasizes romance more in her idea of a perfect life.

i know i’m not like that. everything in the world is beautiful and i’m ready to fall in love with all of it, not just one individual. but i know that if they ever do come along, it will be a bonus to this wonderful life.

January 31, 2011

write letters. a lot. they’re the best keepsakes to have. when you read one, you realize that you are your own story.

January 27, 2011

the cool thing about being home alone is that when you’re ill and have cramps, i can just chill in bed and yell at the top of my lungs “OWWW FUCKER” when necessary.

January 29, 2011


i may not have the city nights like i did before, but at least i’m with my closest friends to make my weekend nights just as great.

January 28, 2011

guilt: as much as i love the environment and am pro-green movement, i love aerosol hairspray cans. dammit.