Saturday, October 31, 2009


The single mosquito and I enjoy this midnight quiet here at Playa del Sol.

It's not pure quiet though. There is an organ-based disco tune playing underneath the unmanned palapa bar behind me. The sea breaks at intervals upon the darkened shore. And, my mind races.

Not quite pure quiet.

I am full, now, of so many wishes for so many things long past. Elegy.

There is a beauty in elegy; it just happens to be painful.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mexico City

Sitting in the airport in Mexico City, eleven hours into this twenty-hour journey. But already it's been a trip.

el sparrow naranja

After endless gray-area moments of safety and fear waiting at Euclid Avenue for the Far Rockaway train, I made it to Howard's Beach. On my AirTrain trip, two Europeans became fast friends leaning torsos over me as they inspected the map.

There were sparrows perched on inner beams inside Terminal 8 at JFK.

Mexicana Air is apparently a sub-company of American, but it was all-Spanish all the time. I can say "jugo de naranja y vodka" and "gracias." I survived just fine.

There is no music, no movie, no real-time air travel tracking map on Mexicana. There is jugo de naranja y vodka. Gracias. Uno Mas? Si. (There was actually no uno mas, but there was a sweet little tray to place my coffee cup on at roughly 3am for another cup of pitch black joe.)

Now, in Mexico City, the sun slowly rolls its light around soft hills. I changed two dollars for 24 1/2 pesos. I bought a cereal bar with blackberry jam in it. I didn't understand a word the cashier said. Gracias. No mas naranja.

In two hours, I will be back in the air. Uno mas, jugo de naranja. Uno mas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Up and Away

I am a stress-eater. This does not mean I eat stress like the ghosts eat Miss PacMan, dominating through devouring. I wish. Instead, I eat cake.

Today I stole a chocolate frosted birthday sliver at 9:15 a.m.

I have now officially reached cake-theft levels of stress.


I leave for JFK in five hours. I leave for Mexico City in nine. I leave for Puerto Villarta in sixteen.

There better be no motherf*ing cake on this motherf*ing plane.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All Night Long

Goodness, I am exhausted. I owe this blog a real post soon, and plan on doing so pre-Mexico escape hatch. Just three more days until the sunshine, Mom-time and CocoLocos kick in. Three. More. Days.

I have so much on my plate right now; I am the Freelance Obese. The Sizzler of Economy 2.0. The Cruise Ship Dinner of Random Employment. No benefits, of course. You have your friends for that, I guess.

Bah - Dum -Dom.

I'll be here all night, folks. Asleep, albeit, but yes. I'll be here all night.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's the Day

Today's the day... big event for the NPM.

Cross your fingers for me. Or, even better, if you're in NYC, please stop by. Please.

WHAT: Clothing Swap and Costume Design Party
WHEN: Sunday, October 25th from 3pm-7pm
WHERE: Boxcar Lounge at 168 Avenue B, NY NY
AND: Bring one bag of clothes or a $5 donation
WHY: Creativity is what Halloween was made for

SEE ALSO: Metromix Listing

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Candy

Deep thoughts:

above image courtesy of


Thursday, October 22, 2009

On We Go

Daily blogging, what happened?

Everything is amping up. I'm working with the NPM to throw a big Halloween event, one, of course, with a heavy dose of social media engagement. The real-life part of the event happens this Sunday, but the online component has been going on since last Friday. Things are busy.

In other news, I still have to visit the Crosby Bar for my bar review feature. Haven't done that. I have to rewrite my abysmal personal statement. Haven't done that. I have to rework my short story so it doesn't read like ten pages of question marks. Haven't done that.

But I will just focus and finish all these things. And then, a week from today, I will be sitting under the Mexican sun.

Oh, Puerto Villarta. You are right where I need you to be.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Business Casual

Agenda items for today's Fresh-Minted Freelance blog post:
  • The Deja Vu: The big former PR firm where I once worked has asked me back to temp freelance, but in a division that sounds pretty exciting and on projects I think I'd really be able to contribute to.
  • My Meal Plan: I have not been paid from my last job and am currently out of my usual poverty staples of tomato sauce, canned chickpeas, and peanut butter. The last meal I ate was entirely damning - a poor man's tuna casserole. I thought tuna casserole was a poor man's tuna casserole. And then I became too poor to afford it.
  • Dating: My phone rang and the number was NJ. I was wary - NJ calls are always interesting. How right I was. A reporter I'd met in a bar called, asked me on a very entertaining-sounding date and was completely winning on the phone. Perhaps I'll say yes, I thought, but of course I will Google him first. Googled him. He was called the inspiration for Inglorious Bastards - and called that by Harvey Weinstein, no less. Great.
  • Feline Fetish: The cats outside my window right now are either clawing one another to death, or having the most passionate cat lovin' I have ever heard. Perhaps both.
  • Fiction Under Fire: Nearly everything I've ever written (hyperbole alert!) will be dissected in my writing class tonight. This makes me nervous and prone to exaggeration. Gross exaggeration.
  • Hamburgers and Beer: This is what I really want right now - and I don't think I'm going to be getting either anytime soon. Guess it's Chicken of the Sea for me.

One Thousand Words

I missed my chance to write today and now I'm just too tired. So, delight of delights, you get this:

Thank you, Mr. Kandinsky, for filling my silence.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Today is a day of doubts.

I wonder, "What am I doing with my life?" Then I scoff, "That's so general." But I'm not released from the overriding question of meaning - just thrown into temporal specialization. Meaning: "What am I doing with my month; my week; my day; my hour?"

Read Ann Beattie and tell me you can write. Read Amy Hempel and pretend to now be novel. It's impossible. Genius can eclipse potential when that genius is not mine.

Being impressed is not being inspired. And this is painful. If I read one more piece by Flannery O'Connor, I may never write again. Fear of Flying is the single most inspiring work I've ever read, mainy because, from a purely stylistic atandpoint, it was not impressive. I read Erica Jong and thought, "Great story. I could tell it better." And so I found a pen and tried.

Have I ever read Toni Morrison and felt that? Philip Roth? Charles Bukowski? Donna Tartt? No.

Why can't there be more low-hanging fruit?

Why must I feel so incredibly beneath?

What can I possibly bring to a banquet so full?

Why do I feel so empty?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Second Opinion

With Averaged Ranking Score in Parentheses

1. Cornell University (12)
2. University of Michigan (14)
3. University of Wisconsin at Madison (24)
4. Johns Hopkins University (27)
5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (32)
6. University of Texas at Austin (34)
7t. Brown University (38)
7t. University of Virginia (38)
9. Pennsylvania State University (49)
10. University of Minnesota (50)
11. Ohio State University (54)
12. Washington University at St. Louis (56)
13. University of Florida (70)
14. Vanderbilt University (71)
15. Indiana University (73)
16. Purdue University (74)
17. University of Iowa (75)
18. University of California at Irvine (83)
19. Syracuse University (120)
20. [No college/university qualifies].

- Courtesy of the Abramson Leslie MFA Blog

For the Poets & Writers Record

2010 MFA Rankings: The Top Fifty

(of 508)



1University of Iowa in Iowa City2531112122222
2University of Michigan, Ann Arbor16932*164144
3University of Virginia, Charlottesville14424*212127
4University of Massachusetts, Amherst13245*40411530
4University of Texas, Austin13256*1111
6University of Wisconsin, Madison129611*212287
Brown University in Providence12783*1920519
8New York University in New York City12577*++3815
9Cornell University in Ithaca, New York11097*10233
10University of Oregon, Eugene1041512*272975
11Syracuse University in New York972010*573023
12Indiana University, Bloomington931314*681115
13University of California, Irvine91269*2628912
14University of Minnesota, Minneapolis851714829271710
15Brooklyn College, CUNY813913***36*
University of Montana, Missoula7817171747462419
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore771116*303010*
Vanderbilt University in Nashville7613182325264*
University of North Carolina, Greensboro751019*33311212
Washington University, St. Louis701524*123615
University of Florida, Gainesville672221*13161315
Columbia University in New York City66381910***28
University of Notre Dame in Indiana62342212++32*
Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia5632264++23*
University of North Carolina, Wilmington5622255414239*
Arizona State University, Tempe55192835151818*
Hunter College, CUNY5545226**26*
University of Houston in Texas551134183434N/A6
Colorado State University, Fort Collins532034*4243N/A*
The New School in New York City5347273**41*
Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York5227338**N/A26
University of Washington, Seattle522728***29*
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa51253129218209
University of Arizona, Tucson4932282++4922
Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana452240*91021*
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville413145*17241825
George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia40393412++4628
Boston University in Massachusetts393938*++3511
University of Nevada, Las Vegas384831*353533*
Ohio State University, Columbus3527+35793732
University of Maryland, College Park343744****24
Florida State University, Tallahassee3339+*3838**
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge33*46*35**
Rutgers University, Newark in New Jersey33*3712*
University of New Hampshire, Durham3339407****
Pennsylvania State University, University Park32454611281428*
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale312748*1417**
Texas State University, San Marcos31*40*++**
University of Mississippi, Oxford31+40*182516*
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign3034+*4627*
Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond30+38*3132**
Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg3034+*81034*

Note: An honorable mention goes to Bowling Green State University, a two-year program in Ohio that ranks among the top fifty programs in selectivity (#47), total funding (#46), annual funding (#45), and poetry (#48), and received pluses in overall votes and fiction. For a ranking of the additional eighty-eight full-residency MFA programs, click here.