This pair has been hanging out on the water tower across from my apartment all morning.

This pair hung out on the water tower across from my apartment all morning.

The crows seem to enjoy today’s fine flurries.  They stuck around, cawing and calling and circling until the flurries stopped.


It’s that time.  That time of year, when I start thinking about how nice it would be to get away by myself.  Still haven’t done it (not since I had children, anyway), but I think about it.  A little while ago I even looked up writer’s retreats for 2016.  They lose their appeal after about 3 minutes of web surfing.  Wooded settings, steep price tags, set meal times, and evening conversations with strangers.  Feel me shuddering through the keyboard?  Creating my own retreat, though, that would be lovely.  Just a few days.  Coffee, tea, salad, and Cheetos should cover all the necessary meals/food groups.  Maybe some salt and vinegar chips.  On a beach, because if I were to be overcome by the glory of uninterrupted alone-time and therefore not get any writing done, I’d still be happy.

It’s also that time when I’m thinking about writing.  A lot.  I know myself, what it means when I can’t stop thinking about a poem, a photograph, a song…and I know what’s next; obsession with the next manuscript.  You know when you hear women talk about nesting in the later stages of pregnancy? I never did that.  I do it before getting serious about a manuscript.  Why? I dunno.  It isn’t like baking or being caught up on laundry and grocery shopping beforehand makes a damned bit of difference by the time I’m a month in, but I do it anyway.  Feels like dropping down to a low gear in order to drive up a steep hill without stalling or getting caught at the red light at the top.  Not that it works, life provides red lights with regularity, and god knows I stall out all. the. time. while I’m writing, but that’s what it feels like for the moment.

So I’ve been thinking about Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody.”  I always loved this one, no matter how many times I’ve heard and read it.

I’m Nobody! Who are you? 
Are you—Nobody—Too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know!How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one’s name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
I’ve never been Somebody, from my vantage it seems like there’s power in it.  But there’s freedom in being Nobody, do you think?  Maybe not, maybe it’s just one of the not-so-little lies we tell ourselves, along the lines of poor-but-happy.
A few weeks ago I took this photo on one of the (thankfully) few bitter cold days we’ve had this winter.
Lost? Forgotten? Abandoned?

Lost? Forgotten? Abandoned?

The flowers, this photo, a complete story by itself.  But which one?  My first thought for a caption was something like, “Screw you and your cheap-ass bodega flowers!” Such a frigid morning though, maybe they dropped from fingers so numb the person carrying them didn’t realize they lost them until they were fumbling for their Metrocard two blocks later.  The neighborhood where I took this shot is a busy one, home to a large social security office, a few social service agencies, and several thrift stores. Maybe they fell from the cart of someone’s wheelchair, or the little basket that sits across the top of a walker.  Maybe they were dropped as someone late for a date grabbed the first available cab they’d seen in twenty minutes, or maybe, maybe, maybe.  So many possibilities, and those are just a few of the more mundane ones.
I stopped halfway through putting this post together to go pick up the girl.  In Grand Central, when you walk through the tunnel connecting the tracks for the shuttle and the 4/5/6, there are several abandoned “windows.”  I can’t remember if there used to be stores behind them, or what they were originally for, but now they’re lit empty boxes, good for backlighting the various street performers and religious groups that stop in front of them. Today I was walking past and saw this.
MTA worker with dreams of being a display artist?

MTA worker with dreams of being a display artist?

Clandestine spy code?  Pre-arranged tableau signaling the all clear for a passionate liaison between an engineer and a station inspector?  I think, if I were writing this into a manuscript, I’d have to add a crow.


  1. This is one of those posts that I started to read and found myself wanting to comment, first about the crows and how I dread their call, the way they steal away baby birds and left the carnage in our birdbaths, then about your writing, that process, the need to prepare oneself to express what is most dear to us, and my in own heart of hearts, that feeling of not quite fitting in, not even ‘not quite’, and how I love salt and vinegar chips, too, and Cheetos, dammit, and how that spray of blue was surely placed there for the same reason I leave dimes on window ledges, and how that last photograph is one of the lovliest things I’ve ever, ever seen…

    And right now, mrs fringe, I feel like crying. I don’t know why, I only know that somehow, the want and longing and beauty and uncertainty of this post has moved me once again. Dang you, woman. Have you no mercy?

    xoxo kk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do crows steal baby birds? I didn’t know that–do they eat them? *imagination in overdrive*
      One of these days, kk, we’ll sit with coffee and Cheetos together, outside of cyberspace. We won’t need the salt and vinegar chips because we’ll supply the tears–I suspect as much from laughter as sobbing 😉 Nope, no mercy. ❤ ❤


      1. Try to get that crow business out of your mind. Trust me…


        As for the rest, one of these days, mrs f. For now, we’ll have to settle for a nice hot cuppa joe. On the way, even as we speak.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m right there with you on “can’t I go to a warm beach alone?” writing retreat. Maybe Dubai might have such a thing, little man made writer islands where food can be airdropped and you don’t need to see another soul?

    Of course, if there are not other people, there’s also no random story fodder like your assorted flowers 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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