I Cannot Lay a Finger

May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

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This is my last Sunday night in my Harlem apartment and right now even with all the lights off and two golden glowing night lights, (yes, night lights) I fall more in love with it at each stare into the dark. I will miss the family of cats that live in the courtyard below. The giant tree I looked at every morning from my bed as its branches shivered naked through winter and began sprouting again at the end of March. The double lock on the door and the way it squeaks too loud like a whisperer in Church. The two light switches in the bathroom, the mirror I bought from Bed, Bath & Beyond last summer that looks like a fun house mirror if you stand too far away. The double closets with all my sweaters and all my shoes, all my bags for school, and the delicate collection of clothes I still have yet to wear for the right time and the right place.

The piles of floral textiles in the bathroom linen closet, the cleaning supplies, the water boiler I took from Molly after college. My giant Janis Joplin poster that I would never hang in Pennsylvania. The books I still need to read, lined back to back on the windowsill beside my dresser. The ukelele leaning against the exposed brick wall. The way, without planning, all my mixed-up furniture found a way to match.

The door to 125th Street. (c) Marielle Mondon

The door to 125th Street. (c) Marielle Mondon

Today made leaving especially bitter because it was one of those too-few easy New York days, when all my work was done and any leftover responsibilities could be dealt with at a later time, and it wasn’t procrastination at all, it was just a series of events finding their proper place. I went back to a spot in Central Park I had gone to months before in October, and the weather today in May was distinctly similar, and I seemed to get that feeling of home that I have had in other cities with other people at other times as well, and I had hoped then and hoped today that I would always have it.

Last week I graduated and the semester was spent in a flurry of deadlines and revisions.

First, I’ve started writing for PolicyMic. I started reading the site a couple years ago when my millennial ennui started to kick in. My first piece was about the flaw in the acclaimed “five-year plan,” and why accomplishing all you wanted doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success, or even happiness. Second was a piece about the contradictions in language and tone between Fox News and Fox Latino. Third was a brief list of essential films about gay rights.

I also wrote a feature about the band the Swaai Boys for WILD Magazine. They are funny boys.

I took an International Newsroom course where I spent the semester researching news in Brazil. Here’s one piece I wrote following the announcement of the new Argentine Pope and the declining rate of Catholicism in Brazil.

In the works: more Brazil news analyses and PolicyMic articles. And quite a bit more that still has a long way to go.

Blue, the most human color. (c) Marielle Mondon

Blue, the most human color. (c) Marielle Mondon

Happenings of Various Proportions

March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Station. © Marielle Mondon

Pennsylvania Station. © Marielle Mondon

Well. What is there to say? I’m 23 on the Friday night of my Spring break and, while perhaps two years ago I would have been going to some techno dance party in an abandoned warehouse in Northeast DC, I am now enjoying a long night of writing my graduate thesis. The topic is racism in the Peace Corps, but it’s actually been an amazingly informative experience on the overall history of the organization and different phases of training for volunteers. Yay, school.

So that’s that. Hoping to regain some semblance of a social life in the next few days. I’ve also been working on a real, official Web site so I’m hoping I can unleash that baby soon-ish as well.

ALSO “Cup Rings“–my distant, happy, UNDERGRAD thesis that never made me stay in on a Friday night–is available from now to the foreseeable technological future via Found Press! The Book Stylist did a nice round-up of the four stories in the collection, saying the piece “Perfectly captures the process of navigating what’s left in the wake of a once-significant courtship.”

In other news, I recently found out that two photos I took after Hurricane Sandy were featured in an exhibit at Brooklyn’s Powerhouse Arena. Sadly I did not get this bit of information until after the exhibit ended. You can still check out the photos and more info on it here.

Enjoy the world out there.

“Cup Rings” Now Available for Purchase from Found Press Media

January 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Image“Cup Rings” is a piece of fiction I wrote for my undergraduate thesis, and I’m proud to say it is now available for purchase via Found Press. You can download to read on your laptop, kindle, iPad, or other Jetson-like reading device of your choice.

The story follows a young woman’s encounter with Rico, a straight-A student and Deadhead who causes the speaker to consider “the weight of experience she already possesses.” More information about this story and others in the collection here.

A New England

January 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

A wall in Pennsylvania.

A wall in Pennsylvania.

For nearly ten years I have had these photos, or ones like them, on my walls. I was fourteen when I learned what the 27 club meant. Without noticing, the magazine rip-outs have stayed in my room at my mother’s house and for the very first time I looked at them today and thought, Jim Morrison looks so young. I have never before seen his face and thought that it was anything except far older, far more mature, than mine, but today I see it and I see a serious boy with dirty, messy hair and a cold, boney body. It is almost funny.

I look at the date of the photo. 1967. Jim Morrison was born December 8, 1943.  He was 23. Maybe 24.

In June I turn 24 and all the while I have never wanted to outgrow my idols. I never thought I would. Age fifteen, I hear lyrics like, “after twenty-two years you think I’d be used to the spin,” or at twenty, I hear lyrics like, “I had you but now I’m twenty-two.” Or the poem by A.E. Housman, ‘When I was one-and-twenty.’

Or when reading ‘Good-bye to All That.’ I was 21 on my first read. “One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three,” Joan Didion writes, “is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.”

Age was far away. Me, I’m 23? Already? As you get older you have to resist comparing and measuring your life against everyone else’s. So one person can already afford a vacation house in Cap Cod. So one person had already written, directed, and starred in a film that everyone at Sundance adored. So one person, very long ago, had already been in the photograph that further enlivened his career and that of the photographer, and now the thing is mass-produced on T-shirts and posters 46 years later.

And then–wait, I’m only 23. It still sounds young. It still sounds like I have a lot of time. I thought people got weird about their age when they hit the mid-thirties. I thought people started lying about their age, or asking how old they looked, much, much later.

Regardless. I will be spending the second half of my 23rd year back in New York, completing my Master’s degree. That sounds distinctly old of me.

Quietly For Me

December 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

In front of my mother's house. (© Marielle Mondon 2012)

In front of my mother’s house. © Marielle Mondon 2012

Apologies to my loyal readers, of which I’m sure there are many. It has been exactly three weeks since I posted that seductive photo of my bed with stuffed animals and good reading in tow, and now I am finally on the train back to it. Three weeks barely compares to the amount of time I feel has passed and what I had to get done in that time. Prepare for onslaught of terror in the form of my work.

First, articles for the Uptowner. I wrote this piece on Juan Rodriguez, an early Dominican immigrant who will now have a good chunck of Broadway named after him this May. Most people living uptown had never heard of him until the street co-naming had already been approved.

Next was a short holiday piece about an Inwood market.

Myself and a few classmates also made an uptown holiday photo gallery. Trish takes full credit for the cheesy headline. Here are three of my outtakes:

Below the 125th St subway

Below the 125th St subway. © Marielle Mondon 2012

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Dyckman window. © Marielle Mondon 2012

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On my way home. © Marielle Mondon 2012

For my final I wrote a lengthier piece about northern Manhattanites and their relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy.

And, finally, to prove that writers can indeed use video equipment and Final Cut Pro, myself and several classmates made ‘Uptown Moves’ clips showcasing different fitness programs uptown. A classmate and I worked specifically on the ‘Fort Tryon Park’ clip. Completing the 1 minute, 40 second video involved two hours of filming on a cold Tuesday morning in November and hours upon hours of delirious editing.

BUT OH OH OH it is not over.

Homes in Sheepshead Bay. (© Marielle Mondon 2012)

Homes in Sheepshead Bay. © Marielle Mondon 2012

The final product of my photojournalism class. Over the course of five weeks I photographed the goings-on of Occupy Sandy and spent time with volunteers working in Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, and Sheepshead Bay. Please check out the amazing work of my classmates as well; we all picked different post-Hurricane subjects and some are truly phenomenal to look at. Some of my outtakes:

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

ANYWAY. Now that I’m on the train to Philadelphia I’m hoping to devote some more time to this thing and remind myself that I know how to be creative. My undergraduate thesis is slated to publish via Found Press next week, so hopefully that will get me writing outside of school. I’ll also be posting the photos I’ve been taking during the photo-a-day challenge. I’m so bad with that though—I began very ambitious but have gone almost a week without posting any new ones.

What else has happened since Thanksgiving… Kathleen and I saw Animal Collective at Terminal 5 and talked the entire time. I felt like a grown up. When I was 16 or 17… or older… I went to concerts literally five hours before the artist went on stage just so I could be in front.

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© Marielle Mondon 2012

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Many more packing appropriations developed before I made it to the subway. © Marielle Mondon 2012

I’ve seen some good shows this year but not as many as I would have liked. Dan Deacon in Williamsburg, Ray LaMontagne in Philadelphia, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, also in Philadelphia, Fiona Apple in Portland, the Black Keys in DC… I’m sure I’m forgetting some but that’s most of them at least. I’m going to try with all my might to get tickets to see Sufjan Stevens in New York next weekend, even though that will mean more traveling/packing/planning and I feel pretty tapped out of any and all such things after the fiasco of me trying to pack for two weeks today.

I also got a mini tree last week because my apartment/life was not festive whatsoever.

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© Marielle Mondon 2012

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© Marielle Mondon 2012

I had some nice cards and an advent calendar I received 14 days late but still cute. I didn’t think to take photos before leaving though but I will—one had Hello Kitty with the words ‘Christmas Cutie’ emblazoned in pink glitter. I am keeping it forever.

That is all for now. Everyone go home.

Thankful for Sleep Deprivation

November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

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© Marielle Mondon 2012

I went home last Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday, only to discover all my lofty ambitions of “working ahead” and “writing” were null. I did not open a book until Sunday, did not touch my journal until returning yesterday, and even the two sentences I wrote were born of several mentally brutal attempts.

It was a really great, seemingly busy, break, however. After stuffing myself with wine, bread, and cheese (that’s a French-American girl’s version of Thanksgiving appetizers, I guess), then the actual Thanksgiving “dinner” that begins around 3 p.m., then several pieces of the six pies present, a bunch of us went for a walk and found the gorgeous campus that I didn’t know existed at American College.

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

Black Friday I avoided shopping but saw the amazing monstrosity that is Breaking Dawn, so that happened. I regret nothing. Saturday I went to a huge barn in West Chester that functions as a cozy, creaky used bookstore, snagging a copy of Jeffrey Eugenide’s The Marriage Plot on hardback for ten bucks. Yes, it’s like .00045 cents on kindle/nook/insert-Jetsons-era-reading-device-here, but after all, it was small business Saturday. Wow, both Twilight and the name drop of Pulitzer Prize winner in the same graph. Sure, I’ll take it.

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

Then I preceded to eat more. Sunday was spent doing family visits and watching Love Actually, distractedly saying every line to Will while “working” on my laptop.

Regardless, here I am. Back at school. Writing and stuff.

Lots in the works (like, an overwhelming amount…), but for today here is the latest piece I worked on with a classmate. We each reported and edited the audio slideshow and I wrote the accompanying text. The piece is about an after-school program that teaches instruments to young students whose schools aren’t able to offer music classes.

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

http://bit.ly/WtZ4PS

In the next three weeks I will be finishing up a photo essay about the Occupy Sandy relief effort, a video project about a fitness class in Fort Tryon Park, and many other things I don’t currently have the mental capacity to think about in great detail. And very soon my undergraduate creative writing thesis, “Cup Rings,” will be published by the good Canadian folks at Found Press. More details as all of these things start rolling in.

In the meantime, I will dream of what awaits me during winter vacation:

© Marielle Mondon 2012

© Marielle Mondon 2012

XX XY

November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

In one of the final winding weeks of undergrad I went to yet another poetry reading on campus. I loved the poetry readings. I loved the college cliché of it, of sitting in a circle on the grassy patch at a city school and reading and listening and not listening. George Washington University has two literary magazines, each culminating in a new issue and a sprinkling of readings throughout the year–Halloween, Valentine’s Day, midterms, finals. I was on the staff of one magazine–The GW Review–and published in the other–Wooden Teeth (don’t mind the dated Web site).

Usually the editors read from the new issues of the semester. I was too embarrassed to read my own fiction aloud to people who weren’t required to read it, so the editor of Wooden Teeth read the beginning of my published work that semester, a story called “Just Go Home. Do It Again.” Maybe if you write real nice you can snag a chopped up version of it from two years ago. I had been wanting to write something like it ever since I first walked down the 42nd Street Subway station and looked up in January 2008. It’s a story that written but I still need to finish it. There is much more to write.

I chose a piece of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” for the reading. I was finishing up my American Poetry class at the time, as well as my Feminist Theory class, and, well, I just couldn’t help myself.

If I remember correctly, I read the excerpt beginning, “Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff…” It goes on later: “did you know somebody almost got away wit me/
me in a plastic bag under their arm/ me 
danglin on a string of personal carelessness/ i’m spattered wit
 mud & city rain…”

It’s been a while since the last time I looked at the text, but last Friday I attended an art exhibit opening that brought many of the play’s themes back to me.

Below is a piece on the Uptowner produced by my classmate for which I took photos for. The exhibit was at a gallery called FLUX Harlem.

http://bit.ly/ZoVBWV

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