No Inhibitions: Adventures of Post Publication

Autumn is descending on New York, and with it, the end of my freedom. I have spent my days traipsing around New York, letting my imagination run wild and my spirit soar in the light of the sun. As August draws to a close, I find myself standing on the threshold of my next great adventure: college. Next week at this time, my life will begin to take the course that so many of my peers have already taken. I am excited, and terrified. It’s a whole new world to take in. From full time writer and full time employee at a 9-5 to a full time writer, full time employee and part time student. Phew! It’s almost as though I want to say ‘so long life, it’s been real.” My life isn’t over, it’s just making a sharp turn into uncharted waters. What will the future bring, I wonder?

The goal of this summer was to live. Live every moment, take in every moment of beauty and make it a part of me. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone(s), out of everything I know and be free. After all, what kind of writer would I be if I just stuck with what I know? Not a very good one, that’s for sure. I spend a lot of time fighting with myself to do the things that will make a difference. It’s easier to sit in the same place, and live in the same mindset. That doesn’t make it more enjoyable. It’s just easier. So, having climbed out of my biggest comfort zone in order to promote Shattered Illusions in the past four months, I decided to run around New York finding other ways to free myself from self made prisons. Here are a few things I did this summer to break out of my ‘sheltered shell’:

Fuerza Bruta:

I attended Fuerza Bruta the first time in January of this year. A friend invited me to come along, though neither she or I had any idea of what we were getting ourselves into. It was probably one of the best decisions I made as an adult. Let me put it this way: It’s the closest I’ll ever come to experiencing an acid trip. It’s a cross between Cirque du Soleil, a night club, and a scene out of Julie Taymor’s Beatles musical, Across The Universe. Everywhere you look, there are lights flashing, people climbing on walls and swimming on water over head. There’s a man running on a treadmill with gunshot wounds in his stomach. There’s dancing and confetti and water spraying everywhere. For me, it was the equivalent of having an out of body experience without having to drug myself up. After attending back in January, I walked around on a high for weeks afterwards. All I could do was talk about or think about the freedom and exhilaration that I felt during that one hour standing under the funky disco lights. When August rolled around and I found myself in a little bit of a ‘pre-summer ending’ funk, I decided that the best way to get myself out of it would be to relive the thrilling experience of Fuerza Bruta. I was far from disappointed. I knew what to expect and what to look for, which in a way, made the second experience more memorable and exciting. I danced like my life depended on it. My legs still ache from jumping around the room with the hundred or so other curious onlookers. This brought me out of my comfort zone because it reminded me of what I love most (but am afraid to do): Dance like nobody is watching.

Franklin Park Reading Series/Book Promotion:

Back in June, I attended a reading panel at The Strand. It was there that I met Penina Roth. She runs the Franklin Park Reading Series at the Franklin Park bar once a month. I ‘liked’ the official page on Facebook and have been silently watching for two months, waiting for the right opportunity to break out of my shell and go. Every writer will tell you how nerve racking it is to be in a room full of people who love the written word as much as you do. Standing in a room full of other writer’s automatically forces you to put your ego on the line. They know the same secrets that you do. They know what it feels like to fail, and sometimes, they also know what it means to succeed. There are no blurred lines in a room full of people with the same passion. We all may express ourselves differently, but at the end of the day, we;re all trying to achieve the same goal. Last Monday, in the midst of school prep, work, a wedding to prepare for and an interview to write up, I hoped a train down to Franklin Ave with a copy of Shattered Illusions in my purse to check out the reading series. I arrived ten minutes early, and so instead of going in and finding a seat, a circled the block a few times and then headed over to the bar (yeah, I’m that person)….I should have gone straight from the train to the bar. It was packed, wall to wall. There was not an empty chair in sight. My mind was blown. This place is a writer’s heaven. I almost felt like I was on a secret mission: Check out the scene, stand in awe of the writers presenting their work, drop of copy of SI, mission accomplished. In less than an hour I was exposed to some of the most diverse, wacky, desensitizing literature ever. Writing has to be about maximum exposure. This, my friends, is the very definition of maximum exposure. I’m looking forward to many more outings to Franklin Park in the near future, and perhaps, even my own read there as well.

Improv Everywhere’s Black Tie Beach Day

Wow. Wow. Just…wow. I’ve been following Improv Everywhere on Facebook and watching their Youtube videos religiously for years. I always kick myself when I miss their events (or chicken out of going to their events). Improv Everywhere forces you to get out of your comfort zone and be just a little bit wacky. For a person who doesn’t like unnecessary attention or a million eyes following me down the street, I’ve always shied away from things like this. There’s something about standing out that scares me, which is odd, considering that being a published author forces you to stand out in a crowd. So, when I received an email about the Black Tie Beach Day event, I jumped on the opportunity. Why not do something completely and totally out of my comfort zone? Something to shake the little sheltered  girl out of her skin and into that of an experienced adult? So, on Sunday afternoon, dressed in my wedding best, my friend Mushkie and I headed down to Coney Island to partake in Black Tie Beach Day. We were to spend an hour or so on the beach, just as we would on any other beach day. The only difference is that we would be dressed in fancy clothes. The crowd of participants was about two hundred people. We gathered together in a park near the beach before the event so that Charlie Todd, the “improv guy” who tell us a little bit about what we were meant to do. The point of the prank was to spend a totally normal day on the beach….in anything but beach attire. The group slowly trickled onto the beach and spread out along the coast. It didn’t take long for the stares to begin. The best part was acting as though it was totally normal to lay on the sand in a fancy dress and high heels.
Girls in prom dresses and guys in tuxedos were busy making sand castles on the shore. Two guys dressed in the wackiest tuxes I’ve ever seen walked up and down the shore with a boom box that played Sinatra and Dean Martin. We laid on the sand, played cards, went for a dip in the water, and even waltzed around a little bit too. It was the perfect day. The perfect way to get out of my own head.

It felt so liberating to do something so silly. This was the break from my comfort zone that I spent all summer looking for. Towards the end of the day, when the prank was understood by majority of the other beach goers, we all gathered together by the shore. Charlie counted down from 3 to 1 and before I knew it, there was a stampede of about two hundred people running frantically into the freezing cold water. Mushkie and I were at the very front of the line, so we had no choice but to run as fast as we could into the water, and continue pushing our way in once we reached it. It was the most liberating feeling in the world.

That, my friends, is what freedom feels like.

Cheers.

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