Tag Archives: a thing of beauty

in which I take photos

So I’ll just say right off the bat—I don’t really like getting my picture taken.

I used to be a big ham when I was a kid. I loved getting photographed and was always striking a pose when a camera came around. But at some point something changed and I got camera shy. Aggressively camera shy. I hate photos. The idea of taking a selfie gives me a panic attack. I try to move as far to the back of group shots as possible. For a long time, my picture on Twitter and this blog had half my face covered1 because I just don’t like looking at pictures of myself.

I’m really not a photo person.

So you will not be at all surprised to hear that when told I had to take a headshot/author photo that would go on the back flap of my book, I was, to put it generously, not excited.

I put it off for a long time. Griped about it on Twitter, then felt bad for griping about such a lucky problem to have. Went through all the photos on my computer hoping I would miraculously find some professional but not horrible looking photo of me. Prayed someone would randomly snap a candid of me that would work.

But, at last, with the deadline looming, I had to admit defeat. Fine, I said. I will take an author photo for the book. I will do it…but I will not enjoy it.

Being in possession of a rather fine camera, Marx agreed to take the photos for me so I didn’t have to stare into the lens of a stranger, which would make the whole thing exponentially more uncomfortable. Together, we began to scour the interwebs trying to find somewhere cool to take the photos, my hope being that a great background might distract from….well, me. All the standard Boston engagement photos locations were too conventional. A blank wall was too boring. We needed somewhere cool. Unique. Subtly steampunk. I know, it was a lot to ask. After a time, we started to think it was maybe impossible.

And then we found the Boston Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.

And everything changed.

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YOU GUYS. The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum is AMAZING. Like, my new favorite place in Boston2 . It’s the old pumping station near the reservoir that used to supply the city of Boston with its water. It’s no longer functioning, but is now a museum, dedicated to the preservation and display of these massive, beautiful, industrial engines which I don’t understand, but I love love love looking at because they are just so gorgeous. Also, the museum is free, and the management is incredibly kind, and basically let us run amok in the place. We even got to climb on top of the giant engines3.

Marx took many great pictures of the waterworks.

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Less great pictures of me.

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The half face strikes again!

After a few excruciating hours of me grimacing into the camera and Marx doing a valiant impression of not being annoyed by this fact, we deemed we had enough great pictures to work with.

They were all of the engines. But that’s beside the point.

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If you would like to visit the amazing Waterworks Museum, which I can’t recommend highly enough if you’re ever in Boston, please visit this website here4.

Oh, also, I should probably mention here, I now have a proper website, which features these beautiful photos. Visit here, if you’re interested.

  1. I tried to send that particular photo to my agent when she needed a picture of me for something sales related. She then showed it to one of her colleagues, who asked, “Why does she have her collar up like that? Is there something wrong with her face?” No, just my brain.
  2. Rivaled only by my first great love, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
  3. This is also where I learned—a mere week before we went to Switzerland, which is basically comprised of high places—that Marx is desperately afraid of heights.
  4. One more waterworks photo. For good measure. (All photo credit to Marx!) 10672183_858089884202569_6797749548370404008_n
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in which the virtues of mountains and wildflowers are extolled

As a girl from Utah, it will come as no surprise that I basically grew up in the mountains. Between skiing, hiking, and living thirty feet from the canyon, there were few weeks throughout my childhood and adolescence that didn’t involve time spent in the mountains.

But the problem with growing up so near something extraordinary is that from a very early age, you grow accustomed to the ordinariness of it. By the time I was an age at which I could appreciate the beauty of the mountains, they hardly felt remarkable anymore. Just another familiar part of a familiar landscape.

It took leaving and coming back for me to understand how utterly magnificent the walls of the Salt Lake valley are. I remember just before I left for Chicago, the MT and I were walking to 7-11 for Diet Coke and I kept staring up at the mountains that rim our house and asking stupid rhetorical questions like, “Have those mountains always been there? Have they always been that big? Have they always been that jaw-droppingly gorgeous!?”

When I am away from Salt Lake, there are very few things I pine for, but Holy Mary do I miss the mountains.

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Last night, the family took a trek up Little Cottonwood Canyon to our favorite ski resort, now absent of snow but instead spilling over with wildflowers. The green hillsides were splashed with yellow and puple and red like streaks of vibrant paint across a canvas. It’s unbelievable, really, like a painting or a movie or something you travel the world to see, not something you find half an hour from your house.

On our way back down the mountain, it started to rain, a light sprinkle accompanied by grumbling thunder and flexing grey clouds, and as far as I could see, the world was so bright and new and petrichor. It just made me happy.

We get lots of letters at the Friend from children expressing their gratitude for the beauty of the world and its creations, but there are few moments in my own life when I am able to recognize this as deftly as they do. I spent the first eighteen years of my life so badly wanting to be anywhere else but where I was that I totally missed the fact that where I was was somewhere extraordinary and beautiful. I went halfway around the world to find the same sort of sense of wonder that I fond in my own backyard last night. I wish I could go back in time and tell seventeen-year-old me to just look around, because anywhere can be beautiful. And someday, seventeen-year-old Mackenzi Lee, you are going to miss the mountains1.

 

  1. The Utah Tourism Board should be paying me for this post. Alas.

 

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in which I watch a moonflower bloom

Since probably forever, my mother has had a knack for finding weird random adventures for our family. The latest in a long line of shenanigans came a few Fridays ago, when she packed my father and I1 into Emerson Cod, our green Subaru2, and we drove to see the moonflower.

My mother heard about the moonflower from her coworker at the LDS Conference Center Gardens3. A woman in Sandy, Utah, grows and obsesses over these flowers, and she invites anyone and everyone to come over to her house and watch them.  She even provides a bench. It’s a little bit weird, sitting in a stranger’s yard on a bench facing a blank wall, staring at her flowerbeds.

So let me explain, lest you think us mad4: the lifespan of the moonflower is a single night. It blooms only once, in the moonlight, remains open for that night, and then, when the sun rises, it dies. And the most amazing thing is that when it blooms in the moonlight, it goes from a tightly closed bud to wide-open flower in less than thirty seconds.

This is a moonflower. Not the moonflower we saw. It belongs to someone on the internet.

Moonflowers are the most amazing flower I have ever seen, and with a horticulture-enthusiast mother like mine, I’ve seen a lot of amazing flowers. It’s like watching one of those sped-up National Geographic movies of trees growing—it seems too cool to be real. Even after I watched forty of them go from tight-fisted buds to open palms of petals in seconds, as we walked back to the car, I started doubting whether or not I had actually seen it. It was that remarkable.

I was also overwhelmed by the poignancy of the whole affair. The flowers only live for one night. How utterly heartbreaking. But how lovely, that the moonflowers are so excited to live and experience ever second possible of their one night of life that they open so quickly. At least, that’s how I like to think of it. They open quickly because they don’t want to waste a second of their lives.

I read so much fantasy that sometimes I forget how the real world astounds me. Even in my own backyard, the territory I grew up in for eighteen years, there are things I have not seen, things I did not even know existed like flowers that bloom in fragile moonlight before your eyes. I have been pining for Boston lately, but the moonflowers were a gentle reminder that beauty and happiness can be found anywhere. Life is not about where you’re living, but how you’re living when you’re there5.

 

  1. The MT was missing in action
  2. Latest in a long line of Subarus
  3. It’s very weird that both my mother and I are working at Temple Square right now. If you had asked me a year ago who the two people in my life least likely to be working at Temple Square were, I would have answered me and my mom.
  4. The jury’s still out on it.
  5. And on that Hallmark card of a note, expect sometime in the near future to see a book from me with moonflowers making an appearance somewhere in it. It’s too magical to ignore.
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in which I celebrate world book night

Happy World Book Night, everybody!

Today, on the birthday of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare, thousands of people all over the country and across the pond are giving out free copies of twenty-five outstanding books by twenty-five outstanding authors, graciously provided by the organization World Book Night America. I’ve spent the day handing out copies of Looking for Alaska by John Green1. Not sure how many of the people who I gave books to will actually read the books I give them, but still. I enjoy spreading the gift of reading.

Yesterday, in honor of World Book Day, I got to meet Neil Gaiman. This was a big, star-struck moment for me, because he is basically a literary god2. I was surprisingly coherent as he signed my book—we talked about children’s lit and Doctor Who.

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that is Neil Gaiman, and that is me.

He also said something wonderful during the Q&A, when I asked him how he approached writing children’s lit differently than writing adult lit. He said something to the effect of how he takes writing kid lit much more seriously than he takes writing adult lit, because of how immediate the possibility is that a children’s book will change someone’s life. When you write kidlit, you are writing stories that children are going to be carrying with them for literally the rest of their lives. It will always be stored somewhere inside of them, and a part of them that influences who they are. Children are so moldable, and the books they read have the potential to help them create person they are going to become.

All the while he was answering, I nodded and smiled while he answered, pretended like I was totally cool with the fact that NEIL GAIMAN was answering MY QUESTION and looking me RIGHT IN THE EYE. But really, I thought his answer was brilliant, and it reminded me of the following quotation. Which I found yesterday. On tumblr.

“They are not just simple kids’ books. They are stories that we are continuing to read even today. They’re stories that we remember years later, even when other stories fade from our memories. They’re stories we will never forget, and for good reason! They’re stories that helped shape our childhoods, through well thought-out writing, imaginative drawings and endearing morals…Maybe these “simple kids’ books” are far more adult than you give them credit for. And…years from now when kids AND adults will still be reading these “simple kids’ books.” Good art doesn’t come from focus groups and statistics. It comes from people who share how they see things in their own unique way.”

I love being part of this community of book creating and giving children books that will change them. I hope you all take a moment to think back on your favorite books as a child, and celebrate how they made you what you are today3.

Happy World Book Night, all. Now sit down and READ!

  1. While this is my least favorite of the John Green novels, even the least of John Green is excellent.
  2. He is also, as I learned last night, incredibly kind and humble. Which just makes him all the more awesome.
  3. Even if it’s in a negative way, like the fact that I still have stress dreams where I’m trapped in the cover of a Goosebumps novel. I never read Goosebumps, because the covers were too scary, but they still scared the crap out of me when I saw them displayed at the library. I was a very impressionable child.
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in which I write bloody

We all have moments where everything changes.

Even though change is usually a gradual, invisible process, I’m sure that everybody, no matter who you are, has days in their lives that they can look backwards at and say, “That was the day that everything changed for me.”

I had one of those days my freshman year of college, when I went to a show put on by Andrea Gibson and Buddy Wakefield, two spoken word poets. Up until this point in my life, though I was fairly well read, the only poetry I was aware of was the crusty old stuff, like Shakespeare and Donne. Which is nice, but sort of dated. Then I heard Buddy and Andrea1, and in one night, my whole concept of how writers can use language to evoke emotion changed. Everything I knew about words and poetry and emotion and how I moved in the world was turned totally around. It was an outstanding and spiritual and earth-shattering night that left a life-long impression on me.

Since then, I have been a fairly dedicated groupie of both Buddy and Andrea. Through the two of them, I discovered a lot of other remarkable poets, like Anis Mojgani, Taylor Mali2, and Jeanann Verlee, as well as the tiny indie press that publishes all of them, Write Bloody. So last night, when Write Bloody did a show featuring almost twenty of their poets in Boston, I lined up in the cold for tickets, squished myself into the back corner of a Back Bay church, and stood up for three hours to hear them perform3.

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All the poets who performed. Not a great picture. Blame my cell phone.

And the show was pretty darn outstanding, as I knew it would be. But the thing that impressed me the most about the evening was the experience of watching people’s dreams come true in real-time. This is one of the largest events Write Bloody has ever done, and when the founder introduced the show, the first thing he said was, “It has taken us so many shows at so many sh*tty coffee shops to get here.” But here they were. Everyone that performed was so genuinely passionate, so genuinely chuffed to be there, and just so darn giving of what they had. Writing is an amazing and intimate thing, where you share things about yourself with strangers that you wouldn’t tell your closest friends. It’s a process of giving yourself away. And everyone who performed was so giving, and what they had to give was so infectiously good. It made me want to run home and write, write, write, and go passionately and boldly in the direction of my own dreams in the hopes that someday, I would graduate from the sh*tty coffee shops of rejection and ascend into something this extraordinary.

It really excites me to see passionate people going out into the world, working hard, and then getting somewhere because of that dedication. It gives me a wild sort of hope that the same thing will happen to me if I keep pressing forward.

Thank you, Write Bloody, for an extraordinary show. You have a life-long fan in me.

  1. I’m fairly certain they’d both be horrified if I called them “Mr. Wakefield and Ms. Gibson,” so I’m sticking with Buddy and Andrea. Also – here are links to two of their poems, if you’re interested: Andrea / Buddy 
  2. If you are/want to be/will be a teacher, you need to hear this poem. Though warning for all you conservative readers—there is mild profanity. And lots of passion. Don’t watch if you can’t handle those things.
  3. It should be noted, I stood up for three hours after dancing for two hours previous to that. My legs are punishing me for that today.
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in which I find my corner of the sky

I don’t want to play the “once upon a time in high school” card, but once upon a time in high school, I was in a play called Pippin that nobody understood. Pippin is this weird, red-headed stepchild of musical theater that is often done poorly and without any real understanding of the show itself, usually by high schools. By the time I was in it, I had seen it twice already, both times disastrously misinterpreted and its weirdness taken way too literally.

I liked Pippin, but I didn’t get it until I was in it. The concept of our production, as dreamed up by my nothing-less-than-brilliant drama teacher, I believe is how the show is meant to be done. Pippin is not a literal play by any means. It is meta-theatrical, bizarre, and difficult, not because it has challenging acting or complex vocal parts, but because the entire show is a balancing act between trying to be real and knowing if you try to be real, this will make no sense.

Last night, I saw Pippin for the first time in a long time at American Repertory Theater (ART) here in Boston. The show is currently doing a run until January 20, and will then transfer to Broadway in the spring. I have been seeing posters for Pippin for months, but, until they announced they were going to Broadway and I could no longer resist, I made a conscious decision not to go because I, in my infinite theatrical pretentiousness, was certain that nobody ever does Pippin right.

Oh, wait. Except ART totally did.

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Pippin is about a young man1 who goes on a journey to find meaning and fulfillment in his life. His ‘corner of the sky,’ if you will. As you can imagine, the show resonates with a lot of people because that is basically everybody’s life story. Unless of course that beautiful message gets lost in all the weirdness of the actual show itself. Because there is lots of weird stuff that goes down in Pippin. He has a conversation with a disembodied head, he kills his dad and then brings him back to life, he kills a little boy’s duck, then somebody lights themselves on fire. Yeah. It’s awesome.

But back to the beautiful message. Because it really is. And every time I see this show or think about this show or remember being in this show, it still gets me right where I live. ART took Pippin to a different level than I had considered it before, and used it as a commentary on our generation, where everyone gets to be famous for fifteen minutes. In a world where everyone seems to think they are extraordinary, is anyone? And how far are we willing to go to feel that we have reached our full potential and found our corner of the sky?

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ART did their production of Pippin in conjunction with a circus troupe whose name has escaped me and my playbill is all the way across the room. This may be the most correct and genius way to interpret this show2. Each of Pippin’s “stages” in his journey was interpreted as a different circus act. There was a magician section, a lion tamer, a knife thrower. And then a whole lot of acrobats. The blend of circus and musical was just about genius. I usually don’t go in for giant spectacle shows, but this time it worked because there was a purpose behind the spectacle. They were using these flashy tricks3 to highlight the smoke and mirrors that is the entire show, until the end, which hits you like a punch in the face.

Anyways, this is basically just me gushing over Pippin. It took me an hour to get to Harvard Square yesterday4, then I stood in line for another forty-five minutes to get standing room5 only tickets, and it was worth it! It was worth standing up for two and a half hours. Worth totally ruining my hair in the rain. Worth overshooting my lunch break by a good half hour. Worth it worth it worth it the show was so good7!

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This entire post is a lot less eloquent and insightful than I hoped it would be, mostly because I am just so overcome with this production that I have been reduced to a stammering mess. Thank you for listening to me go totally nutburgers over this show. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have seen so much incredible theater that has made me feel so deeply.

  1. Named Pippin, in case you’re slow.
  2. Though one of the abysmal productions I saw also tried to do this…it worked less well. The reason theirs worked, I think, was because of what a high level of circus-ness they took it to.
  3. THEY WERE SO AMAZING!
  4. In the rain/sleet
  5. This is the second time I’ve done standing room only tickets in my life, and I appreciate the fact that at ART, they at least have a rail for us to lean on. The West End was less kind about that, though we did get a wall there, and a killer production of Much Ado staring David Tenant and Catherine Tate of Doctor Who fame 6.
  6. I think I am the only person in the world who discovered Doctor Who because of Shakespeare, instead of the other way around.   
  7. Also, there were randomly a ton of Broadway stars in it! Which caused me to have a total Broadway nerd freak out in the lobby. Andrea Martin! Charlotte D’Amboise! Terrance Mann8! Patina Miller! Mattew James Thomas! Google these people if you don’t know who they are because they are awesome!
  8. HOLYCRAPTHAT’STERRANCEMANN!!!!!
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in which I travel down the Rhine

Do you remember the scene in Titanic where Leonardo DiCaprio is invited to have dinner with the rich people and even though he is dressed up in his little tuxedo and has his hair combed all fancy, he so clearly does not belong amongst them?

Well that was me. The entire time I was in Europe1.

It was awesome.

When my benefactor Magwitch first approached me with the proposition of a Rhine river trip over Christmas, I didn’t register just how fancy we were going to be traveling. I knew Magwitch is well off and liked to travel in some degree of luxury, but I guess I didn’t register just how stark the contrast of this maids-and-caviar lifestyle would be to the microwave meals and public transport I left back in Boston. It was also extremely different from my previous Europe travels, since I previously traversed the continent with only a backpack and a frequent hosteler card. Needless to say, I felt a little out of place. In the best way possible. The guilt-free living way outside your means way.

Our trip was a river cruise of the Christmas markets of Europe. The boat departed from Switzerland, then climbed northward through the Alsace region of France, into and through Germany, and then finished in the Netherlands. The Rhine, in winter, is blanketed in mist, like the moorish setting of a Gothic Victorian novel. Our skies were mostly grey, and there was a brief misty rain on occasion, but overall, the weather was just the right sort of gloomy. With the Christmas spirit on top of the wintry weather, it was delightful.

I have dozens of stories from the trip, but I will refrain from sharing them all for fear or boring you with excessive word count. Here are some pictures and anecdotes for your enjoyment/jealousy.

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The Christmas markets that lined the Rhine were a whole new level of Christmasyness for me. I have never experienced this level of decoration before. Half-timbered houses draped in holly, garlands, ribbons, bows. Plus the random assorted teddy bear and marionettes strung in the windows.

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After a few days of going from Switzerland to France to Germany and back to France, I was so confused what country I was in and what language was being spoke that, when a woman in a shop handed me my change, I said, “Gracias,” without even thinking, and then walked away.

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The Christmas markets all sell gluhwein, which is wasil mixed with wine. It is also alcoholic, meaning I did not partake. However, Magwitch heard through the grapevine that some stands sold non-alcoholic gluhwein. Excited, I inquired at the next market, only to learn that non-alocholic gluhwein is called “kinderpunch.” Which was humiliating. Also delicious.

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I climbed every hill, castle, and bell tower I could. I love views.

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I rode these cable cars from the city Koblenz across the Rhine River to a mountain top fortress. Unfortunately, I know nothing about said fortress, because all of the signs once we got there were in German.

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The above clock is my new favorite clock of all time. The pendulum is attached to the man’s eyes, so as the clock ticks, the eyes move back and forth. It is hella creepy/awesome.

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I was in Cologne on December 21, aka the day the Mayans said the world was going to end. It obviously did not, but I had a genuine moment of panic where I heard an unidentified crash, felt the bridge beneath me begin to shake (as a result of a passing train, though I did not know that then) and thought the world was actually ending.

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One of our better tours included a tour guide who told us “That cathedral there includes a very famous statue of Karl Marx.” Where we all started muttering about how weird it is that a church would have a statue of Karl Marx. The tour guide quickly amended, “Sorry, not Karl Marx—it’s Martin Luther.”

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We saw a team of folk dancers perform in Nijmegen. They performed several dances from all over the world, then ended with a “traditional folk dance from North America”:  Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.

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Also, the entire crew of the boat was eastern European, which made it feel vaguely like the ship was manned by vampires.

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It’s Magwitch and me!

I really love Europe so much. I love the antiquity of it, the feel of cobblestones under your feet. I love eating in restaurants that are older than my country. I love seeing art by masters that was created before the printing press and has outlasted the memories of the people who created it and the ideals that they praised. I love cathedral spires silhouetted against grey skies, the smell of baguettes and macaroons, and the way the weak sunlight catches the canals. I love meeting new people, and hearing new stories, and seeing the way life moves in a sphere that is not my own.

This world is beautiful and amazing. I am constantly reminded how grateful I am to be a part of it.

  1. This really was me. Especially the part where he takes an uncouthly large bite of roll.
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in which I kick off the Christmas season

Happy December everyone! A day late, yes, but who’s counting?

In exactly ten days, I will be boarding a flight to Switzerland to celebrate the holidays along the Rhine River, which I am kind of really more than a little excited about. But for now, the Christmas season in Boston is in full swing, and I, being of sound mind and Christmas-loving disposition, am taking part in any way I can.

On Thursday night, Marx and I went to the tree lighting ceremony on the Boston Common1 where they turned on the giant tree and the lights around the Common and had a pyrotechnics show and such. It was great fun, until they turned on the lights. At which point, Marx and I, both children raised on the glory of Temple Square Christmas lights, cringed as one. Because the Boston Common lights are kind of pathetic. I’m fairly certain that whoever was responsible for them forgot he had to string up the lights until that very morning, at which point he just ran around flinging them haphazardly into the trees. Either that or he forgot his ladder. Because seriously, they look terrible! Like someone toilet papered the Boston Common, but with Christmas lights. Marx pointed out they also look like the kind of lights where one bulb goes out and the entire strand is shot. But we had a good laugh over them in spite of our disappointment, and the tree looked grand. And then we walked over to the Public Garden, which was much more professionally lit, even if we did see a dead rat the size of a cat festering on one of the paths.

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the tree itself looked great. It was the other trees around it that were sketchy – also unphotographable because of the light

To keep the holiday spirit going, last night I went to the Nutcracker with four of my friends from school. I have never been to the ballet before3, but I have always been an ardent fan of ballet dancing, and harbored a not-so-secret resentment against my mother for pulling me out of ballet lessons before I had had the chance to reach Prima Ballerina level4. So I was absolutely thrilled to go to my first ballet in recent memory. My friends and I got really dressed up, went out to a nice dinner before, and then headed over to the Boston Opera House, which is the most beautiful theater I have ever been in. It was all lit up for the performance, with trees and ornaments, and everybody got paper Nutcracker crowns as they walked in.

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this guy was my favorite. Also, I did not take this picture. I think the New York Times did….

And the ballet was so beautiful. I was kind of worried I wouldn’t like it, because I don’t really enjoy opera, and I put opera and ballet in the same category. But I loved it. And I loved getting dressed up and going to a fancy event where everyone was dressed fancy and not just me5.

And then I returned home at midnight to find that my roommate had hung stockings from our strangely-built-into-the-wall china cabinet with care.

Happy holidays, all. Christmas is here6.

 

  1. A large park where lots of homeless people and ghosts chill, for those of you who are not familiar with Boston. It is basically the Pioneer Park2 of Boston.
  2. A large park where lots of homeless people and artists chill, for those of you who are not familiar with Salt Lake City. It’s basically the Boston Common of Salt Lake.
  3. That I can remember. Sometimes having a bad memory is great because you get to experience things for the first time all over again.
  4. She put me in soccer – SOCCER!
  5. I really like to dress up, so I tend to be perpetually overdressed.
  6. The other sure sign of this fact is that I have put my traditional two Christmas CDs on my iPod – “A Very She & Him Christmas” and “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together.”
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in which I get decorate-y

Recently, my housing situation has not been great.

And by recently, I mean for the past six months of my life.

As far back as Chicago, really, where you may remember I lived in a one room apartment with two girls and Cat1. For one, this was cramped. For two, I only got along with 1/3 of the apartment’s occupants2. For three, this was real just a terrible idea from the start. Even the chalkboard wall was not enough to make up for the fact that the Chicago studio was a less than ideal situation.

Three months later, I find myself in the exact opposite situation. I am living in a house – a large, four story colonial house, with a grand piano and newly refurbished kitchen and a bathroom that was bigger than my room at my parent’s house. And, for reasons that I griped endlessly about so they do not need to be mentioned again, I was unhappy. Extremely unhappy. The unhappiest I’ve been in a while.

So I had almost forgotten what it’s like to live somewhere that is peaceful and happy, where the thought of coming home doesn’t make me moan. Somewhere I actually want to be.

Guys – my apartment in Brookline is awesome. And it just got a million times better.

When I first came to this apartment, I decided, much to the dismay of my parents and my debit card, that I was going to get settled here. Like really settled. Like buy paint and furniture sort of settled. And I wanted to do it fast, because I was tired of feeling like I was drifting. I know myself pretty well3 and I know that, for me, a big part of being happy is being settled. Feeling a part of somewhere, rather than a guest. So these past two weeks have been dedicated to me trying to transform my bedroom from four windows and a hardwood floor to somewhere I actually wanted to hang out. Somewhere I could call my own.

I am happy to say that MISSION = ACCOMPLISHED.

My room is awesome. Totally awesome. So awesome it makes me sad that probably no one will ever see it, since I never entertain, particularly not the sort of guests that one usually shows one’s room to. So instead I have decided to show my room to the interwebs. Because you guys are like my virtual friends that I never see.

I am kicking myself for not taking before pictures to make these after pictures all the more awesome. In fact, even as I’m looking at them now, I realize there is nothing particularly special about my room. It’s just a normal person’s room4. But – and I cannot put too fine a point on this – I AM INSANELY AND DISPROPORTIONATELY EXCITED ABOUT MY ROOM!

Alright, alright, enough build up, I know you’ve all scrolled down anyway because pictures are way more exciting than words. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my room.

…the suspense was sort of killed by the fact that you can’t see the whole room. Let’s take it in sections, shall we?

Ah. And there’s the other half. Now, for the close ups!

The above photo is my lamp, on which I wrote my favorite Hamlet soliloquy. Because what is lighting if it isn’t fantastically nerdy?

I know it looks like my dresser is in front of my closet, but this is not an actual closet – it’s a connecting door thing to the living room. Also I’m very big on photo ledges.

I painted the inside of this shelf. I was very excited about this idea.

And then, of course, my Mona Lisa – the hats! I am way prouder of this idea than I should be.

And I promise after this, I will stop talking about my awesome apartment in awesome Brookline that is FIVE MINUTES from a train stop and FIFTEEN MINUTES away from school, because I know nobody wants to hear about that. So I will stop…

…Until we get the living room finished.

  1. *shudder* Ugh Cat…
  2. Though what an awesome 1/3 Nevada was.
  3. This is a lie.
  4. If that normal person was really into books and liked to show it.
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in which I reflect on the awesomeness of the summer

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

By Mackenzi Lee

Image

Chicago – until we meet again.

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