I am officially past one month into the new year and 2012 has already proven to be a loud, uncompromising bastard of year; a ferocious bitch full of changes and surprises. There was a death, there was a birth, there was music, and there was a rebellious cat.
In the midst of all the crazy that’s been going on, I’m proud to write that I’ve been a very, very good girl when it comes to my resolutions.
One resolution was to keep pushing myself physically. On December 26, 2010 I became serious about getting in shape (in other words, I saw the number on the scale and freaked out). Since then, although it’s been up and down (as my friend Jess said, “Weight is fluid”), I’ve stuck to it.
I’m pretty active at the local JCC gym. A good week usually means five days of cardio and two days of weights. I was biking for a while, but then my bike was stolen. Womp Womp. I have moved up in weights at the gym and can last at cardio most days for up to an hour.
While I’ve been proud of my progress, I’ve always marveled at friends of mine who could participate in marathons- or in the case of my friend Lena, a triathlon, because she’s a monster. Even while I was getting stronger I still wrote off running as an exercise I just couldn’t do.
Then one day I stumbled on this running plan for beginners from Women’s Health Magazine.
And you won’t believe it.
Please, I want to tell you what happened, but you just won’t believe it.
I did it.
I’ve been running for the last three weeks, every other day. Last night, something miraculous happened. Something just clicked. I ran for over 20 minutes straight.
There were definitely Rocky air-punches thrown in the mix as I ran up and down Carrollton.
Another resolution of mine was to write more. My friend Sarah and I had been lamenting since we met almost two years ago that we needed a serious writing group. When we joined one this past summer, we realized that most writing groups are not going to give us what we need. I can only speak from my experience, but most writing groups I’ve come across are not for serious writers looking to be published. Most writing groups are an outlet for people who want to share the poems they write in their diary.
Now, I’m not knocking people who write in diaries. I write in a journal myself. But there is a significant difference between writers who want to share their work for the purpose of hearing it out loud and receiving praise, and writers who want other serious writers to read their work, rip it apart, make it bleed, and tell the writer to stop being sentimental and get to the f*ing point already. The hope is that real criticism will make the writer a, gasp, better writer. That’s what I need.
So, thanks to Sarah, this new writing group has been meeting quite often. It is exhilarating to have dedicated writers look over my work. It’s inspiring to read what the other writers have to offer as well.
With so much writing going on, I decided it was time to submit one of my memoir/fiction pieces I started with the 7th Ward Neighborhood Story Project.
And guess what?
It was rejected.
I’ll be fine. They told Elvis he had a terrible voice and should stick to being a truck driver. Boy, were those people pissed when they didn’t sign Elvis. Plus, if Elvis had listened to those naysayers, think of where we would be today? I mean, pop culture would think “Hound Dog” was written and performed by talented black singers.
Hey! Speaking of talented black musicians…
Another goal of mine was to see more live music in New Orleans. A recent highlight was last Thursday night at Le Bon Temps Roulé. Bon Temps is a great locals bar Uptown on Magazine street. Like most places in New Orleans, it’s bigger than it looks on the outside.
I had heard really great things about the music at Le Bon Temps Roule and had been wanting to go for some time. I met my friend Lindsey a few hours before the band was scheduled to perform (10 p.m. which means the band is playing at 11:30 p.m. in New Orleans). The bar was well lit and very welcoming. A few people were there, just relaxing, playing pool and drinking beer. Lindsey and I grabbed a seat by the window overlooking Magazine. There was a decent draft selection, so Lindsey and I had plenty of beer to choose from while we waited for the house band to start.
The house band, no cover, every Thursday night just happens to be one of the best brass bands in the city: The Soul Rebels.
Btw Bon Temps, you had me at the big alligator in the background.
Soul Rebels were stellar. It’s difficult to describe the energy inside a New Orleans bar when a brass band plays. It’s loud. Everyone is sweating. The band, at least at Bon Temps, is on the floor with everyone else, there is no raised stage. The horns blow inches from your face. Rough-looking regulars dance up close with hipster newcomers and everyone is throwing their arms up, punctuating the air with each beat. Brass band music is happy music. You just can’t help but feel grateful to be alive when you’re out dancing along.
So that’s what’s been going on down here in the Crescent City. Before I finish I just have one more “I live in a better city than you do moment”:
Down here, everyone is getting ready for Mardi Gras.
What does your city look like?
Because it doesn’t look like this:
Come on down, we love having new people to party with in the streets.