Hudson Valley Witches

I spent my weekend with four brilliant, strong, vibrant, determined women. I have known these women for a decade.

I have watched their lives change.

I have watched them change in the most minute, unrecognizable ways; the newest laugh line, a slight movement in the way each of them speaks.

I have seen them change in ways that felt as though they would be earth shattering; a new child, then another, the purchase of homes, business ventures, the begins and ends of love.

Deep down in my gut, I know these women, and they know me.

This weekend, we stayed up late and shouted at the stars. We told them how beautiful they were. We thanked them for being where we could see them. We felt lucky to have a place away from the city lights, a place where the sky could really show itself.

These women, these changes, and the moments I have with them are life affirming. They inspire me to write beautiful things. Words of magic.

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On Truth

A writer is surrounded by the rich material of the everyday. Overheard coversations wiggle into the dialogue of a short story. A funny encounter becomes a scene in a novella. A formative moment makes the foundation of a novel.

            When I am writing nonfiction, which is most of the time, I don’t have to think too much about this. I tell the truth, as best as I can remember it and I acknowledge when my memory is hazy.

            My mother asked me last week, ‘why do you write nonfiction?’ I had to pause and think. ‘Because in some ways, it allows me to be more creative than fiction. Yes, I have to me mindful of the facts, and tell the story how it unfolded, but it is all through the lens of my perspective. I feel like I have some authority’.

            Fiction, or at least the fiction I write, always ends up being more difficult for me. Like many writers, I write what I know. What I know is my experience, my relationships, past, memories, experiences and what is deeply personal. I find it infinitely more difficult to take my truth and the truth of others and imagine into the page the correct adjustments. The kind of changes that draw it far enough away from reality to be fiction, but not so far that it doesn’t speak to the reader, not so adjusted that it fails to ring as reality.

            This is all made me think a lot about Camus saying, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth”.  That line between truth and reality, that barrier between nonfiction and fiction is not always so clear, not always as solid as we think. Even when I am writing fiction, is it possible that I am writing my truth, it just happens to only be me who can really perceive it as truth? In many ways, this might just be my own musings, trying to figure out how to write my book. So much of it I am taking from life, but I know, for it to be effective, it cannot be written as anything but fiction.

Adventures of a City Rookie II

Helllooooo All! Great news! In the few short days its been since my last post, I’ve only missed my stop 3 times! Did you know that sometimes the subway will skip your stop? Is that just me. I can’t tell. It’s winter and all my brain cells are frozen.

Speaking of winter. It’s that time again kids. The most magical time of the year. The season in which I wear, you guessed it. Makeup. This never happens. But now that its cold and I don’t spend my day sweating it off. I figured. It is time.

winter makeup

Do I look like a clown? Maybe. Is my foundation the wrong shade of Elmer’s glue pale? Yes. It is. But the important thing is that I’m TRYING OK. MAKEUP HARD.

In other news. It is T minus ONE WEEK until I get to meet my newest best friend forever lil cutie puppy who I already love with all my soul and we haven’t even met yet. That’s fate friends. FATE. Time is coming of the essence (but lets just think about that phrase actually. Essence? Like? Essential Oils essence? Time? Let’s return to this shall we?) and I am almost prepared with my dog items such as: crate, bed, cute toys, cute collar with bowtie. I’m gonna be one of those people. So. Sorry in advance.

almost time for dog

UPDATE FOR THOSE FOLLOWING. I’m going to have soup for lunch. I’m growing as a person and expanding my lunch horizons. Hello corn chowder. My one and only.

In Gotham Intern news, interning is going well! I’m going to be doing cartoons for the online class guidelines! So LOOK OUT WORLD. Blogesque comics comin’ to ya on the site. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on my computer. Gotta get dat photoshop goin.  In other Gotham news I’m still answering your phone calls and emails and helpin’ you guys in any way I can!

always computing

Lots of good stuff happening! Very exciting, life’s moving here we go get hype friends.  And stay tuned for more Adventures of a City Rookie!

Adventures of a City Rookie

Hello all! It’s good to be here! THE CITY. It’s loud. It’s crowded. And I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

I moved to NYC from Tahoe and It. Is. A. Change. Where’s my snow? It’s cold but where are my puffy white flurries?? Someone tell me. Please. I’m so confused.

Speaking of confusion…the subway. Guys. I’m struggling here. It screeches and sometimes the lights go out, but I’m kind of into its urban charm even though I have no idea where its taking me, like, 88% of the time.

subway confusion cartoonAdjusting to city livin’ has been an adventure to say the least. I’m currently working here at Gotham Writers! I answer emails! I take your phone calls! I make blog posts like this AND of course, I eat so many shrimp bowls its getting to be a problem.  Can you turn into a shrimp? Is that a thing. OK at least am I going to turn a lovely shade of pink? I’m kinda excited for that not gonna lie.  At least lunch is never a mystery. Maybe I should expand my culinary horizons. Then again…

wat 4 lunch
spoiler alert: its a shrimp bowl

Also I’m getting a dog! I thought we were going to be the TERRIBLE TAHOE TWOSOME but life happens and now were subway surfin’ and trying not to annoy our neighbors with our whining and/or watching too many loud prison shows on Netflix.  What can I say. They’re great. Me and Ticket have GREAT taste in bad TV. Of course, this is all just one giant pipe dream so far. I don’t get Ticket till’ February. Ha ha. BUT STAY TUNED. Will I eat something besides a shrimp bowl? Will I finally figure out exactly where the express trains stop? Will Ticket be the dog of my dreams?

whooo knows

Stick around for the next episode of Claire’s Adventures of a City Rookie!

A Cottage in Brooklyn

When my partner and I began looking for a home in New York we had many expectations that we believed, at the time, to be reasonable for our price range. First, must allow dogs. Second, must have a washer and dryer in the unit. Third, hard wood floors. Finally, it would have to be in Cobble Hill, Park Slope, or Brooklyn Heights.

With hopes set far too high, we flew from New Orleans to the city for a long weekend of house hunting. Our first viewing was a place in Bushwick. It did not tick the boxes. Pets were permitted and there were hard woods, but there was no washer and dryer, and it was not in one of our three chosen locations. On top of all that, it was a four-hundred square foot studio.

But the photographs were beautiful. After much persuasion, I convinced by partner that we would just take a quick look. What harm could it do? The first thing we saw when we walked up the trash strewn sidewalk was a heavily graffitied garage door with a spiked gate to the left. ‘Just give it a chance’.

We were escorted down a long alley that ran along the side of the garage. On the left were woven and reaching metal sculptures dashed with string lights. A swath of bamboo shot up then hung down like a beaded curtain. We pushed past it. To the right was a raised bed with three vividly green saplings, below them, a plaster skunk as yard art. In front, a wooden cottage, stone steps, iron railings, this beautiful thing hidden in the middle of a Bushwick block.

Inside we found high ceilings, exposed beams, marble counters, brick walls, and custom carved cabinets. We couldn’t hear the sounds of the streets, no honking traffic, no children hollering. It was entirely peaceful.

Right away I knew it was the home for us, but I told them, ‘we need to look a few places, but we’ll let you know as soon as we can’. Seven apartments later and by lunch the next day, we had decided. A day later we signed the lease.

Every Saturday morning I sit by our tall windows and look out at the trees in our courtyard. The sun grows brighter, the birds and squirrels start to patter through the small garden, my dog comes and warms herself against my legs and I forget, almost entirely, that I live in this chaotic and kinetic city.