Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt

Skyscrapers seen from the Fifth Avenue office where I temped.

Last week, I was looking through my bookshelf for my next book to read and found Catcher in the Rye mixed in with my unread books. I honestly can’t remember bringing it with me to New York, although I must have unpacked it twice. Maybe my mom included it in one of the boxes sent from Oklahoma or I brought it in my suitcase on one of my many trips. I’m so used to it being a part of my collection that I can understand why it escaped my notice. I read it for the first time in high school, when I found all the angst of Holden Caulfield really relevant to my teenage life. Reading it again just a year ago was so different; how could I have changed so much in only a few years? And would I ever be able to write something that so clearly channels that brief perspective in youth? When I heard that J.D. Salinger died, it was shocking that he was 91, because all of his writing still seems so young. Of course, since most of the writing he did later in his reclusive life wasn’t published, I guess that’s what allowed him to be an immortal youth. And now, will all those unprinted manuscripts be published?

Stone angel seen from the same building, same angle, just super zoomed.

This Monday, I saw another author I love, Paul Auster, speak at Barnes & Noble with an editor from the Paris Review. It was part of a discussion series featuring writers talking with other writers about writing. Auster has really brooding, piercing eyes, and I’m always reassured by famous author’s insecurities. I really enjoyed the talk and it made me want to write more. I guess I write something everyday, technically, but I don’t want my dreams to become my hobbies. I’m going to try to write a short story a week, starting next week. I’m not going for length or perfection; I just need to get the words out. How else will I ever be on my way to becoming a famous recluse?

Early morning snow near Central Park on Fifth Avenue.

I’ve been temping at a boring, but low key, real estate place this week and the first two of the above pictures were taken from the little office where I ate my lunch. The third is of the snow that fell this morning while I was walking down Fifth Avenue to work. Sadly, it had all melted by the time I left the office, and there was no window by the reception desk. It’s getting cold again, and I’ve had to turn my heat back on after having it off for about a week. Maybe I will make a hot chocolate. Last night, me and a couple of friends went to Think Coffee in the East Village and I might have to drag my laptop over there for some writing. When I went into their dive bar-like bathrooms, I looked on the ceiling and among the graffiti saw this Kurt Vonnegut quote scrawled in sharpie: “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” Sometimes for brief moments when I see snow falling in early morning light and I look up and feel the flakes melt on my face, that’s all true.

5 thoughts on “Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt

  1. Cecilia says:

    I placed Catcher in the Rye on your bookshelf. I didn’t realize that it was in your unread section. Sorry! I had borrowed it from you before you moved to France, and I figured that I would return it. Sorry about not letting you know beforehand.

  2. Allie says:

    Hey, no worries! I like a good mystery.

  3. Allie says:

    Oh, and there’s no real organization to my shelf. It’s kind of all unread.

  4. Kat says:

    I like this post. I’m glad you feel inspired to write. Just wish that feeling could be channeled whenever and wherever.

  5. Allie says:

    Usually when I start writing, I get that feeling, but it’s just hard to find the time to start. Have you been up to any writing projects, Kat?

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