Posts tagged “love

worth posting for: love stories from storycorps

I haven’t posted in so long, I was worried I’d forgotten how to use WordPress.  Thankfully, I’m here.   As for the blog slump – I’ve been feeling that I only want to post something that’s truly worth it.  And this is.

Tonight I went to a magical event presented by WNYC – the public radio station I worked at while I was new and wide-eyed in the city and doing my Master’s degree at NYU.  At the time, it was my dream to be a part of WNYC.  So I went down to the old location at One Centre Street by the Brooklyn Bridge, stood awestruck looking up at the majestic Municipal Building, then went back to my student-housing studio and drafted a passionate letter to the head of human resources.  It worked.

14 years and two transatlantic moves later, I’m at Bonhams – the auction house on Madison Avenue – for the launch of All There Is: Love Stories From StoryCorps.

In case you haven’t heard of StoryCorps, the independent nonprofit has gathered over 40,000 interviews since 2003 from over 60,000 people who’ve stepped into “StoryBooths” all over the country.  The intimate, moving conversations are recorded and preserved at the Library of Congress.  You can listen to them every Friday on NPR’s Morning Edition.

While the stories are varied, there’s a common theme:  we’re not all that different – no matter where we come from, we all share similar hopes, fears, and the desire to be loved.

Tonight, it was all about love.  As StoryCorps founder Dave Isay put it, these stories are about hope and serendipity – about finding love in unexpected places, and finding love when it was thought it wasn’t to be found.  The book is also a testament to the value of relationships and commitment.  My favorite quote of the night: “Being married is like having a color television set.  You never want to go back to black and white.”

No, wait. I think my favorite quote is this one:  “And then we had a honeymoon that lasted 63 years.”

Buy the book, cry like I did, and support this important initiative – StoryCorps is now the largest oral history project of its kind.  And this incredibly inspiring collection reminds us that love really is…all there is.

five more reasons to love new york

Al Mazur with his new fans at the 92nd Street Y

At the beginning of Love Etc., a new documentary, we see a couple in bed, limbs entwined under a mound of crinkled sheets.

“I have to move the car,” mumbles one of them.

It’s a slice of New York romance – and one of five real stories shot over the course of a year throughout the boroughs.

I was at the sneak preview last night at the 92nd Street Y.  The characters range in age from 18 to 89, but one story truly captured my heart:  that of Albert and Marion Mazur of Canarsie, who celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary shortly after the film was completed.  Their tenderness for each other was palpable in every scene – right down to Al’s careful slicing of his wife’s peanut-buttered toast when she became too frail.  Marion had always taken care of everything around the house, but now it was Al’s turn.

“Do you want to listen to the radio?” asks Al as they sit down to eat.

“I’d rather listen to you,” replies Marion, without missing a beat.

We’re treated to more lessons of love as we watch Al and Marion.  They didn’t always see eye to eye; it’s just that every disagreement ended with a mutual agreement to “start over.”  Al said that his 48 years of marriage had felt like 48 minutes.

Marion passed away a few months ago, and Al spoke about their enduring story during the Q&A: “I really don’t know where the time went.”  Then he told us their secret:

“We lived our lives together, but separately.  That was really it.”

He tried to get her to exercise with him, but it really wasn’t her thing.  She was into political events while he wasn’t, so she’d often do that on her own.  Yet their joint dream was to have a musical hit, and their baby was a song they called “Every Day’s A Holiday in Brooklyn.” Even then, they preserved their individual identities and fused them into a beautiful whole:

“I wrote the music line, and she wrote the story line.”

Love Etc. opens this Friday in New York City.

friday photo: blurred embrace, soho

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the iphone guide to falling in love

Right at home: iPhone on my pillow

It was meant to be; it was only a matter of time.  With the Apple Store a mere block away from me – albeit an avenue one – and my increased dissatisfaction with the previous state of affairs, it’s only natural that I am head over heels for my new iPhone.

Some may say I am late to the game.  But I am actually right on time.  It goes in line with my thinking about being indecisive.  I dispelled that myth in my post How To Follow Your Heart, where I outlined that indecision is not indecision at all but rather a lack of having the right opportunity at the right time.  Ditto for being non-committal.  iPhone was the only one for me.  My heart knew it.  And that’s what’s so delicious about this:  one is “non-committal” for the same reasons that one is “indecisive” – that’s right, it’s all about the right option appearing at the right time.

Once I took the leap into iPhone, there was no going back. Which has had me thinking about what iPhone – and the very wise, giving lover that is Apple – can teach us about my favorite subject.

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you

I’ve had it for all of three days, and it’s a heart-thumping honeymoon.  I can’t be apart from my iPhone.  I want to touch it all the time, learn everything about it, get under the tough skin I wrapped around it to keep it safe.  Apple makes it easy – hosting a free workshop all about getting to know your iPhone.  It was scheduled for an hour.  It ran over.  And I could have stayed longer.  As with anything that tugs generously at the heart, time slips through your fingers and skips from your mind.  Apple knows exactly what it’s doing with its doting, no-strings-attached approach to customer service.  You keep coming back for more, more, more.

Getting more out of it than you’re putting in

Any other conscious iPhone user can attest to it – even though it means a big jump in your phone bill, you get so much value out of iPhone that it’s worth it.  They say that when you’re with the right one for you, you have the feeling that you’re getting a better deal out of it than the other person.  You feel like, “Wow, I’m really lucky here,” which, of course, compels you to then show the other just how lucky…meaning the good stuff gets bounced back and forth, back and forth.  Yes, you’re putting in an investment – and getting any good deal is dependent on this – but you’re happy to do it.  You know you’d be a fool not to.

Your other relationships just get better

A sign of an unhealthy relationship is one that closes you off from everything else that’s important to you.  But iPhone does just the opposite.  It respects your life, enhances it, and gets you closer to the people in it.  I usually talk to my mother on the phone as I’m walking down the street.  This weekend, I was able to show her the street, the smile on my face, and how bright the sun was shining above me.

You just “get” each other

Apple is so incredibly intuitive.  And that’s why we love it so.  In mere minutes with my iPhone, I felt right at home.  I knew its body as if I always had, including which buttons to touch, push, slide.  Figuring my way around it is easy and exhilarating, not complicated and clumsy.  You feel good using it.  It understands what you need, and it gives it to you without much, if any, prodding.  It opens up a whole new world of opportunity.  In short, life is better with it than without.  That’s when you know you have a winner.

You feel like you’ve come a long way, baby

Almost as important as this I’m-so-lucky feeling is the complementary aren’t-I-so-smart feeling.  At first, iPhone makes you look back on your old phones as flings – “What the heck was I doing/thinking?!” “How could I have put up with that?!”  Then, after you’ve gotten over the where-have-you-been-all-my-life feeling, you start to feel really good about yourself.  You’ve explored your options, you’ve failed before, you’ve chosen smartly now.  Pat on the back and good, sweet lovin’ to you.

The heart overrides the head

You can list a million reasons why, intellectually, iPhone makes sense – and even why it doesn’t.  And yet what really makes you dig it is something you just can’t put your finger on.  You can’t explain it as much as you try.  All you can do is enjoy, be present, and appreciate.  Oh, and always remember – it’s up to you to take care of it and not take it for granted, no matter how safe that case may seem.

Speaking of apples – if you like all this suggestive symbolism, check out this post about applesauce and relationships.  And don’t forget to share the love by liking or linking above.

top 9 songs you want your man to sing to you

Heart in window, SoHo

That’s right – 9 – because I’m leaving the door open for a new favorite.  This is a silly list, but it’s the kind of thing I think about while I’m walking down the street with my iPod.

9.  “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” – Barry White

Does anybody not feel good down to their toes when this is playing?  Forget the old Ally McBeal reference – this is the way to say, “You’re the only one for me, baybeeee.”

8.  “Woman” – John Lennon

Oops, he did it – something to upset her.  But then he goes and writes a song as sweet as this.

7.  “She’s Always A Woman” – Billy Joel

She can do no wrong in his eyes – no, really.  This man is hopelessly in love.

6.  “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police

So much whimsy, adoration, and determination here!  Although calling a thousand times a day could get to be a bit too much.

5.  “Lovely Day” – Bill Withers

From the moment he opens his eyes, she brightens his day; and all is right in his world.

4.  “Something” – The Beatles

Oh, the mystery of love – he can’t figure it out; he just keeps on loving her.

3.  “It Had To Be You” – Isham Jones/Gus Kahn

Any and all versions – this just stops my heart whenever I hear it.

2.  “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” – Elton John

“Live for each second, without hesitation, and never forget I’m your man…”  I’ve never been able to get enough of this song.

1.  “Maybe I’m Amazed” – Paul McCartney

Oh, the passion.  The urgency.  The surrender.  The awe.  It’s all here, blazing, and crafted during one of the greatest love stories in recent history.

Ok, your turn.  Which songs would make your heart sing…if someone special sang them to you?

friday photo: coffee-shop cuddle, west village

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friday photo: long live love, new york botanical garden

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but my faith in love is still devout

“The heart has its reasons that reason knows not.”
–Blaise Pascal

Despite my love of all things love, the closest thing I’ve ever read to a romance novel is The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough’s book that spawned the epic TV miniseries by the same name.  It came out when I was eight years old and held me in a grip year after year, especially during that scene when Meggie is walking down the staircase and Father Ralph nearly drops his bourbon upon seeing her all grown up.   I was in Catholic school at the time – and for several colorful years thereafter.

Fiction has never interested me as much as the real deal, even if it is based on it. I get a particular thrill out of knowing how real people fall in love, stay in love, fall out of love.  And I especially want to know about all the mishaps along the way.

And so I was a little conflicted when a friend invited me to a romance reading last week – that is, until I saw that they’d be spotlighting a new non-fiction book titled Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love.

Now this was more my speed.  I remembered my immense curiosity (and relief) during Philosophy 101 in college when I learned that Søren Kierkegaard spent a lifetime trying to understand love.  And now here was a whole book about how the greatest thinkers were utterly clueless when it came to matters of the heart.

Author Andrew Shaffer wrote the book based on a line of greeting cards he created about the same subject.  After the reading, he told me it was his way of vindicating all those bookish nerds who could never get a girl in school.

Good writers don’t always make good readers; but Shaffer is different.  He understands this is about performance, and he delivered his with exaggerated French accents, comic timing, and laugh-out-loud expressions.  The pages of his book are infused with the same playful tone, and he doesn’t miss a moment for innuendo.  He manages to breeze through the painful, complicated, and often bizarre stories leaving you feeling a whole lot better about your love life.

When Shaffer went up to the microphone, he prefaced his reading by saying that The New York Times called his book “cheeky” and “low minded”.  Then he cheekily added, “If it weren’t for love, romance, and passion, nobody would be here – not even The New York Times.”

As Father Ralph would say:  Amen.

And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

friday photo: dusk at bleecker between laguardia & mercer

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big screen, bullet points: blue valentine

A story about two people falling in and out of love?  Just my cup of wicked hot chocolate.  Well, that’s what Blue Valentine purports to portray.  Yesterday, I finally got around to seeing the film-festival darling from director Derek Cianfrance starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams…

  • Non-spoiler synopsis:  Diamond-in-the-rough Dean (Gosling) meets pretty, promiscuous Cindy (Williams), falls in lust with her, hunts her down, rescues her from bad situation.  Cindy falls in love with Dean’s potential, convinces herself he’s the only one who will love her, becomes disgusted by his unrealized potential…or is it the potential their relationship has knocked out of him?
  • Corny, but effective visual image:  The anatomically correct heart tattoo on Dean’s forearm.
  • How’d-they-do-that visual image:  The aging and de-aging of Gosling and Williams as the film hopscotches between the couple’s troubled, desaturated present and their tenderly illuminated – though foreboding – past.
  • Heart-stirring scene: Dean, who works for a moving company, takes extra-special care to prepare the room of an elderly widower in a nursing home.
  • Line scribbled down in the dark: “How do you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?”  (Cindy)
  • Line memorable enough to require no scribbling:  “Men, we’re resistant; then we meet the woman who makes us think, ‘She’s so great; I’d be a fool not to marry her’.” (Dean)
  • Not-so-subliminal pat theme: The protagonists both come from multiple-fracture homes. As Howard Jones once put it, no one ever is to blame – except your parents…and their parents.
  • Unintended viewer effect: Waiting for Gosling to pull out a notebook.
  • By the end of the film:  You’ll fall in love with Dean (just as the director wants you to – he’s the far more developed character of the two), realize the power a woman has to make or break a man (if he lets her)…and marvel at how beauty can turn men (including filmmakers) into fools.

friday photo: couple kissing on the SE corner of 2nd Ave & 9th St

(Taken yesterday after a borscht and blintze lunch at Veselka.)