Tag Archives: time

Catch Me If You Can

Being a sister is hard. Having a sister is harder. I know this now, 25 years after wishing, begging, pleading for a sister. I always thought having a younger sister would mean having a permanent playmate-in-residence. Someone on standby for when your school friends can’t make it or for post-playdate hours entertainment.

My sister came along four years after I was born. By the time she caught up to me four years later, I was eight and still waiting for her to learn how to catch a ball, catch up and catch on. We never seemed to overlap on much of anything as young children mainly because of our age difference.

As we hit double digits, it became very clear we were not the same person. In fact, apart from our DNA similarities (which we questioned daily) we didn’t have anything in common. She coveted everything with leopard-print, I liked sea blues and greens. She loved high heels, I preferred flats. She is short with dark hair and an olive complexion. I’m tall with fair skin and green eyes. For fun, I read books and went to museums with a small group of friends. My sister spent endless hours on AIM or at friends houses — she was never without a posse. She went out, I stayed in. Book smart/street smart. And on and on.

I thought everything with her was just a phase. When I hit 20, I was still waiting for her to learn how to catch the ball. We lead entirely separate lives, but I was convinced one day all of that would change. She would come around and we would be like every other sister set I knew, always doing things together, sharing common interests and laughing at the private jokes.

When I was 24, my sister transferred from a university in Connecticut to the Fashion Institute of Technology and moved into my Upper West Side studio apartment with me. We shared 500 square feet of space for six months. I was working from home at the time and kept late hours. She went to bed at 10p and needed total silence and darkness in order to fall asleep. A dressing screen was the only thing separating our sleeping quarters. There were nights where we had screaming matches and sat on either side of the screen on the phone with our mother, who refereed the fight with one daughter calling on the house phone and the other on her cell phone. No matter we could hear each other through the screen, the problem was neither one of us wanted to listen.

Our living situation improved when I was 26 and we moved into separate one bedroom apartments on the Chelsea/West Village border. I lived on the fourth floor and my sister lived right under me on the third floor. But, this still posed a problem. She heard me walking around at night. To counter, she’d call my cell phone incessantly to yell at me. If I didn’t pick up, she’s throw her Jimmy Choo or Manolos against the ceiling hoping the boom of a platform or thud of a five inch heel would get me to stop moving around. The sounds fell on deaf ears.

It wasn’t until recently, in my 29th year, I finally started to realize my sister already caught the ball. It just wasn’t the ball I had thrown. It was a leopard-printed couture-designed ball of her very own. She picked it out of the sky by herself and had been tossing it around for a while. She had caught up to me, but I was too focused on my own questions about her to realize she had already figured things out and was waiting for me to get out on the field and join her. A tentative game of catch after years of waiting.

The funny thing is, now, I’m the one with the catching up to do. Despite that, she’s still willing to share her ball with me, tossing it gently, throwing in the occasional curve ball, but more or less letting me practice. Our catching and throwing styles are different, but we still manage to pass the ball back and forth. And even though we sometimes drop it, the ball always remains just within our reach.

Happy Birthday to my sister, who manages to catch whatever I throw.

“For there is no friend like a sister/in calm or stormy weather/to cheer one on the tedious way/to fetch one if one goes astray/to lift one if one totters down/to strengthen whilst one stands” –Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market


A Carousel of Time

Yesterday a child came out to wander …

By the start of 2006, I had officially shed my past. Well, at least my career past. I no longer “worked in film,” or “used to work in film.” I was a book publicist and freelance carousel-1researcher. I had never know any other life besides film and, after a particularly insane Devil Wears Prada moment with my boss, I knew I had to give myself a chance to see what else was out there. So, I joined a the publishing arm of a semi-corporate, family-friendly company.

The people I worked with had vague ideas of what I had done before. When they complained about not being able to place a book review in O Magazine, I silently smiled and remembered when I had that secret assistant power to get Oprah on the phone. It took two little words, (my boss’s name) and magically, a short time later, a very familiar would come through the other end of the line.

While my co-workers talked of cold walks to the subway, my mind went back to the hours I spent in New Jersey sandpits in negative-degree temperatures trying to recreate the Gulf War — complete with high-speed camels, military cars and tanks and famous actors freezing their asses off in army fatigues, while making it all look very real.

I went from approving double-truck ads in Variety for Oscar season to listening to sales teams talk about the best day to place an ad for a book in the NY Times. From multi-million dollar budgets and hundred-million dollar grosses to selling a hundred thousand copies of a book. It was odd territory. Something — I was determined to believe — I could get use to. But everyday my cubicle became more and more claustrophobic, the corporate environment more stifling. At first I rebelled, trying hard to connect both of my worlds, but then I gave up and began hiding pieces of myself, censoring my thoughts, my actions, my passion, and my past. I started losing who I was and that scared me.

So I took the leap.carousel

I quit.

Then, the child moved ten times ’round the seasons …

I spent time as a research assistant for a writer. A little more creative and interesting, and it gave me time to lick some wounds and figure out what to do next.

I moved briefly into copy writing for a daytime talk show, where I learned my limit of suffering, restraint and how much I valued myself as a person. Though the ending was awful, it was possibly the best test of self-worth I’ve had thus far.

More time, more freelance writing, websites, developing and networking. But even that wasn’t enough. I was still drawn back to my past, my passion. It’s odd to know exactly what you want to do with your life when you’re 14 years old. Especially when you don’t really know quite what the industry is about to begin with. There’s a vague notion and a dream. I’m convinced for people like me, it’s pre-programmed in our DNA. It’s like air, water and love all mixed together — we cannot live without it.

Finally, I stopped denying myself and got back onboard the carousel.dscn21421

And promises of someday make h[er] dreams …

Now I’m back to sixteen hour days, (sometimes weekends), constant craziness, complaining, laughter, and running the gamut of emotions on a daily basis. It’s exhausting, exhilarating and I love it. I’m working with people I worked with ten years ago on my first film (as a 17-year-old intern). A producer I worked with on my second feature — as a 22-year-old newly-minted college grad — whom I hadn’t seen since then, embraced me and exclaimed, “My god, you’re not a kid anymore!” She had taken me under her wing back then, my anxiety-ridden, lowly-assistant self, and always watched out for me. Now, I’m working on a different level. People are listening to me, respecting me. It’s interesting and weird and such a fulfilling experience. I guess, really, it’s just life. But sometimes it’s wonderful when it feels like so much more.

We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and ’round and ’round and ’round
In the circle game …