Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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Baseball’s Cosmic Telephone

Screenshot 2015-09-25 22.45.31Dear Dad,

How’s the afterlife? Are you around seeing this? The Mets are about to clinch the NL East for the first time in nine years. We’re not sure exactly when, but their magic number is one. You heard me. It’s not a tragic number this year. It’s magic. Just wanted know if you’re watching.

Yes, they still make some bone headed moves, and sometimes their bats stall like an old van on the parkway – but their pitching is phenomenal. This kid, Noah Syndergaard just pitched a gem into the 8th inning. 100 pitches. He struck out 14 guys and pitched a shut out until he gave up a homerun.  And…you guessed it. The bullpen came in and started giving away  hits to Cincinnati like it was Christmas. Up until then, the Reds were losing 0-12 against our guys. But bring in the relievers and it was like seeing Santa and his reindeer in the sky.

This is when you used to see me leave the room and say, “Screw it…even with a 12 run lead, they’re gonna blow it.”  And you’d laugh and say, “Man, you are a true Mets fan.  Come back here!”

I wouldn’t come back until I heard you clap and say “They won!”

Well, I’m not doing that anymore. This team still makes me wobbly, but they give me reason to stick around. There’s the offense: There’s a healthy David Wright coming in clutch. Daniel Murphy is hitting doubles, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes coming through again and again. We have aces like Noah (aka Thor), DeGrom, and Harvey (who has pissed us off lately due to his diva ways.) Despite the bullpen weakness the Mets still won – 12 to 5.

Screenshot 2015-09-25 22.11.19If there could only be a bullpen phone line to you to talk about how this all happened – how at this time of the year we’re talking about next year as the Mets pack it in for the winter.

Can you believe it Dad?  They may not make it all the way, but they actually have a shot. They could reach the World Series. I won’t hold my breath, but ain’t it amazin’? I wish I was home in NY with you in the living room watching it all.

So, wherever you are, I hope you’re seeing this.

Let’s Go Mets!

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Someone’s Praying at my Window

Screenshot 2015-09-20 00.12.02

It’s 11:30pm. There’s a praying mantis outside my window screen, watching me. She’s finished eating the last of her lady bug, its little red carcass slipped through her little talons and fell to the bottom of the sill.  It’s hard to see her. It’s dark out. But from internet search, I can see she’s a brown praying mantis. Her eyes are red dots. A flash light illuminating her doesn’t upset her.

Sometimes she’ll start to rock back and forth. Other times she’ll wipe her talons over her head the way a cat does when cleaning himself.

I’ve been hard on myself lately. Maybe this symbol of contemplation was placed there to remind me to chill. She appeared when i removed my window fan to close my window after I detected the smell of cigarette smoke coming from yet another AirBnB guest of my downstairs neighbor who seems to be running a hotel out of her place .

And there she was – clinging horizontally, catching a little gnat. When I flashed a light to observe her, she moved vertical, as if to get a good look at me. She’s been in that position ever since. Her face moves side to side like September Observer from Fringe.

And she’s still there, spending the night I guess. So, I’m playing music to keep her at my window. I feel safe under her watchful eyes.


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The Transience of Bubbles

Couturesoapbubbles

‘Soap Bubbles’, painting by Thomas Couture: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Early one morning, a few days ago, I was walking up Sixth Avenue by 21st Street listening to a playlist I made on Spotify. It was a virtual Frankenstein hodgepodge of various playlists I discovered during late night listenings. It was so early in the day; yet, songs from Broken Social Scene, Eric Chenaux, Camera Obscura, Little Dragon and many tracks that live on the edge of my mind helped me recover from an early spin class. Perhaps I hadn’t woken up yet.

A moment passed between songs as I walked along the Michael’s storefront (which sadly used to be a giant gorgeous Barnes & Noble). I looked up and noticed in the distance,  a flurry of bubbles floating and rising over the street. Hundreds of them. They shone against the reality of the buildings,and floated over the cars until they popped one by one. I didn’t know where they came from. Maybe a street vendor? It didn’t matter. The bubbles seemed to momentarily dance with the silvery toned violins playing in my ears, until their soapy selves exploded and splat into oblivion.

I went to The Metropolitan that afternoon and I found myself in front of the painting above –  a creation by Thomas Couture, a French artist who painted historical figures and taught other famous artists like Manet and La-Farge.

Entitled “Soap Bubbles”,  it’s rife with metaphorical content. Bubbles symbolize the transience of life. The books depict  education and learning, the laurel above symbolizes achievement. Yet, the boy watches the bubbles, shining against his reality of the room, rise above – like I witnessed earlier that day – until they likely disappeared like moments and time and days and thoughts. So fragile, fleeting and ever changing.

Yesterday, I wrote a very confusing and sad post about a lost opportunity to meet someone I really admire. (“A Crispy Realization”. Thanks, Bon Iver.)  It was heavy hearted. Self indulgent, but necessary for my own self. (Sorry blog-verse. Sometimes I need you as a sound board.)

It occurred to me later in the day that the flurry of anguish and thought was transient, like a fragile bundle of water, air and soap.

There is a time and place for things. There are moments when we are not ready to meet our destiny just yet, or say hello to that person we look at with admiration. Whether that moment ever occurs is not in my hands. I wasn’t ready. One day I will be. I know that moment will come, and when it does – I’ll be ready.

I say this to anyone feeling down about lost chances or stuck feelings or blocked creativity. Holding back or losing connection only means we aren’t ready yet. It also means fear has blocked the way. But in my case – in this particular situation – I didn’t feel fear. Something else held me back. A sense that this wasn’t the right time.

Feelings are weird. They’re caused by thoughts, and thoughts tend to be nothing. Our thoughts stir up dust until our focus is out of alignment. Like a snow globe, we shake ourselves raw and those flecks of snow obscure our view.

Quiet the mind. Life is transient. Use this time to fill up your well so creation comes.  Looking back, you’ll see the pattern.  You’ll see how everything connected, despite once believing you lost the thread.

At least – that’s how I feel.

How about you?


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A Crispy Realization…

balloonheartbwThis is the sound of the unlocking and lift away.+

I guess I wanted more. I wanted to speak with him, tell him things without the crush of a crowd waiting to talk to him. I can’t compete with the love and adulation of fans, their hearts aching from the show, waiting to tell him and the smiling cast what stirred in their hearts. They stand with anticipation outside the lobby, iPhones, selfie sticks, waiting with creased Playbills and markers, ready for an autograph or a photo cheek to cheek – so well deserved as the good people they are.

But I didn’t want an autograph or photo. I didn’t know what I wanted.

I walked around the theater, hoping to gain the courage to say something…anything. “Say something! Talk to him. Say something! Anything! … This can’t be our last…”*

And it was. I couldn’t connect. Why? He doesn’t bite. He’s human. He’s nice. What did I want?

Me, a little lost right now, clinging to anything wonderful to keep me going as I try to find the juice again. Just wanted to tell him how I’ve admired him since he played drag years before, how we have a mutual friend, how when I finally saw – after so many years of knowing him on the peripheral of actors and projects that swirl around me – that one interview he did that captivated me, where I saw his energy – a light – a gentleness and a lurking darkness. I saw a person beyond a role. At least a scratch of someone I don’t know at all. But something there seemed familiar.

I tried to write him a note on social media – only to delete it before he could see it. I tweeted, but wiped it clean.  He doesn’t need to see my obsession. I’m noise.

Unhinged and Uninhibited. Those words come to mind. Maybe the unhinging of the heart unburdens the soul and allows this stuck writer to create, to build something new. Let go of the fear that builds the wall.

Maybe Unhinged and Uninhibited make a good team.

So, I file him away with Bruce and Helen and with my Samuel French books. I imagine him reading this, but he will likely never come across it, never know this. But just the fantasy make things a little easier.

I make room on my iPhone playlist for new music, put away the singing pleas of Alison speaking of floating cars and telephone wires as her pained father tries to find her face yet looks away, unable to connect. Unable to say something…anything.

My summer on Maple Avenue has ended.  A virtual visit to Beech Creek with hills and valleys below. So much damage, broken windows…I didn’t realize I would end up like Bruce in that car ride. But maybe there will be other chances, more opportunities. Perhaps this wasn’t the right time. Yes, next time.

My stay made me want to come home to New York and face the memories – to build something new.

I’ll always remember moments with my dad when nothing went unsaid. There were grades and piano, television, screaming parents and me hiding, imagining pop songs that made things happy. And there was music, baseball, books and boys. The ever present actual Quixote my own dad sculpted out of clay and bronze that sat on the mantel. And my mother at the Steinway, playing perfect pitch, who let her days go by.

Either way, their love will be safe with me.


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Lost in the Retrograde

Screenshot 2015-09-16 13.21.15Hey Mercury Retrograde and all things divine and spiritual. I believed in you. I believed in intention and clearing out space to make room for the next wondrous thing to come. I stayed full of intention with a dose of detachment, kept my mind to the point, left room for anything goes. I was open to the possibilities and the magic, the pain and the learning. The beauty of change and the openness to new beginnings. I did my work. I put my head down and kept plugging away, not concerned with the outcome.

But you lost me. My desire for writing and building my own create life has drifted and popped. I’m left gazing at the sky and listening to Bon Iver’s Re:Stacks until 2am, until my brain feels like it’s levitating from my head. I wander, listening to Spotify playlists lined up with songs that are cusp tunes – music that hits the twilight of the mind…that skips on the rim between thought and love. Yet…nothing stimulates the desire to do a damn thing about my life anymore.

I get it. You have to pull things into gear to align things, and it takes time. But is that what you really do? Or is this just a world filled with free will and no God/Universe – void of Mercury Retrograde excuses preventing us from working or making us not feel it.

Look at it all.  My New York ever changing, and me, in Los Angeles, going adrift, money rushing out of my accounts, pining for NYC home where I’m going to have to start all over again –  to find the key to this expensive place to let me back in again. Maybe I can fool it?

Me at NYC’s door: [knock…knock]

NYC:  Who’s there and how much money do you have?

Me: Umm…candygram.

NYC: Graham? Graham who?

Me: Uhhhhh….land shark.

Guess that old SNL trick isn’t going to work.

So, Mercury or whatever the hell you are. You go into retrograde today and all those things where electronics don’t work and things go wrong are supposed to take hold are swirling. But that happened to me weeks ago. I’m tired of the universe, and I’m shaking my fist in the air. Taking a cue from Trent Reznor, “There is no fucking YOU, there is only me. Only.”

Ayn Rand…let’s have a talk.