Saturday, March 28, 2009


I wake up and for a moment I am seized with panic. Today's the day. You've finally left me, haven't you? And then I realize your arms are still wrapped around my waist. A calm washes over me as I enjoy the weight of your arms through your thin New Order t-shirt that I love to wear to bed. I could be naked and still be warm in your arms.

It's hard to find warm places this time of year at the beach. Winters are always cold and wet. But I tend to like the poetic way the drops of rain splatter across the sand. It's part of the reason why I stay around here. It's not for the company. There are all of 30 people in this tiny 1/4 mile wide town on the Jersey coast during the off-season. But this place seems very romantic to me. And I love the pebbles. Pebbles are different at the beach. 

I check the clock. 6:30 am. Perhaps I should sleep for a little longer, but I can't doze off again. My mind has been racing lately. It's been 2 months since you showed up at the coffee shop, and I'm beginning to wonder how long you'll be around. Not that I mind at all. I kind of enjoy coming home to you all bundled up in front of the fire reading Virgil. It's a change from coming home to emptiness. 

It's odd though, how close we've become in these past months. Yet I know so little about you. Do you have a middle name, or a family? Is the dirt underneath your nails there permanently? Do you always scoop sand into your pockets and empty them onto the carpet when you get home?

The grey is getting lighter through the yellowing lace curtains on our window. I pull your arms around me tighter and turn to face you. The second-hand bed frame squeaks beneath my weight and I hope I don't wake you. You look so peaceful when you sleep. 

I start to imagine that you're dreaming about the first day. That day you strolled into the coffee shop and my heart. I came from the kitchen to see you sitting in a booth near the back. Like you were waiting for me. You were a perfect stranger, and yet I felt like you'd been waiting for me in that patent-red booth forever.

I wiped my hands on my apron and walked over to you. I can't imagine how you knew to look up and watch me walk over. My steps were silent. The whole coffee shop was silent. It was a rainy day in November. Not many people enjoy beach days in late November.

My breathing stopped once I reached your table. You motioned for me to sit. You'd known too. I'd been sitting in that kitchen waiting for you forever. I wiped my hands on my apron again and placed them on the table. You laced your fingers in mine.

"So now what?"

I was speechless. You rubbed my palms with your callused thumbs. Why are your fingers so rough to the touch? And why can't I ever stop myself from grabbing them? My breathing resumed.

"Why the beach in November?"

"I'm an artist. But I recently sold my space in Santa Fe and decided to see the East Coast. I'm a Springsteen fan, so I figured I'd check out what he's always singing about in his songs."

"You're a little north of Atlantic City."

"I won $1,000 there last night. Felt like I should leave before my luck turned."

"You picked the off season. No one's ever around during the off season."

"It's more romantic during the winter."

I took you back to my little crooked house on the beach and made love to you. You told me your name was Oliver. I never officially invited you to stay, but the little belongings you had made their way into the bookshelves and corners of my house. The second time we made love, you painted me with a sheet tangled between my legs. We walk on the beach barefoot and rescue deserted pages of novels and beer bottle caps from the sand. Whenever we find a seagull feather, you take it home, wash it, and then weave it into my hair. We spend our days drifting through space and our nights making love. What is your last name?

And now I'm afraid that you're going to disappear. You're like those tiny fish that swim near the shore. I used to always try to catch them in little jars to take home. But every time I thought I had one, I'd come up with just a jar of salt water. I want to keep you on my mantle like the pieces of sea glass we find. But I'm afraid, my dear, that you might just be like one of those fickle little fish and swim away from me.

Your arms tighten around me, and I know your awake. I can't wait to begin another lazy day with you. But there's something I need to do first. I look you deep in the eyes. My Oliver is still groggy from sleep. You smile the laziest, yet most beautiful smile I've ever seen at me and I know. Just like I knew that first day. 

But before I could pour my soul to you, to tell you how lonely I was before you came and how desperately I need you to never let me leave your arms, you speak.

"I want to stay."

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The sea's only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong.

Now, I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here.

I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong

but to feel strong.

To measure yourself at least once.

To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions.

Now I don't usually like doing tiny posts like this, but I absolutely adored this quote from "Into the Wild." I watched it over my spring break. It wasn't like I expected at all. 
If any of you love the writings of Thoreau, Tolstoy and London you will love this movie. I need to read the book, too. 

I'm headed back to school today, and I finally found the charger to my digital camera! So no more grainy cell phone photos or pictures I take with Photobooth on my Mac.

Look for a more interesting post soon and have a lovely day.

all photos from here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Blossoms

I'm on break from school for the next week so I've been catching up on things away from the city. My first weekend home has been lovely. Daddy picked me up on Friday afternoon and he, Mom and I went out for a yummy sushi dinner. 
I couldn't wait to spend the night in my big, cozy bed. 

The next morning. I woke up bright and early for brunch with my cousin Tara. We went to one of our favorite restaurants: Raymond's in Montclair. We munched on omelets and fruit bowls and big cups of coffee and we split a basket of french fries. After brunch, we went to Gimmie Jimmy's which is a yummy pastry shop across the street from Raymond's.

I had a delicious red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting... my absolute favorite.

And even though Tara said she didn't want anything, she had a few nibbles of my cupcake. I mean, who can resist a red velvet cupcake? And this one was especially yummy. It was so light and fluffy and the frosting wasn't too sweet. It was perfect.

After dessert we shopped for a bit, and then I met Lizz, my Pearl, at our old high school to see the spring musical. It was one I'd never heard of: How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying. It was wonderful! Besides the musical itself being hilarious, the cast did a wonderful job!

This morning, Mom and I went down by our beach house to do some antiquing. She needed a new coffee table and I've started collecting old books. I found some very lovely ones.

Aren't they darling? My favorite one is the one second to the top. It's a book entitled Cassy. I'd never heard of it before, but when I opened the front cover, I had to have it.

It reads:
Presented to
Sam Woodhouse
For Regular Attendance
And Good Behaviour
at the
Methodist New Connexion
Salem Sunday School,
October 25, 1877.

And the boy who this book belonged to, Sam I'm guessing, doodled little pictures of horses on the facing page. Adorable, right?

So overall, I had a lovely weekend. I hope yours was just as beautiful.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chapter 1, Part One (Background)

And so my writing continues...

I didn’t always love Keith Aldridge. Well, at least not how I loved him now. Not this all-powerful, all-consuming, all-I-can-think-about kind of love. Oh no. Up until that moment at L’Elefante, I didn’t even think I was capable of feeling those kinds of emotions for another human. I never understood why I felt this way because I have been surrounded by people who had experienced love my whole life. Even if it did take a while for them to get there.

Take my mother, Nadine, for example. Before I came along, she was a photographer for the magazine Global Artists, a job that gave her the opportunity to be in a different country every week. My mom was, and still is, ravishingly beautiful: pale skin, full lips, grey eyes and long dark-brown hair. Her beauty mixed with her frequently used passport equaled numerous love affairs with various artists. With every stamp in her passport came a new handsome man who fell for my mother the second she walked into the room with her camera around her slender neck. There was Diego, the abstract artist from Seville; Alain, the photographer from Paris who took black-and-white pictures of people throwing trash into the Seine; Okito, the Japanese performance artist from Tokyo who once lit his hair on fire; and Axel, an English painter who was working on a series of interpretations of Las Meninas that rivaled Picasso’s. There are more, of course, and some I imagine my mother will never tell me about. Keith and I usually were able to get some stories out of her after she’d had a few glasses of white wine. I told her that one of these days she should write a book on her escapades. She had looked at me from the floor pillow where she was sitting, barefoot and balancing her practically empty wine glass on her knee, and said simply, “Why would I want to give anyone the opportunity to rival my brilliance?”

But that was just my mother.

I was conceived somewhere between Dublin and Siena. Most people who grow up without knowing who their biological father is complain about feeling incomplete or out of touch with their true selves. They spend years on a therapist’s couch wondering who this man was and whether or not they were like him. It never bothered me. My mother had enough love to go around.

I traveled with my mother around the world, taking pictures of art and visiting far away lands. Even though most of those memories are fuzzy, they evoke an intense sense of happiness and freedom. I can still remember the spicy smell of India and how my first pink macaron in France tasted. I believe I was meant to be an artist since birth. I mean, come on, I was bread from two of them.

A few weeks after my 6th birthday, which we spent in Luxembourg, my mother decided I needed stability. I also needed to begin "real" school. So she took a job as a senior curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and we settled into Massachusetts. It was only 6 months later that she met Stuart Roderick, a professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard. A tall, white haired, ruggedly handsome academic, Stuart was immediately infatuated with my mother. They were married a year later. My mother became Nadine Roderick and I got my father figure.

It was around this time that I met my Keithy. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Here is a sampling of what I've been working on with my latest project. Enjoy. And please remember, this material is my own.
Thanks so much.


I was sitting in our favorite booth at our favorite Italian pastry shop, L’Elefante. He slid into his seat across the table from me. “Hey, I came over as fast as I could. The subways were running slow and… is everything alright?” I was expecting a question like that. I could feel the anguish inside of me twisting over my facial features. Although perhaps I was overreacting. Even when I was most composed Keith could tell if there was something wrong.

     And at this moment in time the entire universe was at a standstill.

     I dropped my gaze and picked up my pack of cigarettes from the table. “I need to tell you something.” “What is it Clara? Tell me. I thought there were no secrets between us.” That was like taking a bullet. Because it was true. The man sitting across from me had been my confidant, my ally, for the past two decades of my life. And now I was about to throw that away, just toss it aside like a ripped out chapter of a paperback novel. All because of a silly thing called love.

     I gently tapped on the bottom of my cigarette box and watched the thin white tube shimmy its way out the other side. “Keith, I don’t really know how to say this…” I twirled the cigarette between my black-varnished fingers. “Clara, I thought you’d quit smoking.” I thought I had, too. I ignored his statement and forced myself to continue. “As childish as this sounds… I don’t think we can be friends anymore.”

     Silence consumed us. Because in truth the idea was virtually impossible. I don’t think a day had gone by in which I hadn’t at least had a telephone conversation with Keith. Even when I was in Florence for two months studying art, we always worked out the time differences so we were able to speak on the phone. And now, the man who had somehow wound himself so tightly into my life that I couldn’t distinguish his from mine, sat across from me with a look worse than pain in his eyes. Betrayal, confusion, was that tenderness? More emotions than a human has words for were flashing across his face. I thought for a second about how the Inuit have an unusually large number of words for snow. How many do they have for love?

I placed the cigarette between my lips as he began to speak: “Clara, I don’t underst-“ I finally raised my glance, but I couldn’t look at him. The words came out just above a whisper. “I’m in love with you.” I caught my reflection in the mirror behind him and noted the tragically poetic way my cigarette bobbed between my red painted lips when I uttered the five words that would forever change our friendship: I’m. In. Love. With. You.

     I forced myself to look him in the eyes. They were blank.

     And then came the tears.


More to come.
Maria Angela

Sunday, March 1, 2009

La Vita è Bella

Today is my birthday!! Hooray!

My mother made me  a delicious red velvet cake with hot pink cream cheese icing and a vanilla pudding center. Even though it's half-eaten in this photo, isn't it beautiful? The color of the frosting reminded me of the gorgeous cakes and pastries in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. And it was so yummy!

Aside from the incredible deserts my mother made me (she is so talented when it comes to cooking and baking) I got some wonderful gifts. My favorite, by far, was a DVD from my father. It was the movie La Vita è Bella. Have you seen it?

It is truly a masterpiece. You have the option to view it dubbed in English, but I prefer to watch it in Italian with English subtitles. It's a beautiful story of love and family. It begins with Guido (Roberto Benigni) who keeps running into this beautiful woman, Dora (Benigni's true life wife, Nicoletta Braschi.) He eventually sweeps her off her feet and they marry. 5 years later, they are living happily and have an adorable son, Joshua. When the Nazis invade Italy, Guido (an Italian Jew) and Joshua are taken to a concentration camp. Since Dora is not Jewish, she is left behind. However, she forces herself onto the train to the concentration camp in order to stay with her family. Unfortunately, the men and women are separated. Guido must then hide Joshua from the Nazis, because if he is found he will be killed. In order to keep the tragedy of the situation from Joshua, he invents a game in which Joshua must earn 1,000 points. You gain points by hiding, and you lose points by wanting your mother, complaining of hunger, etc. The movie centers around Guido's continual struggle to protect his son and reunite his family.

If you have not seen it, I strongly suggest you do. It won 3 Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Foreign Film. This DVD is one of my favorite birthday gifts ever. I'm going to pick up the soundtrack as well. The music in the film is beautiful.

All in all, my birthday weekend was wonderful. I had a lovely dinner in the city with my parents, and then a relaxing Sunday back home. I miss the country sometimes. The city feels so barren sometimes. I miss the green.

I'm in the process of writing another short story, but if I decide to just keep writing, it might turn into the novel I've been dying to write.  I'm wondering if and how I'm actually going to post it here. Perhaps a chapter every few days? Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when it comes up I guess.

Have a lovely evening.