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A Year of Yes: Off to Ireland to research and write my second book

I’m off to Ireland today to do research for my second book in the Emerson Page series. When I booked the trip, I didn’t know that one of the most historic votes on human rights would happen during my trip. I also didn’t know that the Dublin Literary Festival was happening while I was there. These are synchronous events where I will meet so many people and be able to bear witness to subjects and issues that mean so much to me.

I’ll be doing some on-the-ground reporting, and sharing pictures, encounters, learnings, and experiences. You can find those on Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc and Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc. See you there!

A Year of Yes: Why writers have lived on the Upper West Side for so long

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 9.27.14 AMMy Upper West Side neighborhood is a place where neighbors sit on their brownstone stoops when the weather’s nice to say hello and visit. For writers, this is an especially wonderful practice because we hear, see, and share so many stories. It gives us a place to observe. And the fresh air does wonders for creativity.

My dog, Phineas, is a fan of this lifestyle. Here he is wishing everyone a good morning as he lounges in the dappled sunshine. I love this dog, this town, and the opportunity to tell stories.

A Year of Yes: Heavenly Bodies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

As a recovering Catholic, I rarely spend time in the Medieval section of the Met. But the Heavenly Bodies exhibit, complete with haunting music, is stunning. I had a hard time leaving because I was so captivated by it. I plan to go back several more times to see it and will head up to the Cloisters, too. It’s open until October and I highly recommend it. Beautiful curation.

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A Year of Yes: The power of our stories

I’m thinking a lot about how stories we tell ourselves affect our paths. What we say are our strengths and weaknesses, gifts and shortcomings, triumphs and regrets. If we change our stories, we can change our minds. And if we change our minds, we change our hearts. And if we change our hearts, then we can change everything.

A Year of Yes: Being angels to one another

“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.” ~ Tracy Chapman
“Angel” comes from the Old English word “aerendgast”, literally “errand-spirit” or “messenger”. In that definition, being an angel to one another is something we can all do without any kind of religious connotation. Our words and how we communicate them to one another is so critical. Whether it’s through our writing, teaching, art, music, or even just a conversation, we can make it useful for one another. Our words can make someone’s life a bit easier, happier, and healthier. We can help one another feel less alone by sharing our own experience as a path of connection.
What good are angels up there somewhere in the heavens? We need them down here, on this Earth, right now. I can’t imagine any work that’s more valuable or gratifying than to know that what we’ve done and said has in some way helped someone else navigate this wild world with more grace and less anxiety.

A Year of Yes: Can you hear the music?

“Because once you hear the music, you can’t stand still.” ~Billy Crystal, 700 Sundays

Sometimes I’ll walk down the streets of New York City and literally feel the rhythm of the city in my heart. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I found it so hard, almost painful and impossible, to be still. Especially in New York. I just don’t sit well. I make myself sit for 18 minutes a day for my meditation, and then that’s really it. Now I know there was nothing wrong with me. I was just hearing the music of this place. And as Billy Crystal so wisely explains, once we hear that music, we can’t stand still. We have to move with it. And so I do. And I smile.

A Year of Yes: Opportunity takes work

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~Thomas Edison

Look deeper. See what’s possible. Work like hell to make it a reality. Opportunity is not always bright, shiny, and finished with a bow. Many times, most times, it’s messy, chaotic, and murky. But look. Really look. Can your gifts and talents be of use, and if so could they create an environment that meets your standards? Don’t take yourself out of the equation just because it’s not perfect at this moment. It the potential is possible, go for it!

A Year of Yes: The three New Yorks according to E.B. White

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. 
…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.” ~E.B. White

Is there any more perfect description of New York and New Yorkers? I am solidly in this third group, someone who came to New York on a quest, who’s left several times, is back now, and is never leaving again. It took we a long time to learn to live with my passion for this place. That passion burned me up from the inside out several times. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to take a break, how to let my passion for this place fuel me and light me up rather than wear me down. It’s a process. Somedays I manage better than others, and I’ll say this: every day I get better and better at riding the wave here. And just when I think I can’t possibly love this city any more than I do, it does something magical that just makes me more passionate about working alongside other New Yorkers to make it a better place for all of us. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. This is home.

A Year of Yes: The gravity of books

“I feel, almost physically, the gravitation of the books, the enveloping serenity of order, time magically desiccated and preserved.” ~Jorge Luis Borges

Have you ever felt drawn to a book? You couldn’t help but take it from the shelf and turn its pages, learning one more secret at a time. What was that book, and did it live up to your hopes for it when you first met?

For me that book was and always will be Alice in Wonderland. I fell down that rabbit hole many years ago, and I’ve never been quite the same since. That book started my fascination with stories and lives that are hidden from plain sight, deep underground, that you must be lucky enough to stumble into in order to know them. The adventure, the justice, and the bravery of that story has stuck with me all these years. Alice has become as real to me as anyone I know in the ordinary world. And for that, I’m so grateful.

A Year of Yes: Thoughts to destiny – a meditation for writers

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

I so appreciate Casper ter Kuile reciting this quote on the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast. I’m using this quote in my meditation, watching my thoughts, words, actions, habits, and character. It’s all worth watching, considering, and acting on with purpose. Thank you, Casper, for this beautiful thought and reflection.

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