If there’s something you’re burning to do, do it now. Last night I learned that a man I greatly admire, someone who was an enormous help to me during my job search last year, passed away of a sudden heart attack. He went out for his morning jog, in seemingly perfect health, and didn’t come home. He was only 49 years old.
His advice and introductions were a tremendous source of encouragement to me at a difficult time. I had just moved back to New York after two years away, was doing a full-time job search, and was dealing with a heavy dose of change and uncertainty. Though I wore a brave face, I was constantly worried about just about everything. The first time I met him in person, I was having a particularly low day.
I went to his office and despite the fact that he was insanely busy, he gave me so much of his time. He was completely relaxed and didn’t rush me at all. I felt right at home talking to him, as if I had known him all my life. That’s the kind of person he was. He listened to my dreams, and immediately started introducing me to everyone and anyone he knew whom he thought could help me.
When I got my job offers, he helped me think through them so I would make the best choice. All of his advice was spot-on. The last time I saw him, he gave me a big hug, and said, “You know it’s all going to be okay. It always is. You just keep working hard and it’ll work out.” And he was right.
The best way I can think to honor him is to follow his advice to the letter. And I will. Don’t wait to do what you love. You never know how much time you have.
If your idea of a good Friday night involves secret New York City history in a storied museum learning about tattoo art, then I have an event for you! And the best part—all proceed go to support the restoration and public display of a rare collection of tattoo art housed at the Seaport Museum.
On Friday, September 21st at 6:30pm, the amazing Michelle Myles of Daredevil Tattoo and the Seaport Museum’s Michelle Kennedy and Martina Caruso will talk about the tattoo culture and scene in New York City and the Bowery in 1900s, and about the artists in New York that Gus Wagner, a merchant mariner and artist, had contact with. They will share rarely seen artifacts from the Seaport Museum’s tattoo collection that discuss Wagner’s experiences, including a selection of pages from the artist’s scrapbook—a 400-page diary book composed of press clippings, postcards, business cards, sketches, and photographs. Tickets are $10.
On Saturday, September 22nd, you’ll have a rare opportunity to receive a truly historic tattoo based on the nearly century-old collection of tattoo flash housed at the museum. Renowned New York City-based tattoo artists from Daredevil Tattoo, 5 Points, Kings Avenue, Three Kings, Red Rocket, Saved, Greenpoint, Fun City, and NYHC will be on hand inking designs inspired by Gus Wagner’s original artwork. Tattoos will be first come first serve.
More details about the events on Friday and Saturday are available here: https://southstreetseaportmuseum.org/gothamandguswagner/
You’ve always wanted to be in a secret society, right? These skeleton keys are your way in and I’m saving one just for you. To claim it, grab a ticket to NYC’s Secrets & Lies storytelling show at Caveat on October 9th at 7pm w/ Zak Martellucci, Alex Taylor, Michele Carlo, Erin Leafe, and Andrew Ousley. See you there!
Art answers the questions that we’re afraid to ask. The dancers and musicians at the 9/11 Table of Silence Project at Lincoln Center this morning honored those lost and those left to carry on. It was a beautiful, emotional tribute.
I became enamored with tattoos and tattoo history a few years ago when a friend of mine found getting a tattoo as a way to give meaning to a grave injury. Then a few months ago, I learned that tattooing had been illegal in New York City, the city that gave rise to tattoo culture in the U.S., for nearly 4 decades in recent history. The more I learned about this prohibition of ink, the more fascinated I became with the reasons behind it and the characters who played a part in it.
I considered making it a part of my secret history storytelling show, New York City’s Secrets & Lies, at Caveat. However, the more I learned, the more I realized that the topic was too big to be a segment of a show. The complex history and all of the people involved needed and deserved a standalone show.
The idea of doing this show, coupled with flash tattooing, just wouldn’t leave me alone. So I reached out to Caveat with an email titled “Is this a crazy idea? Tattoos…” Ironically, one of the co-founders of Caveat had just gotten a tattoo and was talking about the ban with her tattoo artist the day I sent the email. And so we were off to the logistical races to make this event happen.
And it’s happening with an incredible dream lineup of historians and artists who have lived in the swirl of this chapter of NYC history, along with flash tattooing at Caveat, on Sunday night, September 30th. I’d love for you to join us! Grab a ticket to the show, or a ticket that includes a tattoo.
Iceland has been on my list of place to visit for a long time. I’m so excited to be able to bring that gorgeous landscape and natural history filled with mystery into the world of my next Emerson Page book (along with my magical trip to Ireland earlier this year.) I spent the majority of my time outside. The open air restored my spirit and I stuffed my eyes with beauty at every turn.
What I love most about travel, is that I get the chance to be exactly who I am moment to moment without the requirements of labels, titles, and actions. I’m not my job or my projects. I’m just me, and there is newness everywhere.
Whenever I come back from a trip, my heart and mind are filled with mixed emotions. I love being back in New York with my friends and my sweet dog, Phineas. I’m grateful for the adventures I had, and I miss the freedom that travel affords to shake off responsibilities and to-do lists. The difficulty of re-entry is a real thing, even when I’m away for just a short time.
To get through that, I start thinking about a new adventure, some time from now to some place I’ve never been before. On the plane home from Iceland, I came across an article in a travel magazine about the Azores (an autonomous region of Portugal), an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic that’s a nature lover’s paradise. São Miguel, the largest island, has lake-filled calderas and a huge tea plantation. Pico, another island, is home to the 2,351m Mt. Pico and vineyards sheltered by boulders. It’s also known for its beautiful birds, stunning waterfalls, whale watching, volcano roots, and hiking.
The Azores are calling and I must go. If you’ve been, I’d love recommendations!
Today. I. Lived. Waterfalls. Volcanoes. Mountain hikes. Black sand beaches. Cliff walks. Hidden people homes. The North Atlantic. Beauty everywhere.
It marked my 9th Alive Day. 9 yrs ago I ran from an apt bldg fire & lost nearly everything. I almost didn’t make it. At the time, it was the worst day of my life. Now I see it as 1 of the best. That was the start of my journey toward wholeness & healing I didn’t think was possible.
If you told me then that 9 yrs later I’d be in Iceland, a country forged by fire, researching a 2nd book & living a life I never dared imagine, I wouldn’t have believed you. The journey was intense. I had to look at the ugliest parts of myself & not flinch.
I had to learn to stand in my light in my darkest hour. I couldn’t have done it without my wizard of a therapist. He gave me the map & walked beside me every step of the way. I stumbled a lot on that road, & every time I got up & kept going I grew stronger, braver, steadier.
It was in the falling down & getting back up that I learned. It’s how I rebuilt a life that was better than the one that burned away. That journey is the toughest one I’ve ever taken. It made me fearless. It gave me purpose. It showed me grace.
There’s no way I can ever say thank you enough for the gifts I’ve found along the way. All I can do is pay it fwd. That’s what I’ve done for 9 yrs. It’s what I’ll continue to do every day of every year I have left. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so.
So if you’re going through something dark that feels difficult to survive, just know you can. We are so much stronger than we think we are. I believe in us.
If you need me today, I’ll be on Cloud Nine. I’m honored to share that my book received the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in the young adult adventure genre and the Wind Dancer Films award for film and TV production consideration. Thank you to everyone who has cheered me on and encouraged me along this long and winding road. Your support means everything to me!
Congratulations to all the winners! See the full listing by clicking here.
Exciting news! New York City’s Secrets and Lies, my live storytelling show about wild NYC history, has been renewed for another year. We have dates at Caveat through December 2019, all at 7pm:
See what we’re about at our next show on 10/9. Tickets available at https://www.caveat.nyc/event/new-york-city’s-secrets-and-lies-10-9-2018.
I got to work today still tired from the very long week and my team told me, “Everyone at the company conference wanted to know how they could get you as their manager.” My sleepiness instantly evaporated. Take care of your people and everything else falls into place.