The Story, My Story.

“Who owns the story, the person who lives it or the person who write it?”

-Roxana Robinson, “The Right to Write”, New York Times

I came across this article yesterday while reading other opinion pieces in the New York Times. The question was largely in context of nonfiction writers taking on a topic outside of their personal experience: the writer of a war novel who never experienced battle or a Caucasian woman writing on predominately African American culture. It was assumed in the article that the writers performed extensive research in order to write about each new topic, taking pains to write as truthfully and honestly as they could. But the question remains. Do these writers own their stories and if in doing so, do they take ownership away from those they interviewed and studied, those who had lived the words on the page?

These questions, as a blogger, stay with me. I am now the very proud owner of the domain name www.twelvetoedtraveler.com. This is my public outlet for my personal story. Here in this magical Internet world, I share my thoughts and my experiences with anyone willing to indulge me for 20-600 words. I wonder about my own legitimacy to share my stories and to includes others who may not have asked to be written about or illustrated in detail. I worry about the way my motivation may be portrayed: truthful expression or creative license for exploitation?

photo (16)Austin was incredible; the city is filled with sun, incredible food and wonderful company. One evening Billy and I were seated at the patio outside Uchi (which would go on to be the best sushi experience of my entire life) waiting for our table when a waitress came to bring us drinks. The three of us began chatting and the waitress told us she was planning a solo trip to Europe–one way ticket to Copenhagen–and we immediately exchanged contact information while I rattled off a number of places I knew she would love. I remember feeling incredibly excited for her, embracing another continent to explore the world with some hard-earned cash. I was confident that it was going to be one of her big life changing experience. And then I realized,

she was me.

One month from today, I will be in Geneva, Switzerland starting my own solo tour of beautiful, historic countries I’ve only seen or read about in travel books and Facebooks. I have my countries in order: Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey. I have begun to (roughly) chart my expedition across these foreign lands: the places my parents honeymooned and my friends have beached and bathed. I have one month and I am totally overwhelmed.

 “Who owns the story, the person who lives it or the person who write it?”

But I think about my alternative. The alternative being not going. The alternative being someone else writing my story.

My motivation for traveling and for writing  is self discovery. It is meant to be neither self-indulgent nor abstract. I write because there are places I’ve been and people I’ve met who deserve to be recognized; these people and experiences have changed me. I write because I don’t want to choose between living my story or writing someone else’s. I want both.

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P.S. I want to give a special shout out to those people from Northampton, my old job, and others who have recently begun following my blog. Thank you for your support as I start out of these very exciting and scary chapter of my life. I’ll be bringing each of you with me as I roll my suitcase and write my words.

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Rabbit Rabbit

I tried to warn you earlier and fear it may be too late. Something tells me that you, dear reader, have already spoken today. Did you whisper “good morning,” rubbing Sunday morning sleep from your eyes or leave a phone message after a leisurely breakfast of scones and rhubarb pound cake? Most probably. But if you haven’t yet exercised your vocal chords, let this be the first thing out of your mouth:

Rabbit Rabbit.”

Maybe I should have posted this blog 14 hours earlier. This superstitious transition originated in the early 1900’s and was practiced by the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Gilda Radner. I’ve only managed to accomplish “rabbit rabbit” effectively once and cannot remember if March was a particularly fruitful month. But here we are, standing on the precipice of Spring, about to jump into the luxuriously lazy river of Summer. So let the good times flow.

My summer is starting off HOT HOT HOT. Texas hot, to be exact. On June 12th, Bobby* and I will be flying to Austin for BBQ, music, bats and beer. I’ve heard so many good things from Austin visitors that by the time Toby and Amy decided to move back to TX, my Google searches consisted exclusively of Austin rental houses and Top Ten lists.

I’ve done two important tasks in anticipation of my upcoming trip (arguably not in order of importance):

Hot Texas Nights1. Started reading Hot Texas Nights, a 1990’s romance mystery that takes places in Austin. With such powerful literary reviews, I just had to pick it up.

‘Though the book is a pleasant enough read, Baxter’s characters are stereotypical, her pacing choppy and her dialogue during lovemaking scenes ripe with cliches such as “You like what you see?” and “God, but you fit me like a glove.”’

2. Asked my recently Austin-bound friends of places to go, things to see, and BBQ to eat which brings me to Katelyn’s Top Ten Things to Do in Austin From a Girl Who’s Never Been.

  • Hill Country Wineries- I’m assuming to consume wine.
  • 6th Street- “Dirty Sixth” where the drinks are strong and the memories are weak.
  • Whole Foods Headquarters.
  • Rainey Street- Streets of houses that they have gutted and turned into bars. Adorable and hipster positive way.
  • Barton Springs (in Zilker Park)- great swimming hole with picnic-ing outside the park. Daytime funtime.
  • Congress Bridge at dusk- 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats emerge into the night in a flurry.
  • Uncommon Objects- A fun shops on South Congress, this shop have antique photos and other funky stuff.
  • Red River-famous Barbecue and Music place with Austin-famous food trucks.
  • Eat BBQ-At any of the following places: Franklins, Salt Lick, Stubbs, Country Line etc. Be prepared for long waits.
  • Amy’s Ice Cream- enough said.

For anyone who has been to Austin, I’m very open to suggestions. Update to list coming soon. And just remember, even if you forgot “rabbit rabbit” and your June is doomed with bad fortune and missed opportunities, there’s always July.

*Names have been changed for humorous and completely unnecessary purposes.