One Year

Where were you a year ago?

August 26th, 2012 was a Sunday. I was awake, reminiscing on my most recent weekend as a newly graduated, slightly lonely resident of Western Mass. My third week of work was about to begin and I sat in bed recapping my weekend to my journal before setting off into a new Monday. I had experienced my first solo outing in an unfamiliar town. I had traveled with co-workers to the Red Fire Farm’s Tomato Festival and baked my first homemade quiche. On August 26, 2012 I wondered how long I would be in Northampton and what I would be doing a year from now. One year ago to the day on this rainy Monday evening.

Journal entry: “Curried tuna fish for dinner and walked to the Brewery. It was nice outside but a little boring, lonely almost. Not because I felt pity for myself but simply because I wanted someone to talk to.”

photo (12)Fast forward to 2013. I went back to Red Fire Farm’s Tomato Festival and ran into a couple of familiar faces. I drank a beer at the Brewery with co-workers last week and welcomed the new round of EcoFellows into our company. And just yesterday, I laid in bed and wondered where I would be one year from now. In 2014. Another 365 days of unknown possibilities.

The earth rotates, the sun burns and we find ourselves looking at a calendar full of memories cast behind a forgotten closet door. Don’t forget to open that door, dust off the taped boxes and shrunken sweaters. You might be surprised to find by how far you’ve come.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gutter

My once bare bedroom walls have transformed themselves into a functional museum– framed prints, warm scarves, an earring collection, and my own reflection from an ancient plastic mirror. The brown chair near my only window holds dirty clothes more often than people and both sneakers & cowboy boots have claimed their designated spots within the confines of my closet. I have located the sole location under my bed that breeds dust bunnies and at night I can see the lights from the neighbors’ house across the street.

Next Tuesday, my bedroom and I will quietly celebrate our six-month anniversary. We can’t believe how fast the times gone by. On that day, I will try to think back to that sunny afternoon in mid-August when I first committed to my new home.

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I now have a fairly regular work routine. Monday-Friday. 9am-5pm. have favorite grocery stores and can navigate to said grocery stores without my iPhone GPS.  I’ve experienced car problems. I have friends who invite me to drinks on Friday night and Downton Abbey on Sunday. I pay my student loans on time. I attended my first political rally. I’ve spent mornings and nights feeling utter alone. I’ve tried mixed martial arts, sweated through Bikram yoga, and attended a writing workshop. I’m afraid I’m getting fat. I feel proud to know the people in my life. I second-guess myself every day.

How do you know when you’ve “made it”?

On the weekend of March 2nd, I will be participating in a Masquerade Bowl-A-Thon. This great event raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, an organization in Amherst that provides one-to-one mentoring relationships to local children in Hampshire County who are in need of positive adult influence and friendship. A special person, such as a “big brother” or “big sister” can often be the one factor that can change the destiny of a child’s life, providing the resources and encouragement to become a productive and healthy adult.*

Can't Believe GutterI think about my path in life that has led me to where I am today. Could I have done it alone? Absolutely not. My mother drove out to Northampton multiple times while I looked for places to live. My father took care of all my car problems, taught me to check the oil and use the heated seats. My godparents, Carol and Stan, came out to see my theatre performance as they’ve done for the past 15 years. High school friends have driven out to MA for a weekend of new food and new bars. College friends call just to check in. I’m constantly surrounded by love and warmth from other caring souls.

Our bowling team, expertly called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gutter” has already raised $1,147.00 and we still have three weeks to go. In some small way, I am helping to support  children who weren’t as lucky as I was growing up. My six month anniversary in Northampton, MA is not a reason for a celebration but for a thank you. Thank you to all the friends and family members who have contributed to our team and to my life.You mean the world to me. 

To donate to the cause, visit:

My Page!

*Excerpt taken from bowling team website. Thanks Carlin.

The Writing Workshop

A well crafted, well executed writing workshop is a beautiful thing.

I was introduced to my first workshop opportunity by a friend and mentor Peggy who acted with me in the production of Our Town a couple months ago. As she explained it, a writing workshop is facilitated by an instructor for a group of people with the sole purpose of writing, freely and without distractions. A room full of writers writing. Nurturing creativity. It sounded wonderful.

Blank Ringbound NotepadSo I e-mailed Carol, one of Peggy’s close friends and writing facilitator, to gain access to this magical writing world of workshops. I learned that both Carol and her husband Robin led sessions three times a week from their home in Northampton. Each workshop begins with a meal: breakfast on Monday mornings and dinner on Wednesday and Thursday. After food, the participants retire to the living room for the reading of short prompts and the sounding of a small gong.

The collection of writers assembled on this particular Wednesday evening, curled up in arm chairs or resting on the sofas, paralleled the similarities of a box of 50 flavor jelly beans. No age, writing style or method of delivery was the same. But the group was familiar with each other, friendships had formed, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear that this was the 10th or 12th year at Carol and Robin’s home. Even as a newcomer, I felt connected by our mutual love of writing and the conscious effort to spend an uninterrupted three and a half hours to listen to good writing or sit alone, writing ourselves.

During the writing portion, I took my notepad upstairs and found a small table near the fireplace. This was my time to write anything I wanted, knowing my only obligation that night was to my creative self. Sentences bubbled forth, frothing and foaming into funny phrases and broken thoughts. No need to follow the rubric or stay within the lines. And please…leave all disclaimers and self-doubt at the door.

“The woman sitting next to me on the subway lets out a sigh. Its weight drops like dense iron balls ont the floor and rolls in all directions around the car. A younger woman with red lips picks up her feet as one of the balls rolls past. These heels cost $200 a piece and Ill’ll be damned if they get scuffed by the sighs of that maid. The heels return to the grooved metal floor of the subway car and turn away from the thick black sneakers. The young woman’s breathing is shallow and tight. She keeps her audible exhales in check-they are not suitable for public consumption.”

Apparently Katelyn writes fiction now too.