Sunday, March 16, 2008


The streets were littered with glass from the Westin Hotel. The tornado has punched windows out, making jagged holes with curtains flapping about. Down the street, a shattered car lay beneath the rubble of a building.
You don't expect to see that in Atlanta. We are a city. A big city. Tornadoes aren't supposed to happen here. This was the first time a tornado has ever hit downtown Atlanta. Lofts were destroyed, pillars in Centennial Olympic Park were crumbled. It was insane.
It reminded me too much of New Orleans. The destruction and debris was minimal in comparison, but the understanding that nature had just taken a fairly big shot at the city was apparent. It could have been worse. Much worse.
I walked through the streets with my camera. I wanted to capture it, archive it. I wanted to show the world that something was seriously wrong here. That things are changing and that this won't be the last time. I felt powerless and angry.
The strangest thing was that I also felt guilty. Guilty for being a person that contributes to this mess. Guilty of being a human being, hell bent on scarring the earth and sticking my tongue out at nature in all of her awesome glory. I don't recycle enough. I use too much energy. I buy too much non-biodegradable junk. I am not helping.
I should be helping. I should be thinking. I should be doing more.
This will happen again.

To see my archival pictures of the damage please go here


When I woke up this morning, my hair was 20 inches long.
Now, as I sit in bed, pushing sleep to the back of my mind, it is 14 inches long.
To me, it is a drastic difference. It is not what I sought, but something I must live with.
When I think about it more, I start to wonder what is really gone. My hair grows no more than 4 or 5 inches a year. That means that the hair that I lost today, that has been swept up and thrown in the trash to mingle with other peoples former lives, was between 2 1/2 and 4 years old. It was with me four or more years ago.
Five years ago, I was 20. I didn't know my husband existed. I still had a strong British accent. I had a nose piercing and I wore pants that had chains on them. My hair was mostly black, with a wonderful red skunk stripe at the roots. I didn't know what I wanted or where I was going. I was with a man that was holding me back, or helping me find myself in a very inconspicuous way, depending on how you look at it.
Four years ago, I was turning 21. I had grown close to five other young women who were the most wonderful friends I had ever had. My hair was two tone. I was finally growing the black out. I was singing more. I had been acting. I had discovered my passion for theatre. I was an Associate Editor. I was started to see what I wanted out of life.
Three years ago, my heart had been broken. I was alone for the first time in my life... truly alone with only my wits and my friends. And I grew. I soared and blossomed and found myself under all of the paint, the alterations, the hair dye, the clothes, the activities and organizations. I knew what I wanted.
Two and a half years ago I went to a movie by myself for the first time. I got drunk in a bar. I kissed a perfect stranger. I founded a student organization that meant something. I interned at a professional theatre.
And I met my husband.
Now, I sit here with shorter hair. And I almost feel as though the final door to that chapter of my life has been closed.
Change can sometimes be a wonderful thing. It can usher in a new period of someones life. In my life, I am going through a change. I am a wife. I am working more heavily in a new aspect of my job. I am about to move into a wonderful new apartment. I am writing. I am getting ready for Grad school.
There is so much ahead. I have no idea where the hair on my head will have been by the time it gets the snip. It's already seen friends get married. It's seen New Orleans and San Francisco. Some of it has never been in England, or entered the house I grew up in. When I get my next hair cut, I have to wonder what will fall on the salon floor. What chapter of my life will close then? Where will I have been?
I may not like my hair cut, but with all of that history and all of those little tiny strands of my life gone, I feel lighter.

Written 02/08/08

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Accidentally Knowing Famous People

It was dark in the movie theatre and the crowd was hushed. I was surrounded by my friends and we were enjoying a quiet Tuesday night, settling in to watch The Signal. I had been informed that it was shot in Atlanta with a low budget, so I was expecting a jumpy flick shot in familiar locations.

The movie begins and in the first scene you see a young man, naked, at night. The angle shifts to look on his face as he has a tender moment with his sweetheart. I start to get this nagging feeling in the back of my head. He looks so very familiar to me... maybe I've seen him in another movie. I try to disregard the feeling and keep watching. A little further in the, the nagging feeling happens again. A girl, appearing briefly in a scene with just a few lines, looks familiar. It's starting to get a bit strange. Then, even later while the nagging feeling remains, I get a real shock. There is a momentary flash of a face, a character with no name, no lines, no nothing... in fact he is credited merely as "Man with Hammer". Without being able to control myself, I burst out..

"Oh my god thats Mark McPherson!" to the entire theatre. I clap my hand over my mouth, ashamed to be loud while reeling from the fact that the man I just saw on screen was my friend Killian's dad, brother of my boss at work, and a person that I often run across in my professional life. I know a guy in a movie.

And so I continue to watch and enjoy the movie even more, knowing that there is a person in it (however briefly) that I have met and conversed with. I'm still getting the nagging feeling about the lead guy, but I'm pushing it away and keeping my bubble of contentment.

The movie ends and I am happy. It was so enjoyable and I was very glad that I had seen it. The credits start to roll and I start watching them to see who the main guy is. The first credit that catches my eye, though, is the woman playing Janice, who had looked familiar so briefly early on.

Suehyla El-Attar. Holy crap! Suehyla! She wrote Perfect Prayer! She acts all over town! I've worked with her! I can't stop exclaiming!

Now I'm truly excited. I keep watching the credits and then.... there it is.

Justin Welborn.

Justin Welborn played the lead in a real live movie that I paid $6 to go see. Justin Freakin Welborn. I didn't recognize him without his glasses.

He was my friend Troy's last roommate. He's worked at my place of employment before, though never directly with me. I saw him in The Merry Wives of Windsor and thought he was fantastic on stage. And now, now he's the star of a real live movie.

I'm floored and excited. I can't stop going on about it. I call people I know. I call Troy to confirm that I'm not crazy and that it really was Justin. He's stunned that I went to the movie without knowing that some of "our people" were in it.

I know famous people. And I didn't even know they were famous. And if they aren't really that famous, well, they sure are going to be.

Watch carefully the next time you go to the movies. Dead Body #5 could be your landlord.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

It's Raining Today

The rain is dripping from the oak tree above my house onto the roof above my head. The thin tiles protect from the water, but not the sound. It is steady, calm.
On days like today, when the world is grey and dark, I feel okay about staying in my pajamas and working from home.
Days like this were meant for table lamps and blankets, not fluorescent lights and artificial heaters. They were meant for cups of tea and writing from your bed instead of your desk. They were made for avoiding the world, not seeing anyone except your spouse, and getting all your work caught up on. These are the days of mashed potatoes and chocolate cake. Carbohydrates that you will never work off because you won't walk more than twenty feet at a time.
These are the days when I am calm and peaceful. I am wrapped up in my own world and my own life, and no one can shatter it with deafening noise. These are the days that I look forward to when winter has remained persistent.
I am happy today.

Written 02/06/08