A Return to Writing

When I studied abroad in college, my cohort attended a lecture by a prominent journalist in Turkey. One student asked the speaker how her paper keeps “spin” out of their news stories. I remember how the journalist laughed, throwing her head back and looking at the ceiling (was this really a journalist or some struggling actress working on perfecting her villain-cackle?). When she spoke her thick sexy Turkish accent matched her dark wavy hair, perfectly tan skin, and tight power-red dress, “Everyone has spin. Spin is a tool, and it is my job to make sure ours is more profitable than anyone else’s.”

Well, I have news for you Mrs. Reporter lady, it is one thing to have poop on your hands because it is on everything (paper currency, hand rails, the inner crevices of the forks at your favorite restaurant). It is another thing to lather up with fecalotion and intentionally spread it about town.

That being said, I need a gift soon for a certain someone (cough – Mother’s Day – cough) who will remain unnamed, so please send me the brand name of your special poop hand cream and where I can pick it up before next weekend. Thanks.

This post was inspired by Tina Fey’s book Bossypants*, which is awesome and I highly recommend you read it too.

*Tina would like me to tell you that if you don’t like my writing, I don’t care if you don’t like it. I like it. That’s all. Enjoy!

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The Snow Globe Complex – Chicago

Last night was one of those nights when looking out my windows was like watching TV. There was so much snow, curling torrents of wind, flashes of lightning and muffled thunder. Thunder snow – I had never heard of such a thing.

This is Chicago. I was glad to be home, cozy and warm in my seventh floor studio.

This morning it was still snowing. I felt like I was living in a snow globe. I decided it was time to go for a walk.

Outside it really was like a snowpocalypse. The roads were nearly vacant, save for snow-locked cars and handfuls of people aimlessly walking around like myself. That’s when I began to discover Chicago’s snow globe complex. People were smiling at each other, taking pictures for one another, sharing words of wonder between passers by, so much so that it was hard to tell who knew who.

I headed for Lake Shore Drive, and crossed over to Oak Street Beach. Even the underpass to get there was piled up with snow. Adults and children slid down the snow-covered staircase on their bottoms.

The beach had been transformed. The lake was like one vast desert of white. Large round waves stood frozen in place, near where I could only guess was the shore, exposing patches of gleaming ice. Everywhere gusts of snow flicked about on the wind.

I walked for hours.

A police woman was calling through her loudspeaker for people to evacuate Lake Shore Drive: “Lake Shore Drive is closed to pedestrians!” People looked at each other and chuckled, ‘what is she going to do?’ Street lights faithfully flicked from green to red. Stores were closed in the middle of the day. And people walked wherever their hearts desired (that is so long as they weren’t in the middle of Lake Shore Drive – then a police SUV would pull up to you and tell you to get on the sidewalk). Plows were attached to everything with wheels. It was fascinating.

It was only when I saw a huge conglomerate of slush and ice fall from a high building in the Loop – which nearly hit the man in front of me before is SLOSHED! all over the sidewalk – that I decided it was time to go home.

For more pictures click here: http://s1130.photobucket.com/albums/m530/kristenncl/Snowpacalypse%202011%20-%20Chicago/

“Like” to Liberation: Scents of the Jasmine Revolution

The recent protests in Egypt have erupted with great fervor. No one could have predicted the timing and scale of the past few days’ events, but one thing is for sure: it’s about time. Egyptians have felt the heavy fist of Mubarak’s rule for far too long. It is about time the Egyptian people presented such a strong united front against their current political situation. Like at other points in history, there comes a point in time when a culture reaches the breaking point of the injustice they can accept before they revolt. That point is explosive. It is the throwing off of oppression. It is the liberation of multitudes, and its power is equaled only by its fragility. Egypt has reached that point.

I am proud of them, the peaceful Egyptian protesters. I hope they succeed in changing their state to be more responsive to the desires of the people. I think of the taxi driver who I questioned about his opinions of Mubarak, and the gesture he made crossing his wrists and making fists to communicate his shackles. I also think of a member of my host family, whose face was covered in scars from years of demonstrating against the government on a smaller scale. And so I took to the streets with hundreds of other Chicagoans like myself on Saturday afternoon, to rally for justice and liberation in Egypt.

The rally took place at 500 North Michigan Avenue, in front of the Egyptian Consulate. It was Saturday, January 29th, at 2:00 in the afternoon. Hundreds of people gathered to show their support. People chanted things like, “Obama, you know, Mubarak’s got to go!” while others carried signs, waved Egyptian flags, and took pictures on their phones.

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Above all there was a feeling of optimism, a feeling that the recent events happening in Egypt would inevitably make way for greater justice for the Egyptian people. While there is some danger in the unknown – who will stepping up to embody Egypt’s silver lining and what will their future look like? – a hope that has long been confined to the shadows in Egypt has finally taken to the streets in numbers that simply cannot be ignored.

For more photos on this event visit http://s1130.photobucket.com/albums/m530/kristenncl/Chicago%20Rallies%20for%20Egypt/.