Parallel Universes

We seemingly live together as our paths cross in subway stations, sidewalks, bars, and health clubs, but we don’t really live together.  Our lives are similar in many ways, but different in so many ways. We all love, we laugh, we cry, but our external experiences are dramatically different, and that is when we go into our own universes. It’s as if we live on different planets and we even speak different languages. We live in what I call parallel universes.

Last night I had the opportunity to peek into a different universe. While attending my weekly writing workshop, I stumbled on a flyer for a “staged reading” of a new play. The setup for the play was a “country schoolteacher inherits a Harlem boarding house from her worldly, sophisticated aunt and arrives on the doorstep of the Harlem Renaissance.”  I had plans to go out of town, so I passed the word on to friends and didn’t give it another thought.

Then when the time came to go out of town, I was exhausted from two back-to-back writing contracts, so I decided to stay home one extra day which provided the opportunity to slip through the fence and go into the universe of playwrights, actors, and directors. I was both in the audience and above the audience observing. I had never experienced anything like it. Who were these people? The playwright was a young African American woman named, Thembi Duncan. She had seven actors reading her play, and about twenty-five people were in attendance. The dialogue was crisp, witty, and intelligent. The actors were sharp, articulate and perfect. From the “talk back” at the end of the play, I learned that even the audience was a part of this theatrical world. I was enthralled.  

These are the same people that I pass on the sidewalks of life, but have no idea of their experiences. And, you say “so what”. You say… there are lots of things you don’t know… have never experienced… and will never experience. You say… get over it.

I say I want to peek across every fence. I want to experience everything (at least the good stuff) there is to experience. I want to walk through all the universes.

I invite you to join me and step out of your norms… slip through the fence and experience something else.…. But beware… You might like it.

Stay tuned.

Failure as a Woman: I don’t Bake Cookies

Can that be a picture of me baking cookies! How’d that happen! I don’t bake cookies. All through my parenting years, I baked muffins, bread, pies, and carrot cakes until my kids said enough with the carrot cakes already. Strange, I can’t remember ever baking cookies, until now.

This all came about because my neighbor and friend asked me to join with several other women and each of us were to bake six dozen cookies for her daughter’s wedding. Apparently this is an Italian wedding tradition. Now there are times when one can say NO, but this wasn’t one of them. On top of it being the wedding of a young woman who I had watched grow up, my neighbor, and mother of the bride, had just lost her husband of 30 plus years. You just can’t say No in this kind of situation. So I had an “opportunity” to stretch by doing something new.

So, I set about baking cookies. Actually, I thought about it, worried about it, pondered it and finally got around to it. First, I looked up cookie recipes on the Internet and prepared to make my first batch of sugar cookies. The recipe called for the dough to be chilled in the fridge before cooking.  The problem occurred when I removed the dough from the fridge…. It was rock-hard which provided me with another opportunity to…. Try again.

After trashing the rock hard cookie dough, it occurred to me that I could simply buy a boxed cookie mix. The only reason this did not occur to me earlier is that I am a die-hard “scratch” cook. I have been frequently heard to proclaim that making something out of a box or can is not really baking or cooking. Nonetheless, the clock was ticking and I wasn’t really feelin’ this cookie bakin’ thing. So I bought a couple of boxes of cookie mix. My niece who was visiting for the weekend was listening to me “talk about” baking cookies but she wasn’t seeing much action, so I awakened on a Saturday morning and she had surprised me by baking the cookies using the box mix. Great… four dozen down and two dozen to go.

I went back to the Internet… got an oatmeal cookie recipe and proceeded to make the remaining two dozen cookies.

Now… I am woman, hear me roar

Stay tuned