Friday, October 31, 2008

Evolving 101

The months following my father's death, I was convinced I would never laugh hard again. You know, that gut-splitting laugh, the kind that makes it difficult to breathe. I mean, how could I? My father whom I adored--my friend, my fan-club president, my protector and ally was gone. Then one day, many months later, it was summertime and I was walking in the Village. I heard a song playing by The Jackson 5 and right there on the corner of Bleeker and West 3rd, I, the saddest girl in the city, started dancing. Then laughing. Hard. It just happened.

I was still sad after that moment, after that day--and of course I've experienced more since, and for all sorts of reasons. But what remains the same, is that at the core of all sadness, is a heart that's either breaking or mending.

I was once a 3-year-old girl who feared her parents would be kidnapped by masked men, then I was an 8-year-old girl who cried when it rained because dogs and cats were outside, cold and hungry in the streets. I was a 20-year-old who sometimes couldn't sleep, imagining the elderly being abused, then I was a woman of 40 who went to bed for days after the first bomb was dropped on Baghdad.

A broken heart, a longing to turn life into art because that's what we all know it is--and the pain because there's no needle to stick inside you, no way to inject beauty and love into your veins, no way to feed your soul fast enough no matter how intense your craving.

I'm not someone who has a cocktail at night or watches TV in an attempt to escape my truth. I stare at walls, seeking balance and peace while wanting to explode inside a piece of music or catch fire inside sexual connection and romantic love. I'm hungry for life, hungry for art, hungry to be tamed and freed. I am no longer the girl who pities herself, nor do I place more importance on war than on my own grief.

Schools without books or a stain on your grandmother's quilt. The death of a soldier or saying goodbye as your dog is put to sleep. Hurt feelings on the schoolyard or a major election creeping from behind as the world holds its breath. It's all the same--a collective conscious and unconsciousness, with a self-help book by the bed, its brave but ineffective attempt to take existential loneliness to the battlefields and win.

I am a 45-year-old woman who no longer gives up but who always surrenders. I fight then drop the sword. I fall apart then stand. I hate myself, I love myself, and even when I am overcome by injustice and loss, I can laugh--and I can laugh hard.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sitting at the sidebar

Yesterday I got an email from a new friend of mine, accusing me of being an ill-mannered music snob. Well, he suggested it anyway. I assured him he was right about one part of that comment, and as proof, those neighbors are playing Journey again (you'd think they'd learn)--click the sidebar to see how, at full volume of course, I retaliate.

Ice cream & cake

Annie turned me on to this video, and I still can't figure out why it makes me laugh like it does.

In real time

Regardless of how one feels, fall in New York inevitably has its way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sitting at the sidebar

I know I've posted this picture before--I may have also posted this song. Proof perhaps that as we evolve, we sometimes must return to lessons already learned, and learn them again.

"When the truths of love are planted firm, they wont be hard to find."

At least that's what I believe.

Click on the music player, turn it up loud, and listen to one of my favorite songs of all time.

Customer service

Me: "Tell me something Frankie, do you have to call me ma’am?"

Frankie: "No, no I don't. I'm sorry."

Me: "I mean here's the thing. I'm 45-years-old, I'm in better shape than I've ever been and feel more beautiful than I ever have. When you call me ma’am, well, I don't know, it's like you're talking to an old lady who's riding the bus, clutching tightly to her handbag."

Frankie: "You're right Ms. Bowen."

Me: "Call me Katie."

Frankie: "You're right, Katie--and let me just apologize and tell you I have no doubt about your beauty. And I promise, I will never call you ma’am again."

Me: "But it's not just for me--it's for all the women out there in their 40's and 50's--do it for them Frankie!"

Frankie: "I will Katie, I promise.

So, your delivery will arrive tomorrow between 7 and 12, and from this day on, you will always be in my mind when I'm speaking with the women of America!"

Me: "And on behalf of all of us, I thank you."

Frankie: "Have a good day, Katie."

Me: "Have a good day, Frankie."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dirty laundry

When I opened the washing machine before the spin cycle was finished, I apologized and quickly shut the lid. I felt as if I'd walked in on two people having sex.

Read all about it

The bad news is, it's just the kind of gray and oppressive day that can make things worse, the only emails in my inbox this morning are from Poland Spring, the Obama campaign, and someone offering me a larger penis. Alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations are in effect, and last night I went to bed at midnight and proceeded to have nightmares for the next 9 hours.

But it's only another installment of tests, within my power to turn it around--and by this time tomorrow, it will all just be yesterday's news.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sitting at the sidebar

I know I must have played this one before--but today, it just fits.

It's a lot

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How Half Note savvy are you?

Only one person, Ms. Elizabeth Schwartz of San Diego, has contacted me about a change I made several days ago here at The Half. Even my own mother didn't notice it, but when I clued her in, she gasped in disbelief!

Sitting at the sidebar

I don't want to bore you with my trouble--but there's somethin' about this song...

Almost famous

Tai Moses and I have both been published in the new book, Not What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

I always wanted to be a famous writer, but Tai assures me being obscure is way better! She also believes the fact that neither of us can remember what we wrote and submitted makes us geniuses!

Click here for Amazon's customer reviews, here for editorial reviews and to order your copy today!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The space between

I returned home tonight--the hour not light, not dark, when everything is hard to see. Rain fell, and the clouds were pushed by the wind as if being told to hurry up and go somewhere.

It's hard to find parking in the city--almost impossible on a Saturday night. I circled the streets over and over, and as I watched cars pulling out and pulling in, my frustration grew.

"It's just not your turn, Katie," I said--something my mother told me to remind myself of when those spots, one after the other, seem to elude me.

It's just not your turn.

I continued driving and was aware of the moment I slipped into self-pity--using my misfortune as proof that I would continue in circles under an ominous sky, unable to see what was in front of me.

I started to cry, and told myself I would always be alone, always behind the wheel--no co-pilot to help me find the way or be another set of eyes when mine were not enough.

Earlier in the day Annie and I walked through the park as the clouds darkened, preparing for rain.

"It's so beautiful," she said. "It's not warm and it's not cold--let's go the long way."

Later she reminded me that it's always sunny out--it's just the clouds that sometimes cover it up.

After circling the block for the tenth time, after watching every open space go to someone else, I was suddenly soothed.

You just don't want to wait, I thought--and it was then I decided the next time I reached my street, I would pull over.

When I turned the corner a final time, there wasn't one spot for me, there were two--and for a brief moment, in my disbelief, I couldn't decide which one to take. I could have the one slightly smaller and further up the hill--but I had a choice. I effortlessly pulled into the one closer to home.

The sun is always shining after all--it's only covered up by clouds sometimes.

Sitting at the sidebar

a reminder.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shifting gears

In recent weeks I've experienced a deep, internal shift--therefore The Half Note may be a little quieter than usual. Until of course it feels like making some noise--which as we know, could be at any moment.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And the sky's still blue

Driving across the Whitestone Bridge, I was awed to see this amazing sky. If you click to enlarge it, you'll see why I was screaming while I took this picture--I swear, it was like driving through the most beautiful painting I've ever seen.

For more recent images, click right here.

Happy Birthday Annie Kosh!

Whether or not it is clear to you, the world is a better place because of this girl.

Early Annie

In an attempt to learn more about how this fascinating creature evolved into who she is today, I have painstakingly gone back through the pages of my journal.

Here are just a few of my findings:

Annie, 2-years-old:

She runs into our bedroom and sees one of her baby dolls. She grabs it and gleefully shouts,

"You found me!"

Annie, 4-years-old:

Me: "Remember, I have to cut your nails later."

Annie: "Don't say that. When you say that, it goes into my mind and I don't want to think about cutting my nails right now."

Annie, 4-years-old:

Out of the blue she says,"My mother in Africa had the chicken pox, a cold, and a broken leg. It was not a good day!"

Annie, 5-years-old:

She's talking on our bed and in her excitement she falls off and lands on her butt. She announces: "I simply rolled off the bed!"

Annie, 5-years-old:

I'm giving her a bath. David walks in, Annie reaches out her arms, they embrace then David leaves the bathroom.

Annie gets a serious look on her face.

Annie: "If I tell you this, don't tell it to Daddy."

Me: "Tell what?"

Annie: "Don't tell him I'm in love with him."

Me: "Why not?"

Annie: "Because if I'm in love with him, I'll have to marry him, and it's not possible."

Me: "What's not possible?"

Annie: "Never mind, let's not talk about it ever again."

Journal entry, April 11, 2000

Annie, 2-years-old.

Darling love, Annie.

I just realized that one of the reasons I don't write in this book as much as I used to, is because I'm afraid. I was afraid before you came into my life--afraid of losing people I loved. Now of course that fear is so great that to survive, I feel I must be in constant motion. Don't sit down and write to Annie or you'll get too close to your love for her, then too close to your fear--something like that.

Sometimes I write as if you'll be reading this when you're 12--sometimes I write as if you'll read it now, though you're not yet 3. I guess today I'll write as if you're 30.

Maybe I shouldn't.

I have always been the person I am, I've always had the heart I have, but you have taken it over--you have changed my soul. You were inside me before you were born, but you are more inside me now.

Your face glows and your smile melts me, and never--never can I or will I be able to get as close to you as I want to. I think that's one of my greatest pains, that I can never hold you tight enough or long enough, because to satisfy me would take forever, but would first most certainly drive you insane.

These are my wishes--your health, your peace.

My baby.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sitting at the sidebar

In memory of Levi Stubbs--as requested by a Half Note Reader.


I took Honey for a walk through the park by the river--she chased squirrels and sparrows, and a big, beautiful monarch butterfly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good hair day

Sometimes I feel as if the woman who cuts my hair is my sweetheart. I'm excited to see her, when we're together she focuses only on me, we always make plans to see each other again, and even when I'm not feeling it, she makes me beautiful.

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed I went to visit the man I love, and when I arrived at his home he was dressed in drag. We kissed on the sofa--I touched his body through his clothes. I felt his arms and his legs, but had to keep reminding myself that he was my beloved--not this slender blond woman--a stranger to me.

Playfully he stood up, cracked a joke and laughed. He was obviously enjoying our visit, and although I was glad to see him, I felt sick and uneasy and quickly grew tired of the way our reunion was unfolding.

I called him over and he sat down beside me. I put my arms around him and began to cry. I told him I thought he was the prettiest woman I'd ever seen, but it was him I missed, him I wanted to be with--not her. I told him I wished he'd just take off the make-up and put on his t-shirt and jeans.

He left the room and when he returned, I was sitting on a chaise lounge. He sat down behind me.

"There," he said.

I turned around and was relieved to see the man who was so familiar to me.

"You have to accept me as I am," he said in a scornful tone. "And that's part of who I am."

Suddenly he was in front of a huge mirror, but the way he appeared in the flesh was different than he appeared in his reflection.

As I studied the difference between the man before me and the man in the mirror, I wondered if what we had was ever what I thought it was.

I realized how alone with him I'd always been and would probably always be...and that's when I woke up from the dream.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Radio Dads

Every so often I run a search on Youtube for my father's name.

This one recently came up--a radio spot for Highland Appliances in the Midwest. My dad plays the part of Phil Merlo, the wacky "Disclaimerer."

Apparently, this ad won numerous awards, including the prestigious Clio Award.


I love New York, reason #54,617

Because when my daughter invites friends to her birthday party, they are Puerto Rican, Italian, African-American and Guyanese.

Goodnight Mom

I'm uptown loving you--I hope you're already fast asleep.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who we are

My friend Bruce called the other day.

"I'm editing a film," I said. "The director's here and we're trying to finish-- I can't talk now!"

Bruce understood and said we'd speak another time.

I resumed working, but suddenly found it impossible to focus. I felt terrible. I looked at Yale.

"I was rude to him," I said."

"You weren't rude at all," he replied. "You told him you were busy and he understood."

"But what if something's wrong?" I said. "I have to make sure he's OK or I'll feel uneasy all day and won't be productive."

Yale rolled his eyes, I picked up the phone, and when Bruce answered he was already laughing at me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Conversations with my apple

When my computer asks, "Are you sure you want to shut down?" Sometimes, with a heavy heart, I answer.

"Yes. I'm sure."

Colorful language

The room looks green, can you change it?
Her hair looks yellow, can we warm it?
Are you able to take the purple out of his shirt?
Can we get more definition in the sky?

--Some of the questions I asked in today's color correction.

In the dark

I'm someone who likes light, but I never mind spending a day in the dark--watching technicians work their magic on video, and listening to the nuances of sound.

This is the room we were in today--thank you Sean and Jason at Company 3, NYC.

What's cooking

Click here--there's more on the menu.

Fact #44,888

I'm spending the day with a Da Vinci.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All that glitters

I just completed editing A Great Day on Eldridge Street, a short documentary directed and produced by my friend, Yale Strom.

If everything had run smoothly, if we hadn't had technical difficulties and missed tonight's mixing session, I never would have gotten a knock on my door. It was Annie, in a red glitter dress, painted toes and sequined clips in her hair. I never would have taken her to dinner and heard the details of her secret crush, or laughed with her as hard as I did.

A little girl, a lady in red, a new light shining-- perhaps the first yearnings of her sacred heart.

Sitting at the sidebar

Shakhres (Morning Prayer), from the soon-to-be released film, A Great Day on Eldridge Street.

Yale Strom Composer
Performed by Fred Benedetti & Jeff Pekarek.

In real time

One more edit day before tomorrow night's mix--I've bitten my nails, nothing in the fridge, and I wish Annie and I were boarding a plane in the morning for somewhere far away.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed David held a basket of enormous and beautiful red apples. I grabbed one and took off running through a fancy hotel--I was on my way to board a boat anchored in rough water.

As I ran past an older couple who were having dinner, the man commented on the size of the apple. I smiled at him.

"I do everything big," I said, and I kept on going.

Sitting at the sidebar

Sometimes we stop hearing songs we've heard a million times, but I hear this one clearly--I've seen that road before.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Conversations with my mother

Me: "Mom, you look so beautiful today--because you're open and alive, you're ethereal. And when you walk down the street, you're not just a woman who looks great for her age, you're like a gentle breeze blowing by."

Mom: "Thank you--and I thought it was because I set my hair!"

Things I just can't do

1. Remove the plastic wrap from a new CD without cracking the case.
2. Follow step-by-step instructions.
3. Sit through a bad movie.
4. Ride a ferris wheel.
5. Know what line on the cap to use when measuring laundry soap.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed I got a new puppy, but I wasn't bonded to her. I stood on one side of the street and watched as a neighbor walked my dog on the other side of the street. She accidentally dropped the leash, and the puppy took off running. The neighbor didn't seem to care, and walked away as if nothing happened. I frantically began searching for the puppy, imagining it was only a matter of time before I'd find her dead in the street.

Just as I was about to give up hope, a group of friends came walking toward me with the puppy safely in their care. I took the tiny dog in my arms and burst into tears.

"I didn't love her," I confessed. "And now I do. I love her."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

For Annie


In real time

Ran along the Greenway--a beautiful day, everyone out, everyone smiling. Talked about records with a bald-headed sculptor, made late breakfast for David and Annie. Windows wide open--a full day of work ahead.

Conversations with my father

A month before my father died unexpectedly, he and I visited the cemetery in Providence where both his parents were buried, and where unbeknownst to either of us, he would soon be as well.

It was an unusually warm and sunny winter day, and as we placed flowers on the grave, a smile of contentment spread across my dad's face.

"I take comfort knowing I'll be here someday," he said. "That my children will come and visit, that my grandkids will run across these gardens, listening to stories of their dear old Grandpa."

"Don't talk like that!"I scolded him.

But he kept on smiling--basking in the sun and in his happy mood.

Last week, after many years, I returned to the gravesite and kneeled beside the marker--a reminder of a beloved husband and father.

"You would be so proud of me, Pop," I said--my tears washing over the stone. "You would be so proud of what I've done for myself--you would really like who I've become."

Sitting at the sidebar

It's early for this one--guess I'm just funny that way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Swimming success

Congratulations to my Cousin and friend Emma Gardner, for having her beautiful "Fishtail" Rug nominated for a 2008 Best of Year Award by Interior Design.

Good luck Emma!

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed I was in a wheelchair, struggling to get into an elevator. Everyone inside was waiting for me, and finally I stood up and said, "Why the hell am I sitting in this thing? I can walk!"

Thursday, October 09, 2008


When I got married I wore black silk pants. If I ever marry again, I'm going to wear a beautiful dress.

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed the motherboard on my computer got wet, then broke apart altogether. My friend Paul started to fix it, but he had to stop because his wife and his mother were looking for him, demanding he come home. I started to cry and told Paul that all of my work, my heart was in that computer and I couldn't bear to lose it. He tried to stay hidden from his wife and mother while continuing to work on it, but eventually they found him. He returned home to his family, and my motherboard remained broken.