Terrified of becoming a minimalist? Me too. Here’s where to start.

empty_roomThis post is not for those of you who are prepared to rid yourself of all your worldly possessions and hop a plane to Belize. It’s not even for those of you with the fortitude to have a packing party…and actually commit to getting rid of your excess stuff when the party’s over. This post is for those of you who are intrigued by the idea of minimalist living, but have no earthly idea where to begin.

If that’s you, ask yourself the following questions:

Do you want the benefits of a simpler life, but get stressed out just by thinking about the amount of time/energy it will take to de-clutter your closet – never mind your whole life?

Does the thought of parting with your precious treasures give you heart palpitations?

Do you feel that you somehow ‘owe it’ to your past self to hang on to all the crap you  bought with oh-so much of your hard-earned money?

Me too.

Here’s how I got over it.

1. Don’t actually get rid of anything – digitize it!
I started by scanning, then promptly shredding all of my paper files. (I only saved hard copies of my most recent tax returns [which I probably don’t need] and originals of birth/death certificates.) Then I moved on to CDs. I skipped DVDs because a) I don’t have that many DVDs and b) I also don’t have a DVD burner, but they (along with old photographs) are next on my list.

Then I scoured my shelves for books that I still liked and might want to read again, but could easily/inexpensively be acquired via digital download. This is obviously not a tactic to use on your signed, hardbound first editions, but it works great for those dog-eared, coffee-stained paperbacks you picked up at the airport. (I’m a huge sci-fi/fantasy nerd, so I did this mostly with my paperback copies of epic fantasy series. Digitizing the Game of Thrones series alone cleared almost an entire shelf on my bookcase.)

Digitizing is a great place to start because you don’t have to feel like you’re losing anything. You’re simply enjoying it in a different form. Like ice to water or water to steam, it’s the same stuff, it’s just takes up less space in your garage.

Don’t forget to donate when you’re done!

Bonus: No more paper cuts from thumbing through a towering stack of old tax returns whilst preparing for your next IRS audit!

2. Tackle your most un-sentimental items first.
If, like me, there’s a soft, sentimental soul buried beneath your hard, candy-coated exterior (does anyone else suddenly have a craving for M&Ms?), then parting with sentimental items can be especially difficult.

That’s why minimalist noobs shouldn’t even attempt it. You heard me. Back away from your grandmother’s porcelain doll collection, Noobsicle! Move on to something more manageable. You can always go back once you’ve built up some momentum and you’ve experienced the glorious joy and freedom that comes from letting go.

After my paper purge, I moved on to the Tupperware cabinet in my kitchen. With stacks of ill-assorted plastic containers and mismatched lids, half-melted from one too many nukes in the microwave (which I know you’re not supposed to do because it [like everything else] causes cancer, but what can I say? sometimes laziness wins), my plastic storage container cabinet was a source of daily consternation.

I culled that cabinet mercilessly! And you can too. Take no prisoners! Feel the wonderful, heady sensation of taking revenge on the evil gnomes that live under your sink and creep into your cabinets at night to steal all your lids. Those little fuckers won’t know what to do with themselves when there are only a handful of containers left, with lids snapped on so tightly that their tiny little gnomish fingers will be incapable of thwarting your newly organized, mad minimizing skillz.

Bonus: Seriously? Thwarting evil gnomes isn’t bonus enough for you? Weirdo.

3. Take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
Got a friend moving across state lines? I consider that the perfect opportunity to offload all that incriminating evidence you’ve been hiding from the police.

Oh! You’re moving? To Montana? That’s great! Of course I’ll help with the move. No, it’s no trouble at at all. Really, it’s my pleasure. What, this? It’s just a box of old junk I found in your basement. No… I don’t know what you’re talking about. Well, they don’t look like shell casings to me. I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ll just pop that right into the truck for you…

But seriously. If your church or PTA or whatever is having a rummage sale, winter coat drive, or similar, seize the opportunity to get rid of some stuff and help out a good cause at the same time. Two birds. One stone. Everyone wins. (Except for the metaphorical birds you just killed, you heartless bastard.)

Bonus: I don’t know about you, but for me, avoiding criminal charges AND getting rid of an entire box of stuff is always a win.*

4. Finding creative ways to get rid of your stuff can be fun!
For instance, you could ‘accidentally’ drop all twelve of those life-sized cat figurines from your great aunt Mildred out a third story window. Bonus points for ‘accidentally’ hitting that one neighbor who seems to derive perverse enjoyment from blasting banjo music at five o’clock in the morning. Every morning.*

Or, if assault with a deadly, cat-sized weapon isn’t your thing, you could get creative with this fun holiday activity:

Take all the expired prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet, mix them up and dump a handful of pills into all of the old gift bags you’ve got lying around the house. I call them Mystery Meds Grab Bags! Then head down to your local warehouse district and start passing them out to all the teenage ravers. Make it more fun by wearing a Santa hat! Or elf shoes! (Which you’ll later donate, obviously, because you’re totes a minimalist now.)*

Bonus: Then you can sit back and bask in the warm holiday glow (or vacant drug-induced haze) that comes from helping others. Because isn’t helping others what this time of year is all about?**

[*Seriously though, attempting any of these things will get you arrested. Don’t do it.]

[**I started writing this post in December. It’s March now. Don’t judge.]

4a. Finding creative ways to get rid of your stuff can be fun! Part 2
I just realized that I forgot to include any real tips in the last section. Sometimes my imagination runs away with me. Here are some things you can do to de-clutter that probably won’t involve law enforcement:

Empty closet– Clean out your closet (check out Project 333 over at Be More with Less for some great tips on how to do it) and invite all your friends over to paw through your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories. That way, if you change your mind about this whole minimalism thing, you can steal your stuff back with relative ease.

– I also consign a lot of my old clothes. The best part about this is that I usually forget that I ever owned the items to begin with, never mind the fact that I took the time to consign them, so more often than not, I wind up with surprise consignment money in the mail! And really, isn’t surprise money the best kind of money?

– If you have any old, obsolete electronics that are too broken for repair and not old enough to be vintage, why not do like the guys in Office Space and bring them out to the middle of a field and hit them with a baseball bat? Benefits include: stress-relief, exercise, enjoying the great outdoors, and bonding with friends for some good old-fashioned wholesome fun!

I’m beginning to notice that even my ‘real’ tips are kind of ridiculous. But that’s not the point. The point is, getting rid of stuff feels amazing and everyone should be doing much more of it.

Seriously, not to brag, but I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff that I’ve actually been able to sell several pieces of large furniture. My room has a weird echo now. At first it was a little unsettling and my room felt kind of empty, but I’m starting to love it. And you will too.

So get on it! Start that spring cleaning early! Purge all that unnecessary crap from your life! It’ll feel amazing, I promise. In fact, my new motto was going to be: purge early and purge often, but it felt a little bulimic so I scrapped it. Besides, I’m a minimalist now, I don’t need some stupid motto weighing me down. Fuck that.

Happy purging y’all!

– S

Unplugged: My 30-day social media sabbatical

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be more mindful of how I’m spending my time and with whom I’m spending it.  For me, that translated to less time spent alone staring at the ever-glowing screen of my laptop or pocket robot, and more time spent with the people I love, doing the things I enjoy.

Not that I don’t enjoy the quasi connectedness that comes from mobile devices and the social media applications that dwell within them – I am constantly in awe of the many magical things the interewebs can do – but I question the nature of the connection they provide.

LikeAs a dear friend of mine likes to say, “If it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen.” Coming from him it’s funny because he doesn’t live his life online, but for others (myself included) that saying can become eerily true.

I would certainly classify myself as a serial poster. Facebook is my vice of choice, but I also dip in to Twitter and Instagram from time to time, and of course there’s the over-sharing I’m often wont to do on this blog.

I began to question my reasons for posting. And I wasn’t entirely happy with my answers.

Like so many ‘artistic types’ I have an insatiable compulsion to perform. Being somewhat of an introverted person by nature, social media became a very attractive, not to mention convenient medium with which to do it.

I tried to tell myself that by constantly posting hilarious dog videos, live-tweeting the Republican National Convention or detailing my latest encounter with the homeless man who likes to expose himself to me on the subway, that I’m helping others by bringing a laugh or a smile to their otherwise dreary day.

But really I just like the attention I get from it.

If enriching the lives of others is somehow an unintended byproduct of my vanity, then great, but I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that my motives are not 99.9999% selfish.

I write things, post photos and make (hopefully) witty commentary solely because I want you to think that I’m awesome. I desperately crave your approval. Yes, faceless internet friends, I’m talking to you. I want all of you to think I’m clever, funny, pretty, whatever…and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. There are certainly worse things I could be doing.

It’s when that desire for attention and approval from people who ostensibly don’t matter in real life overshadows what you’re doing when you’re with the people who do matter that it becomes a problem.

TwitterFor me, the little ding of a Facebook notification or the whistle that accompanies the much-coveted re-tweet (perhaps the most valuable form of internet currency next to Bitcoin) brings with it the same spike in endorphins that come from a real life encounter with a boy I like. It’s a heady thing. It’s also alarmingly addictive.

While it’s by no means on the same level as, say, a heroin addiction, it’s not exactly healthy either.  That’s why, in an effort to ‘heal thyself,’ I went on a diet. A diet consisting of only whole, natural, grass-fed, organic, real life, real time encounters – in other words, no social media…for 30 days.

It was mostly a success.

As with the breaking of any habit, the first week was the toughest. Ignoring the notifications that were demanding my attention felt like a sacrilege. I also couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something, without being able to articulate precisely what.

I couldn’t give up email because it’s such a huge part of the way I do business, and I did have to check my Facebook messages once or twice because I got a few business-related messages that required immediate attention. But other than that, I’ve been totally out of the loop.

For instance, I don’t know what any of you have been eating. I don’t know about all of the adorable things your children have been doing.  I probably missed a couple of New Year’s Eve engagements. Not to mention dozens of birthdays…

Conversely, none of you know about my daily trials and triumphs, like the epic two week stretch I went without having to move my car on account of the Chinese New Year, inclement weather and the memory of a black man’s indomitable dream; or that I’ve been cast in not one, but two shows for which I am currently in rehearsal; or that I started a new exercise program which lasted exactly seven and half minutes; or that I have a new obsession with tiny houses on wheels and how I kind of want to move out west and build one in the woods and live off the grid forever.

By removing the social media interactions from my day, I had much less use for my precious iPhone. Though I still listened to music, audiobooks and podcasts incessantly, those things add value to my life and require almost none of my time and energy in return, so I deemed them okay. I did have to turn off a lot of the notifications on my phone because the constant interruptions were very distracting.

The best part about not being glued to my phone every minute of every day is that it increased the quality of my real world connections exponentially. Nothing ruins good dinner conversation faster than whipping out your phone to take a picture of the meal and then check it a dozen more times to see who ‘liked’ it. Which is absolutely something I’ve been guilty of in the past and hope never to do again.

The other nice thing about taking a step back from my digital life is that I wound up being a lot happier with my real life.  I recently discovered that as much as I love interacting on social media, it often makes me kind of sad.

Intellectually, I know that the majority of the things people post on social media is their personal highlight reel and they’re probably not as blissful as they seem on the screen (at least, I know it’s true in my case), but as a poor, fallible human, I can’t help but compare their seemingly superior circumstances to my own.

Facebook in particular seems to send me into a whirlwind of inadequacy and self-doubt. Unplugging for a while really gave me the opportunity to step back and gain some much-needed perspective. Despite appearances, I’m confident that everyone feels that their life is as mundane and disappointing as mine often feels. Which, in a way, is a comforting thought.

As my social media-free month came to a close, my resolve wavered a little bit. I’ll admit to checking my Facebook notifications more than once. I even ‘liked’ a status or two. But I no longer feel as though I’m living to post – a definite win.

I also received a handful of emails from friends who noticed my absence on their Newsfeed and expressed their concern. Those emails made my day. I even reached out to a few of them (by phone) to express my thanks and to assure them that I was all right.

Now that my self-imposed sabbatical is over, I will definitely go back to sharing my life on the internet, but I hope to do so in a way that is more mindful. I don’t necessarily want to change the sorts of things I post – I’m prepared to be just as ridiculous as ever – so long as I’m clear about the reasons I’m posting and I’m able to maintain a keen awareness for when it’s time to take another break.

So interwebbers, what’d I miss?

S

Change is a-comin’

Scratch that. Change is here. Allow me to explain.

I know we haven’t seen much of each other lately. It’s been a deliberate choice on my part. I needed a time out. While I didn’t completely unplug, I have considerably decreased my online presence of late.

Typically, when I go this long without updating the blog (over a month!) I put up some silly faux apology, usually accompanied by a cute picture of a dog. Like this one…
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I offer no apology this time, however, because on this particular occasion my time has been much better spent making some signifiant changes to my life.

For the past several months, I’ve been growing frustrated with the amount of stuff in my life. I suppose it started back in March when my family and I had to clean out my grandmother’s house after she passed away. She lived to be more than a hundred years old so you can imagine the amount of stuff she had.

The trouble was, she had really nice stuff. Or stuff that had a lot of sentimental value. It was tremendously difficult to part with the remains of her life. It felt like losing her all over again. It was one of the most stressful and painful things we’ve gone through as a family. Almost as painful as her actual death.

In any case, it got me thinking about my life, my living space, and the manner in which I’d like to spend my remaining days on this planet. I had to ask myself, how many more Saturdays do I want to spend cleaning/re-organizing my apartment rather than doing something I actually enjoy with the people I love?

As with everything else, change starts at home, so I took a long hard look at my apartment.

Though my four bedroom, pre-war apartment in Harlem is considerably larger than those of some of my friends who live in the trendier parts of the city (I actually have closets – plural), it was stuffed to the gills with, well, stuff. And much of that stuff was starting to feel like weight. Dead, useless weight that required more of my time and attention than I was willing to give.

So I did what any type-A, goal-oriented individual would do. I made lists. Lots of lists. Lists of things to sell on Craigslist, lists of stuff that I could donate to Goodwill, I even made a list of the things that weren’t useful enough to be sold or donated and should probably be thrown away.

Those lists sat in a drawer, buried under a pile of other stuff for about six months.

I clearly needed a better strategy. So I started doing research.

I have a fondness for TED talks and, despite my resolution to spend less time online, I tend to binge-watch them from time to time. Recently I saw one – a three minute video – featuring Grant Blakeman called: Minimalism – For a  More Full Life.

I was largely unfamiliar with the term, so I popped it into the googler and came up with this:

Be More with Less

Becoming Minimalist

The Minimalists

It was particularly the writing of The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, that lit the spark and nudged me out of research mode where I was merely considering the adoption of a simpler lifestyle, to taking the leap.

So the next day, I took a tote bag full of my paper files (bills, bank statements, tax returns, etc…) to work with me. Using our high-powered scanner, I scanned the important documents into my computer and shredded the rest. I went home with an empty tote bag that night. I repeated the process the next day…and the next. By the end of that third day, I no longer had ANY paper files taking up space in my life.

While I got very little work work done on those days, I felt fantastic. Accomplished. Light. I wanted more.

Do you ever get that feeling that the Universe or God or whatever is telling you that you’re on the right path and that you should keep going? Because I definitely had that feeling two Wednesdays ago.

Cursing as I tripped over a pair of shoes that were lying in the middle of the floor because there was no room for them in my already over-stuffed closet, I realized that more drastic steps needed to be taken. So I went back to The Minimalists website in search of more tips/tricks/ideas and I noticed a post talking about their upcoming book tour.

Apparently, they were doing an appearance in New York that very evening at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe – a ten minute subway ride from my office.

I went. It was amazing. They were both so open, friendly and eager to answer my myriad questions. Not to mention inspirational…

By the time I left the event, book in hand, I had arranged to donate several boxes of my own books to Housing Works and I felt super energized. Double win!

A few days later, I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, reading The Minimalists’ new book Everything That Remains (which I HIGHLY recommend by the way), when I noticed a sign posted on a bulletin board advertising a rummage sale to benefit a local community garden. The sale was taking place that afternoon. Beneath the date and time was a plea for donations of gently used household items.

I looked at my phone. I had a little over an hour before the sale was set to begin.

I rushed home, picked up an empty box from my most recent online purchase of I can’t remember what, and started to fill it up.

Do I really need four different sized curling irons? Nope. Three of them went in the box.

How many travel cosmetics bags does a girl really need? One? Yeah, one sounds about right. The other four went in the box.

Have I ever worn this bracelet in the six years I’ve owned it? No? In the box.

Hm…two teapots is starting to feel like one teapot too many... Box.

On it went. Once the box was full I grabbed a decorative storage basket filled with magazines (the most recent of which was dated Sept 2012), dumped the magazines unceremoniously into the recycling bin and filled up the basket with more stuff.

Then I pulled a large storage bin out from under my bed that contained a couch cover (for a couch I no longer own), four sets of curtains (none of which are long enough to cover any of the windows in my apartment) and a wide variety of curtain rods – some brand new – that also had no useful place in my home.

At first, I began frantically removing the items from the bin and stuffing them in trash bags. Then I paused for a moment. What did I need with an empty storage bin? If I kept it, I was just going to find more crap to put in it. So I packed everything back in the bin and took it out to my car.

An hour later, I had a full car load.

When I arrived at the rummage sale, there was only one sad little table with some glassware, a few knick-knacks, and an extra large Islanders hockey shirt on it. By the time we unpacked my car, they needed three additional tables to accommodate all my stuff.

More importantly, while we were unloading my car, I made friends with the woman running the sale who invited me to connect with her on Facebook so that I’d be able to attend some of the events she organizes in the garden.

That’s when I got smacked in the head by another revelation. I realized something hugely important that’s been missing from my life – a sense of community. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize you’re missing until it’s gone. I think it’s an especially difficult thing to find in NYC, but that’s a subject for another post.

In any event, while I don’t believe that getting rid of all my stuff is going to magically bring me happiness, fulfillment and a sense of belonging, I am hopeful that it will clear some space in my life so that I might be able to make room (literally and figuratively) for those infinitely more important things.

I’ve already gotten a small taste of the wonderful feeling of freedom that comes with the shedding of some of life’s excesses. I definitely want to continue down this path to see where it takes me.

Long story short: I think I’m going to try this minimalism thing for a while. I think I might be a minimalist now. I am a minimalist now. (FYI – I deleted and re-typed that last line at least a dozen times before hitting the ‘publish’ button. Yes, the idea of minimalist living is that scary.)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s to the simple life!

~S

Everybody’s got to make some sacrifices to the rock gods…

photo (5)

Dear Old Texan Who Rented Us His Family Vacation Home,

Thank you so much for allowing us to stay in your beautiful, palatial, and very well appointed home. It being the weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival and all, I’m sure you had a lot of interest from potential renters. Thanks for choosing us. We had a wonderful time.

I can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to come home after a long day of rocking out at the rock show and soak in the hot tub or take a refreshing dip in the pool, then drift off to sleep in one of your comfortable beds. Don’t think that the thread count on those sheets went unnoticed. It was much appreciated! Ditto with the spa towels. Thanks for going the extra mile there.

Oh, and the tech! I’m not very good with technology so I don’t have any idea what even one of those thirty-five remotes controlled, but it all looked very impressive. And I must say, the giant projection screen over the pool was a nice touch.

photo 2 (2)

The grounds around your property are lovely as well. We particularly enjoyed the fire pit and the pond…though I must admit, I was a bit wary of the hobo living in the shed out back, but he turned out to be very friendly and made for an excellent neighbor.

You’ve been so kind and generous; I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incident that occurred on Sunday afternoon.

You see the rock show was cancelled that day on account of rain. I guess some parts of Zilker Park were literally under water. Everyone was highly disappointed.

Fortunately, we are a resilient bunch, and decided to make the best of it. We cracked open a bottle of champagne, cranked up some Lionel Ritchie (the would-be headliner of the show) and spent a relaxing morning in the hot tub. Easy like Sunday morning, am I right?

Sometime after the second bottle of champagne and that ‘hour of power’ that seemed like a good idea at the time, someone came up with the brilliant notion of inviting all of the displaced musicians and fellow rockers over to the house. ‘If we can’t go to the rock show, then we’ll bring the rock show to us!’

Frankly, we didn’t think anyone would show up and I think we were all a little bit shocked by the turn out.

At first it was just our small group and the crew from Atoms for Peace. Even though it was beyond cool to meet Thom Yorke and Flea, I’ll admit it was a little awkward at first. They weren’t really equipped for an acoustic set, so there was a lot of feet shuffling with hands in pockets and not a lot of direct eye contact. Then someone suggested we set up a beer pong tournament. Things got a lot less awkward after that.

That shit got competitive real quick! Rock stars do not fuck around. They also don’t take well to losing at beer pong. Especially after taunting a drunk and belligerent Thom Yorke by screaming Radiohead lyrics at him every time he tried to make a shot.

Long story short, that’s how come your table got broken. Sorry about that.

Things settled down a bit when Shuggie Otis arrived with Neko Case. (They carpooled.) They seemed relatively unfazed by the destruction in the dining room, whipped out their guitars and played an impromptu show in the kitchen. It was pretty incredible.

Then Noah and the Whale and Phoenix turned up in a party bus and things got rowdy again. I don’t know whose idea it was to start skeet-shooting with your fine china, but it happened…and it was all kinds of fun. And honestly, if you didn’t want people breaking into your china cabinet (or your gun cabinet for that matter) then you should really invest in proper locks. I’m just sayin’.

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As for the golf cart in your pool…that one is all on Franz Ferdinand. Those limy Scottish fruits know how to party!

It was while we were all distracted trying to fish the golf cart out of the pool that Flea decided to jump through your projection screen all Animal-from-The-Muppets style. You can’t take your eyes off that crazy bastard for a second!

When the kids from School of Rock showed up I knew there was going to be trouble. Those kids can drink! And that little girl who plays the bass is a mean drunk. I don’t think that poor hobo ever saw it coming. We found most of his teeth though, and I’m sure his scalp will go back to normal once his stitches are removed.

You’d think the kids would be the ones responsible for the puking in the hot tub, but no. That was Valerie June. She might be a badass blues player, but homegirl is tiny! And I have no idea where that jug of moonshine came from.

But nobody, not even the drunkest among us, ever thought in a million years that the man himself – LIONEL RITCHIE – would accept our humble party invitation. Even the other rock stars were stoked to see him.

Call it naiveté, but I was hoping for a handholding, ‘We Are the World’ type of sitch. Alas, that was not to be. When Lionel says he’s going to party ‘All Night Long,’ he fucking means it. He was tearing through the house jumping on the furniture like a little kid, except he had a bottle of Jack in one hand and a fifth of Jame-O in the other. I think he was legitimately trying to dance on the ceiling and I, for one, wasn’t about to tell him no.

My recollections get kind of patchy after that.

I remember walking in on some crazy shit in the garage. I’m pretty sure a certain folk singer was doing a line of what I can only assume was blow off of a certain blues singer’s…well, suffice it to say, you need a new pool table. And new pool cues. Maybe just don’t go in your garage anymore. Yeah, that’s probably best.

Then later someone foolishly asked Lionel Ritchie to stop jumping on your bed while singing ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ ad nauseam. He got super angry and punched that hole in your bedroom wall. I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably regretting not charging us a security deposit, but don’t worry about it. We gave Lionel a sharpie and asked him to autograph the wall. He did his best. It sort of looks like his signature. Sure, it probably would’ve been better if he hadn’t drawn all those lewd sketches underneath it, but you can still sell it on eBay and make back the money for the repairs. Assuming you even want to get it fixed. It is pretty epic. I mean, how many people can honestly claim that Lionel Ritchie drew a dick on their wall? Not many, I’m guessing.

Other than that, the weekend was pretty quiet. Though several members of our party did get stung by scorpions in your backyard. There’s also a huge hornet’s nest down by the pond. We collectively decided not to sue, but you should really take care of that.

So…I guess that’s it. Thanks again. See you next year!

Fondly,

[omitted]

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Speaking of unicorns…

…I had another wonderful day last week because I went to this:

unicorn tour

Despite the lack of any actual unicorns (besides me that is), it was basically the culmination of all my childhood fantasies. But better. Because now I’m old enough to appreciate the awesomeness…and yet still dumb enough to believe in magic.

And it was magical.

Case in point…

I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in two years!

at the movies

[There’s really nothing like two thirty-something-year-old women giggling like little girls while bonding over their fondness for a cartoon unicorn and other bits of assorted geekery.]

I got to meet the wonderfully talented and kind Peter S. Beagle who signed all manner of unicorn-related paraphernalia for a whole theater full of adoring fans.

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And I got to watch one of my all time favorite childhood movies on the big screen. It was epic. Even if it did kind of ruin my life by introducing my six-year-old (and fully comprehending) self to the concept of regret.

unicorn

[“I am no longer like the others, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but now I do. I regret.”]

I hadn’t seen it in over twenty years and it was really neat to watch it with fresh eyes. And I got way more of the jokes. For instance, I never realized how Jewish-y Schmendrick is, despite the nose, the fact that he sounds like he’s straight out of Brooklyn and, well, that his name is friggin’ Schmendrick!

schmendrick2

[“Be rary of wousing a rizard’s wrath – rousing a rizard’s – Be wary of making a magician angry!”]

Molly Grue made me cry just as much as she did when I was a little girl. Maybe more…

Molly Grue

[” Where have you been? Damn you! Where have you been?…Where were you twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Where were you when I was new? When I was one of those innocent young maidens you always come to? How dare you! How dare you come to me now, when I am this!”]

And as an adult I was able to recognize all of the celebrity voices, like…

Robert Klein

Butterfly

.

.

.

.

.

Angela Lansbury

Mommy Fortuna

   and Christopher Lee

Haggard

.

.

.

.

.

.

But I think the best part was getting to hear Jeff Bridges – The Big Lebowski – The Dude himself – singing a love song to Mia Farrow…

I squeed a little.

Okay, a lot.

Peter S. Beagle has written a lot of great lines, but for my money, this is the best one:

“There are no happy endings, because nothing ends.”

sparkly unicorn

Dear Peter,

Thanks for creating such a beautiful story and a wonderful film and for bringing it back to the big screen! Oh, and for signing all my stuff. I promise not to sell it on eBay. If you ever get that live action film idea off the ground, I’d like to play either the drunken skeleton or the pirate cat. Think you could see your way to getting me a screen test?

Your friend,

Sarah