31 March, 2009

Did I ever tell you about my first solo subway ride in NYC?

I arrived in New York on Valentines Day. It was a Saturday.

The next day I had a callback for Hairspray. I was venturing out on my first train ride alone. I got heavy instruction from Patric the night before. I brought my directions with me on notebook paper and walked down the steps into the underworld...also known as Metro Transit.

It was a Sunday morning and I guess some of my fellow transportees were just coming to after a rough Valentines Day night.

I slid onto a bench on the 6 and found myself not trying to stare at the long-haired hispanic man seated across from me. He was very, very chatty...but not with anyone who was actually present in the car. I'm not sure who it was he was talking to in his head but he felt very passionate about it. I kept thinking Please don't notice I'm here and I'm real...

I felt very...nervous.

When I arrived at my audition about a hundred of us were corralled into a holding room where I made friends with two queens. Yes, queens. There's no better word for these boys. Don't feel awkward.

I told them about my Millie-esque arrival in the City by train/bus the day before and how I was freaked out by the heavily intoxicated wilderness looking man on the subway just before. He could have had a gun for all I knew!

Queenie 1 goes: Drunk? Honey, he was cracked out. Welcome to New York.

28 March, 2009

It Will Be Beautiful

I totally have a thought and I am sincerely too tired to communicate well but I wanted to share the thought before it's gone.

My birthday is coming up in a week and a half. I tend to view birthdays as the 'new year' in the sense that i do a lot of reflection and self-evaluation, etc.

I was reading today about global warming and I read this thought that for all the time and energy we expend on 'saving the planet' and 'going green' how much have we thought to enjoy this gorgeous earth while we've got it?

And for me...

I'm only going to be in my 20's for a short time. I'm only going to have this healthy, young, bursting with energy body for a time. Why am I not enjoying the wonders of creation?

So one of my birthday resolutions (if you will) is to make an effort to take advantage of the landscapes of the earth in my 25th year. I'm not sure where it will take me. But I know it will be beautiful.

25 March, 2009

NY week 6! wow!

So I'm back in New York after a whirlwind weekend in Lynchburg. I was blessed enough to get to see not only dear old friends but also my parents and my sister who I didn't count on seeing again for a solid 6 months! We all got to share meals, laughs and great j crew sales. Even better we got to walk through a house my parents are making an offer on. After all the shit that happened in Nashville it is SO exciting and joyful to walk in an empty house that my parents can fill and live in and start. over.

I left Lynchburg beyond sleep deprived. 2 nights of 3 hours of sleep. It kinda makes you crazy. I really felt like I was in the twilight zone Monday afternoon when I got back to the City. Ya know those moments where you're like "Wait, is this a reality show. Where's the hidden camera? Seriously." That's so how I felt.

Yesterday I tried to make it up to an audition but overslept b/c I had forgotten to set my alarm. I ended up standing outside in line in the freezing cold for upwards of an hour. The security guard just stood on the other side of the glass in the empty lobby staring at us while my toes got so cold they were hurting.

It's moments like that that make me feel less romantic about New York.

Today I had a total of 3 hour or longer conversations about life and being 23 (24 in 2 weeks) and what city to live in and what ideologies to believe and whether or not to pursue graduate school or to pursue making real money or to pursue the art.

These years have to be the strangest most fulfilling exciting gut-wrenching years of our lives.

I'm trying to sincerely take this whole journey one step at a time...if I put it in writing it will be good. I am planning to definitely stay in New York through the end of May. I may (REALLY) kind of hate my job and hate crowds and hate dirty handrails. But I love this experience and the challenge and I will love having said I did it for more than 3 months. I also know that my values are changing and I may want something new and different soon. Something that is a big picture investment. Like grad school in a discipline I'd like to eventually teach?

And you may or may not be wondering about the door situation...

I'm presently staying at my uncle's totally charming apartment in cute Astoria. If you ever move to New York and can't afford hipster Brooklyn or ridiculously expensive too small Manhattan, Astoria is not far and the apartments are bigger and the streets are quiet in a good way. The kicker is that he has a spare bedroom so you know what that means. I am in a room of my own with a bed (not a futon or an air mattress) a desk and a DOOR!! I am so grateful for the space to be alone but I am still looking forward to the magical day when I will have my own rented door. It looks like it will be happening April 15th! It couldn't come soon enough.

In the mean time I'm trying to not let the fact that I'm without a place of my own break my spirit. If you have any positive vibes or encouraging thoughts feel free to send them this way. :-)

24 March, 2009


still don't have time or energy for a lengthy post but i will say that for the first time in a long time I felt like God was speaking to me over the weekend. Maybe to you that sounds egocentric but I really think that if there is a God who is capable of executing every detail of our planet down to the fingerprints on your hands He is also capable of caring about you as an individual and wants you to have hope.

also it (KNOCK ON LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WOOD) looks like i'll be making arrangements tomorrow night to move into a sublease quite soon! and i'll only be like 13 blocks from Patric's and more importantly only like, 3 blocks from China Moon. HOLLAR. Chicken and broccoli EVERYDAAAAYYYYY. I won't get sick of it. (Just ask Grace @ Tokyo's on Timberlake.)

I will also say that within the past week I have learned my limitations. I really don't have time to go through a personal crisis, find an apartment, work, audition, travel, stay up all night, eat unhealthy food, learn a new city, maintain friendships/relationships (I'm sorry for my long-distance friends who I haven't called since being here) AND make a good grade in my graduate class. Basically I'm just gonna have to make really good grades on every other class I take in the future to balance out this one. It is safe to say the choice was a bit audacious. I'm learning my lesson.

21 March, 2009

So much to blog about! So little time! The good news is that I have a 8 hour train ride on Monday where I can blog to my heart's content (how lame am i for just saying that?)

I am loving life and uncertainty and joe beans coffee and the crazy amount of wonderful people in lynchburg this weekend and 14 auditions in the next 15 days and turning 24 in 2 weeks!

I love you all.

and sidenote i love when people tell me in real life they have read my blog and know what's going on with me. it feels kind of like when people call me "Hil" for the first time. Like, awww we are best friends and you care!

Also, hello to the person who reads my blog from Norway!

That's all.

11 March, 2009


My New Place!!! jk.

I have now been in NYC for a total of 25 days. Man, that doesn’t sound like long but it sure does feel like it. Maybe because it’s been the inundation of new places, smells, means of transportation, people, ways of life, languages, and living conditions. So much new at once makes the familiar seem like a past life.

For the first few weeks I was here I felt almost illogically joyous about NYC. Every train ride conquered, taxi hailed, and audition attended made me feel like I could do anything. As the weeks have worn on and money seems to be harder to come by then I once foresaw it truly is difficult to remain encouraged. Some days are clearly better than others. For me it’s a weird mix of hormone levels and actual circumstances. The waters of life could really be smooth sailing but if it’s that 1 day of the month one would think someone stole my kitten and punched my grandma. Perhaps that’s more information than you wanted…

That room of my own with 4 walls and a door remains illusive but I remain hopeful!

I really don’t fancy blogging about negative situations or worrisome thought so I will spin this in a positive analytical way.
It’s really interesting to see how I’ve evolved from this person who thrives on change and adventure and spontaneity and the unknown into a person who longs for the day when I lay my head on a pillow in a room that I can call my own that I intend to live in for at least a year in a city where I know I should be, going to work to do a job I feel fulfilled doing. There really are good reasons why most people live “normal” lives.

On the other hand….:-)

I wouldn’t trade this tumultuous time in Manhattan for anything. I love a challenge. And if that challenge is finding my way out of Queens (when I didn’t intend to arrive there) or if it’s figuring out a way to stretch a dollar (order the large portion from China Moon instead of the small because you get 3 meals for the price of 2!) both involve a bit of risk, adventure and scheming.

For me New York’s appeal before I moved here was that it really appeared to be the ultimate challenge. When I came to visit with my parents a year ago (perhaps you saw the “Trip of a Lifetime” photo albums on the Facebook) I had no intention of ever moving to this city. I remember my second visit to New York (the first when I was a toddler) when I was in 7th grade. It was the first time I saw a show on Broadway (Cats) and the first time I heard the words “Star Bucks” paired together. But the emotion that I felt most strongly about New York---believe it or not—was dislike! I was utterly overwhelmed by the materialism in the Big Apple. Too much expensive shopping for my 13-year-old taste I suppose.

While I was a kid who always dreamed of making a living being a performer I never wrapped my brain around the thought of actually moving to New York to go for it. That seemed like something other people did. People who grew up in musical families, people who were the stars of their college theatre shows, people from the North, people who weren’t Baptist, people who heck, at least majored in musical theatre?

But time and again over the past year doors have opened. Opportunities have presented themselves and well, the punch line is I’m living in New York City.

So since so many doors opened for this astounding opportunity I have to ask myself: What’s the point?

Being immersed in a culture that is so pervasively secular (Godless?) it is easy for the concept of God being intimately involved and interested in one’s life to seem truly foreign. But as a Believer I must cling to the hope that God cares. He cares that I don’t exactly know where I’m going to live in April. He cares that I feel the pull daily between the dream of getting married and raising a family and the dream of travel and performance. My friend Maura pointed out that perhaps God doesn’t care so much exactly what I choose to do but what kind of character I have doing it—just like my Dad.

And ultimately He loves me no matter what choice I make.

And if God really does believe in me and hope good things for me and support me like the father He’s blessed me with here on earth then I really do feel peace amidst the uncertainty and craziness.

I would still like a room of my own though—with a door.

08 March, 2009

An Open Letter to my Feet

Dear Feet,

Ok, fine. I'll be the first to say it.

I'm sorry for moving to New York.

I didn't really give you a heads up. But look at it this way, I didn't give anyone a heads up! I didn't condition you for the miles of pavement and cobblestone walking. I didn't buy you hiking boots or a bike. And I'm sorry about that. But the way you've developed this ridunkulous blister is just sort of awkward. I'm walking back and forth at Anthropologie at the pace of an 87 year old. How does that make me look? So can we please reconcile our differences? I promise to give you a pedi in Lynchburg next weekend. Eh?

Ever Grateful Yet Sore,

04 March, 2009

new york 3.0

Helloooo it’s me Hil reporting live from E. 87th and Lex. Sadly, I failed and didn’t write yesterday (But seriously I had 2 auditions and then worked from 5 pm to 11 pm. What do you want?) but here I am. Wednesday is almost Tuesday anyway, right?

Like many of you we had a snowstorm here in Manhattan over the weekend. Flurries of Sunday AM were charming. A foot of snow turned to slush on Monday was less charming.

Let’s back up and do a chronological report….

Last Wednesday-Friday I took the bus down to Washington for a callback I had for a show there. I got to spend some quality time with Leslie and feel a bit of non-New York shock (“It’s so QUIET here!!). By the time Friday rolled around I was ready to head back to the city.

I started work at Soho Anthro on Friday which has totally been a blessing. The work is mehhh because obviously its not challenging and I’ve been doing it (on and off) for almost 2 years. But make no mistake I am SUPREMELY GRATEFUL for having a job.

The awareness that has compounded my frustration is that I’ve done all this self-analysis for my organizational behavior class that tells me I need autonomy, a sense of contributing to a worthy cause and challenging projects to really enjoy my job. And those things, well, I’m not getting. I guess I should just view them as a trade off for getting to have the flexibility to attend auditions when I need to and getting to live in this unbelievable place.

(sidenote there is a man across the street right now with a cane and a cig that looks suspiciously like Johnny Cash. He’s even wearing black.)


I spent Saturday day writing a paper for my class and then Saturday night I got standing room tickets for West Side Story with Larry (who is in town auditioning for a few days) and my dearest Maura. The show was incredible and while I spent the first act on my tiptoes trying to peer through heads the size of Christmas trees during the second act Larry found me a sneaky spot in front of a column where I had a glorious view of the stage. I even had a little alone space to tear up during the sad parts. After it was over we went to this artsy bar/restaurant called Vintage. (So New York, right?)

Sunday I worked again in Soho and finished my paper. That’s sort of boring to write about…umm…

Oh yes, Monday I had planned to move into my sublet on the upper West side but then the blizzard of 09 hit so I stayed back at Patric’s and hung out with him and his roommate Nick and his girlfriend Melissa (who you might see on a new Clean & Clear commercial. It’s for Morning Burst. She dances in pajamas and slippers.) So we went to Serendipity to get dessert and ultimately got lunch and dessert (and I got 4 cups of coffee. He just kept filling it up! And I kept sipping!). I had a delicious broccoli cheese omelette and then we split this incredible Forbidden Broadway brownie ice cream sundae deliciousness. All the while we were sitting in a pink room telling funny stories with snow falling outside. It was such a good day. ☺

Yesterday I attended two auditions: one for Tokyo Disney and the other for a theatre in California. Then I worked last night at Anthro and our managers ordered pizza for us. (What? New York, everything is better here.)

Today I decided that I’m tired of having to wear a hat everywhere just because my head is cold. I’d rather wear it when I want to for fashion purposes. Spring can not come soon enough. I turn 24 in about a month and I hope that I’m not still all bundled up with frostbitten fingers.

Tonight I’m meeting my friend Hanley (ANOTHER dear friend who just moved here. I’m not kidding) for dinner in Hell’s Kitchen and then Patric and I are going to meet up with Maura and her boyfriend Anton to celebrate his birthday.

Oh and as far as moving goes I’m not moving until the weekend because my friends who I am subletting from are moving to Washington Heights this weekend. But do you know what this means for me?

Do you KNOW what this means for me?!

It means that I get 4 whole walls and my own…DOOR.
No living room living for this little gypsy. ;-)

I love NYC!


01 March, 2009

mini-update cause it's not tuesday

Snow flurries in New York are just charming and picturesque (so far).
Small dogs on leashes are to New York what lizards are to Florida. (eeeeverywhere!)
Saw West Side Story on Broadway last night. So moving, so fantastic. I love art done with excellence!! [sidenote: I think the story moved me even more because I have puerto rican immigrant friends. it's amazing how far we've come with prejudice in this country...and yet how far we have to go...]
Taking a class online when I have the major distraction of New York City around me is a character builder.
I'm moving into my sublet tomorrow. Which means I no longer "live with friends." Which means I really live here.
Sometimes I really enjoy alone time.
I feel blessed.