On Mediocrity 2 (Belated Post from Nights of Yore)

Here are some synonyms for mediocrity: Ordinary, average, middling, middle-of-the-road, uninspired, undistinguished, indifferent, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, prosaic, lackluster, forgettable, amateur, and, my personal favorite, amateurish. Not even good enough to be a full-on amateur! You got the -ish tagged on! A man who weighed 500 pounds, lost 200, and is able to complete…

On Mediocrity 1 (Belated Marathon)

Everyone knows that the New York City Marathon is, like, the major running event of the year. People pay thousands of dollars to stand, freezing, in Staten Island with hangover-esque jet lag in order to run their worst time in a race distance that is, with the proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs and ultramarathons, increasingly less…

Cruelty Analysis in the First Degree

  When I was a little girl, or at least a less old adult, I decided to start a blog. I just fact checked the exact dates of the blog beginning, and it was July of 2010. Assumedly, a birthday had just passed (the 24th) and I was feeling, as the kids say, a certain…

New Year, New You

Once upon a time, there was a year from hell. Some people made memes about it, some people chose to block it from their memory through excessive ingestion of substances and online television, and still other people honored it by creating this magical trailer. Whatever your coping mechanism, 2016, like food poisoning and shitty relationships, ran its…

GVN Update: Post-TMB

Since it would appear that the only place in the Alps I’m even remotely prolific – and remotely connected to the WiFi for more than three minutes at a time – is the Geneva International Airport, I should seize the moment and attempt to codify in 1,000 words or less the mountainous events of last…

Citizen Lily, or I Drank the Kool-Aid

Before I depart into the mountain wilderness, I want to briefly make a confession: I fell for a marketing ploy.  Faced with a 22-hour layover in Paris, and burdened with a 30 pounds of luggage and a decidedly unParisienne wardrobe, I decided to forgo a jaunt in the City of Lights for the comfort of…

GVN: An Airport Update

I am currently in the Geneva airport, waiting for my next form of transportation: A shuttle bus to Chamonix, Adventure Capital of Europe. Adventure? What does that mean? Well, when it’s put into phrases like the declarative one above, it’s a euphemism for “Outdoor Activities”. Not the ones where you wear open-toed sandals and drink…

30 Years Hath…Well, Let’s See

Certain birthdays have significance. 10, for example: Double Digits! Any elementary schooler knows that the difference between a schoolyard Sally and the Queen of the Concrete is that oh-so-essential bump into the next tens spot. But all being 10 really means you’re that much closer to being 13. Bar and bat mitzvahs! Boobs! Pimples! Periods…

How It All Transpired: The Extended Version

  As anyone who has learned or taught a foreign language knows, idioms don’t translate. They are a bizarre facet of language that can expose as much about a culture as its cuisine or its religious beliefs. Even odder is the fact that there are expressions in our own languages that we may know by…

Beef Mother Fucking Jerky

A picture’s worth a thousand words and, in this case, ninety three thousand calories. I have assembled below a photo essay of all the different beef jerky sections in the Travel Mart right outside the ironically named Goodland, Kansas, where, despite an afternoon high of 72° Fahrenheit, it is currently snowing. Loose beef jerky. Mainstream…

Oh, Captain! My Captain!

I should take a moment to mention the bus itself, the tragicomic Pequod in my quest for nationalism and a cheap ride. When we were about to board the bus at the Port Authority, our first driver delivered an ominous message: “When I saw this bus I thought they was playing an April Fool’s joke…

Dorothy was Stupid

Kansas. Really? We’ve spent the last seven hours driving on the same flat godforsaken highway, by far the most boring stretch of land in the entire world. No hills, no trees, eight houses total. Just wind turbines, dry grass, and the occasional cow. Seriously, though – what the fuck do people do here? I don’t…

Missour-really?

When I think of Missouri, I think of racist lunatics, murderous thugs, inbred meanies, and high-pitched voices. I can’t explain why. It’s just a feeling. I was surprised, then, to take three pictures in the state of Missouri that were very nice. Here they are. Sunrise over the St. Louis Amtrak/Greyhound station, taken through stained…

Where is the Man in the Gabardine Suit?

The sunset in Pittsburgh last night was beautiful, lighting up the old steel city and making the fact that someone was clipping their nails in the bus a little more tolerable. Indeed, the latter part of the day, from Pennsylvania into Ohio, was a casual cruise, almost pleasant. Between Can’t Remember and Columbus, I sat…

Yelp Me! I’m on a Bus!

As everyone knows, Yelp and other review sites spew lies created by irate individuals after a miserable experience probably due, in part, to their incomprehension of rules or refusal to listen to instructions. However, on Tuesday night, I had utterly convinced myself that I’d be murdered before Topeka, and covered in semen shortly thereafter. To…

Country Roads, Take Me…Far

“Just so you know, sir, these are Beiber nuts. From the Beiber animal. I just want you to know in case you have an allergy or something.” The Muffin Man, who didn’t seem to speak English, nodded slightly, and squinted. I, who do speak English but still didn’t understand, also nodded and squinted. “That’ll be…

Marathon Musings: Staten Island State of Mind

A lot of people say that running the New York City Marathon was the best experience of their life. I hope this is true, because it would be really awesome to wake up tomorrow and have the best thing that has ever happened to me happen to me. However, I doubt that this will be…

The Final Countdown: Marathon Special

Ladies and Gentlemen, the countdown has begun! The TCS New York City Marathon, a.k.a. the reason I have forsaken all friends and fun for a large part of the summer and now fall, is officially one month from today. I ran a 20-mile run last week, which means that I’ll probably finish the race. It’s…

I Need Your Yelp Like I Need A Hole In The Head

Last week, my coworkers were discussing a recent review that had been posted on Yelp. They had been navigating the site for a while, and still couldn’t find the offending entry. “Ask Lily,” said one, “she’s pretty much the mayor of Yelp.” I admit it: My obsession with reading the online reviews of my place…

It’s Not A Sprint: Part Two

But fine. You’ve accepted the facts, you know it’s going to be hard, you’ve run your 5ks and 10ks, and maybe even a half or two. You take a break from training, smoke a few cigarettes, stay out later than you should, and then there you are: 20 weeks away from the ultimate adult extracurricular activity, The…

It’s Not A Sprint: Part One

I mentioned in my post about attending graduation that the older we get, the fewer Big Life Events we have to look forward to. As we run out of milestones, or at least drift farther away from them, we need to establish new goals to punctuate our directionless floating in the morass known as life. Enter…

A Day Off

Days off in the summer are tricky, especially when you work in a restaurant. I can swear on all your holy spirits and blood relatives that I’ll never be given a weekend off, and that my workless Wednesdays will either be rain-soaked and dismal, or coincide with the one afternoon I have to wait for the cable guy to show up (“between…

On Graduating

When I first thought about attending the commencement ceremony, my instinct was: “Why the fuck would I do that?” When I asked my friends, the general consensus was: “I mean, it’s not like it’s Columbia…it’s an MFA from CCNY. Like, WTF.” It’s common knowledge that getting an MFA at City College is as hard as hailing a gypsy…

If Olives Were Real: On Growing Up Dreamless

When I was younger, I had an unnatural interest in pimento-stuffed olives, the plump green ones stuffed with pickled red peppers generally used as a garnish for martinis or tacky antipasto plates on which cubes of cheddar cheese and Genoa salami are nestled in clumps of shredded iceberg lettuce and have American flag-wrapped toothpicks flying high. I could conjure up a reason…

A Savage End: Love Story

Last September, while taking a break from simpering panels about how to use Twitter to become a famous writer at the Slice Literary Conference, I bought a copy of Los Detectives Salvajes, by Roberto Bolaño. It was on display in the Spanish section in Court Street Books, and I was feeling not only intellectual but inspired to support local bookstores. I leafed…

A Few Rules in a Rule-Less Realm

Don’t be a douche: Hold the damn door, get up for people on the subway, if you bump into someone, apologize, tip well, and for the love of god, if someone talks to you, answer them, even if you hate them, because nothing is more infuriating or depressing that not being acknowledged. That said, if…

Cawfee Talk

At the end of December, the NYT website posted a test about dialect. By answering 25 questions based on how you pronounce or refer to certain words, the test analyzes your “personal dialect map”; in other words, show you where on the map of the US your linguistic tendencies tend to situate you. After spending…

I’m in Seattle #1: Thoughts on a Walk

  I decided to come to AWP for the conference and to spend time with my pack of wacky wordsmiths, but also because I’m severely lacking in transcontinental travel experience. I’ve been to Miami, like everyone else, and Austin and California and Las Vegas,  but other than that, my US adventures have generally been contained…

AWP Special #4: Breakdown of the Blitz

AWP, or Amazing Writerly Playtime, is pretty much the most awesome thing I’ve done all year. This may not seem like much of a statement, considering 2014 has been two months of penniless frigidity, both financially and phallically speaking, but I do mean it! Even though New York is the center of the publishing world,  it’s…

AWP Special #3: I’ve Paneled Myself Blind

Well! Barely did we have the chance to wipe the belligerence of a six hour flight off our face before being thrust into AWP land, located this year in downtown Seattle. AWP does not, as I thought, stand for American Writers and Poets, as I told everyone at work, but Association of Writers and Writing Programs….

AWP Special #2: A Few Thoughts on Planes

(NB: This conference is fun, crazy, and what some people call imparable. I finally ate a bacon cheeseburger this evening, which was the first real thing I had ingested since the plane ride, when I ate a cheeseburger with French fries. Maybe there is something to be said for the stereotype of Americans eating a lot…

AWP Special #1: Penn Station

At twenty-seven, I have very few firsts left. My first sexual experiences, first drinks, first jobs, first trips, first loves, and first losses all happened so long ago that I barely remember them as mine; rather, they seem like dreams, or half-remembered movies, that happened to a character for whom I care dearly, but who…

This Blog Post Will Change Your Life

Cliff’s Notes for “A Wednesday Evening Blog Post by Me”: I’ve written a blog. The first paragraph will have you doubting your own writing skills and ability to take the tools provided by the English language and craft heavenly prose. The third sentence in the second paragraph will have you donating the majority of the insulation…

Counting Stars Radio, by Pandora

on ice: on the fact that you can find fiber installations                                                                                        …

Belated V-Day Post: Hallmark of Modernity!

Damn, have there been a lotta things to hate lately! The weather, the MTA, the Russians, the MTA, deBlasio (because you were such an ingenue your first weeks of work, shorting the circuit on the coffee maker and addressing the trans receptionist as He!), the weather. February is traditionally the month in which people, New…

Snow Fuck Yourself

One of the things I try to do when writing, and living, is to remain rational when I’m livid. If I’m going on an extended rant, I aim to back it up with evidence and reasons for my discontent. This is not to say that I’m zen by any account – on the contrary, every…

Man-splaining, and Intellect

After my superintendent-induced tragedy and resulting diatribe on Friday evening, I did indeed end up going out on the town. One of my roommates was having a thing in Murray Hill, and though the neighborhood is the antithesis of everything I love (seriously – has anyone ever actually met a young professional? Who are these…

Why I Won’t Stay In Tonight

As you may or may not know, a large part of my November and December was tainted by the fact that my upstairs neighbors are assholes, and were doing a bunch of things with water that led to my ceiling caving in on a regular basis. I’d come home from school or work to find…

Raise the Roof

Last night, I walked up Broadway long after midnight. Fluffy snow was beginning to fall, and as I looked West at the Palisades glowing in the snow dance moonlight, I could already foresee the catastrophic commute that’s currently permitting me time to write this post. The malls running through the center of the thoroughfare were…

The Super Bowl

First of all, Bill de Blasio dropped the groundhog today. He couldn’t move to see his shadow, so apparently in six weeks we’re having the apocalypse. Anyway, on Friday night, there was a Bronco at my job. Not the animal, although that, to me, would have been far more interesting, but a member of the…

All Bodies Rise

The other day, on the internet, this unintentionally hilarious article about yoga happened. Skinny mini of the caucasian persuasion hits up local vinyasa class only to spend the entire hour and a half obsessing over  yogic struggles of tubby black girl behind her rather than concentrating on her breathing. The editors at The Onion, who generally…

Polar Vortex

A good time this is not for the people of New York. The general mood of the city is pretty consistent with the temperature: Frigid, terrible, and seemingly endless. Informal research conducted during my heat outage let me know that a decent number of people are, or have been in recent days, without heat; there…

Fuck the Brooklyn Half

On January 22nd, registration opened up for the New York Road Runner’s Brooklyn Half Marathon. For club members, registration was $55; non-members had to pay $75. Less than 48 hours later, on January 24th, the race was completely full save for charity spots, which allow you race entry provided you can raise a certain amount…

Please Don’t Make Me Go To Work

Finding a new job is a real pain in the ass. Back in the day, at least in my imagination, you’d go into a place and they’d do a trial by fire. If you didn’t cry or quit or ruin anything, you were in. Now, you have some bullshit week of training, during which you…

On Snow Days

As an adult, anticipation is everywhere. Will I get a second interview? Will I get this article accepted? Will this date be something? Will the express train get here before the local? Will this gastropub be as good as the Yelp reviews? Indeed, nothing is more exciting than possibility, and the average adult should be…

I Should Have Been Obsessed With 90210

In middle and high school, I saw “RENT” constantly, and loved it madly, as did every other girl and gay guy in America at the end of the millennium. I loved the music and the emotion, the costumes, the characters, the love, the message, and the city. In short, not only I was about that…

While We’re At It: Seeking a Throwback to BRB

Since we’re already on the subject of internet acronyms, if there’s one textual cyber-abbreviation that has gone the way of the CD-ROM that I genuinely miss, it’s “BRB.” At what point did BRB become obsolete? While the majority of these jumbled letter sets are meant to speed up the typing process, BRB was a way…

WTF is WCW?

I’m a pretty tech-savvy twenty-something. I did the iPhone update as soon as it came out, I upload, I download, and I have fairly active WordPress account, which is linked to my FaceBook and my Tumblr. I Tweet, I Pin, I worship the X Pro II filter, and, judging by the constant requests in my…

You Don’t Sit

Imagine the scene: Chambers Street, platform of the uptown 2/3 express. My legs are trembling after a double, my quads sore from my early morning pre-double jog. It’s late, the train isn’t bustling, and I can see the lights of the train coming north in the tunnel. Sweet seat sanctity, I think to myself. I…

I Assumed I’d Be Riding A Hoverboard

I was watching the “Back to the Future” marathon over Christmas. I found myself immersed in the second one – the ridiculously confusing shitshow in which something has to be done about Marty’s kids, so they go to the future, and then back to the past, and the present and then the future and Marty…