Just Knowing by Laurel Lindahl
My decision tree.
I over think ev.ry.thing. I also have debilitating option anxiety. Combined with paralyzing FOMO and powers of extrapolation that are second to none, this has traditionally made deciding what to do—with my life, with my weekend, with this sentence—a rather arduous process. It often feels like I’m living in one of those “choose your adventure” books. Except, instead of choosing from two options and their possible outcomes—which would be super manageable—I manage to foment a dozen options with twice as many potential story threads. My decision tree not only has many branches, it has a system of twig tributaries that is unmatched in the natural world. And believe me when I tell you: I follow every single one of those effers to the end. It’s ex.haust.ing.
Suffice it to say, there haven’t been too many moments in my life where I “just knew” what I wanted to do.
Answering the call.
The story goes like this: I saw Petra’s post for a creative partner in our secret Facebook group for writers and I knew it was something I had to do. I just knew.
It was thrilling.
So here I am, several months later, writing to tell you about our first-ever live storytelling event in NYC! It happened! On April 16, 2019! And it was awesome!
Ghosts in the machine.
We partnered with Ideal Glass, a multi-use space that’s just around the corner from the old CBGBs. The ghosts of punks passed are still lingering in the Ideal Glass space, for sure. Probably because the old CBGBs is now a high-end clothing store, which is not an ideal hang for the old ripped T-shirt set. We noticed several glitches in the matrix—misplaced mics, a mysterious tech SNAFU, a missing tray of cookies. (I blamed Joey Ramone.)
Petra did the pre-pro legwork of finding the storytellers, convincing the amazing Ophira Eisenberg to be our host, and asking two very talented musicians, Louise Goffin and Anna Copa Cabanna, to lend their voices to the evening.
When in doubt, bring kumquats.
Here’s what I did: event promotion and the last-minute mad dash to Whole Foods, where I ran through the store grabbing items like I was on one of those grocery game shows. I threw some kumquats in the basket.
They were not on our list, but they called to me. And I answered.
When we got back to the venue, just before doors, Petra saw me setting up snacks in the green room. Kumquats? she said. I just smiled and shrugged. Who can say why? I just knew.
Then Ophira arrived, breathless from her dash across town and needing a quick snack before hitting the stage. She looked at the table and said, “When there are kumquats in the green room, you know it’s going to be a magical night!”
And it was.
The performers, bathed in the venue’s otherworldly stage lighting situation, were rock stars. We heard stories of joy through transformation (Virginia Bell), body autonomy in a world full of catcallers (Michele Carlo), strength and grace in the face of ridicule (Norma Garbo), and the incredible power that one small change has to alter the shape of your life (Peter Aguero). Each storyteller offered such beautiful insights. I was humbled and amazed and just so grateful to be a part of it all.
All the feels.
One of my favorite moments of the evening was when Louise Goffin sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (one of the many iconic songs written by her parents, Carole King and Gerry Goffin). With all the performers onstage singing along, including the lovely Peter Aguero, it was a NYC moment for the ages.
I think that Joey would have approved. Or at least not have disapproved. And that’s saying something, yeah?