Taking a Break

stepping-away

Hey guys!  I know I’ve been a little inconsistent with my posts recently, and I’d like to take some time to apologize. I’ve been very busy these last few weeks and have been exhausted more days than I can count. This is a poor excuse I know, but I’ve also been trying to work on other writing projects–and by working on them, I mean brainstorming but getting nothing on paper. My blog has been such a priority in my life and I don’t want to stop writing for you all but I think I need a break. I want to start working on some other writing projects–actually getting my ideas on paper–as well as finish my NYU application. Once I have things more organized, both in and out of my head, I promise I’ll be back writing longer pieces for all of you. So for now, I’ll be taking a break on my Wednesday and Saturday posts (they may just include a note about how my progress is going on my pieces and my application) but I’ll be back before you know it. I’ll continue to post quotes and videos, so it’s not like I’ll be entirely gone. Thank you so much to everyone who continues to check in and I look forward to writing more pieces for all of you in no time! 🙂

All-American High School Film Festival

After postponing Saturday’s post, I guess it’s about time I tell you what I was up to!

Over the summer, I met up with my best friend Emily (written about here: https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/my-honey-bunches-of-oats/) for lunch. She was running late, so I fiddled around on my phone checking Facebook. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I saw a post by Andrew Jenks (whose show I wrote about here: https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/world-of-jenks-and-why-its-awesome/). He was looking for interested applicants to volunteer for his upcoming film festival in October. Being that I’m such a fan of his work, it was no surprise that I submitted an application that night.

A few weeks later I got an e-mail from the All-American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) saying they wanted me on their team. I was thrilled. No, thrilled doesn’t exactly cover it. I was ecstatic. But I minimized expectations in case something went terribly wrong. (Because knowing my past experiences, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I got an e-mail later that afternoon saying all the films had been destroyed in a flood and the festival had to be cancelled.)

Fortunately, I was spared from Murphy’s Law this time and over the following weeks, I got information about the festival and what my role will be within it.

The festival is an opportunity for high school filmmakers to submit their best work in the hopes of being chosen to have their film shown at the AMC Theater in Times Square from October 4th-6th. The films are viewed by a group of judges including big names like Kristen Stewart (actress from “Twilight” and “Panic Room”), Edward Burns (actor from “Saving Private Ryan”), Diablo Cody (writer of “Juno”), Michael Mayer (Director of “Smash”) as well as many others.

'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2' film photocall, Los Angeles, America - 02 Nov 2012                  edwardburns

(Kristen Stewart)                                                       (Edward Burns)

Awards are given for categories like “Best Film,” (duh!) which includes an all expense paid trip to LA to meet Tucker Tooley, one of the top producers in the bizz, a $1000 scholarship for college, an interview with Yahoo’s Daily Shot, and a private screening with industry professionals in NYC. Other awards include Best Drama, Documentary, Comedy, as well as Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography as well as countless others, all providing opportunities to young filmmakers from around the world.

This Saturday was extremely significant for the whole event, however. Along with my fellow volunteers, I attended an information session down in Manhattan. Again, I minimized expectations. I had no idea if the meeting would be in a high-class executive building or in a dumpster. Either way, it wouldn’t have mattered to me.

And so when I walked down the block with apartment style buildings, I knew I had arrived at an in-between place. Certainly not a dump—far from it—but not quite as intimidating as let’s say…the Time Warner Building (as seen below):

Time_Warner_Center

As I was welcomed through the door by a smiling blonde haired girl, I approached a six-flight walk-up. I knew I should’ve exercised more over the summer.

Echoing voices traveled down the stairwell but I couldn’t understand a word that was being said. Reaching the open door at the top, I met Andrew’s right and left hand guys and the other volunteers. I took a seat in a small cream leather chair and waited until everyone else arrived for the meeting to begin. While we waited, Andrew came into the room and sat down with us.

Not having expectations really worked out!

He didn’t say too much throughout the meeting but I must admit, it’s pretty damn cool to sit in the same room with someone whose work you admire so much.

The festival may be intended for up and coming filmmakers but I really think the opportunities exist for anyone who walks into that theater over the weekend. You never know who you might meet. Who you could make a connection with, or as one of my favorite professor’s would say, who you might “make friends” with (much less intimidating).

So if you’ll be in the neighborhood or you want to see the future of film, come check out the All-American High School Film Festival at the AMC Theater in Times Square from October 4th-6th! You can buy tickets online at http://www.hsfilmfest.com or at the door over the weekend! I hope to see you there!

amctimessquare

Postponed Again–Yikes!

postponed

Hey guys! I’m super sorry to do this–again–but I totally underestimated the amount of homework I would have to do today in order to catch up from losing time yesterday. I promise this Wednesday you will receive a great post telling of all my adventures! (I hope I’m building suspense!) Love to you all 🙂

My Apologies!

sorry

Hi everyone!

I’m really sorry to do this but unfortunately with the amount of work for my class (which ends in just TWO DAYS!) I won’t be able to post today. I’ve got two finals I’m working on and I want to make sure that I’m handing in my best stuff. But don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow with a poem and look out for my post on Saturday!

Have a great day everyone and keep writing! 🙂

March 24, 1906

Alright guys, I’ve got one last piece of fiction for you (at least for a little while)! My finals end on Tuesday so I’ll have the time to write my memoir style pieces once again!

But for now, take a step back in time to meet Molly, a young Irish immigrant traveling to America for the first time. This is her letter to her best friend back home.

nyc1900s

March 24, 1906

To my best friend in the entire world, Margaret,

I’ve survived! I know you were secretly thinking I would die on that boat but see, I’ve proved you wrong! I must admit, however, the journey was treacherous. Mother, Father, and I were stuffed into a small cabin at the bottom of the ship with three other families. Can you believe that? You don’t even like sharing a room with baby Nora…imagine living with groups of people you don’t even know! One family had three mischievous little boys who were so filthy, I think the dirt was permanently ground in their skin. They managed to run through the cabin’s tight quarters, wailing night after night. One of them even tried to sneak a peek at my ankles!

Once we docked, I couldn’t be happier to be rid of the ship. I don’t know if I could have survived another night pressed up against mother’s bosom listening to those wild animals called boys! But my happiness faded quickly, Margaret. I watched Mama and Papa kiss the streets once we got off the boat but I couldn’t do it. It looked so dirty, Margaret. America is nowhere near as beautiful as Ireland. Instead of rolling green pastures and the gentle ocean breeze tickling your face, everywhere you look here is a shade of grey covered in a thick layer of soot–like the boys I told you about!– and countless buildings, big and small, line the streets that can barely fit all of the people walking through them. After only a few moments in America, I heard the strangest ways of talking and can’t imagine where all these people are from. I do hope at some point I can make a friend or two. But don’t you worry, Margaret, you will always be my best friend in the entire world. Next to Bessie, I miss you the most out of everyone back home! I do hope you’re milking that ol’ Bessie, by the way. Don’t you forget, Margaret!

I’ll spare you the details of our first few nights here, but will let you know that they were just as awful as being on that ship. Mother and Father fought so much about where we were staying and while I pretended to be asleep, I could have sworn I heard Mother call it a “whore house”! Luckily though, Father came back on the third evening shouting, “We’ve got a place of our own girls! A place of our own!” That night was quiet and I was actually able to get a good night’s rest! Finally!

The next morning, we gathered our things and went to our new home, which was a very far walk through the crowded city streets. I felt like a fish trying to swim upstream! This house is nothing like our home back in Ireland. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. We live in a tall building, Margaret, behind a door, like in Old Marty’s Inn, with a view onto the grimy city streets. It is so small, barely fitting the three of us, and we have to share a bathroom with the other families that live in the building! It’s disgusting! We don’t even have an inch of land that I can look out upon to ease my aching heart’s desire to return home. Mama says I will adjust but I secretly hope that one morning I will wake up and be back in Ireland. That’s the only kind of adjusting I want to do.

And to top it off, this week Mother and Father began their jobs. Remember how they said they wanted to open their own shoe repair business? Well, it turns out that was harder than they thought. Again, I listened to them bicker night after night about how it looked almost impossible to start their own business and that it was time they “changed plans and looked for real jobs!” Several nights later, Papa came home and told us that he found himself a real position. And the whole family was meant to go with him. Well, boy did my heart skip a beat! “The whole family?” I asked. “Papa, what does that mean?” To which he told me that I would be going to work with him and Mama instead of going to school. Margaret, I was furious. I didn’t speak to Father the whole night. But the next morning, I awoke and dressed and followed them both into the city to one massive grey building. It is the most horrid thing you could ever imagine, Margaret. I am forced to sit all day sewing buttons onto shirts. If I stand up to stretch my legs, a sweaty man with a dark mustache comes and yells at me. I can’t stand it. It makes me sad to even think of it.

Oh, please forgive me, I don’t mean to bury you in all my woes. Just remember Margaret, I miss you very much and I cannot wait until we are reunited. I know they said the streets were paved with gold here, but I suppose they’ve gotten a bit rusty.

 

With all my love; your best friend in the entire world,

                                                                        Molly

Dear Little Sister

Dear Little Sister,

I was six when we met. It was a gray September day, a mist of rain suspended in the air. Arriving at the hospital with Grandma and Grandpa I imagined what it would be like seeing you for the first time. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that by the time I went home that night, I’d have a playmate for the rest of my life. I imagined all the things that we would do. I could teach you how to swing the highest on the playground (my greatest accomplishment so far); I could teach you the alphabet; I could teach you how to ride a bike with no training wheels; and most importantly, I could teach you how to get mom to let you have ice cream in the middle of a hot summer’s day. Walking down the hospital corridor my heart fluttered in my chest at the realm of possibilities that awaited us. And even though you were just a ball of wrinkly pink flesh with two blue eyes peering up at me, the first time I held you in my arms I knew that you were mine. And I felt a love I had never felt before. A sister’s love.

Your first year of life was filled with discovery. You found toes at the ends of your feet and wisps of blonde hair on the top of your head. You became an expert at finding my toys and putting them in your mouth. You experienced ketchup for the first time, most of it ending up on your face rather than in your mouth. You learned that pulling my hair was a great form of entertainment. And finally, you learned to sit up and hold your own bottle.

By five, your feathered blond hair had grown into a full head of thick, dirty blond hair that almost reached your butt. You insisted on pigtails each day that sat high on either side of your head and you always wore little gold hoops in your still delicate ears. This year you learned that you could do things yourself and that you could make your own decisions. And you proved it when you cut your own bangs so close to your hairline that it took a year for them to grow back to a reasonable length.

At ten, your features, once soft and delicate, became sharp and more defined. You grew out of your pigtails and after a haircut that left you unable to make a ponytail, you began your quest to grow your hair as long as possible (that is still going on today, three years later). You found an outlet in performing by putting on singing and dancing shows for anyone that would watch. You began to observe me and imitate the things I did. You learned my favorite bands and learned the words to my favorite songs just to impress me. You started to express your feelings through writing and it wasn’t unusual for me to find little notes shoved under my bedroom door or on the kitchen table that said how much you loved me. I’ve saved them all.

And now that you’re thirteen and entering adolescence, I see you turning into a young woman. You’re starting to wear makeup and listen to your own styles of music. You have your own friends and I’m no longer the coolest person you know but just your older, annoying sister who drives you crazy. And I’m perfectly happy with that. Because I know that people will walk in and out of our lives for as long as we live, but we will always be sisters and we will always have each other.

The next few years of your life will be strange as you leave behind childhood and enter your teenage years. But Little Sister, please remember this: You are not just the sum of your parts. You are worth more than the size of your jeans or the length of your hair or the shape of your nose or the clothes that you wear. You are beautiful in every way, no matter what anyone tells you. You have the potential to be anything you want to be and I can only hope that you will believe in yourself as much as I believe in you. No matter what anyone says, remember that you have everything you need within yourself. And when you need a reminder, I will be there to tell you just how wonderful, talented, intelligent, and beautiful you are. No matter how many times we may argue, you must know that our love is unequivocal. You are my little sister and I will take care of you as long as you let me.

When you get your first A+ on an algebra test, I’ll be the one to tape it on the fridge. When you finish reading your first full-length novel, I’ll be the one waiting to talk to you about it. When you get your heart broken for the first time, I’ll be there with lots of ice cream ready to watch any movie you name.  When it’s time to go to college, I’ll be there to help you decide. When you get your own place, I’ll help you paint it colors of all different shades. When it’s time to prepare for your first official job, I’ll make sure to practice interviews with you every day. And when you get that promotion I’ll be there to take you out to a celebratory dinner. I could go on and on. There is so much life left in us and I want to share it with you.

And when we’re old and gray I want to live side-by-side so we can sit on my wrap-around porch talking about the things we did when we were young. I promise you that by then, our age difference won’t seem as big as it does now.

You’re my little love, Little Sister.

Always,

Your Older Sister