Annessa Babic is a bit of a gypsy having lived from coast to coast and travelled around the globe. She's a freelance writer, photographer, and professor. She's written scores of pieces on topics from travel to the changes of life itself.
In the Wake of #Metoo
It’s been years now, two decades to be exact, that a poised mentor told me I would never be a writer, I was high school quality at best, and that I was mediocre at it on a good day. After twenty years you think I would have forgotten those cruel words. I did not. Instead, at twenty-one, I remember how much I was mortified and crushed. It was college, and I sat in my advisor’s office and cried. He was young, non-tenured, and had to play the political balance. When I told him what occurred, after pulling his jaw from the desk it had just fallen on, he bluntly said: “You’ll never see that bastard again.”
In 1988, sitting behind the dollar store, across from school, me and my two closest friends sat and read from library books. Yet, these weren’t ones from school. Instead, we had gone to the public library and picked up copies of The Handmaid’s Tale, as the boys heard is was a great sci-fi novel. They convinced me to read along, as a girl was the star and it was a story about women and courage. Or so we had heard.
By and large, since I was sixteen, I’ve gone running at least once a week. I’ve never been a stellar runner—as anyone who has ever known me a hot second will tell you—but I’ve persevered on like the best of the penguins. There have been a few extended exceptions: two surgeries (on the relative minor side I would say), the time I broke my foot the day after I turned thirty, and a couple of lengthy Lupus flares. That last one . . . that is me these days. I haven’t been running in six months, and for the first time since 2009 I haven’t done a long run race (specifically, a half marathon). To take it even farther, I haven’t done an exercise class since last spring . . . yeah.
Performance Art. When you live a city, one like NYC, often mere everyday acts of commuting can feel like moments on someone's movie screen. In the summer, well year around to be truthful, I frequent the city’s libraries for their open spaces, free access to wifi, and to be brutally honest the air conditioning. There's little to quell an angry, blistery soul than some cool air and wifi surfing on a hell-fire hot July day.
Voices of Dissent
I stood in the cold in February 2003 and voiced my mind against an ensuing war. The NYPD pushed us into barricades, to let the horses come through, and then they released us into horse manure-covered streets. My friends and I reveled in the glory of it.
Writing and Onion Peels
A majority of writers, of any genre, continually tell interviewers that they consistently struggle with their craft. They are always looking for new ideas, new takes on old ones, and struggling to keep their message within the context of their audience. This problem is neither old nor new. Rather, it is a continual dilemma that affects the novice and professional, and in teaching college composition classes I have often used the analogy of a yellow onion to convey the writing process and purpose of a target audience. The onion represents the writing process because its layers and outer skin are symbolic to steps used to achieve clarity and consistency within an author’s text. These techniques and analogies are plausible for the new freelancer, as well as the advanced and professional writer, because everyone gets “stuck” or can not see past the surface of their subject matter. Accordingly, an onion analogy proves most poignant to the writer’s craft because its potency, pungent odor, sensual pull, and strong flavor conjure images and mental sensations that pull the mind and senses toward the central subject. Hence, the onion acts much like the words of a refined writer.
Cycle of Life
**This article contains spoilers of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life** “Mom.” “Yeah?” “I’m pregnant.” Those final four words from Rory Gilmore have now erupted shock waves across the internet, phone lines, and social gatherings. I, like a large score of others who loved the Gilmore Girls show for years, am no exception. I gasped, I laughed, and I logically saw it as an opening for another revival. But, as I sat on my bed, my knitting falling from my hands, staring solo at my television I couldn’t help but feel a strange mix of nostalgia, anger, let down, and longing wave over me.
In the 2002 movie The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Ashley Judd’s character flees home, family, and perhaps sanity as she escapes to a seaside hotel. Awaking a day or so later, she learns from the hotel operator how much time has passed. In that moment, the power of revitalization has taken over. The viewer can almost see the sweet relief in her shoulders, even as she frantically calls her children. Yet, the power and pressure of the young—and even more mature—mother is not the only narrative here. Women, across the board, are all in need of that frantic night away. The solitary night, in a bed you didn’t have to make, sheets you didn’t have to wash, a shower that you don’t have to scrub . . . the power and the moment are here.