Monthly Archives: August 2014

How To Spend The Morning Applying for Jobs

First, start up the laptop and place it on two pillows. Sit cross legged at the base of your bed facing the window. This is your make-shift corner office desk with a view.

Open Internet Explorer to greet the same window you’ve had up all week, with 10 tabs of job listings you’re interested in and half-completed applications.  Close a few tabs out. Keep the Conde Nast Traveler slideshow of Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the U.S. open. Remember what you really want to do this fall.

Poke around job boards for publications hiring writers and interns. Hope to find a few relevant to your interests and attainable considering your status as a recent graduate. You do not have a single year of experience. At least you think you don’t.

Assistant Editor of New Digital Magazine with a Focus on Yoga. Established Author Seeks Social Media Intern. Flight attendant with Delta: Paid Training. Save, save, save.

Make a playlist on Spotify to optimize creativity. Today feels like Cat Power and Feist.

To the tune of “My Moon My Man,” saunter around your bedroom on your tiptoes. Lift alternate shoulders on each beat. Pace the room and using your toes like a claw, pick up socks from the floor. Place them in the laundry shoot.

Study your face too closely in the mirror, notice residue of yesterday’s eye makeup beneath your bottom lashes. Walk across the hall to the bathroom. Wash it off. Splash water on your face and watch droplets running slowly down the drain, through blurred vision.

In an overindulgent, melodramatic moment, see yourself as one of those droplets, weak and powerless, slowly drowning out of sight, never to be heard from again. Then say out loud “You’re ridiculous.” Your post-college existential crisis is becoming too cliché even for you. Return to the bedroom. In the mirror again, pout your lips and raise your eyebrows. Wink at yourself and smile.

Lift up your shirt. Check out how flat your abs are in loose pajama pants. Then consider working out instead of applying for jobs.

Make coffee in your Rutgers mug for good luck and pour a glass of ice water.

Read the application requirements for that MFA program one more time. Reread that article by Anne LaMott you like. Feel good about never bothering to watch the evening news. Wonder why the majority of jobs you look at sound a lot like journalism. Minor panic sets in.

Check e-mail… nothing there. Next to your computer is the bright green cover of Sister Outsider. Skim “Uses of the Erotic,” again. Remember what that professor told you about searching.

Notice the August sun and decide to go outside. Sit under the tree with your dog for a bit. Text a friend to ask how they’re doing. When you realize an hour and a half has passed, feel like you might explode.

Count down the hours until your shift at the restaurant starts, exactly two. Count the money you made working a double shift yesterday, feel a little relieved.

Consider picking up a green juice at the vegan cafe. You have not been taking good care of yourself lately.

Look out the window and hear a sentence, a line, a word come to you like breath. Write it down and find yourself here.

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Moss

As a lover,
one’s best work
is to unearth
the softness
in another.

Said it would take
a light so clear
to illuminate the
core and begin
shedding moss-
the first layer,
the gentle part.

In time, it happened-
as our softness coalesced,
but scraping stones against
each other, with constant
rhythm creates heat.
Neither of us quit.

Burning, we longed for moss-
its green comfort, could we find it?

Healing hid
along contours until
sedimentary surfaces
met in physical again.

Now, with no
testament carved,
just the certainty
of heat on skin,
we trace moss
and stone
to unearth light.

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Real-sumé

Katelyn Melody Devine
Real Life Lady of 22 Years


Daughter and Sister
1995- Present

Committed to the delicate art of upholding harmony in a six-person household
Acts as liaison between high school aged brothers and aging parents
Expert in bridging gaps of understanding

Friend
1994-Present

Listens closely
Offers comfort
Will collaborate in conversation to decode the mysteries of living
Will never judge your actions or desires
Interested in splitting a bottle of wine
Eager to take off on a road trip

Writer
 1997-Present

Creates poems and non-fiction pieces
Writes to make sense of my perception
Writes to experiment with language
Deeply committed to words
Appreciates a well crafted sentence
Constantly scribbling to share my piece of human contradiction, complexity, and beauty

In Love
2006-Present      

Lover, girlfriend, object of your affection
Experienced in infatuation
Occasionally acts on impulse and timing
Appreciates nothing more than a great love story
Has shown great improvement in choices made in recent years/months

Over Analyzer  

Expert text message decoder
Proficient in reading mixed signals
Able to pick up on notions quickly and accurately
Proven track record of being correct when it comes to reading characters
Experience as child book worm and English Literature major

Dreamer          

Determined to write books
Eager to travel the world
Scheduled to run at sunrise sometimes
Committed to spreading kindness
Interested in learning to cook well
Will look closely at my mistakes and learn from them
Constantly working on living a good, honest, kind life

Can’t Decide    

Whether to take myself seriously or not
Where to direct my energies
Which passions to cultivate today
How to synthesize many ideas and dreams into a sustainable life
What to wear this evening

Understands    

Making something out of nothing is all in the phrasing
Reality is what you tell yourself it is
The universe knows what it is doing

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Living In The Now

I originally wrote this for The Rutgers Review April/May 2014 issue. It is my last article with The Review, a publication that offered a home to the kinds of articles I love to write. To read other pieces I had published, head to my Writing Samples page, where I linked the Issuu to all of my articles. Today I am  revisiting the piece after a few months of not looking at it, making edits, and adding some images.

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In the midst of a deep conversation, a good date, a life-changing book, or a fun party, sometimes, I pause for just a moment and think to myself, “I am in this experience right now and this is great.” This personal practice is my way of reveling in an experience, my attempt to slow down the passing of time, and my method of actively being grateful. Well aware that one day I will fondly remember these days once they have passed, my ritual allows me to think that I have already outsmarted the chance of future nostalgia, and it puts me at ease. To be fondly appreciative of an experience as it is happening does away with the possibility of taking the moment for granted.

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Wine-O’clock in Long Beach Island last week was not taken for granted.

My imprecise version of Zen is pieced together from the teachings of a few books, lessons learned while traveling, and the words of my oracles, my friends. I first consciously thought about “living in the now,” in high school. Back then, on quiet weekend nights in our hometown, my friends and I shared a ritual. We would pile into someone’s car and drive a mile down Atlantic Avenue to the Manasquan Inlet. Once parked we would roll down the windows, listen to our latest favorite music, smoke an occasional performative cigarette, and stare out at the thin stretch of water that separated the Atlantic Ocean from the Manasquan River, and Pt. Pleasant from Manasquan beach. Sometimes we played headlight tag with the cars parked across the way. We would sit here, making plans, texting whoever was in the know about where a party was.

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Meggo’s car aka “the volv” parked at the inlet.

We spent hours there, asking, moaning, stressing vowels, “What are we going to doooooo tonight?” On nights when there were no plans to be had, we stayed at the inlet all night, just talking. Sometimes we felt a sense of disappointment that we were not out enjoying ourselves, talking to potential dates, making “the best” out of our high school years. My friend Vin especially, was usually first to leave the inlet on nights when the promise of evening plans fell through.
“I’m tired you guys, if we aren’t going to do anything I’m going home.” We all felt like that sometimes, we all got bored of the inlet. “Don’t you always hope that there’s going to be a keg and a party waiting for us at the inlet one of these nights,” Vin asked me once. “Isn’t that why we always come here?” His words speak shamelessly to the priorities of bored suburban kids in a beach town. We did not know exactly why we always returned to the inlet, we just knew it was our spot.

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My friends Miss America-ing in my old Cabrio.

“At least we live near the beach, so we don’t have to park in like, a mall parking lot or something when we have nowhere else to go,” I would sometimes offer. I doubt the comment helped Vin’s perpetual disappointment. Somewhere buried in my words may have been the beginning of awareness that the inlet, with its choppy waters and seagulls overhead, was more than just a place for my friends and I to wait, it was our reality.

“Live in the now, Vin,” my friend Kat suggested one night. Her simple remark resonated. She meant be present. She meant enjoy our company. She meant sit in this car and smell the salt air and hear the melody coming from the radio and watch the boats that glide by in front of us and feel the cool breeze as it drifts down into the open sunroof. She meant to say that this moment is all we have, so be here now, rather than letting concerns for what will happen next consume you. In those days our concern was the possibility of being invited to a party. Today the concern is about how our lives will look and feel, and what truths we will live, when our time at college is over.

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Just a few finger sandwiches away from it all being over.

When a certain life event, a fun night out, or an incredible novel comes to a close, the pressure to appreciate it feels heavier. In my final weeks as an undergraduate at Rutgers, I find myself remembering Kat’s words to Vin; “live in the now.” It’s not always so simple, especially considering the small talk questioning from neighbors and uncles asking, “so what’s next after graduation?” While I research careers and graduate programs at my desk beside a window that overlooks Easton Avenue, I pause to remind myself that this is my reality, and it is best to simply take delight in being here. It is a practice in balance, making preparations for the future while being present for all the little moments. It is a welcomed pleasure, the awareness and practice of just living in the now.

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It should come with a map

It should come with a map
at birth, alongside
the certificate that records
breath and name.
The map would be
baby’s first fine art,
and outline the
aesthetic and precision
of chance.
It would warn
of dead-ends. Left turns
feel safer.
It would hang above a basinet,
someday rest in a dorm room drawer.

The gift of this map
would set free
the tumultuous years
the mapless ones
spend learning cartography
for themselves.

The map, be it on
tapestry or scroll,
would shake us free,
so our fibers can collect
more useful lessons.

While learning cartography
My greatest fear has become traveling in circles.

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