14th Street Y (Journal)

14th Street Y

Mondays at Noon

Really? We’re barreling into our second year? An entire year of Zoomy Mondays. Filled with squares filled with us. Each pop up box reveals another welcome, familiar face. Faces—at first tentative and questioning but very soon eager and confident. Often lipsticked and earring’d. Is that a new haircut? I love your scarf! We dress up to write it down.

And write we did: Words. A delectable riot of words. Tumbling, Cascading. And the work! Revealing and sometimes reveling in the week’s jumble: joy, tragedy, rage, fear, courage, triumph. And plenty of laughter. No matter the world beyond our bubble. The best therapy.

Often joining us were poets you know and others you never heard of to spark our imaginations, some of whose (illustrated) words are below. We were glad for them, but more so for each other. We cheerleaded each other in turn, keen to hear what emerged as each put her spin on wildly divergent themes: New York City, heaven, whiskey, nature, bodies, children, women, men, more women.

Every Monday at noon we gather. Defying isolation and (re)defining community. A journey no one anticipated, but no one, now, would miss.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.  Rhonda Zangwill, Workshop Leader

Thursdays at 2 p.m.

Still Here

No more the long slow elevator ride to the 4th Floor classroom.
Missing, the squeak of metal chairs pulling up to the table
The scratching of our pens across paper
The crunch of cookies at snack time.
Yet here we are
Sliding into digital boxes each Thursday—from Alphabet City and Stuy town, from exile on Long Island and in the Catskills, and even in France–– from living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms
To find our stories together
To lift our voices in poems, family tales, New York stories, history and even an occasional song
The world creeps and crashes in—riots in the Capital, storms, elections, and always ever present the pandemic
Sometimes we let it in and dig deep…
Sometimes we hold it at bay with fantasy, fairy tale and humor
There are challenges, to be sure
“My audio is not working”
“I only see one person”
“The construction noise is so loud I can’t hear anything.”
“You’re muted”
But still, there are celebrations…the birth of a grandchild, the long-awaited wedding of an adult son or daughter, an outdoor visit with a dear old friend.
And there are losses, many losses, we grieve together.
Writing together throws us a lifeline…pulls us through week after week
Until somehow, miraculously, we have made it through a year
And here we are.
And boy, do we have stories to tell you.
The intrepid writers of the 14th St. Y Thursday Seniors Group.  Elena Schwolsky, Workshop Leader