Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

You can contact us at werkingwells (at) gmail . com

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We could hear him before we saw him. 

A light strumming on a guitar followed by a riff on his harmonica, floated through the evening air.  As we walked closer we could see the Japanese fellow, earnestly singing Billy Joel’s The Piano Man to his companion sitting on the bench.  Until we arrived, they were the only two at the simple mosaic memorial to John Lennon, the one that said a single word: Imagine.  Dylan spotted a rat under the street light and ran to take pictures of the rodent.  While she knew that John Lennon was formerly a Beatle, and a wildly famous singer, it was hard for her to share the feelings we felt, the sadness of this particular creative life cut way too short. 

Four African-American women sat in a single row, along a dining banquet, eating a solitary Easter Brunch at a Brooklyn diner.  Each of them—ranging from 40-something to mid-seventies—was dressed in their Sunday best.  Huge bedecked hats with feathers and netting topped pastel suits. 

A solemn and quiet gathering of locals and tourists crowded around the massive man-made waterfalls as the wind picked up the water and sprayed our faces.  Though Dylan has always heard 9/11 spoken as an event rather than simply a date, it isn’t until we were at the memorial that we realized we had to share the story of what happened that day.  Why it happened. How scared, and shocked we felt. 

That the waterfalls now rest where two towers once stood.  We like to think Dylan is a well-informed and certainly worldly 15 year old, which she is, but try this.  Ask almost any kid under the age of 16 about 9/11 and unless they were personally affected or have a superior education, it’s likely that they know little.  I think it’s because we already think they remember what happened.  Because they were alive then, we believe the details were imprinted on their minds, like it was ours. Never mind they were an infant or preschooler on that fateful morning.  I suppose this is the importance of memorials.  Not only to honor the dead, but to remind those who can remember and to spark conversation with those who can’t. 

Too many times on our visit, Andy and I have entertained regrets of having never lived in New York City when we were younger, and fantasies of moving here one day.  Is that evidence of a deep immaturity to not feel settled and rooted in our mid-forties?  Or is that a curse of travel?  Or of our particular curse?  That no matter where we wander, we insert ourselves into the scene and tend to imagine a life lived in the particular location we’re visiting.  It’s a dangerous curse, prone to glossing over negatives and focusing on positives.  But it’s also one that has propelled many explorers, immigrants and poets, to seek not only the unexamined, but re-Imagined life.  

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Concrete Jungle, Here We Come

Can I just say how excited I am that we're getting out of town.  Scram, scat, and skedaddle.  Heading to NYC to catch some of the high life, maybe even on the high line.

Even though our Spring Break was last week, we had to stay home since we built this trip around the date of our niece Sophia's Bat Mitzvah in Boston. While I was huddled in bed doing my Little Match Girl routine because the weather was so cold and miserable in Portland, I was at least able to make some fun plans for our trip.

We rarely get back East, our last visit as a family was in 2006 when we returned from our trip around the world.

I can't believe how little Dylan was back then!  

My last visit was for a job interview in October 2010 (a quick two nights in NYC) so we thought this was a perfect opportunity to take Dylan to look at some colleges.  While we don't expect her to apply to all/any of them, we wanted to expose her to some campuses so that she could get a sense of what's out there after high school.  We will visit Columbia, Parsons School of Design, NYU, Yale, Amherst, Dartmouth (Andy's alma mater) Harvard and Wellesley.

I also got us tickets to see Alan Rickman on Broadway in his play Seminar, and passes to visit the World Trade Center Memorial site.

The best and perhaps most serendipitous part of our trip will be meeting up with Rhonda, Gulu and their boys for a couple of days while in NYC.  We're continuing our tradition of crashing each other's vacations in an attempt to see each other at least once a year!

So, needless to say, it's going to be a pretty awesome trip topped off with a fun party with a huge number of Wells.  Once we get back, there's a lot of stuff brewing in the background that we need to finalize.  One is that I'm hoping to come up with a new look for my blog.  Another, is that I'm going to send out a new and improved book query to another round of agents.  Andy will be jetting off to Europe for more work and Dylan will be in the final countdown to her high school musical, Hairspray.  She's one of Corny Collins' dancers.

I think the sun is trying to break through the dense clouds over Portland, so better run. I leave you with a bit from Jay-Z.

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
                                            There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York,