unmanuscripted

Words, music, miles. NYC.
melanie.broder@gmail.com

A Break-up Letter to Equinox Fitness Clubs

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Dear Equinox, 

I never thought I’d actually have to say something when the time came. I figured we’d go our separate ways, perhaps reunite later in life, when I have a stable income, but probably not since I am a writer. I figured you’d respect my decision to burn fat and calories my own way, instead of yours. I didn’t think I’d care so much.

But damn it, Equinox, I do care. Even if I have been cheating on you with the Central Park Track Club (mea culpa, the Boston Marathon is coming up). Because there is so much to love about you. Originally it was the Eucalyptus towels and Kiehl’s products that drew me in, but I stayed for other reasons. You always make plenty of top-of-the-line machines and weights available. From yoga to spinning to Zen Combat to Barre Burn to METCON3, you always keep things interesting - and intense - in group fitness. Vinyasa flows are such a joy when your teacher’s literally a French model. Your locations are convenient to the office, home and brunch places in Manhattan’s every nook. Your trainers don’t get that mad when I take a free session without signing up for additional ones. Your front desk staff greets me by name and offers to keep an eye out for my “stolen” water bottle even when it’s in my gym bag. Juice Generation is fucking delicious. You make my body feel so good. 

And for a while, you made my mind feel great as well. For a while, going to you was like taking a mini vacation from the everyday - it was an extraordinary luxury, sure, but one that felt particularly helpful in maintaining a good quality of life. You, and the copious exercise you engendered, made me feel like I had found a healthy high that I could tap into at any time. Being with you felt like I had won the lottery. I felt hot. I felt rich. I felt invincible. 

It didn’t shatter all at once for me, but a revelatory moment did occur at the SoHo location. I was standing at the mirror, pointing the complimentary hair dryer at my temple, trying to figure out what to do with the hickey-like chafe marks from my sports bra, when I saw a woman step on the scale in the mirror’s reflection. She was tall and thin, and her eyes were pale and symmetrical. I began to guess her weight in my head. When I ran over to the scale to check what it said under the guise of weighing myself, I knew something was wrong.

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Union square vibes 

Union square vibes 

Earl Sweatshirt at Webster Hall, 2/20/14. We were the oldest ones there. 

Earl Sweatshirt at Webster Hall, 2/20/14. We were the oldest ones there. 

You Know What’s Gonna Keep Me Warm? Those Degrees.

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Chris and I walked down Havemeyer St. a few nights back, on our way to a party for a literary magazine (zine, maybe, though that seems passé) that two of our dear friends curate and edit. We’d just fattened up at an arepas joint. I bit into a chile and nearly had to put a fire extinguisher…

Found via serendipitous Twitter stumbling, from 2009, a great read for the 10th anniversary of The College Dropout. 

Everything is Gray and Nothing Sucks

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Despite almost sincere intentions, I have never read Thomas Wolfe’s "You Can’t Go Home Again"but the title has never been far from my thoughts. In fact, it has been a central theme of my life. I have several friends who have moved more often and greater distances to varied locales (Oman, Durban, Santiago, Regina, to name a few), but my family’s own notion of home has shifted just often enough to muddle its definition.

It is Christmas Eve, and I wake on an air mattress to wind and rain worrying the French windows. Since we are in Paris, I suppose I should just say windows, or “fenêtres,” but that recalls defenestration, which is something I’d like to avoid thinking about, at least in my first few days here. Ruffin is lying somewhere near my knees, and I rest my head near crevices filled with paw dirt and slobber. 

This is not my apartment. My parents moved here one week ago. I have a life in New York City, and should I remain gainfully employed, I will eventually summon the resolve to do the responsible thing and move to the far reaches of Brooklyn or Queens, thus having no reason to ever move back in with my parents. 

And yet, on this glorified pool toy, with the windows banging and my father’s sinuses roaring in the next room, and the dog taking up more than his fair share of space, I sleep better than I have in six months. I am home.

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Beats @ Columbia, glimpsed in the end credits of John Krokidas’s Kill Your Darlings. 

Beats @ Columbia, glimpsed in the end credits of John Krokidas’s Kill Your Darlings.