By Blake Coniglio
So, if you’re like me, you live in the city. And every night, you can’t see any stars. So, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own stars. In this small collection of images and prose, I use pictures from my nightly views to create the stars I’ve always wanted to see.
When I was younger, my night skies used to be orange. This was normal, as when I peered out the window, a murky reflection of street lights stared back at me. I’ve always wondered if it was a blanket, a persimmon coating that shrouded all of the city. But as I grew older, it began to fade and fade, orange hue turning into smoky midnight blue. And at 16, I saw the first star in Orion’s belt. Right there, gleaming faintly but there, a presence but a reminder—that the stars are there, no matter how they’re hidden.
Connecticut has always had stars. I’ve got family up there, only a measly hour away from the hustle and bustle of the boroughs. And as per tradition, we don’t start stumbling out of my aunt’s house until the sky’s gone a deep blue, holding thousands of gleaming little pinpricks of light in it. If NYC looked like this, I always thought I’d be happy. But, nowadays, I don’t think so. Honestly? I’d take New York, in all its synthetic and chaotic glory over stars. Besides, we can always make our own.
Riding in a car at night is always an experience. It always feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone. The hum of the engine, the flash of headlights from every angle—flying past us like comets. Like we’re all just shooting stars, flying past each other in the night. I wonder what their lives are like, how many stories shoot past my dad’s old Pontiac. I wonder if they think the same things, watching a girl stare at them from beyond their window.
I’ve always lived on this border, a tiny little street between a highway and a wall of apartment buildings. It’s almost a bridge between two realms, a connection between urban and suburban—a tiny little wood, smack dab in the middle of a fever dream of a city. Living between these two worlds was almost a chaotic harmony—nights would be low and quiet, punctuated by cars and laughter, while days would be the chatter of a family on the move, or the rattle of a truck as it swerves down a street it shouldn’t race down.
I wonder what it’ll be like, once I’m gone.
Well, I was always obsessed with stars and constellations when I was a kid. But living in NYC, you don’t really get to see anything past the light pollution. So, I decided to fulfill my childhood wishes and make stars in the night sky. I took photos with my horrible phone camera and edited small stars into the images, connecting them with lines of prose. I used GIMP and all two years of my graphic design class experience (which talked about stuff I already knew, but like yeet.) I can only hope that my piece gives people the chance to see the stars I never got to see.
Blake Coniglio is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Bronx, NY.