Wednesday, December 22, 2010

all the beautiful people

i am very lucky. my life is filled with loving, talented, creative, smart people. musicians, writers, actors, cooks, mothers, artists, athletes, poets, teachers, editors, dancers, producers, a very handsome carpenter, and very funny people. life will never be boring.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a visit with friends

"You know what the great thing about life is?"
How do I answer this question? He sits back, arms crossed in his typical plaid shirt. We still look the same with a few more crows feet lines. His laugh still makes me laugh and my wit can match his; Something he appreciates and we both treasure.
"You don't have to win at it," he says. And I smile. There are not many people my age who say something that I haven't heard before or thought of myself. I am not trying to sound condescending, but it is rare that I have a peer that says something that opens up my mind just a little further. And the beauty of his truth is that it is the same thing I have been coming to terms with this year but never expressed so eloquently. To hear this at a moment where I feel like I am losing the career game is comforting. The race is long and in the end it's only with yourself.  He is a friend I never see and have had moments in our past where I didn't care for him. But unlike most people who if they hurt my feelings once I write them off, I have always let my NYU Friends back in for some unexplainable reason. Perhaps because it is nice to struggle with people who all have the same dream.
I tell him I have had a hard year but a good year because when something big happens, something traumatic, all the bullshit melts away. What matters comes into sharp focus. I remember another piece of wisdom from a peer, one that she gave me a year ago and has stuck with me: "Tend to your own garden."
I am really good at pulling at weeds in other people's gardens only to find they keep on letting the weeds grow. They may not want those weeds pulled or maybe they see the weeds as wildflowers. I have had to give up on some relationships in order to focus on myself. Maybe giving up is the wrong word, but letting go is more accurate.
We walk through the subway.
"We graduated a long time ago," he tells me.
"I know! I had the same sobering moment this past weekend!" I tell him.
"Did he tell you we went to the NYU bookstore?" His beautiful wife tells me as she opens up a bag. She has outed him.
He laughs, "I bought myself an NYU shirt."
We laugh together at the confession.
"I want one, too," I tell him.

Monday, December 20, 2010

competition

A very close friend of mine has become a blogger celebrity and for good reason. What started as a cute blog about being a twenty something valley girl quickly turned into a pregnancy blog and has now become a mommy-money making machine. I have always known that this friend is a genius. In high school, she taught herself five instruments while being grounded for six months, she was in all the AP classes, (a route I chose not to take), she was cast in the school play as a junior which was a little unheard of since all the big parts went to seniors, she was accepted to a high school program for North Carolina School of the Arts where she started making films and when she was accepted early decision to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for film (the most competitive program in the nation), our high school announced it over the morning school news. She is also funny, Grace Kelly beautiful, and very kind. She married one of my oldest friends and together they had the cutest most loving and lovable child in the world. This friend is also behind me getting into NYU. After our freshman year in college, on Christmas break we met to see the movie "Stuart Little." Never would I choose to see a movie like this, but with this friend I saw all sorts of cheesy comedies. It just became something we did. While ordering popcorn, she handed me an application to NYU and made me promise her I would apply. I think my application had a butter stain in the corner. But, I applied and to my complete surprise I got in. She worked hard in college, didn't party too much and was in a long-distance relationship with her future husband. She was grounded. Always, she has been grounded. I partied hard, held a full time job, took easier classes, spent a semester abroad in Dublin where I partied even harder and had three classes. I was in back-to-back/overlap relationships, I never missed a homework deadline, but I often pulled all-nighters the day before a deadline.  This friend graduated NYU early, was top of her class, and quickly got a job in LA. She had a film in the Los Angeles film festival not too long out of college and quickly became a personal assistant to a well-known television director. While I worked too long as a personal assistant for a commerical director where I became more of his caretaker, I didn't land my first A-list Hollywood job until 2006 and it was a receptionist position.  My friend was leaving for a movie shoot in Canada with Ryan Reynolds. The last few years have been a blur. She wrote a script and used her connection with her boss to get an agent. She finally quit being an assistant and became a treatment writer for commercials, and is now a writer, that is her profession. People pay her to write blogs, treatments, and soon will pay her for her screenplays, one of which just made it to the Hollywood blacklist which despite its name is a huge honor. It is a list voted on by peers and they nominate the top 100 scripts of the year. She made it on the 2010 list. She also got married and had a baby and clawed herself back from post-partum over the past year to find herself as the girl I have always seen: the girl on top.
I told myself years ago that I would stop playing the comparison game. I would stop feeling sorry for myself and stop trying to figure out why my path was so different from the people I went to college with. But it wasn't until I read my friend's blog where she informed her following that her script had made the blacklist that I realized how much time had passed since college. In that time, she had remained grounded and I remained searching. I keep telling myself that I need to get serious, but the truth is, I'm not. Yesterday I had the day to myself and instead of sitting in the chair, I cleaned, I put away clothes, I wrapped Chrsitmas gofts, I wantched the Giants game, I exercised. The whole while I can physically feel myself ignoring that voice that is asking me why I am not writing. I am not sure if it comes from a fear of failure or a fear of success. A fear that I am a phony or a fear that I am no good. But now the question remains, how much longer will I continue to search outward instead of inward? What is it going to take to become the girl on top rather than the girl looking up to the girl on top. It has been sobering to play the comparison game once again and I wonder if maybe a little competition would have been good for me all along. My best stuff has come out of anger or competition. When did I become such a pussy?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

there it is

the holidays wouldn't be complete without that gnawing pit in my stomach.  the pit that is trying to prepare me for some sort of disaster or disappointment. it used to be a leftover residual from christmases past.  was my mom going to call on christmas or not? if she did i hated talking to her, hated hearing her voice full of anxiety and sadness. if she didn't call i hated her even more and used it as an excuse to write her out of my life. it also filled the holiday with dread- no call was a sign that something was wrong. then there was the christmas she called but hung up after speaking with my brother. that christmas ended up in a screaming match between my brother, my dad, and me and then followed up with a lame attempt from my mom to reconnect in which she admitted that she was scared of me. i don't blame her. looking back, i would have been scared of me, too.
this christmas will be the first time since i was eleven years old that i will spend some of it with my mom. she is sober now and i am saner, however, the anxiety over spending this time with her is not gone. it feels kind of like peeling a band-aid off too soon. the cold air stings when it hits the scrape that is not yet healed. but it might be one of those scrapes that never really heals, like the ones on the knuckle. maybe the skin is forever too thin there.
it doesn't help that there is a misunderstanding hanging in the air, a misunderstanding that i will be staying with her the entire time. i am caught in this delicate tight rope walk. how do i say i do not want to spend all my time with you without being hurtful or in some way intimidating? how do i turn off that alarm system that makes me feel guilty when i am trying to consider my own feelings?  how do i grow in a loving way? how do i make the pit go away for good? a weekly appointment has been good help, as well as slowing down and taking some time to just be without focusing on everything before me. but there are some things that become engrained. after so many years, histories, memories, feelings become part of your make-up, what makes you the person you present to the world. the feelings are in your blood coarsing through; a pulsating river that swells just after it rains. going home is now its own event. one that has its own narrative, its own unpredictability, unattached to a past. each time, a separate journey and no longer can i count on the past to ready myself for the next time.
the worst is when the memories don't come, just the feelings, just the impact of all the things we forget overtime. you are left with nausea when passing the white oak exit on the 101 north freeway,  or a rapid heart beat when waiting for the red light at the shoup and ventura intersection, or sweaty palms when you knock on a door. do I greet them with a hug or a kiss? how do i say goodbye?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a new year

Since the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, our apartment has been in full Christmas swing.
We have a small evergreen, old-fashioned tree lights, Bing Crosby playing in the background and we have been making it a point to have mulled cider brewing on the stove or fresh popcorn popping. Normally, Christmas makes me anxious, but living with someone who truly loves and embraces this holiday is changing the way I feel about it. Perhaps because we are making our own Christmases now; making new memories. As much as I hate the cold weather, it has been nice to come home from work, put on my cozy sweatpants and one of Mike's big sweatshirts and curl up on the couch with the tree lit and a cup of cider or hot chocolate. And it has been even nicer to see Mike walk in the door at a decent hour and to be able to cook dinner with him. I have made a conscious effort to stop loading my plate with so many activities and while it drove me crazy to sit still, I am finally seeing just how great "boring" can be. Last night, Mike reminded me that a new year was coming soon and I was filled with gratitude and hope. He also told me a couple days ago that the Christian Monks were the ones who created time. As a teenager, I would have said that time is irrelevant, something I am sure I thought up in an altered state. But now, I don't mind the concept of time so much. I think it's going to be a good year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

blog central

my morning routine consists of checking about a million blogs and thinking about writing an entry for my own and usually not being able to think about something to write. so it hought i would write about this. but this is all i have to say about it. i have a couple friends who have turned their blogs into businesses, they have branded themselves, they deliver a promise and in return they have a set market of readers that do excatly what i do every morning, only they look to my friends' blogs for fashion advice or to share in parenting humor or anxiety. I don't know how one becomes that, or maybe I do and I just don't have the desire, and especially not the energy. I have lots of great ideas, but I suck at follow through. Some people have said this is because of some subconscious fear of success. I think I might just be lazy although with the amount of work I agree to, that is a contradiction. It must be a fear of failure or maybe I'm just comfortable. I think part of me is scared to pursue something else because I think I will give up on writing and then kick myself later in life for not trying with writing. But what does it all matter anyway? Isn't the point to be happy? To do good with the one shot you have? I have to say I am excited to leave these self-indulgent twenties. Bring on 30!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010

The weather says it will be 64 degrees today. Someone please explain to me the theory that global warming is a myth.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

give thanks

thank you to all the people who read this blog
it started as a way for me to hold myself accountable for my writing
to get over the fear of being judged
to allow myself to write badly
and ultimately to express myself
it is completely self-indulgent, helpful, fun, and at times challenging
and while the idea is to not write for an audience
and to just write what i feel
it has helped me grow to have this select audience or "readership"
it has also helped me stay connected through some very dark times
so in the spirit of thanks, i just want to say thank you to the very special people that read all my melodramatic crap.
xoxoxo,
tony

Monday, November 22, 2010

we're doing christmas folks

inspired by Carmen's post on the 2/3 train conductor
http://chordstriking.blogspot.com/2010/11/were-doing-monday-folks.html
we're doing christmas folks...
last night in the middle of the giants/eagles game
Mike shot up his hand and exclaimed, "Yes!"
I looked at him and he informed me that in one week from tomorrow (today)
we will have a christmas tree.
My dad is coming this weekend and is allergic to real christmas trees so we are putting off the tree getting a few days later than Mike would prefer.
However that has not stopped him from playing Christmas music every chance he gets.
Mike's Christmas music is pretty extensive with range from Frank Sinatra to Mariah Carey (I think) to Southpark (some annoying cartoon one)
But this year, we both discovered Pandora introducing us to more of Mike's favorites sung in different notes.
Pandora is the gift that unfortunately keeps on giving.
So for the next 5-6 weeks, if you hear me humming a Christmas tune, you will know why...

Monday, November 15, 2010

skin

i want to scratch right out of you
but instead i try to pop you
and now have truly made
a mountain out of a mole hill.

Friday, November 12, 2010

fuck you, too, new york

i'm standing on the corner avoiding eye contact as i see him approach.
he is picking up cigarette butts singing a song about how he is a scavenger.
i don't want to move because i am not scared of him
or maybe i just don't want to see like i'm judging him.
as he passes me he stops and says
"hey bitch"
and for some reason i look at him
maybe alarmed he is going to flick one of those nasty cigarette butts at me
and then he flips me off in my face.
i say nothing, he continues to walk away
and i feel myself begin to shake
i don't know if i'm going to burst into tears or kill him.
i cross the street, stone face
ignoring the people who just witnessed this
ignoring the parents and children i work with
and walk back into work.
i try to drink the soda i just bought
but my hands are trembling.
a weekend out of town never sounded so fucking good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wonderland

She spills her drink on her lap.
Silk aprons sink between
her, the true Queen of Hearts.
Waves of wedding dress tulle
Tucked in her little girl
skirt and baby blue bra.

“Can I eat you?” he asks.
“And if I grow?” she asks.
“I’m Alice,” she tells him.
Her knee socks, and black bow,
and blonde hair, suggest so.
Although her midriff lies.

I do not remember
Alice revealing so
much to the Mad Hatter
or the Caterpillar.
Perhaps it was always
The Cheshire she wanted.

She points to her secret,
the place that one day might
just make her a mother.
She curtsies slow, all her
mushrooms eaten. She winks,
“And this, is wonderland.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

strong of heart

"we read your poem" she tells me
a couple of years ago at mid-season.
I am shocked that it still exists somewhere.
"Really?" I beam "I can't believe you still have it."
"Well, it meant so much to us."
They smile and continue to tell me how other young girls asked,
"Who wrote that?"
It is perhaps the best I have felt in a long time and on my subway ride home I wonder
why I am not a teacher?
Is it because my Dad once told me it would be the most tragic story ever?
Me trading in writing to become a teacher.
Or is it because people tell me I would be good at it and so I'm afraid.
What will that mean for my writing?
Perhaps one is complimented by the other.
My writing a poem never meant so much as it did tonight.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

poets

i am in a class where i feel i don't belong
i don't know what a tercet is, though i gather it means three
nor do i know how to write a sonnet
and i do not give thought to how many lines and syllables are in my poems
nor what types of consonants, gerunds, or speech tenses i am using
i don't immediately recognize if my poem is between the "I" and "you"
or if the relationship of my pronouns are clear
i am not traveling from southern california every week to take this class
i do not take a bus from massachusetts or a train from connecticut
i take the subway from brooklyn
and still i found myself twenty minutes late today.
i am trying to see if i am not that passionate about it because for once i am not the best in the class or even one of the best in the class
if i don't like it because i am not being praised or if it is just not my thing.
pride is tricky.
pride is what gets in the way when there is something we need to see but don't want to look at.
that feeling of our own congratulatory pat on the back when maybe a slap in the face would be more helpful.
i am happy to have now taken a workshop or been in a writing group for every major form of writing:
non-fiction
memoir
playwriting
screenwriting
fiction
poetry
adaptation
but what does that make me other than a proud jack of all trades?
master of none, as they say.
or maybe i am a poet,
and i don't even know it.
the time for choosing is upon me i feel.
i am wanting to strip myself of all that i put before me
in order to understand the one thing that i actually want before me
happiness. truth. love.
the ability to turn off my pride, that beating of my ego that thumps so loudly in my chest,
and ask myself
"just what is it that you want, dear?"
maybe i will stop doing what everyone tells me i am good at
and choose for myself what it is that i want to be good at.

Friday, October 29, 2010

mortified

Last night, Carmen and I went to a very funny show called MORTIFIED. People read from their middle school and high school diaries and journals. My favorite performer was the Executive Producer, Neal, who read poems he had written dealing with rejection, obsession, prom, etc... My favorite was called "Prom Is A Fantasy" where he proceeds to rail on how people who go to prom are letting society dictate their lives. This, of course, was written after the girl he wanted to go to prom with went with someone else. He then proceeded to go to prom with a blind date. The poem written after that topped the last one. This one was "Untitled" and begins with "Death To The Tormentors..."

ANother performer read about her dilemma on whether she should buy the Ace of Base CD or a Nirvana CD. She then added "oh yeah, by the way, Kurt Cobain, just committed suicide."

I especially loved her because I have listened to that Ace of Base CD probably hundreds of times as well as all of my Nirvana CDs. Anyone else have SWV? K.D. Lang? Crash Test Dummies?

It was fun to laugh, to laugh hard and honestly, with a little self-nod to the nerdy kids we all once were.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

the return of the iPod

The last two days I remembered that I had an iPod and spent the last two commutes warming up to the day with an array of different music.
Amelie soundtrack
American Gangster soundtrack
a Mix that I for some reason titled Avelio??? Bill Wuthers, Black Eyed Peas, Portishead, Nas, Snow Patrol..all my faves
What a difference an iPod makes on a morning commute.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

halloween: a day for pilgrims


i've decided that i don't like halloween anymore.
i suppose i haven't for awhile
and i don't know why i have agreed to work at the door of a huge halloween party
where i will be telling drunk assholes and pretty sluts whether or not they are on "the list"
it all reeks of desperation with the bitter taste of sadness.
i can't ever remember really liking it.
at my first school, a christian school, we were not allowed to celebrate "the devil's day" so we were made to celebrate "colonial day" where you cam dressed as your favorite pilgrim or American historical figure.
I have been Betsy Ross, Martha Washington and Susan B. Anthony.
perhaps this is what killed the joy of it for me.
there was also the colonial day when we came home and found mom on the couch and the phone off the hook
the next day was halloween but i was sent to stay with Aunt Gail for a few days and i didn't have a costume.
so she dressed me as a witch and tried to get me to wear green face paint that made my skin itch
that halloween we went to one house that was flooded with people.
when we got to the door, we found that it was mary kate and ashley olsen dressed as cinderellas handing out candy while a barrage of people took their photographs
i remember thinking that maybe they were giving out special candy. but it turns out it was just snickers like the rest of us.
the year my parents divorced, my brother and i spent perhaps our last halloween trick or treating.
my mom made our costume- we were a two-headed monster which really just was a black sheet with two holes cut out. i remember being annoyed throughout the night because he was slower than me. but i was glad that we were in this together.
as a teenager, i went one year as parker posy in dazed and confused and one year as sally bowles which may have been my best costume ever.
but as an adult, the costumes are few and far between and none of them clever- black mamba from kill bill, a cowgirl, magenta from rocky horror picture show and maggie gylenhaal.
this year i am going as me with a subtle suggestion of freddy krueger-red and black striped sweater and hopefully a hat and maybe fingerless gloves.
considering the plethora of colorful dreams i have been having for the past six months, going as the killer sandman gives me some false sense of empowerment or maybe it is just more depressed morbidity. either way, i will be warm while sexy ladybugs and playboy bunnies and lady gagas and snookies will be freezing their asses off around me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

if i were a rich girl

i would get my hair done every 4-6 weeks like you're supposed to
i would get my teeth bleached by some blue light laser
i would get laser hair removal everywhere except my legs, i actually like shaving my legs
i would go to iceland for the weekend because it would REALLY be a deal
i would buy a smart car and drive around looking for really small parking spots
i would buy a farm house in vermont, a ski chalet in colorado, a brownstone in brooklyn, and a beach house
i would travel to every single place i could
i would still shop online just a lot more frequently
i would get whatever i really wanted on the menu
i would consider laser tattoo removal for 2 of my 4 tattoos (guess which ones?)
i would consider getting a huge tattoo on my back
i would give to charity though i admit i did not think of this right away, but i definitely would
i would buy myself a mac desktop, a mac laptop and an ipad
i would see a lot more theatre and a lot more movies if the bed bug scare was over
i would never drink the "well drinks"
i would hire a cook
i would throw an awesome party for no damn reason
i would take a year off and write. maybe two or three.
i would make another documentary
i would open up an arts cafe and have poetry slams, movie nights and game nights
i would buy mike every survival tool he needs to feed his growing hobby
i would still wear sterling silver
i would see my brother more often
i would get facials every month
i would have an easier life but not necessarily more interesting
i would still work but i would make sure my day didn't start until 10am
i would be bored...would i? would i?
i would always have mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer and flowers in vases

Sunday, October 17, 2010

intimidation

i was once told that there is no such thing as intimidation.
the person who told me that was the most intimidating person i ever met.
she was my high school playwriting/acting teacher
perhaps one of the greatest minds i will ever know and she became an incredible mentor.
a few years later, at NYU, i would meet a similar teacher who to this day tells me to
"Be Aggressive!"
whenever i feel the cold sweat of panic coming from a moment of insecurity drawn from a very deep well,
i remember these women
or at least today i did.
i started an advanced poetry class with an incredibly respected poet.
as the class began to discuss each others' poems i felt myself sinking
actually, rewind
from the moment we handed our poems out and i realized that i was the only person
to pass out a three page poem
i began to panic.
then when that one woman who i know i've met before began to discuss the poems with literary terms,
terms i assure you i have only heard once and never myself used in a sentence,
i began to feel that feeling.
that feeling of i don't belong
the same feeling i felt on my first day at nyu.
 as the class ran out of time and i thought i had skirted my way out of a potential lions den,
someone suggested for the people whose poems we did not get to discuss, we should read them aloud.
asshole.
so when it came to me, i breathed and decided to read the shortest one i had and the oddest thing happened.
they laughed.
i never saw the poem as funny.
if anything i see my poetry, mostly featured on this blog, as depressing.
a part of me thought that they had missed the point and another part of me was okay if they did.
who doesn't like to make people laugh?
if i look at the many teachers and bosses i have had, they all have one thing in common:
the ability to combat fear with everything they got.
there must be a reason they find me or i find them.
in the words of jim whitaker, "fear is as real as this table."
fear is the most powerful emotion in the world because it knows how to disguise itself.
and for a writer, how you handle fear is what makes all the difference.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

noises

nothing but the clock ticking
i think, forgetting
how i tried to understand my upstairs
neighbor's fight
just ten minutes before.
maybe it was just a movie,
or an old friend you
talk to as if they were the scum
on your shoe.
it is the witching hour
here, at the tip of park slope,
although now they call it
greenwood heights
after the cemetery one
block away. the cemetery
with the bodies of centuries past.
in california, there are no
bodies of centuries past.
just michael jackson and
marilyn monroe
and people rich
east coasters call
"new money."
she blurts out at dinner
something to do about
rich people and how
"they can't handle it"
when they lose all their money.
and I, trying to keep from screaming,
offer an ironic anecdote
which i immediately regret.
this will never be table conversation and
no one will ever understand, nor
appreciate the irony inherent in all
fucking tragedies.
nor will they learn that those rich people
can handle something
just fine.
everywhere i go
there is a sparrow.
sparrows in my feet,
sparrows in my chest,
sparrows in my head.
she will not let me go and so
at night i dream
about cancer in my body.
"you won't always feel this way,"
she tells me.
"you won't always feel this way."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

vollmond

a sob lifts
a door closes
gripping a crumbling wall
faster than fast can be
they slip through each other
which foot first?
they slip into each other?
Which chin first?
we run from
that thing
that in the end
drowns us in
our own ideas
of how it should have been.
why wear the goggles
when you wear such a heavy coat?
ophelia blushes
with purple lips slain
according to your doctrine
of how it should go.
i cannot see you.
all this water
running through my hair
when all i really need is a carrot.

Monday, October 4, 2010

little black box

dear blog,
i have been so engaged with comments on my movie blog that i have been neglecting you. apologies, apologies! but i have come back to you the same way i went back to the theatre today. nothing feels quite like slipping into a chair in a black box theatre. the house lights hot on my face and then the quick fade, the blackness engulfing me as the story is illuminated before me. there is nothing in the world as beautiful to me as that moment. sometimes i wonder just why the hell i ever got out of the little black box and when i will have the courage to go back in. when the play comes out, go see GLORY GIRLS by Elizabeth Diggs. There is a reading on Thursday at Ensemble Studio Theatre. Funny, smart, heartbreaking, passionate, historical, inspiring, empowering.
j'taime lbb.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

leakage

it has been good to go back to the movies
after a long hiatus
it has been nice to return to the dark rooms i love so much
i didn't know why i didn't want to go to the movies or even watch a movie
for awhile i was turned off from seeing violence
having watched an episode of the wire too soon after my grandparents' deaths
but after watching two in two days,
two which both stayed with me long after the credits,
 i remembered why
movies pluck those chords of mine that i keep tucked away, beneath my ribs
movies make me feel
but after that week in may, i felt like all the feelings were firing all the time
swimming at the surface
ready to spill over any moment

i was afraid of watching a movie for fear of what would leak out.
there is still some leakage
but sometimes i think a little leak might be a good thing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

odd years

in a couple more hours
i will no longer be
"28"
something about the "9"
in "29"
lends a weight i had not anticipated
there is the feeling of teetering on the edge of my youth
before taking the inevitable plunge into
my "30s"
a chapter that screams with more promise
than the twenties ever realized
and yet a chapter potentially so completely loaded.
i wish i had slapped the asshole last night who tried to pick me up
and then when i told him how old i would be turning
he replied
"29??...You're so old!"
i don't know whether he was trying to be funny or cute
but i did not get offended right away
i just thought
"yeah, i am old....finally"
and i no longer have to waste my time on niceties
or considering strangers feelings
when i blow them off at a bar.
maybe at "29," my honesty and aggressiveness will not be seen as bitchy,
but rather someone who has something important to say.
so get the fuck out of my way.
perhaps at "29" i will finally feel
that my age matches my experiences
that although i am still young
i am no longer very young
and i can finally be
the woman i have been meaning to be.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

hallmark

this year, you will not arrive
there will be no reading of the word "dearest"
no promise of a love always
you will not be returned
nor will you see the bottom of a trash can
or the darkness of a drawer
tucked deeply in a file marked
"personal correspondence"
you will not have the chance of being posted on a fridge
but then you never were
because it was just too much space to take
but now that's all you are
a space that continues to roll out
like a map
covering my body
disappearing me
tattooing me with your blood
shrouded in a blink
that won't open.
when he asks me what i want for my birthday
all i can think of is your stupid cards.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the passing of august

When Reagan was president
and we had a backyard
one with a pool,
the month of august
never meant anything more than the barbecues and
swims crammed in before school.
The passing of august was marked by a series of birthdays and anniversaries.
the 15th was Gary, the 23rd was my parents, 25th was Shaun, 30th was Breanne
and then we slipped into September like a cat burglar
stealing summer's pearls.
august lost its appeal when the 8th became the day she left
and the 23rd became the day of silence.

i have never loved September,
marked by the first day of school for many different schools
a birthday during the first two weeks of school when i still didn't have any friends yet
a birthday forgotten
a birthday attempted
and eventually a perpetual and annual dose of birthday blues.
but the east coast gives September a spit polish.
the month filleted in front of us as summer and fall fight over breaking the wish bone.
September has always been a month of movement
the 8th marked by grandparent's wedding anniversary or maybe it was his birthday, the 11th her birthday, the 16th Gilen was born, 20th was mine and 21st was Gail's.
then grandpa died and the 8th was a day to call grandma and september 11th happened which was a day people began to call me.
and now the 20th again, shared with the only person I'd want to share it with.
mike and me having the same birthday was a thread of "unbelievable" information that kept us friends when we were living separate lives.
every now and then, i still get tickled, like a third grader with a crush, when i tell people that me and my boyfriend have the same birthday.
the last few with him have been pretty damn good.

so for this august,
i say do not go gently into the night
though please cool down
quickly.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

el duende

evoking
that which is not that nor this
more
of the ether
than of the earth

for some
a term for the soul
a term
for the heart

for me
a reminder
to go deep
and find
that which is not that nor this

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

beach people

"maybe we are beach people," i say.
"i've always thought that," he says.
and after today, i confirm, that yes, i am beach people.
even in a sweatshirt, curled up in a sheet, i am happy at the beach
i am transported with the waves
i am renewed.
the more i get away from new york, the more i consider my life without so much....much
there is a part of me that wants to get quiet and the sea makes everything quiet.
i consider getting rid of facebook and blogs and emails and television and just being
-writing-
"i'm going to take the next year to find my writing life," i tell him
"cool" he says with a smile and a nod as if to say,
you are ready for your journey.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight...

i hate to go and leave this pretty sight...

my friend goes back to new orleans on friday.
this day came too soon and made me sad, but i was glad to have dinner with her tonight in dumbo.
we walked and talked along the waterfront with the brooklyn bridge in the background and then shared chips and salsa and drank a strong margarita each.
she is one of those friends where i can completely indulge myself with in a few hours of shop talk about writing.
we both are writers, each with our own struggles, and yet talking to the other seems to help iron out the problems we can't seem to fix in our own word lexicons.

she is also one of those friends who just gets what i'm talking about-all-the-time.
like a soul sister.

she is quite exceptional and her name is pretty awesome, too.

see you in nola, lindsay.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the year of elephants


i go to barnes & noble because it's that time of year again
time to buy a planner for the upcoming year and since my job is at a school,
my planner runs on an academic year and barnes & noble is full of academic planners.
i rush around the store looking for their summer display an finally come to the table full of planners.
this year, the selection is smaller,
but the designs are more interesting.
i look through everyone but all the while i know i am going to get the one that has the cover with elephants.
the elephants are each filled with an artsy design, all different shapes and sizes
some of the elephants are small, some small and some are holding each other's tails by their trunks
i get excited about this purchase, i get excited to fill the pages with dates and birthdays and things to do and notes
i walk away with an excitement i can't quite explain and i must remember this feeling when i find myself wanting a life without schedule and routine and stability.
i must remind myself that there is a very large part of me, perhaps bigger than the free-spirited part of me,
that loves loves LOVES a new planner.
on the subway ride home,  i begin filling in plans i have made and birthdays i can remember. i start to think about the year ahead and the year so far and i look back at the cover to admire the elephants
why was i drawn to these elephants?
certainly there were prettier designs
one had a beautiful silhouette of a peony
but there was something about elephants and these particular elephants that i wanted to see every day sometimes several times of days
and then it came to me, this is the year of elephants
so many huge events have already happened this year and so many more i feel are going to happen
and even at my lowest point, i feel a strength inside me that always comforts me, assures me, that no matter what i will always walk out of the fire
i like the elephant for its strength, its gentleness, its wildness, but also its memory.
the more i examined each elephant the more i felt at peace with the coming year
and maybe, just maybe, i'll create a couple stampedes of my own.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

salt water

after a heavy visit home
i planned my summer vacation days to take a few days down at the jersey shore just a few days later.
I brought two magazines, two books, a journal, and an iPod
But once I got there, the only thing I could bring myself to do was sit and take in the waves, the sunshine and the breeze.
the sound of a wave crashing is perhaps my favorite sound on earth.
"there is something very healing about salt water," someone in my office said to me.
and that is just exactly how i feel right now.
i feel a little bit better.
i walked away with a nice tan, a fresh face, and a load off my chest.
it makes me think that maybe i can live somewhere by the beach but more importantly maybe I should.
it is just that good.

Friday, July 2, 2010

systems of avoidance

this week, with the help of a really smart friend, i re-wrote my statement of purpose for NYU
i talked about my interest in systems of avoidance and socially orchestrated silence
-both in the family and the community-
i talked about acts of violence being seemingly the only means of response in cultures of oppression
i talked about a lot of things with big heady words and sociological painted views
but in the end, i am just trying to understand my family and myself
a found a diary that had been unearthed when Mike re-designed my closet.
the diary is from 1991. it has two "little twin stars" (a couple of sanrio characters)
on the inside cover i wrote my first and last name and then squeezed in my middle name
then on the first page i write, "written by Lindsey Anthony."
as if i was already trying to write my memoirs at ten years old.
i start the entry by saying i am ten years old and its the "hardest age I've gone through since."
I go on to talk about my mother being an alcoholic and explain that it is because she was abused by her parents.
i have a vague memory of writing this entry while sitting on our old brown couch and looking at our fake christmas tree. i go on in the entry about what happened that day which i remember vividly.
but in reading the entry, i was not struck by what i had been through but more about why i had the information i did.
while i admit i was a very precocious child, and i am sure i demanded answers when my mother spiraled down, i am wondering why i was told all the things i was told.
i can see where my opinions that eventually became identifying characteristics were skewed, filtered, given to me at a time when i should have been protected.
like how my brother had been protected.
my father made a joke the other day about how maybe i could "support him for once"
and i'd like to tell him, "that's all i ever do."
the diary had another entry a few months later, when my mom just came home from betty ford
and then another entry a few months later, just six days before she left.
i found the diary in 97 and wrote another entry in it
i was 14 and pissed off, and painfully dramatic
and then there is another entry in 98 where i claim my father is a "saint."
it is interesting and painful to see this stuff, but i'm really glad i am finding it now
and reading it with a new set of eyes finally.
i don't want to be pissed off at my dad for ten years.
and in the end there's no way i can let myself be mad at all at him.
he will always be the one who stayed.
i just need some time and space to process things, something i  have never given myself.
in 1992, my ten-year old self wrote, "Memories and memories all done in the past but still follow in the future.It doesn't matter if it was years ago. It stays with you."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Miracle on Grass


Though I am not one to be patriotic, I certainly felt emotional watching this and it did give me some sort of hope or happiness, that maybe this country can pull together and pull ourselves out of this mess. If we can bond over a soccer goal, we must be able to do something, anything, better.  And for all the American soccer haters out there, suck on this!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

After much hesitation founded on intimidation
I decided to meet my friend Lindsay at Cadman Plaza for a yoga lesson, a moment of reflection for mother earth, a celebratory gesture to Summer Solctice, and also some spiritual prayers regarding the oil spill.I told my friend yesterday that I wasn't sure if I wanted to come because I was intimidated.
I blamed it on yoga, but the truth is it was the meditation and spirituality part of it. Also, the idea of doing yoga in a park was somewhat terrifying. But I forced myself out of my comfort zone and went.
When we first set up our mats, I was paranoid about my bag. What if someone just runs by and takes it? The only real thing of value in my wallet is a few dollars and my monthly subway pass but still I was nervous to sit in a park with my eyes closed. But I did it, and as Lindsay guided me to listen to all the different sounds surrounding me, I actually forgot about my bag and for a moment really sunk into the soundtrack of New York: A motorcycle, honking, footsteps, birds, rumbling from a distant train, a few guys playing soccer. I decided to just let go of all my insecurities, because that is what they really were-afraid of being looked at I suppose, and I really tried to focus. And I have to say I got a lot out of it. It was nice to step inside myself for a moment and then outside of myself and become a part of the world again. I have been following the oil spill and it has depressed me to no end. So much that the other day I turned the BBC off and picked up a Victoria's Secret catalog instead, even though I felt filthy doing it. And though I am not one to pray and have lost my belief in religion, it was nice to think of the oil spill and ask the universe to show me how to be more appreciative of the earth and pay more attention to the life surrounding me.
Even though our session was cut short due to mosquitos, I found myself leaving a little happier then when I came and though I spend a lot of my day being quiet, there was a different silence that I went home with. A silence that was serene. I found myself wanting to make myself dinner as opposed to buying it. And even though we only have eggs in the house, I made a kick ass omelette. So, a big thank you to my friend, Lindsay, and a super big Happy Summer Solstice to everyone.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Atlantic City

AC met every expectation I had.
I went for one night which was plenty.
Like Vegas with a beach.
Like Vegas, you cannot stray from the strip and if you do, the casino will ironically make you feel safe.
There is a reason I should own a pretty, sexy dress & heels even though I am not 23, and I don't go to clubs. (Put that one on my "to-do" list.)
Hangovers will be suffered. Dunkin Donuts will only enhance its effects.
A shot of whiskey is never a good idea after midnight.
It is important to be silly and even more important to completely cut lose.
Like Vegas, it is more about the party you bring than the town you're in. Although the town makes fun a lot more easy.
Pack bandaids.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

soccer

the world cup has begun and so far i have tried to watch almost every match
that will change with the start of the work week
since all three matches air between the hours of 7:00am- 4:00p.m.
But I am hoping I can watch some on my computer at ESPN or Fifa..com???
anyway, today i had an incredible day
lots of house cleaning but then mike and i made nachos, cracked open a cold beer,
and watched the germany vs australia game
a sunday afternoon does not get much better than that
watching soccer i can literally feel my heart jump with certain plays, goals, blocks, passes
and i'm reminded of how much i love this sport, what it was for me as a kid
and then why i left the sport just before college
but i am so grateful it came back into my life
even if i act like a lunatic
it makes me want to get back to the "mental" kind of player i used to be
i was the kind of player that could lose my cool but then just pump that energy back into my game
now i just lose my cool
there is a discipline in soccer, a grace and finesse
it is a sport with elegance
and watching these pros reminds me that good sportsmanship isn't just good manners
but a part of the mental game of soccer
without a good head about you, the game is not soccer,
its just a chicken coop.
so cheers to you amazing players around the globe and the ones playing in South Africa, too.
this beer is for you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

kaleidoscope

i sit down to write
and hours go by with nothing on the page
i decide to write, ink to paper, to see if it will help
like it did in the olds days.

i keep saying i don't want to be angry
that i'm not angry
and through my handwritten entry
i realize that i am very angry

she tells me i have a lot to be angry about
but i have no fight in me, i tell her
i am tired all of the time
and someone giving me the finger took the wind out of my sails

i am a house of cards
i am stuck in space and time
or maybe just a blank white screen
but either way, it's lonely out here

i go through the motions
i try to care, try to connect
and i find the only way i can is to post it publicly
on a blog
who is read by the people i should be reaching out to.

so maybe it is alright that i can blog
even though i cannot write.
"I've been living narrative that was not my own"
I keep telling myself that to make sense of my feelings.

but that poses a big dilemma when you have put
a deposit down on an expensive writing workshop
with no-fucking-story.
i am just beginning this narrative.

i write something about my Dad,
but it is more about how are relationship
changed with one sentence
"Maybe you're mother did it."

I write that it is as if I have been looking
through a kaleidoscope at the same damn image
and something came along and finally rotated it for me.
"the world is prismatic," senora tells me.

I wish someone had told me sooner.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

pretty damn good

"he looks happier than i've seen him in a long time"
"yeah...that's the mike i know," i say
his smile natural, open, like he is taking a breath of fresh air.
he is happy in movement
when in the process of moving his hands
building, creating, loving
i take a moment and drink him in
damn, he's cute
and i am overcome with gratitude
i am one lucky girl
and in between him reaching for a fork and handing me a fork
i feel this burst of warmth
and a renewed sense of confidence.
there are not many decisions i have made that i can say were the right ones
except for him
perhaps the only decision
and my heart melts when he smiles at me, fork in hand, under a sweaty baseball cap.
my life is pretty damn good.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

fermenting

i tried to play soccer the other night
but i just got lost on the field
the heat like a cloak of suppression
choking the life right out of me.
i get beat again and again
and i wonder where my heart has gone
where my spirit is hiding
and i realize that i am alone out there
even though i came to play with my team.
the loneliness, the heat, the frustration
all roil to the top
in a swirl of perfectly fermented emotion.
i am looking for a fight
and i find one
but i find my bite is louder than my bark
and in the end, i am the one who leaves with my tail between my legs.
i want to care about something
but everything is exhausting
i want to play like my old self
without becoming my old self
just what exactly is involved in the process of growth?
they tell me i should talk about it
take notes
take time
be good to myself
and so i do.
but every time i move, it jumps all over me
and i feel myself collapsing under the weight of it all.
so i continue to go through some motions,
in case one day i will care again
and i will want these things in my life
even if it is a lonely soccer field and pages of bad poetry.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

just you and me, washing machine

i keep trying to write
but all that comes are bursts
of broken lines
or play by plays of scenes
devoid of emotion
or even worse
description of emotion.
i have these stories inside me
but i don't know how to get them out
and perhaps it is because they are too close-
they have always been too close.
so i begin reading a book
"the situation and the story"
and i realize that i am living in the situation
but i don't have the story yet;
the story i always wrote is no longer true.
i tried to read a three page piece I wrote a year ago and was turned off
by the anger and judgment  in the first paragraph.
was i always that naive?
or just that blinded?
i fill my time alone with tasks
to avoid sitting down and facing my computer,
to avoid admitting what i know now to be true-
that we were all wrong, but too damn scared to change it.
and all its left me with is this maddening cycle of regret, remorse, guilt, relief,
the relief triggering guilt and the whole damn cycle repeats
like a washing machine that has a load that keeps knock it off balance
soon, the machine might flood
and what will we do then about all those lost socks?
i tell my writing mentor that every night i sit down to write and all that is coming out is really bad poetry.
why change things now?

Monday, May 31, 2010

the art of being a cucumber

I went to a party filled with leftist organizers
who consider themselves radicals
and work with veterans
though none of them have been to war

"I heard" she tells me
"Me too, I just heard five minutes ago,"
the other tells me
and I'm wondering just who the fuck is doing all this talking?

we get on the subject of ptsd
because they are all now experts
having worked with people suffering from ptsd
and she tells me about some exercises that will help me calm down

and i want to tell her that i'm cool
cool as a cucumber
and that actually this is the first time in my life
where i have just listened to myself and done exactly that

and if i need to cry, i do
and if i need to say no, i do
and if i need to freak the fuck out, i do
and if i need to be calm, i do.

there is always this part of me
afraid to stew in it
wanting everyone to tell me how strong i am
as i tuck away my own narrative and tell it as if it were someone else's.

but not this chapter
this one won't let me close it and just move on
it has a hold on me
one on each ankle.

and perhaps this hold ain't so bad
since the rug is gone
and all the furniture is upside down
and the ceiling is broken.

and all that should have been felt
is now being felt
and i am remembering myself as a little girl
who played her part ever so diligently

but now the show is mine
the narrative before me
the pages blank
and i'm looking for some new lines.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ghost Town

When I was growing up as an angry teenager in the Valley,
I used to think I saw my mom everywhere.
I saw her crossing the street, in the stands at the football game, driving a car...
One time I was so convinced I saw her driving towards me, I quickly stubbed out the cigarette I was smoking, as if her catching me would have meant something.
When the car passed and I could see the driver was not my mother,  I was angry at myself for stubbing the cigarette out and I quickly tried to salvage the broken butt.
My hallucinations were not totally unfounded. When I graduated the sixth grade, I told her not to come and she showed up.
And then at my 8th grade graduation, one of my aunts or maybe it was my dad told me she was standing at the back of the church when I received my creative writing award.
I never asked her if it was true. I didn't see her again until my high school graduation, which I did invite her to. She gave me a tiny gold necklace with three tiny diamonds and kept telling me that the diamonds were real. The necklace was real.
I got smashed out of my mind that night.
Still in the valley, sometimes I think I see her. But now that I want to see her I wonder if those living ghosts will go away.
I wonder about a new kind of haunting. Coming down the West Fourth subway station yesterday, I saw my grandmother on the platform waiting for the A train. She looked at me and then someone crossed in front of me. But when they passed, there was a different woman standing there.
It's the second time I've seen her waiting for the train.
This morning I read the New Yorker's review on Robin Hood,  the last movie in Hollywood I had my fingerprints on. The review deconstructs the character of Robin Hood and the many versions of his story and they describe Errol Flynn's merry Robin Hood walking on camera with a deer slung over his neck.
I am suddenly eight years old, watching the movie in my grandparents bed. I ask my grandfather if the deer is real and I can't remember his answer but it makes me feel better. I watched that movie every time I slept over at my grandparents house and every time in their bed where I would fall asleep and then magically wake up in the guest bedroom in the morning.
I hear his whistle all the time.
When I was in LA, I told Mike that this was not going to affect my everyday life.
As if I am ever really in control.
The difference is, I'm not scared this time. I'm just curious.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Return to Poetry

The descent into poetry
spelunking into a cave-
the Allegory of which
brings some macbre sense of freedom.

Plato was right
about all those fucking Forms-
they are that without which a thing
would not be the kind of thing it is.

But above the surface of the Earth
Nobody heard him, the dead man-
Like Stevie, I was much too far out
And not waving but drowning.

If the very nature of knowledge changes,
at the time when the change occurs
there will be no knowledge
-That fucking Plato.

All I want is The Missing Piece
Maybe I am too hungry-
The piece hiding
So I must keep rolling.

Into Nick Flynn's Empty Town
I find Jesus, naked and thorned-
his heart on fire, screaming,
Look what I did for you.

Touch one strand
the whole web trembles-
As in Schrodinger's theory of Entanglement
or maybe Rae Armantrout's.

If this world really is made up
of collisions or collapses-
Who the fuck is driving?
And what if we reach Ruskin's Bridge to Nowhere?

I wish I had been like Alice
reminding the White Queen
I can't go straight, you know,
if you pin it all on one side.

I was not exchanged in the cradle
but no one knows my name
Like Stafford's Story That Could Be True,
Maybe I'm a king.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Letter To The Park Slope Food Co-Op

Dear Park Slope Food Co Op,

You win. After debating whether or not I should quit you last night, because I am pissed that I owe two make-ups and have another regular volunteer shift next week and my time is absolutely priceless, I begrudgingly went...but I am glad taht I did. While working, I bought the following:
Goat Cheese
Soft imported Italian cheese I can't spell that last week Mike and I paid three times as much for
a loaf of bread.
carr crackers
seaweed crackers
a bunch of beautiful bananas
No Nitrates salami
kidney beans
black beans
a bag of salt & vinegar kettle potato chips
hummus
baby carrots
a dozen cage free, no hormone, organic, no antibiotic, blah blah blah eggs
all for $25.
I know. I know. So I guess I will suck it up and put down my work and for 2 hours and 45 minutes give back to the "community" with my priceless time. I still think you are making out better on the deal.

Signed,

A Defeated Member

Sunday, April 25, 2010

On The Road

So tomorrow's Moth theme is "On The Road" and I am trying to give myself assignments and the Moth themes always seem interesting or challenging. I have so many road stories but I couldn't think of any that weren't your typical "tying to find yourself 20s" stories or ones that did not have ani difranco and dar williams as the soundtrack. but then as i thought some more...so many came to mind. the truth is i have the ultimate road story-8 weeks in a toyota traveling around the country interviewing strangers with carmen. or how about the bus trip i took from san fernando to berkeley where i met mike and his brother dave who were driving from jersey (the first time mike and i dated)? or the road trip i took with my brother who had a mohawk at the time and as we sped through texas were pulled over and I accidentally handed the cop my brother's fake id? or the 24 hour trip to vegas where i took a packet of no dose to stay awake? the blizzard from maryland to new york in a soft cover jeep after a night of partying? the trip from la to santa barbara in tara's car where she forgot the face to her radio so we, relatively new friends, were forced to spend the entire trip getting to know each other? or the trip from LA to jersey with mike, my stuff all sealed in vacume bags including my temperpedic mattress-the one vacume bag with a debilitating leak? but if i think about the scariest or the one that captures my truest sense of adventure it might be my first visit to dc. my roommate at the time cashed a hot check, unbeknown to her, given to her by her boyfriend for a screenplay she wrote for him. when the bank informed her she owed them 7 grand and her boyfriend had stopped returning her calls, she went to the police. after turning down a date/plea bargain with the detective he informed her he should arrest her right now since there was a warrant for her arrest. she left the police station, got drunk (the only time i ever saw her drunk, perhaps one of the few times she drank) and came home to our NYU dorm. she told me the whole story and in our nineteen year old minds, we decide she needs to flee new york. so we call up our friend paul, who at this point, we didn't know just how rich he was, but had a clue. we knew he had a car in connecticut. so the three of us hop a train to a little town called greenwich. we get to the biggest and fanciest piece of property alma or i have ever seen. at this point, alma and i are both vegetarians and we walk into a room covered with heads from animals we have only ever seen in the zoo. we drink a beer, play a game of pool while paul's mother offers to make us buckwheat pancakes. alma and i both look at each other and at the same time mouth "what the fuck is buckwheat?" paul offers to show us around his house but refuses to let us see his room. he acts so strangely about it that we become very interested thinking there must be awkward high school prom pictures or some poster of a boy band. but paul's brother wants to show us the room. now here's where it gets murky. i don't remember us seeing the room that night, but weeks later when alma was back in connecticut, paul's brother showed her the room. alma, a black woman from the roughest part of dc, walked into paul's greenwich connecticut room to find it covered in white supremacist posters and graffiti. When Paul found alma he broke down and told her he was no longer this person and explained his angry youth in a most humble and humiliated way. but i digress... after our buckwheat pancakes we took paul's' pimped out cadillac escalade to DC. Since I was the only one with a valid drivers license I drove. As we were driving through the night, paul put in "eddie murphy raw," the first time i ever heard it, and we laughed the entire way...until i hit trenton, new jersey. being from california, i've never heard of a jug handle. so i find myself circling trenton in the middle of the night in a pimped out escalade with connecticut license plates and a nyc fugitive in the back seat. i finally try to make a left turn, something you can't do in jersey, and a cop pulls me over. i begin to sweat and imagine us all in handcuffs and who my only call will be to, but when i roll down the window the cop says, "you're not from around here." when i show him my california license and spill out some sob story the three of us conjured up about needing to get to DC for a sick grandmother, the cop lets us go, without asking for alma's or paul's id and even shows us how to get to DC. we hit the road again, feeling invincible! we bump ludacris's "roll out" and outkast's "the whole world." then we head into dc and the car goes quiet and paul and i know its time to turn down the music. as we cross Martin Luther King drive into Alma's hometown, she leans in and tells me, "Lindsey, anywhere in this country where there's a street named Martin Luther King, don't go there." we dropped alma off at her parent's apartment. her mom talked to the plants and her father had been gone for a couple days. alma, who i never saw cry once or even get too excited told me not to worry. she would figure it out. and by the looks of things, alma had already figured everything out. she had figured how to get herself out of the dc ghetto, out of her parents' home and pay her way through nyu. and here paul and i were dropping her right back in it because a boy had lied to her.  i knew alma would figure it out because she was a survivor, but my perception of the world got a little bit bigger that day. paul and i left alma sitting on a mattress on the floor in her home and got back into his car. we tried to listen to eddie murphy again, but neither one of us laughed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

to keep searching


Almost five years ago, my friend and I took a road trip around the country. We packed a camera, some tapes I got from a canceled reality show, and a huge jar of mixed nuts. The idea was to capture the voice of our generation but we both knew we were also trying to find our own. Neither one of us walked away from that experience with concrete answers or clearly defined beliefs, but we both walked away more curious, more confident, more assured in ourselves that no matter what are lives were going to turn out to be we both would be alright because in the end neither one of us would ever give up searching...
and most importantly neither one us will ever let the other give up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dues


There is no such thing as having paid one’s dues. Only the ability to know when you have hit your threshold.  The ability to see just how much shit you can take to achieve what you think you want the most. People like to think that success is about ambition but really it’s about threshold and if you can figure out your threshold you can figure out anything. My threshold ended not with the fourteen-hour work days, nor with the pittance of pay, but with a chopped salad. My boss, a big time Hollywood producer, was on a very strict cleansing diet prescribed by a famous holistic doctor in Beverly Hills, and under no circumstances was he to have tomatoes. His health was in terrible shape, his marriage was a ticking time bomb, and his work was killing him mentally, physically and spiritually, and here I had forgotten to ask for no fucking tomatoes. Panicked by my mistake, I raced to the company kitchen and began violently stabbing tomatoes and flinging them into the garbage that rested below plaques of some of our box office hits. I ended up flinging more than just tomatoes as Steve Martin disapprovingly looked down at me from his “Parenthood” plaque. I glanced to my left and found Jim Carrey dressed as The Grinch scowling at me and my careless fuck up. Tom Hanks from “The Burbs” hosing my shame with a raised eyebrow as if he is saying, “great. fucking tomatoes.” When I looked back down at the colorless salad I realized that the missing tomatoes had greatly reduced the appearance of the salad and that either way I was in a losing situation here. A feeling I had felt before but had convinced myself that I was just paying my dues. The buying of his saline nasal spray, the working on weekends without overtime, the blackberry that I began to hear buzzing when it hadn’t, the anxiety dreams and gastrointestinal problems were all just a part of the dues. I’d been paying my dues for so long I realized I had forgotten just what it was all for. I looked at the remaining tomatoes and it struck me that perhaps there was something more that I could be doing with my overpriced college education. I had been working shit jobs for six years while I watched people I graduated with sell $500,000 scripts, star in movies with Ben Stiller, and skyrocket to success.  I wondered about the difference between me and my successful classmates. Certainly I was just as driven. Certainly I was willing to sacrifice and never once did I complain. But perhaps the difference was threshold- a daring version of self-respect.
I hid the remaining tomatoes under the bottom of the salad and served the plate to my boss. He ate the entire meal, never once even looking at the tomatoes stuck on his fork nor noticing their bitter taste. Watching him eat those forbidden tomatoes without even realizing they were there I knew that there was no amount of paying dues that I could do that could get me what I wanted. Just like no holistic diet was going to solve my boss’s mid-life crisis. The difference was in defining my threshold and once I did that I woke up.  Three weeks later, I quit my job, I found a sublet to finish out my apartment lease, I packed my Toyota with all of my belongings and moved to New York. I got an easy job that allows me to write and allows me the time to gather the courage needed to tell a story in front of strangers...if I ever do get picked to perform at The Moth.

As for my boss, after sixteen years of paying his dues as a company man, and earning them over a billion dollars in profit, he realized he didn’t want to be a producer and in fact always wanted to be a director. When he pitched a small budget movie with an incredible package- hot young actors, an amazing script, A-list cinematographer as well as creative and well-thought out storyboards for every frame of the movie, the company buried the project and told him to go back to what he knows, go back to what he always does, go back to what he is good at. The dues had become his identity. My boss quit that company six months later, took up surfing, saved his marriage and is now the picture of health and most importantly he is becoming a director.
Now, whenever I hear the expression “just paying my dues” I think to myself “at what cost?”

Friday, March 26, 2010

Valley Girl

Going home is never easy. The trips are often loaded with excitement and anxiety, comfort and pain. But more specifically my hometown, the San Fernando Valley, is filled with so many markers of my life. Most of them are exits off the 101 Freeway. I see Vineland and I think of "Whipple"- the name my brother and I call the apartment we grew up in. Since my father sold it I have never driven past it even though he only moved a few blocks away. I see the Woodman exit and I think of Notre Dame, my high school where I did so many stupid things and had so many good times. But then I see White Oak and I still get chills even on an 80 degrees day. If my father and I go to the movies when I'm home, I'm often nervous I will run into someone from high school. They will awkwardly ask me how I've been and what I've been up to for the last ten years. And I will quickly say, "Living in New York." My Dad once told me that he thought my frequent moves to New York were a sign of me "running away." He said that LA represented a lot of pain. But I can't think of a more pain-filled city than New York. He does have some point, a lot of painful things happened in the Valley. Although I certainly didn't run from anything. Since the time I ever had a sense of what The Valley was I have always had a love-hate relationship with it. The Valley is known for the porn industry, the movie Valley Girl, and the abuse of the word "like."I never quite fit in and yet I am a Valley Girl through and through. When my friend Morgan and I get together, we talk so fast and in a rhythmic language that I feel most people in New York would tease us for. The Valley is easy. Whenever I come home, I slow down, I remember, I run. The weather in the Valley is something I cherish now, something I definitely took for granted as a kid. But as I visit home more often and spend even more time away, I realize how much I miss the easiness of the Valley-the family members I have stationed every few blocks, the beach year round, the good burgers and awesome Mexican food, and lately I have missed the friends I once had. Every once in a while I will check out some pictures on someone's facebook page and get lost in my memories of these friends that I dropped in a night. I used to look at the pictures and judge them. "They're all doing the same thing, " I would say. And its true, they all use the same language from high school, hang out with the exact same people, and do their make-up the exact same way from when we were Sophomores. But now when I see the pictures I think to myself, they are all so damn happy. None of them have done anything spectacular or traveled much or tried much of anything different, but they know how to have a good time and part of me wants nothing more than to have a drink with these Valley Girls. I miss the posse of girls I used to have, even if I did stupid things with them and always, always, always got into trouble with them. They were fun and I could use some more of that lately. Here's to the Valley and all of its sparkle make-up girls.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

bridge to nowhere


three years ago i hiked five miles into a desert in the blazing heat in azusa, california
i tied myself to a bungee and lept off the bridge to nowhere before the group finished saying
"one, two, three, bungee"
the first few seconds were the most free i have ever felt
but as the ground came soaring at me, i began to scream for my life
no longer trusting the rope to save me from crashing into the rocks
but just as the thought entered my mind that this may be it
the rope snatched me from my death, whipping me back into the air
as i dangled underneath a bridge to nowhere
my body swung violently from side to side
and i screamed again thinking i was going to crash into the walls along the side
but i didn't crash
and the ground never came
i was hoisted back up the bridge
and hiked five miles out of the desert in the dark without a flashlight.
i like it when out of nowhere i remind myself of myself
and while i may now see that as stupid, a needless risk, i like that i have had that experience
a sweet encouragement of just how stupidly courageous i can be
i don't need a countdown to know when its time to fly
and i damn sure don't need a flashlight when i've hiked the path before
all i need is the reminder that i have it in me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

the pleasure of being alone

"he found something in paris which is what i was hoping he would find," she tells me.
"what's that?"
"the pleasure of being alone"
i have always seen her as my definition of a woman.
she is strong, intelligent, and unflinching in the choices she has made-
knowing that she may not have always made the right one, but when the time came to make a call, she had the courage to do it
she has the kind of beauty i hope to possess when i am a mother and then a grandmother
she is meddling in a way i wish i had some meddling in my life
"do you ever miss LA?"
"of course...but i'm glad i'm here"
she laughs with an understanding that always makes me feel like i really could say anything in front of her
she always gives me a hug and a kiss
even though i'm not that kind of girl
i like it when they come from her
she tells me about her love
the one who wouldn't let her get away
the true love of her life
and how much energy she expended trying to get rid of him
and it makes me smile.
she really does know everything.
though i know a few people who might disagree.
i see her the same way my cousin breanne sees my father.
"just got out of the hospital" she writes. "heard you called." she continues.
 "your father is great!" she finishes.
and i smile and nod to myself. yes he is great, so fucking great. so great that it has always been overwhelmingly difficult to tell him when i'm upset with him.
i wish that for a moment we could all see the people closest to us through a clear window.
one that hasn't been rained on or shit on or broken
and see the person we love for what they truly are-
someone who loves us no matter what window they are looking through.
or perhaps just one that is open.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is that you spring? It's me, Tony.

The last three days have been GORGEOUS! And my mood has drastically picked up with the addittion of sunshine and the warming air. I went for a run through prospect park yesterday and the smell of dirt, damp earth and thawing lake, felt good in my lungs. I ended up walking, not because I was lazy, but because I just wanted to enjoy it. People were playing frisbee and soccer and feeding the ducks. there was life everywhere, happy life and also what looked like a bit of healing, perhaps a rebirth. There were several people sitting alone under trees, some in the shade, some with their eyes closed facing the sun. It felt good to be a part of that SUnday afternoon life in Prospect Park and I am looking forward to a rebirth of my own.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

money makes the world go 'round


 The other day, Mike and I went over my new budget and I was struck with panic. I need to make more money to afford the kind of life I want in New York, which is basically getting by and nothing too lavish. It has kick-started that thought once again of what the next step will be. Looking for suggestions, advice, and money. I leave you with a musical bit from my favorite musical of all time, Cabaret.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a letter to the daughter on the brooklyn bound F train

When you turn 18, don't look back.
The place that you go to when she's screaming at you, humiliating you, stripping you of all your dignity in front of a train full of passengers, write that place down somewhere.
You are beautiful.
Your mother is afraid of you.
Don't give in to her anger, ever.
There will come a day when you might find yourself unjustly angry at someone who does not deserve it; Remember who the true owner of that anger is.
If you're going to cry, let her see your tears. Let her scream some more. Let her feel like the monster she is.
Go home and love yourself.
Pick your head up. Everything lies ahead, and one day her voice will be nothing more than an echo lost among the subway tracks.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The problem with kung fu movies..

is the shitty dubbing mixed with fake crying, swords clinking, and lots of revenge speeches that is playing throughout my apartment right now while i am in my bedroom trying to write.

Example: "I was the one....who slashed your father's throat!"
Thanks, Francesco.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Fall of Texas

Last night, Tara and I went to Symphony Space for their Selected Shorts series. What made it really exciting was that the first story read (by Cynthia Nixon) was written by my writing workshop teacher, Joyce Johnson. Not on only did I really enjoy the story, but I've been chewing on it ever since. There is a really powerful question said in passing to the protagonist- "Why do you hang back?" WHat I liked about this question is that after the show, Tara and I went to a bar where a bunch of her friends were celebrating a birthday. I found myself, "hanging back" as I usually do in those situations and I couldn't get the question out of my head  nor I could venture out into the scary world of conversing with strangers. But by the end o fthe night I was glad I had gone and even more glad that I got a liitle more practice at "hanging on."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Joannie Rochette

If you did ot see Joannie Rochette's emtional Olympic performance just two days after the sudden death of her mother, do yourself a favor, find it, and watch this piece of art.

Friday, February 19, 2010

one is the loneliest number

dear rewind revise blog,

don't worry. i did not forget you. i am just really excited about my new blog with vio, a film blog called http://skipriporplay.blogspot.com/ . You may have heard of it. Anyway, I just want you to know that I still love blogging on you, but it is nice to have a blog that has a specific subject, posts that i can assign myself and more debate and conversation. comments is the key word here. you will always be my first blog love and you will continue to be my writing outlet for all the rants and heavy things i need to express to the wonderful anonymous world of cyberspace. i started you as an exercise in accountabilty, a personal demand to ensure i wrote everyday. i have slipped away from that a little, but i don't want you to worry. i'm still here! even if http://skipriporplay.blogspot.com/ is more fun right now, you are the first love that can never be replaced. thanks for the blogging memories and the future non-film ones to come.

signed,

tony

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

snow day just for me

make delicious breakfast with yogurt, strawberries, granola and honey
drop off laundry even though you feel you should do it since you have a day off
work out
but burrito for lunch and erase workout
buy loreal 6R
take care of hair
listen and sing along to beatles as loud as you can stand it
write
study more spanish
head to mahattan to discuss new film blog!!!!
on to writing workshop
meet up with carmen and hand over a gift for friend in new zealand
go to sleep
dream of having another snow day just for me

Thursday, February 11, 2010

i don't hate women

so after my last rant
i was oddly corrected by, oh, i don't know, lets say the universe
today i wrote emails back and forth with carmen and felt sad and perhaps a little jealous that she will be leaving for so long soon
i made plans to develop a story with carmen over the summer
i made plans with tara to listen to some stories
i made plans with isabel to listen to some stories
i had a class with vio followed by some talk for our new blog (coming soon...)
and then i had a wonderful long phone call with my friend in new orleans, lindsay
we talked a lot about stories.
the day was filled with connecting with strong, interesting and smart women
all of whom i keep near and dear to my heart, and talking about the thing i love most in this world
and i realized these are my girlfriends
i actually have girlfriends
and that as much as i feel more comfortable with men
the people who really know me in this world are my girlfriends
(and mike and my brother and father of course)
the point is, i don't hate women
in fact some of the people i love the most in the world are women
maybe i am mistaking hate with mistrust, mistrust with uncomfortable
or maybe i was really that annoyed with those particular women
or maybe, i just have my period.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

women

Its vagina season
and this year i try to get into the spirit.
i even post eve ensler's speech about how girls can save the world as my facebook status
but the truth is, i didn't listen to the whole thing
the truth is i cringe when i hear the word "girl"
and i hate the fucking phrase "i'm an emotional creature"
even though i know i should embrace it and really like it
i even tried reciting some of eve's speech at a gathering of friends
but the truth is, i lied
i don't fully believe in that speech
i don't feel empowered by my vagina
and i know no matter how smart i get or how many degrees i may attain,
i know that aging will be the death of so many opportunities for me.
i sit in a writing workshop with all women, this time
all different ages but all with the same private parts
we are told to introduce ourselves i.e. our names and our goals
what are we planning on writing in this class?
like most first meetings, first classes, or first days of school
i sit quietly, observing, not speaking up
i see what i'm up against
and the fact that i see a room full of women as something i'm "up against" has its own problems,
i know
i'm aware of that
but that is what i hate so much
that i'm so fucking aware of it
and yet i don't know how to reverse my thinking, retract my gut instinct to judge them and size them up within the first few sentences they give me
i watch who talks too long
i watch who slumps
i watch her say her name and list her degrees as one sentence as if she alone cannot stand without them
i watch a grieving mother try to convince us that she is really okay and wants us to criticize her openly about the book she is writing on her daughter's murder trial
i watch a new york times reporter laugh at the idea that she can write a homework assignment by Friday
and i watch how half the room agrees with her, jumping on her band wagon because she has the coolest job in the room
i watch two teachers, one pretty one angry, one unassuming and one a declarative woman of color feminist, one smarter than the other
and i watch my teacher glance at me when she explains to the class that she thinks it is important to write about teaching because somewhere it has gone horribly wrong
she has students, grad students who don't know how to use different tenses, who are obsessed with the present tense and have read nothing
she looks again at me
yes i know that my grammar is atrocious
it might not have been so awkward if she had not announced me as an old student of hers at the beginning of class
now, they too know i don't know hot to put together a complex sentence
but even more than her glance which may have meant nothing is the hole burning through my bag with the weight of native son and the grapes of wrath
two books i checked out of the library yesterday in secret because i know these are books i should have read by now.
at the end of class i am stuck in an elevator with a former writer for the national enquirer and she asks me about our teacher
and i say she is really good, she is a tough critic
i equate tough with good
sometimes confusing pain with honor
she tells me she thinks the teacher was very supportive tonight and then she asks me if i think she really meant all the positive things she said
and this is why i hate women
i see her gaze shift and i know that i have walked into a trap
whatever i say next will inevitably be in danger of being misinterpreted, twisted and perhaps used as expository gossip when a few of these women drop out in a couple weeks
i am on the defensive already and its only been two hours with this group
i wonder if i can do this again
and i know that i can and that it will be uncomfortable
but maybe this time i will get a little farther in learning another thing or two about these emotional creatures.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

go marching in

like a slow pull on a trombone
the heavy hand on a drum
the fall of the thud as it reverberates off the skin of the percussion, the beat of the heart, the foot on the leather
this is the song of a people
the victory chant of an endless battle
the snapshot of the spirit of a town that just won't quit
these are the saints and tonight the night is for them

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

mike took this awesome picture

the art of storytelling

the best way to see if you are telling a story is to say it aloud and perform it
i went to the moth monday night which is probably part of the reason i am sick in bed today
but it was worth it
i think i found my niche
its better than stand up because the success of the performance is not based on laughter
there's no one standing up there picking on audience members
and there is no one up there completely bombing
when you tell a story, there is something raw, universal and humanistic that connects with the audience immediately
there is something inherently supportive in it
the stories all have a natural humor and power to them.
there is something stripping about the stage.
anyhow, for anyone who reads this, we ended up sitting with morgot leitman, who won the slam last week. i know her as a substitute teacher at vcs. and margot's friend Nick won the slam on monday with an awesome story-powerful, moving, funny
when the podcast gets up check out "Winter" at the Southpaw in Brooklyn

Sunday, January 24, 2010

hello

i see that she called a couple hours ago and left a voicemail
but i ignore it and continue watching the saints game
then it eats at me because she never calls especially not to chat or leave a message
something must have happened
the saints are in overtime and its 4th and inches and they are within field goal range
i check my voicemail
she is sobbing, barely able to catch her breath and she is grasping for me
and i don't know why and i don't think she knows why either
but she begs me to call him
i call her back,
it is three hours since she left that voicemail and she is considerably more put together
she tells me the situation
she tells me how scared she was, is
she asks me to call him because it would mean so much
it would lift his spirits she says
maybe it makes her feel good to feel like she is doing something positive for this family
that despite how her addiction ripped it apart
maybe in her most desperate moments she can try to assemble it
even though she doesn't know how to
i tell her i will call him
i call him
it rings and rings and rings and just before i hang up he answers.
"hello?"
i pause, i don't know whether to call him grandpa or ben
"ben?"
"yes."
"its lindsey...your granddaughter?"
i can hear him sigh
"its so good to hear your voice," he tells me
we talk a little bit and its nice
he tells me he is stable
he asks a little bit about me
i tell him i am hosting friends from germany
i tell him i like my job and that i'm trying to go back to school
i tell him that i love new york
he thanks me for my call and says he doesn't want to keep me on a long distance call
i confess that i was nervous to call him
i didn't know what to say but i wanted to call and just say hello
he tells me that everything i said was just perfect
he promises to keep me informed of his progress and i tell him good
we hang up and i feel sad, guilty, regretful
maybe i'm mad at myself
i don't know
the truth is i don't really know why things are the way they are
other than some uncomfortable feelings i don't like to face or feel
i don't like to forgive
i don't like to fix things because i don't really think that people change
but maybe they do for a little bit
like how my mom gets sober and then sometimes relapses and then gets sober
like how my dad goes to al-anon and climbs mountains and kicks ass and then falls for the same kind of woman-weak, needy, insecure, needing to be saved
like how my brother will send me really thoughtful christmas gifts and then not return my phone call for a month
or like how i cheated on and disrespected myself and every relationship i was ever in and then committed myself fully to a relationship i finally believe in
i guess if i think about it, people may not change entirely but maybe for certain moments or periods in time and perhaps it is worth keeping an open heart if only for those fleeting moments when we reveal ourselves as better than we actually are
i guess what i feel is sorry
a sorry i wondered if i would feel when this time or one of these scares would come
i always had it in the back of my head that one day i would get a phone call saying they were dead or in a hospital and i would finally be faced with a decision and with a feeling
i am glad that i decided to call
but i feel sick to my stomach over how it had to happen
at this point sorry seems trite to say
but maybe the best and only thing to say is hello...