Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rebirth


Tonight I saw a documentary my old boss directed. When I was working for him it was called "Project Rebirth" but we usually said it as a whisper because Jim was not supposed to be working on this film at the company he was employed to be the President of Production at. While working as producer for several films, as well as being a devoted father and husband, and someone who maintained good friendships, fostered his own spiritual growth and pursued his dream to become a director, Jim produced and directed this amazing piece of film. This film is not just a film but a piece of history. It is the first film that commits to tracking grief and catastrophic loss over the course of eight years while grounding it to a national event that changed the course of our country's direction. While the film is centered with the rebuilding of Ground Zero and the loss and eventual healing of five people directly affected, it is a film that everyone can connect to because of its humanity, universality, and beauty. On top of that, the time lapse cameras are still rolling and will continue to roll until the building is complete and proceeds from the film will go towards a resource for trauma preparation and first responders. As I watched this film and was moved several times to tears, it also inspired me to get that fire back. I ache to do something meaningful which made the viewing bittersweet. While I do not miss the long hours, I miss working in such a passionate environment for such a passionate human being. When he saw me he gave that usual smile out and glance out of the corner of his eye while finishing a conversation with an audience member. He gave me a big long hug and then was about to let go and hugged me even tighter. As I gushed over the film, he stopped me:
"You look so beautiful."
"I'm happy."
"I can tell. Even your voice has changed. You found your voice."
I felt myself moved to tears again which is why this man has made the kind of film only he could really make. He just gets you right in the gut. I miss my old teacher. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To Get Your Day Started

Turn...it...up

Florence +The Machine has been my new soundtrack lately. She is such a beautiful weirdo and she has a pair of lungs that make me jump out of my skin. I have been going to spin classes and realizing it is the only place I go where I really live in the present. I focus on my body, my breathing, my movement. Today's class ended with a Florence + The Machine song and I felt a surge of energy, happiness, and gratitude to be fully enveloped in this song, this repetitive movement, this cyclical moment changing and yet stable with every breath. I have a confession. I have taken a recent interest in Zen practice and started reading on it a very tiny bit. I made a joke in passing today at work with two co-workers about what I had been reading. They laughed, literally laughed at the thought of me being able to meditate and achieve a peaceful, sound mind. I have to admit, it is quite laughable. Maybe spin is my zen. Or maybe it is proof that somewhere I am able to live completely in the present.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dark Side of Reality TV

"Revamping Reality"
Following up on my article on the ethical problems of reality show contracts, (in particular The Real World) I have to post this awesome opinion piece by Virgina Heffernan  in the New York Times.  She addresses the recent suicide of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Russell Armstrong. She raises some interesting questions. Should reality shows be flagged as fiction? The fact/fiction hybrid they deliver is part of their appeal, but at what cost?


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come On Irene

Last night I weathered the storm with a friend since we were both going to be alone. She has three huge skylights and an upstairs door leading to the roof. We kept the door and her back door open as we made tacos, drank wine and watched crappy movies. At one point a neighbor came by to invite us to a building party. We visited with neighbors who also kept their door open as we all watched the rain and wind get progressively heavier and fast but nowhere near the panic-inducing destruction the news was promising it would be. We went to bed around 1 a.m. and at 4:30 I woke up and the storm was pretty extreme but in that awe-inspiring way. I love a good rain storm and aside from an incredible thunder storm I experienced in Dallas, Texas in 2005, this was the biggest storm I've ever witnessed. I don't know if it still qualifies as a hurricane but I think I'm okay with that, too. It is also not lost on me how lucky I am that I can actually enjoy a good storm. I have a nice comfy place to be, I am not responsible for anyone else nor do I need to entertain. At this point in my life, I can just listen and watch rain dance along a skylight. Lately I have been feeling a yearning for something more and I'm not sure what it is. I keep telling myself to enjoy the now, something that can be monumentally hard to achieve. But right NOW, in this moment, there is nothing more I want...except for Mike to be sitting here with me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Little Brother

My little brother turned twenty-eight years old yesterday. I had cookies and milk from Snookies Cookies delivered to his doorstep as a different kind of birthday treat this year. Normally I send him some tee-shirt with a cool Brooklyn design on it from Brooklyn Industries. It is much cooler to wear a shirt sporting a different city than the one you live in rather than the one you actually live in. He would never wear a shirt with "Los Angeles" written on it unless it had "Lakers" embroidered right below it. Likewise, I don't think I can get away wearing a shirt sporting "Brooklyn." Something about it just feels like like I'd be trying too much. Maybe I would feel different if I was actually from Brooklyn, but I don't think so. My eighth grade vocabulary still rings fresh in my mind when I think of the word "poser." But my brother has pretty much always been able to pull off anything he wore, regardless of fashion faux pas. He has the looks and the charm to match any thrown together outfit that might suggest, "What? You've never seen this before?" It took me years to buy a fedora and actually rock it in places other than Las Vegas (a city based entirely on the same premise as Halloween). But not my brother. He even wore a pin striped wool fedora to Christmas once. And because he is so down to earth and whole-heartedly sweet he never comes off like most guys in fedoras come off- jerky. From August 25th to September 20th was always this strange space in time for us when growing up. I took pride in saying that I was two years older than him but the truth is I am just shy of two years older than him and it annoyed me when it felt like he was catching up. But nevertheless, there is a month each year where in terms of spoken age, he is only one year behind me and this year feels especially close, because in a few weeks I will be entering a different decade than him. I will turn thirty and that will always sound way older than anything starting with twenty. Besides how close we are in age, we grew up very close, both metaphorically and physically. We were forced to share a bedroom through high school, which was no easy feat. We fought a lot but also talked a lot even if we had invisible lines in the room that neither one of us was allowed to cross. I like to think I am the reason he got introduced to bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers which sparked an obsession of his with John Frusciante and he is definitely the reason I kick ass at playing the video game Streetfighter II. He was always Ryu or Ken and I was Guile or Chun Li. My brother and I had taken some space form each other this year which was painfully hard but something maybe we both needed after so many years set in our specific roles: Me the older sister constantly telling him what he should  be doing and him, the younger brother, avoiding any conflict that might set this Brooklyn Hurricane off. When we finally spoke a couple weeks ago, I felt like a light inside me had finally turned on. I had missed him and his "lightness" so much and it was so good to talk to him like we used to, both reclined in our respective spaces, not seeing each other, but hearing each other as twice as well. While I can't believe I will be turning 30 in a just a few short weeks, I can't believe my little brother is twenty-eight. When did we grow up? I can't imagine my journey without him. He is  the other half of my story. When I think about having children in the next few years, the one thing I want the most is for my kid (s) to have siblings, especially a brother. I can't imagine who I would be without mine.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Welcome To Today

"Welcome to Today," he said as he opened the door for me to step outside into the morning.
All the while I thought I was opening the door for him to come home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Word : Drool (100 Character Story Assignment)

Eyes dull, jaw slack, breath heavy… It was the drool that got to him. His father, now vanishing.

Word: Small (100 Character Story Assignment)

“They’re too small!” she cried. Her grandmother smiled, “No one wants more than a mouthful.”

Word: Covered (100 Character Story Assignment)

She covered the bee with a jar used for paperclips. The irony of clipping papers and wings stung.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Word: Spanking (100 Character Story Assignment)

“When your father gets home!” She never finished the sentence. The promise of a spanking does that.

Word: Crib (100 Character Story Assignment)

She held her fallen son cradled between her arms and breasts. Her body always meant to be his crib.

Guest Post by daleboca, Word: Sting (100 Character Story Assignment)

I gave her the word sting and this is her story:

She wished to float like a butterfly or sting like a bee but instead cried, like a baby.

Guest Post by daleboca, Word: Breasts (100 Character Story Assignment)

The word I gave daleboca was "breasts."

This is her 100 character story:

Did I drink strawberry milk from your tetas? No, I said looking at him looking at my breasts.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Word: Salami (100 Character Story Assignment)


After watching his mom roll a condom down salami, he was sure he would never get an erection again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

give me a word

So, I recently entered in a 100 character (including spaces) contest. I was assigned a word which I had to use in the economical story. I have done well so far making it to the finals. The last word was "oxygen" and the story I submitted is as follows:
He collected fallen branches and hid them under her bed. He thought they might give her more oxygen.
This story came to me immediately because the idea of oxygen or lack of oxygen rather, the feeling of drowning and finding the places where I can breathe underwater are themes I have been exploring in my writing over the last year. As kids, my brother used to collect walking sticks every time we went on a hike. We'd come home from Yosemite, Mammoth, even Yellowstone with all of these fallen rotting branches and Shaun would store them in the corner of our shared closet. The pile got so big that if you slammed the door, they would all spill to the floor, setting off our neighbor, a disturbed insomniac. I never questioned the sticks. They annoyed me but I didn't really consider the oddity they were. We had such limited space as it was, having to share a bedroom during high school. Why Shaun chose to give up prime realty of his half was something I didn't think much about until my Dad suggested it was time he threw them away and I saw how much they meant to him. Maybe he just wanted to be reminded that there were places in the world where we all could breathe a little better, a place in the world where there was space and stars, and beauty we could never truly appreciate. 
I don't know the results of the finals yet but they don't really matter to me because I feel proud of this 100 Character story. My brother called me recently and I realized how much I have missed him. It is nice to be back in touch. So I thought it might be fun if people threw out some words and I could try to try some 100 Character stories and encourage any and all readers of this private blog to join in. Who has the first word?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

rainy day ruminations

 I woke up today feeling very blue and I have no reason. I have to think it is the weather. I don't think the daily dose of California sunshine will ever leave my bones. Rainy days make me homesick. And this particular rainy day reminded me that fall is just around the corner. In many ways, I am ready for fall. I'm ready for sweaters and jeans and I think I'm ready to turn 30 and begin that chapter. But I also love the heat. When I leave the over-air conditioned gym and step outside into the muggy weather, I sigh, a sigh of relief. I suppose today is a good day to write, but even that has me down. I just want something more, right now. I feel ready for a change and I know it will come the more I lead my life with an open heart, but shit, it is testing my patience. I guess that may be the point. The last time it was raining like this on a Sunday, I walked forever in the rain without an umbrella to meet up with Tara for one of our four-hour brunches. I miss her, especially today. Last night I dreamt I was pregnant, again. What is up, body? Geez. If I wasn't listening to my biological clock before, it is invading even my subconscious now! But, don't worry, Mike, not yet. I have found a new musician I am deeply in love with - Florence + The Machine. I know I am late to this party, but damn, she is good. "I'm in the grip of a hurricane," she sings. Didn't I just write about that last week? She is singing to my soul right now! Alright, rewindrevise, thanks for the little pick me up. I'm doing everything I can today to kick those blues- a spin class, a core class, coffee from my favorite cafe, blog writing, keep moving. Isn't that the secret to life? To keep moving.    

Friday, August 12, 2011

Papa Americano

There is this club song I keep hearing everywhere I go: Ikea, YMCA, the deli...Mike told me that the refrain (or the only two lyrics) are "Papa Americano." It is has become this eery, ironic theme song this summer. This country is in so much trouble. Two wars, thousands dead, millions without jobs, we've broken through the debt ceiling, and our way to fix it was to compromise and say that we will not raise taxes on the rich. How the hell does the government think we can close our enormous black hole of debt without raising taxes? I can no longer understand people when they say they are republican. But at the same time, why are the Democrats such pushovers? That's how we got into this mess in the first place. By compromising with Republicans. I know it is a two party system and Obama has fought harder than most for his own agenda. But sometimes the country feels so damn polarized, it is hard to see any light. I look at my own situation and I feel like a sucker that bought into this packaged future America sells. Get good grades, go to college, get good good job, buy a house. I am 29, I have a job beneath my potential (but thankful that I have one!), have not missed a student loan payment in nine years and still have an enormous debt hanging over my head, the debt is so big it is more than what I would need to put down on a house to buy that dream, oh but wait, why would anyone do that right now? Real Estate? That is no longer an investment worth striving for, in my mind. I've been watching the news lately, and there is nothing more depressing than that. Even the feel good stories or medical miracle stories are sad: "Women who had her face and eyes ripped off by a monkey has successfully undergone a face transplant." I have so much to be grateful for but I also have so much fear in taking any leaps right now. I have so many friends and family out of work, it feels stupid to risk anything right now, no matter how awesome I think I am. I need a little vacation from this country, whether it is to attain some fresh perspective or just feel a little lighter.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

unrest

red sky in the morn'
sailors be warned...

sometimes it catches me
a baseball's wayward bounce on hard packed dirt
a thunderstorm when leaving the subway
that asshole who should have used their blinker
there is a hurricane inside me
the news of an old friend's death
the loss of so many
a reminder I greet each day
my body is pulsing beneath the skin
every muscle pulled tight
a cat's cradle along my spine
that tidal wave in my dreams
coming for me, the only
one on the beach
I am a wooden wheel
the smell of fire
on my chest
waiting for the wind to come
I can't stop scratching
the sand moves
tiny anthills
colonize my face
erase my freckles
scar by scar
this buzzing,
beneath my fingertips
never stops.

Monday, August 8, 2011

crossroad

there was a crossroad
where she was I
and I was she
they even mixed up our names at school
asked if we were twins
"sisters?"
I hated when they called me Karen
she was the slutty one
or was it me?

we wore our hair long
down, parted in the middle
or softly to the side
she had the boobs we all wanted
was the first to get her belly buttoned pierced
she partied but she didn't get sick like the rest of us
she lied for us
yes, we had been at her house
where was her grown up?
she introduced me to boys
got me to join the softball team
she always had a fresh rasberry on her thigh from sliding.
she wasn't afraid of pain

then there was the trek to santa barbara
where we watched her fade
she attracted the wrong kind of boys
she attracted the dark
her mother lived there
where mine was hers
and hers was mine
we always knew what was before us

I last saw her outside of a movie theatre
She twitched and spoke fast
and her friend had a tattoo on his neck
she smiled and was happy to see me
and i wondered where she had been
while the rest of us were taking finals
and spending our weekends puking in strangers toilets

she was no longer me
and I no longer her
or was she?

"I was just thinking about her," I tell my father.
"I wrote a story last week with her in it." I tell him.
She had been on my mind.
"You had a really strong connection with her."
Although it was short
it was for an important period of time
I gave up on her,
like so many others.
I'm still afraid of the dark.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Perspective

"This is not a poem, this is a memoir," she says.
I hear: "You are not a poet."
She is telling me to write the bigger story.
And I am telling her to go fuck herself.
After all, I'm perfect.
When they are through with me, and I lay there, butchered, heart bleeding, ego slaughtered on the table, my chin begins to tremble and it comes.
We have moved on to another poet but I am not done feeling sorry for myself.
Afterwards, a fellow writer asks how I'm doing.
I excuse myself from her presence, from my reasons.
I clean my cooler and start to pack all the while crying to myself that I should give up, that I am not a poet, that maybe I just need to accept that I'm not that good a writer.
A friend interrupts my pity party of one
"I mean what is the point? Why am I trying so hard? Maybe I should just go home, become a mom, I don't know!"
She laughs and then stops herself.
"I'm sorry, but can I just say...you sound like such a fucking writer right now."
We decide to go for a bike ride through Beech Forest.
The hills are steep and my gears are locked.
I almost forget about being the world's worst poet, but then we stop and the sting is still there.
We sit on the beach, talking, not talking, writing, not writing and then we see it.
"Do you see that black mass out there?" She points.
I look and look and look and suddenly, water spouts up into the sky,
the black mass breaches followed by a huge white tailfin.
"Whoa!" We both scream, jaws dropped as we see her majesty break the sea.
And suddenly it occurs to me.
I just saw a fucking whale!
Okay, so I wrote a bad poem.