Friday, December 28, 2012

Every time I see it come up, I say "dang."

Who else would make an Elliott playlist titled "for Shannon"?
Even when I was across country.
Back in the day.
Back to today ; just down the road a piece.

Oh, Little One.
it was always you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

dr. katz

"i don't know what's wrong with me, stan. i seem to be stuck in this middle-aged-this- is-my-life-get-used-to-it rut. and i don't like that. i don't like the way it sounds." -pretzelkins, season 1

Monday, November 12, 2012

the way of things (apparently.)

you work hard
to work hard
then you work hard
some more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Field Without Birds

A shallow night last week. I was on my way home, taking the route near the fair grounds when I stopped. In the dark, near an oak, there was a wooden shack. I peeked inside and found a warm glow. There was the shadow of a Chinese man sitting, throwing coins. "Fortune." he said. I was drunk, but managed to formulate a question while maintaining that strange kind of concentration necessary when approaching The Book of Changes.
I thought about her and her friends and how disappointed I'd been to meet them all. Luckily the fortune teller did not even let me finish. He responded in a voice a thousand years old, interrupting the idea of her like a puff of smoke at an 8-year-old's birthday party:

"There is nothing to be found here of what one is looking for."

And I knew I could trust myself again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

heartbreak witnessed on instagram

he was moving to a big city and she wasn't in town for his final farewell party. she wasn't in town a lot. i went to the party to ask how in holy hell he found a job on the best coast, and he said he hadn't found a job. he was just leaving.
the next day there were those old looking photos of his house post-party, and him giving away his giant speakers, and minutes after, were her photos of nature and moss and clouds and both of them were stuck there next to each other in instagram, not saying whatever was never going to be said.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

out of the fog

I remember he said to her, "I work hard. We should have nice things." And she, not wanting to argue, said, "Yeah. Whatever you want to do." So that day they went downtown and I was with them. We went around Fisherman's Wharf and it took forever to park, but the way he drove, so fast and sure, we found a space in time to meet the real estate lady.

I was like a ghost. Living with them, eating in between their ins and outs of the kitchen. Staying as quiet as I could when the roof was falling in with screaming matches. Were they happy? Were they not? Sometimes it was as though they were my parents and I knew I always wanted them to get along and love each other. On some nights they did. His hand on her waist, she would smile up at him. They'd match so well.

But lately he was on her about decorating the apartment while he was away and she was on about being an Independent Woman.

A lady in a charcoal gray fog colored suit showed us up to the towers. Arguably the tallest and newest in The City, made of glass. We signed a waiver, and I was a third wheel. The woman eyed me warily. "I'm the roomate." I said. And she nodded, but didn't understand. I'm not sure I understood.

I know from my Mother that half of wealth is faking it. You do not have to be rich to have Class. If you can speak coherently and walk with purpose, you can be One Of Them. I feel like I could have made it work. But I wanted to suffer more than pretend at that point. I kept my head down and my hair in my face.

From the bridge I could see the towers on my way in. If I was coming back from Oakland, I could see those clear spires green and phosphorescent. In the daylight, I looked up and thought I might spot people at their breakfast tables. Cracking boiled eggs in plush, woolen bathrobes. But down below, with normal people, when you're next to the bay, you'd rather look at the bay. Past that, the Pacific. And that's what I did.

Then I was up inside one of the units. So vast and ridiculous. So white and sterile. A party of 50 could be had in any room. They argued in low tones in this new environment, too.
"Where would we put this?" "That would never work there,"

Everything was windows. Even the bathroom. I stood in the dry shower, absently fingering a white, spray painted starfish decoration, and looked down on the ant-tourists and the avenue and wondered what kind of complex you'd get sitting up here like God. All rainbows and fog. Prisms and toil down below. If anyone'd earned it, he did. And I wanted them to have the best. In the end, they didn't even have each other.

We rode down in a tin box for 98 floors in silence.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Phillip Marlowe

"I stuck the Olds in the garage and poked at the mailbox. Nothing, as usual. I climbed the long flight of redwood steps and unlocked my door. Everything was the same. The room was stuffy and dull and impersonal as it always was. I opened a couple of windows and mixed a drink in the kitchen. I sat down on the couch and stared at the wall. Wherever I wet, whatever I did, this was what I would come back to. A blank wall in a meaningless room in a meaningless house. I put the drink down on a side table without touching it. Alcohol was no cure for this. Nothing was any cure but the hard inner heart that asked for nothing from anyone."
-Raymond Chandler, Playback

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

nostalgic ruminations on a failed love affair

The delicate sun warmed peaches are gone at the farmer's market and the sign of the changing seasons, the scuppernong grape is here. When mid-august hits and there is no sign of any autumn coolness, you can begin to imagine the leaves turning crisp and gold as you break the skin with your teeth and spit out the seeds. But this autumn remembered stirred a sadness I hadn't associated with north carolina before. A longing for a job I once held closely from September all the way through Thanksgiving. A short little affair, a fling and a burning ferocity. I was an alleged production assistant, working on a documentary that allowed me to leave the horrible dreariness of suburban sprawling Cary, and drive 45 minutes to the little main street in Durham.

The day I had the interview, it was raining and I connected with the director woman on a very real level (I thought.) I got coffee next door at the little bistro and warmed myself with its creaminess and the thought of $15 an hour and really working on a project that mattered. With a real film crew. Flown in from New York City. (That should had been the first tip-off right there, because I'm highly aware of perfectly capable crews in the area, but this woman HAD to have fellows from NYC imported.)

I was in a haze and a spell when I got that job. I would drive and crank the music and smile, smile, all the way to Bull City. I was so confident that I quit my anti-depressants and although going cold turkey was not recommended, it hardly mattered. I was dizzy but that was also from excitement. Even when I was taking the crew's lunch orders, or at a thrift store looking for period piece furniture, or detailing a log of what I'd spent money on for the director, I was having a blast. It was my first(and from what I can tell, last) real film job.

There was another girl working with me. She gave off a mannish vibe that I imagine is important to project in the industry. I tried to exude that too, after a while. Sauntering around in slacks and dress shoes. I'm a lady. I am working in a man's industry. I am Getting. Things. Done. But it never really took, and before long I was back in my skirts and blouses and taking orders for folks like a high paid waitress. It still didn't matter. I was on a film crew. I was off at 5. and 5 o'clock traffic was bad. So I'd go to the Pinhook and sit, cozy and confident in my adulthood, drinking local beer and admiring the warm interior of the high-end dive.

Once, we were in a fancy part of town filming in a ritzy house, when I was asked to drive a large moving van 4 hours away to pick up a hefty prop. Alone. It was getting dark earlier now, and twilight was upon us. I asked the director's cousin, the wardrobe girl, if she had spare time if she could ride with me. I'd never driven such a large van to a strange place in the dark. It seemed ilke a reasonable request but she said no, and gave no excuse. I got into the van and tried to back out. I hit a tree quite abruptly. I turned off the vehicle and sat and cried for a moment. This was something I simply could not do. I got out of the van in defeat and shame and took my tears to the director. I was probably more upset than I should have been but it was most likely because I was coming off of the anti-depressants and was freaking out about the smallest things. The director assured me it was fine that I could not do it after asking me,"Are you sure you can't?" At which point, her cousin volunteered to drive the van "If my boyfriend can come with me," she explained. "I've never driven one alone."

Ultimately, a substitute prop was found in the attic and no one had to drive the van. But it was the beginning of wrapping up. After that episode, I was asked to do more around the set like take photos, shake snow out of a tarp, entertain the child actors, and do more inventory work. I tried to be as helpful as possible and even take on other's jobs just to make it seem like the "van incident" never occurred. We wrapped without further happenings. I did not attend the wrap party because I'd lost my glasses and couldn't drive without them, and I was feeling more and more nauseous since I quit that stupid medication. I sent my well wishes and apologies in an email, but I think it was a mistake to not have someone drive me all the way to Durham to make nice and chat with the crew.

I expected my check a month or two later, and when it did not come, I contacted the pseudo-lesbian. "No, I haven't gotten mine either. And she hasn't responded to my calls or emails." Now, this was ridiculous. We did the work. Pay us. We went to her office for a scheduled appointment and she promptly stood us up. She simply did not show. And she did not answer her phone. After a day and a tank of gas wasted, I wrote a strongly worded, slightly threatening email throwing around phrases like "it is imperative" and "of utmost importance" maybe. I don't fucking remember. But I remember thinking that I needed to document this because "the woman is a crook."

I did get paid. And I did get apologies. And I thought we were square. But I have never gotten the single most important thing in this line of work from this person: a recommendation. She'd even promised me one when she finally handed me the check. I have tried to keep in touch to ask about the project and how it is progressing, and I have begged and squealed for some kind of recognition email, or that she is even alive. A recommendation would have been better than the thousand dollars I got for that work. A recommendation would have made any number of doors open because I was a legitimate PA, getting paid a PA's wages, and doing a PA's JOB. Her stonewalling clam-up has effectively closed the professional filmmaking door in my face. I am starting from scratch again.

I saw her at the documentary film festival in April. There was free beer and maybe that made me brave enough to approach her. I had had three. "Elisabeth!" I said all false Southern charm and style "How ARE you? I'm so excited about the movie!" She looked quite ashamed to see me, and part of me thrilled at that. Through my smile and crinkling eyes I was thinking, "That's right, bitch. I fucking come around. I come to your town and I walk on your block and I god damn know what you're doing."
She played nice though, (I'm not the only phony Southern socialite around) and talked with her friends near me and introduced me, and looked tired, overall. Maybe she really had been working too hard to write something. Maybe this is how the game is played. Maybe you work and you give, and you fuck up once and that is the end for you. Maybe, even though you're discouraged and you know the odds are against you, you still believe in that little job that makes you smile all the way to work.

"It takes more than one psycho fluff-headed director to ruin a dream," I tell myself. And without anti-depressants for a year, and with the anniversary of my love-affair job coming on, I can't help but think I made a type of progress. Even if it is invisible and might as well have never happened. But most loves are like that, burning so strongly and wasting away with painful death twitches, and questions. ("Will they? won't they? will I? can I?") The denial. ("This has to work, there's no way this can't work.")

Like a breakup, it's hard to go back to that bistro and get a coffee and be next door to her office, and it's strange to go into the Pinhook and know that I won't be back for a long time because it's such a drive to Durham for no reason. I don't know how long it will take to stop feeling sorry for myself. I don't know how long it will take to stop blaming others for my bad decisions. It will probably be like clockwork, something I re-hash pointlessly to myself before I go to bed for at least three more years.

I don't know why I am haunted more than others. I wish, like with everything else, this had turned out differently.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

found a poem

Neil Ellman
The Brightness of Martyrdom

Nothing seems
as nothing is
(something perhaps
or was
or what might have been)
what seems blood under a microscope
the blood of martyrs
corpuscular debris
of sacrifice

perhaps the Lord’s

what seems bright
is nothing
as it seems
or was ever meant to be

perhaps the moon
and you
were never born
or meant to be.

from this one:


Time it takes to get to know someone: A week and a half
Time it takes to become bored with someone: A week and a half
Time it takes to hate yourself for earnestly showcasing your best self for nothing: An hour after you realize both of you are bored with each other.
Time spent wondering why you are so dull: The rest of the foreseeable future
Time it takes to bake a simple, white cake: 50 minutes

Friday, July 13, 2012

future plans 2012

i was reminded by a rabbit running through the desert at dusk. white tail up, the rest blending into gentle browns and pinks. the rain has come; monsoon season. and i found something out here. i think it might be new, but it has these old cords tied to it. i don't want to be lonely, so i decide not to be. and i run over the soft red sand. little sea foam scrub brushes tickling. the rain is so cold from so high up. purple clouds and mountains. they reassure. they are always there, even when people aren't. even when i am not. i want to die out here. if i can navigate my old bones to rest next to the dried, hollow cholla cactus..under smooth, ancient ocean green stones, i will have done it right. hundreds of tiny footsteps above.

Friday, May 25, 2012

and i could watch them all night

It wasn't until a person I consider an artist called me an artist that I realized that I can utilize the freakish, constant "other"-ness of my personality to bring new things into the world. My lifelong ability of not fitting in and observing things from the outside can function into capturing, creating, and preserving stories, moments, and characters. It's not so bad to visit a house full of people who can wander with ease into a room, pick up a guitar, and play music while I zoom in on their fingers, eyes and strings with my tiny machine. I don't have to prove anything anymore. I can recreate, distort and illuminate it all over again. I can make them do it in slow motion. And through my silver orbit around it all the ethereal and fleeting last forever. I have arrived.

Friday, May 4, 2012

dark before dawn

"what's wrong with you?" he asked. I stared out of hollow eyes. awake all month at 3 in the morning and i am plagued. "i don't know."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

things to get: a job, a friend, a wooden cabin, a garden

Once you realize you are the only thing standing in the way of your own happiness you feel quite stupid.

Monday, April 2, 2012

to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result

another bumbling evening in the cool and awkward twilight i found myself mealy-mouthed and introducing myself as a film maker to strangers. i conversed at what i thought was a regular volume, but was interrupted by the excitement of strange cheeses and chickens, people turned away from the middle of my sentences and i spoke into the vine and ivy covered backyard like i'd intended to address it all along.
then a real artist showed up with half her head shaved and tattoos and she spends all of her time in a studio. some of them live in a canyon. some of them have two homes. some of them teach others. and i feel like i've trespassed. so i sneak to the front yard. careful to close the gate because of the chickens. the front yard with the flat wooden swing. and i am back and forth. the half moon above, blocked by a skeletal branch, now free. then blocked again. and the spring smell budding behind me. we are oil and water. i will keep trying to mix us, but we'll settle and separate on either side of that rusty fence.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

because you can't give too much away.

i have behaved as a spoiled and entitled individual and i have many regrets.

i am forever grateful. and the sunsets have been so loving and pink lately. there were rabbits in a hole in the yard getting warm because they'd just been born, and crickets and frogs in the morning.

but when i'm alone i am savage.
"i don't want anything from anyone," i say. and i say it enough times until it sinks in. and when i think i deserve a break, or a friend, or another beer, i say it again. one day soon it will stick. like the years piling up. it will be true and keep me safe.