Monday, May 14, 2012
This morning I was so tired that when Indy held up a pair of zip ties cut off a bike helmet and said, "Look mom," I said "Ohhh, so cute honey."
Like she had crafted those zip ties with love?
Indy watched me with a confused frown on her face as I proceeded to pour toothpaste into my coffee.
Mother's Day weekend was one of extremes. On Saturday I stayed up until midnight, which I haven't done since 2003, drinking Espolon Tequila in my quest to "know all about all the tequilas, and stuff," (education, people) and watching Supernatural after NieNie's memoir became too much for a Saturday night.
Sunday morning when my husband and daughters came with breakfast in bed, they woke me from a dream in which I was buying ALL THE BOOKS. I sat up confused, unsure if this line of people coming in to my dream state were part of a parade or a funeral procession and wherefore all the books? But they brought me Belgian Tripel Angelfood pancakes with strawberry confit. That's right. My mother's day pancakes had beer in them. Which was good, as I needed a bit hair 'o the dog, as people say and I didn't know what they meant until I looked it up.
Then Mr. V went to work and I spent the rest of the day: cleaning, plunging toilets, saying "what did you put down the toilet? Just tell me, I won't be mad, I just need to know. Is it marble sized? Baseball sized?Was it alive?", mixing Bloody Mariachis, securing Gotham, eating walnut shrimp, giving gifts, receiving Wellies and these beautiful huge orange tulips that I would like to call "Super Tulips", eating Panang curry, buying bike helmets, boldly going, rotating three loads of laundry, opening cards from my girls that made me cry, looking at bees, making Nutella silk dip, feeling guilty, packing lunches, telling my sister that I want to travel to "everywhere, except maybe Cincinnati. Maybe," and finally, eating Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Pistachio gelato before retiring to bed with a book.
And somewhere in there, my sister and I donned our Super Hero goggles, because, Moms: Finding Remedies for Onion Tears since 10,000 B.C.
Until next time, Avengers.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Late last week I'd sat down to work, ready to input edits I'd made to my Very Pretentious Work of Fiction, when I plum started crying. I know it seems like I cry a lot, usually into food, and this is why I identify so strongly with Tina Fey and all the other crazy, hairy-legged artists. Thinking about their glamorous mood disorders and anxiety medication, however, makes me sad, because I suspect deep down I'm not crazy enough to be brilliant. I'd love to be as hilarious as The Bloggess, but it turns out she struggles mightily with mood disorders and here I sit, not on a single anti-depressant whatsoever. That's only because I don't have the health insurance to procure them, but never mind that, never mind. For a creative person I am disturbingly sane. But that's not why I was crying, I cried because Tina Fey has been lurking around my yard again, hiding in the irises and putting her hand through the mail slot. I'm sorry, I just--it's very hard, and I get emotional. I wrote to my friend Nathan Fillion about it, asking if he'd show up in his Captain Tightpants outfit to scare her off, as he does every week for our house mother Rachel Maddow, but he wrote back saying please cease and desist, he didn't want to have to contact the police but he would. Which is how Nathan jokes, but I'm thinking of telling him it's sometimes hurtful.
He should know.
Anyway, there I was, crying this time over white sheets of writing and not over my tuna melt, which wasn't ready yet, and watching Tina Fey pull crab grass from my yard. I am getting the hang of talking myself off ledges. I am learning that I can't save lives other than my own. I have heard the answer to a question which troubled me for years, concerning purposes and plans and does the Divine choose to play my life like a chess board? I heard that it does not, that my essence loathes the idea of purpose and so the Divine is pleased not to bridle me with one. Armed with this knowledge, I have naturally begun to consider writing smutty novels. I have read this Shades of Grey nonsense and while I am glad that the world has offered something to please the female libido, for once, I couldn't believe how poorly it was written, how alienated our erotic heroine was from her own eroticism, and I think our Lady Gardens deserve better. Someone must tend them, and it must not be Brian McKnight. It can't be worse, after all, than writing pretentious fiction, and I rather like this idea of myself: a bottle-dyed redhead sitting in her garden with bees in her hair and amorous stories flowing veins to page (and back again, as you know if you've ever written Lady Porn).
I'm starting to hope you have.
I took two days' leave of absence from all writerly aspirations, and what I learned then was that 1) Malcolm Reynolds is one thing, but Fillion is unreliable at best, and 2) my dreams have begun to feel less like hope and more like a thing that weighs me down, and I'm tired of that. For so long I have focused all my energies into earning money, aplomb, a thing that could accurately be called a career to lack of eye-rolls at parties, and for what purpose? My identity has become wrapped up in 'should' to a degree that drags my heart. It unmoors me deeply down, because so much trying to be removes me farther and farther from the truest bud of my real self, and my grittiest, most truthful self is the only power I'll ever really have.
I am so weary of having something to prove.
Writing is what I do, and I will always do it. So while I tell you artists to keep making your art, I do mean it so, but here is other half of that story, here is how the flower comes to full bloom: I will love you if you never make art again at all, if you earn not a dime, publish not a page. Go and make your art the way you have sex, because it pleases you, and for nothing more.
And so we must learn to love ourselves. I don't know it yet, but I hear this insistent voice whispering that to turn away from all measures of success and back to the joy of creating for it's own sake is the best thing I can do for myself, and thus the best I can offer the world.
So that's what I'm going to do. Now if you'll excuse me, it's just occurred to me that Tina Fey might be after my honey and I'm going to go take her back to look at the bees and see if that doesn't calm her down. Wish me luck because I think she is escalating.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Yesterday my husband was all like, "Look, you have to decide if you really want to move to L.A or not".
To which I was like, "Stop judging me, bro! Why you always gotta be telling me to decide about L.A. when all I want is to enjoy this delicious panini?"
Then he was like, "No, seriously. Someone out there wants to interview me. In a job-type manner." I went all slack-jawed and then he said, "Now give me half of your panini".
This really interfered with my plans for the morning, which had been to write a blog and to read some Supernatural fan fiction (is there any other kind?). Who can enjoy a panini and fan fiction when you are contemplating your fate? To make matters worse, this morning I woke up to a house smelling of fish. This is what you get for eating healthy. You wake up and your kitchen thinks it's a brothel by the sea. "Houses never smell like fish in L.A," I told my husband. "Damnit, you used up all the stuff for paninis".
The problem is, what I really want is to move to Taos, live quiet, have a blue door, keep bees. No, wait. What I really want is to move to Paris, pay exorbitant amounts of money for a shabby apartment, buy dinner fresh from the market every day, stroll in the gardens, write in the cafes. BUT NO WAIT. What I really want is to follow the sun, take my girls to the beach, write scripts, try to sell them.
And also what I want is to stay here in Longmont, where it is cozy and safe.
You see? No wonder I am eating paninis at six in the morning, crying in my robe, asking my five-year-old "but why does the fish have to smell so fishy?". No wonder I do things like swear at librarians and google "Dean crying" online. (Try it)(The googling, not the swearing).
Here is what happened: I spent the morning reading Martha Beck and trying not to think about Los Angeles. I needed space to process. Meanwhile, my husband texted me every five minutes about Los Angeles. "Houses do to smell like fish in L.A," he said. "If you cook it right". We are different in this way. He is all like "Pros and Cons" and "To live in L.A., you might have to get the kind of job that pays money". Meanwhile I'm drinking tea and intoning, "My spirit guide is pretty quiet this morning". Just last week I told my sister that Britney Spears was my spirit animal. I don't think she believed me.
After a morning of panic, banana bread, Dean slash I'M NOT TELLING stories, more banana bread, it came down to this: the job didn't pay enough to live off of, not in the City of Dreams. "I have no intention of moving to L.A. and wearing Sam's Choice denim," I say, which isn't exactly true. Just yesterday I bought a Mossimo peasant blouse at Goodwill and didn't think twice. But you do get my drift.
Here's what I think. You can try to live your life like an arrow. One direction, one ultimate goal, your every movement focused and strong. I don't know where that gets you, but if Robin Hood: Prince of Theives is any indicator, it gets you stuck in a tree trunk or some woodsman's poxy shoulder. Me, I live my life like a peasant blouse at Goodwill.
Blowin' in the wind.
I am Vesuvius and this is the most ridiculous blog I have ever written.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Lately I have been enjoying myself by teasing Mr.V, stating frequently that I'm going to change teams.
(I don't know if that just made you think, Lesbian!, but that's not what I mean).
What I mean is that I dislike Tim Tebow. I don't like his politics, and I don't like his over-the-top and gaudy displays of devotion, but put those aside and what we have left is an Evangelical who can't play football. I understand there were a few games where Tebow ran it in at the last second and the Broncos won, but those games weren't won by Teeb Teebow. They were won in spite of the Teebs; they were won by our defense, by Matt Prater, by Marion Barber, by luck or chance, certainly not by Jesus, (ok, maybe by Jesus), and not by Tim Tebow. You know what else is that unlike, apparently, most of Denver, I watched the first three quarters of those games and Tebow can't complete passes. Yes, Virginia, there is a Jesus and maybe he cares about football in America, where we have nothing much to worry about other than who wins on Sunday night. But I can't think of any other profession in which a person would be allowed to perform a clown show their entire shift, do some spectacular pirouette (which was not, by the way, in the job description) in their last three minutes, and prance out on fancy feet and prayerful hands to great applause.
My point is that Tebow is ruining my Broncos for me, and so frequently these days I tell the Mr. V that I'm switching teams. "You can't just switch teams," he says, embarrassed and chagrined by what he views, I suspect, as my uniquely feminine irresolution, to which I just smile inwardly and reply, "Of course I can". I can do whatever I want, including declaring, "I'm a Vikings fan now," right after kickoff when Mr. V has just taken a bite of loaded nacho and watching him choke on his pinto beans. "You can't do that," he splutters, my earnest husband, who converted to the Broncos himself when he moved here from Raider Nation and met moi. "It doesn't work that way".
"It does now," I say, which makes me feel powerful and impervious to things like Conservatives and people who use the term "Tebow Time".
I lean toward the Vikings because, why not? Because I think they were my Uncle's team and that seems a place to start. Although sometimes I declare myself a Green Bay fan just to see how far Mr. V can sputter pilsner across the room. "Oh my god," he shouts, like Will Ferrell doing "angry", except he's dead sincere. "Oh god, why?"
I don't know, I admire the tradition: Lambeau field, the Lambeau Leap, the Chedder Headers, or whatever. Brett Favre was cute until he turned into Kim Kardashian, or not even her but one of the lesser, whinier K's, Khloe maybe, or Konstance or Kontinence, but he's gone so I don't have to worry anymore. I'll never be a Jets fan; they treat their female fans horribly, and although Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of female fans in the nation, their tradition, to me, reeks of poverty and despair. I mean, why else would you let rapists play for your team? That cold, industrial climate, it changes a person. I'll never go to another team in the AFC West, why would I want to? (I WOULD DIE FIRST). So Vikings or Packers it is; tell me, do I look better in purple or green?
"Here's what else," I say to my husband; it's almost coy, this dance we do. "I'm a Lakers fan now."
"No," he gasps, truly dismayed this time.
"Yes," I say. "It's my new thing."
"You can't do this. That's what all those stupid famous people do. They move to L.A and become Lakers fans just because it's cool, to have your picture taken courtside. Leonardo Dicaprio. You can only be a Lakers fan if you're actually from L.A."
"Nobody is actually from L.A.," I reply. "L.A. is a city you choose. Anyone who was actually born there has moved away." I know this to be true somehow without actually knowing it. "Also, I want a USC shirt."
At this point my husband just looks at the ground and shakes his head. His spirit leeches out of him while I hide my grin and fold the laundry. "That's not how it works. You went to CSU, you're a CSU fan."
"God no," I say, shuddering. "Green and gold?" Gag me.
"You don't have any connections to USC."
"Your grandpa went there," I say. "And it doesn't matter, anyway. I'm transforming myself. I'm like Madonna now. I can wear a USC shirt if I want. And I am a Lakers fan, so you'd better fucking like it."
It feels important. To celebrate myself and sing myself with the NFL Licensed Gear of my choosing. Fake it til you make it, and so, though right now I'm here, in the cold with Terb Rebow taking us to the playoffs, in my heart I'm in a city where it is warm, where the people are plastic, where team loyalty is a feeling you chose and where people reinvent themselves every day, every evening, every sunrise.
And so can I.
Friday, December 16, 2011
(Please forgive the image issues in this post. The HTC EVO phone I had on the trip makes everything--everything--impossible. This was the best I could do, let's just leave it at that.)
You know last time I flew some where it was kind of an ordeal.
But not this time. I Mele Kalikimake'd myself into a state of aviation bliss. By that I mean that I played the Bing Crosby song on repeat for almost the duration of the flight, easing myself into a Paradise State of Mind. I also ordered a glass of wine on the plane.
Best five bucks I've ever spent in my life.
I arrived at LAX and spent the next four hours there. I didn't mind, honestly. I had a new smart phone that hadn't yet proven itself to be an epic and grotesque technological failure. Southwest had lost my bag, my girlfriend's flight arrived an hour late. Whatever. I had things to tweet. If the tweeting didn't get done, who knows what might occur?
Long story short: we rode a shuttle bus to pick up a car, and while we were on the bus my girlfriend showed me Facebook's "check-in" feature. But why would I want to check-in where I actually was? That's boring, and it's not like LAX is giving you free drinks for it. So we checked in at Nudes, Nudes!! and later, at the Grilled Cheese invitational. I don't know. It seemed the thing to do. We drove the rental car twice around the LAX terminal before finding Southwest and my bag.
We drove to downtown Los Angeles.
It was lit up like El Dorado. The high rises and searchlights glittering in the night. Lights on palm trees, lights on Christmas trees.
I was in love.
There were homeless people sleeping in tents on the streets.
There were parking lots advertising cheaper rates for film crews.
There were stretch limos and doormen wearing long jackets and hats.
There were posters at the hotel displaying the movies filmed there.
We stayed at the Westin Bonaventure. Like "good adventure", I guess. All I know is that it decidedly was not named the "Westin Bonavart"--like, Bone of Art--as I told everyone ahead of time.
The lobby was a zen paradise. The beds were a dream, heavy white comforters, everything clean as a whistle. The views were stunning. The guts of the hotel were bare concrete and full of sad little "Japanese Steakhouses" and "Korean BBQ". The guts felt like someone had set up ethnic fast food in a parking garage and abandoned it.
We ordered mimosas in bed. We watched L.A working twenty stories below us, people draped in hats and scarves and thick coats for the 55 degree weather.
We ventured out late for lunch. It was L.A, it seemed the thing to do. People strutted past us in only the finest business wear, perfectly cut jackets and pressed, tailored pants. The homeless circled among them in strange harmony. It looked like a movie set. It felt like a movie set. The streets were clean. Everything was black and bare and glinting in the sun.
Our waitress was getting in to fashion design.
Two fish tacos were fourteen dollars. The burgers were sixteen. We drank Bloody Marys. We ordered off the "600 calories or less" menu.
A set bus drove by our window. Town cars in front of it. Lights and cameras mounted to the outside, facing in. Police cars behind.
"There went Nathan Fillion", I said.
Mark my words.
Hotel. Change clothes. Cocktail hour. Change again.
The doorman hails a cab. Asks us if we want to share with two gentlemen.
My Blood Sister A flirts smoothly the entire six minute trip to the Staples Center.
The gentlemen pick up the tab.
In through the VIP entrance (Thanks Blood Sister A).
How to fit this all in?
We sit at the bar, where we're told Jay-Z and Kanye won't be going on for at least two more hours. We open a tab. Eventually the crowd begins to surge behind us, elbowing for room at the bar, for the bartender's attention. My Blood Sister A chats everyone up. A girl in a fuzzy red vest who looks like a model turns out to actually be one. She was there to shoot the video for "You Know Who In Paris" that afternoon. She lets me snap her picture. We meet a man--"Are you gay?" says my Blood Sister. "Are you Latino?" Wrong on both counts.
He's Greek,I say.
He is. Persian-Greek. Scoffs when asked if he too is a model. He is an entrepreneur. We meet an aspiring web designer, see fashion disasters, stress out the barkeep.
I love L.A.
Everyone here has a dream.
I feel like I fit in. No need to apologize for trying to be something.
Everyone here is trying to be.
In Colorado, they are aspiring to have lovely homes and happy families and good recipes. So often, I feel foolish. Aspiring to be other.
I don't feel foolish in the City of Dreams.
The bar tab is outrageous. We can only laugh.
Jay-Z and Kanye take the stage. It is a spiritual experience. I believe there are many facets of the divine. I believe that a performer can become a vessel. Challenge a divine energy, make an entire venue--the massive Staples Center--thrum and pulse with it. With an energy that goes beyond the day-to-day range of human experience. This is why some rock stars burn out, overdose, fall to pieces. Die. They don't know what they're channeling. They think it's them. This is what I'm talking about when I say that a Tori Amos concert was the most spiritual experience of my life.
Tori knows what she's channeling.
So, it appears, do Jay-Z and Kanye.
They do the encore ten times. The audience is sweating, exhausted. The energy shifts, becomes bacchanal. Orgiastic without the sex. It is an out of body experience.
I love the City of Dreams.
After the show, I am completely wrung out. Empty. I collapse in bed.
The next day there is only time for coffee and curried chicken salad at Cafe Primo, which is bustling and full of sleek business people on lunch hour. A young woman--blonde, exquisite dress suit, beautiful--whom I fully expect to be a complete bitch, offers to share her table with us. She hates L.A, she says. She says, nobody talks to you.
But all we've done is talk to people, everywhere we go.
Even the girl running the counter casually chats me up.
She's saving up for film school.
The taciturn brown-skinned barista makes art in my coffee.
The dreams are hanging heavily in the air.
I can feel them. If I had a butterfly net, one swoop would capture hundreds. Thousands.
The city is alive with wish.
In Denver, people ask me what I do, and I stammer. The baristas at Starbucks want to know if I'm studying or working, and I, nervous and uncomfortable, quietly confess I am writing a book.
In L.A, I feel I could say it.
I'm trying to be a writer.
I'm trying to get into writing.
Like everyone in this cafe, I have a manuscript.
Like the doorman at my hotel, I have a screenplay.
Like everyone in this city, I have a dream.