Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I have this weird fear that theres's a single hair growing in the middle of my back. Like growing really long, not even out of a mole or anything. But it's in the middle of my back so I can't see it or feel it; I don't know it's there. And it's getting longer and longer, and one day I'm going to be at work wearing a sundress or something and someone walking by my chair will say "Oh, you have a hair on your back," thinking it's just a loose hair from my head, and then they'll try to pinch it off my skin... but it won't budge. They'll tug on it and it will create a little tent of skin and it will be just a little painful and we'll both go "...." and then I'll collect my stuff and never return.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is a man to check my back every night to make sure there's not one weird, long hair growing there.


Updating my Tinder profile.

Friday, June 27, 2014

10 Balls You Should Be Licking Right Now!

1. Mine

2. Mine

3. Mine

4. Mine

5. Mine

6. Mine

7. Mine

8. Mine

9. Mine

10. Sam Elliot's.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nothing from me for quite some time, huh? Life has been pretty good since I got back to San Francisco. My residency at Starry Night Retreat changed my life in ways I had not imagined. I think that's something I'll get into at length, but not at the moment, because there is Christmas shopping to be done and some overdue edits on a story to wrap up, too. I kind of just wanted to check in with the blog and say I'm still writing, though it's mostly in notebooks and about my feeeeelings (and I've been having a LOT of feelings. Oh Lord). It's just that since I've been home, and since I've put to paper so many things I wanted to write, I've had a serious aversion to the computer and the internet. Instead of sitting at my desk and scrolling mindlessly, I go outside and I walk my dog. We drive outside of the city and we smell new smells and we see beautiful things and I squat down and call her to me, and she puts her little paws on my knees and she licks my chin.

It's good. Life is good.

Here are a few pictures from some of my recent day trips. Hopefully I'll be back on here, or at least on my poor, neglected movie blog, and I'll be able to limit myself to just writing posts and not wasting time on Facebook or whatever.

Sunset at Point Reyes




The Most Beautiful Taco Bell in the World (Pacifica, CA)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dentists and Garbage and Writing: The Final Countdown

My time here is winding down. It is, in fact, ending a little sooner than expected, because a possible writing opportunity popped up back home and I'm hauling back to San Francisco two days early. Two days shouldn't make that much of a difference, but it's kind of a shock--I have what's left of today and Friday to finish my work here, clean up, pack, and motor back to the coast. It's now occurring to me that there are about a billion things I wanted to do still--eat a Hatch Chile Burger at Sparky's... Hold on. It's only like 45 minutes away. I can do that one right now! BRB.


Okay that was an experience. The burger was really good. The trip there and back was weird and I don't want to talk about it. Back to what I was saying...

The second half of my residency has not been as productive as the first, I'll admit. I took off for a few days to explore this corner of the world--White Sands National Monument, Marfa, Carlsbad Caverns, Gila Cliff Dwellings. Time well-spent, certainly. And I knew there would be good days and bad days. At times I felt like I just needed to get out of my own way, the writing was coming so easy I had to flee before it like a wave of water bursting through a dam. Those were really good days. There were days that were bad in the sense that the writing was difficult and painful (as it often is for me), but I felt really good afterwards because I had an essay, rough as it might be, to show for it. And then there were the shitty days where I accomplished pretty much nothing, despite staring at the screen for hours, starting and stopping and deleting and starting again and deleting that and then going to lay down on my face. Those days didn't feel so good.

I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about that. I now have five essays that are ready or almost ready to send out and shop around and two more that are complete but basically 12 miles of bad road. Most important of all--they are out of my head.

A few of these essays I wrote, they've been torturing me. For years. I knew I wanted to write them. I knew I had to write them. I thought about it constantly: while I was at work, when I was walking the dog, when I was out with friends, when I was at a movie. I felt guilty for doing anything that wasn't writing. Even going to the gym! I would in fact forego some of these activities on the pretense that I would stay in and write, but I could never get going. I wouldn't go hang out in coffee shops, or try new restaurants, or just go wander around in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I put all of these things aside to work. And instead I just sat at my desk and stared, and probably went on facebook forever, and then took a nap with my dog. I just couldn't do it. Why? Because I was scared.

Writing is hard. It's really, really, really hard. It's often slow-going and painful. I have found that there is a requisite amount of garbage I need to write before I get to the good stuff. Writing garbage sucks. It feels terrible. Already wracked with self-doubt, I think "Is this the best I can do? Oh my God, I'm terrible! Why did I think I could do this?!" and I imagine the authors I admire climbing through my window and beating me with their celebrated books. You ever been whacked with a copy of War and Peace? Well... technically I haven't, either, but I bet it hurts. The garbage in my brain is just like the garbage in your house--day by day, it builds up. So if I skip writing one day, I have twice as much garbage to get through before I find a sentence I can stomach. And on and on and on. Sometimes the bad, early drafts were so disheartening I couldn't even get through them. The longer I put off the writing, the more terrified I was to try and begin again. It was like gaining 100 lbs. after a few years as a semi-pro athlete and then trying to make a comeback. It was a huge task, and it was daunting, and I was just really, really scared.

That was the best thing about having an entire month to work. I had time to spread out. If I spent three hours writing total crap, well, I still had the entire rest of the day to do better. And if I didn't manage to do better that day, I had 29 more days ahead of me. So I did it. I dug in. It was still really awful and disgusting and demoralizing, but I managed to get through the landfill of garbage piled up in my brain and start writing things I didn't totally hate. Some of the stuff was actually pretty good, I think. I wrote the stories I'd been holding onto for years, and a couple that just popped up out of nowhere.

This was actually in a book
in my dentist's waiting room. WTF?!
And that? Feels AMAZING. It's kind of like when I finally went to the dentist after (okay, this is REALLY embarrassing) eleven years. I know. I KNOW. For a while I didn't go because I didn't have dental insurance. And then I got dental insurance and I paid for it year after year and didnI can't do this anymore! I have to call the dentist TOMORROW! But I wouldn't. Maybe my teeth were all rotten, but if I didn't call him, he wouldn't get to pull them out! Right? Right.
't go. I was scared that I would have cavities in each and every one of my teeth because I put it off for so long. Just like the garbage in my brain, the longer I waited, the scarier it became. Oh my God, I haven't been to the dentist in 5 years, I bet I have like 10 cavities. Oh my God, I haven't been to the dentist in 8 years, he is going to pull out all my teeth. Oh my God, I haven't been to the dentist in ELEVEN YEARS and I'm going to need dentures! It was always looming in the back of my mind. I wasn't even conscious of it. I just had this nagging feeling that there was something I needed to be doing. I'd sit bolt upright in bed at night and think
Anyway, I finally went. And guess what? MY TEETH WERE PERFECT. I was so scared for nothing. And now that I've gone, this heavy yolk I didn't even know I was carrying has been lifted off my shoulders. I don't have this little niggling voice in the back of my head at all times.

It seems to be the same with these essays. I feel freed, really. I can work on the comedy script my friend and I have been talking about for 2 years (I kept saying I couldn't do it because I needed to focus on [not] writing my own projects). I can write about ANYTHING I WANT. I can keep moving forward and away from the painful things I felt I needed to write about. I was afraid that if I let those wounds heal I wouldn't be able to access the feelings from that time in my life, and my writing wouldn't have the depth or emotion I wanted. Now that I don't have to hang on to every terrible detail, now that it's all pretty much down on paper, I can let go.

Now, for the first time in years, I truly have a blank page. That's exciting and frightening at the same time, and partly why I haven't written as much. I'm not used to the freedom. It's like when rescued greyhounds are presented with a huge, open property to romp and run, but they just stand still. They've been in a box for most of their lives, and they're not sure what to do with all that open space. I built myself a cold, dark mental box and sat in it for about 8 years. Just because I'm out of the box, it doesn't mean I'm done writing. I'm just done with that stuff, I think. Now I get to think up new projects, and I have most of the garbage cleared away, and maybe I can even sit quietly in a coffee shop or go for a hike and just be happy with that.

Geez, that was a lot longer than I was planning. Well, next time I'd like to talk to you about Artist/Writer In Residence programs and why you should apply for one right freaking now. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

1/2 way mark

Today is September 15th and I'm halfway through my residency. I guess it's a good time to check in.
I'm happy to report my fears about productivity were unfounded. It gets easier to write every day, and so far I have four essays written--three are (very) rough drafts and one is almost (I hope) ready to send out. I've written roughly 11,000 (edit: Haha, I wrote 1,100 at first. Whoops!) words, not counting the other bits of writing I began that went nowhere and the 1.5 notebooks I've filled up with handwritten stuff. 

Maybe that's not a lot for some people, I don't know. But it's a lot for me. As a contrast, let me give you some other stats. Before I came here, I'd written two essays over the course of two years. Again, that's not including a lot of things I stopped and started, or blog posts, or the little odds and ends that are spread around. But in terms of a complete piece with a beginning, middle, and end, I wrote two. TWO! And I really love them and hope they get published, but geez. That's pretty sad. 

So yeah, this has been really incredible for me. I am glad to know I am still capable of writing and that I can do it day after day. Sometimes it's a real struggle to get the words out, and sometimes my fingers can barely keep up with my brain. It's been fun and rewarding and a lot of hard work. 

There are a few day-trips I'm planning to take in the latter half of this residency, so I'm trying to plan for that. We had a difficult couple days when the town was flooding and people were being evacuated from their homes and the Rio Grande was splashing over the riverbanks, but everything turned out just fine. We spent the night at a hotel up on high ground, just in case. We ate pizza and swam in the pool and sat in the hot tub and I went for a run in the gym (I'm not even going to talk about the state of my poor body out here. I'm trying to eat well but it's hard. And it's too hot to run, so... Yikes.)

I wrote an essay yesterday so today I gave my brain a little break and went for a drive. I ended up in Hatch, New Mexico, which is famous for its chiles. I unfortunately missed the Chile Festival this year (I found out about it the day after it was over. Rats!), so there wasn't as much activity down there, especially on a Sunday. There were a few shops on the side of the road with long bushels of chiles hanging from their roofs like red bananas. I pulled over to check one out and as soon as I stepped out of the car I could smell chiles roasting. They let you pick out which ones you want (mild, hot, green, red, etc.) and then they'll put them in a wire cylinder that rotates like a bingo cage over the fire. And when they're good and roasted they release them into a big bag for you to take home. I was a little overwhelmed because I don't know if I could use that many chiles, and I can't really take them back to California with me, so this time I just bought some chile powder. I'll probably come back and get some dried ones, though. 

Then for the rest of the day I messed around in the studio, cutting and grinding glass to make some ART. 

Other important information: Soundtrack of this trip seems to be Townes Van Zandt, particularly Pancho & Lefty
The Exotic Cactus Farm is ONLY open on weekends and closes at 3pm. 
I miss my dog horribly. Sometimes I wake up and reach out to squeeze her little paws until I remember she's not here. Then I cry myself to sleep. (I don't really.)

Thanks to everyone who is reading, and for the encouraging emails and texts and thoughts. It means so much to me, you have no idea. There is nothing more thrilling than to know someone is reading something I wrote.

(Edited to Add: I just looked back and saw I wrote an update 5 days ago. That seems like it was forever ago! Also, I feel I need to explain why I only wrote 1 essay in those 5 days. I've been editing the heck out of one and then we had the flood so I didn't get to do as much writing okay?! I know no one cares but because I'm a crazy person I need to justify that to myself.)