Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bad Writing

This movie looks intriguing, but I'm not quite sure whether or not watching it will give me a complex.

I already know a lot of what I write is crap, and I agree with the comments made around 1:26 of this video about bad writing being about falseness--the inability of the writer to articulate in words their view of the world (although I resent the fact that he chose "her" as his pronoun of choice. I know he had to as it's proper but plenty of "him"s produce crap as well). I think a lot of bad writing happens when people try to write about things they don't know well enough to describe. To me, writing requires the author to show the reader the world they already know from a new perspective, and do with authenticity. My problem I think, is that I have trouble pulling together words and descriptions so that they sound real and not completely fabricated. Or, that's the problem I'm having with my current story.

Back to the movie--I'll probably see it, but I might have to crawl into a hole for a couple of months afterwards.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

I love three day weekends. They give you the chance to really enjoy your surroundings, try new things, go new places--and that's exactly what I did.

Los Angeles National Cemetery by Boyan

On Friday I went to the Magic Castle with Ivelina, Nancy and Boyan. I don't have any photos except this one before we left as they don't allow photos inside the establishment.

We had a great time, and I got to participate in our first show (although the magician was kind of a perv. he also called me a "suburban brat" which isn't a way to win hearts and minds). I got well drunk and saw some fun magic. I can't wait to go back for dinner! Thanks Nancy for bringing us with you.

On Saturday Boyan, Heidi and I went down to Newport to visit the Moms and George, and on Sunday we saw Janea and Jon off before their flight back to the Big Apple.

On Sunday night Boyan and I watched the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE. I don't say this lightly, but honestly, Starter for 10 has to be the best movie I've seen in a long time. It was brilliant and cheesy and brilliantly cheesy. The British equivalent of a coming of age college movie. Amazing. I happened to catch it because I have "James McAvoy" as a keyword on my TiVo (I know you aren't surprised). And Catherine Tate is in it! Come on!

On Monday Boyan and I lazed about. I started re-reading Jane Eyre despite myself, and I got about 20 pages of editing done. I figure I'll do 10 pages a day, and it should only take me about eight days to finish editing the entire piece before I start writing again. Thank.God.

That's it. My update for now. I had to post something quickly after that last post about RPatz's abs. It was too embarrassing to pull up my blog and be confronted with a half-naked picture of Edward Cullen.

Until next time, here is some Regina Spektor and Beirut for you, because right now I'm not listening to anything else.

Robert Pattinson's Six Pack Abs

Okay, so I totally titled this post with SEO in mind (naughty laugh). Say what you will but I get traffic from twilight searches so there you go.

Anyways, I was perusing some twilight blogs and stumbled across this photo of RPatz filming in Italy.

My friend Liana thinks his abs are painted on, but I'm not sure.

robert pattisons abs new moon

I don't know why, but I've developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with all things Twilight. Maybe it's because the writing isn't that great, or maybe it's because KStew is a total stoner brat--but either way a little piece of me dies every time I see something in the blogs about Twilight. I think it's because I was so invested in the books for such a long time--the absolute fantastical world of it all. Whatever it may be, It's fun to watch the images of the movie coming out during filming, and I can't wait to see what an amazingly cheestastic catastrophe New Moon is going to be when it's finished.

By the way, I would go CRAZY if I had people yelling at me like this:

Poor Rpatz. If I were him I would wear ear plugs, or blast music or something. Jeebus.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am too much with the world

Every wednesday some people from my office try to get away from the big city and explore the mountains that surround Los Angeles. Yesterday we went to Santa Ynez Canyon in the Topanga Canyon State Park.

The trail was extremely overgrown and looked as if it had been pretty much abandoned in recent years. The only markings of other humans on the trail was the occasional footprint and unfortunately some graffiti.

Overall it was gorgeous--like something out of a movie. The canyons were lush and green, it was like we were in a remote jungle. The silence was beautiful. Here are a few pictures.

The mountain held the town as in a shadow.
I saw so much before I slept there once:
I noticed that I missed stars in the west,
Where its black body cut into the sky.
Near me it seemed: I felt it like a wall
Behind which I was sheltered from a wind.
And yet between the town and it I found,
When I walked forth at dawn to see new things,
Were fields, a river, and beyond, more fields.
The river at the time was fallen away,
And made a widespread brawl on cobble-stones;
But the signs showed what it had done in spring;
Good grass-land gullied out, and in the grass
Ridges of sand, and driftwood stripped of bark.
I crossed the river and swung round the mountain.

--The Mountain, Robert Frost

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Image of the Day: Holi

Remember when I posted this photo from shape+colour? Well he did a follow up with some more beautiful, colorful photos of the Hindu Festival Holi, the Festival of Colours.

I want to go to there.

Anyone have any tips?

On how to get oneself out of a creative rut?

I haven't written since the move and have absolutely no inspiration--desire--or motivation to do anything but sit on the couch and veg.

I blame T.V. but I know I'm just as much to blame.

Help! My brain is turning to mush.

We have returned to claim our share of the civilized world

We had our housewarming party on Saturday and it was a blast. Here are a few photos from the event.

Joanish, Me and Britts

Joan and her men: Tommy, Juergen and Boyan

The girls camped out on the couch: Britta, Alissa, Carol and Tash

Ailissa giving good face

Jon crashed early. Me and Janea

Boyan doing a Bulgarian jig.

Lovely ladies: Joan, Janea and Ivelina

Duca, me and Tommy on the Balcony

This is how I found Joan the next morning, as Boyan says, "Inverted Joan, always trying to find another perspective."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It Hurts So Good. Yes it Does

Season two of True Blood is on it's way in June and I'm super excited! This promo from HBO is a little camp, but I love it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Image of the Day: Royce Hall at Sunset

Click to see large.

The last few weeks in photos

Song of the Day: Heretics by Andrew Bird

In the spirit of the last post.

Bored holes through our tongues, so sing a song about it
Held our breath for too long till we're half sick about it
Tell us what we did wrong and you can blame us for it
Turn a clamp on our thumbs, we'll sew a doll about it
And tell us all about it
We'll sew a doll about it

How about some credit now
Where credit is due
For the damage that we've done
We have brought upon ourselves and others
With a slow and vicious gun
And although pratfalls can be fun
Encores can be fatal

And then I hear you say
Thank God it's fatal
Thank God it's fatal
Not shy
Not shy of fatal
Not shy of fatal
Thank God
Thank God it's fatal
Thank God it's fatal
Not shy
Not shy of fatal
Not shy of fatal

Wait just a second now
It's not all that bad
Are we not having fun
You make your mountains of handkerchiefs
Where the mascara always runs
So be careful when you're done
You're bound to get post-natal
What did I just hear you say?

Thank God it's fatal
No, we don't want to hear the sound of a door
No, we don't want to hear the sound of a door
And we don't want to read the signs that you bore
You know the kind of sign you hang on a door
Saying, "We'll be back. What a crack."
Now don't you think we might have heard that before?
Now don't you think we might have heard that before?

Bored holes through our tongues, so sing a song about it
Held our breath for too long till we're half sick about it
Tell us what we did wrong and you can blame us for it
Turn a clamp on our thumbs, we'll sew a doll about it

The thick black paste of it

There was a period of about a month (I think) in college when I didn't get out of bed.

I had this thick polyester navy blue blanket that I used to create a type of tent. I tucked the edges into the top of my bunk, blocking out all light, and closed the blinds in my already dark room. I slept in a blank void, waking to use the restroom, not ever really knowing what time it was. When I woke up, I would watch episodes of the Sopranos. I'm not really sure how long this lasted--I do remember watching 5 1/2 seasons of the Sopranos (all that was available at the time. The second half of season 6 hadn't started on HBO yet) in one sitting, so you do the math.

It happened when I was living in the sorority. I would lock the door and disappear for hours. When I emerged to use the restroom I would shock my friends who hadn't known that I'd been in my room. When they finally caught on that I had holed myself up underneath the covers I would hear faint knocks on the door and people trying the door knob. I would sit quietly and watch the shadow under the door disappear and I'd go back to sleep.

My friends had asked me If I were depressed, and I told them I wasn't. I don't even remember feeling depressed--depression a reality that my mind didn't comprehend--I was just very very tired.

Looking back I realize I MUST have been depressed. What else can explain the crippling feeling of not being able to handle going to class, or even leaving the bed. All I could focus on was sleeping, watching the Sopranos and using the bathroom. And sleep felt so good, like falling into a warm and gentle hug. Each time I would wake up I would feel sleep begging me to come back, wishing to embrace me again.

Depression is a funny thing--I have friends I know that have suffered from it, but I honestly can't say that I understand it. I understand suicide even less.

I read this article from Daphne Merkin, writer who suffers severe depression, and she explains the depths of depression in a way that I can understand. I think anyone who has experienced some type of depression can relate on a surface level--I don't want to ever know or feel exactly what she's describing, it would be too frightening.

It's a long article--about eight pages online--but I picked out the parts that spoke to me.

DEPRESSION — THE THICK BLACK paste of it, the muck of bleakness — was nothing new to me. I had done battle with it in some way or other since childhood. It is an affliction that often starts young and goes unheeded — younger than would seem possible, as if in exiting the womb I was enveloped in a gray and itchy wool blanket instead of a soft, pastel-colored bunting.

Surely this is the worst part of being at the mercy of your own mind, especially when that mind lists toward the despondent at the first sign of gray: the fact that there is no way out of the reality of being you, a person who is forever noticing the grime on the bricks, the flaws in the friends — the sadness that runs under the skin of things, like blood, beginning as a trickle and ending up as a hemorrhage, staining everything.

In the end there is no one to intervene on your behalf when you disappear again into what feels like a psychological dungeon — a place that has a familiar musky smell, a familiar lack of light and excess of enclosure — except the people you’ve paid large sums of money to talk to over the years.

It sits in the space behind your eyes, making its presence felt even in those moments when other, lighter matters are at the forefront of your mind.

When I was awake (the few hours that I was), I felt a kind of lethal fatigue, as if I were swimming through tar.

THE ONE THING PSYCHIATRIC hospitals are supposed to be good for is to keep you safe. But I was conflicted even about so primary an issue as survival. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ambush my own downward spiral, where the light at the end of the tunnel, as the mood-disordered Robert Lowell once said, was just the light of the oncoming train.

Self-inflicted death had always held out a stark allure for me: I was fascinated by people who had the temerity to bring down the curtain on their own suffering — who didn’t hang around, moping, in hopes of a brighter day. I knew all the arguments about the cowardice and selfishness (not to mention anger) involved in committing suicide, but nothing could persuade me that the act didn’t require a perverse sort of courage, some steely embrace of self-extinction.

If you are depressed enough, it seems to me, you begin to conceive of death as a cradle, rocking you gently back to a fresh life, glistening with newness, unsullied by you.

At the same time, I recognized that, for a person who was really set on ending it all, speaking your intention aloud was an act of self-betrayal. After all, in the process of articulating your death wish you were alerting other people, ensuring that they would try to stop you.

Suicide could wait, my sister said. Why didn’t I give the hospital a chance?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy May Day

Some observations:

The hardwood floors in my new apartment look like a slick wood-colored pool and light glows throughout the living room all day. The patio is often too windy and cold to sit on from the ocean breeze, but oh that ocean breeze. When you do sit on the patio, the smells of Indian and Persian spices are inescapable. It's lonely at night while I'm waiting for Boyan to come home, and my mind is too numb to write. I spent three weeks moving and still have things to do at the old apartment.

I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

Last Saturday in the frenzy of packing and loading up my car to drive to West L.A. I found out that I was rejected from Bennington. The craziness of the day made it impossible for me to digest the reality of it at the time, which I think helped me get through the disappointment. But I'm sure that once my life has settled down, the blows of rejection will hit me and I will break down. I haven't really been able to tell anyone about it yet, besides friends and family, because admitting my failure to others feels like I am openly admitting that I am a failure.

I'm too sensitive to open myself up to criticism from my enemies or compassion from my friends. Both would be like scratching an open wound, drawing blood and prolonging the healing process.

I have to remind myself over and over again not to listen to the voice inside my head that tells me that I'm not good enough or smart enough. If I write everyday no matter if it's good or if its crap it's strengthening my writing muscle. Every time I do it, I get stronger.

"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconsciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure it is the antithesis of self- consciousness."
-- Aaron Copeland

We're living in boxes right now, too much stuff and too little storage.

I have to give some of my books away because I have no room for them.

Heidi's nails click clack against the wood floor like a woman in stilettos and she hates it; but if we let her, she'd sit on the patio all day and night.

We have directv now, and I love and hate it in equal measure. I haven't read anything new since finishing Ines of My Soul on audio book. I miss the drive only because I miss the time I spent listening to books on tape.

I take the bus now, and in the week I've been a patron of public transportation I've witnessed:

    A homeless man wearing an obama beanie

    An Asian or Native American woman with dementia sitting at the bus stop wearing a red dress, string of pearls and a tiara. All the lines that pass at the bus stop had come and gone and she remained seated on the bench diligently applying and reapplying lipstick to her thin lips.

    A man with bananas approached me and said,
    "Hey Man, Can I have your number? I'm single."
    To which I replied, "I'm married."
    And he said, "Oh, your married? But I got these bananas."

    While waiting at the bus stop on Santa Monica blvd and 3rd street, a man driving a black convertible Porsche blasting high trilling soprano's solo in an unfamiliar opera. He stared at me as I stared at him behind my dark sunglasses.
I've been trying to smile at everyone that makes eye contact with me in the street, to honor the connectedness we have with other people. Thank you Jay Smooth for reminding me that we have more in common with other people than we have that separates us.

Today I was told that I have a nice smile and to have a nice day.

Jay Smooth, by the way, is my new hero. He speaks the true, unfiltered, and beautiful truth. I want to be him when I grow up.

He also has a twitter which you can follow here.

Speaking of which, I was thinking the other day about the promises I made to myself when I was younger. When I was about 13 or 14, one of my biggest fears was becoming old and out of touch with what was going on in the world around me, and I remembering telling myself that no matter how old I got I would continue to watch MTV. Because once I stopped watching MTV it would be over. I would become officially irrelevant as a human being.

Well, I don't watch MTV anymore (except for the hills and the city, my guilty pleasures) and in a world dominated by social media, I find myself recoiling from the hyper-connected disingenuous worlds of facebook and twitter. I HATE twitter. Hate hate hate. The idea of "following" someone sounds terrible and a little bit creepy. But the truth is everyone is doing it. People are building marketing strategies around it, and not having it on your resume makes you a less desirable candidate. But seriously, how cool can twitter be if even Sarah Palin has an account? I thought the whole point of being young and fresh was that what YOU do is above the understanding of the older generations. But thats not the case. Grandparents have facebook accounts and major CEO's, actors, and public figures are on twitter.

The craziness that is social media has turned me off so much that I've even considered removing my facebook, but A. I kind of need it for my job and B. I feel like I would totally lose touch from everyone I know if I did.

Closing my facebook account would be the equivalent of walking into the desert, finding a cave and becoming a hermit.

This past year I removed my birthday from my profile two weeks before the actual day, and I wasn't surprised that no one wished me a happy birthday when the day finally came. It was only after my husband wrote something on my wall that other people noticed. The way I look at it is, my true friends and people that love me called me or sent me a card, and I'd rather have that then have some site remind people that it would be polite to congratulate me on another year of living.

Does my distaste for this new form of media make me...old? I feel like I can't rebel against twitter and facebook without resigning from public life and damaging my career.

What's a girl to do?

All I want to do is rip out my TV, turn off my computer and surround myself with books and paper and pens and nature. I want to go to a cafe and have a coffee with a friend and ask them how they are doing, rather than read about it in their status updates. It's like we've replaced REAL face-to-face interaction with virtual interaction and people don't realize that it isn't a one-to-one trade. We are all losing out and closing ourselves off to the world around us and it's scary!

I'm going to think long and hard about this whole facebook thing.

Until then, I'll leave you with Ten Other Things Martin Luther King Said as read by Jay Smooth.