A Poem for the Dark Winter Days I Miss

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“Walking in the Breakdown Lane”

by Louise Erdrich

from Jacklight

 

Wind has stripped

the young plum trees

to a thin howl.

They are planted in squares

to keep the loose dirt from wandering.

Everything around me is crying to be gone.

The fields, the crops humming to be cut and done with.

 

Walking in the breakdown lane, margin of gravel,

between the cut swaths and the road to Fargo,

I want to stop, to lie down

in standing wheat or standing water.

 

Behind me thunder mounts as trucks of cattle

roar over, faces pressed to slats for air.

They go on, they go on without me.

They pound, pound and bawl,

until the road closes over them farther on.

 

———————-

I miss the darkness of the Midwest this time of year.  California and are a bad fit in many ways.  This is the worst.  There’s nothing to reflect the darkness of winter around me.  Only palm trees and blue skies.  I can’t really complain, but I’m missing that grit that has become such a part of me.  I feel lost without it.

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Overwhelmed

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Notes:

In the Middle Ages peasants and serfs broke for breakfast, lunch, afternoon nap, and dinner, as well as mid morning and afternoon breaks.  Holidays took up a lot of time, Sabbath days, saints’ days, public feasts, rest days, festivals, weeks off for births, marriages, deaths — estimated one third of the year off for England.  Nearly half the year off in Spain and France.  The introduction of clocks in the 13th century linked to the increase in work hours.

“Without time to reflect, to live fully present in the moment and face what is transcendent about our lives, Hunnicutt says, we are doomed to live in purposeless and banal busyness.  ‘Then we starve the capacity we have to love,’ he said.  ‘It creates this ‘unquiet heart,’ as Saint Augustine said, that is ever desperate for fulfillment.'”

And this :
“Somewhere toward the end of the twentieth century, Burnett and other researchers contend, busyness became not just a way of life, but glamorous.  Now, they say, it is a sign of high social status.”

The only conclusion: to survive this world, you must rebel.

A Passage

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My grandpa bookmarked this page in Hal Borland’s Book of Days.

From December 26:

“We have come into a spell of clear, cold weather, with a bright sun and the midday temperature getting up to the low twenties, then dropping at night close to zero.  Without wind, such weather is almost enjoyable.  We have gone for a walk, up the road, not across the snow-covered pastures, almost every evening the past week.  The moon has passed its full, now rises late, but the stars are magnificent.  They seem to have the deep fireglow of eternity, and though I admire the mathematics, I almost resent being told that some of those stars I am seeing have been dead and without a glimmer of luminescence for a thousand or two thousand years.  The light I see, I am told, and no doubt with ample reason, is simply light that was cast this way by those stars before they died.

Even so, to walk abroad now is to walk in the midst of infinity.  There are no limits to either time or distance, except as man himself may make them.  I have only to touch the wind to know these things, for the wind itself is full of starlight, even as the frozen earth underfoot, starlight and endless time and exalted wonder.

I look at the red-gold star we call Arcturus, and even as the ancients I strain for a closer look, through this peephole, this spark-burn in the blanket of night, hoping for the slightest glimpse of Beyond.  I turn to a star, even redder than Arcturus, and I have to accept the factual truth of the astronomers, and yet wonder if that is all, the whole, the ultimate truth.

Time, and distance, and wonder – we walk up this valley in the midst of eternity.”

My grandpa passed away on December 26.  A noble mind, a man of nature and classical learning.  A renaissance man.

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Seeking: Comfort and Joy

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I don’t know what to write.  I feel a little dizzy from everything that’s happened and everything that’s happening.

I know it’s Christmas, but I feel a little like I’m floating.

There’s a lot of beauty and a lot of pain and a lot of time rushing by quickly, blurry.  I’ve been moving endlessly, and the few moments of peace I want to savor and clasp onto like trinkets.

A week ago I got back from a five day trip from Georgia to Tennessee to North Carolina and back to Georgia.  It was beautiful and sweet and fast and so Southern and foreign to me, Northern girl that I am.  But spending time with Chris’s family was a hoot.  When we went to Andy’s (Chris’s brother) MBA graduation at University of Tennessee, we also took a little sojourn to the classroom where Papa Joe and Mama Joan met.  Where he asked her all those years ago if he could read along with her because he forgot her book, and she said, “Only if you’ll dance at my wedding.”  To which he said, “Not only will I dance, I’ll be the groom.”  They’ve been married for 51 years.  We took a photo of them at the door of the classroom.

Other memories:  Mama Joan, giddy on red wine (picture it with a fabulous Tennessee accent: “Gotta have some wiiiine”) and forgetting the rules to poker again and again.  Papa Joe showing me his world map in the basement stairwell, with little flags for his sons, for me and my family, for Obama out in the Pacific Ocean (“out in left field”…Fox news, y’all), and for all the Ebola outbreaks.  And crazy great live music wherever we went in Knoxville on Saturday night, including a band in Santa hats singing The Band, Bob Dylan, Springsteen (did they know I was coming???  and who were you?  you were incredible).

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Then it was back to California for two long hard days of house cleaning work and then my birthday on Wednesday.  28.  I’ve hardly had a moment to reflect on it.  Another time.  But I know we had green juices and shepherd’s pie and a fruit tart and Birdman and it was wonderful and quiet.

Then Thursday I flew to Milwaukee and slept at my brother’s apartment where he and his roommate keep 90% of their clothes on their bedroom floors, and where, when you move a certain tupperware container on their kitchen counter, approximately 17 small flies swarm up.  Bongs and Cheetos galore.  Three flatscreen TVs with no explanation and two microwaves so they can nuke their food simultaneously. But, hey, it was walking distance to Beans and Barley, so how could I complain?

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And now here I am at home in Neenah, wondering what I should say, or shouldn’t, about what’s going on.  Everything is up in the air.

So here it is: My grandfather (my mom’s father) is in the last days of his life.  He’s dying.

I said it.  There.

We don’t know what’s going to happen any given day.  He’s been up and down, active at times, and at other moments curled up like he could pass at any moment.

It’s been happening for months.  Hospice has been there for a couple weeks.

We’re leaving tomorrow for Michigan to stay with him and my grandma indefinitely.  My mom has been coming and going for weeks.  When he passes, we’ll take my grandma home with us.

I don’t know.  How many details really matter?

He matters.  His life details matter.  But now is not the time.

I can’t say anything well or accurate about it now.  It feels too sensitive and too raw and unsolved.

It’s hard.  I’m afraid of seeing him, but I also want to bring him kindness and peace by being near him.  I want to play him Christmas songs on the piano.

It’s hard.  My dad passed away almost six years ago now.  I’ve been through this.  But it’s different.  My dad passed so quickly from cancer.  He was 53.  It was so different.  My grandpa rises and falls.  He is 86.  Hospice doesn’t really know what to think of it.  He might make it to Christmas or he may not make it through tonight.

Life is blurry.  My mom and I meandered through the mall today, exhausted, picking up last minute gifts and food to bring my grandparents, my mom endlessly rattling off To Dos, her mind scattered and frantic.

I don’t know.  The good moments are precious and sweet when they come, so you try to enjoy them.  South Park and New Girl with my brother.  Buying donut holes at Festival Foods with my mom and eating them in the car.   Beautiful snowy Finn.  Sitting in my family room right now with a fire going and a small Christmas tree glittering.  Going out to celebrate our birthdays tonight as a family of four that used to be five.  Always, those numbers in my head.  Five to four.

Here we go.  This entry was rambling.  It’s what I have.  A blurry mind, searching for joy in the corners.

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Simple Pleasures – Time Away from the Noise

“Dear God, teach me to be careless.”

-Hanif Kureishi, “Intimacy”

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So I just made great, quick decision – I’m traveling without my laptop for the next five days (!!!).  First – let’s acknowledge just how appalling it is that that’s an uncomfortable thing for me to do in our day and age, but it’s where my work gets done.  Where dreaming happens.  Everything.

It just didn’t make sense to bring it.  We’re heading down to Georgia to see Chris’ parents and we’ll be traveling the whole time – up to Knoxville (his original home) for his brother’s graduation, then over to Asheville (ohmygoshican’twait), then down to Georgia again for his mom’s Christmas concert (she’s a church organist).  So why on earth would I need a laptop?  I have work to do – I always do.  But I’ll have no time to do it.

So….that’s some breathing space.  I’m excited.

Clear mind.  Yes.

Granted, I’ll still be instagraming, but a lot of – really most – of the general noise will be cut out.

Which is really how I like it anyway.

Step away.  Smell some (stolen…) evergreen.  Have what my grandma calls a “toad in the hole.”  Ride along in the back seat and look out the window.

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Goals, Clarity: Here’s to not feeling shitty/Here’s to feeling amazing

[caption id="attachment_966" align="aligncenter" width="461"]Selfie with an angel sprouting from my head. Selfie with an angel sprouting from my head.[/caption]

So I’m thinking about goals for 2015.

First:  my god, can it really be 2015 so soon?  Doesn’t that sound like the future?  Didn’t 1998, like, just happen?  I think I heard something on the radio the other day, maybe a science fiction author, saying, “You notice that no one talks about the 22nd century with excitement about the future.”  We’re already there.

That’s another discussion.  Technology is hard on people.  I have a hard time with it.  It gives me headaches.  But it also gives me access to inspiration.  But sometimes I really wish we just lived in the 50s/60s of Bob Dylan or earlier like Salinger where we really we didn’t consume so much (the consumerism was all just beginning!) and there was only one telephone and people had those solid square classic suitcases and typewriters – you know, the fifties! Except for all that female oppression and racism that we’ve evolved out of.

Oh, wait.

Anyway.  Goals.

So I’ve been in a beautiful Desire Map group now for several weeks now (Desire Map – check it out, it’s wonderful, I’ll write about it sometime) and we’re now at the very end where we talk about our goals.  We’re supposed to narrow them down so we only have several big ones to work with during the year….which, for me, is kind of crazy.

Because I am the person who makes PAGES of goals.  I make goals all the time, every day, every week, after beginning of the month, every middle of the month…

I love planning things out.  Seeing it all inked out on paper, neatly in lists, gives me a buzz.

I wish I was kidding.

And, honestly, I’ve created some of the best things in my life using goals, but I’ve also really really warped myself and my confidence by over-planning, by gripping onto goals, and by feeling like a failure on a regular basis.

And that’s just a horrible way to go about life.

It’s inspiration-mania then panic and then burnout and deep disappointment, over and over again on repeat.

So this year, I’m getting much clearer on what I want.  I’ve narrowed it down and refined the essence of what would make this year fucking amazing.

[caption id="attachment_967" align="aligncenter" width="461"]photo (69) One of the best days of 2014 – shooting the wedding reception scene from June.[/caption]

 

And it’s taken a while.  A couple weeks.  Because I stopped and started a lot.  I have a lot of residue stuck to my brain about what I’m supposed to do and supposed to want.

Especially when it comes to my body.  And books I’ve read.  And plays or pieces I’ve written.

And the failing numbers in those areas have really screwed me up and hurt me for days on end.  But I still automatically want to set up a reading program for myself – classic literature, one book a month, go.  Or exercise rules – 4 workouts a week that make me sweat – but what about this week where I feel really run down and can only do light yoga and walk a little before my head starts to throb?  Or guitar – play every day, one hour.  Well, yeah, if I wasn’t editing a movie/auditioning/writing/trying to read/cook healthy meals/survive on 3 day jobs/work out every day too, then I could make that promise.

No.  There’s so much I want to do.  But I can’t do it all.

So then comes the subject of pain.  As in:

What caused me the most pain in these last several years?  What was I most envious of?  What did I resent?  What did I long for?

And with those thoughts, I got very very clear.

So, here are my Goals for 2015, as I see it now:

1) Self-Support – So that means clarity and organization in two areas – money and home.  Because I have felt like a complete mess in both those areas for…a while now.  And nothing has caused more overall pain (read: constantly broke/terrified/unable to do anything) or more general every day gnawing pain (read: I cannot think straight in this damn apartment).

2) Finish June and send it out into the world – Ha!  It will be just that easy.  No – I know that  this is going to be my passion project of 2015.  We made it in 2014 (hell, I finished writing it, pre-production, and production in 2014) and in this next year I have to edit it, find music, raise more money, get sound and picture post work done, market it (as in, find a better title, make a better poster, fix up the website), and send it out.  It’s gonna be HUGE.

3) Go Pro in Acting and Writing – I mean, just look in my last post for the acting business.  I have so much to learn and do, where I do even begin?  And then writing – I’m actually simplifying.  Write a blog a week and write a solid screenplay to send out to competitions this year.  That’s all that’s required.  If further inspiration occurs (and I know it will), then I’ll follow it.  But I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.

And then I have two I guess what I’d call “intentions”:

Adventure – As in, I need to explore LA.  I need to have fun here, go to new cafes, live music, more theatre and film events, galleries.  And I also desperately need time away from here – day trips, big hikes, weekends away.  Maybe even finally try rock climbing or surfing.  This past year I spent a hell of a lot of time with my nose to the grindstone and this year I want to have fun.  Granted, this winter and spring will be computer heavy with the movie, but I will be ready to break out come May – and before that in little pockets.  It’s gotta be a priority or I might go insane.

Music and Expression – As in, I gotta play guitar and sing or I’m going to regret it forever.  Every year that goes by that I don’t work on this is increasingly more painful.  I desperately want to make music and understand it and I have an amazing bluegrass/rock musician boyfriend, so get on it already.  That said, I’m not making a schedule, I’m just checking in every week and seeing if I feel good about it or not.

Whew.  Okay there.  Goals, boys and girls.

With that, I’m pretty tired.

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Thanksgiving and Actor Impostor Syndrome

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Happy Thanksgiving!  Yesterday!  We celebrated quietly at home in South Pasadena with baking and chopping and cooking and eating starchy foods with excessive butter.  It was heavenly, in other words.  And I’m happy not to cook like that again until next year.

Here’s one thing I know for sure: I am never going to get used to the lack of seasons out here.  Every September/October I hit a depression as I slowly realize (again) that fall really is not going to come.  At all.  There will be no need to wear black tights and boots and wear a scarf.  No brisk air and cozy cafe mornings, curling your fingers around a coffee mug.  Nope.  It will be 80-90 degrees and it’ll be all Pumpkin Spice all the time and it will sound completely disgusting because it’s so hot.  Lemonade, please.  I mean, come on, it was in the 80s yesterday on Thanksgiving.

So the trick is – during the day it’s California, fine, and at night when it gets colder, you pretend it’s “really” fall and you make meals with thyme and root vegetables and drink red wine and burn candles.  That’s how I make this work.

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So we went out for dinner on Wednesday night with my aunt and uncle and cousins.  It was wonderful to see family, and they’re really just such great people.  I traveled with Sally about (wow) 5 and a half years ago in England for a week on my way to BADA (Oxford acting summer program, Shakespeare, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy), and I appreciate having her and Graham in my life, even we don’t see each other all that much. They’re very cultured, very supportive of the arts, well traveled.  And she’s my dad’s sister (my dad passed away almost 6 years ago now), so having Sally in my life is really a special thing.  It’s just genuinely a good, relaxed time hanging out with her and Graham.  And they’re always up for wine and cheese or a good beer, so that helps.

Anyway, Sally asked me at one point the other night if I was now more interested in working behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera (which makes sense as I just finished writing/directing a film – but also playing the lead role).  And I said, no, I want to pursue acting as well as writing and directing.  And she meant it as a completely innocent question (and in truth, I have much more creative control over my career as a writer/director – which I love).  But in the moment and later on, I got the old creeping impostor feeling in my stomach.  Ugh.  No.

I mean, I’m very, very glad that I said I want to be an actress rather than lying and saying I prefer being behind the scenes, but “who knows, maybe I’ll do a little acting” (because that not true – I want to do it so badly – and I want to write so badly).  But it makes me incredibly self conscious.   Just speaking this desire out loud seems to take me outside of my body and makes me harshly critical.  I imagine judgments from other people like, “she must think she’s really beautiful, little does she know she’s not that great” or “this shy, awkward girl thinks she can be an actress?” or “she’s a little old to start out now” – all of which is bullshit.  Yes, I’m imperfect physically, yes, I’m an introverted person, yes, I’m about to turn 28 in less than a month (only someone going into acting would think that’s old).

Fine.  Do it anyway.

I have been out of college for four years now this coming month.  And I have felt deeply uncomfortable all this time with saying I want to be an actress. Writer is safe, even director has been okay (although I feel like a complete impostor when around real directors who have directed real crews and real films, but that’s for another post).  But for some reason, it really feels like now or never with the Actress thing.

I’m in a transition.  I just wrapped my “directorial debut” (oh god I hope I’m not cursing myself by saying that – it’s what it is) – and now I’m ready to pursue acting head on.  Which means calling myself an actress.  Without apology.  And it means behaving like a professional actress.

It’s tricky.  Because I genuinely don’t know how to go about this.  I’m learning constantly.  Googling.  Reading blogs.  I’m pulling myself together into a presentable actress online.  I’m aiming to have my new reel done by next week sometime (editing it myself).  I’ve got a new headshot.  I’m joining more breakdown sites.  I’m getting my ass on IMDB.  And I’m ready to audition.

Ready.  Scared.  Ready.  Scared.

Ready.

Here’s my headshot.  (!!!!!!!)  Imperfect, but me.

RebeccaWeaver

 

Holy hell.  There it is.  Not fancy, but presentable I hope.  Natural, not too glammy.

[It’s so so weird, figuring out your image, how to present yourself publicly.  Honestly, I’m so glad to be getting (just a little) older.  Because I frankly have seen enough actress breakdowns where the girl is supposed to be “stunningly beautiful,” “breathtaking,” “perfect 10,” or even just “super hot.”

Actress breakdowns are horrible anyway and they’re a whole feminist discussion I won’t go into now (but I will at some point, I will discuss women in Hollywood until I die).  But, if you haven’t seen the Lady Parts Tumblr, check that out and feel just a little better that even though casting is full of misogyny, at least there are women out there who call bullshit when they see it.

I mean, I got into this to be like Joan Allen, not Megan Fox.  Fuckers.]

Anyway.  Despite these awkward feelings, despite not feeling good enough or pretty enough – I know I can act.  I’ve done more writing and it’s easier for me to sit behind a laptop than it is for me to get onstage or in front of a camera – but I know I can do it.  I’m not a great auditioner – but I’m ready to work on it.

I’m all in. And that means telling other people that I’m all in too.  Terrifying.  But I’d rather feel awkward or insecure going after what I really want than having than hiding what I want and feeling like I’m not showing up all the way as myself.

So, here we go!  I wanna be…an actress.

What is this thing anyway?

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Well, hello.  I haven’t written here since this summer.  But I’ve been thinking about this…place, this blog.  I’ve been dreaming up posts and essays to share.  But I haven’t done it.  Haven’t taken the time, haven’t wanted to be “public” after directing a film (which felt so, so public – read about it at my filmmaking blog over here).

But I think I’m really ready now.  I mean, goodness, it doesn’t make sense to have a blog and only write once every three to four months.  That’s just silly.  And, oddly, a light form of taxing.  Because it’s there on your mind as a thing to do – that you’re failing at, every day, for months on end.

So, the question is now: am I in or out?

Well, I’m deciding right now – for as long as I want to – I’m in.  I’m going to aim to get a blog up once a week.  Every Thursday.  I’m going to just let it evolve as it wants to, but – yeah.  Stay tuned.

Why?

I’m asking myself another question.  Welllllll, because I personally would want to read the blog of someone trying to do what I’m trying to do.  I’m hoping it will be entertaining/informative to share what it’s really like trying to become a filmmaker/creative person/sane young woman these days.  I mean, good Lord, I’m personally desperate to find a decent blog by a decent young (especially female) writer/director/actor.  (Actually – do you know any?  Please pass them along if you do.  I’ve never really been able to find one that I admire.)

And also, just generally, because I want to be writing and sharing.  I want to be active in the film/art community.   I read blogs daily.  For encouragement and inspiration and advice.   Can I be part of that?? (she asks meekly, sheepishly)

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So here’s what I want out of this thing:

– First, I know I do not want a boring blog.  Right now it looks boring.  Sorry.  It will improve.  But I don’t want one of those dull writer blogs with, like, a typewriter image at the top and no beauty.  Or like a slate and stars and the Hollywood sign.  I don’t feel like that.  I don’t feel like fucking Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive.  I’m from Wisconsin and I listen to classic rock and bluegrass and I want to bake my own bread.  I know that will seep in.  I want to learn how to make a blog that feels, even a little like my Tumblr.  I want a little bit of elegance.  (just a little, please)

– That said, I don’t want to create a blog that’s all about creating a sense of wonder around beautiful, stylish, magical me.  I’ve seen a lot of blogs that only showcase a gorgeous, curated lifestyle.  I admire the beauty of those sites, but I don’t relate to them.  And I can’t live with being unrelatable and lofty.  I also can’t live up to it.  I’m too goofy and I have a lot of disdain for people who don’t have a sense of humor about themselves.

– I want to share the details of what this pursuit is really like, in real time.  Because that’s what I want to learn about other people (and in sharing, mayyyyyybe I’ll meet others?  but really I just want to express this for myself).  So that means writing about…what’s it like making an acting reel (which I’m working on presently), editing a feature film, balancing paid day job work and the real creative work that actually matters, learning to care for my looks/body like a real movie star actress (because if you wanna be one, you gotta convince ’em you are one first), what auditions are actually like,  what I’m reading and watching and admiring and how that’s affecting the creative process of writing and directing, etc, etc, etc.

So here we go.  I’ll have more to say soon.  I’m giving this thing a shot.

Work Weekend

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Sometimes you work against the world’s flow.  Example – this weekend, big holiday weekend, cookouts and beer.  The last hurrah of summer.  Not for me.

Well, for one thing, it’s nowhere near the end of summer here.  It was 90s all weekend and it will continue to be hot in Pasadena for most of September.  And I absolutely despise the heat.  Almost always, from about 3-6pm, when the heat is worst (it lingers in the apartment), I sink into the worst kind of depression – headache, stomach ache, complete purposeless.  I honestly have moments of longing for death or some kind of unconsciousness during this time of day.  I lose track of myself, I lose the ability to appreciate beauty or food or art.  In other words – there is no reason to live.

Yes, I’m dramatic about my moods.   And I’m beginning to realize that the moods are here to stay.  I don’t want to play the artist card, but dammit, I will.  Because this is how I work.  Morning: Eyes open.  Immediate depression in thinking about everything I have to do.  Followed by guilt that I should wake up grateful to be alive.  Forced positive thoughts while making coffee.  Coffee kicks in.  Suddenly everything is beautiful, sunshine, god I love sunshine, the light falling just so, everything I read in my books and see on the internet is an inspiration.  There’s somuchtodo!!!  Later, coffee wears off.  I have to work.  Whatever I have to do, I have to do it and I can hardly bear to look at it.  Drudgery.  Then lunch – a break, a little light in the middle of the day.  Chocolate always to finish it off.  Little buzz.  I can do this.  Then sleepy time after lunch.  God, I hate my life.  3pm hits and the sun is at its hottest.  What is there to live for?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Art is nothing.  There is no purpose.  We work for food and shelter and then we die.  Art is no comfort.

Jesus.  Definitely didn’t need to spell all that out.

[caption id="attachment_920" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Josephine.  Chris asked me to water her while he's away.  Oops.  I'll do it later. Josephine. Chris asked me to water her while he’s away. Oops. I’ll do it later.[/caption]

So you can see why mood management is so necessary.  Especially for a holiday weekend where everyone else is out having a jolly time with family and friends and I’m staring at a laptop for hours in a very dark apartment, organizing film clips, converting them, loading them into Final Cut, cringing, trying to cut scenes together and figure out what we’re missing (answer is: a lot) and looking at all the idiots on Facebook for distraction.

From what I can tell, an awful lot of creativity is mood management.  Catching the positive wave and doing as much as you can while you’re on it.  And then gently turning the daily resistance into a better, more inspired mood.  And taking the really really depressed moments with a grain of salt and getting out and going to the movies or reading a book at a cafe.  You can’t get any work done when you’re distracted and headache-y and hopeless.  You have to refill somehow.

Anyway, one thing I’ve been finding helpful lately is reading a little Anais Nin from time to time.  And, first, I’ll confess, I haven’t read much of her stuff.  Just one of her diary compilations, Fire.    I’ve honestly been reading this book for probably something like ten years on and off.  Just a couple pages at a time, really.  But it helps with the artist temperament, it really does, to read the point of view of someone who is so unapologetic about her passions and her frustrations.  I love her freedom, her frivolity, and how she seems always primarily concerned with the work and how she feels.

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I’ll leave you with a few underlined bits from my book:

“Today I have seriously considered becoming a high-class cocotte.  I want money, perfume, luxury, traveling, liberty.   I don’t want to be a shut in at the Villa Seurat cooking for imbeciles like Fred, and Henry’s timorous and bourgeois, weak, whiny friends.  And the waste.  I can’t lead such a wasted life.  I need to create constantly or enjoy myself intensely.”

“Then it seems as if we are making dinner again, and I am slicing eggplant and striving, thoughtfully, for succulence.  And we fall into a deep peace, lying on the couch, talking about opium – the opium of sleep and the opium of action.  Henry had said, “When I am sad I go to sleep.”  And suddenly I understood that when I was sad I had to act.”

“I know that I go through life like a drunkard.  I’m drunk on illusion.  But no matter how drunk I am, there are things I can’t help seeing, ferociously real things.  I close my eyes, and I reel, I reel, I reel.  I believe, I live in a fever and turmoil, I rise into ecstasy, but all the time there is the face of reality staring at me with ugly eyes.  I know that if I open my eyes I will be intolerably hurt by the ugliness.”

“Importance in modern books of moments de bonheur simple.  Glorified because as rare to us, the neurotics, as ecstasy and tragedy are to others.  Harriet Hume eating from a bag of cherries, Colette’s cup of chocolate, my cup of coffee at the Roger Williams’.”

A List of What Works – Beauty and Otherwise

Because far too often I talk about my struggles, what isn’t working.  Here’s a list of what does work, what keeps me keeps me shiny and happy (happier), what keeps me clear of mind.  Made this on the airplane on the way back to Cali two days ago.

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– Honey and lemon masks

– Meditation and sunlight

– Blow drying my hair 50% upside down and letting the rest air dry gives me easy, natural hair but prevents flatness.  Also a little teasing helps.  Who knew?

– Shoes matter – lazy early 20s me was much sloppier.  I’m moving out of that.  Also cuffs of pants matter.

– A clean bedside table helps me sleep better and affects the whole morning as well.  Something about setting my coffee down by my little Ganesha and turquoise stone and favorite stack of books.

–  Take care of your lips – buff with a toothbrush and use lip balm.

– Floss, dammit!

– Facebook and blogs are not real life and do not count as socializing – it’s unhealthy.  Get out, get out!

– Eat along with your coffee – otherwise you’ll cry. True fact.

– Meals are better with conversation or quiet or music, but not TV or email.

– Ads make me deeply unhappy – but I hardly notice it.  It’s a cumulative effect of happy perfect people over and over again.  Avoid TV and women’s magazines for a while and you’ll see the difference.  (Great side benefit of making the movie)

– Checking in with grandparents is good for your health and spirit.

– A strong body makes every outfit look 100x better and feel more fun to wear.

-Moisturize your body and scrub often – I get so lazy about this.

– An organized purse is delicious to deal with.  Disorganization leads to me throwing tampons on library checkout counters.

– Regular art intake is more important than vitamins.

– Fish really does help skin.  So does kale/spinach.

– Keep a hairbrush in the car, also nuts and a lot of change and a stain stick.

– Put clean laundry away immediately (why is this impossible for me??).

– Touch/press your heart or whatever part of your body is holding the stress or pain or tears and breathe and feel whatever it is.  Go there for a couple minutes.  Everything can only get better after that.

– Singing feels better almost always

– Less makeup/the look of ease is better than perfection.

– New music (and old) roots you into life – exploring opens your heart up.