31 August 2005

Some Vacation

So it's been pointed out by a loyal reader (thank you for missing me, Kris!) that I'm obviously on vacation...actually, starting school has bowled me over for a week or so. I must admit that I haven't even read blogs in two days, much less, thought about getting words into the ether. After attending the first class of my advanced poetry class, I had to re-organize my schedule and opt for directed research with a mentor. I won't go into why here...then again, I doubt the dude is ever going to look me up so here goes. First of all, you have to know that this is my second year and indeed, this is my final semester before putting my thesis together which will consist of a full-length poetry book (45-50 poems). The instructor turned out to be a strict formalist who wanted us to write metered verse all semester. Now, if this were my first semester I would be all for playing around with metered verse but to mix metaphors, I'm staring down the barrel of a short leash here. The other problem was that he also seemed to be a fairly bitter poet as well, pronouncing that there have been no major poets since Robert Frost and that all anyone could ever hope to be is a minor poet, especially if all they write is free verse. I guess since he writes metered verse, he's in the running for major poet. That and his incredibly patronizing attitude toward the entire class and his arrogence in assuming none of us had ever even read metered verse was enough for me to say to myself "Self, you are paying way to g#d*&%n much money to be s&*t on for a semester by the likes of a bitter old white man." Patronizing attitudes are a big deal breaker for me and I'm sure many of you can relate.

So, I'm back and I apologize for the break for station identification and I'll try to get Bad Maria to put in her two cents as well. (Although she and I are beginning to sound more and more alike!)

24 August 2005

Combining the Twins

I've been thinking alot about recent posts on both this site and my evil twin and comments that I've made in response to others' queries and ruminations. I find that blogging somehow brings out the worst in me at times. By worst, I mean sometimes I think I say things to be tough or to get a reaction. Case in point, Kris wrote about quirks today and I responded that I love one of my cats more than the other. Not really true. I love them both for their own individual personalities and loving qualities. Ooooh, there's a confession for you. Another case in point, I recently commented on someone's blog that my first husband wasn't really a "partner" - now it was actually wrapped up in another point I was making about the fact that marriage isn't the answer to whether or not you can follow your dreams as a single person economically but the truth is, I wasn't a "partner" in that marriage either. Not that I allowed that to enter the comment, because, hey I was writing "off the cuff" and not going into details....or was I just leaving out details that might make me look bad, probably both. Either way, I think it's okay that he and I failed at our marriage but I don't think it's okay to sum it up as one or the other's fault. We're both pretty cool people, just not together.

You know, on a related note, I like that I have an evil twin blog but I know that it doesn't divorce me from responsiblity for what I say and how I say it. I guess I'm just getting used to throwing my s*&t out there and seeing it actually stick to something. Much different from being a poet and being able to obscure the meaning - not that you really have to obscure anything as a poet, no one reads you anyway.

On a completely separate note, I started school again today and am excited about my screenplay professor. Syd Field. I'm just hoping it doesn't go south. You know how when you were a kid, like say, junior high and the first day of class you said Mr. Wilson is a great guy but Mr. Gunther is a pain in the ass and then by the end of the year, you loved the fact that Mr. Gunther made you think for yourself and started thinking Mr. Wilson was a nimrod for making the same stupid jokes all year. It's the same in Grad school. Kind of scary that you can put your house into hock with a second mortgage and still end up with a junior high experience. In the meantime, I think Mr. Field is cool and I'll keep you updated if he makes the same stupid jokes or if he delivers the way Mr. Gunther did.

I'm waiting for Carl to get home from a meeting on a movie he's prepping. He hates this part, not that he hates prepping a movie but he hates the uncertainty of whether something is actually going to shoot. You'd be surprised at how many movies "prep" without making it onto film. In the meantime, my neighbors are fighting again. I should tell you that my neighbors have knock down, screaming fights with a little physical violence thrown in for good measure about twice a month. I'd be surprised if Jr. doesn't off them when he turns 18. Film at 11:00.

At least it's finally nice enough outside to turn the fans on and pull a little cool air in. Ah, indian summers, gotta love 'em.

Enough random thoughts for you?

21 August 2005

Silver & Gold

I remember when I was a kid, my mom had this book (put out by Reader's Digest I think) of American Best Loved Poems and one of them was about Friendship - called Silver & Gold. It went like this...

Silver and Gold
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test-
Time and change-are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray;
Friendship never knows decay.
For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die;
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast-
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

I have been thinking about it the last few days - partially brought on by Neil's post but also because of events in my own life. The thing about old friendships is that the commonalities they are based on change as we grow and change. The friends that recognize that life isn't static, and that we might not be the exact same people anymore, are the ones that hang in for the long haul. I have a few old friends - I've also lost old friends. The ones I have lost were the ones who continued to relate and respond to who I was in high school. I'm not that person anymore (at least I hope not). I have to say that the old friendships I've managed to keep are with people who not only recognize that I have evolved, but they are aware of their own evolution and are able to renew the connection based on who we are now.

My high school friend, Lori, comes to mind - boy, she and I had so much in common in high school, then in college not so much and then she moved to Chicago and began traveling with theatre gigs and as a single woman, she was away more than she was home. In the meantime, I got married, buckled down economically and turned the gas down low on most creative dreams. Not a lot in common. In 1994, I had just begun getting back into acting and writing and, lo and behold, Lori came to L.A. with the cast of
Forbidden Hollywood. She was here for 4 months and we renewed a friendship based on our creative selves and our mutual interest in all kinds of spiritual prompts. We were evolving as women and we could feel the movement inside. After that, she went back to Chicago to move to NYC. My marriage ended and I became a law office manager, continued with my writing and we tried to keep in touch more often. Now, 11 years later, she lives here and she'd like to find Mr. Right, but in the meantime pursues a career in acting. I remarried and now pursue a career in writing.

Not sure where I was going with all of that but I think what I'm trying to say is that "old friends" are great and they are "gold" but the gold has to be dusted off and polished or it loses its shine. In the meantime, I have newer friends I would say have quickly gone from "silver" to "gold" and it is because I know that whether they are a permanent part of my life, they have touched me at a deeper level more quickly. Maybe I'm just more open now, less afraid of being misunderstood because I know who I am and am okay with my flawed self, especially since I feel like I'm always trying to be a better person. I'm also okay with my past mistakes and for the most part can laugh at them. (Those that I can't laugh at, I at least can work up a wry smile.)

I'm going to Lori's tomorrow for lunch..she's loving having an actual kitchen now that she has moved to L.A. (don't even ask about the size of her NY apt.) and just can't stop using me as a guinea pig. I don't mind because I don't like to cook - that's the other thing about friends, their strengths sometimes compensate for your weaknesses....beautiful thing.

17 August 2005

It's nearly 11 p.m.

Okay, he's not of my flesh. He's not even of my species, but damn when that f*&#in' cat decides to have a night on the town, I worry. This is why I never had kids...I had enough babysitting/caretaking my younger siblings...and I was pissed at them when they decided to act up...breaks my ever-lovin' heart .... now you know why I have an evil twin...she can be cynical, I'll lay awake at night. I don't even care that he actually has a more active and exciting social life than I do, I just want him to call, say he's going to be out late, or at least text message me...damn, what does a cat-mom have to do? The frightening thing is that I'm married, this little s*&t is not my only concern. Pathetic really. Henley, where the heck are you? Listen Desperado, I'm not leavin' the light on for you...of course, you're able to see in the dark so that's not a big threat. HENLEY? Here, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty.......

15 August 2005

The Whole Truth

At the risk of posting this prematurely (because of course, Mercury doesn't go direct until 8:15 p.m. PST) I have to address "truth". Someone once said I am a slave to the truth. I suppose that's true at times. Someone else implied recently that I only see my own truth. Also true at times. I have also been accused by more than one person that my vision is a little too sharp and that there are no soft edges to my descriptions of same. Also true - most of the time.

All that said (in the vaguest, Mercury retrograde, terms possible) I believe that the written word (read blog if you wish) is somewhat to blame for the perception of hard v. soft, subjective v. objective. After all, when we write, even if it's fiction, our opinions about, and perceptions of, life and love cannot help but sneak their way into the text. Sometimes the opinion or perception is hard for our loved ones to read, especially if it paints an unflattering or incomplete picture, because they don't want the rest of the world feeling the way we do or even thinking that we feel that way.

Now, you can read into this post all you want but the truth is I'm not talking about you or my relationship with you. Maybe I'm just talking about responsibility and honesty and wondering if I should learn more kindness. Is it censoring when you self-censor?

12 August 2005

Another Progress Report

So I am now on page 29 and have completed the set up for the screenplay and am now continuing work on outlining Act II.

I want to thank everyone for letting me update you on my progress on what, for me, is a new endeavor. It keeps me honest, I think. Which brings me to another point. It's hard to write in a vacuum. A community of writers, for me, has been so inspiring (and at times humbling - since the community is amazingly talented). So today, I just wanted to acknowledge some of my favorite blogs and their incredibly witty and insightful authors and to say, you guys and gals rock!


08 August 2005

Getting what she deserves....

I've been thinking a lot about my screenplay and fully realized female characters in both literature and movies. Has anyone else noticed that women characters, once they reach a certain self-realization, have to be punished? Thelma & Louise springs to mind (although I have spoken with Callie Khouri and it wasn't her intention to make a statement, she was just trying to make a Butch & Sundance for women) - intended or not, the ending goes right along with Anna Karenina throwing herself under a train, Holly Hunter's character in The Piano losing a finger, Million Dollar Baby losing her ability to fight and then her life (sorry if you haven't seen it and I just spoiled it for you). The thing is, often in literature and certainly in the movies, once a woman becomes mentally, emotionally, physically (sexually) realized, they off her or punish her in some way. An exception to this and one of my favorite plays in college, although at the time, I didn't know why, was A Doll's House because Nora finally sees her way clear and decides to stand on her own. Of course, she has to give up her children to do it so perhaps there is punishment there as well.

Anyway, I am struggling with female characters and against the conditioning that there are consequences to being a strong female. Does anyone else have thoughts on this? Understand that I grew up before and after the women's movement (ah, yes, another hint at my age) and struggle with whether or not I am too reactive to certain stimuli. Would love to hear your comments.

05 August 2005

Back to School - Test

Okay, so it's not really a back to school test but it is a "sense of humor" test and I was laughing so hard by the end of it that I had tears in my eyes so I'm passing it on to you good people. (Note, there is a "nazi" test by the same author but that's not the test, you have to go to the bottom and push "Next"). By the way, last night before I went to bed, I was flipping through channels and I skimmed by BET and then went back to it. A T.I. video that Carl (the husband) shot last April was on. It's kind of cool to see stuff on t.v. and know the person you're sleeping with helped make it.

Oh, the results for me on the test were:


(65% dark, 22% spontaneous, 13% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

04 August 2005

Truth v. Honesty

So I'm happily, busily working on my screenplay which has its basic theme of truth invading a community and a friend of mine recently surfaced by email and asked what I was up to and I told him I was working on my screenplay. He responded "about truth?" and I replied yes, and he responded "but not honesty" with a winky face. He and I have gotten into a discussion about the difference between honesty and truth and my feeling is that there are certain undeniable truths for all of us - in other words, truth is not relative. He feels like truth is relative to your reality or some such thing and as much as I understand that he's driving at "beliefs" and a "belief system" I still contend that truth is truth. Maybe I'm missing something. Anyway, no matter how you slice it, you can't have honesty without truth but truth can lie fallow without anyone being honest with one another. Does anyone get the logic of that? Am I out of my ever lovin' mind? Come on, you can be honest with me....

03 August 2005

Happy Birthday Mark!

Today is my ex-husband's birthday. I will not tell you how old he is because it will put you in the ballpark for guessing mine. My ex is one of my best friends. I say one of them because I have several best friends. Mark hasn't known me longer than all of my best friends. (That honor goes to Lori, who I have been friends with since high school in North Dakota and who now lives a half hour away from me and now I have my own car so I can visit with her whenever I want and if I have lunch with her I don't have to "save room for dinner".)

Mark probably knows me better than all of my best friends do. He also knows the dark side better than all of my other friends do. You can't live day-to-day for 13 years without glimpsing the demons in one another. Mark's dark side is actually very Gary Larsonesque (whose birthday is August 14). It's dark but you can't help but smile at its irreverence. Mark is a graphic designer and when I came out with my poetry chapbook earlier this year, Mark designed the book and painted the picture for the cover - he based it on one of my poems and true to his emotional intellect, nailed the interpretation.

Mark is a 6'3", handsome guy with salt and pepper mostly black hair with huge (think e.t.) blue eyes. He's a talented artist, smart man and basically all around true-blue Joe and why the chicks in Minneapolis haven't nabbed him yet is beyond me.

Whoa, I'm starting to sound like a yenta here. I guess I just wanted to say to Mark on his birthday, hey, dude, I feel incredibly lucky that we were once married and I feel even more grateful that we have become good friends who honor that connection with love.

Happy Birthday, Ex-Husband Mark - party like it's 1999!

02 August 2005

Flight Delays and Weight Restrictions

A friend of mine is coming back from North Dakota where she attended her grandfather's funeral. I've been taking care of her plants and collecting her mail while she has been away. She wasn't sure when she was getting back in but left me a message last night that I was supposed to pick her up today at 3:50 p.m. but then she called this morning because there was a flight delay until 4:37 p.m. She called to see if that was alright and, of course, it is although I have dinner plans tonight and that puts me in 5 o'clock traffic but, hey, it's the Burbank airport and she lives in Hollywood so no sweat and I can still make it back in time. Just got another call and they gave away free tickets to anyone who would take a later flight and she took them up on it so she's getting in at 7:30. A bit tricky for me now. But this post isn't about my schedule.

The reason the flight was delayed and the reason they're giving away free tickets is because there is a weight restriction with the flight and they're over the restriction. What? I mean, they have specifications as to how much your luggage can weigh so are they saying "sorry there are just too many tubbos on this flight to allow you to fly even though you have a ticket." If that's the case, then folks, it's time to go on a diet! Time to stop eating the cheetos and start taking walks! Time to read Neil's post Scared Straight.

Maybe when you buy a ticket, they should ask you to fill in your weight so that they know exactly when they've reached the quota. Oh, and how much luggage you intend to carry. And folks, if you're flying to L.A. from ND, you don't need to bring the heavy sweater in August. (Before anyone busts me on the ND comments, know that I went to high school and undergrad there so I feel it gives me a right to give them a little advice.)

01 August 2005

Fashion Statement

A male friend of mine sent me an article in the Washington Post and asked me what I thought about it.

Here's what I replied.

Boy that's a tough one - on the one hand, I applaud her self-confidence and ability to admit she wants to be checked out (don't we all really?) - on the other hand, it seems incredibly naive to dress in what most people assume is hookerish and get upset about catcalls....I mean there are ways of dressing sexy, showing off your body that does not involve spandex....I suppose it's all really a matter of fashion taste, as in do you have any? I do believe that in America, we're a little too quick to judge a woman who flaunts her sexuality, you constantly read about Latin cultures and Italian culture that talks about the fact that women in these countries dress hot because (a) they know that's their power (and unfortunately, their only power) and (b) if a man gets out of line, another man will step up and punch his lights out (because that's who's really in power).

In America (and I think more women than men think this way) women have another kind of power because of their quest for equality so they (women) are pretty judgmental about women who use sex as power because they feel it "sets them back 20 years" and to be fair, it kind of does - I am thinking about the Brittney v. feminists backlash here. The truth is I was glad to get back to America after being in Europe for a month because there is still major chauvinism and inequality there and if you're in a bar alone, you're mistaken for hooker no matter how you're dressed (which I was and I was in blue jeans and a tank top - not a slutty outfit by our standards). So do women who dress in "Ho Gear" set all women back? I'm not sure about that but I do think it sends a message about that woman in particular, I mean, sure she's fun to look at but how many people are going to take her seriously as a mind? And I guess ultimately, does she care?