Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mundane in the Membrane

nothing like indulging in a little housecleaning on a saturday night to remind you that you're young and alive. i'd like to claim that this was all intentional, that i had refused an invitation to have dinner with the queen of england to instead stay in and scrub my tub, but that's not the case. nothing was happening for me tonight. i guess i could have found something if i really wanted to but my tub needed the scrub. and i got on my knees, clorox residue across my dark shirt, sweat on my brow, kanye blasting in the background. i got to work. i also took a broom to all the spiderwebs in the corners, of which there were too many. i often wake with new spider bites on my body and even see those damn daddy long-legged bastards cruising the bathroom walls when i'm in the shower, taunting me. then there was the dust, the dog hair, the dishes -- all spict and spanned. i was quite the domestic goddess.

it's been all sorts of mundane lately. still, i'm not as well rested as i'd like to be, as i could be. i've been freelance editing up a storm, which (in my mind) justifies all the superfluous clothes shopping i've been indulging in. there have also been plenty of visits with my trusty old boyfriend gym, which justifies all the superfluous eating i've been indulging in. there have also been social indulgences, including a pretentious publishing party in hollywood, a trip to the greek theatre to see Tori Amos (awesome), and a trip to the egyptian theatre to see Sidestepper (also awesome). plus the season premiere of my favorite show, "america's next top model." for not being a lesbian, i will say that tyra is smokin' hot. she's got a great weave. but the show really becomes its finest after the girls winnow down and become catty bitches to each other. i know, it takes very little to amuse me.

otherwise, work is work. life is life. and i'm not minding the mundane too much. sure, i could use a vacation and i'd like to find that bag of money, but i'll make do with my clean house and lackluster saturday night. the colder weather is nice. LA had its first big rain of the season last week, which meant that my car finally took a bath and i had a nice, clear view from the 49th floor the day after. soup season is finally here -- way better than summer salad season.

i reckon that fall will hold lots more mundanity for me, but that's just fine. all the entropy did not go to waste. it's made me appreciate the calm. my mental/emotional states are just fine as well. i feel so earthbound lately. and as boring as it all may sound, it's ok. (for now.)

Friday, September 16, 2005

To Write

i've been battling a strange case of bloggers block for the past few days. haven't been motivated to post or, rather, haven't been motivated to spend adequate time constructing a post. judging by the end product, it's probably surprising to hear how much time i waste building these damn entries, but it can take hours, sometimes up to day to finish one. i'll write shit, leave it, read it, reread it, rewrite it, give it a rest and then come back to it. and even after all that, i'll still reread old posts and come up with better ways to phrase things. i know, it's such a great greek tragedy -- what a cross us bloggers bear. sometimes i think we write more for ourselves than our audiences, but if that were true then i wouldn't give as much a shit about how this thing read.

when i was in school, my english teachers would always tell me, "milla, you have such a fluid writing style." i couldn't appreciate that then as much as i do now. i think that's because my connotations of "fluid" were dumbly associated with things like bodily fluids, things like piss. that was before i discovered the joys of such fluids as wine, coffee and vodka. in any case, i think my writing style today is still pretty fluid, though (hopefully) less flowery. reading over my oldest ramblings can induce nausea. even reading over my more recent ramblings can do the same: "[the moon rises] big and yellow over the horizon like the eye of g-d." who the hell am i kidding?

i've been dipping into this fabulous new book of poetry i bought recently -- Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry. as you might have guessed, this is a compilation of teenage "poetry." this book has reduced me to tears and nearly a self-wetting, it's made me laugh so hard. inspired, i dug up my old "poetry" and was horrified at the doozies i could have added to this. if there is a volume 2, i am so submitting.

poetry is just mostly bad in general. even old-school poems from the great cannonized masters could be considered bad by today's standards. lots of them seem so treacly to me now. not that i hate poetry by any means. i have my faves, certainly. but it's so subjective and, unlike "good" writing which can appeal to a lowest common denominator, "good" poetry and poets must carve out their own fanbase, similar to musical acts. it's just not that universal unless, of course, we're talking about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or The Hollow Men. ah, t.s. eliot.

but when we're talking about less universal stuff like This is Just to Say, which i love, but i know my fellow blogger and buddy KT doesn't, then no one really wins. it becomes too "arguable." and although any type of art should arguably be one way or another, when we're talking about taste and preference and style, no objective, sound conclusions can be drawn -- or should be drawn. (but when we're talking about country music, we can uniformly conclude that it sucks. no arguments needed. though we can appreciate it for its comedic value.)

so i don't write poetry (anymore) because i don't think i could ever truly gauge my own "poetry's" worth. this probably sounds like a crummy reason, and probably is a crummy reason, but i can't get past it. truthfully, it's probably because writing good poetry is too hard and i'm too lazy to try. i can take a hard look at the prose i've written and see what's worked and what hasn't and reach some conclusions that work for me, but poetry is a wild animal. you can think it's been tamed and trained and you have it all under control, then one day it'll turn on you and drag you offstage by your neck, like it did that guy from the vegas tiger show. and then you're fucked and lying in the hospital almost paralyzed with a doozy to submit to the Teen Angst book.

wait, i'm mixing metaphors. seems i don't have this prose thing tamed and trained either. so let me just fall back on some platitudes: writing is a process, it's a journey, just like life. but that's bullshit, too, because writing is more about an end product, whereas life's end product is death. so nevermind.

where was i going with this again? oh, yeah. poetry is weird. the end.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Summer 2005 Roundup

with the labor day holiday marking the unofficial end of summer, i felt compelled to offer a recap of what's sure to go down as one of the most impactful summers i've ever had. last summer was largely characterized by inactivity; i was quite high after finishing grad school and spent my days in freelancer purgatory. my greatest objective then was to rest, so i rested. and i was very good at it.

in contrast, the summer before that was quite the ass-kicker. i began it with a six-week radio internship in London and then hopped on the eurail for a 15-city european tour that lasted three weeks. quite simply, that was awesome -- i'm sure there's a more creative way to convey that, but "awesome" will have to work. that summer was also meaningful in that it spawned this here bloggy, whose original purpose was to fulfill a class requirement. that summer was time and money well spent and i would repeat it in a heartbeat.

this summer was also full of activity, though i doubt i'd repeat it. first off, i generally hate LA summers because they are way too fucking hot. my pasty genes prefer moonshine to sunbeams, and my wardrobe sense loves to accessorize outfits with hats, scarves and cool jackets. this is why fall is my favorite season. there are only so many ways one can dress up a tank top. i will confess, however, that this summer hasn't been too extreme in terms of heat.

this summer's extremes have been more emotionally based. one could assume that mixing euphoric highs with ungodly lows would have a canceling effect, returning the feeler to a happy baseline. but i don't think i had a single neutral moment. elation has been followed by despondency followed by joy followed by melancholy. clarity and confusion have comingled. it's been downright bipolar.

it started out terrific enough with a trip to new york over memorial day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. it was great to see my east coast peeps, but that trip was hardly a vacation and it also had some tense moments. then came my birthday and subsequent party at the end of june -- probably the summer's apex when i felt most rock star.

then love came to town, causing a head-on collision with my car. a hit and run that left me with whiplash. i'm still quite concussed (and embroiled). death came, too, and left its imprint in a way i had never before known. the sting of angela's suicide still grips me daily. it's made me reexamine old paradigms; i've had to throw out the useless ones. they haven't been replaced, nor shall they be. not everything passes, i've come to realize. i'll stay lost in the nuance for quite some time.

the day of angela's funeral i was on my cell phone with my doctor. between the burial and memorial, i sat on the curb in front of a stranger's house in some neighborhood up in the hills where i was getting faulty reception and no shade. the sun was baking me in my black garb. it had been a week since the biopsy; the results would be in. "doctor, i hope you have good news for me because i've spent my friday at a funeral," i said to her.

"it's not cancer," she said.

oh, those three little words -- far better than "i love you" or "you're a winner" or "you lost weight!" it's. not. cancer. i exhale. i'm trembling. my cervix had been under suspicion after a preliminary test found abnormal cells. but it's not cancer, but it could be eventually. i'll need to monitor it. still, my heart leaps, then descends again as i walk into the memorial to find photographs of my dead friend. these extremes, sometimes within the same hour. moments that make you want to escape your own skin.

that same night, i join my family to celebrate my parents' 36th anniversary with a dinner cruise through marina del rey. i try to enjoy the evening, spending most of it engrossed by my 4-year-old nephew, who brushes my cheek gently when he wants my attention. between courses i head to the ship's deck for a moment to myself. fittingly, a full moon hangs overhead. i feel it mocking me after such a day. it rises big and yellow over the horizon like the eye of g-d. i can't help but stare. i find an empty deck chair and allow the breeze to lap at me as i sit there, like a piece of wood. my nephew appears beside me and climbs into my lap, collapsing his body against my chest. i wrap my arms around him and kiss the top of his head. the ship keeps trudging through the marina as we sit quietly, the gentle waves breaking underneath us. it was the day's perfect moment.


yes, this summer is going down in the record books. love, death, disease, and a sprinkling of tarot and mysticism. my heart softening and hardening. brevity, gravity, entropy. my will strengthening and breaking. it's been too much at times and i don't have the hindsight i need to sum up the lessons i've learned. not yet anyway.

nowadays, however, i'm just peachy. my long labor day weekend was largely spent hibernating. i slept in and managed to catch lunch and a massage with my mom on saturday. i finished up a couple books and became better acquainted with my nifty new computer. i settled on a 14-inch G4 iBook, whose specs were almost identical to that of apple's overpriced Powerbooks. i wish my ivory iBook had the sexy aluminum casing, yes, but it has a gig of ram and it's way fast.

i, however, am going to be way slow. my objective for the remainder of the year is to reduce stress. i've already bought some cute scarves for fall and i have the most terrific mustard jacket i bought while i was in new york. i've been aching to wear it. i've quit smoking and have begun taking a (cancer-fighting) B vitamin complex daily. i have a stack of books i plan to read, CDs i plan to hear and recipes i want to try. i'm going to plan a few trips out of town and hit the gym more. i never thought i'd look so forward to the mundane, but stabilizing will serve me well right now. and serving myself is about all i want to do.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Out With a Whimper

it came in with such a bang. i swear i heard trumpets. the parade was underway, with all its fantasy and wonderment. but then came the stormy weather. nature doesn't relent and history tends to repeat. which is why i found myself in quite the familiar environ the other night, when i sat alone in my living room at 1 a.m. on a monday night. i had a glass of red wine in my hand. the boy i loved had left an hour earlier. we had had chinese food and he told me he couldn't be with me anymore because he could never see himself married to me, so he didn't want to invest time and effort in the relationship.

i'm calm and dry-eyed. hysterics won't do me any good. practice has taught me to make friends with my reality. and if there's one thing i know, it's breakups. i do them more often and better than anyone else. i could teach the class. i know that the quicker they are the better, and i recognize the point where conversation should cease and saying everything on your mind becomes futile, an exercise in vanity. once he closed that door behind him, i locked it from the inside, and then sat for a long time. i was sad, but moreso amused. this is how my life is. this is how things go.

why: same why as every single time before -- just not the right people for each other. there was a good while when that didn't seem to be the case. we had two months of bliss, where i would awaken to love notes on my dry-erase board and he would be greeted with fresh flowers upon my visits. we'd hold hands while we walked and spoon each other through the night. lots of phone calls, long conversations, steamy nights. and then... i don't know. the bubble burst. arguments ensued and escalated. they'd last hours at times. then would come a short reprieve where we would try to clamor our way back into the bliss, but something had died, was amiss. then the clouds returned, another storm. the romance soured, the arguments kept coming. the new love was in ruins. unsalvagable, the only option was to walk away.

so we walked calmly away with promises to continue the friendship, promises we'll likely honor, eventually. no regrets, hard feelings or messiness. two months isn't two years. it's not the end of the world and he's not the last man on earth. i will perservere as always and gain strength. no man will bury me. i know this with great certainty.

but still, the sadness comes to nest. the knowledge that i humiliated myself (again) on this blog, where our relationship originated. the thought that the more he got to know me, the less he liked me. the fear that i'll always be alone and that love for me will be one disappointing relationship after the next -- that i'll always be That Girl, the unlucky-in-love girl who could never get it right because she was too difficult, too opinionated, too much of a "pitbull," as Momo once called me.

this is pathetic. i do realize this. bear with me and mock me later when i can laugh with you. come, perspective -- don't fail me. sleep will help. hermitism. i draw tarot cards and keep drawing the ace of swords again and again -- the card of a new beginning cut from a place of truth. i listen to one of my favorite songs again and again -- "the truth" by handsome boy modeling school. the truth is that he was right that we shouldn't be together. i don't question that. the truth is that i will certainly meet more new people in the course of my life. the truth is that we tried and we failed. these things happen, to me as much as to anyone else.

i'm not big on fairytales of The One. the divorce rate makes that laughable. he might come, but shit, he might not. i can find contentment surrounding myself with dogs and my girlfriends and good food, music and books. if that's my lot in life, alright. it could certainly be worse. but i'm human and i want what we all do -- a love that's real and meaningful, one i can cherish and honor.

what i've learned: that love has to be all or nothing -- Mr. Almost Right will not substitute for Mr. Right. that love has to be unconditional and unqualified. i am not watering it down, nor will i compromise my standards or rewire myself for anyone. i'm too old and smart to waste time stuffing a round peg in a square hole.

i've learned that the best relationships are relatively self-sustaining and don't require constant work. i've learned that the flipside to intensity is drama, that reality corrodes fantasy, that love alone cannot make a relationship functional. i've learned that not all men are simple, that arguments can produce insight and that my love is worthy and my heart still beats.

i want to stay awakened and alive. this relationship flooded me with emotion, and i'm thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with my old self, even the unpleasant parts like the little masochist i thought i put to bed years ago. she's still around, lingering, languishing in the misery, letting it snake around her. i'm not sure how to handle her, but i'll work on it.

what's next: i'm glad to get off this ride, because it's been fucking exhausting. i couldn't sustain it for much longer -- having this student boyfriend with his vampire hours. it felt like college again, sitting on a guy's blue futon until midnight on a thursday, smoking out while bob marley played in the background.

i clock in at 8 am, and i am useless without adequate rest. it's still all very sad, yes, but it's a dull ache that's tempered with relief. it will dissipate with time as it has too many times before. i need to attend to my own life. i should also move to the westside because i have too many exes cluttered in hollywood. momo lives a block away from pablo who lives a mile away from yogaman. i'm sure i'll run into all of them at a starbucks eventually. it'll be neat if it were all at once and they all had new girls on their arms. i'd be wearing sweats and no makeup. that would rock.

on second thought, forget the westside. i could never live there and dating a fratty brentwood yuppie doesn't appeal to me on any level. i like hollywood boys best.

i feel myself hardening. i can't help it. my mushy center has congealed overnight. my mistrust of men deepens and i can add another carry-on to my relationship baggage, which is beginning to occupy the entire cargo area of the plane. expect no new love affairs anytime soon. the detached girl is back. i should take a vow of celibacy, as i've tried to before, but being that i have the libido of a teenage boy and a paralyzing fear of being alone, i'm sure someone will materialize sooner rather than later. and i probably won't give a shit about him. and i'll continue to carry on about it here, because i know it's amusing and i must enjoy making a spectacle of myself. masochistic exhibitionist. that's how my life is. that's how it goes.