Monday, August 31, 2009

I See You Have an Oscar Too

I wonder if celebrities, when they go to Starbucks or wherever, when they see other celebrities who they don't know personally, but who they recognize as fellow famous people, will go up and say, "Hey. Looks like we're the only two household names in here." Or whatever.

I think I might just leave quickly. Less awkward.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


" are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change..."- Rainer Maria Rilke

I read "Letters to a Young Poet" the summer after my freshman year at college. I was reeling from my first year living in New York, working with professional actors who had such cynicism and experience backing up their talent, hazy from the tumultuous end of my first serious relationship, and back under my parents' heavy wings. (Heavy from love and decade-old rulebooks, but mostly love.) Truthfully, I'd been assigned the book at the beginning of the year, bought it, and hadn't read it. When I finally did read it nine months later, it was if the world halted and started rotating in a different direction. It had all been written for me, somehow. I read and reread the letters as I sat outside the district library in my neon-pink summer concert series Staff t-shirt where I worked for minimum wage. I copied whole paragraphs down in my journal in flowing lettering and doodles of stars. I felt really connected to that dead German guy, and very included in the adult world.

The second time "Letters to a Young Poet" crossed my path was two years later. I was in the early days of my second very serious relationship, and living the half-crazed life of the actor-in-training. Everything in my life was about art, except the part about living, which was about stress and panic. Perhaps feeling that same angsty pull all twenty-year olds feel, a dear friend of mine became very, very sick, and couldn't see the next steps in her path. I packed her off one weekend to see her grandmother, and slipped her one of my most cherished snippets from Rainer Maria.

"So you mustn't be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall."

She said it saved her. I don't know if the written word can save anyone, but I suppose it must have for someone at some point, so it very well have done the same for her.

Over the years, I've trucked my copy of "Letters to a Young Poet" all over the country. I don't always open it, but it's a comfort knowing it's there, with my underlinings and highlights in my 18-year old handwriting, stained and bent from years of prayerful readings. I don't particularly love Rilke's poetry, it's a little too pious and rambling for me, but so are his letters. Maybe what touches me is that these are letters to a young person, so familiarly lost and hopeful to please and confused, and it came two hundred years before my own bumblings through my artistic life. Rilke's advice applies to my own plight just as much as it does to Mr. Kappus'. And beyond the similarities of our paths, there is also the extraordinary honor of a correspondence between an amateur and his hero; furthermore, the wholly special joy it must have been to receive life lessons and advice from Rilke, and not just critiques to his work. I would've killed to have had a mentor. I still would. A good one, I mean. No use committing murder for a crappy mentor.

I didn't mean to write a post about a book we've all been assigned to read at some point. It's just, when I'm worried, or unsure of how I've come to a particular crossroads and even more uncertain of where to go next, years of reading and rereading Rilke has ingrained itself in my brain. His words flash through my brain, and I'm reminded I've felt this all before, and so have long-gone Europeans, and words and letters probably can save you.

I could go on, and delve into my cheesier feelings towards Mr. Rilke, but I won't, because he always ended his letters rather abruptly after a long and winding shpeil about life and art and bla bla bla and sometimes it's better just to leave it at that.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Caffeine is the Devil

I really hate the idea of being dependent on anything on a daily basis, but it seems to be a losing battle with caffeine. I've had a true love-hate relationship with diet coke the past few years, especially when it comes down to the fact I just feel better off it. And now I'm leaning towards becoming a coffee drinker, strangely enough. I like the idea of it, just like some people like the idea of living in a dingy Paris apartment overlooking the Seine and smoking for breakfast and feeling depressed about life. People are weird.

I'm thinking about moving to a one bedroom apartment. I worry that I'm not good living alone, that I wouldn't go out and I'd be a hermit, but that's a bullshit response. It might have been true a year ago, but not now. I worry also that if anything goes wrong the only person who pays is me. I also worry some strange man will follow me home and accost me outside my door. I worry too that if I die in the bathroom no one will find me and I'll rot for weeks until someone downstairs complains about the smell. But really, I mostly worry about the strange man.

I've decided to go get a cup of coffee on my way to work today. I'm really, really looking forward to it. Also, I'm not looking forward to work. Sigh. I have to find another job because this one isn't giving me enough hours. Stupid job.

Things will get better. Coffee will fix it all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I left my apartment about an hour and a half early tonight, because I was abruptly reminded how much I hate the place. The physical space is not bad,'ll have to imagine what it is about the 2 BR+2 B I don't like. I'd like to, but I won't name names. But just now I'm doing it in my head right now. "IT'S BLANK BLANKYBLANK'S FAULT I HATE MY HOME! BLANK BLANKYBLAAAANK!!!"

Moving on...

After ample consideration this past week, here is a rough idea of my ideal home. Sums me up pretty well. As it should.

- Lots of light, lots of windows, lots of windowpanes.
- Older is better, but not so old I fear ghosts after dark.
- Hardwood floors.
- A sunny breakfast nook.
- Built-in shelves.
- A record player next to a comfy rug.
- Basil plants. Heck, a whole damn herb garden. (Rosemary, mint, thyme)
- Plush carpets you can sink your feet into.
- A lemon tree. I'll settle for a lime tree, it's not a deal-breaker.
- A big, private yard with lots of old, big trees. Favorites include weeping willows, ginkgos, dogwoods, cherry trees, elms, oaks.
- Creeping vines that hug the outside of the house. The ideal would be if they were spotted with flowers. But only spotted! I want to SEE the vines.
- Exposed Brick walls. One will do.
- A library! A room full of books! Books, books, books! If I had my way, there'd be two stories, with a rolling ladder and a circular staircase, just like Henry Higgins. (Who also had a record player. Oh, well, a Victrola, if you want to be picky, stickler.)
- Old fixtures a la Anthropologie. But if they were actually old, rather than faux old, that'd be better. No ghosty fixtures though. I don't want any spirits stuck in my doorknobs.
- Good china. Good china I use. Old china. See above.
- Flowers! Magenta flowers!
- Fireplaces. If that can't be arranged, a wood stove will do very nicely. Something to toast the toes that doesn't require batteries or a plug.
- Quilts. Quilts for every room. Handmade and flawed and warm.
- Nooks, nooks, and more nooks. Each painted a different color.
- Big closets. Places for little children to hide and play.
- Walls in every color. Deep burgundies, golds, bright blues, warm greens, happy oranges and reds.

It's amazing, because the things I seem care about in my current apartment search don't even make this list. Who gives a fuck if I have a dishwasher? Or a garbage disposal? I mean, I am actually worrying about ghosts, but that was just the one place, and she'd died, like, yesterday. I don't want to have to call Ghost Hunters. Although, I do want to be on, still don't want to have to call Ghost Hunters. I don't do well with the paranormal.

The important thing here is that my old apartment had none of these things. None. Not one. Except for the quilt I brought with me, and some shit rug. I want so much from the world, I want love and happiness and fulfillment and an agent and national health care, but I want a good home too. If there was ever an American Dream, I think that would be it. A home, a bit of earth, a place to want to be, a place that carries my name. When I get tired of fighting to find a role and/or a film to carry my moniker, I'll remind myself of the home I want just as badly, and maybe that will carry me through, until the day I come home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moving Sucks

Moving sucks, from start to finish.

You pack, you heave, you hem, you haw, you haul, you unpack, you sleep, you live, you despair, you pack, etc.

I'm not particularly happy with where I live now. I wasn't when I moved in. I'm currently in that apartment, in the room I never go, the living room, and find the irony embarrassing at this point. I did a bad job of living here.

My first year in LA could be summed up that way. Not that I haven't seen so much of what this city encompasses. I have a rough idea of how to get around Silverlake and Los Feliz. I have climbed the hills, driven Mulholland at Sunset, cursed the 10 and 101 and the 405, cursed the 5, found some beauty in the Valley. I have California plates and a California driver's license. I've gone to a club. Gone to the beach. Driven the PCH. Corrected foreigners on the correct pronunciation of "Wilshire."

Not home yet.

I don't have high hopes for this next apartment either. After a certain point, they all start looking alike. White walls, whitish carpets, oh look another toilet. Great. I always think I don't need very much, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm as high-mai as any other girl, and I just like to pretend I'm not until I realize I'm miserable.

Moving sucks. The only thing is, I can't stay here. I really, really can't stay here.

Monday, August 24, 2009


By the way, did I mention Joanna Wilson Photography posted my headshot photos on their blog?

Best photographers on two coasts...

Libraries are for Lovers

I rotate between several writing spots in my neighborhood. The community Starbucks, of course, whose many downsides include constant seating limitations and a complicated Wi-Fi process that makes me feel angry. Then there's the hip & funky local coffee shop (owned by the same family who runs the hip & funky local bar next door) which used to have free Wi-Fi until a day ago ($5 minimum now, and of course, the drinks are just sliiiightly underpriced and the food is waaaay overpriced), and often is either too hot or too cold for this fussy chica. And then there's the library. Which is where I am today.

The library is undervalued, I think, except by the blossoming seas of underemployed. I realized the other night, as I lay in bed (because apparently when I lay in bed I think about public book lenders), the problem with the influx of job-seekers is that the library becomes...not a library. The books are forgotten. There aren't even that many of them. There's a good DVD section. Some very useful free computer stations. A printer. Lots of little round tables with midget chairs for children. Three open rooms with once-plush chairs. And an entire center section for all those desperately searching for jobs to spread out their resumes and laptop wiring as they click "Submit," "Submit," "Submit." Don't get me wrong, I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I have spent disgusting amounts of time in these miniature chairs. (NOTE: There is not one child in any of the children chairs today. Eleven adults, though...) But, I love a good library for what it represents: available literature to all who crave words. Ready worlds that don't exist but in your hands and your eyes.

Maybe libraries are on the way out. Who reads books anymore? Who read newspapers? Who needs a building when you can spend a couple hundred on a Kindle and take your library with you? No, I refuse to believe it. Nothing is free in this world. Not even, really, libraries, since they are paid for by taxes and by the town. But this is a safe place, in a world of meanies and jerks. This is a place where you are allowed to escape, and it's meant to be quiet, and cell phones are not allowed. (Can you hear my typing, lady in pink shirt and blue shorts?! CELL PHONES ARE NOT ALLOWED. Gah!) It's a vortex in here, like I don't even really exist. Except for the fact that I am here, typing on my laptop, connected to the internet, still hooked into the beeping, charging world outside. Oh poo.

I go to the library to write because it is free. I don't have to buy a coffee I don't want. The bathrooms are clean. The floor is clean. It is (mostly) quiet. I can pick up a DVD for a couple days while I am here. I am reminded that I am constantly looking for a job, but it's okay, because so is everyone else. I am reminded that I love words. I put them together into strings as I sit here surrounded by the strings of others who did the exact same thing I did with many of the same words and the exact same letters, and one day found themselves employed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gene Kelly was Right All Along

Every once in a while in an actor's life, (say, every 6 months or so) you develop a weird stuffed-up feeling. It's uncomfortable. It sneaks up on you. It makes you want to use a blow-up butt pillow. The problem, my friends, is creative constipation.

Creative Constipation occurs in the animal world because actors are artists, and to be actors we have to do all kinds of crap just to attempt to get work, things that have nothing at all to do with the actual physical experience of acting. Just like the old pros predicted, once you get out of actually don't get to act THAT much. Now, because actors are artists, there rises a level of non-acting bile in the body, creeping up over time as you go through days and weeks and months of juggling rent jobs and paperwork and everyday crap without the balancing effect of a creative outlet. Oh sure, you can exercise all day long, and go see movies, and watch great tv shows on HBO, and say things like, "I just LOVE Dostoeyevsky," but there's nothing quite like that release of built-up real world sludge, like the expenditure of that glorious creative soup welling up behind your eyeballs.

In the winter of 2008, I found myself writhing with creative blockage, so I started blogging. Lo and behold, I was released, more joyful, eager to awake and write in the mornings. Then, I began to blog more. People were reading it! Soon, I began to get actual jobs blogging, ("People want to pay ME to WRITE?! My life is gloooorious!") and then more jobs, and then bad jobs, and then non-paying awful jobs, and then I became bitter and jealous as I started to receive rejections, and then I stopped. I stopped because the writing had become like the acting: bad work to find good work. Unjoyful. Bad. I found myself getting pissed off that everybody had a blog, and they were so prolific, and funny, and orginal, their writing was just as good, if not much, much better than my own. ("Does that mean I'm not...*sniff*...special?") The appropriate response seemed to be: STOP WRITING.

That's never the answer, by the way. Just stopping. It's never right. Unless we're talking about meth, and, after watching an episode of Law & Order: SVU last night, I have to should really stop taking meth if you're on it. That shit is crazy.

But here I am, again, feeling my creative juices have solidified into that nasty form hot fat takes when it cools into jello-lard. I wrote because it made me happy, and I wrote a lot because it worked the same muscles I used on-camera, or onstage. (It's all tied to the same organs, you see?) And I never did it for anyone but me until I started thinking, as I do all day every day, "Maybe I can make money off this skill!"

I'm still not sure what this blog is about. My career? My goals? My wholly original and ceaselessly interesting thoughts on everything me-related in this world? Yeesh. I sort of want to scrap the whole darn thing and start over...but then, it would only be the same as before, and it would only be paving a giant exit-less rotary for myself. And what this little chickie needs more than anything is a release, and not a loop.

In any case, I'll be back tomorrow...