Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Lightening Storm and the Hurricane

Lights in the Hollywood Hills

“Live each day like it is your last."

This particular saying both inspires and discourages me. Several months after my best friend, Amanda, died after a long struggle with Diabetes and Addison’s Disease, I can look back on her life and see how different she was from everyone I have ever known. 

I always knew she was unique. Cut from a different cloth. But she differed greatly from the rest of the World. While Amanda sought to fulfill her life’s meaning – to be a writer – most people seem to be directionless, although their careers might be on steady, forward-moving paths. While she calmly sought out life’s beauty through her poetry and photography, most people I know do not truly see the World around them. They walk by, day-by-day, and do not see what surrounds them. They do not see the little things in life that inspired her to start a new poem or to pick up her camera.


My Apartment Building

My friend, Eric and I were talking on the phone and we started discussing the subject of mortality and finding meaning in life. Perhaps the thing that differs greatly between Amanda and the rest of the Human Population is that she had a purpose, no matter how short she knew her time was on this Earth, and she did everything in her power to bring herself closer to her purpose, which was to write books of poetry and short stories, continue with her photography and start a literary journal (with Kristen and me,) as well a myriad of other things she did that enriched that life purpose.

Perhaps most souls do not truly grasp what their meaning on Earth is about. Perhaps they see only their own expiration dates – like Amanda did – but they do not have the strength or ability or power to focus. Instead, there are so many people that are like a hurricanes with no quiet center. No moment of peace.

The Daily Planet

On the positive side, I agree that each day should not be wasted. Each day should hold something unique and powerful in its arms, making it a “worthwhile” day, making it a day to remember; a day that can be looked back on with having a sense of meaning. Each day should be lived to its fullest. Each person should make each second, moment, minute, hour and day a priority.

Our lives are filled with memories. Good and bad ones. However, life is not solely about knowing exactly who we are or what you want when you are ten and then spending our lives trying to accomplish those particular things. How boring would that be? I want to be a writer. So all my life is spent focused solely on that, without any freedom to discover new things that will probably enrich my life and my craft? If I limited myself to being solely a filmmaker, then I would never have enriched my life as an artist or a photographer.

From the moment we take our first breathe and scream at the tops of our tiny infantile lungs, we are learning, changing, growing and developing as human beings. From 8 lbs to 130 lbs, we are constantly evolving. We are also dying. 

However, we constantly discover - on a day to day, minute to minute, basis - what we truly want and need to enrich our lives. From the moment we take our first breathe and our umbilical cord is cut, we are on man’s search for meaning.


My search for meaning has truly evolved over the last twenty-nine years as I learn to try to not to be held down by memories that I don’t think I can top or compete with. My childhood (overseas and in America) was pretty impressively vivid. There was a point in my life (which occasionally rears it’s doubting head) where my memories have made me feel like I will never do anything that would remotely compare to the splendor that was the past; however, I have found in learning from my past that I allow myself to live life to the fullest every day, because I concentrate on the present as I try to do things that enrich my future.


I cannot compare my adult life in Los Angeles to a childhood that sounds more like a novel than reality. If I did, I would be depressed and then I would never look forward into the future with hope and desire. So, I am doing everything in my power to JUST DO IT!

And on Tuesday, I JUST DID IT! I did something for myself that both enriches my life and my work as a filmmaker. I finally got myself the Nikon D300… and so far, I have spent a portion of every day taking photographs, which can now be seen throughout this post.


Our lives feel like Lightening Storms. Especially in Los Angeles. Especially when you are genuinely sick. We have electricity surging down from the sky, cracking through the air and scorching the ground. Like a Hurricane, the winds are taking up our skirts and our hair and making it hard to not only walk, run or move, but makes it nearly impossible to SEE. But even in midst of the Storm, we have to keep our mind on what direction we really want to go.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Intrigued and Illuminated

My friend, Jen, took me to see Liam Finn play at the Largo at the Coronet on La Cienega Blvd in West Hollywood last Wednesday. We laughed a great deal as he played for a large crowd sitting in a beautiful theatre, but when he (and his partner, Eliza Jane) played “Gather to the Chapel” and “Wide Awake On The Voyage Home,” we both began to cry. Great floods of tears. For different reasons, we cried. Even when I met him, I started to cry, because the music was just that moving. And my imagination was running wild. A new story was of course working its way around my brain.

After watching Mr. Finn and Ms. Eliza Jane play on Wednesday night, it is like life started to remind me that surprises will always be found around the corner from where you are. And when you open yourself up to those surprises, life truly comes into sharper focus. And my eyes have been opened in so many different ways since that night. A variety of things have happened to me in the last few months that have truly made me grow as an individual. Some have been harsh, horrible moments, while some have been enlightening, as well as freeing.

Yesterday, someone important in my life – no I am not going to tell you who – told me that I have been going through a “growth spurt.” Pardon? A growth spurt? Like the sort of thing you have when you are a gangly, graceless teenager and you grow an entire foot in the summer? Or you grow into your long legs? Or you grow into your considerably large mouth, filled with what seems to be a million straight perfect teeth, which begins to no longer look awkwardly enormous?

I wondered, to myself, does it have anything to do with… nearing thirty? I don’t think I have the dreaded turning thirty issues (yet,) but I do see that I am doing a lot right now with my life. There have been a lot of changes in the last few months that have moved me forward in my quest to be a filmmaker, a businesswoman, a lover, an environmentalist, a daughter, an individual and a woman. A complete human being.

Which brings to me to a thought that has been running through my mind while I am working on a new film: the ‘traditional’ woman versus the feminist. It is something that has always intrigued me – a place where a woman can have a career, a family, a marriage and her individuality.

A place where a woman can be a creative soul - a filmmaker, an author, an artist - who follows and seeks her own bliss without making apologies, but is also a committed lover to the man (or woman) she has chosen to love and call her own. A place where a woman can be a Co-founder/President of a green (environmentally friendly) Company while raising a child. A place where a devoted daughter can still have a solid relationship with her mother, but also let her own, independent soul speak loudly and clearly for itself.

In the UK Times Online (,) there is an article titled “The good wife is an old fashioned realist,” which states:

How to be a perfect wife is not, you might have thought, a very contemporary question. Decades of feminism have been much more concerned with how to be a perfect career woman, exotic lover, fully fledged fashionista, alpha female and, latterly, yummy mummy; being a wife has been somewhat incidental, even for those who get married or stay married. (

First of all, why would we (women) be thinking that this particular question is… Contemporary!? Why wouldn’t we think that the women who have “Come up the Ranks” before us wouldn’t be troubled with the same questions that we are faced with today? I think of Virginia Woolf and her essay “A Room of One’s Own,” which points out the importance and necessity of women to be financially independent in order to be able to create. I think of Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Ella Fitzgerald, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Mead, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Bourke-White, to name a few fascinating, strong and driven women. And I realize that I will always be an evolving, every changing work-in-progress.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis."

Dear Emerson Alums, Current Students and Other People who did not attend, either because you didn’t think Emerson was GOOD ENOUGH or you were too poor to attend and said you were too good for the likes of Boston’s Little Punk-Ass Film School:

I get a lot of SHIT for not having gone to film school at USC, UCLA, NYU Tisch, AFI, Columbia University, the University of Texas in Austin or some other prestigious film school... (And I know those of you that either went to Community College or some small Liberal Arts College in Michigan or didn’t wind up attending Undergrad, get it worse...) Everyone has heard of Emerson College in Boston, but it doesn't ever feel like the person you are talking to actually respects you once they hear that you went to THAT film school.

This is a conversation that I have actually had with some wannabe directors (I can say that) while sitting outside my local coffee shop with one of my friends. This time it was my Best Friend, a PhD Academic:


With his new Cubs hat on his greasy unwashed head, SNOTTY LITTLE B-MOVIE SET P.A./PRESTIGIOUS FILM SCHOOL GRADUATE, 25, sits reading “Directing Actors” by SOMEBODY IMPORTANT and underlining EVERY sentence in the book, which looks like a child drew all over it with a dull pencil.

SNOT occasionally throws out nonsense to his friend, a GEEKY ASSISTANT TO A B-MOVIE PRODUCER/PRESTIGIOUS FILM SCHOOL GRADUATE, 25 and who has a very “naturally whimsical” haircut that probably cost him $200 and thick black glasses that he doesn’t actually have prescriptions for, about being on Anna Nicole's last movie as an Additional Set Production Assistant. He got 4 days towards his book.

Snot: “Yeah, Anna and I got really close. I used to personally make her her favorite drink, a BLAH-BLAH- BLAH (Insert Bullshit Annoying Coffee Blended Drink that takes way to much of anyone’s time making and, in turn, makes your ADs pissed off that your time is being wasted making talent a frothy drink that her assistant should be making just bloody right). We were getting really tight and then….” Fake Sniff and Long Exhale of Pain and Mourning.

Geek: “Man. When did you work with your AD last?”

Snot: “Oh, I haven’t heard from my B-Movie 2nd 2nd AD since we wrapped 2 months ago. I mean, we’re really close. (Knots fingers.) I think he’s just taking some time off. He’s been working so hard and, y’know, there are sometimes so many breaks between movies… Thank goodness.”

I cast my half-closed eyes over to Snot and Geek when I hear the words “Breaks between Movies.” (Really? There are breaks? Not a good sign for Snot and Geek.) I sit sipping my 5th Iced Tea and try to get myself positioned perfectly in the way of the Hollywood sunbeams. (And I mean, actual beams from the SUN.)

Snot (looking at me): “What do you do?”

I look at him. Great. No, What’s your name? Do you live in the neighborhood? Do you have a boyfriend? Do you like the Iced Tea here? I see you’ve had several. Do you smoke? Do you have a lighter? Do you know if Le Brea is West or East? Do you like the food next door? What’s your sign? Do you eat Wheat?

Me (with trepidation): “I’m… in the Industry.”

Snot (Feigns Boredom): “What do you DO in the Industry?”

Me: “Eat Crafty a lot. Walk around set trying not to get hit by a grip, who always screams “HOT POINTS” just in the nick of time. I sit sometimes. Or stand. Or like to wear hats with the Boston Red Sox Logo On it.”

My Best Friend, “Academic PhD Extraordinarie,” chimes in: “She’s a filmmaker.”

Geek: “Reeeeallllllyyy?”

I look at her and smile “Thanks.”

Academic Extraordinaire: “You are what you do.”


I look at Snot and Geek: “I’m a writer/director.”

Snot: “What have you DONE?”

Wow, please we haven’t even told each other our names yet and Snot’s trying to “Industry Screw” me. Right here on the sidewalk. In this uncomfortable, broken metal chair that the Manager of the Coffee Shop SHOULD replace…

Me: “I just finished shooting a short film.”

Academic Extraordinaire: “And she’s submitting it to all the big festivals.”

Academic Extraordinaire smiles at me. Ah, thank goodness I have solid, supportive friends… who like to talk. Especially when they see I am thinking about how to not answer the question with a bit of flare and jest.

Geek: “Wow,” which causes Snot to give Geek a “Don’t-Look-Too-Intrigued-or-Impressed-Just-Yet-Look.”

Snot: “We did SEVERAL short films when we went to USC, didn’t we Geek? Where did YOU go to school?”

Me: “Emerson in Boston.” I point to Boston Red Sox Hat.

Snot: "Oh, why didn't you go to USC? Or UCLA?"

Me: "I didn't apply."

Snot (feigned shock, with the look like he’s about to cough violently): "You didn't... APPLY? Didn't you want the best education you could... get?"

Me: "Yes. And I did get a great education… I just didn't want to live in CALIFORNIA at the time..."

Geek: "Then why not NYU?"

Me: "Wasn’t too interested. Only applied to Emerson.”

Geek; “You applied to ONE school?”

Me: “Well, I went to Denison University for 2 years and then transferred out.”

Blank Stare.

Then comes (what they imagine is…) the ultimate insult, which men always have to bring up – either as a way to flirt OR regain a feeling of superiority – because they expect me to answer their question with a simple blank stare back at them.

Snot: “Are you are REAL Boston fan?”

Me: “What would make someone a “REAL” fan?”

Snot: “Where are you from?”

Me: “Newport, Rhode Island. Spent 3 years in Beacon Hill, Boston.”

Geek: “She’s definitely a Native.”

Snot: “A Native does not necessarily mean… a True Blue BOSTON Fan.”

Geek: “Do you like ALL the teams?”

Me: “Yes. I like ALL of them.”

And then Snot asks the question that I have heard many, many times…

Snot: “Name three players.”

Me: “Do you want the batting line-up or their Field Positions?”

Blank Stares.

And then I tell them who is where on the field: Varitek is Catcher, Youkilis at 1st, Pedroia at 2nd, Lowell at 3rd (and how Casey fills in for Youkilis when he is out or when he replaces Lowell) and then Lugo is at Short Stop, Manny Left Field, Ellsbury (or Crisp) Center Field and Drew (or Ellsbury, depending) at Right Field…

Blank Stares.

I top the story off by telling them about sitting at Dodgers Stadium with my friend, Crotty, close enough – I timed in my head – to sprint to the field and tackle Ellsbury (who was in for Drew) before anyone could catch me and drag me away.

For a really, really LONG time, they blankly stare at me...

Me (I get up, smile at Geek and Snot and then say quietly): “Nice Cubs hat” and then walk away.

People (like Snot and Geek) always cock their head to the side when I say Emerson. I sometimes wonder if they are silently asking me (and themselves) if I take my life, my craft, my "talent," my education SERIOUSLY. How could I go to a FILM SCHOOL that wasn't lauded as the ONLY place (amongst 10 other reputable Giants) to learn what 3-point lighting is; how to tell the F-Stop by eye; how to load a mag; to play with a 16mm Bolex; to act in some other poor fools shitty black-and-white silent 4-minute short about cyborgs; or learn everything thing there is to know about the supreme brilliance behind Pulp Fiction, Terminator and Fight Club?

I must have been turned away by the great MALE Academic Owls that guarded the doors at USC, NYU, Yale…

No, I didn't apply. I just decided to apply to ONE school in the whole of the United States of America after I took a hiatus off from my two years at Denison University. (Which is NOT a bad school either!) And I have always found it amazing that you can google "Top Film Schools" and Emerson NEVER shows up... until I read 2008 The Princeton Review.

Not only did WE ALL make the list of schools with the "Top Film & Media Programs," but I am also proud to say that The Princeton Review has listed the "2008 Best 366 Colleges Rankings" and some of those schools that people always say "Why did you go to so-and-so University" didn't even make the list! Ah ha! But Emerson College did, you freaking film school Elitists! In regards to SCHOOLS as INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING, we made the grade!

So to all those people that say, "Oh, Emerson. Pfft. Really?"

SUCK IT! The Little Guy just got the chance to take all his and her clothing off and streak in JUNE around The Commons and up and down Boylston and cry out "EMERSON ROCKS!"

And for some fun insight into my little alma mater, here is some of what The
Princeton Review wrote in the Rankings & Lists portion about "Emerson College":

* Gay Community Accepted
* Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis
* Best in the Northeast

And, The Princetone Review, also wrote:

"Founded in 1880, Emerson is one of the premier colleges
in the United States for the study of communication and the arts."

So we aren't USC or UCLA or NYU Tisch or any of those
other glossy schools... but we aren't sheep shit!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Lover and A Lie

I am a rather forgiving soul. You can hurt me and I will probably forgive you. If you do it again, I may forgive you again. Some have repeatedly hurt me and I have bared the pain, because I thought the person meant something to me. But there always comes the day when I turn my back on you. Something in my brain suddenly snaps. I have had enough.

This act is done completely. Whole-heartedly. There is no half-guessing my decision when I get to that point. Yes, sometimes it takes awhile for me to get there. Sometimes my thick skull makes it so I go down a long path before I make the decision to change, and in this case, cut someone of my life.

But maybe that is why I give them so much leeway, because I know that when this corner is turned, there is rarely any going back. Maybe that’s why sometimes I have to be hit over the head repeatedly in order to realize what’s going on. Sometimes I have to get a concussion before I change what isn’t working in my life; however, when I do, it’s like a light has been turned on.

It took me four months to get here. But moments after those words fell from his lips, there was something about him that changed. In moments. There was a sharp, sudden difference in life when this change happened. Everything before me changed and all five senses reacted. I saw the World around him differently. My eyes actually perceived him differently.

He changed right in front of me. Although he may have once been handsome to me, utterly beautiful, he was no longer good looking. He may have had the most perfect, chiseled body, but it didn't matter. He may have had the deepest, beautiful brown eyes, but it didn't matter. He might have had the most delicate lips, but that didn't matter. He may have had the ability to send light through my body when he touched me, but that too faded away.

I don’t ever want to touch him and I don’t want him to ever touch me again. Not even in a public setting. Not even as a courteous gesture. My body is off-limits to him now. I don’t want him to touch some place he’s already been. Even if it’s my knee, my hand, my face, my cheek, my hair. There is no reason for him to anymore.

Here, I realize my perception has altered. His weaknesses appear on his skin. Thirty-three years of bad decisions appear on his face. Four years of hell appear at the corners of his mouth. In dark swirls in his brown eyes. His faults and imperfections radiate off him. His smell doesn’t lift me anymore. And, finally, I no longer taste him. Anything that may have lingered has evaporated.

And I never judged him for his past. Or his part in his past. I never judged him for doing what he did. Even when, of all people in the world, I had a reason to. I put aside my own past. I accepted him for who and what he was. And he threw lies in my face. Knowing full well that they were lies. Maybe that is part of the reason this turned out the way it did.

Why is it that you have to sometimes go through hell in order to see the truth? Why is it that you have to hear a complete utter lie come from a man’s lips in order to realize that it isn’t you, but that his self-worth is nearly inexistent? Why does it have to come to you hurting so much in order to take a different road in life?

So this is one way that I react.

Another way is that I completely alter my lifestyle. I woke up at 6:30 this morning – after leaving him standing on the sidewalk at 2 AM – and sat down at my computer. At 11 AM, I will start a daily routine of working out with my friends, John, David and Steve. After today, John and I will start working out at 8 AM. I am ready to get back into shape. I am ready to get back to being healthy.

Another way is that I write about it, as I am doing now. As I have been. I have two projects that I am working on right now and it is like having two roads before me. Both projects are extraordinarily different from each other. While one is more experimental, the other one is based on aspects of this fling. (Word of advice, playboys: Don’t ever screw a writer, she will write about you.)

So, as I sit here, I ask myself: “Which one to take? What story to work on?” Both are worthwhile projects and, somehow, I want to write both. Only thing is that I have to have something ready to show in two or three months time.

So, maybe his lie is a blessing in disguise: Now I have the desire to truly finish what I started.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Let life begin.

We shed old personalities like a snake sheds skin. There are moments in your life where you realize that you are not the same anymore. That the world has altered. That someone is missing. I see that the color of blue has been taken off my painter’s palette. And blue is my favorite color.

A part of my life has been shut off, as if a light bulb in a room has burned out, and the room has gone black. Minutes may pass before you walk into the room to change the bulb, where you are enveloped immediately by the darkness, but you do bring light back into that part of your life.

And it may take you years to even look at the door, let alone walk into the room.

This brings to mind an installation art piece that I wanted to do in college. Within that room, you are surrounded not only by the darkness, but also every possible emotion. And when the light is replaced, you see the bareness of the room’s interior. The white walls. The lack of paintings, furniture, objects, possessions, life. The starkness of the room seems to neutralize every emotion you had been experiencing moments before. Bright and bare, the room holds nothing.

On the ground is a thinly painted red line that makes a circle. A place that you intuitively know is the safest place to stand in the room. In the house. On the wall to your left are twenty-eight locks that seal a door that does not exist, although there is an eyehole through which you can see people, made of a gray-blue papier-mâché, holding frozen positions outside the walls of the room. On the opposite wall is a doorway that leads into another bleak, dark space. A place you know holds more emotion. A place where you cannot change a light bulb in order to bring light to the space. It is a place without light. It is depression. It is mourning. It is emptiness.

Standing inside these walls, you know you will be able to step out into the World again and live. Maybe not today, but you will. And this room brings up the realization that you cannot go back to the way you were living. Even if it was only yesterday. Life changes without you. Life changes with you. And you must surrender to the change.

Strength to change can burn through you as you do it. It can send razor hot lines of pain through your body as you make the decision to not continue living your life this particular way. You can love the color black - the dark, rich, sensual texture of the color - but decide that this particular black is not something you want. It's not something you can afford to have. And you take it off your painter's palette. And the act is not without pain or love. For you can experience undeniable passion with someone who is not interested in the same thing as you are; however, you get up the strength to tell them that you will not continue this, no matter how good they make you feel, because it is only a momentary, limited act of expression. That, in the end, really means nothing.

And how can you fill your life up with nothing? How can you accept only what is stripped down to the bone? How can you feel completed by someone who gives nothing of himself except his physical self?

People have told me to be careful of what I ask for. But I don’t worry about him changing. It would be foolish – it would be insanity – to think he would. And maybe, knowing this, I can move forward. Knowing he won’t move forward with me.