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Archive for the ‘Family’

I’m Looking At You

April 07, 2012 By: admin Category: Family, Filmmaking, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love

I finally understand what the Buddhists mean when they say “learning to stay.” In my case it does seem as if I’m translating it literally, but that’s only because not everyone can see beyond the surface.

I’ve been studying and studying and studying for YEARS. Odd, I know, for a woman who almost flunked out of both high school and college. True story. To say that I was never close to those things is to deny the truth in order to feel less bad that I was passed on and helped enormously because I’m pretty, privileged, and White, but that’s not what this post is about…

Mom used to get so pissed about me being “a late bloomer.” I would “simmer” on life decisions and it drove her crazy. I tried and tried and tried to get her to see into me, see how I saw things–we were so kindred I thought it was a given–but she couldn’t. One of the greatest realizations I ever came to as an adult was finally admitting she didn’t see the world the way I did, that she never could, and that that was okay. BUT!, while she was alive, I never stopped trying…

My simmering has finally come into it’s own. I can call it up at will now, and it’s never wrong. I simmer on something until the only answer possible–the RIGHT answer–comes through, allowing me to move forward and act with confidence. I’m speaking, of course, of filmmaking. The technique sometimes works in social life, but as there’s a lot more at stake in those situations, it can also become MUCH more difficult to grasp and sway… :)

Lately, I’ve been simmering on my next films. There are three, in particular: “Viriditas,” “Coal 2,” (admittedly, a shitty working title), and “In The Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.” The last one is a short fiction film, my first foray into non-documentary, and is based on a short story I do not yet have the rights to. I keep promising myself that once I shoot some scenes I’ll edit them, craft them into perfection, and then contact the author to see about finishing it. I have high hopes. The writer is an incredible artist, and also a bit of a loner so I think she’ll vibe with my lonerness and get what I’m going for. And, anyway, it would be a good vehicle for her–I’ll argue–to tour with to teach, give lectures, etc. “Contrast the written with the film,” something like that…

In the last few days I made a decision so many of us never have the luxury to make: I’m going to stay right where I am. Literally. I’m going to do everything I can to not move to San Francisco for a wonderful job with wonderful people that would pay me a shitload of money. Why, you ask, am I being such a dumbass? Cuz it’s the right decision, and not a dumbass one at all. I have deep family and friend ties here, opportunities to make beautiful films, a house I can’t stop adoring, a chance to fall in love…

My whole career I’ve made choices based on money, ignoring quality of life. Quality of life eventually always showed up because I was young, energetic, and still striving for something to call “an achievement.” But that struggle is thankfully over. When SOMA GIRLS aired on PBS nationwide a few weeks ago, including the venerated WGBH, I was done with struggling. “The achievement” had been attained. For most American documentary filmmakers, having your film on PBS is the great goal. Having your film on one of the big PBS stations like WGBH, is summiting Everest. And so as a result of this milestone I have decided to stop worrying about my career. Completely. I have a career, and one that’s been legitimized by the mainstream. Any artist telling you that that’s not a little important is either Jean Michel Basquiat or lying.

So, then, it occurred to me that if I don’t have anything to strive for, I can do anything I want. No more looking over my shoulder, second-guessing, blah, blah, blah. It’s time to stop working only 50% for others and start working 100% for others. I want to take responsibility for being a resident of this time, and choose to use my filmmaking skills exclusively for good. And to me, “for good” means moving viewers emotionally. There’s no feeling like changing someone’s mind about themselves for the better. I seem to have a gift for that and I wanna take it out for a spin…

 

No More Haze

February 04, 2012 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Family, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Molly, Mom

For such a long, long time, I’ve been unable to see the way others see. There’s been a haze, born in my heart, that affected my vision. I literally saw things and felt them as if at a distance. A friend recently told me “You dissociated,” but that word has a lot of power for someone else in my life, and anyway, I have no idea what it could mean for me. All I know is that on Thanksgiving I could suddenly see and feel again.

Something happened on that day that doesn’t need to be detailed for the result to be conveyed here. I was hurt in a small, really, insignificant way, but that very moment somehow broke through years of piled-up hurt that were causing the dissociation and haze-vision. I went home that night and cried the way I cried in Molly’s arms months after Mom died. I fell through my front door and collapsed on the stairs in convulsing sobs. It was painful, but also so so FREEING. I could feel all this weight and negativity and guilt and pressure, etc, etc, etc, leave my body and mind and when the sobbing was done, I could see again. I looked around the house and I could finally FEEL myself in it. It was incredible.

In the weeks since then I’ve been on a high of living in the present moment. It really is as exhilarating as all the yoga and meditation books say. :)

So, a breakthrough, indeed. Today I can read painful things from the past and not fall down. I’m looking toward the future, MY future. I have no plans, and it’s just fine. Kind of a funny, unexpected, but none-the-less joyful phase I’m in.

“A Vision In A Dream. A Fragment.”

January 20, 2011 By: admin Category: Boston Beats, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, House, iPhone, Living, Love, Meditation, Michael, Unemployment, Video

This will be a very “meta” post, as I originally wrote part of the below in an email to my aunt, and then added to it a preface that I then, along with the email, published onto Facebook. It now here, in it’s entirety, with yet a new preface. A Pre-preface?

Anyway, I think the message contained herein should be shared far and wide, and so I’m publishing on the interwebs in the two places where I know it’ll do the most good. :) Enjoy.

“Hey everyone. This is my first FB note. It’s actually an email I wrote to my aunt who is a dream worker. I am adding it here because my situation is universal, and I thought maybe some of you are feeling the same way. I thought sharing might help some of you to not feel so alone and scared–as I do sometimes–and might help me let go of some of the hope I have that I will be able to keep my sweet, safe life exactly the way it is right now: sweet & safe. I’ve been studying Buddhist meditation and philosophy for over a year and have been resisting the concept of impermanence since the beginning. :) I guess sharing this note is my way of finally accepting it.

Anyway, I hope you can get something out of this. This is a terrible, terrible time for so many of us, but something I’ve learned recently is that the love in the artist community here in Boston is a-s-t-o-u-n-d-i-n-g. You all have helped me so much I almost don’t know what to say except that I am grateful. You are all so beautiful it actually brings tears to my eyes as I write this, and makes it sooooo clear to me why I’m a filmmaker: I have a classic excuse to stare at all of you FOR HOURS, and have the skills necessary to help share your beauty with the world. :)

Enjoy, and thank you so much for your grace and vulnerability. We are giants. :)

With love,

Alexia

“I had an intense dream the other night that I haven’t been able to forget. Thats impressive for two reasons: 1-I haven’t been dreaming much in the last few weeks, and 2-I think I can count on one hand the dreams that have lingered in my mind days after having had them.

The dream is very simple in imagery: my iPhone broke. That’s it. Here are the details…. I was talking with someone about the iPhone being very rugged, and that I’d dropped it a lot and had only incurred minor scratches and cracks. As I was talking I accidentally (truly an accident) dropped my phone. It crashed to the floor and looked fine from my vantage point of just bending my head to look. But then I bent my whole body to pick it up, and when I grasped it I saw that it had been split in two, vertically. This is almost completely impossible for an iPhone. In order to achieve this kind of break, you’d have to put the phone between two vice grips and forcibly snap it. Even then, you’d never get the straight-up-and-down break that I got.

I picked up the phone and rose. The edges of the breaks were jagged, but I could still push the pieces together and have them fit. So I did just that, and what do you know, the phone still worked. I had to hold the pieces together very tightly, but my friend and I thought it was pretty amazing that it still worked even in that scenario. Still within the dream, as I looked down at the blinking, broken phone, I thought to myself, ‘Well, there it is, I have to get the new iPhone 4.’ 😉

That was the end of the dream.

There was an ominousness to that last thought, however funny, about needing to get the new phone. This thought has it’s origins in my very scary economic situation… For two years I haven’t been buying anything. At all. Food and gas and the occasional beer. That’s it. I haven’t gone out to eat, haven’t gone to the movies, haven’t bought a book, haven’t gone to see any of my friends’ bands play if there was a cover charge. The only times I’ve left the house, actually, have been when I was able to arrange for several meetings and events to occur on the same day so I wouldn’t waste gas. You get the idea… My current iPhone-a used one given as a gift to me from Michael (my brother)-has been testy and slow for over a year. I have needed a replacement for a long, long time, but haven’t dared spend $300 to get it for fear of not being able to make the following month’s mortgage payment. This is a fear that’s been with me for a while. It’s no longer a paralytic fear, but still there none-the-less.

Anyway, the fateful day has finally come: it’s January 20th and I don’t have enough money to pay for February’s mortgage so I have to open up one of my retirement accounts. I only have two and the one I’ll be opening was started for me in 2003 when I was at Harvard-Smithsonian. They contributed to the fund, I never did, so, in a sense, all the money in there is “free.” Taking any of it out, though, before I’m 65, will incur a tax penalty. So for something like $4000 I have to remove $5000 and lose $1000. Again, as this is essentially “free money” I’m not stressing too much. I AM stressing about what will happen if I don’t get a job before April 1st. Because if that happens, then it will mean that I have to go into my second retirement account, the only one I have left, the one I’ve been adding to and growing since I was 23, and the one that I hoped would be my nest egg. If I have to go into that one, then the small life I have come to know, the tiny life here that I have worked and saved so long to build around me, will slowly evaporate.

In the dream, when I looked down at my phone I thought: ‘If you hold it together very tightly, it’s definitely still a phone, but you can’t ignore that if you let go… it just won’t work any more…’ “

There’s A Post I Won’t Publish

August 27, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Coal, Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Meditation, Molly, Mom, PlumTV, Uncategorized, Valet Battleship Parking

A few days ago I received a message about something very painful that happened in the past, something that I had done. The event was horrible and was my fault, but what had led up to it was just as horrible and hadn’t been my fault, but the message I got didn’t mention any of that. It just tore open the old wound for all to see.

I’ve been exhausted. Like, really, really, hit-the-wall kind of exhausted, and so when the note came I faltered a little bit because I didn’t have any resources, any strength, to bear up against it. Now, after a few days and some small successes, I’m feeling much better, much stronger, and the note doesn’t have the same impact. I can see it for what it is now: just a big mistake that will end up hurting the writer far more than it ever could me. That said, the note did change something profound in me. Something snapped and finally released, and as I finished reading I knew it was time to put some things away.

I’m apparently going on a long trip, but I think it’s one of mind and not of body. My meditation practice slipped in the last two weeks because we’ve been working just too damned hard. The President & First Family have been on-island and we’ve been all over them, filming, editing shows together quickly, and wringing ourselves out. Well, it’s done now. The “Obama Shows” have aired and the crazy summer season is drawing to a close–which is why I can write this from home at 9:30am on a Friday. :)

One of the things I have to put away are the cats. I spoke to the Animal Shelter here and will likely be dropping the cats off in another week and a half. This will be terribly difficult for me. I care for them very much and am not, as we know, at all good with letting go of things I love. But I don’t want to care for them any more. I just don’t want to. They’re hard in terms of upkeep, and remind me too much of a past I want to turn away from so I can finally move forward in a brand new direction. I’ve been in limbo for over two years. Two years. A lot of that was the economic crisis, but at least 50% was due to raw wounds that have been taking too long to heal.

In mid-Sept. I’ll finally “move” back home and have some serious time to work on the coal film. THAT’S where I live now: in my work. I’ll try to craft a happy life despite the hole in it where Mom used to be, but the main focus will be doing what I do: making stories that I hope will have some impact on even just a few people. And I’ll travel. I’ll go to all the places Mom always talked about but was too afraid to visit. I’ll stay longer than one does for “vacation,” and I’ll get to know new cultures.  I’ll read and I’ll write, and make sure–as much as I can–that my friends are healthy and know that I love them.

We’re all in limbo, in transition. Chogyam Trungpa, the late Buddhist teacher used to talk a lot about negative/uncomfortable emotions being preferable to straight-up happiness because there’s so much energy in them. He said it’s better to walk right into the center of ill feelings and just hang out quietly because what you’ll learn will blow your mind.

Bon voyage, everyone. :)

Address the Front

August 17, 2010 By: admin Category: Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, PlumTV, Unemployment, Valet Battleship Parking

"Untitled" by ImaginationRoom (http://imaginationroom.posterous.com/)

I don’t know where to start. This morning I’m feeling a lot of fear mixed with stress mixed with the intellectual knowledge of peace and relaxation. This job is just too much, I think. There is literally NO BREAK. I have one or two weekend days each week and they don’t even help me to catch up on sleep anymore. Tina was right, I need to train someone to share the load. I thought I had been doing that. Looking back now at May, June and the first part of July, I can’t understand at all how Hannah survived overseeing the show as well as ads creation. Insanity.

I spoke last night with a woman who is back from the brink. She has Lyme disease and mercury poisoning, but because she has a lot of money, she is alive. I’m afraid to watch the documentary about Lyme that she financed. I’m afraid for my friend Su, who has Lyme, and afraid for myself that I may not have the courage to help her the way she needs to be helped. At the moment I am stressed out enough just watching over my own life. The mortgage. Always the mortgage. But for me that struggle is worth it because I am surviving and my house is my life-raft.

Could I do this job again next summer? I might not physically or psychologically be able to handle it. If Courtney stays then I could train her in May and June and then, hopefully, something will have turned for me so that I can leave as Hannah left this past July. I just can’t imagine doing this all again. Not without someone like me to share the full load.

I saw “Eat.Pray.Love” last night–the Hollywood representation of one of my favorite books. The movie, frankly, sucked. I’d needed it to not. I’ve needed some kind of heart vacation for a while. Not romantic, something to help me feel at peace. I stayed in the movie while others left, not because I had hope, but because the images, at least, were something I’ll be able to hold on to later. And, hell, Julia Roberts is pretty, so…

There’s no one way to tell a story, but if you’re going to try, you have to settle on a direction. The director of Eat.Pray.Love, I think, shot a 6-hour film. Pity we didn’t see that version. Another film, “The Kids Are Alright,” reinvigorated my love of movies and visual story, and showed a decent, hard-working, loving family. Two lesbian parents and their teenage kids. I thought ti was wonderful. A friend thought it was insulting to lesbians worldwide because of something that happens in the story. Her anger and staunch position nearly destroyed the tender story for me. I got sad listening to her just not letting it go. There isn’t just one way to tell a story, and so you shouldn’t get mad at one interpretation.

I’m exhausted. This post is one, fucking stream-of-semiconsciousness, isn’t it? Sorry about that. I’ll try again tomorrow. If anyone sees a thruline here, please comment so I’ll know what the hell I’m talking about. :)

Cheers.

“we were all given gifts and the idea is to use them”

August 16, 2010 By: admin Category: Faith, Family, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom

I was inspired this morning–as I am every time I read her–by my old Oxygen pal, Nancy Colasurdo. Here she is making sense of the Jet Blue guy, and “Jenny” the fictional disgruntled almost-broker:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2010/08/13/vote-graceful-exits/

What Nancy’s post makes me think of is the many people I know who don’t have the proper support from family or friends to take the leaps Nancy’s talking about. Courage only comes out of thin air sometimes. Most times, it comes from the encouragement, over time, of others. That’s what happened to my mother. She was horribly neglected by her father and abused by her stepmother, but she had her aunt and older brother who saw in her the light of the world, and never let her forget it. As humans, we don’t need much to hang onto, but we do need something.

I’ve been called judgmental a lot. Like A LOT, a lot. I’m opinionated and decisive and I speak up and sometimes that translates as judgmental. That said, I can see what people are talking about. So, in the last few years–between a horrid final few months in CA, to an emotionally destructive breakup, one soul-crushing year of unemployment, to a painful rebound–I’ve taken the time to look at what this “judgmental” thing is all about.

The first thing I discovered was that, yes, I was given to snap judgments about people and situations. I would assess and determine too quickly. But I’m smart, so it never got in my way except in intimate circumstances–i.e., when I told my partner what I thought and felt about someone. Over time, after hearing enough from my partners that I was being too quick to put people into a box, I learned to slow down and reserve judgment until I’d hung out with people for a while. And what I learned, mostly, is that it doesn’t work for me. I was getting tripped up by what I hoped people would do, and they disappointed me too much of the time. Since that experience my navigation of this territory has evolved to just allowing myself to meet people and not really put any stock in them until it’s naturally necessary, like in a job of friend situation. There, the personalities emerge organically and we both come to know each other better in a safe environment. Maybe I’m late coming to this, but this is the way my path has been. This doesn’t mean I’ve gone back to being judgmental socially in the sense of being critical (I was never critical, just cautious), it’s just one of the tools I use to survive. And that’s what my partners haven’t realized.

One friend isn’t judgmental enough. She doesn’t see how/who anyone is until they’ve pretty much fucked her over. Her father used to say he’d rather be kind and get screwed than not be kind at all. I wouldn’t encourage this as a way to be even if you do, after many years of suffrage and failure, come out smelling like “the good guy.” I’d prefer to be thought of slightly less and still have roof over my head.

Another friend is a doormat and she won’t admit to herself why. She feels self-hating and sad pretty much all the time and won’t go to the dark places of her soul to fix it, even though she’s plenty strong enough.

In both cases, strong family support was missing. Michael and I are by no means the stars of the world, but we’re both doing what we love, and are surrounded by supportive, vibrant people. We’re not holding ourselves back, and we’re happy.

For a long, long time I wasn’t happy, and that was my own fault. I allowed the situation I was in to consume my joy. Along that path I made several mistakes for which I am sorely sorry, but the only thing I can do to try to make up for it is to CHANGE. And this is where most people get tripped-up. There’s this terrible, terrible myth in our repressed culture that change = the death of joy. Nothing could be further from the truth. All religions talk about “releasing,” “letting go,” and “going to God.” Call it whatever you like but it’s all code for: “Get up off your ass. If you’re hearing this then you’re alive, you’re human, and you have choices, so suck it up!” Of course there are situations that are too hard: poverty, illness, homelessness. But if you’re able-bodied, for goodness sake, take a chance on yourself. You simply cannot fail because, as Nancy puts it:

“”we were all given gifts and the idea is to use them.”

Inside The Tree Sanctuary

July 31, 2010 By: admin Category: Boo-Yah, Coal, Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom, PlumTV

“Love of beauty is Taste. Creation of beauty is Art.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


I’m stealing the use of this quote from a beautiful blog I found courtesy of someone on Twitter.

This morning I slept late. Really late for me. 9:30am. I’d gotten up at the customary 5:30, but was having trouble opening  my eyes. As I padded to the bathroom in the gray light I felt the walls so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs. I felt heavy. Really, really heavy and knew I was going to go back to sleep. I was so happy at the prospect because that hasn’t happened in well over two years.

When I crashed, I crashed hard. Heavily. It was the grounded, in the ground, rooted sleep of a changed woman. Evolutionary change always happens for me while I’m doing something else, and so I don’t ever realize what’s happened until later. The sound of the TV was what finally got me up, my eyes to reluctantly open. My show was on and there were people in my house watching it. I went downstairs to join them.

Each week Dad & Sarah have generously sat and watched the show and graciously given feedback afterward. In the last couple of weeks, though, they haven’t given any feedback, and the reason is because the show is good. As I sat beside everyone today, watching them watch, I could hear them listening and it was awesome. And when a specific, funny moment happened, everyone chuckled, unaware that they were sitting with the producer. For them, they were just watching an engaging show.

It was a good start to what has been a deep day. I didn’t do any soul searching, rather, I did a lot of soul listening. I meditated for over an hour with the intention of finally letting the Universe flood into my mind. Well, she did, and with her came answers. A letting go, a courage to be quiet, and a bunch of ideas for how to finish the coal film. From there the day was like those days I used to have before I got into relationships: present, comfortable, mine. I looked hard at my tendency toward self-criticism and knew there was a lot more work to do there.

I took a short walk into the open field on our property and turned to look at our house from a different perspective. While sitting in the hammock, a place I frequent every weekend, I was struck by an urgency to see things differently. I thought that if I shook up my visual comfort, more changes would follow. They did.

I looked up at the trees, the scrub oak that I love so much, that surround our house. And I realized that God, Mom, all life, and all the answers were in the trees because they were beautiful. I realized for the first time in decades that Beauty is the portal to happiness and understanding, but you’ve got to have the balls to try to make beautiful things.

My silly little lifestyle show is beautiful, and all I need to do now is to stay out of it’s way. If it gets bored and needs something new to liven it up, I’ll develop a new segment. The show and I are one and each know what’s best for the other. Similarly, I will honor the coal film, and my own life and capacity for love. I will get out of my own way. Via Beauty.

In Your Eyes

June 10, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, Love, Meditation, Molly

Love, I get so lost sometimes.
Days, hours, and this emptiness fills my heart.
I want to run away, drive off in my car.
But whichever way I move I connect to the place you are.

Spoke with an old friend last night over Skype. She’s in LA. We don’t chat or see each other enough, so these occasional communications are vital and soothing. We both feel that there’s something fucked up going on in the world, in the air. Everyone around us seems depressed or in some difficult transition. To me, it feels like we’re all evolving. The astrologers say so. They talk about some cosmic shift in the planets affecting everyone and forcing change. Well, I’m kinda done with change myself. I’d like my fucking status quo back, thankyouverymuch. I had a home, a love, a job, a life. Hell, I had a dog and two cats! I still have the two cats, but I miss walking the damned dog, even, though, back then in The Life, I resented it at times…

When is this “weather” going to break? What have we done? You can’t move about your normal life anymore in the U.S. and not think about how the oil spill is going to affect you. Recently I filmed a bunch of fish markets. Most of them get their fish from fishermen who fish the Atlantic. That means that soon those fishermen are going to be running into oil. I looked at one man, one fish market owner, and thought about how long his family has been doing this–selling fish. His livelihood and those of his children and grandchildren could be disastrously affected. They must have all of their investments in fish.

In mid-April, before I came down to the Vineyard to do this job, my sleep pattern changed. I now get up at 5:30am whether I want to or not. I fall asleep roughly between 9 and 9:30, and by 6:30 I’m back from my daily run and having coffee. Nothing precipitated this change except for massive doses of anxiety and stress. I was TERRIFIED to make the move. Terrified I’d be giving up my house, terrified I’d lose everything, terrified I wouldn’t remember how to work in an office with other people. All those fears are mostly gone now, but I still wake up at 5:30. Also, I’m sad. Just sad, sad, sad. I realize I’ve been sad since the last year in CA, when things got just awful between Molly and me. And now, today, I miss her like an organ that was ripped out of me. The difference between then and now is that I can feel that place in me healing–scabbing over. There’ll still be a scar forever, but, like all scars, I’ll learn to live with it. I’m learning to live with it. It sucks out loud, but I’m learning to live with it. One of my solutions seems to be dreaming of her every night. Solution? Torture? Who fucking knows…

I’ve never been not happy for this long, and I hope it’s all just a phase, just a “transition,” as the astrologers say. I don’t know how much more of this shit I can take, or how much any of us can take.

An Exhausted Soil

April 04, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Beer, Faith, Family, Going Home, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom, Valet Battleship Parking

Love will push through winter like first buds in spring through an exhausted soil. Remnants of leaves hang on in their dried weightlessness hoping for one more chance to not be raked away. The truth is in the loud and easy calls of the birds so comfortable in this urban area that I wonder if there were always houses here. Structures. The sounds of nature today consist as much of childrens’ voices, lawnmowers and the din of cars as they do the wind in the grasses, bird whistles and the deafening silence of stones.

I will be carried away in this soft wind by my busy mind, so agitated by the slowness of a Sunday. I’ll pick up on smells and think of movement when what I should do is stay and read just one more story…

I can’t say whether I’m afraid of death or not. Until it’s at our doorstep, who could? What I can tell you is that in this place of stillness and peace I feel the presence of love and life and happiness and gratefulness and hilarity and joy and the knowledge that death is real because I was there. I held her hand the day before she died and continue to bear witness by being her mirror. The new entertainment will be the standing still, and for that I need no one’s permission.

Dear Mom: The Glorious Craft of Silence

March 05, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Family, Food, Happiness, Health, Humane Food, Living, Love, Michael, Mom, Valet Battleship Parking

Dear Mom,

First of all let me say that I know you’re dead and that if you were in some way able to read this know also that you’d find it annoying and silly. Well, this is my process, something I’d like to try, and so I ask for your patience and kindness. You know how slowly I come to things, so just let me do it. It’ll likely work itself out in a reasonable amount of time so there’s no call to go batshit at this stage, okay? Thank you. 😉

Anyway, I’m writing today because there’s someone I want you to meet. She’s amazing, and we’ve been seeing each other for a little while now, although scheduling has made any regular gettings-together a challenge. She’s younger than me-surprise, surprise-and also in the film business. If you saw her you’d be struck first by her beauty and then by her fitness, but you’d also want to feed her. Due to her open spirit, joie de vivre, ease around others, HUGE sweet eyes, and general soulful attractiveness you’d be compelled to hug her and that’s when you’d have a teeny-tiny meltdown. “You’re too skinny!” You’d yell, and then would look at me accusingly, as if I was somehow responsible. I’d give you The Hand and say we were off to the beach. You’d take a breath and respond in that mock-threatening way that’s always made scarier by your accent, “Okay, but when you get back I’ll have a BIG LUNCH ready.” Then you’d wink at her and turn back to baking bread.

Later, while she was in the shower after the beach you’d whisper questions to me. “How old is she? Where does she come from? Her eyes are so beautiful, but there’s a sadness in her. Is she alright?” Your instant concern would be genuine and so I’d know I’d chosen well. When you care that early I know someone is special. I’d answer all your questions and allay your fears, and then would tell you that Michael liked her a lot too, even though he’d only met her twice and then not for very long. We’d talk then about how perceptive the three of us are when it comes to people and then, a bit satisfied, you’d get up and finish making her lunch.

When she sat down, after a nice, long, hot soaking in the outdoor shower, you’d place before her The Largest Sandwich In All The World and would respond to her shocked look with one of your own stern ones that said, in no uncertain terms, “You’re going to eat ALL of that.” You have a way of wielding all your Latin energy, Mom, that I’m hoping I’m learning. It’s a powerful and fun skill to have… 😉

During lunch you’d want to know about her past, because those big, soft, gentle eyes that show everything would be breaking your heart. For reasons she couldn’t completely express, she’d tell you everything and in the course of the conversation the two of you would fall head over heels for each other. The ease created would allow the conversation to shift from family and history to gardening and food and flowers. That’s when I’d lose you both and would just be hanging on for dear life, hoping to understand something, anything before the day was out. She’d tell you what she knew about growing things in the shade and you’d tell her how finicky some of your favorite plants were. You’d bond on tulips, and prepare herb gardens in your imaginations. You’d laugh like schoolgirls when something resonated, and each make promises to connect in the Fall to dig in the dirt.

And I’d watch it all, finally, for once in my life, at ease from not needing to say anything whatsoever…