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Archive for the ‘Going Home’

“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,


“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…’ “

Enter Title Here

September 14, 2010 By: admin Category: Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, PlumTV

I remember it clear as day. As if it was childhood I was calling back. For so long I lived alone without a care in the world…

But those were the days before The Economic Crisis, before “9/11,” before i lost my job, my relationship, and my home to a world falling apart.

How many of us are there? How many of us 40-somethings struggle to “put something together” to make a living? How many of us have moved back in with our aging parents? The luck ones, I think.

Anyway, the summer bandaid job has ended and I couldn’t be more relieved. I thought working at Oxygen, a startup REAL network, was tough, but the standard 16-hour days at Plum TV on Martha’s Vineyard put the big city network startup to shame. In my last week, the week where we covered the local film festival, I worked 82 hours, and then came back to the office and had my soon-to-be-ex boss tell me I took on too much, that I wasn’t a good delegator. Jeez, if she’d wanted the show to suck, she could have just told me. I would have happily delegated what she she’d wanted me to. But that wouldn’t have helped. Then I would have been beaten down and fired for not doing a good enough job.

Sometimes production is just hard, and if you’re not in production what’s even harder is understanding why it’s so hard. My EP is a good woman and a good manager, but she’s not a producer and I guess that’s where she and I got tripped up. There were just some things she wouldn’t understand unless she did them.

Anyway, greener pastures. In my own EPs words “At least you’re getting out.” Indeed. Plum is cute, but they’re spending their money unwisely, as I suppose many startups do. I hope I get a chance to start a company so I can how tough it really is. I’m curious because it seems as though if you’re detailed and efficient about how you spend your budget, and don’t let your ego get in the way, it should be fundamental.

Anyway, I’m off to pick up my fixed car. Then to the Mac store to pick up my new HDs, then back to the house to pack, clean and apply for an LEF grant for my next film “18 Months.” No, it’s never too early to start working on a new film. :)

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. :)


Open Water

June 27, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Blogging Dinner, Body, Coal, Faith, Filmmaking, Food, Going Home, Happiness, Living, Love, Meditation, Molly, Running

Tonight I went to the gallery opening of a famous island painter, Allen Whiting. His work doesn’t jump out at you, but if you spend a little time seeing where he’s going with his choices, it certainly grows on you. Revealed. The intention is revealed. In other cases you can see the intention immediately.

Such was the case with the above painting, “April-Tisbury Great Pond-Chilmark, MA,” which I bought in postcard form for a friend. The moment I saw the postcard I knew it was for her. “The intrepid fisherman in waders in the early morning, out alone in his little skiff, too young to be so in love with a practice that takes him away from people.” But there’s a love in the image too. Pure love, that’s simple and universal. Everyone will look at this painting and feel the same thing.

Things are opening up. My mind, specifically. Letting go is more a lesson learned and less a teaching, and I am, for what it’s worth, the better for it. But I still wonder about love. In all the meditation I’ve done, classes taken, and books read there is no mention of how we are to maintain an attitude of impermanence while accepting love into our lives. One teacher said: “Oh, it makes love bigger and better!” But I don’t see how. “As soon as you love,” the teachings seem to go, “you have to remind yourself that everything is impermanent.” They lost me at “Hello.” How can you love and maintain an attitude of… alright, you know the rest. But you get where I’m coming from right?

I’m thinking about these things because I realized that I’m still in love and that I won’t be able to have another relationship until these feelings fade. But they’re pretty strong feelings, so my hope for success is… kinda low. So I turn to the teachings which say, in essence “Live with it. Sucka.” Okay, no, the teachings don’t add the “Sucka” part, but that’s what it feels like sometimes. The good news is that I’ve finally moved out of Bitter. I am now firmly ensconced in “Oh well,” which I usually follow with a shrug. I am Learning To Let Go, and, frankly, it sucks. Truly, though, I won’t know if it’s good that I’ve learned to let go until I have a new, real relationship, and as we know that won’t be for some time… blah, blah, blah… You get the idea.

And so I spend a lot of time alone. I sit and look all around at this gorgeous island’s landscapes, I read, I edit, and I watch a little TV now and again. I no longer eat dessert, run probably more than I should, sleep without a comforter, allow the cats to drink out of my water glass, and avoid–as much as possible–looking at pictures of myself from the back.

In short, things are changing–evolving before my eyes–and although I’m happy that I’ve finally found some of the grace to just observe it, the price sucks.

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.

All Things Merge Into One

January 26, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Molly, Valet Battleship Parking

Orchid’s soft, warm little paws press against me as she sleeps. We’re on the couch. I’m doing work and Orchid is purr-snoring beside me. I take a lot of time, regularly, to stare at these little cats, Orchid and Tut, and still, every time I do I wonder at how someone could abandon a living thing. I can’t explain the sense of responsibility I feel toward these guys beyond using the word “unconditional.” There is nothing they can do to feed themselves in my house. They cannot clean their own litter box. And just like us humans, they need affection and compassion and joy. And so I move around doing those things for them as much as possible because in addition to being otherwise powerless, they have given me a lot of joy, compassion, affection, and unconditional love. So I feel I owe them…


Sculpture by Tara Donovan. Photo by Molly Zenobia. This was the last day we had fun together.

When I was driving cross-country in early June 2008, leaving L.A. for good, I had the cats with me in the car. After one day of being crammed together in the crate in the passenger’s seat of my Honda, it was clear they preferred liberation, so I changed my morning driving routine. After breakfast I loaded them up in the crate, settled them into the front seat and when I knew I had enough gas to go for a while, I let them out to wander inside the car. Freaked out by the motion of driving, Tut instantly disappeared into the guts of boxes and suitcases packed in the back, while Orchid planted herself on a mound of soft things between the front seats but only just enough behind me to be able to look over my shoulder. From this perch she watched the road pass by as we made our way to our new home. I’ll never forget that. She’s only a cat, but was still there with me, present, through the whole trip. She had a strength and a personality and a wish: to be warm, to be near me, and to be free.

I clean their litter everyday because I know how awful it would feel to me to have to go to the bathroom in a “full” toilet. In CA I used to get up early to essentially do the same thing for Molly’s dog. He needed to go out and pee. Like the cats, he didn’t have a choice to get up in the middle of the night and go outside when he needed to, he had to wait for one of us to take him. That seemed so unfair to me that I worked hard to make him comfortable. By way of recompense Bobby (the dog) gave me the joy of his unconditional affection. He would nuzzle me and jump, literally, for joy when I said “walk” or took up his leash (which he didn’t need).

I don’t understand the ability to abandon a living thing. A friend said “It’s called lack of responsibility.” Molly got these cats with her girlfriend before me. They raised the cats together for one year in CA and then I showed up. I’ve never had cats or a dog, but once I understood their needs I accommodated them. If I hadn’t cleaned the litter regularly in L.A. it would have gone for days–over one week–without being touched. Molly just wouldn’t do it and the truth is that when I was working a lot and would come home wiped out, I resented having to clean the litter, so I didn’t. Many times I just let it go. I thought, I hoped Molly would do it so the cats wouldn’t have to step on their own shit, but she didn’t. Knowing they had to deal with that as much as they did back then is why I clean their litter box every day now that we’ve settled into our new place. It’s something so small that makes them feel so safe and comfortable.

I’m working on a lot of heavy meditation concepts today, which is why this is coming up. The work is on compassion and loving-kindness and the main message is that you can’t expect to have any compassion and loving-kindness for others if you don’t first have it for yourself. But the reverse is also true, and therein lies the power of the lesson. If you see yourself not having compassion and loving-kindness for another living thing, then there’s a good chance you’re treating yourself like shit too.

A couple of weeks ago I got a fake apology email from Molly. I say fake because the majority of the email consisted of criticisms about my behavior in our relationship. The rest were antiseptic broad “apologies” about her “role in our mess.” But even given all that was there, for it was an uncharacteristically long email for Molly, what struck me was what wasn’t there. There was no mention of the material stuff we still need to exchange, and no mention about the cats. To be honest, Molly hasn’t mentioned the cats once since last August when we briefly discussed her making fliers we could put up seeking adopters for them after we broke up. We never followed up with that, but even still, once I left CA she never, ever asked about HER cats. Never. As I try to learn about loving-kindness and compassion this is one problem that sticks in my head. How could someone abandon a living thing, and what does that say about them?

Seeing her do this and other similarly baffling things yanked the rug out from under me because I considered this person my soul mate. Molly and I were bonded so powerfully, and still are even though we don’t talk. No matter what happens in my life if she calls and needs my help I would be there like a shot. I love Molly very, very much and hope she too can find her way to loving-kindness and compassion, especially for herself.

The (un)Civil War

January 14, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Family, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Molly, Mom, Photoshop, Valet Battleship Parking

When Ken Burn’s The Civil War was broadcast on PBS it quickly became a family event for my father, my mother and me. My brother was still living in Boston at the time, and so he didn’t watch it with us. In the film there was one much-quoted character who stood out: Mary Chestnut. I loved her first because my favorite actress, Julie Harris, played her voice, but then grew to love her for her words and herself, even though she was a Southern secessionist. 😉


As I mentioned in previous posts, since Mom died I’ve been reading mostly about death, but exclusively non-fiction. As I come to the end of Isabel Allende’s latest book I panic wondering what could possibly come next. Then I get another cryptic, from-the-universe type of message and before I know it am pulling out books I’ve been carting around for years and have yet to read. All are books that had been originally inspired by The Civil War, one being “The Private Mary Chestnut,” Ms. Chestnut’s “Unpublished” civil war diaries.

Last night, returning from a concert of Hindustani classic music with friends, I glanced over at my livingroom bookcase for no reason at all. Something drew me to the stack of books hidden in the back row of the top shelf, the place reserved for books of no current importance. There were four books in total that I pulled out: “The Private Mary Chestnut,” “The Granite Farm Letters,” “Bullwhip Days,” and “Richmond During The War.” All are civil war rememberences, diaries or oral histories, and will be my next reads. Why? I’m not sure, but do feel there’s some connection to be made between my recent sense of closure, however odd it is, and the struggles and losses of those who, over a century ago, walked the earth on which I now live. They struggled in a conflict that tied up their hearts and caused them to tear each other apart. The connection I feel to that may have to do with a new sense of gratitude and grace. Like the folks in these books, who lived on this land, I have a choice in this moment. Incredible. As my friend Maninder said: “It’s like a game show, you can either take the $100,000 you’ve already won and walk away, or play it and possibly lose it all.” Like the folks who survived the Civil War, I am trying to eek out a new life from ashes. No, my war(s) weren’t waged with guns, but they did last too long and covered a lot of ground. And there was emotional pain. I’m luckier in that no one died.

I will be remade this year, whether by my own hand or others’. I’m looking forward to it, but it will change a lot, I think. Whatever this phase is that I’ve been in for so long is now, finally, over. I think it started when I was 26, when I first started having intimate, committed relationships. I’m not sure, but hopefully Mary Chestnut and the others will help me find clues and, ultimately, answers. Why not? Worked for Nicholas Cage in National Treasure… 😉

See? Still looking behind me for answers. Hidesight, something-something-something… :)

Mind The Gap

January 08, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, Living, Love, Molly, Mom, Unemployment, Valet Battleship Parking

By now most of you know that when my mother died something in me died too. The reason I started this blog in 2006, one year after she died, was to try and make sense of the empty feeling I’d been left with, and, possibly, to rebuild. Well, as you’ve all seen, the rebuilding hasn’t gone so well. I made a lot of bad choices, a lot of passionate choices, and a lot of good choices. Sometimes I was lucky, sometimes I bit the dirt, hard. But at no time did the sum of all my choices put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The hole in me, that chunk that got carved out and was burned with her, is still missing. If it is to be replenished at all, it can only happen with a long, slow simmer of combined true love: mine for myself, mine for someone else, and someone else’s for me. This is what I’ve observed in watching couples these last years. Healthy, happy union is possible, and helps us weather so many things. That doesn’t mean I’m going to run off looking for someone to make me feel better about losing Mom, no. It’s just part of the process.


I got a message last night about that hole and something in my mind finally broke free. It brings with it the despair inevitable for someone who has been hiding the truth from herself: I will never talk to Mom again. I will never see her again. I will never find someone or something to take her place and fill the hole in me that’s been festering for so long. The message shocked me into a new perspective. Literally. It was like getting corrective lenses after years of blurry vision. I can read street signs now–think of it like that. There’s no more hiding emotionally. I know what my truths are and have no choice but to move forward with them as my guide instead of the fantasies I’ve been waving around hoping reality would be just a bit softer than this.

If anyone has any ideas how about how a person deals with going from talking with their mother/best friend 4-5 times a week her whole life to suddenly not doing that, I’m game to hear it. My friend Christiane from college, who lost her mother before we met, and with whom I recently reconnected on Facebook, said of the grief of losing one’s mother: “Hold on tight.” When author Isabel Allende lost her only daughter to porphyria at age 26, she wrote a best-selling novel, “Paula,” but was still so distraught after thirteen years that she was worried she didn’t have any more books in her. She called her editor, a woman who always seemed to have the right answers to her creative conundrums. “Send me a two or three-hundred page letter,” the editor said, “and I’ll take care of the rest.” The result was the book I’m reading now, “The Sum of Our Days,” a letter to Isabel’s deceased daughter, Paula.

It seems that since Mom died the only stories that have resonated with me are ones about the deaths of loved ones: The Year of Magical Thinking, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, If I Am Living Or Dead, The Sum of Our Days.

The last happiest time I remember in my life was while I was working at Oxygen. Before the attacks of September 11th my days were damned-near perfect. I was completely fulfilled at my job and had good prospects for a loving, healthy relationship. Last night, during my walk, I realized that since then my life has been a patchwork of unemployment, confusion, terror, anger, longing, frustration, disgust, disappointment, and sadness.

The attacks in NYC caused Oxygen to close their broadcast center for ten days. Those mere ten days of lost ad revenue were a body-slam to the network’s financials and so it wasn’t long afterward that we started hearing about layoffs. My show’s came in March of 2002. Working at Oxygen had been the best experience of my life and it was suddenly over because of something none of us could control. Sadly, with the job went my brand new relationship, and my incredible life in NYC… That was the first time I felt something had been “untimely ripped” out of me, but still… I didn’t get the message. Before I moved out to LA, I caught Molly emotionally toying with her ex-boyfriend. She hadn’t told him about us and he was trying to get back together with her. He’d hurt her so she said she’d wanted to play with him. She liked to flirt. A lot. When I discovered that the “toying” was a little too close for my comfort I confronted her and she stopped it, but still… I didn’t get the message. She was a child and I needed to steer clear. The problem in making sense of my relationship with Molly, though, is that working in LA for four years was the kick-in-the-ass my career and my career-mind needed. As soon as I was out there I knew I’d chosen the right profession. Production is my fuckin’ element. To borrow a phrase from my old Oxygen boss, Laurie, “I can make chicken salad out of chicken shit.”

So where does all this leave me? Well, it feels like I’m to be remaking myself again. But this time it’ll be the stripped-down version. No arm-waving, just me. One careful step at a time. Mind the gap.