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Archive for the ‘Coal’

Six Years Ago Today

July 06, 2011 By: admin Category: Coal, Filmmaking, Happiness, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom, Soma Girls

Ali and I were in the Sony studio offices and he was talking to me. Even though I was looking right at him, and hearing the words, I didn’t process one, single thing he said. I was, instead, hoping and praying that I would be able to make the flight from Orlando to Boston. It was the last flight that night and I was sweating, worrying that if I missed it, I’d be driving all that long way. Hopefully, though, if it had come to that, someone would have convinced me to take the first flight out the next morning, as I would not have been in any condition to drive.

It was something in Dad’s voice, in the way he said “Well, that’s up to you” when I asked whether he thought I should come up or not. I was working and it was a critical time for the project I was on, but… my mother was in the hospital.

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the day after I arrived–my birthday. On that day, Dad, usually never one to forget anything, caught a bit of what my brother was saying to me over the phone (he was wishing me a happy birthday), and while I was still on the phone I heard Dad say under his breath, “Oh for heaven’s sake…” He’d just realized it was my birthday. We were driving, on our way back to the hospital in the early morning.

Saying I miss her still doesn’t even scratch the surface. Of course I do, but as grief evolves it turns into other things and today my grief feels like profound loneliness. There’s no unfilled hole anymore and no wrenching pain, there’s just that feeling of my other half being gone. I am incomplete.

The meditation helps me to stay centered and objective, and even joyful, but it also strips every barrier away so that I can more clearly see how lonely I truly am. I am, indeed. It’s not a romantic relationship that I’m missing, though, it’s someone who knew me, and saw me, and cared about me every day. Someone who thought about me every day. We need that, I think, and I’m coming to realize that it might just not be in the cards for me for a long, long while, if at all. I’m certainly not looking for it because… where would I start, ya know? That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. So instead of actively looking for someone I’m just living my life, doing my incredible projects. I am so grateful that my day job and my independent artist work are the same thing: making films. Ridiculous. :) Amazing. :) The kind of love I need and want will come if it’s supposed to. In the interim, I will enjoy the joys of those I love. Seeing joy in the face of someone I cherish is worth a lot.

Thanks for all the vanilla cakes, Mom. I miss you.

 

Touchdown

December 20, 2010 By: admin Category: Coal, Filmmaking, Love, Meditation

The first stop on what has been a very, very, very long journey came yesterday. I finished the stringout/1st roughcut of my second documentary, “The Dirty Truth About Coal.”

This journey began in August 2007 when I read an article that got me hopping mad. You can read all the backstory about the film on the website: www.thedirtytruthaboutcoal.com. I began researching everything I could about coal production and the dangerous and expensive options Big Coal and lobbied legislators were proposing for how to deal with the carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants that were contributing disproportionately to global warming. After a couple of months I realized how little the average American knew about the dangers associated with coal-fired power plants. We all know enough about the horrors of mining coal, but once it’s out of the ground the troubles are harder to see.

In September of that year I met the man who would change my life: Scott Terrell. Scott was from Truckee, CA and worked for the local branch of the major utility there. As a result of his job he heard that the utility was proposing to build a coal-fired power plant right there in Truckee. Scott freaked out. He knew about the dangers and so, putting his job in jeopardy, he told his neighbors, and before long a grassroots campaign sprang up to oppose the building of the coal plant. Here’s the kicker: they were successful.

I met Scott in San Francisco at a green building conference called “West Coast Green.” I was in the media room waiting for my next interview, which wasn’t for another hour. Scott walked in and said he had a story to tell about coal. I said, “have a seat.” And that’s where everything started.

At the end of the interview Scott connected me with Tim Wagner, then the head of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Clean Energy Campaign. He was living in Salt Lake City and traveling all over the state educating small communities about the dangers of coal-fired power plants, and helping them to organize protests. We talked over email for a few months and then I moved back to the East coast in June 2008. On my way driving cross-country, I stopped in Salt Lake and interviewed Tim and a bunch of local farmer activists. And got some amazing and horrific b roll of HUGE coal-fired power plants in otherwise gorgeous and unspoiled rugged terrain of rural Utah. Some of that footage is in the current roughcut. On that trip I also stopped in Chicago and interviewed a young activist, Dorian Breuer of Chicago’s P.E.R.R.O. activist group, who would tell me about Dr. Jonathan Levy, a public health scientist at Harvard who had written a definitive report on the effects on public health of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Up until that interview with Dorian, I had no idea that the pollution from the coal stacks was so harmful.

At a media conference in Boston in February the following year, I met the VP of programming for PBS’ wonderful series, “POV.” I pitched her the film, which at that point was very broad but did include what I had discovered from reading Dr. Levy’s report. I told the VP that it was likely that anyone under the age of 50 in the United States hadn’t take a clean breath of air in their lives. Immediately, I saw her eyes sparkle. “This is definitely something we would be interested in,” she said, but also advised me to review the coal-related films POV had already aired and see if I could come up with something new.

Terrified, but up for the challenge given her interest, I did more research on the health effects of pollution… and the rest, they say, is history. :)

I’ve been editing the film for just over one year. In October, 2009 I went back to Chicago and captured three of the interviews that would become crucial aspects to the current film: Brian Urbaszewski (Respiratory Health Association of Metro Chicago); Dr. Susan Buchanan (MD with specialty in enviro health); and Kim Wasserman, coordinator of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization–a neighborhood youth org. that educates the low-income community of Little Village about air and other kinds of pollution in their neighborhood. Little Village sits 100 feet (across the street) from the Fisk Generating Station (coal plant). I have footage taken from a public park across from Fisk where kids play on a jungle gym in the shadow of the stack.

Even after all these interviews and then finding the legal activist treasure-trove of Conservation Law Foundation here in Boston, I still didn’t really think that I would actually figure out how to make a film that would have a real impact on society. After all, I thought, I’m not Spike Lee, this isn’t “When The Levees Broke.”

And yet, it is.

Somehow, after a year of editing and more interviews, and researching, and white-boarding and finally deciding to settle on a trajectory, I have finished the first roughcut… and it’s fucking GREAT.

This month I’ll add some placeholder b roll to cover all the talking heads, and then will send that out for the first round of feedback. I’ll also submit the film to festivals and grants. This is going to be quite a few months…

In the midst of all this there have been other changes and today brings about punctuation points to them too. Sometimes we have to let things go. It’s not giving up, persay, it’s saying to yourself, “This is no longer something that is helping me to see clearly,” and so if you have the courage you stand up and face your fear about leaving this thing by the side of the road. I’ve done that in a few small ways this past week and already feel lighter. I reorganized my bookshelves, picked stuff up off the floor, ate the leftovers, and sat down for ten hours and cranked out a film. As a result of letting some things go, I am seeing more clearly.

It’s important to remember that losses aren’t deaths. They’re just losses. We should take from what was what helps us and leave the rest. Not even deaths are deaths. The idea that death means the end of someone is silly. People live forever in our hearts and memories, and, if we choose, in actions we perform to honor them and the gifts they gave us. Today I choose to honor those I’ve lost by staying in the present moment and really seeing everything I see.

I also want to thank all of you who read this for your incredible support over these last years. It has made ALL the difference. :)

Happy Solstice!

Love,

Alexia

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. :)

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.

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.

Scents

February 25, 2010 By: admin Category: Coal, Faith, Filmmaking, Living, Unemployment, Valet Battleship Parking, Video

Since I bought my house there have been items and places on the property and on me that smell like skunk. It’s a semi-permanent thing. “Semi” because once I finally block up the accesses to the crawlspace under the barn where the little buggers live, the smell will fade over time (to be replaced by other more pleasant ones, I hope). But for the time being some piece of me or my life will smell like skunk.

hedden3full

Dr. of Animal Science and professor at Colorado State University and autistic, Temple Grandin said “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.” This is the simplest I’ve ever heard The Golden Rule described. It’s not enough, apparently, to let people know that they have to be kind, you have to paint them a picture. Dr. Grandin’s phrase is as clear a picture as there is. Just watch any National Geographic special about animals in the wild and you’ll get the idea…

Nature is on my mind today as it has been almost every day since my unemployment-forced convalescence began. It’s because when I wake up I can see it and hear it all around through the many windows in my house, and because the business of nature has permeated my smell. Smell is identity. It can pinpoint time and place, and sometimes emotion. Sometimes a scent on me will be the inspiration for me to change my attitude. If I’m dirty I shower, sure, but that’s not it. Sometimes I’m perfectly clean and shower anyway because I need that fresh, organic shampoo smell to clear my mind.

I’ve been wound-up pretty tight lately because of the unemployment. It seems that no matter how many resumes I send out there is no work for me. It used to be that I could figure out what I was doing wrong, what I was saying in a cover letter that I shouldn’t say, or what I should remove from my resume to make myself seem a little less experienced (read: “expensive”). It is just fact that I’ve been doing what I do as long as I’ve been doing it, but that’s not what employers in this economy want to hear. They want to hear that you’re “inexperienced” (read: “cheap”), but have been working at this thing long enough to… you know… know everything.When I first got into filmmaking you had to have experience as a producer. Then you had to have experience as a videographer. Then you needed to know how to edit, which made you a Preditor (Producer/Editor). Then you needed to know how to create basic graphics. These days, if you can’t do all of these things as well as know a fairly large amount of motion graphics, you’re considered unhirable.

When I was at AOL I was hired as a video producer/editor. When the economy started to tank, my budget was slashed. No more video. So with the help of my immediate boss, I learned to blog and kept my job for another year. When the economy sank even more our uber boss put up another set of hoops. I jumped through them all. Whatever was required I learned not only how to do it, but do it well. I worked my fuckin’ ass off and got good at a lot of things. When I lost my job I took the time to made two documentary films and today, still unemployed, I am hard at work on the third. I work my fuckin’ ass off.

If our societal systems can’t figure out how to use people like me in the day-to-day improving of the world, then i think it’s time to reboot or rebuild the systems. We’re doing something very wrong if people with such skills can be tossed aside. Truly, I’m no different than anyone who can do something well, or anyone at all, really, because I believe that everyone is good at something. If nothing else, everyone is passionate about something and that’s a start to being good at it.

Temple Grandin saw that cattle were unhappy in the rectangular pens they were being held in, so she designed pens that catered to what made them feel good. If there was another Noah-like flood, the day the water recedes and people are allowed back on land they’ll ask each other what they can do so society can be rebuilt. You’re a carpenter? Okay, you go over here. You’re a priest? Great, go over there. You can make a mean chicken catchitori? Perfect, please design us a kitchen. You’re a documentary filmmaker? Thank goodness, we’ll need someone to look around at what we’re doing and write it all down so we remember.

I have value, and so do you.

ala Nilda

February 03, 2010 By: admin Category: Blogging Dinner, Coal, Cooking, Family, Food, Happiness, Health, House, Humane Food, India, Love, Michael, Molly, Mom, Recipes

Before I go another back-breaking minute of transcribing a long interview for my coal film, I’ll pause to tell you about a treasure I just found…

When Mom died I did three things: gathered all her clothes and jewelry and farmed them out to family, friends, and charities; brought home my third of her ashes (morbid, I know, but I really wanted “her” near me); and collected as many of her cookbooks as I could find. Specifically, I searched for books that had her writing in the notes and margins. Mom thought in recipes all the time and when she had an idea, she’d write it down. Everywhere. There are bits of loose paper, newspaper articles, notecards, and books written all over in Spanish and English. Names of spices and proteins, temperatures, and cook times.

BLURREDcandy-peanut-brittle

Today, as a break from the transcribing and in the name of finding something yummy to make for dinner, I pulled out one of her stacks of random recipes clipped together with a metal binder and looked through them. What I found are recipes and memories:

“Chicken Curry, Juthica.” Juthica is an old family friend and a good one to begin this list with. Mom and Juthica met through their Yale connections in New Haven, CT in the 60s and became good friends. Mom always liked strong, independent, and smart people and Juthica was certainly that. One day while I was in my sophomore year in college in NYC, I got a call from Mom telling me to come home immediately, that she had someone she wanted me to meet. It was in the middle of the week and so I reminded my usually VERY academically-minded mother that I’d be missing a day of COLLEGE if I came home. “I know. It’s worth it. Come tonight,” is all she said. I got on the commuter train early the next day and met Juthica that afternoon. Like my mother before me, I was instantly entranced by charismatic Juthica–a native Bengali of Calcutta–and resolved to help her with the humanitarian aid project she’s started only a few years before. Little did I know that this would be the first spark in a film career that would have it’s first international accolade (“Soma Girls”) because of Juthica.

“Alfajores.” These are basically the cookies to end all cookies. Think of an oreo where the chocolate cookie-part is a butter cookie and the middle squishy part is half-hardened caramel spread. My brother would beg for these.

“Roast Pork ala Nilda.” Nilda was my mother’s name and almost nothing in her repertoire of savory dishes would exclude cumin. That’s where the “ala Nilda” bit comes in, I think. Not surprisingly, therefore, this dish has a bunch of fun spices as well as cumin and on the notecard includes the instruction: “Let sit for ten minutes, then serve with the pan juices.” Neither my mother nor I have ever met a pan of juices we didn’t like. The theory is that if it’s slurpable with bread, it’s “FOOD.”

When I was much older and had only a modest number of recipes that I could cook well, my mother bemoaned her former strictness in the kitchen. Even though she came from a traditional culture where women were suppose to learn the “domestic arts,” she hated having me underfoot when she cooked. True, I did have an annoying habit of grazing as things got prepared (something I also plagued Molly–another fabulous cook–with), but that wasn’t it. I think she just needed her space clear. The kitchen was her church, her fiefdom, her production studio and she needed it controlled in order to create her masterpieces. Thankfully, I have a very good sense of smell and memory for the flavors and dished she created and so even though she made me stand at arm’s length, I saw most of what she did and how she did it.

Today I still cook only a few of my mother’s dishes–I’m slowly building up the amount that I memorize–but the ones I know have their impact. Recently, I made Mom’s Bolognese sauce for Michael and Laura. Michael flipped when he tasted it. I saw the memories and joy fly across his face. It must have been almost ten years since he’d last had it with pasta. That sauce has a Molly memory too: her family loved it so much that they used to commission it. Or, sometimes, when I was making it for just Molly and me word would get around that “Alexia is making meatsauce,” and before we knew it we’d have many more at the table for dinner. :)

Mom’s meals used to feed armies of children in New Haven, mostly Michael’s friends who, if they became “regulars” soon saw themselves being cooked-for specifically. “I’m making the pie for David,” Mom would say of Michael’s best friend. I’d have to have children in order to have those kinds of numbers of people climbing through my house, but when there’s a group event that I’m either hosting or contributing too, I always make something of Mom’s. It’s an easy way to make people happy and introduce a whole new crop of devotees to “ala Nilda.”

Head-Out-of-My-Ass, or 2010 ;)

January 05, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Coal, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Meditation, Molly, Mom, Valet Battleship Parking

hands_hold_water

Since Mom died holidays have been odd, tough to define. Mostly they’ve felt not mine, like I was carpetbagging. As a result the last–what is it five? four?–years of holidays have gone by without much memory. The best so far, I think, was Sarah’s tree last year. She was soooooo happy and thrilled about her “pesky tree” that she made the holiday feel like an actual holiday. These days, though, with Mom’s stuff dispersed between Michael, Dad and me, it’s hard to settle in to anything. To find a “home.” Cut to my breakup with Molly and you have One Confused Alexia.

Until two nights ago… 😉

Two nights ago I slept in my bed for the first time in ten days. Granted, New Year’s was… amazing… but one’s bed is still one’s bed. No matter how much I’d like to make my bed comfy and cozy and “like home” for my new squeeze, it’ll never be as cozy and relaxing as her own. It’s the same with me. Waking up on the TempurPedic with the sun streaming in from all four directions provides a comfort and relaxation I can’t do justice here.

So, as a result of sleeping in my own bed again after such a long time I feel surprisingly “at home.” This is a first for a while, folks, and I’m eager to see if the feeling grows. A LOT of structure will come once I have a regular job again, but in the meantime I’m making the most of the time I have by finally doing the things I’ve wanted to do for a while: clean up the workroom; consolidate all the  media that’s scattered over a few drives; finish some small projects; hang pictures of my family all over the walls of my house; learn After Effects and Logic; fall in love again; and let go of the demons of the past for once and for all. In short, I aim to get off my ass and make 2010 one of the best year’s of my life. :)

Years ago, while in college, a chick I had a crush on said to me “You decide to be in love, it doesn’t happen like a thunderbolt.” While I disagree about the thunderbolt I also agree about the decision part. What I think she meant was that too often we shy away from accepting how feel about someone, giving in to our worries that they might not like us as much as we like them. But where does that get us? Nowhere and stuck, that’s where. I’ve never been that guy and wasn’t expecting I’d ever be, so imagine my surprise when I woke up in California in the middle of a five year relationship in which I was. Well, that’s working on being done now cuz I’m DECIDING that it’s been long enough. I’m going to think of this phase like sitting shiva. I’m going to let my emotions settle in to 2010 and then I’m going to kick’em out the door. Yes, I still have a bunch of Molly’s stuff and she still has a bunch of mine, but FUCKIT. It’s just stuff. What I need today is LOVE, pure and simple. The love of family, the love of friends, and the love of a new love. :) Easy? Not easy? Who cares as long as it gets done.

Happy New Year, y’all. Time for everyone’s dreams to come true. :)

Searching for That Sense of Place

December 28, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Coal, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Molly, Mom

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I’m so tired of being unemployed. I keep trying to take it lightly and think of the future when, from the comfort of my job, I can look back to this time and say with grace: “Wow, that was fuckin’ hard.” It’s amazing to me that I was able to edit one film and conduct serious interviews for another during this time. Maybe that speaks to the resilience taught me by my parents, but I don’t know. I just constantly feel like crying about it all won’t do any good, and so I keep working at the films… It’s still odd, though, that during the scariest financial time of my life I am a first-time homeowner, and a filmmaker who keeps getting great ideas thrown at her. Odd & wonderful & curious & terrifying.

“By the way, I’m going to wake you up in the middle of the night because I won’t think you’re real.”

My needs are emerging. It’s been difficult seeing everything I was missing in my day-to-day life with Molly. The neglect, the coldness. She was such a sweetheart, but how did I live so long without touch? She wouldn’t touch me in public. She would barely even stand next to me. She frequently didn’t introduce me, and when she did it was as her “friend.” It makes me sick to my stomach. How did I stand for that??? Anyway, looking back on it all now makes the emotions I buried then come out. It’s sooooooo painful. It’s like I’m reliving it, and for what? Hopefully to feel these things for the last time and finally get the whole hellish experience out of my soul.

And then, in the midst of all of this, comes this new person. All bright and shiny and sooooo loving. We can’t keep our hands off each other and that touch, for me, is food. It is the nourishment I lacked and longed for four years. Her touch makes me aware of how love-anemic I’ve been. Sometimes when she touches me my heart breaks a little and I’m afraid of how she’ll feel about my reaction. Will it be too much? Am I just not letting go? Am I dwelling? Or is this the past in it’s death throes?

These holidays have been very hard. Harder than others since Mom died. I didn’t feel “in my place.” I need to find it–my place. I’m looking…

The Christmas Crazies

December 27, 2009 By: admin Category: Coal, Cooking, Filmmaking, Food, The Film, Video

Ever since arriving on the Vineyard for this year’s holiday I’ve been transcribing interviews for my coal film, The Dirty Truth About Coal. The only interruptions have been meals, walks, and occasional readings of “The Sum of Our Days” by Isabel Allende. It is Isabel, in fact, who will write this post. Or, well, who’s writing I will copy here for your enjoyment.

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The scene in the book takes places in Isabel’s house in northern California. A camera crew and two chefs arrive with 14 boxes of material in order to film the preparation of a meal described in one of Isabel’s books, “Aphrodite.” Isabel’s designer daughter-in-law, Lori, oversees the event, while Isabel and her husband Willie, wait impatiently to eat the fruits of the chefs labor.

“The dishes were produced with mind-numbing slowness; they (the chefs) placed each lettuce leaf as if it were the feather on a hat, precisely in the angle between the tomato and the asparagus. Willie got so nervous he had to leave, but Lori seemed to comprehend the importance of the damned lettuce. In the meantime the artistic director replaced the flowers in the garden, which Willie had planted with his own hands, with others more colorful. None of this appeared in the magazine, the photos they used were all close shots: half a clam and a lemon slice. I asked why they had brought the Japanese napkins, the tortoise-shell serving spoons, the Venetian lanterns, but Lori shot me a look that said I should keep quiet. This lasted the entire day, and since we couldn’t attack the meal before it was photographed, we put away five bottles of white wine, and three red, on empty stomachs. By the end, even the artistic director was stumbling. Lori, who had drunk nothing but green tea, had to carry the fourteen boxes back to the van.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone. 😉