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Archive for the ‘Filmmaking’

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…

 

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.

 

“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…’ “

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

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. :)

Cheers.

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.

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.