lextopia

my thoughts . my memories . my family . my projects . my fears
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Archive for February, 2009

This Was One of My Best Days

February 28, 2009 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, DNC, Happiness, Mom, Politics

There’s this thing I’ve done for years and years… I don’t get my picture taken. Being always behind the camera lends itself to that, sure, but what I”m talking about is that whenever I’m with a celebrity I’m never one of those folks who gets their picture taken with the famous person. For me, it’s enough to be working with the famous person. I only allow my picture to be taken with someone when they mean something to me, and only allow my solo picture to be taken when the event or place means something to me.

This picture is one of those rare ones.

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I’m at Invesco Field in Denver, CO, and behind me is the stage on which stood the then next president of the United States. On stage behind me in the picture is actually Al Gore. Not bad either. :) But when Obama stepped up was no time for pictures. It was a time for listening. And I did. I was so proud to be standing there. It’s one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had, and i think you can see that in the picture. What a privilege it was to be there.

I’ve been doing this exercise, writing down all the things I can think of that make me happy. Not surprisingly, my favorite words are “Michael” and “Cape Cod,” but in terms of things, that’s tougher. Ever since my stuff was stolen in Italy in 1988 I haven’t let myself get attached to “stuff.” This includes pictures. So, really, the most favorite “things” I have and love are my memories.

All of my memories of Mom are my favorites–except, of course, the last one–but one does stand one… I said something or did something that had Mom laughing like she was going to bust a gut. She laughed and laughed and laughed. To see this person laugh was to see the truest form of happiness. She was the sun. :)

Anyway, I like this picture and wanted to put it up. And what’s a picture without a little backstory… :)

Paid for by The Committee to Castrate Bobby Jindal

February 26, 2009 By: admin Category: Politics

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Hello my fellow Americans. Happy *hiccup* Mardi Gras. That’s Fat Tuesday down here in New-WAH-lins. It’s a time when we all eat and drink together. Mostly drink.

*dumb smile throughout*

Anyway, I’m here tonight as the latest patsy of the Republican Party. Even though we’re not supposed to say “patsy.” It’s too queer. And we republicans don’t like fucking faggots.

*listening to earpiece*

What’s that? Oh, sorry, my producer just told me we’re not allowed to say fucking, or suggest in any way that we actually do fuck. Which, honest-to-god makes my children freaks of nature, BUT ANYWAY!!! I’m here to talk about small government. Small government isn’t big, That’s why it’s small. See? Running the country is SIMPLE. You just gotta knock a few back, and head out in front of these lights and tell the god’s honest truth. And I do: my children are freaks of nature.

*listens in ear piece*

Hm. Boy, I tell ya… having a nagging woman in your ear when you’re trying to do your first national broadcast is a bitch. Or… she’s a bitch. Oh, never mind… HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!!

Holding On So Tight

February 24, 2009 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

This morning I was diligently doing all manner of little things for “Soma Girls,” “Coal,” and my MIT project. I was going through emails and clicked on one that sent me to a page where there was an ad for a cleft palate charity on the right rail. The ad shows kids from all over the world with cleft palates who are “waiting for surgery” and asks for a small donation. I burst into tears because I can’t even afford the tiny amount they’re asking for and I guess all the tension I’ve been holding about that subconsciously came flooding out.

Recently, friends and family all around me have been having good luck. Wonderful things are happening and I couldn’t be happier. My meditation practice pretty much took care of any “pity partying” I might have done in the past in this situation, but I did allow myself to wonder a bit “when is it going to be my turn?”

In this economic crisis there are no horoscopes, no moments of fate, no miracles to wait for. There’s only faith and hard work. I keep working at finishing projects where money will eventually come in, but might not come in until after I’ve already, possibly lost so much. The spectre of “what might happen” is ever-present these days and sometimes keeps me awake at night. I wonder that if I’m able to make it through this and get to keep the house, if I will look back and realize how tight I was gripping and if that caused me to be a bad person in any way. Will I look back and see that I was intolerant, annoying, frustrated, angry, judgmental, unkind? I hope I have that luxury… of looking back.

“A Glimpse of God”

February 20, 2009 By: admin Category: Faith, General, Happiness, Health, Living, Meditation, Video

I beg of you all to watch this TED talk. It’s Elizabeth Gilbert, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE talking about artists. if you’ve ever questioned something that you were making, I guarantee that this will make you feel A LOT less stressed. It’s 19 minutes long.

What she is saying is what i have done naturally my whole life, but couldn’t put into words. The answer is accepting “the source outside of ourselves.” As an artist, and, truly, as a person, I have never felt alone in the traditional sense. I miss my mother, yes, but that’s not what this is about… I have always felt “others” around me, and have never felt like I made anything by myself. I think that’s why I always feel so awkward about accepting accolades. I have never, ever felt like I did a piece of work on my own. I was merely the vessel for many, many, many others’, as well as my own creativity. That’s also, I guess, why I’ve never been “tortured” as an artist. I never question my work because I know it was a collaboration. During the process, I question certain choices and pathways to a final product, but never the final product itself. This is also, I think, what makes me a good producer, writer, and editor – I don’t calculate what a work will be before going out and doing it. I prepare enough so that I will recognize inspirations and signs and narratives and images as being important to my final work when they come, but I don’t predetermine what a piece will be, or try to maneuver events and happenings so that a certain inspiration, sign, narrative or image. I let the moments happen.

From the beginning of my career in media, I noticed a gift for making others–interview subjects–feel at ease. It came so naturally to me. I tossed it away as having come from my training as an actor, but it wasn’t that. It was this acceptance of the forces that flow around us all the time. That acceptance breeds confidence, and confidence lets good work happen. From a very, very early age–I think from birth!–I accepted these forces and snatched them out of the air whenever I wanted. For this reason, also, I have never worried that an idea wouldn’t come to me. What I worry about is whether it will come to me in time for me to meet a deadline. 😉 But even then, I have trained myself to recognize when the “mojo,” when the collaborative forces, aren’t there. Sometimes even they need a vacation. 😉 So, in those times, I simply wait. Maybe that’s why I became so fast as an editor–with the deadline looming and the “help” not arriving until two days before, I had to JAM if I was going to be on time. I guess I recognized that sometimes this is just what happens, and so I’d better train myself to be able to take advantage of it when it does.

You’ll love the Ruth Stone story, as well as the Tom Waits story. I have felt exactly like both of those folks in Elizabeth’s description. feels good to be in such good company, and to not be insane. :)

The Skunk Chronicles, Part VI

February 18, 2009 By: admin Category: General

They’re getting in another way. There’s apparently another hole on the opposite side of the studio from the first hole. *sigh*

“Your wood’s all rotted over there,” said All-In-One guy this morning in his classically thick Boston accent. “We’re probably gonna have to cut some if it away in the Spring.” I sighed again, expecting something like that, and said: “Yeah, that’s okay.”

The house is old but has been renovated with each owner before me. The studio/workroom, has not, I don’t think, been touched in a while. The last previous owner, Pete, did some electrical work inside the studio and insulated the roof with expensive, sound-proofing stuff, but it looks like that’s where he stopped. I don’t mean anything negative by that at all – he and his partner, Bo, did an incredible job on the house. Renovated the kitchen and entire first floor, put in a new water heater, installed an Energy Star washing machine and heating system that both work great. The house is tight and warm and bright and amazing. And there’s a freakin’ ying-yang symbol on my front stoop! :) What more could a first-time home buyer ask for!

No, it’s my responsibility to fix up the workroom – to trick it out into a professional video and audio production studio. Even though I don’t know anything about recording music, my dream really is to turn the lower portion of the workroom into a recording studio. I think this town and it’s environs needs one (a real homey one), and I could make a fine side-business around 2010, 2011 when Plymouth Rock Studios is finally up and running. Small production companies will need simple, accessible, and AFFORDABLE off-site facilities for voice-overs and maybe a guitar track here and there. With all my music connections (Laura Prichard) I can certainly get a piano, and I already have the possibility of an organ, so things are looking good for 2 years from now for Closed Loop Films/Birdhouse Studios. :)

Yes, this is how far ahead I look. I was going to write “This is as far ahead as homeowners look,” but I don’t think I need to hide behind the politically correct including of others anymore. I’m good with my own instincts.

Life is taking a turn. We’ll see how far. It’s just my responsibility at this stage to do what I’ve always done: keep working, keep making contacts, and keep doing good work. Quality is the best marketing tool. :)

Manslaughter, Or On My Run-In With “Bikram”

February 17, 2009 By: admin Category: Yoga

The great thing about human is we have choices.

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I know. It sounds like I’m setting you up for something melodramatic, but I’m not. In this moment, think of me as The Buddah: calm, a serene look on my face, a smile, and a simple gaze looking respectfully right at you while I talk.

Tonight I went to my first, and absolutely last class of Bikram yoga. Yes, Bikram is the one where the teacher turns the heat in the room up so high you think your brain is going to explode. Anyway, I went cuz I’d heard it was cool (except, not at all), and, knowing all the poses already, figured I’d try something new in my renewed quest for in-shape-i-tude.

I walk into the room and, not surprisingly, it’s hot as hell. 120 degrees easy. I sit down and chill (although, not at all) until the class begins. It begins simply enough and the poses are all really easy. What isn’t easy is dealing with the pounding heart and pounding headache from the rising heat of my body combined with the 120 degree room. Now, I like to pass out from exercise as much as the next over-educated White girl, but tonight I just wasn’t in the mood, so, after an hour, I quietly and respectfully (remember, I’M THE BUDDAH!!!!) gather up my things and go out into the cool, cool, cool, cool lobby.

I’m drinking some water and wandering around looking at pictures of impossibly flexible octogenarian Indian men, when the teacher of the class comes out into the lobby.

“Are you okay?” she asks, seemingly politely, to which I, the Buddah, respond, “Oh yeah, thanks.” She presses on: “The poses are all on the floor now so you can come back inside if you want to.” “Oh no,” I say, all serene-and-shit, “It’s just too hot.” And the kicker… I smile like an angel. To which the now, officially, sadistic Bikram teacher says: “If you were dead, it’d be too hot.” To which I reply, “No, it’d be manslaughter.”

Somewhere in the middle of the class, as I waited for an opportune time to respectfully bolt, I’d realized I didn’t have anything to prove to anybody. There was another new student in the room that night. He was having a terrible time, and barely got through the first three poses before needing to sit down. As I sat waiting for my moment, I looked at him and the realization hit me like a ton of bricks: “This is stupid for me. I don’t need to be here. I know all these poses and can do them in the cold in my beautiful house. Some folks like the heat; I’m not one of them, and that’s just fine.”

I calmly chose when I left, how long I stayed to cool down in the lobby, and what I said to the asshole teacher who thought I was giving up. If each us had a dime for every person who’d misinterpreted our actions as cop-outs, we wouldn’t be in an economic crisis. The lesson for me tonight was the same lesson it always is: trust yourself. If something is done with sincerity, you’ll never be wrong.

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February 16, 2009 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

Even though I have all of my media projects to keep my hands busy, they alone don’t move time forward. When it snows like it is today it’s even harder to see any progress during the day when I don’t have a “real job” to force a visible schedule. And so I sit in my living room trying not to spend any money or go insane.

Too Cool Not To Share

February 15, 2009 By: admin Category: Randomosity

For the NYers out there, or those who have visited and miss the place, CLICK HERE. :)

The Skunk Chronicles, Part VII, and Cancer

February 14, 2009 By: admin Category: General, Happiness, House, Living, Mom

Cancer is metaphoric. A disease that gets inside you as a small, small thing, and slowly grows, killing you by millimeters…

In her book: “REFUGE,”  Terry Tempest Williams talks about her mother’s dying of cancer at the same time that she’s observing Great Salt Lake in Utah, rise and recede. I’ve written about this book a few times before. The below section comes around the middle of the book, when her mother is very sick, and it’s inevitable that she will die in the next few weeks:

“There is something unnerving about my solitary travels around the northern stretches of Great Salt Lake. I am never entirely at ease because I am aware of it’s will. It’s mood can change in minutes. The heat alone reflecting off the salt is enough to drive me mad, but it is the glare that immobilizes me. Without sunglasses, I am blinded. My eyes quickly burn on Salt Well Flats. It occurs to me that I will return home with my green irises bleached white. If I return at all.

The understanding that I could die on the salt flats is no great epiphany. I could die anywhere. It’s just that in the forsaken corners of Great Salt Lake there is no illusion of being safe. You stand in the throbbing silence of the Great Basin, exposed and alone. On these occasions, I keep tight reins on my imagination. The pearl-handed pistol I carry in my car lends me no protection. Only the land’s mercy and a calm mind can save my soul. And it is here I find grace.

It’s strange how deserts turn us into believers. I believe in walking in a landscape of mirages, because you learn humility. I believe in living in a land of little water because life is drawn together. And I believe in the gathering of bones as a testament to spirits that have moved on.

If the desert is holy, it is because it is a forgotten place that allows us to remember the sacred. Perhaps that’s why every pilgrimage to the desert is a pilgrimage to the self. There is no place to hide, and so we are found.”

It’s amazing what we can tolerate, in our bodies and in our minds. I don’t know about soul and heart, but I think they’re not real. I think those concepts (that the heart “feels,” and that the soul is part of our personality) were concocted by writers. I don’t mean to be a downer, I just don’t need romantic lies right now. I need full-on truths, and maybe Terry tempest Williams has a point, that in the unforgiving sparseness of nature, we can finally see ourselves.

Most people in the world are afraid to look at themselves when the time comes to do so. For some, who can do it, maybe they’re looking a little bit all the time, but for me, and for most of the people I know who have looked, or are too afraid to look, we need the realization in one, big dose because nothing else will work. That’s what happened to me when I left NYC in 2002 and went to live with Mom at the Vineyard. I was so lucky to have the best person possible in my life be the one who looked after me during that time. That time will always be a gift, even though it was one of the hardest in my life.

“What will I do without my best friend?” I asked Mom as she lay dying of cancer in Mass General. “It’ll be alright,” she said with annoyance. This was the truest moment in my whole life, but there was no grace to it. I’m still waiting for my moment of grace. It’s an unsearchable-for thing, grace. I think you just have to wait for it happen to you. I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish I could fly to Peru, climb to Machu Pichu, or go to La Paz where my uncle Walter – who I never met – is buried, and find grace there.

In my opinion, grace is a moment of profound understanding. I don’t think it’s religious. In her latest show, monologist Anna DeVeare Smith talk all about grace, but so much of her ideas are based on religion. Maybe if Jim is reading he can tell me what he thinks of what grace is. Not what scripture says it is, but what he thinks it is. Eh, Jim?

My bedside moment with my mother was the saddest moment in my life, and I am cursed by seeing it every day. I’ve also written before that I wish I would have been in the crematorium when her body was burned, but now I know that image would have killed me, if not on the spot, very soon thereafter.

The Skunk Chronicles, Part V: “Two Huge Skunks”

February 13, 2009 By: admin Category: House

I called All In One this morning to tell them that Caren had seen three more skunks in front of our house last night. “They looked like they were fucking,” she said in a text. I told this to All In One guy and he said: “We pulled two huge skunks outta there. I think they were females.” This theory would fit, as there was – I can’t believe I’m talking about this – skunk urine in the snow yesterday morning when I went to shovel. “That’s what’s attracting them,” said All In One guy. “Now that the females are gone, let’s see what happens.” The next theory is that the males, realizing there’s no joy to be under my workroom floors, will seek elsewhere to do their procreating.

Caren cried over the second skunk. I cried over the first. Huge or not, stinky or not, they were cute as hell and this has been a tough row to hoe. But, it’s the fuckin’ circle of life, and all that shit, so I’ll deal with it. Now if there’s anyone out there who can help me get the skunk stink out of a leather camera bag, I’d be in your debt.

Hudson out.