16 February 2014


because I can't stop thinking about the character of Gertrude Stein in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (2011) saying the job of an artist is to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. I would say Existence is not empty, but that we live emptily. So listen to the First imagining you're with me sitting on a living room floor at the foot of the record player, eyes closed and sharing a drink. Listen to the Second for words most beautiful about love and searching ("I will love you...til the ocean is folded and hung up to dry // In headaches and in worry / vaguely life leaks away"). Listen to the Third being quiet and still, remembering moments you're grateful for. 

09 February 2014


Let’s just sit down in this cozy corner here and talk, yeah? It’s been ages since I’ve seen your face, seen it without a screen of pixels, heard your voice without the shred of distance. There’s water boiling for ginger tea and this cheese plate will not disappoint. Did you know that taxi rides through a Parisian night are not always beautiful? I did forget to download some Hemingway to read in hommage to Midnight in Paris (2011) but that wouldn’t have changed the fact that when I’m up in Montmarte the route home is all industrial and/or Euro expressway tunnels. The expressway tunnels feel particularly European because I’ve never driven through such things at night in any other country. At least not ones so large with such narrow lanes and narrow cars.

Last night––before the taxi ride but after I forced myself out of my house even though I was tired and it was 9:00pm and I felt like a crazy person for leaving my inviting bed nook, books, and the Sherlock episode I was rewatching––I was on the RER into Paris, looking around singing to myself, “I’m in France. This is France. This is a French train. How does it feel to be in a French train?” It feels surreal. The world around me is functioning in a banal way and I’m having what they call an adventure. Did you know that the root meaning of the word adventurer is “one who gobbles banality and toots glitter”?

In practice, it is not always gobbled and glitter is not always realized. Though tooting is a regular part of life adventure or no. The surreality and the reason for singing to myself is because it’s hard to remember I’m living a dream. My brain and body want to function at a mellow, drone-like pace, letting my soul take frequent naps. This is why I force myself out even when it feels painful to set aside my obsessive desire to be a hermit.

So last night I spent some time at a bar where there was not any couscous as had been planned but there was a hearty sing-a-long to the Spice Girls’ “If you wanna be my lover” and at a second bar which is named after the lead singer of Metalica. I missed going to the house of some new friends but since Sundays I must be up by 8:00 and the possibility of a nap is slim, I took my taxi out.

P.S. I now say my postal code like a pro. Glitter toot.

04 February 2014


Last Thursday I developed a game called OPERATION: THERE ARE NO PEOPLE. Do you ever feel like running, how glorious it is to get lost in winding French streets, to see the swans on the river in the afternoon sun, to feel like you're flying along like a space ship to a soundtrack of Daft Punk, or to sometimes listen to the ever comforting wind. And to stretch your lungs! Then later on to be rewarded with that satisfying ache in your abs. You're about to jump into running heaven but then you're dragged back down as you think about all the people that are out in the world. Their eyes weigh down upon you as all the humans leer over you. I'm not concerned so much about their judgment as I am about their mere existence. I sense them out there, everywhere and it drives me batty like when something is making your skin crawl because it's not quite touching you but you can sense it. THEY'RE OUT THERE! THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE EVERYWHERE AND I CAN'T THINK OF EVEN ONE ROAD I CAN RUN ON WITHOUT THE RISK OF SEEING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

It's the worst.

It's the incarnation of the nightmare where you're running away from something and people keep looming into the picture. They just won't go away.

Now personally, truly deeply, I like people. Nay, I love people. I cry at the end of It's a Wonderful Life not as much for the story itself (though I do find it a bit depressing despite the really great ending and Clarence's funny voice. Can't the Bailey's ever get out of Bedford? Just for a vacation? Please?) but because I think of all the people who worked on the film from Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart down to the Continuity Girl and Best Boy and every uncredited P.A. And on top of all that, there's all the people who have watched it over the decades. Decades of people united by sharing that story, the tender moments it procures, and then it gets absorbed into their lives. ALL those wonderful lives. There are so many, so so many.

But sometimes I just want there to be nothing. The universe is expanding and someday, maybe ten billion years from now, stars will be so far away we won't be able to see them. I love stars. I love joining in with my family in struggling to get my dad's telescope set up at our cabin in the mountains so we can see more stars, see more of the moon, imagine ourselves in deep space. But I'd really love to come back in ten billion years and take a walk through the darkest nights. It sounds like a whole other realm of beautiful and peaceful.

But last Thursday, I realized there's no reason that can't be happening now inside my strange brain. When the nightmare of streets lined with square trees and people looming about appeared in my mind's eye, shwoop! I wiped them all away. I pulled up another street, shwoop! All those people can be gone too! NO MORE PEOPLE! I CAN WIPE THEM ALL AWAY! And then when needed, I can pull down a canopy of starless night and fly into my sweet abyss.

(For those wondering, this follows closely on the heals of OPERATION: I'M A WHALE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ARCTIC OCEAN and OPERATION: PEOPLE ARE LLAMAS TOO.)

What operations have you had or conducted in your life? Are you a fan of general anesthetic? Do you have any embarrassing stories you need to share with me? I'm here for you.

02 February 2014


There's an 80 year old woman who's shorter than my armpit. She's sometimes on the same morning train as me and I know for a fact she's shorter than my armpit because on one particularly packed-train day I had to reach over her to hold onto one of those stability poles. I wasn't reaching over her shoulder, I was reaching over her head and it wasn't hard. I suppose for this to having the surprising mental impact I would like to punch, I should point out that it didn't look like she had dwarfism––is that what it's called?––she was just really petite. More so than LaQuina's abuela, an amazing Spanish/Galecian woman who would tell me to make up boyfriends.

This system of measurement is my new fascination. As I walk around Paris I take note of everything around me: // that fence is taller than my armpit and so is he. That bush is shorter than my armpit and so is that bench. // I like stating obvious things, I find it really relaxing. // I am ironing now. // I'm walking to the train station now. // I'm riding the bus from a failed attempt at finding the restaurant I wanted to go to.

Stating the obvious lets out all the pressure of something, though heaven knows what. // I am sad now // is said and suddenly a weight is lifted from my chest and I can admit to being sad and stop frantically clawing for an escape that never comes. The immediate relief can be so great sad almost feels happy. With the weight is gone I can try on sad, walk around in it, and at some point later sense it dissolve as some other feeling comes to take it's place.

Perhaps this allows me to let go of the feeling I need to be (doing) something other than what I am, something very amazing and clever with the finesse of a meme-generator-who-gets-a-book-deal. I don't need to find everything I'm looking for, looking was a good thing. I don't need to be having a wild adventure, walking to the train station is enough. I don't need to be happy, not all the time anyway. It's like that feeling of returning home and being really comfortable but taking that feeling out of doors, into the expanse of the universe and yelling, "I'm just going to be me now!"

Stating the obvious also works to focus your brain and keep you from tripping and dropping glasses.

What are some obvious statements you make? What are your thoughts on Dante's Inferno? Would you like to be in a Muppet musical?