Saturday, August 22, 2009


My friend Wes, whom I recently met for lunch, told the story of our lunch and the problem I was having during the lunch in his latest podcast. It was very complimentary. He's a very good guy, and I've been lucky to have him as a friend for several years now.

I really appreciate all of the nice things you said, Wes.

Monday, August 17, 2009


For the third season premiere of MAD MEN, I went to a friend's house to watch it. And I dressed circa 1963 for the occasion.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Tree Creature.

The following was transcribed from a handwritten note I wrote yesterday:



I’m starting this letter in the dark, for I’m at a concert, an experimental, unclassifiable music concert at a gallery called Eyedrum. Someone just turned on a blue light, grabbed an electric guitar and is playing a growing, bouncing, changing grand wave of noise into the warm, stuffy air of the room around us. When I walked in, I smelled pot, but the friend I came to see put a stick of incense in his mouth and lit it, so that’s the soothing, beautiful smell that’s hanging in the air.

I keep stopping my sentences, closing my eyes. The vibrations of the music hit my feet and make them better. The sound hits my ears, challenges them but promises not to break them. I like where I am right now. There is beauty, safety and feeling in where I am. Overwhelming feeling. There is quiet in the crowd, a beauty in the shared experience.

I wish you could feel this.

There are paper lanterns, hanging red from the ceiling.

I’m sitting next to a guy named Wade, one of those guys whose relaxed, easy friendship and assurance I wish I could carry with me. He doesn’t make me nervous.

I’d not expected to be this happy tonight. I’m going to close my eyes and permit myself to feel it again.

I am in this room of people, alone with the effects of the sound as it soars. It contains layers, it is wide enough to find all of your emotions in it.

This is not what I was expecting.

My friend Nathan’s band is performing now. The safety of church organs devolved into a crash. I felt like I’m falling, now there’s something intimidating and mechanic about the noise, yet there’s joy in a fanfare, mixed with the sound of voices uplifted in joy, a crash of cymbals. The voice is Nathan’s. He’s on a microphone, chanting, but I didn’t notice at first that it was him. He sounded like a chorus of tribal voices, a beauty of simple melody played on piano to bring you home, the tapping of a drumstick on wood. There’s art in the building layers of sound, and my pen doesn’t travel fast enough to mark all the details in this, what I’m discovering and feeling. The writing of this makes me comforted, as though there’s something of this experience that I can take away, share and remember.

There is something beautiful here, something beautiful in someone who would choose to perform this, share it, explore it, how sound can make you feel, associate, remember.

Wow, Nathan just started playing the happiest variation, like the score of a scene of a child walking through a too-bright summer day down a suburban sidewalk, a cul-de-sac of green lawns and sprinklers, the promise of a new house and friendly neighbors, a life the child expected to have and enjoy.

Behind it, a grinding has started, a threat that such promise is fragile, calm can be taken away. But the happiness, only changing a little, remains.

This place is making me feel good. Coming here was a very good idea.

I like Nathan’s group better than the first, there’s more joy in it, more familiar places to visit. It’s still searchable, layered sound with meaning. But it’s also a song. I felt so vulnerable before. This second band is giving me structure, comfort, a place to feel safe and recognize as home.

I feel you’re here with me.

I’m in a room of pervasive good feeling, and I can’t rightly explain it.

It reminds me of who I can be, it reminds me of the Rothko Room at the Tate Gallery in London. When I remember feeling moved, I remember the low light, that room, the meditation and calm I felt with those rectangles.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Closet case.

I don't know why I'm showing the blog so much love today. OK, maybe it's because I've barely shown it any written love in a while and didn't want those of you who care enough to come here to think that I'd stopped, you know, writing. I have not given up on the whole writing thing, even though I've become a vlogger, even though newspapers I used to read are dying slow deaths all around, even though I have a boyfriend and such a phenomenon is usually accompanied by me going blog silent.

The boyfriend and I have been dating for five months now, and I think we're in a good place. The roommate situation - warts and all - is going mostly well. I want to go back to improv, and I've made that desire known - or, at least, I think I have - to the people who can make those kinds of calls.

I thought about HOW TO WIN FRIENDS again, picking up and finishing that project. I thought about starting different projects.

For a variety of reasons, I've started reading and writing (and occasionally napping) behind the closed door of my large bathroom closet every night. The close, confined space, the time to be alone with my thoughts with a specific focus and specific goal and the throw pillow I rest my head on while I'm in there have made for a nice, writing-with-the-door-closed sort of creative space. I like it a lot.

It reminds me of when I was a kid and used to find comfort by hiding under beds or reading in closets.

My bathroom closet helps me to feel more like myself. So every night, I take a novel, a suede journal that snaps shut and a copy of WRITING DOWN THE BONES in there, and I have fun with some or all of those things until I get tired. And Stephen, if he's in the bedroom, can surf on the Internet or watch TV. (Some guys wouldn't be OK with a boyfriend who spends time in the closet - a literal closet, which is just a sign that I'm lucky to have found the person that I've found.)

Who knows what might come of the closet time, whether I'll ever write something significant or just make a dent in all the books I own but have never read?

It just feels important to have the time, the space and someone who cares enough not to mock you on the other side of the door.

I'm in the middle of this book and love it.

I've recommended books some of you have liked before, so take this recommendation into consideration. Part of me just wants to have someone to talk about it with when I'm done.

Anyway, Elizabeth Strout's OLIVE KITTERIDGE won the Pulitzer for fiction this year, and it was in paperback already, so I figured I would just pick it up and read it eventually. But it's a novel written as a collection of stories about one gruff, difficult retired schoolteacher named Olive Kitteridge and her whole entire town. Sometimes she's a major character in the stories, sometimes she's on the periphery. Every time, though, she makes an impact on the larger scope. Each story has been individually satisfying, which means that I've gotten the sense of closure and relief at having finished something profound and beautiful every time I pick it up, and I'm only 100 pages in. It's really, really good.

What I want.

I want one of these Kindle devices. I really, really want one. I've been trying to save up money for months in order to get one, and I've been talking and talking and talking about getting one.

Has anyone who reads this blog gotten a Kindle, seen a Kindle, used a Kindle? I want some feedback on them.

Friday, May 08, 2009


My friend Will sent me this challenge:

I challenge you to film a response to a job application. It can be a real one or one you make up; you may answer truthfully as yourself or create a persona.

I answered it three times.



Friday, April 03, 2009

I know I've got a bad reputation, and it isn't just talk talk talk ...

Stephen's in bed, and I'd not blogged in a while. I feel like I've barely written anything in a while. I've been so consumed with my webcam and making quality videos everytime I sit here at the computer - which now resides in this cute alcove in the corner of my bedroom with its own tray, lamp and photogenic bookshelves - that I forgot that the main reason I bought the computer, created the alcove and live my day-to-day existence is because I want to write. I'm good at it. I should do it more often.

(See how weak that previous paragraph is? That's how much I'm out of practice.)

So maybe I'll just take a photo of myself with the webcam everytime I sit down to write, and that'll get me out of the habit of strictly using this computer for webcamming (badly) and Facebook games.

Maybe I should revert to HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE for further inspiration, for I got a lot of good essays out of that - some of which may be published elsewhere soon. If I could return to improv a better, saner, easygoing person who was capable of keeping his emotional outbursts onstage and didn't constantly seek approval and trusting relationships, I would use that outlet to become more prolific. For a time, I even sought out details of my family's past in the hope that I would find inspiration to write stories there. In high school, I created a whole town of melodramatic, fictional characters and impossible circumstances, and I escaped into that. (The words came so easily then.) Sometimes I write for an audience, and my writing works out well for that.

So the pattern is that I seek inspiration, then I get so caught up in and obsessed with the inspiration that I forget to use it much to write about it. Or I tire of the inspiration.

But to get to the emotional core of the stories - the ones I feel most, the ones I most enjoy telling, the ones where I manage to mock myself the most - I think I need to trust myself and trust that I already know what I'm doing.

What do I have when I've been stripped of everything outside of myself that I think I need to be able to write? I have myself. And that's enough.

OK, cool. I've psyched myself into giving this writing thing a shot again. It's just me and the screen, the keyboard, the pen, the page. And it's all I need.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I'm watching MADE OF HONOR - don't ask - and the opening scene has Patrick Dempsey as a college senior in 1998. As in, when I was a college senior. Patrick Dempsey is A DECADE older than me in real life. So that means, in the decade that the actual movie takes place, Patrick Dempsey's aged 20 years. Or that I look as old as Patrick Dempsey in my actual life. I hate movies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How to deal.

This is the tribute I read at my grandfather's funeral yesterday.

When I was 12 and generally insecure, Grandpa came to Atlanta for a visit, sat with me and my brother at the kitchen table and taught us both how to play cards, a game of Rum 500. My brother picked the game up easily, whereas I was having difficulty even shuffling the deck because of my disability. So I complained, talked about how I didn’t want to play. But Grandpa wasn’t having any of that.

He showed me how he shuffled cards. He split the deck and then put it back together. And he did it again and again. It wasn’t fancy, but it got the job done. And he taught me that I could do it the same way. And I did it. Then I didn’t think I was dealing the cards fast enough. He told me that people would wait, that you do what you can with what you have. That’s how you deal cards. And that’s how you deal with life.

A couple times, I asked him for mercy, told him that I would get the hang of the game if he just “let me win” a couple hands.

He laughed at me.

“Let you win? LET YOU WIN? I’m not going to let you win anything. You’ll win when you know how to play.”

This was a man who’d beat you at checkers and not let you forget about it for the rest of the day. He was one of the funniest people ever, a real character. He was tough. He taught me how to make a quick, sarcastic comment. He taught me how to be strong, how to be confident. It works with a deck of cards. And it works when you’re going through your day.

And he was right. Victories aren't given. You win when you know how to play.

Once, when I was a toddler, he put me on the tire swing behind his house, and I was nervous. And I think my parents were even a little scared. But he told me it’d be OK. He told me that all I had to do was hang on. I’m still hanging on.

Grandpa was great. He inspired this passion and strength in every member of his family. I will carry him with me – in every card game, in every joke, in every stubborn argument and in every accomplishment worth fighting for - for the rest of my life. Every one of us who loved him, who learned from him will do that.

Thank you, Grandpa.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mocked by Germans.

Yesterday's video about the book I read caused these guys to make this video about how boring I am. It's really, really funny.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New year.

He told me to take what he was saying at face value and not to worry about it having anything to do with me or anything that I had done, which made me worry about what I might have done to lead him to say that.

Hours later, he said I was making things worse in the exact way he told me not to. He said that my means of trying to solve every problem was just a matter of my being a brat who always had to get their way. He said that, if people continually call you melodramatic or too fucked-up to deal with, it's probably true. He said you can't go back and call it a problem that you have if you're not willing to take steps - like therapy - to try and fix it. If you are unwilling to fix the problem, you don't get the benefit of using your personality problems as a crutch.

It's not all about you, he said. You're not as good a person as you think you are, he said. He was right. He is right.

I kept making it worse by saying stupid, obnoxious, self-involved asides. We went to sleep, and, when I woke up, I was afraid to say anything at all. So, in the living room, we tossed around a football.

Once upon a time, I didn't think I would ever see him again. Then I saw him again. Then I saw him again. Then we fought, and I thought I would never see him again. Then I saw him again. Then I saw him again.