Tuesday, June 28, 2005
I sometimes worry that I am steering my characters in the wrong direction, or not telling the things about them that I need to tell. I worry that I won't realize how far off track I am until it's too late. In my mind, my characters are fully formed people. I know what they look like, how they react to things and the choices they are inclined to make. It's actually BECAUSE I feel I know them so well that I fear I will underexplain them, keeping them too close to me. Trying to create something as big as a novel still overwhelms me, even though I am about a third of the way into it.
In other news, I wish I were Samantha, and could wiggle my nose while here at work, and arrive home later to find my laundry completely done -- folded and put away and everything.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Last year, in late spring, Gym and I started noticing these beautiful purple flowers on some of the trees in the city. At first there were just a few of them, but as the weeks went by, the flowers became more plentiful until it seemed like every street was glowing with violet. Neither of us had ever noticed these trees before, despite having lived in Los Angeles for years, and we decided oh-so-sappily that they must have bloomed just for us. On more than one occassion, we half-joked that we could get married underneath one and not need anything else by way of flowers or decoration. Just standing by these trees was magic enough. When the flowers on the Jacarandas eventually faded, and the trees looked normal again, I worried that they might not bloom again, and that we'd missed our chance.
Early this year, when winter had passed and the trees in LA were just starting to think about becoming green again, I was suddenly struck with a fleeting thought of the Jacarandas. Gym and I were broken up then, and in my saddness over that I couldn't imagine that I'd be able to handle seeing those purple flowers, should they decide to reappear.
Cut to a day at the beginning of May when I was driving home from work and a flash of lilac colored tree caught my eye. My heart bounced with happiness. Life had taken unexpected turns in the preceding months, and Gym and I were back together. He was doing reshoots on a movie in London at the time, I couldn't wait to call and tell him to get home because the Jacarandas were in bloom again. Over the next several weeks, we watched the trees get full and fat together.
Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of our first official date. We are going to celebrate it despite the five months we spent apart because blessings, the ones you can count on and the ones that surprise you, ought to all be cherished.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Yesterday marked one full year that I've been keeping this journal. In going back to read my first few entries, I'm struck by how, on the surface, it appears that very little has changed since then. In truth, almost nothing remains exactly as it was.
Last year at this time, I was struggling with job dissatisfacion, just as I am this year. But now I'm at a completely different job, in an entirely different industry, and my mind set is also quite changed. I no longer put so much pressure on my day job to be a social outlet, a confidence booster, or a form of entertainment. I simply slug it out every day and bide my time while I pursue other endeavors. This doesn't mean that I don't still groan every morning when I get out of bed and prepare to spend my day under the buzzing florescents because I do. It just doesn't cause me nearly the internal anguish it did then. I do wish I could see the light at the end of the Assistant Tunnel, but I no longer feel that if I don't see it by tomorrow, I'll risk plunging into a state of psychosis.
I was spending these same days last year preparing for my first anniversary of dating G. My very first entry ever was about the gift I was making him. I'm working on a new gift for him this year, one I'm just as excited about, one that we're working on together. I never imagined last June that there would be so much heartache and turmoil in our relationship between that anniversary and this one. But the result is that we are stonger and happier, as individuals and as a couple, than we were then, when our relationship already had incredible stains on it that I just hadn't acknowleged.
Last June, Sweet Monday was still not much more than a domain name that April and I owned, and a dream we talked about constantly in order to help get us through our work days. It's still just a seedling of a company, a baby, but it's growing. We're actually getting paid to do what we love, to photograph and create. While our goal of being able to do this full time is a long way off, it's much closer than it was when we were doing little more than hoping for it.
I also wasn't writing much back then. Aside from this blog, I suppose I probably wasn't writing at all, unless you count my daily marathon email sessions with MS. I did a lot of READING about writing, I did a lot TALKING about writing, but I was loathe to actually put down words. Now I am 85 pages into my novel. I don't know if it will sell, or if the only people who ever read it will be my dad and G., but I can't even say how good it feels simply to be doing it.
I read a great quote recently, and stumbled across it again the other day on the blog of Andrea Scher, a girl who I've really come to admire as a wonderful artist and all around great person. The quote is by Van Gogh, and it says: "If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter', then by all means paint...and that voice will be silenced."
In the past year, I have learned to silence, or at least quiet, some of the voices I've carried with me for a long time. I'd like to think this journal has helped me, and I'm grateful for that.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Monday, June 20, 2005
Only got to page 82 last week. I'm supposed to be much closer to 100, but have only been averaging three pages a week instead of five. I'm strangely okay with this. (Although don't get me wrong. I will throw a party for myself when I reach the triple digits.)
Why I'm alright with not having written as much as I ought:
I spent time this weekend with a friend I hadn't seen in two years.
I played with Photoshop and learned how to do a couple of new things, which makes me feel confident that I can learn to do a couple more.
I saw Wicked at the Pantages theatre on Saturday, after watching April try to eat surpise rabbit stew at Cafe Des Artistes.
I boxed with G. (Well, you know, I hit his focus mits, and he pretended I'm strong.) Am reveling in the sore arms that resulted.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
as i was walking to the market just now, i saw a man probably not much older than me hopping across the street. he was wearing nothing but shorts. no shirt, no shoes. as he darted across the intersection, he babbled wildly to himself, and his pants slipped down a bit with each step. he jumped about as if the bottoms of his feet were on fire. ah well, i thought, at least he still knows when it's safe to cross.
it's a good idea, not going shopping when you're hungry, and running the risk of buying too much as a result. but if you've just eaten, and are stuffed to the gills, perhaps that's not the best time to go either.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
I'm off to see my cousin Megan get married in Indiana this weekend.
How did we suddenly become old enough to be getting married? I still sometimes think of us as little girls who played with worms (which you'd find truly shocking if you knew us, and I guess most of you do) and put on elaborate plays and "musicals" for our parents and grandparents. I really don't feel so changed from the girl I was then.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
A couple months ago, G. suggested that we read a book together. I was thrilled by the idea. I've always wanted the kind of relationship that would include shared literature. But G. and I have different ideas, for the most part, of what constitutes a good read, and I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to find something we'd both really enjoy.
Aloft by Chang-Rae Lee was one of the first books to catch our mutual eye (which is green, just like our non-mutual eyes) while on a search through Borders one afternoon. It was one I'd heard many, many good things about, but had for some reason put off reading on my own. I'm glad now that I did, as it turned out to be the perfect novel to launch our little Nosotros Book Club.
Reading this book felt like a privilege. It is one that I wish I could buy for everyone I know and have them devour it immediately. When we read the last words of it out loud to each other, I cried, in part because it was such a lovely, well written page, and in part because I wasn't yet ready to say goodbye to the characters, or to the experience of reading about them with G.
This one will stay with me for a while.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Thursday, June 02, 2005
The kids were great. There are twenty one of them living with their mothers in the shelter, and we had fifteen making colorful paper fish (with streamers on the tails, of course!) with the four of us who were volunteering. They ranged in age from two to nine (the age range for all the kids currently in the shelter is 6 months to fifteen years), which are ages I know well from having little sisters who either are that age now, or were not too long ago. I couldn't help but compare these children with E & H, wondering if the weight of what they've been through so early in their lives gave them a visible heaviness that my sisters don't have.
Some of their faces were tired or sad, while others were joyful and sparkling. I think this would probably be the case with any group of children. Children wear their immediate emotions for all to see, and you can't always tell how deeply the feelings run. It's probably impossible to know if these kids have already been scarred for life by what has happened to them and their mothers, or if their lives will move in a direction so positive that these days of living amongst so much bold heartache will slip from their memories entirely.
There was one little boy, three or four years old, whose face was so alive, he was almost glowing. I wish I could have taken a picture of him. I'm not sure I've ever seen a child with such expressive, happy eyes. He worked very hard on his fish, and laughed to himself while he did so, and I made a silent plea that he would stay that kind of boy even after he was old enough to realize how difficult life can be.
Emily was one of the girls at my table. She turned nine on May 26th and has two younger sisters who were at the next table over. She named her paper fish Timmy Tom Fish, and when she wrote the name across his colorful gills, I noticed that she is left handed like me, and holds her pencil in the same awkward way that I do.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I'm incredibly shy.
I'm sure I've mentioned this before.
For the most part, my shyness is of the usual sort. I get nervous about meeting new people and doing things that require me to interact with strangers in a way that I'm not used to. Sometimes it goes beyond that, to the point of my feeling timid about something ridiculously simple, like having dinner with a friend I've known for years.
The shyness has been debilitating at times. There've been numerous things I've wanted to do but have backed away from in order to avoid the awful anxiety that would come along with it. Every once in a while though, I suddenly find that I've signed on for something that puts me out there, and I have to do it whether I'm scared to or not.
Tonight I'm volunteering to do craft projects with some kids who live in a shelter for domestic abuse victims. I'm nervous about this. I won't know anyone there, I don't know what to expect or what exactly is expected of me. Basically, it's your garden variety anxiety producer. I've had butterflies about it since yesterday.
I hope it will be worth it. I think it will be. It almost always is.