This year kicked my ass. Had many moments of the awful/wonderful realization that no outer experience, person or thing will bring me contentment. It comes from deep satisfaction with myself, but how the fuck do I accomplish that? I met so many amazing new souls this year, especially at the ecstatic dance gatherings I’ve been attending, where I experienced the previously impossible: sustained moments of a quiet and calm mind. I finished writing my novel. It’s not done, but it’s finished. Agents etc. think it needs another revision. I agree, but am finding it hard to write when I can barely keep my head above water (I’m looking at you, Kaiser and rent and inconsistent payroll and the $350 speeding ticket). I am single for the first time in 5 years. “Did you meet someone else?” “Yeah–myself.”
I’m considering buying two golden rings, one for each hand, and marrying myself to my art.
I’m trying to be a warrior of love. The first soldier to recruit is m-y-s-e-l-f.
“Highchair” by Autolux might be the best song ever.
Next year I really want to: wake up at the same time everyday, get better at drumming, start a webseries with my roommates, brush Chairman Meow and King Alobar more often, explore more of Koreatown, go see Beva in Greece, manifest someone giving me a camper for creative retreats, be more diligent about backing up my laptop, build my photography portfolio, drink less wine and more water, eat more of the delightful magic mushrooms I’ve been enjoying since October, be a better listener, stay in more, kiss more, stretch more.
Left L.A. last Thursday, heading home to Reno-Tahoe-Gardnerville….had money on my mind, my job with the guerilla art project is back, and for every hour I spend handing out free music I am paid $16…it’s never enough at the end of the month, but surely it would be “enough” to someone else, like the girl on the side of the road heading north on the 5 with a sign that reads “homeless and pregnant”…got a ticket for speeding outside Mojave, then my car wouldn’t turn back on so I spent the night in a Mojave motel, where I smoked 2 joints, watched 6 hours of HBO, and had a beautiful “what does it all mean???” emotional breakdown (Will I ever own who I truly am? Why can you be truly in love but still not right for each other? Will it backfire how honest I am on my blog,…or can I just trust that complete vulnerability is always the best choice?)…next day got a rental car then tried to order balsamic vinegar on my salad with a side of hummus and met only a blank stare, which lead me to realize that despite my best efforts I have become an “L.A. person”….ate about 1,000 sunflower seeds in Death Valley and 1 dry sandwich in Bishop and took photos of cows in Bridgeport…stopped at a yard sale in Big Pine and bought a whimsical stick dream-catcher thing….arrived Reno 11pm, straight to a party, then out til 4am, so happy to be with old friends, went to 5 Star Saloon and danced on a pole, nice to see genuinely drunk people, in L.A. people only get “tipsy”…..for the first time feel like a tourist in my own hometown…..it’s a good feeling, but disconcerting….next day go to lovely wedding in Tahoe, after the reception play blackjack for many hours with fellow wedding guests, I drank a white russian and we all fell a little in love with the dealer, Oksana from Ukraine….next day, alone again, roamed around a shopping center in my pajamas, hungover and happy to be breathing Tahoe air, spent a long time touching ornaments in a holiday store, then tried on a kimono in a crystals-and-wizards sort of store….then drank a coffee on the beach at Edgewood, a golf/lodge/restaurant and the site of my high school prom and where I once worked as a ball girl for a Playboy golf tournament….then to my dad’s house in Genoa, where I observed he and his wife Melissa’s new honeybee colony, took a nap, and researched earth-based religions…next day stopped to visit with Netti, the original goddess, where we discussed men, my mom, and astral projection, then she gave me a box of gypsy pillows and I hit the road….sometime around midnight I screamed out the window at the night sky “You’re beautiful!!!!”….arrived at a motel in Lone Pine and tried to open a Heineken with a lighter like I’ve seen so many guys do, ended up with a busted knuckle and a tiny cup of beer froth….next day early breakfast and purchased a made-in Lone Pine coffee mug and “spirit string” that’s rainbow colored and stands for Freedom….drove out toward Mt. Whitney and took some photos, then smashed the Heineken bottle to SMASH away my anxieties, then scooped up the broken glass to tie to my new whimsical stick dream-catcher thing….reluctantly traded my rental car for the old Escape, and made it back to L.A. in time for my grandma’s 96th birthday party.
A video from the road…with a cool song and a closing thought:
I’m in the airport in Sao Paolo, waiting to fly home after 30+ days in South America. I’m looking forward to my Chairman Meow, summer weather, salads. I’m sad to leave dulce de leche, super friendly locals, adventure. I feel invigorated to return to Los Angeles, which is saying something because I was at maximum L.A. burnout level. I want to go to the LACMA, spend time in Venice, reach out to new girlfriends. And, as always, finish my damn novel. I had an epiphany in an elevator in Uruguay yesterday: A person can’t “find” happiness, because happiness isn’t something to be “lost” in the first place….human beings are engineers, the inherent restlessness of our souls is what’s led us to discovering new continents, going to the moon, creating the Internet. I’m always trying to quench that restlessness. I never enjoy what I’ve already accomplished. Travel has been my favorite antidote, the perfect way to so distract myself with the now I don’t have to face what’s really going on in my head. But even on the other side of the world, on a gorgeous beach in Brazil eating a lunch made for me by an Indian woman, served in her kitchen, somewhere in my brain the same annoying record plays: “Am I doing everything I can to further my career? Do I look okay? What will happen next in my life, I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!” This is insanity, no? Conclusion: I’m done trying to find happiness. I’m embracing that sometimes I’m sad, grumpy, petty, spiteful, bloated, annoyed and annoying. Let it rip! Because what will happen next is already happening. And when it all becomes too much, there’s always music, memories, and marijuana.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Enjoy. 🙂
In a cab in Buenos Aires, I stick my head out in the smoky air and am free to dream.
My heart is fireworks for this city!
The buildings look like Paris, the Spanish sounds like a song, the city runs on Erin Granat time: wake-up at 11am, start your day at 3pm, eat dinner at 11pm, stay up dancing, pontificating til 6am. Love!
I arrive at the Botanical Gardens, very leafy/green, stylized statues all around. I sit in the grass, in the sun. Next to me is a cat, a calico cat of black and gold (Theta colors!). I instantly am in love with this kitty and name him Palmito. I pet him and scratch his ears, hoping on the other side of the world in Los Angeles my fat fluff Chairman Meow isn’t jealous. Hopefully, Palmito won’t update his status in the international cat registry (Meowbook?) “Met an American writer. She had nice paws.” (Weird? Yes!)
I tell Palmito about his fellow cat brethren I’ve met on this tour of South America. There was Chino in Brazil, a severely cross-eyes Siamese I communed with at a nature retreat while drinking wine by a fire. I had confided in Chino how different Brazil was from my expectations, how nice the cars were, how much you could feel the economy on a boom. I told him how much I loved the juice in Brazil–watermelon with mint with honey and ginger.
Back to Palmito. I tell about the kitty committee I met in Montevideo. I was on a run by a lighthouse and was taking in the deceptively big skyline of this capital of Uruguay when I spotted two, no three, no DOZENS of meows living amongst the rocks below the lighthouse! There were too many to name so I sat silently instead, hoping they’d come say hello. They weren’t interested in me, sadly, so instead I took up a handful of pebbles and meditated on one at a time, letting each one represent something I felt bad about and needed to exorcise from my life (mucho mucho), then threw each pebble into the River Plata that separates Montevideo from Buenos Aires, willing my despair to sink with the pebble into the murky water. Then the lighthouse attendant arrived in a yellow rain slicker and asked me if I wanted to help feed the kitties and I said yes and they were adorable with milk all over their little meow faces and I was able to pet a few and was so happy!
Palmito goes off to chase a butterfly and I head to the Museo de Evita, because I like learning about powerful women. I admire her gowns and ponder why the museum goes from her childhood straight to her years with Peron, and learn later the beginning of their romance was shrouded in scandal so es posible que the museum conveniently skipped those years. But I smoked a joint before I left for the day so maybe I just missed a room.
Next I walk around Palermo, the hip/trendy/expensive part of Buenos Aires that’s even separated into a “Palermo Soho” and “Palermo Hollywood.” I buy many pretty things. It’s an unbelievable fact that this super cool stylish city is so inexpensive. I order a pancake in a cafe, it comes with layers of jamon y queso y cinco fried eggs! The waiter is blonde and tells me he loves me. I make a note to ask Chairman if he’d like to be an Argentine kitty meow.
I leave the cafe and find a cab within seconds. A mundane details, perhaps, but if you’ve ever spent ages trying to hail a cab in a big city you’d be pleased to learn Buenos Aires seems to have an abundance of available cabs. And these amazing cookies called Havannas! And Malbec! And dulce de leche! This trip has happily been a Tour de Fat. And with Palmito and Chino at the helm, a Tour de Cat. And word by word, pushing pebbles to make a mountain, I’ve been writing. And inchingcloseclosecloser to finishing my novel.
A few months ago I went to a live jazz night in Hollywood with Beth. Sitting there in the dark brick club, Hollywood hipsters all around, I remembered something: I don’t like jazz. I like the idea of jazz, or rather, the idea that I like jazz, but I just don’t like jazz. I don’t get it. It’s chaotic and I can never find a rhythm and if you can’t shake your noodle to it what’s the point? On that particular night, jazz didn’t stand a chance, because the jumble of notes was like the chaos in my head, a particularly manic breed of discombobulation.
Let me explain.
The months since my 27th birthday have been tumultous. Actually, I wish there was a word like “tumultous” that also meant “emotionally hysteric” and “happycrazysad.” And in times of stress, I clam up. I don’t want to talk. Definitely, I don’t want to b-l-o-g. But, I find that I miss you, I need you as an outlet. So here I am, and I will try to give an account of what has transpired, ending with me writing this from a hotel suite in Brazil.
The bad/sad: My relationship of the last three years ended, a beautiful, deeply supportive relationship that had a lot of love and a lot of respect. It seems a sad, sad fact of life that all good things must end.
The amazing/incredible: Numero uno wonderful event…I have a literary manager and agent! The first major hurdles accomplished! I’d like to write more about how this came to be, but I’m hesitant to let the steam out of the proverbial pot….don’t want to blab too much too early….but point is I’m now writing writing writing to finish my novel and so the agent can get it to publishers and hopefully/finally/fingers crossed–make my mark and make my livelihood.
The other special/happy event I’m also reticent to reveal….a beautiful new relationship with a brilliant man who’s an accomplished director who has brought me to Brazil with him for a month while he’s on a shoot. Also don’t want to talk about it too much too soon, so instead here are a few observations of Brazil: with the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games you can feel the economy booming….Brazilians have so many different faces, not one specific look or coloring…..the theatrics of a film crew are as entertaining as the actual actors….and something that distinguishes 5-star hotels from the 0-stars I’m used to is this: the towels are much more absorbent.
As for my writing….it’s rather a shit sandwich right now….the tedious revision process where every day is dealing with my bad writing from the past. Dealing with cliches. Sometimes it’s fun. Yesterday the cliche “voice cut me like a knife” became “voice stung me like a thousand inebriated jellyfish.” But in general, revision is facing how much your writing can suck.
And so….there you have it. A blog to get back into the blog. Heading to a small town in northern Brazil for a few beach days, then Buenos Aires, then Uruguay.