Posts tagged “Koreatown

Why I love rejection.

So much to process right now, words about to rip out of me. Been a big month, you could say. Have a lot to share. But not ready to. Instead, going to write about rejection.

I recently received what I consider “positive” rejections from Short of the Week and Tin House, and it got me thinking. I’m good friends with rejection. We’ve met each other many, many times. In fact, rejection might be the most helpful feedback one can get on the path of art and life, depending how you receive it.

Short of the Week wrote they mulled over my film quite a bit, were very close to accepting it but ultimately felt it wasn’t what they were looking for. Considering this was the darkest and most edgy film work I’ve ever written/acted in/produced, I was nervous as hell to put it out into the world. Terrified of being judged as a psycho pervert, aka terrified of being rejected. The pass from SOTW felt like a win, because apparently they rarely give more than a “thanks but no thanks.”

“This was a really tough call for us. Considering the film is about such an intensely unlikable and awful character, it’s undeniably compelling. The lead performance is fantastic and the unconventional, yet strong shot choices help convey a sense of unease, unsettling the viewer. You really do capture the “seedy underbelly” of LA.” 

Tin House, illustrious gatekeepers of literary merit, also rejected me. A much briefer “this doesn’t work for us, but please know we welcome reading your future work.” I’ve never been so excited to be rejected! Hooray! It means 1.) They actually read it, and 2.) As one of my mentors Colette pointed out This is a definitely a good rejection, especially from Tin House. Believe me, they get scads of submissions. They only send “send agains” to people whose work genuinely impresses them.”

So what it does mean, getting close to acceptance but swallowing rejection? How many other times has this happened? The novel I wrote that almost got published, then didn’t. The original pilot I wrote/acted in that almost got picked up, then didn’t. Am I good, but not good enough? The guys I’ve liked who didn’t like me back. The jobs I’ve wanted but they hired someone else. For all my work ethic, commitment, continual work on my spiritual/emotional/physical self, maybe I’m good enough, but not “right” enough. In that moment. For that opportunity/person/acknowledgement.

Maybe I suck. But that’s not for me to know. For now, I’m keeping a note card on my desk where I keep a hash mark for every rejection I get on my current project (a new pilot). I look at it like wanting to rack up rejections, because it’s a numbers game, and eventually I’ll get the YES. And it only takes one yes.

And because not trying is the same thing as being told “no.”

And here’s a brain dump from my mind:

I saw an owl at the Renaissance Faire. He had fire eyes like the red flowers on the pomegranate trees in my yard. Looking at my face and seeing it get older. The shooting star I saw Saturday night. That time we gathered to watch the blood moon eclipse and it was foggy so we drank cactus instead and laughed and I ended up in a suite at the W Hotel. The loves I’ve had. The friend I’m not going to see for a long time. Lady Fluff’s cat kisses. Realizing she’s a feline Kathy Bates. My own near misses. Hiding from the lust demon, not eating sugar or dairy or starch for a month like a real LA girl. My former Reno self is embarrassed. But it helps me think straight.


Just some mundane thoughts.

I feel far from myself. And I know why. I’m not in my creative work routine. I often wonder if the secret to success is as easy as having a routine. A few factors are contributing to this distraction. Year-end duties like figuring out new car insurance, health insurance, possibly moving to a new place. But I know I can always write and post something, even if it’s a few lines. I get caught up in thinking it needs to be something really awesome to be worth posting. But maybe the mundane is the most interesting stuff we can offer each other in the blogosphere. So, my mundane:

–I’m considering moving out of my apartment. I’ve been here 5 years and it’s time for a change. But I keep running up against memories. Just now making chicken on my George Foreman grill, I remembered agonizing if I should get the grill with removable plates or not. It was $20 more, but would be so much easier to clean. Which got me thinking about how much I’ve changed in the five years I’ve lived here. I moved in poor as a pauper, $20 might have been $2000. I’ve gone through a lot here–breakups, hookups, surgery, dance parties, Koreatown Cabarets, tears and fighting, first kisses and last goodbyes. I have done a LOT of writing here. I wrote a novel here for fuck’s sake. I’m an eyelash away from leaving, but that also means leaving that all behind. Which I don’t feel totally ready to do.

–This year has been a rollercoaster for the creative projects. Had my series Johnny and the Scams picked up by a big studio, then dropped when the executive left the company. I started a new vlog and finished writing a thriller feature and co-writing an hour long pilot. Yet I feel totally unsatisfied. Soooooooooooooo many stories in my mind, battling to be told. Yeah, that many “o’s” on the “so.”

–I’ve started volunteering with WriteGirl, a rad non-profit that does creative writing programs for teen girls. I’ve been working with the in-schools part of the program, and every Tuesday we go to a girl’s academy in south LA and do poetry, journaling, goal-setting, this sort of thing with the girls. I’m endlessly humbled, especially with how smart and talented the girls are. Some of them write prolifically. I remember being that age, feeling like I had more emotions than I could possibly express.

–I feel like I don’t want to party anymore. I turn to wine and other mind alterers when I’m not writing. Because I wish I was writing so much I need to blast all thoughts out of me. So why don’t I just write? Bukowski, Hemingway, any ideas?

–I might get a kitten!

Those are a few mundanes things of my current life. Hope it slightly intrigued you, if just in a mundane way. Good bye.


My words, a video, me on my couch.

 

 

This is my writing:

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This is a video that inspires me: 

 

This is me on my couch:

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(Photographed by David Zayas Jr. / Instagram @dzcs4u)

 


Garden of social media delights.

Feeling caught between my electronic daily life and the dandelion desires of my soul. I 100% want to build an online audience for my words, my movies, my me. I 100% want to stare at trees and drink the ocean, feel the moon. That’s a 200% contradiction. I love communicating, sharing, instatweetbooking my latest photo/feeling/idea. But I belong in wildflowers. 

Creating “The Girl Behind the Glass” videos I shoot while inside the glass box at the Standard has been a revelation. Just me and the camera. I get to direct, edit and market myself, no middleman, just me straight to the viewer. It’s a practice in trusting my creative instincts, no second guessing myself. 

But the challenge of getting the videos seen is like building a mountain one pebble at a time. But this is the norm of the 21st century performer. We’re our own muses, managers, and marketing machines. I am NOT complaining, don’t get me wrong. It’s an incredible opportunity to be emerging in the entertainment industry at this point in time, getting discovered could be as close as the nearest smartphone. But it’s overwhelming as fuck. 

I don’t know why social media marketing myself and being in touch with my earthy soul feel mutually exclusive, but they do. Running off into the woods pulls my focus, and once I’m there I never want to come back. So I’ve decided to become the master of my 10’x10′ Koreatown front lawn. If that’s the nature I have in my care, than I shall be a good steward and revel in it everyday. I drink my coffee in the sun when I can, touch the velvet leaves on the bougainvillea and tell Mother Earth she’s looking damn sexy. I close my eyes and hope she’ll infuse me with life, taking in the helicopters overhead and the homeless lady rummaging through my trash, thanking them for contributing to the symphony of my life. We’re in this together after all. Balance is something worth “liking.”

My garden, my bougainvillea, my dream: 

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The penis plant in my yard, and fake cleaning my room.

My blog has become a tad too serious lately, so now I’m going to write about the penis plant in my yard and fake cleaning my room.

Last fall, a succulent in my front yard sprouted a huge appendage. It seemed to appear suddenly, several feet long, though it must have grown over time. The succulent was already impressive, elegant and jurassic, waist-high and a vibrant shade of green. The appendage (what else do I call it? a branch? an arm? frankly, it looks like a penis) grew perfectly erect at first, with a curve at the top. Over the months, it begin sag over my chain-link fence, taunting passersby, an obscene tongue protruding from an alien mouth.

I got swept up in the 12/21/12 solstice/Mayan/end of the world hoopla, and had fun imagining the appendage speaking to me on 12/21, that it sprouted with the purpose of guiding me through doomsday. I’ve saw other plants like this around Koreatown, and someone told me these plants bloom only once in their lifetime, then die. How tragic! How romantic! Week by week, I watched it get bigger, then it began to blossom little white flowers. I realized I was able to track the plant’s progress because this was the longest I’d stayed at my house, in Los Angeles, in America, in probably 5 or 6 years. I’ve been an international travel junkie. It’s easy to feel cool to yourself if you can say you’re soon traveling to Brazil, are in Brazil, or just got back from Brazil. Especially if your life at home is high-anxiety and high-stress.

Now, the monster in my yard is in full bloom, and weighed down with flowers. It’s so beautiful, and knowing it will soon die forever, makes me emotional, and makes me wonder what I’ll do with the carcass. I’ve come to embrace my lil plot o’ land here in Koreatown. Noisy, dirty, cramped Koreatown. I’ve got a yard and a huge penis plant and they’re mine to take care of, my few square feet of the earth to make beautiful.

The plant blooming made me realize the change of season, and so I got inspired to spring clean my room. Beth came over for dinner, I put on a fancy dress, and she took the below photo of my “clean” room, and a photo of the truth: I just stuffed everything into my closet. Because I’d rather write than clean. And because if there’s one good thing about being an adult, it’s that no one can make you clean your room.     

I cleaned!  No I didn't.                         

penis plant