Went to San Francisco last week to read a new story for @backpocketpresents “Five Senses.” There were five storytellers, each reading about one of the senses. Mine was “Touch.” Somehow, being on stage speaking is when I feel the least self-conscious (I’m available for weddings and bar mitzvahs!). I fucking love storytelling shows and this was a gooood one. Told a story about what I call my “Telemundo Time” … when my life was so dramatic it rivaled any telenovela on the air. I might try to publish the story somewhere, but I probably won’t. Too many secrets revealed. Which is the beauty of storytelling shows, it exists once verbally and it’s gone forever. More, please.
I had my first experience with religious zealots! This was originally going to be a post celebrating that CONFETTI, the wonderful weird short film by @machetebangbang that I acted in and 1st AD’ed won the Vanguard Award for Best Experimental Short at the Lindsey Film Festival (hooray!), BUT THEN, friends who have since become very … passionate … about their religious beliefs started commenting on my Facebook that I clearly worship Lucifer and “serve evil at its core.” I appreciate social media being a platform for discussion, so I’m leaving the comments up. But spreading negativity and judgement does not interest me. You’ve been blocked.
On a lighter note, this is one of my favorite films I’ve ever been involved with. The irony is, it’s quite literally about spreading the light. WATCH it here. Congrats, team. This was one for the ages.
In totally unrelated news …
Uproxx Travel sent me to Sun Valley, Idaho last week to attend the Sun Valley Film Festival and to experience experiences, and it was my first time back on skis in 7 years and it didn’t suck. I told myself I quit skiing because it was too expensive, too repetitive, too obnoxious (rich white people sport). Growing up in the Tahoe area with ski bums as parents, I was skiing before I could walk. It’s the one athletic thing I’m pretty good at, and the one thing that was easy to quit when I wanted to move to Spain and needed spending money, so I sold all my gear. Getting back on the mountain last week was surprisingly emotional, and now I know the truth.
I quit skiing because it was too painful a reminder of my family being happy and together, before my mom got sick. She was an excellent skier, the best in our family, and skiing without her felt pointless and so, so cold.
But as I sat on the chairlift in Sun Valley, I remembered to remember the happy memories and not dwell on the sad stuff. And for a moment I was a kid again, my sister and I snuggled between my parents on the lift, life extending only so far as the next hot cocoa we’d get in the lodge, my mom glamorous in her ski onesie, all of us smelling like sunscreen, my dad rubbing my hands to keep them warm.
Another reason I quit is because when I was 7 years old I fell 80 feet off a chairlift (or was it 70 feet when I was 8? I have to check the newspaper article about it), and I’ve been plagued with extreme fear of heights ever since. But that’s a story for the article.
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.
I am prone to romance and whimsy. A good example might be the recent Friday evening when Beth, me, and my roommate Ardalan were sitting on my green couch and the subject of yearbooks came up. Ardalan is from Iran, he said they don’t have yearbooks there, in fact he had no idea what we were talking about. Beth and I gasped! Yearbooks are the quintessential artifact of the American high school experience!
Since we’re both hams, we jumped up and began acting out the scenario of having your yearbook signed. “Hiiii Bethy, would you like, sign my yearbook?” “Sure, Eriny, we had a killer time in Honors English!” Ardalan laughed, but I wasn’t satisfied, so I went to the bookshelf where I keep every yearbook since the 7th grade and grabbed one for each of us.
We enjoyed the silly (“I signed your crack” ((you know where you write in the book binding?)), the obscure (“I hope you have found nature in your concrete home”), the sincere (“Erin–You’re the only person in Amnesty International who’s doing it for spiritual fulfillment, not for a college application, you have a good soul”).
A page of my junior yearbook stopped me in my tracks. Someone had sketched me a mermaid, a lovely piece done in pencil, with the caption “Remember: Pinball’s not that bad compared to a raw ass-kicking.” (???) They signed a name and left a phone number, but I can’t read the name. Who had sketched me my favorite mythical creature? Years before I claimed the brazen sea goddess as my talisman, before I got a tattoo of a mermaid while being reckless in NYC? As I said, I’m prone to romance and whimsy…soooo…I called the number.
The phone rang 5, 6, 7 times. I was very nervous. Beth and Ardalan were holding their breath. In my heart of hearts, my soulmate was on the other line. A boy I’d briefly known in high school, but who’d seen the real me. He’d answer the phone (in my fantasy he’d bought the house from his parents, and kept the number in case I found his yearbook sketch and called him). It was the most epic meet-cute of all time! I was naming our third cat when the phone clicked. “Hello?” A man’s voice.
“Hi…Did you graduate from Douglas High School?”
Disappointment. “Do you have a son? Anyone at this phone number who might’ve drawn me a mermaid in my yearbook?”
“You’re a maid service?”
I explained the whole situation to the man, that I’d found the sketch and was looking for my possible long lost love. We talked for twenty minutes. He suggested I put an ad in the newspaper or post fliers around town. His name was Frank. He wished me good luck and we said good-bye.
Beth and Ardalan pounced the second I hung up. What did he say?? I relayed the dead end, then sat lost in melodramatic thought. Mermaid sketch artist, are you out there? Tell me something good…