I Want to Write…

Lately I keep trying to come up with topics to write about here, but stopping myself from even beginning. How can I write about this new phase of life when I so clearly don’t know the rules yet?

I want to write about my internships about how the executives and partners might know my name. About how actors I recognize will wander in while I’m assembling a chair in the bullpen and I see internet stars on my lunch break.

I want to write about riding a scooter in LA. About how I’ve learned to lane split while the long line of cars is waiting for the light to turn green. How I can park ANYWHERE and it only takes $3 to fill up my gas tank.

I want to write about going to swanky parties where fancy cocktails are a part of the gig and I can squint and see the back of Mel Gibson’s head. About getting a little bit tipsy and stopping for tacos at 1am on the way home.

I want to write about whirlwind trips to San Francisco. About Japantown kareokee and bad turkey burgers and not having to look up directions because I remember exactly where the bus lines lead. About waking up in my own bed to fancy french toast and surprising old youth group leaders with my presence.

I want to write about how buying a Kindle has probably tripled the amount of reading I’ve been doing. About how I am devouring a steady diet of YA books finished in single days.

I want to write about the experience of writing a NaNoWriMo novel amist all of this chaos.

But… (and there is always a but)

…what is the statute of limitations on writing about virtual strangers who are in the realm of well know? How do I write about the day to day lives of people who have an IMDb page? I don’t need or want to name names, but what if I write about someone and they then find it and don’t like what I say about them?

…I don’t know that three months of riding is enough experience to write about and even as I make plans to never get a car I can’t help but wonder how that will sustain though the years. Then I think about traffic and start an internal hate-rant.

…what is the policy on publishing things on the internet on famous people? I’m not sure. I don’t want to offend. I mean no harm.

…what is there to say about San Francisco that I haven’t already expressed? How do I convey both a trip with friends and a visit to see family in one sentiment when there were two different halves to it.

…this dependence is a shade embarrassing for a 22-year-old. Why am I up until 2am reading books meant for 13-year-olds?

…I’m not even sure I’m writing a NaNo novel anymore I’m so far behind.

This new life has new constrictions, a lot of which I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m not sure where to draw the lines and what those lines are made up of. When I started blogging there was no fear of backlash, no worry of my words coming back to haunt me, but now… what if someone finds this and uses it against me? What defense do I have?

I guess the question becomes: How do I move forward with this blog and share my experiences without accidentally rubbing someone the wrong way?  Perhaps the question I should be asking is: Who do I value more, my blog readers who I want to be honest with or the people I meet in real life who judge me based on that vulnerability?

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Moving Through the Ages

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I don’t remember the first time I moved. Memories of swimming in a kiddie pool with neighbors in Chicago runs together with running around the crazy daisy with my sister in our yard in Milwaukee. Playing tag with my mom runs in our condo turns to teaching myself how to dribble in the driveway. I have no memoriy of packing, moving, and leaving. Only vagueities of both places.

I remember when I was told that we were moving to New York from Wisconsin. I was wearing a red dress and I sat in my moms lap and cried my eyes out. When I finished crying we set off the library. We checked out stacks of books on New York. Eloise, and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. We got sticker books with bagels and hot dogs, buses and subways, guide books that told about famous landmarks in the city. When we arrived in New York we were greeted by a doorman, a balcony, and a phone that cackled like a roster. Maybe it wouldn’t be as terrible as I had envisioned.

When we went house hunting in DC, I announced to our doorman that we were going to Washington. “Which one?” I hadn’t realized there were two. I wanted a house like in my favorite books I imagined a place covered with ivy like in the Secret Garden and a well in the backyard like in Little House on the Prairie. We got a colonial-esque house on a street lined with cheery trees. After a two year contract we were out and on our way back to the New York tri-state area.

I don’t remember much about moving from Washington to New Jersey. At that point, with moving every two years I had become desensitized to moving paraphernalia. I do remember laying on my sisters bed, facing that wall and crying a little bit. I quickly dried my tears, not wanting anyone to see my feelings.

We had only ever really spent two years in any city at that point, so I went into friendships in New Jersey with the idea that we would move again in two years. Two years past, then three, and four and I came to the realization that I was stuck in the suburbs. At least for the foreseeable future.

I had just gotten back from camp when I was told we would be moving again. I wanted to tell everyone as soon as I knew. I was so excited to explore a new city and learn a new place. I was adamant that we live within walking distance to the bus or train. Even with three homes in less than two years, I was so ecstatic to be in the middle of it all. When I graduated high school I spent my last days in San Francsico planning to set up in Chicago for the next four years.

Since starting college I’ve lived in four apartments and returned multiple times to the house I left in San Francisco. The process of moving quickly has turned from large-scale production to small-scale to do. At one point I finished moving the last of my belongings into an apartment with a granny cart and a backpack.

Now this sea-saw of transitions is settling into equilibrium. I just signed a lease for a year. A whole year. And I’ll be living here the whole time as opposed to going home to San Francisco for extended summer breaks and thinking of it as a sloppy second. I am amazed that this new home is not in Chicago, but in Los Angeles, a city of traffic and heat I don’t even quite fully understand yet.

I have to keep telling myself that I’ve found a place to live in Los Angeles. And somehow with everything, I have decided that I will make this place home. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m excited once again to get started in this new city where I can begin to build the kind of community that I will thrive in. Are you ready for this? Don’t answer that, because ready or not here I come.

Good-Bye My San Francisco

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I have a “Book of Lists” dating from probably the beginning of high school in which the first list is places I want to go. When I wrote it I was living in New Jersey, watching too much TV, and not really enjoying school. The list is full of domestic and international cities on every continent, and the first place on the list is my San Francisco.

When writing this list I had no way of knowing that that far-away place would become my home. I am so glad and grateful for my family’s cross-country move, for all the people I have met though church, school, and happenstance. And as I move to LA (again), I am saddened to think that an era may be coming to an end. Soon I will be not only moving myself and some of my belongings to a new city, but within the year I will also be changing my official address with the state to say that I live in Los Angeles. This is a bitter-sweet moment.

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I remember very clearly my first time coming to San Francisco. It was November 2008. Our six hour flight got in very late, and we took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. I remember looking out the window as we flew down an empty Market Street and thinking to myself, “Soon this will be home.” The next day I went to a Waldorf Open House where I met Allason, still one of my best friends.

In January I packed two suitcases, got on a plane, and came home. San Francisco was home almost immediately. My sister and I shared a bedroom in a temporary apartment we called the IKEA showroom. The place had no decent knives and everything was either white or black. It was an awkward layout and we never invited anyone over. But all the same I was home in this new city like I had never quite felt at home in suburban New Jersey.

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I took a bus and a rail-line to get to school, quickly deciding that my MUNI pass was my ticket to freedom. I could go anywhere in the city. The electric buzz of the bus lines took me to my first In and Out. The bell of the California cable car took me to the Farmers Market. I could ride the bus for hours at a time, I didn’t even care where it took me.

The heat wave that April happened to coincide with our performance of Once Upon A Mattress. Of course, the week that we spend in tights and long dresses under hot lights rehearsing and performing for hours, is the hottest week of the year.

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At the end of the school year my dad and I schlepped stuff from the IKEA showroom to a new rental apartment on Fillmore. My parents were very specific about what they wanted in a house, and we didn’t want to rely on the temporary apartment anymore. When I first saw the room sister!Emma and I would share I cried. The apartment was the same size as the IKEA showroom, but with more of our own furniture. With our pots and pans and table and chairs we invited friends to our home in the hood… Yeah, we had accidentally moved into the Western Addition without quite realizing what that meant.

For a year we spotted drug deals while waiting for the bus, and don’t forget my mom’s interesting interaction with a pimp while on the way home from the grocery store. I fell even more in love with the city and the fog, layering sweaters, jackets, and scarves. My senior year in high school included two plays and cast parties on the bus, Teatro Zinzanni, a trip to Joshua Tree which ended with me sitting next to my backpack on the 31 bus, and a re-introduction to rock climbing.

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On my last week as a senior we bought a house that is walking distance from my school. Yes, really. And so I spent a summer in my beautiful San Francisco and then left for Chicago. I love Chicago too, but it’s a completely different kind of love. In the past three years I have had the privilege of calling my San Francisco home. San Francisco is the smallest of the large cities, a place where you can run into your high school drama teacher at the Farmers Market. It’s a city of hills and fog, of bonfires so windy it forces us to retreat. Of free knit cap night at the ballpark in mid-June.

San Francisco is a city that will forever stay in my bones. A city that I never want to move away from, but can’t help but leave. Because as wonderful as it is, it isn’t the city that holds my dreams. Somehow, inexplicably, my dreams seem to be held in Los Angeles. Despite the traffic and the sun, I am drawn to the studios and sprawl. My place is in a writers room I have never been to, next to writers, producers, camera people, and talent, most of whom I have yet to meet. And so I say a sad good-bye to my San Francisco to cautiously enter a new world. Good-bye San Francisco, we will meet again, this much I know, I can only hope and pray that it is on good terms.

This Has Been: April Edition 2013

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Looking at my “Will Be” post from the beginning of this month and then comparing it to what actually happened is… humbling.  I had some very lofty goals for the month and some sky-high expectations.  Was I fearless?  In fact I think I was the opposite.  

This month I’ve been terrified of how things started turning out.  I didn’t think I would be here.  This was not my plan A.  But as I said last week, my plan is not what’s important here, though I may be getting ahead of myself.

My first stumbling block of the month was that I don’t want to commit to an internship without having some place to live.  I didn’t want to sign a lease without being sure that I would be able to be online-only with my coursework in the fall.  I couldn’t be online-only without petitioning for a different course.  So, I was depending entirely on this petition being accepted and waiting impatiently for the results.  Spoiler alert: I’m still waiting.

Meanwhile, there were a lot of things I wasn’t sure about committing to without knowing where I was going to live by the end of the month (I was still looking for apartments, not yet knowing how long the petition would take to be processed).  I didn’t look for jobs or internships, I didn’t try to get a motorcycle licence, and, while I did write some, it wasn’t nearly as much as I had hoped to.

With all the “didn’t”s there it’s hard to see what I did manage to do, but there were a few things.  I spent some time working on my relationship with God.  I joined a community group through my church and I read a lot.  I started to cultivate a habit of writing every day on a specific project.  I watched good TV.

With my academic calendar in limbo I wound up just waiting.  And as hard as it was to admit, waiting around in LA wasn’t really much different than waiting around in San Francisco would be.  So last week my mom drove down to LA, we packed all my things in her car, and I went home.

Typing that feels like defeat.  It feels like giving up, and even though I know it’s only for a little while, it’s only a temporary solution, it still makes me cry.  It didn’t feel real until church on Sunday.  Having to answer to a bunch of people who know in some part that this was not the plan I had at the start was painful.

Even knowing that these people will think no less of me for it, it was hard to say out loud that ‘no, I’m not just visiting, I’m going to be here for a little while’.  And ‘yes, Los Angeles was great, and school was wonderful, but I am once again in a period of stasis’.

I am once again in a period of stasis.  Where are you?

Writing About Writing (week of April 22)

Monday: journal (5)
original spec – theme and drive ideas
Tuesday: journal (1)
orig. spec – characters
Wednesday: journal (3)
Thursday: journal (4)
Friday: journal (1)
Saturday: journal (4)
Sunday: journal (2)
blog – Has Been
blog – this post

Last week included an in-state move of all my belongings from LA to SF.  As such I’m okay with the severe fall off of writing besides journaling from Wednesday onward.  I’m just starting to get back into the swing of things.  I was pretty happy with the work I was able to do on original specs in the mornings and hope to return to that this week as I re-stabilize my routine here in San Francisco.

This week I’m just hoping for a return to my set writing routine, and some blogging.  I really don’t know what else to anticipate of this week on any front, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

9 Things To Do When Unemployed

I’m not sure weather or not I’m technically unemployed.  True, I don’t have a job.  But I’m also still a student and registered for school.  Even though my truncated semester is over, the semester as a whole and general entity is still going on.  So I’m a student.  With nothing to do.  It feels an awful lot like unemployment.  Or at least what I imagine unemployment feels like.

So at the moment I’m “unemployed”.  For me that’s meant a lot of looking for apartments and not quite finding what I’m looking for.  Too expensive or in not-so-nice neighborhoods.  On a too-busy street or too far from where I want to be.  It’s tedious, and I’m working though it.  Here’s how:

  1. Read books.  I’ve finished two books in the past week, and am in the midst of three, maybe four more.  I am reading all sorts of different things at the same time and it’s wonderful.  Granted, I’m not sure I’ll ever finish Infinite Jest.
  2. Watch TV.  I try to find a balance between older shows (a part of my television education) and something new that I haven’t seen yet.  Right now I’m working on Freaks and Geeks, Torchwood, and Roots.
  3. Go to the library.  Partly because you need some sort of source to find the first two.  Both of which can be found at the library.  I currently hold library cards in three cities.  Going to the library also gets you off the couch and interacting with real people.
  4. Yoga.  Any sort of movement will do really, yoga has just been my activity of choice lately.  Super awesome bonus points if you can get others to join in.  Roller blading with an old co-worker and friend?  Yup.  Hiking with a roommate?  Done.
  5. Visit a new neighborhood.  I particularly like the activity Sharon Beasley did with her kids.  It sounds like a lot of fun and who says you need kids to do fun, sometimes slightly silly activities?  Kill-joys, that’s who.
  6. Cook extravagant meals.  Or simple ones.  Now is your chance to prefect the recipes you love so that when you become busy again and need to make things quickly, you’ll be able to do it without thinking.
  7. Re-Organize your… closet/desk/bookshelf/fill-in -the-blank.  Cause you’ve got nothing but time and you might as well fill it with something useful.  That sounded bitter.  It’s not.  I actually really like organizing.
  8. Volunteer.  Still working on this.  I’m trying to find a place where I can do office work so that I get some experience, while also supporting a cause I believe in.  When I was in high school I did volunteer night at the San Francisco Bike Coalition, and it was great.  I met tons of people who were interesting and kind.
  9. Make something.  I don’t know what you make, but just be working on something.  I knit while I watch TV and am debating what kind of spec I want to write next.  While I decide, I’ve got this blog as a way of getting pen to paper.

What do you do when you have longer stretches of down time?  Have you ever been unemployed?  How did you fill your time?

Writing About Writing (week of April 15)

Monday: journal (6)
school – letter of petition
Tuesday: journal (3)
blog – Remember Boston
Wednesday: journal (1)
Thursday: journal (2)
blog – I Ship It
Friday: journal (3)
blog – this post
Saturday: journal (3)
blog – Dollhouse pt.1
blog – book reviews 2
Sunday: journal (2)
original spec – notion and letter plots
notes – Oz, Mosaic

Last week was both eventful and slow.  I kept busy, mostly reading, going to the library, and watching movie musicals about the founding of the United States.  Writing-wise I didn’t get in as much as I would have wanted, but in other areas I’ve been quite chuffed with all I’ve been able to do.  Also, while it wasn’t writing I did manage to pull out a project from last semester that I’m interested in revisiting.  I just re-read what I have and came up with a few ideas of where it could go.

I found a potential apartment and applied for academic clearance to determine if I can actually stay here.  I joined a small group and found an organization to volunteer with, assuming I’m able to stay.  Of course immediately after I determined a plan I found out that it could be weeks before I get cleared.

This week I’d like to add to the routine I’ve started of journaling and quiet time in the mornings.  I want to add some more serious writing to that list, starting with the project I read through last week.  Down the line I’d like to be waking up early to get in at least an hour or two of writing, but this week I’ll start small.  I’d like to write for half an hour every morning before breakfast.

The Doc of the Matter

I have been a pretty terrible television student.  In the past few weeks I have not watched nearly enough television.  I am keeping up fine with a few shows (Once Upon A Time, Elementary, and Community), but am not watching anything besides. A few weeks ago it was because I was on a deadline, but now that excuse is out and I am grasping at straws.

What was I watching while I should have been working on my spec?  Documentaries about design and social justice.  It started while I was still in San Francisco when I saw an ad for 56 Up.  When my mom heard of it we decided to watch all of the Up Series and then see the new one.  Then one day I had some time to kill and watched Eames: The Architect and the Painter, about Charles and Ray Eames.  Really interesting.  One thing lead to another and… here’s a short list of interesting docs on Netflix.

  • The Up Series.  Mentioned above, The Up Series consists of 7 Up, 7 Plus 7, 21 Up, and so on.  It’s a series of TV documentaries following kids who were 7 in 1964.  It’s a commitment if you’re truly going to watch all of them (56 Up is just coming out), but it’s interesting.
  • Eames: The Architect and the Painter.  I watched this on a whim a few weeks ago and was completely entranced.  It’s the story of Charles and Ray Eames, designers who created the Eames chair and many other architectural and product design-y things.  They made movies and furniture and curated art exhibits.  They lived really interesting lives and it made me want to do something with myself.
  • Urbanized.  A documentary about urban planning and all the nuances of designing a city.  This film looked at maybe 10 specific projects or situations.  A bit nerdy, but interesting.  Perhaps a bit long?  Worth checking out if you’re interested, but I found myself drifting.
  • Helvetica.  This is actually one that I watched a while ago, but it fits so well with the rest that I have to include it.  It’s about the creation of the font, Helvetica, and the process of creating fonts and how they are precised.  Really, really cool and super-duper nerdy.
  • Objectified.  By the same people as Helvetica, Objectified looks at the design and creation of the things that we use every day.  After watching it I wanted to create myself an oasis where everything that beautifully constructed to flow together.  I still wish that I lived in that world.
  • Vidal Sasson: The Movie.  This was made about a year before he died and includes interviews with Sasson.  It’s gorgeous, if a little long, and made me want to get the 5 point haircut that this guy invented.  Sasson has an interesting story and his interviews are captivating.

I think the thing that these docs had in common was that they all made me want to do something.  When we watch movies or television we want to be moved.  Moved to tears, to laughter, or in the case of documentaries, called to action.  These aren’t really “call to action” movies as much as some of the genre can be, but still moving in their own way.

There are a bunch more that I’m interested in too.  About architecture, origami, newspapers, dancing, puppetry, and happiness.  Documentaries get a bad rap for being boring, but I think you just need to find something you’re interested in.

What good documentaries have you seen?  Any suggestions for me?