- Finishing the structural outline of my screenplay! Wahoo! Took over a month. Now I just have to write the damn thing.
- Calling my mom on Sunday night only to have her rush me off the phone to watch “Game of Thorns.” Mom, it’s “Thrones.”
- Listening to my first book on tape– Tough Shit by Kevin Smith. My lovely friend Tracy sent it to inspire me and keep a fire under my butt. It’s working!
- My Beverly Hills Public Library library card. I’m trying to save money and books are my biggest splurge. First items checked out: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver, and Collected Stories by Anton Chekhov.
- Early evening walks through Larchmont Village.
- Waking up without a hangover. Hey, it’s the little things.
- My 11m Saturday night trip to the 24 hour Von’s Grocery Store. Items purchased: one honeydew, one plum, one bag of Terra Sweet Potato Chips.
When I was coming up with my Ideal Bookshelf, I didn’t include Alice Munro. It could be because it is simply too hard to choose one favorite from her many story collections. Or it could have something to do with an untouchable quality she has– I find her work so affecting that I hesitate to qualify or quantify its importance. Suffice it to say that each time I encounter one of her stories, I am mesmerized and transfixed and I fall in love. I found this link to one of my favorites– “An Ounce of Cure” (a teenage girl gets dumped and gets drunk)– but there are so many good ones, and any collection offers writing that is necessary and wild and tame and elliptical and growing and full of so much recognizable life.
This was my first week at my new restaurant. I got the job through a friend and even though it’s Beverly Hills– lots of agents, lots of celebrities, lots of substitutions– it seems like it will be a good fit. The staff is really nice and laid back, and everyone laughs a lot. I know it will be fine, but the environment does make me long for my old restaurant. I worked there for over six years, six years of seeing the same faces and taking the same orders and making the same stupid jokes at the expense of the same dopey customers. My coworkers– we developed our own language, our own way to fight, our special way to love, we could look at each other over the heads of customers and know exactly what we were thinking, we drank together and puked together, we wore green on St. Patrick’s day together, we went out for our birthdays, we righteously defended each other to those awful customers who tried to curse and holler and keep us down, we went to see each other perform, we kissed each other, we took orders when one of us was too busy, we drove to weddings to see us grow up and grow in love. We laughed about pubic hair and old ketchup and Libras and karaoke and penis size and The Sound of Music and internet porn (we laughed about porn a lot) and school cheers and missed chances and sexual advances and Aries and torn tee shirts. I fell asleep at work, I cried at work, I hugged at work, I got hugged back at work, I moaned and cursed and talked too much and yelled and laughed, I laughed like it gave me air, I fought, I balanced trays, I ate tostadas and sipped orange soda in the kitchen with Paulo as the place raged around us, I got excited at work, I wondered about my future at work, I banged into chairs, started arguments, loved my friends, I loved my friends so much it twisted something in me on a gut level and I see them everywhere I go even though I’m miles from home.
Sometimes I think the world is divided into two groups– people are either Gryffindors and Starks or they’re Lannisters and Slytherins. My friend Joseph yells at me for being so black and white with things, but I actually think it’s a useful way to look at the world and people. I believe in shades of grey, but I also believe some folks have more integrity and follow a recognizable moral code and have good, big hearts (those would be the Stark-like contingent) and some other folks make you wrinkle your nose whenever their names are mentioned cause you know there’s something about them that might not be on the up and up (those would be our Slytherins).
And there are variations of course– Gryffindors aren’t infallible, Starks make mistakes and tell lies. There are Lannisters that have warmth and soul, and some Slytherins have been beyond noble. Sometimes people seem like one thing and they’re really another (I always think Sansa Stark feels way more like a Lannister), and sometimes people are a little bit of both (Severus Snape). I, of course, like to think that I’m way more of a Gryffindor/Stark (although most of my siblings would insist that I’m secretly an evil Lannister). Most of my old boyfriends, with one notable exception, have been Lannisters. Definite Lannisters. So you might kinda need both to make the world go round.
Tomboy Style is my favorite blog ever. My friend Laurel introduced it to me a few years ago and I spent the entire night looking through pictures of girls in loafers and mens’ shirts and denim shorts and t-shirts and boat shoes.
In the Woods by Tana French totally took me by surprise. Murder mystery set in Dublin– as soon as I heard the words thriller and best-seller, my snobbish side was ready to write the book off. But I was hooked after the first paragraph and I finished it in a few days. I will read all of her stuff. She’s a beautiful, beautiful writer. I don’t approach celebrities, but if I saw Tana French somewhere, I would introduce myself and I bet she would be friendly and wonderful and charming.
Inaki Aliste Lizarralde is an artist who creates floorplans for television show apartments. A friend posted about it on Facebook, and I think these drawing are so much fun (my secret favorite: Carrie Bradshaw’s floorplan. I don’t care what anyone says, I love that fricking show). You can view here and purchase here, although it looks like Lizarralde is backed up with orders because of high demand. And I just think that’s great.
It’s shameful, I know. And it’s something I don’t discuss much. At meals involving chopsticks, I kind of smile and nod and act like I’m following the conversation even though my palms are sweaty and my heart is racing. And if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that as soon as it comes time to handle something with a chopstick, I’ll either start laughing really, really loud or find something across the room extremely fascinating– anything to get your eyes off of me and my crooked hands bumbling with a piece of sushi. I went out to dinner with classmates a few times (Korean BBQ and sushi, nothing but chopsticks), and I definitely got a raised eyebrow from my teacher– someone I admire and respect and would gladly spare the privilege of watching me hand scoop rice into my mouth– as I speared a piece of pumpkin tempura with one chopstick.
It’s Day 24 in Los Angeles and I applied to work at Hooters yesterday. I sat in my parked car on Hollywood Blvd at 11 in the morning and poked and toyed with my cleavage until it was kinda propped under my chin. I took a sip of the beer I had poured into my Kleen Kanteen (yes, at 11am), and that thing happened that always occurs after I take a single sip of alcohol– my chest flushes, my eyes fill with tears, my heart tightens, and I am flooded thinking about all the possibilities for me and my life. There I was– in my car, drinking beer before noon, hoping my nipples weren’t showing, feeling very far from my dreams, and trying not to let any tears run my mascara because I still had to prance into Hooters and hum along to Taylor Swift as I filled out an application.
I’m reaching that part of the journey where things start to get a little murky. I can’t find a job, I don’t have an agent, the sight of celebrities and actors fills me with longing and dread, I’m running out of money, I feel selfish, I’m whining myself ragged, I don’t want to be an actress, the monster is here. It’s that particular brand of confusion and self-loathing that can make morning drinking and Hooters applications seem like good ideas. Job hunting, auditioning, hustling for an agent– these things do violence to notions I have of myself as individual. I feel like one of too many, I want to drink and sleep and eat fried food covered in creamy salad dressing in bed. Under the blankets. Wearing a sweatsuit. With the heat on. And the lights off. And no toilet paper anywhere in the apartment. Wait, but if I do that, I probably won’t get hired at Hooters. And I need a job. Damn.
But maybe there’s something to be said for moments like these, too. After the initial flare-up, there’s usually a reminder, albeit a tiny one, of why I’m here, of what I crave, of how many people I love, of all that is right in my world. For me, yesterday, it was knowing that in a few hours, after applying to ten more restaurants, I would be driving home. I would pull up to my apartment on Elmwood Avenue, I would give my roomate’s dog, Boo, a kiss, and I would open all of the living room windows. The afternoon breeze would come in, the hardwood floors would be warm from the sunshine, I would play Townes Van Zandt and change into shorts and lean against a wall with my legs crossed in front of me. I would think about watching the newest disc of “Game of Thrones,” I would contemplate walking over to Larchmont and getting an ice cream cone and a book. I would definitely have a glass of white wine. I would let the time, the air, the space, the hope wash over me. And so I knew, even as I checked the “no criminal history” box on my Hooters application, that there might be something else on the other side of all of this.