Archive for work

“Until my middle name was excess.”

Posted in 37 with tags , , on August 15, 2011 by ana

Cleo and I have been friends since 1994. We went to art school together and have shared so many laughs and tears I consider her to be my wife. I don’t know when she became that but I suspect it was somewhere around the time when we were going out six nights a week back around when I was 26 and she was 23. When I left New York she was, and still is, what I missed the most of my life there.  As of late I have been very lucky to have her in LA a few times a year. She’s been here twice this month. She left yesterday.

Saturday we went to see a movie. We were both tired and sad.  We sat outside the theater smoking a cigarette, and I said to Cleo,  “there is this hole in me, it has always been there, and I have always filled it with clothes and food and cocktails and shoes and boyfriends and cigarettes. Those are my default settings to ward against loneliness or boredom. I’ve never learned to fill it up with anything else, with anything that will actually fill it.”

Lately I have come closer to filling it than ever but I still haven’t really. I’m still being excessive. It is a quality I really don’t like about myself. It keeps me distracted. It keeps me from doing real work, from really creating or contributing at a level that I am capable of.  My acting teacher, Howard, would always tell people in class- don’t play dumber than you are. I think I have done just that but I don’t want to hold myself back anymore. Life feels too precious to waste any time.

I feel an urgency to change this, to pay off my debts, to travel, to live more and consume less. I feel thirsty to learn, to have great conversations, to keep growing. I feel such an intense yearning to actively create my own life and not just be a participant in it. I want a family of my own. I feel ready for it. I no longer fear how it will change me. It’s quite the opposite now. I feel ready but I don’t think I am. Otherwise it would happen, I am open. There must still be some things I have to tend to. For one, I have to start taking better care of myself. I have really been neglecting lately, albeit a fun neglect. I need to focus. I need to grow my creative self up.  I may be feeling more like a grown woman than I ever have but my guess is that I’m still about 10% shy of it.

Before we went to the movies I said to Cleo, “I can’t wait to move. I’m so ready to discover this new place, both it’s geography and myself in it.”

“You have to go out and live your life,” she said.

Los Angeles has been a great place to gestate.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 9, 2011 by ana

Sunday night after the last table left we played an impromptu game of homemade scategories at the restaurant. Sometimes I really love working at a restaurant. I like the community. It’s funny because I grew up in a place where that feeling is so strong but I never felt it growing up. The only time when I was a kid that I felt part of anything was when I would go to camp in the summer. It’s different now. I get such a strong sense of community when I go home. That’s probably the main reason I would want to move back now. I don’t think I ever realized how important that was to me until I moved to LA. Maybe being far away from everything and everyone made me long for it more. When I lived in NY I hardly ever went back home to PR but once I moved to LA I started going more and more. I guess (physical) distance makes the heart grow fonder. Or maybe it’s just something that happens as you get older. The first inkling I had of how much I like being part of a group was the two summers I taught photography in Williamstown. Those months were magical in part because they had that sodalité.

Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire played four or five times on Sunday night. It played while we played scategories. That song always reminds me of my friend Damien and an afternoon we spent drinking tequila when he was breaking up with his girlfriend. For some reason I can’t remember now, we drove back and forth on Highland between my apartment and his girlfriend’s house. He kept playing that song over and over.

Damien is one of those people that magically turned up in my life seemingly out of nowhere. I met him two years before we became friends. Our mutual friends, who I had met that summer teaching, held a salon on Wednesday nights at their apartment in Brooklyn. That week’s theme was goodbye letters. It was the week before I moved to LA. He was moving to LA too.

A year passed. It was the end of the following summer. I’d just gotten back from a month in Williamstown, and a trip to Paris where I’d met up with Wila. That summer I’d gotten my heart tightly squished by a boy that made the room pulsate every time he walked in. Paris was unbelievably hot. I would take a shower and climb into bed without drying my body so I could fall asleep. Wila and I took a train to Nice for a week an rented an apartment with a huge balcony. We had long lunches filled with wine, olives, bread and cheese, which we bought at the outdoor market on the way back from the beach. We ate slowly rolling cigarettes, she corrected her student’s papers and I read out loud excerpts from On the Beaten Track as we picked and sipped.

I returned to LA in a whirlwind of wanderlust and longing. Damien called at the end of that summer to see if I wanted to hang out. Mars was very close to Earth and it looked like a small red moon. We sat outside the house where he was staying in the canyon sipping tea, looking at Mars, talking about art, music, and all the odd, alluring things LA had. I fell in love with LA hanging out with Damien. He and I had a lot of crazy late night romps but we were always just friends. I’d never had, and never have since, had something so fun and uncomplicated as I did with him. I was even happy for him when he fell in love.

It’s Wednesday and that Bruce Springsteen song is still in my head. I was never a fan but in grad school I came across and excerpt of an interview in the Utne Reader that made me see him in a different light and in that little bit I got it.

“I remember when my parents moved out to California-I was about 18. My folks decided that they were going to leave New Jersey, but they had no idea really where to go. I had a girlfriend at the time and she was sort of a hippie. She was the only person we knew who’d ever been to California. She’s been to Sausalito and suggested we go there. You can just imagine-Sausalito in the late’60s! So they went to Sausalito, 3,000 miles across the country, and they probably had only three grand that the had saved and that had to get them a place to live, and they had to go out and find work. So they go to Sausalito and realized this wasn’t it. My mother said they went to the gas station and she asked the guy there, ‘Where do people like us live?’-that question that sounds like the title of a Raymond Carver story!-and the guy told her, ‘Oh, you live on the peninsula’, And that was what they did. They drove down south of San Francisco and they’ve been there ever since. My father was 42 at the time-it’s funny to think that he was probably seven or eight years younger than I am now. It was a big trip, took a lot of nerve, a lot of courage, having grown up in my little town in New Jersey. But that story leads back to those same questions: How do you create the kind of home you want to live in? How do you create the kind of society you want to live in? What part do you play in doing that? To me , those things are all connected, but those connections are hard to make. The pace of the modern world, industrialization, postindustrialization have all made human connection very difficult to maintain and sustain. To bring that modern situation alive-how we live now, our hang ups and choices-that’s what music and film and art are about. That’s the service you are providing, that’s the function you are providing as an artist.”

David Whyte:

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 8, 2011 by ana

A real work, like a real love, takes not only passion but a certain daily, obsessive, tenacious, illogical form of insanity to keep it alive. Once you have experienced the real essence at the beginning of the affair with a work, the task, as in a marriage, is to keep the work, the company, the initial image with which we fell in love, alive. We want to be surprised again and again by where our work takes us and what kind of person we are becoming as we follow it.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 14, 2011 by ana

So far today has been the perfect day. Still recuperating from a Saturday night full of champers and dancing in my friends’ living room I decided to lay low before what promises to be a busy, crazy night at at work. I’ve pretty much stayed in bed all day reading, listening to music, drinking tea, while doing laundry. It always feels so indulgent to stay in bed, to take a nap, or to watch a movie in the middle of the afternoon, and it feels good. It is becoming less of a struggle to be kind to myself.

Leo feels very present as I write this. I feel centered and womanly in ways I never did before. Letting go of him was the catalyst. His absence will always fill a space in that wholeness. I imagine to lesser and greater degrees as time elapses.

Last night The Sunday’s version of Wild Horses was playing at work. For some reason different versions of that song have been playing lately. It makes me feel a little crazy when I listen to the lyrics because I’m not quite sure how someone that felt as strongly as that song could bring herself to leave. That I could love someone so much and miss them so terribly but also feel that this moment (being alone, breaking up) had to happen. That strength scares me a little. I can’t wrap my head around it entirely.

I was cleaning out my inbox. Deleting emails as an exercise in letting go when I came across this one I wrote to Leo back in November.

I’m sorry I rained on your parade. It’s just incredibly hard for me right now. I love you but I feel like things are just completely out of whack. I think it might be nice to eat tomorrow night but at the same time it’s like-
what’s the point? You don’t know, after 6 years, if you see a future with me and I don’t think there is much of one anymore. My heart is broken into hundreds of pieces. I don’t think you quite get that. It’s very weird to me that you aren’t as devastated as me. That you aren’t wondering what the hell is going to happen to all the things in our home, who is going to live there, etc.

It’s so hard to imagine a future without you in it but everyday that passes that is the future that draws nearer. I know that I want to be in an adult relationship and that I want a child. I want to be with someone that wants that and that puts no boundaries on who I am with that child and what my believes are. I don’t think we are meant to be together anymore, this is the most painful thing ever. I can’t be in a relationship where who I am is in question, where I will be judged and loved by my values. Where things with that child would be dictated by specific rules.

I have always loved you exactly as you are. I have always tried to help you overcome the things that hold you back. I can’t help you overcome the things that hold you back from me and I can’t hold myself back any longer.