oh, technology. this is the word i use to refer to my life, such as it is, at present. i'm not sure why. everything seems to go according to the turning of wheels and when the wheels don't turn I feel miserable and overfed (even though I'm starving, most days, now that I can't pilfer food from the old cafeteria).
But things are good.
Since the eve of graduation I pretty much failed at updating, mostly because life became very busy (wonderfully so!), with very little internet connection. I've seen so many friends and family in the past month (it's been a month since I graduated!! what?), gone hither thither all around SoCal, and sent so many thank-you notes and to-do lists that my mind has been spinning. In the words of CAKE, wheels keep on spinning round, but in the words of everyone's favorite Partridge, I think I love you.
First, Graduation was a wonderful day. Hot and harried and a tad embarrassing at times, but wonderful to feel the relief that great accomplishment brings, even though it may be only partial relief (as the financial part will continue to trail after me for some time). More wonderful, so wonderful, was the sight of the faces of people who came to stomp their feet and raise their voices for me, me, me in my little tasseled cap.
My Aunt and Uncle, who didn't even attend their own daughter's graduation (there's a story there-- they're actually good parents, but my cousin had a tremendously delayed ceremony) drove up from San Fransisco to buy me lunch and cheer in their Texan voices. Most of the Mueller family, a unit of fostering, who have become even dearer to me in the past few months than I thought possible, toodled up from all sorts of places. They bought me the most fantastic present, something I would never have thought of: a beautiful passport (that is, they made me a symbol of it and gave me the funds for passport pictures and the pass itself). My friend Jon, notorious for shunning sentimental things such as "visits" and "events" arrived sporting the tie that I demanded he wear, with his beautiful (and damned stylish) girlfriend Megan in tow. They both wrote me a pair of the most wonderful letters I have ever received, both of which have a place on the equivalent of my mantle (my top, crooked bookshelf). His mother, Mrs. Mueller, hauled the fat purple family van all the way with my favorite Bernie and her own, well-expressed words of sentimentality in a signature card. My dear Kate(syface), after moving her own dormroom all the day before, drove all the way from Azusa to LMU at 3:30AM to have a quiet moment of reflection and celebration (LMU's piece of the Berlin Wall was admired in the dark) before she crashed on my couch in order to wake up at 7 the next morning. My beautiful Sunchild Maureen showed up in bright yellow with a gorgeous bouquet of fanastic flowers that she had carefully chosen and arranged for me (she's good at such things), with her little sister Faustina at her side. Aly, even with her intense desire to avoid all things LMU, returned in all of her loveliness. They all showed up in LA before 9AM. They all sat. They all dripped and endured in the sun. They all cheered for me, me, me.
And there was, of course, my parents. I cannot express my joy at knowing that they had a front row seat (figuratively.... they were more or less in the middle of the seating arrangement...) to my ascension in the ranks of life and my penitent* acceptance of my degree (with honors. although the stupid announcer guy didn't say so). They flew in the night before, and each wore precious straw hats to the outdoor event.
The night before was immensely stressful-- my finals had just come to an end and I quickly ran about trying to clean everything and prepare for the next day. My room-mate was having one of her many meltdowns of epic proportions (relationship issue. she had a rough time last semester, poor child), so she retired early. I stayed up to clean the bathroom, pack, dye my hair red (which it desperately needed), and receieve the honor of Kate's presence. In between, I had a farewell cigarette with my suitemate Diana. Though she had occasionally been the bane of my existence in regards to peace-keeping in the apartment, I think we may have been friends. We talked about life and the future-- though not as deeply as one might imagine on the eve of such an event-- and sat in front of a discarded television that some slouch had dropped, screen-down, on the pavement and hadn't bothered to clean up. We watched this manner of television for awhile, that and the smoke, until the wee hours. She invited me to her future hypothetical wedding. After she'd retired, Kate arrived, and we both crashed.
I woke up to my room-mate screaming over the phone at her ex at around 6, and realized there was just no more sleeping to be had, so we all got up and got beautiful, robbed, and hatted. Like cattle, we were herded into the gymnasium, and like cattle, we were ushered out in groups to the main part of campus. Thankfully it was the morning, but there was almost no shade and the sun was harsh. The awards were given. The pomp and circumstance of the professors outfits must have adhered to Catholic tradition, though I didn't understand the robes and what their significance was. The main speech by our chosen speaker (the governor of massachutes--- yeah...?) was not terribly inspiring at first, but he concluded by saying some truly encouraging things. He acknowledged the state of our country and the world, and that we would have struggles, but then he reminded us of the greatness that had arisen from just such struggles and situations (great men, great minds). The valevictorian spoke also, and I most definitely dug his speech. Firstly, he ironically referenced a quote about self-discovery that I had used as the basis for my application essay to LMU (!), and he then concluded by reminding us that while we're out in the world, we should remember to focus not just on WHAT we want to be but on WHO we want to be. It was a great full-circle moment that brought to mind the first speech I heard at LMU from an amazing Jesuit-in-training who urged us to work towards bettering the whole of ourselves rather than just our abilities or our capacity for facts. Anyway.
Then we marched. The film school went first, as we are the smallest, the great, the elite. My moment was swift-- I gave up the card with my name on it, I stepped forward to shake the SFTV Dean's hand, my name was said, then the Dean of the school handed me my sacred document and congratulated me (cue pentitent look with furrowed brow- me). Crazed cheers rose from three parts of the audience, and I heard my name faintly, though the sun made sure that I could not see. I then trotted down the stairs and was met by an overwhelming sea of happy teachers, many of which I knew, the happiest of all being Karol, my thesis class teacher and my most favorite in the world. It was nice to hug her goodbye. I wanted to speak to her afterwards, but time did not permit. I took my seat again, but the rest of the school had yet to cross, and it became a melting, painful ordeal. I would have stayed for the entirety, but I began to recieve distressed text messages from folk who were preparing to leave or dying in the sun, so I made sure that I had seen all of my senior friends walk, and then I slipped away. I was greeted by my crowd of beaming children, all so happy, all so stylish, all so proud of me, despite the fact that I was so sleep deprived that words had quite a battle getting out of my mouth.
My parents got to meet everyone that they hadn't met before, and everyone helped me pack up the remains of my garbage. Alas, I wish the whole thing had been less harried, but I wouldn't trade it. I said my quick goodbyes to the few little ones that I cared for at school, and then off to lunch, a quick tour of the school for my family, and off off verily yeah into the WILD BLUE YONDER (Aka Ventura).
Dad left that Sunday, and mom stayed for a week. She mostly helped me make my new room "nice" by insisting that she help organize my stuff, buy me a secondhand desk, and fix my vaccuum (mothers...). In return, I made her watch Sherlock Holmes and we oohed and ahhed appropriately over the latest episode of Breaking Bad. Finally, we went to the Hollywood Bowl (MY FIRST TIME THERE!!) to see James Taylor and Carole King in concert, which was the most magical experience in the world. Firstly, the Bowl is a phenomenonal, historical place that has evovled so much over time (it's also, incidentally, HUGE), and secondly, James Taylor sounds just as wonderful in person as he does on a record from the 70's. Carole King, whom I have never really bothered with aside from It's Too Late and So Far Away, but she blew my mind at the show. She is a performer, utterly, and it was magic magic magic seeing her and Taylor perform their songs together (an equal amount-- all of his hits and all of hers-- hers included songs she had written for other people, such as Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, You've Got A Friend, Jazzman, and Natural Woman, along with the GG theme (love!!), Beautiful, I Feel The Earth Move (AMAZING PERFORMANCE!!), the other two aforementioned classics, and the freakin' Locomotion!!). Sweet Baby James is a hilarious and precious man-- he made little jokes throughout and basically made the case for being the most huggable musician in the world. His rendition of Steamroller cracked us up, Fire and Rain made me cry, Mexico was !!!, and of course, of course, of course, hearing him perform Sweet Baby James was the most satisfying concert experience ever (topping Bob Dylan's Rolling Stone and Mr. Jones. Well, okay, maybe tying). It was the most soothing, gorgeous, profound performance (that song. those lyrics. damned tears in my eyes), topped off by-- I could not believe it-- a sweet, magical falling star slipping lazily over the bowl just as Taylor played his final chords. Not only was the concert brilliant, but mother had a marvelous time, and I can't imagine a more appropriate event for the two of us. Again, very full-circle-- when I think of my childhood and my mother, James Taylor fills my ears. How right that on my introduction into the real real world, singin' could work just fine for me?
Mother left two days after the concert, and a week later Emily came. In between I had the chance to see my friends Josh and Sonja, the latter of which I hadn't seen in a very long time. It was refreshing to talk to her and to hear her unique and intelligent perspective on life, and the time spent over coffee with her was energizing. It's so good to talk to a fellow writer, and someone who is trying to make sense of the world through art. Sonja is driven in that way as I am, and though our perspectives differ, I respect her so much. She also bestowed upon me a most fitting gift-- a shirt with a bummed-out ex-planet Pluto with the words "it's okay, Pluto. I'm not a planet either." --- the perfect gift to remind me to keep to my quirky screenwriting ideas. It was also great to see my only fellow-graduate friend Josh (hi Josh, if you're looking for your name) to comiserate about the big bad world and what lies ahead-- he is also a talented person who I foresee will do great things... unlike me, he has the drive to do it, something I admire more and more as time goes on. Hopefully he will give me a ride on his coat-tails.
Once Emily arrived, we had fantastic times, none of which I have time to recall (nor do I reckon anyone would be interested to hear), many of which consisted of flouncing around the beach attempting to tan, much of which included eating massive amounts of good food. I will say-- the most California day we had was grabbing coffee, swinging by to pick up crates of strawberries, and hiking up to the Ventura Cross (The look-out point for all of Ventura). We ate our strawberries, wore our fashionable new sunhats (yes, Megan Jackson in all of her stylishness influenced me to buy one-- a pink floppy one. I am still pondering whether or not it was a sound decision), and basked in good company and conversation. It's so comforting to have a best friend who knows your history. Even though our world views are vastly different (not just conservative me versus liberal she) our friendship is and always will be the same. I will be her maid of honor one of these years, and someday I'll dedicate a book to her. As we've been friends for about eleven years running, it seems appropriate.
After my dear red australian bird left, I went into the process of getting a job. Much has happened. Ups and downs. Floods of thoughts and ideas written on scraps of paper-- but nevermind, this is too long already and coffee bean is closing. I will say this-- I am proud of myself. I am looking forward to what I might do-- but even more so to who I might be. I've been a bit down, a bit lonely and girly (damn the male species) and worried and grouchy and existential lately, but not hopeless. Never that. I'll never get it figured out completely, but I can try.
More sooner rather than later.
*what i have been told my face expressed at the moment of receiving my diploma. then again, i suspect i look perpetually penitent.