Today I slept through my alarm clock and missed work at the school. ARGH, I hate myself for doing that. Of course, it is very flexible work, however I was sick a few weeks ago and soon school will be on a long break. I dearly need the money, though apparently this morning I needed sleep more.
I did make $50 today anyway, an essay of mine about The Godfather was sold. That was nice, anyway.
So, the other night I watched Eat Pray Love. I was mostly annoyed by the experience for a number of reasons, the main one being that it seemed to depend on the mannerisms of Julia Roberts-- all of which we know very well. The laugh, the flirty smile, the second-guessing hand-to-chin thing, the exasperated but charmed look, the way her face seems to avalanche when she cries. Ok, all that sounds mean. I like Julia Roberts, even love her sometimes, but this movie was too sewn up with the plot to make us all fall in love with her. Anyway, it was tiresome. Also, self-discovery stories are always tough, but I found the character very self-involved, and generally speaking I didn't like her, not to mention I was terribly, desperately jealous of her ability to just drop everything and fly away for a year and do magical things with no repercussions (and then write a best seller about it). She's an author that has plenty of money and freelances, thus she can do what she wants. Yet we're expected to connect with her self-centered approach to everything. Ugh. Annoyance. Not that I don't connect with attempts at balance and self-discovery (that's pretty much all this blog seems to be about), but a movie built around this woman seems indulgent. The places she visits and the meditations she does become like trendy accessories, Eastern religion becomes disposable. Meh.
All that said, watching it inspired me to think seriously about three things:
3) a method of adding meaning to something that feels tedious or empty.
We will go backwards: At one point in the film Julia's making her way through this Guru's spiritual instructions, the long method of reaching the height of centeredness and meditation (I think, I don't know, it was late). Julia's findin' it real boring and can't get through it until one of her friends suggests that she dedicate it to something or someone she loves. Do it for someone else, with them in mind, and it's much easier. Doing it because you feel you should, or even doing it for YOU doesn't work nearly as well. It's not as profound. I feel like I've heard that concept before, but it was very striking to me. Dedication, especially spiritually. I will have to think on it.
Elephants: Julia is given this statue of an elephant. It may have been a specific religious symbol, that part was vague, but someone says to her that it stands for "The remover of obstacles." What! My brain! How fabulously simple. Elephant= remover of obstacles, what a wonderful symbol, something nice to think of and keep around. No wonder I've been into elephants lately-- if you are an elephant, you can do anything.
Travel: So I've been here for two seasons now, post-grad, and I'm pretty bored and boring. I really need to go somewhere, and reading/watching things like this stupid movie just frustrates me nonstop. I still plan on going abroad for grad studies, but otherwise... sigh. Work, write, sleep, repeat. I need a little more to get by.
When my friend Kate and I go to San Francisco we stop off in Salinas. Or we have the two times that we've made the journey, hopefully it will become a full tradition. Anyway, one of my favorite things in the world and especially in Salinas are Greyhound Stations. I love public transport-- can be gross, yes, but it's so glorious and romantic. Trains, metrorails, buses, subways. Buses. I think it's a writer thing, writers love crowded places full of people and conversations and ideas, they love to observe and pretend to be a part of things (because really, writers are never really a part of anything, only in their writing do we partake, i think). Also, one of my favorite songs has always been America by Simon and Garfunkel, in which these characters see America in all of its beauty and sadness through the windows of a Greyhound.
Anyway, so while we were in Salinas I demanded Kate take a picture of the station, it looked like it had been in lonely existence since the 50's. She ended up using it as an art project and sent it to me recently. It's so charming to look at. So nice... suddenly, before I knew it, I was looking at bus prices. I now have a plan.
I shall work tirelessly. TIRELESSLY. I shall get a third job. I shall keep writing essays for money. I shall continue to write other things and send out stories for publication. I shall save. On whatever weekends I can, I will cruise into LA to see all of the sights there that I have missed, because there are so many museums and cemeteries and shows that I have managed to miss. I will go to the Salton Sea and Redwood Forest. In the spring, I will go to Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival and Seattle to visit my old room-mate and browse around. Once that's done, I will buy a series of bus passes for fall of 2011. I will travel at a nice lazy pace across the US, stopping where ever I want, and settle in New York for a few weeks. I will stay at hostels. I will come back, also on a bus. It will be beautiful.
I am still considering a European trip in the summer, but I suppose that realistically that should wait until I am ready for grad school.
We can't all be Julia Roberts. But we can be elephants.