Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"...Everybody LOVES the square peg!"

This morning-- I don't know why, I don't know how, but that is not important. I am exhausted, and I AM IN LOVE WITH MYSELF.

I am awesome. I am artsy. I am an intellectual. I am ... not unattractive [ok, that's still a tough one]. I am hilarious. I have incredibly impeccable taste. I am brave. I am independent. I am loving. I am freeeeaking talented and isn't it so great that I laugh so loud and so freely?

Thought I would document this moment. It won't last long.

ps, have i mentioned lately that i've met wes anderson? and jason schwartzman? and i saw Paul McCartney live?

yeah. damn straight i'm impressive.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weird how cathartic this turned out to be.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
— Jim Jarmusch

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It smells like donuts in here.

Dave Foley (except not Dave Foley at all, as previously mentioned) and I are sitting in Dickinson's lone donut place. My huge feet are clad in bright orange boots which has given many a North Dakotan reason to stare at me, generally speaking-- although this really just encourages me and takes me back to being 14 and feeling rejected and saying, ha. Well to hell with all of you, I'm going to be as bizarre as possible now. Let's just say my natural, usual taste in dress has been cranked up to 11 lately, probably another good thing about me being here. But I regress. The donut store.

Dave Foley has bought half a dozen (wouldn't it be ever so much easier just to say six?) donuts, two of them the sprinkled kind that I like. It's been awhile since I felt let loose in a candy store kind of way, and admittedly it was kind of fun to point at the most colorful donuts behind the glass and receive them in a nice square pink box. We split them. I'm tired, so I could probably eat a baby elephant at this point. especially if you poured multi-colored sprinkles on it. This hour has ushered in all of the early birds, and in they are wobbling, all of the stalwart old folks wanting their fix. There are some vagrants, too. According to Dave, who gazes out the window trying to determine their genders, the whole vagrant thing was a zero issue until this year. Now housing is so hard to come by here (there is so much work but no place for people to live), and there are so many people just passing through. At one point, an old lady in front of us started to prattle on about how Dickinson was somehow the very rock of the nation (...?). I'm not sure what that was in response to. At another point, a weird old dude walked into the place, his lady on his arm, and said as loudly as possible to us or anyone who happened to be within a two-mile radius "IT SMELLS LIKE DONUTS IN HERE."

Dave Foley's response: "Well that makes sense, BECAUSE IT'S A DONUT STORE."


Last week was a particularly nice week because Dave Foley and I have become friends. It may just be the weirdest, weirdest friendship and I'm not sure if it'll last very long, but I hope it does. He's something like 17 years old, half my size, and just genuinely, relentlessly bizarre. And, refreshingly, the first person I've met in a long time who doesn't value pride all that much. We worked three nights in a row this week, a rarity as he usually works earlier shifts, and as the morning began to roll around he'd catch his third wind or so and suggest we just do something with our morning. So we did. He'd talk about his college plans, I'd tell him about California, he'd reenact an entire one-act play (really), we'd guzzle more coffee. He showed me the most talked about house in town-- a giant thing fashioned to look like a silo, and explained to me that in Dickinson people get REALLY excited about donuts, apparently. I had forgotten what it's like to actually get to know someone-- of course, it would take a weird little guy like him to bring that back, but it's interesting how open one is inclined to be if the person across the table is an open book.

Anyway, the best part of all of this was the donuts. As Dave Foley shoveled this barely formed sugar substance down (and let's be honest, these donuts were not even good. at all), his delight was extremely infectious. I started to complain about Bismark, the closest real city with real theatres and shopping and whatnot, and the fact that Dickinson doesn't really have anything aside from the necessities, and Dave Foley just kind of laughed and said that that was what made Dickinson so great. Dickinson doesn't have any of those things-- multiple donut shops, coffee chains, Target stores, shoe shops, or movie theatres with more than three screens and total crap movies. And so Dickinsonites are so easily made happy-- a trip to Bismark to see a movie is a treat. Shopping is exciting. And donuts are all purchased at The Hole, and they are so worthy of the joy they incite.

How nice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do--then go ahead and do it with ease. Don't maul, don't suffer, don't groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a phoenix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected." —Tennessee Williams

so, how's it gonna be?

When it all comes down to cycling trivialities?

Songs that will make me think of this year:

1. Cycling Trivialities by Jose Gonzales

One of the many random songs I put on my random cds before I left California (wow, left California. that's... well). Rather a long song, a very rich, impassioned acoustic piece that sounds like the overcast sky after a rain. Or before. Anyway, I listened to it a good deal the day that I departed Ashland and climbed through the mountains to Portland. Everything was deeply green and wet and the road was windy for hours and hours, and all I saw between towns were very small, abandoned-looking farmhouses, overgrown by the green and the wetness. At one point I reached the top of an incline and noticed, emerging from the incredibly high, dripping trees, gigantic birds circling through the air. They reminded me of a mobile, the kind you hang over a baby's crib. I was listening to this song at the time, and it made sense (cycling).

2. Rivers and Roads by the Head and the Heart

Definitely the best find of the year. Something random I downloaded from a music blog and tossed onto a cd. I finally heard it just as I was leaving Northern California, and I couldn't believe my ears. You know that thrill you get (followed by a sheepishness, of course, that you could be so self-important and predictable) when you hear or see something and connect with it so much and feel like it's about YOU? That is what I felt. And I sang along so heartily it was ridiculous. I cannot believe the lyrics of this song-- the songwriters found a very simple way to express everything all of us are feeling right now. And it is me, me, me. And if you don't know what to make of this, then we cannot relate.

3. My Name is Jonas by Weezer
The week after I got to South Heart it was just Amanda and Grandma and myself, and the three of us spent alot of time with Guitar Hero, which I had never played. I didn't like most of the songs on the game, but this one I became obsessed with playing. I still don't get what on earth it's about, but I LOVE the part about Wheatfield: "Got a box full of your toys! Fresh outta batteries, but still makin' noise, MAKIN' NOISE!" GAH!! I love it! And it will always bring me back to curling up with kittens and watching the May Day blizzard rage outside. The soundtrack to my first blizzard, if you will.

4. What Sara Said by Death Cab for Cutie
Plans was my Portland soundtrack. I walked around in the rain, mostly silent, but sometimes humming various songs from this album. Finally, when I was in the Japanese Garden (my FAVORITE part of Portland and maybe the whole trip), I was staring at the zen garden for a very long time and all of a sudden all I could hear was "So who's gonna watch you die?" I finally got out my ipod and listened to the song repeatedly for the rest of my garden tour.

4. Indian Summer by Ben Gibbard
My summer theme song. Too predictable? Perhaps. I heard it at the magic coffee shop here and immediately adopted it. It will always make me think of driving from South Heart to work, and turning it up for the peppy parts.

5. ET by Katy Perry
I have long accepted that Katy Perry is to be placed alongside Justin Timberlake as my ultimate guilty pleasure, and this song tops all guilty-pleasure lists. When I hear this I now think of Ringo and I, struggled our way up the Rocky Mountains at night in the rain and dying. At one point I was just like, well. I have to stop freaking out. And what better way to combat freakage then singing along loudly to a total crap song? KISS ME, K-K-KISS ME!!

6. Baby by the Biebs
In keeping with the guilty pleasure thing, my friend and roomie Amanda and I have long joked about the Biebs and her little sister's obsession with him, so I downloaded this song as a surprise for a cd that I made her. It was meant as a joke. And now... it will not leave our heads. The other day we were both putting on mascara in the bathroom and found ourselves humming the song at the same time. NOT OKAY.

7. Piledriver Waltz by Alex Turner
Must have listened to this a million trillion times this year. I think I found it shortly after I got here and obsessed over it for months. I fell asleep to it playing on repeat many, many afternoons in a row, and listened to it sorrowfully during my last visit to California. It's the flow of his wordplay that slays me: "...lose your weight-tress was miserable, and so was your food..."

8. Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People
A weird obsession. I don't know what's special about this song at all, except that it's wormed its way into my brain and it's constantly torturing me with its catchiness. Also I became re-obsessed once I realized what the lyrics were ("all the other kids with the pumped-up kicks/better run, better run/out-run my gun" HAHAHAHHAHA death of hipsters?).

9. Have to Drive by Amanda Palmer
My sad song of the year perhaps. Amanda Palmer is a crazy great songwriter, and I can identify with her self-obsession and her insecurities. I especially love this song, and how she turns a roadkill incident into an existential ballad. Obviously, I listen to it when I have to drive.

10. Sit Down by the Fire- The Veils
Reminding me ALOT of the Smiths, the Veils are my latest discovery (let's be honest-- could I or could I not be an amazing music producer? the answer is yes). This song reminds me a good deal of the Smiths, in style and in substance ("ain't no way to get what I want" vs. "let me get what i want/lord knows it would be the first time"). The lead singer's voice is so soulful and dripping with longing that I find this song weirdly romantic. I think I will always associate it with waking up at 9PM and getting ready for work at 10, in the dark, as everyone else's nights are winding down.

Oh life. You are a bugger.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Me: "I think it's more or less the scourge of the nation."

Coworker:"What's scourge mean? What's that?'

Me: "It's... a blight on our sense of morality."

Coworker:"...What's a blight?"

Me: "....A blemish. A zit. A VERY BAD THING."

Coworker:"Ohh. Okay. I know that one."

....Zero exaggeration.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

note to self:

Sitting, listening to music and imagining the movie trailers for the scripts you haven't even started does NOT count as writing time.
"I hope you have a wonderful day. And stumble upon a hundred-dollar bill beside the road. Or possibly a dead hooker with thousands of dollars in cash." -my best friend's way of wishing me well.

Monday, July 11, 2011

yes, this is for me.

Sometimes I forget how much I am loved.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Stuff like that makes me think of the Saints, back in the time of no running water and those leprosy people. No, it's true though."
-my friend Dominic on, I think, hardship?

...hahahaha. leprosy people.
Fresh outta batteries, but STILL MAKIN' NOISE, MAKIN' NOISE!!!!!!

I love that part.

Anyway. Running on, once again, very little sleep with alot to do. Of course this all seems very counter-productive since I'm tired and therefore move more slowly, but I do find that I am occasionally more forward-moving when I am in this state. I don't trust myself at all, but at least something will happen.

This morning: gym membership secured for three months. God-awful costly, but worth it because if I pony up that much dough I'm almost sure to take advantage of it, even if it is only 30 minutes after work in the morning. Worked out fairly well for me today, it seems that only middle aged ladies and weight-lifting obsessed dudes use the gym in the early mornings. I also now have access to the pool and the aerobics classes, but I will not use those. I hate fitness classes. Evil things. Nasty things. But anyway. If I can stick to this semi-schedule-- going to work, getting off work, going to gym, showering, writing/reading, errand-running (as needed), returning home for sleep and then awaking at 9 to leave for work again, all will be well (and all manner of things will be well). This will of course take some getting used to, because once again I have returned to my usual method of coping with overnights which amounts to sleeping all day, especially now that most of my cohabitaters (tors?) have left me for christian camp and i am thus left alone most of the time. mmm. which i enjoy, don't get me wrong, however there is nothing left to motivate me to NOT sleep all of the time. And oversleeping is just as bad as undersleeping.


I was just talking to my friend on the phone and for the life of me could not say "groundbreaking." Exhaustion symptom, methinks.

Last night another lady fell. She rolled right out of bed. I peeked into her room to check on her only to see that she had vanished (impossible, as she doesn't walk). And voila. She had rolled all the way off of her bed, taking all of her covers with her. Which is actually kind of funny. Except it's not because she bumped her head something terrible. I hate that. I hate seeing them like that. I hate writing out the reports. I hate feeling somewhat responsible somehow. It makes me feel insecure in my work. I hate feeling like I'm doing something wrong. Too much responsibility. I shrink from that.

In fact today must be my responsibility refusal day. I've been trying to find a repair shop for my poor car who seems to be having alternator trouble, but strangely EVERY place in Dickinson is booked. BOOKED? Car places? I am NOT used to hearing that. How is that possible? I get not today, but not until the 20TH?! Shocking. Altogether shocking. I do not know what I shall do as Ringo is now clouding the curb of my workplace and they're bound to notice at some point or another (but I can't drive him home, as that might seriously eff him up). Anyway, the process of doing this and all of these other stupid grown up things is making me so cantankerous today. I don't want to deal. I want to be Peter Pan, damnation. Just go away and let me fly! And eat the food that I want to eat! And spend as much money as I want! Don't make me PLAN and do grown-up crap.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

There's nowhere to hide, everyone out here is so high.

Last night was my first Independence Day spent by myself. I think, anyway, for the past few years I've spent the holiday with some surrogate family or another, eating an ungodly amount of food and "oohing" and "aaahing" at the Ventura fireworks, which, incidentally, have been declining in quality as time goes by. Or maybe their magic is just lost on me now. Anyway, I'm starting to realize maybe I'm not that much of a holiday person, I would probably be fine just passing over most of them, but last night reminded me of how thrilling Independence Day actually is. Even though I didn't eat very much food (cheetos) and got punched in the eye by an old lady.

Amanda and many of the family members I cohabitate with departed for a Lutheran church camp on Sunday, leaving me by myself for the 4th (there's one daughter left, and grandma and the parents, but I didn't want to encroach on their funsies. and I don't know them very well, weirdly), with work starting at 10. I slept for much of the day, avoiding the heat of peak hours, then put on some blue eye shadow and my friend's "greek week" t-shirt (yeah, let all the north dakotans think I'm a sorority girl..) and forayed out into Dickinson to see if I could find some fireworks. Some asking around directed me to the parking lot near the community center. It faces the athletic field of the college here which is apparently where the show happens. I got there around 8, downed my caffeine intake for the night and waited as I watched the whole area fill up with cars.

Now, apparently the way they do it here isn't so much selecting a single spot to set off fireworks from. What they do instead is set off fireworks down the entire street, on both sides. So you have many fireworks going on in front of you, behind you, and down the street, rather than a giant cluster of big fireworks going off in the center of the sky.


On top of this, the locals don't really care so much about safety rules, so they bring their own fireworks/crackers, and set them off at will to match the other fireworks. So you have a bunch of sparklers, crackers, and those amazing floating lights (much like tiny, glowing hot air balloons) being released constantly and throughout the show. On top of THIS, you have people still driving down the street, adding their flurry of headlights and cheers to the brigade. One man in a giant red truck even attached a huge American flag to his truck bed and then proceeded to drive back and forth up the street as if he were a part of a parade. Kids were running all over the place, every corner of the street was populated, and I was just filled with so much joy and excitement. It felt like, for the first time since I was eight, probably, like the fireworks were really magic again. The rocket's red glare. The bombs bursting in air. Of course, it did bring to mind the anthem, which always, admittedly, brings tears to my eyes. The fact that we choose to celebrate our hard-won independence* with actual rockets is such an appropriate tradition.

Anyway. I sat on the hood of my car (actually, Amanda's car, as mine is broken at present), watching the gorgeousness and listening to the appropriate music I could summon up on my outdated ipod-- American Pie and American Trilogy by Elvis Presley-- which, by the way, makes for a GRAND fireworks-watching soundtrack. At about 9:45 I had to tear myself away and drive to work, and as I did I discovered to my delight that the relentless North Dakotans did not stop with the athletic field/street/land. There were fireworks everywhere. I rolled the windows down and let them chase me.

I don't care if Old Terror punched me in the face. I love it here anyway.

*(and I'm not just talking about the revolutionary war. it's my perspective that we are actually a pretty violent country, but also that if something is not worth being at least WILLING to fight for then there is little point to life. I feel like we are STILL fighting for freedom and for the power to remain united. I feel like now more than ever the country is ripping at the seams and there is so much in-fighting and hatred within that the greatest risk we face is falling apart. I like to think we can stick with it. I like to think about that farmer in the dust bowl of the 30's, looking over the land and saying "Yeah, times are hard, but y'know. We're American and we'll shine through." I think it's wrong to contend that one's country is the greatest of all (nationalism is obviously a dangerous thing), but America does have such a history of strength that I really admire, and am ultimately very proud to be a teeny tiny part of. Regardless of all flaws.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

feedback please?

Does it make sense that the vulnerable infuriate because they simply are vulnerable? I'm writing a serial killer, essentially, and I feel that this character has a deep-seated fury when it comes to people and society, and considers himself superior firstly because he's kept himself alive (IE has never been vulnerable) and secondly because he can kill others. They cannot keep themselves alive and they cannot kill him, so he thinks, and therefore that makes him angry enough to drive him to violence. He's not convinced that he's helping them, necessarily, but he keeps hoping that perhaps eventually someone will fight back or someone will prove themselves not vulnerable or easily tricked by him.

he does kill the vulnerable because they are an easy target, rather he targets the vulnerable because they enrage him. it may also be his way of combating even his feelings of sympathy for them.

...does that make sense? thoughts?

this script is so hard.