A Lake of Own’s Own

This is a real place. In the house just above the dock where I took this photo, I had the pleasure of waking in the mornings at 8:00 a.m. — a time I wasn’t aware I preferred to wake. I ate cantaloupe and dark chocolate, dense Carolina bread and blueberries. These are things I wasn’t aware I enjoyed in the mornings and afternoons. But now I know. Because for three days I had a lake of my own.

I drove to Lake Lure, NC to attend a writer’s retreat. I wasn’t sure before I left what would happen if I woke up in the woods every day and endeavored to write. In times past, what I did was sit and look out the window with my mouth open. That’s what happens when I Ieave New York: I drool. But there was a schedule at the retreat — wake, write, read, meet — two times a day, for three days. And something happened when I was allowed to pay attention to my own rhythms: I wrote. I wrote new material. Something was there when I opened the door and invited my ideas to come inside.

I’ve always thought Virginia Woolf was onto something with A Room of One’s Own, though a $500 stipend these days would be useful only for purchasing staples to complement one’s pursuits like coffee, chocolate and booze. The fact is one should, at minimum, have a room of her own in which to work and read, but at best, she should have a lake of her own. And a house on Nowita Place in Venice, California in which to live and work and birth her big, juicy dreams while making homemade soap and walking her dogs on the canal.

858 Nowita Place, Venice, CA

And periodically, one should have an island of her own in the Pacific Northwest, which she visits annually in July and from where she is able to visit Darville’s Bookstore and go directly to the children’s section to gaze out the window at the Sound and decide everything comes down to that: the sea.

I took this picture on that exact island last year when life was a lot different, and made a promise to myself that every time I stumbled on the exact thing–the dream–I would take a picture of it. As long as I can see it, there will always be a chance I can touch it. It’s easy. I just have to press ahead.



The Newsroom’s Fail is Bigger than TV

The real reason HBO’s The Newsroom fails appears in episode 2, sitting atop a bar before a visibly, if not in the least truly drunk young associate producer. Two things: 1.) she’s a girl and, 2.) the reason is a cosmo.

I keep thinking about nuance. At O’Hara’s across from the World Trade Center footprints, I posit that there is more of it now than there was just after the towers fell. From a cracked black leather stool a man who disagrees overrides me with another word, sweeping. Or maybe it was reductive. Either way, it is uttered to indicate I wouldn’t know from nuance. Not really.

What is complex about a cosmo? It is, in fact, the most clichéd drink imaginable — the alcoholic equivalent of a politician on the lobby payroll. It is the exact drink a screenwriter missing his nuance chip would write into the hands of a young woman engaged in a tangle between her burgeoning career and the flannel shirt-wearing senior producer of her dreams. In other words, yeah, right.

I think of nuance again over noodles with someone who points out that Zuccotti Park is where all the protesters hang out. I begin to wonder what the city would feel like if nuance could be pumped into the water supply like fluoride or selenium. Would that mean the difference between two conversations?

The definition of cliché is to make small. Okay, it’s not. But it should be. To make small is to rob a thing of its richness. To fashion a horizontal plane from strata. I don’t like this process. It narrows my airways. It’s about the drink, stupid. She wouldn’t be drinking a cosmo. And if she did, she’d be really drunk, not messy-haired, loose-ponytail, head-in-hands drunk. Really drunk. Existential crisis drunk. Why-do-I-always-reduce-myself-to-something-consumable? drunk. Yeah, that kind. The kind that’s hard to write.

I am in another bar, mixing. This is because I am swimming in nuance. This is because I defy categorization. No, it is because I sense there is a knot before me which demands dissolution. And it’s big. It’s big, buddy. It’s bigger than a cliché wrapped in a complex. What would that look like in your character breakdown? Wait, don’t tell me. I want to imagine it. And then I want to throw a drink in its face.

This Post is From the Future

What if?
News of the God particle is sandwiched between the Mexican president and pension loss. A tiny certainty, one unit of measure by which we determine if what we now know is what we thought we knew all along. And yet there is toothpaste to be marketed. And so we will only hear mention of it for a moment and then go back to life in the gap between a footprint and a shadow.

Should I capitalize “Capitalism?”

is a question I just typed into Google.

and a sentence I just wrote:

“saddle up to sample somma what this

former cow town has on offer.”

this is to indicate that I am aware of my shortcomings.

…which is why I write.

I have been reading Nabokov in the off-hours,

in order to admire each use of the word,

“cesspoolful.” his is the first novel in many

in which I have not underlined such a word,

or written in the margins.

this is to indicate that I am aware

I no longer need to remind myself of what is truly good.