Sunday, June 23, 2013

Checking Out

I arrive at the airport early. Mostly because I have nothing else to do, no hotel room to go back to, and I don't want to risk the chance of getting caught in an afternoon traffic jam coming back from the beach. It's only a few hours to waste and I can write or I can sleep or I can find a character among the people I'll be watching.

I decide to eat lunch, but can't find anything I want so I settle for what I already know. Mocha frappuchinos and overpriced deli sandwiches. In front of me are college-aged kids and behind me is the typical Beverly Hills yuppie couple, complete with their Paris Hiltonesque dog. They don't bother me - they look almost normal. I help them pick up the coffee sleeves they spill out of the container on accident and we all laugh.

Someone else steps in front of the line, gazing intently at the menu. He is serious and determined. Not unapproachable, but you can tell he does not want to talk. At first I stare a little, because I recognize him and yet I'm not sure. It is his eyes that confirm my suspicion, not anything else. I look away and go on with my day. I don't approach him. I don't say anything. He is just a person, like me. Trying to get a bite to eat. Trying to catch a flight. Someone asks for his autograph and I see him give it somewhat begrudgingly. She smiles gregariously after she gets what she wants. Thankfully she is the only one I see approach him. Everyone else pretends to ignore him or they don't recognize him or they don't care.

I don't flinch or feel anything when he stands by my chair, looking for a place to sit. He sits down, eats, reads his Rolling Stone, waits for his flight and then leaves. I am somewhat desensitized to seeing people from television and the movies in real life. I am used to having to treat them like a "normal" person. I have seen them "backstage." Some moody, some acting like the characters they play, some acting like they are above everyone else, some viewing their place in life as no more "special" than the rest of the universe.

I am used to walking among people who have Wikipedia entries and archives of interviews on famous talk shows, Internet sites and magazines. No one is the same in person as when they are performing their chosen persona(s). No one is the image you see in their pictures. People forget that the hype and the illusion are just that - hype and illusion. These are just people who have chosen a certain job. A job that puts them in the public eye. But when they step out of the eye's glare, all some of them want is peace. To be "normal," if there is such a thing. An invisible life, stripped of everything that's not real.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


All the time, I see you in dreams
Before me, behind me, beside me
Can you see them too?
Do you know how they hurt me?
Eating inside
Go away, I can say
How I wish it were true
I don't know who you are
Just because we share blood
Kin is still an empty word
Love is absent, and love exists
Maybe you didn't know
Nothing would be left of you and me
Of all things you became my mystery
Part of something I can never touch
Quiet and whispering echoes
Reeling scene by scene
So lost, so buried and forgotten
This isn't my choice, it's yours
Undeniable and unreal
Victory isn't possible here
Why I don't know
Xeroxes of who I thought you were
Yellowed and black
Zipping like a kite on air

Four and Counting

So here we are. Two years later. Here I am at another residency for my MFA. I still don't know what I'm doing here and I still find I don't have much to say. Maybe it's because I spent so much of my life learning other things that have nothing to do with this world at all. Maybe it's because I don't spend as much time analyzing as I do exploring and enjoying. I absorb and let it rise. I don't want to know how, why, or should. But I'm finding that some things are the same. No one really wants to take risks here. And the people that do --those who let themselves feel & explore & move beyond the conventions - they question and interrogate like the paparazzi and the media do to those with famous faces. No one wants to own up to making something their own. They say one thing and then pick apart the people who do what they say they are looking for.

I don't fit in here. I never have. The work that gets praised is the boring stuff. The stuff that colors within the lines, but has nothing to hold it up. No one wants to work. No one wants to think. No one wants to feel. They want it handed to them and they want it easy. They don't realize that no one ever handed me anything. I had to learn to find my way in the darkness, and out of the darkness, and back into it, and then out again. For me self-navigation and feeling without knowing is the only way I know. I'm not going to write according to a plan, an outline, a structure, a convention, an easy-does-it recipe. That's not my voice. And that's not who I am. As a person or as a writer.

If you want something plain and simple, go live with the Republicans you say you can't stand. You are not so different from whom you hate. You are the same.

There are two reasons why people question who you are and what you do. They don't understand because they don't want to. Or they don't understand because they think you're beyond their reach.

If they only realized it's not about tearing down what you think you can see. It's about finding and discovering all the goodness in what you can't see.