Thursday, January 31, 2013


allison janney, the only celeb i really cared about.  photo by lorri vodi rupard.
coming down from 10 days of crazy juggling--between the kids & house, teaching & school, film screenings, press events, & review writing,  i let my little blog go.

& i'm feeling a bit blue.

& i missed you.

i had many thoughts, feelings (or "feeleens" as it's pronounced in utah), and epiphanies.  but i've grown wary of my epiphanies.  because when the epiphanic moment wears off, it's a huge, huge bummer, and i feel like a fool for having believed it.

i think i'll share any way.  because really, dear readers, sometimes i can't distinguish between true inspiration, too much caffeine, or my daily bipolaresque roller coaster ride of emotions.  maybe you can help me sort it out.  maybe writing it here, for the little portion of the world that visits me in cyberspace to examine, will help me know when to

as kenny rogers so eloquently put it:

know when to hold 'em

know when to fold 'em

know when to walk away

& know when to run.

so here are the Most Important thoughts and feelings i had as a result of attending sundance:

1)  writers need to learn how to create characters, need to do better at fleshing out rather than creating types or making corrective statements to the world with their so-called characters.  also, the absence of smiling or happiness does not = profundity.

2)  filmmakers need better writers.  i saw really superb acting, cinematography and even better editing skillz in practice, but without a good writer, you're screwed.

3) (here's the part you need to help me with--am i just totally delusional and manic right now?)  10 films in 20 years.  i have a plan.  woody allenesque.  come up with a modest budget that i can sustain and fund every two years, a style of filmmaking that looks great even without $$$, and a guerilla film company that is locavore in nature, but maxivore in impact.

4)  filmmaking for social change.  something different from redford's approach, not that his isn't great and super important, but a new angle on it.  something to do with open source, something to do with positive and real work by women.

5) will the high adrenaline, complex multi-tasking and hat wearing, and mix of visual, aural, language, and action of film making, if i am lucky and smart enough to do it, be enough to keep me happy for 20 years?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Showing Up

1.  Turned on our recently acquired TV (purchased for special occasions and disassembled and put away after the conclusion of each one) and watched the inauguration.  I've pointed this out before and I'll point it out again:  Michelle O. and I were born in the same year and our respective female offspring were born in the same years--thus, it follows, Michelle O. and I have a deep connection.  Plus, I want to switch closets with her--but she'd have to be down with my tight-place wardrobe of pleather and tights.

I made this freakishly large so you can see how beautiful it is.
2.  Traveled to the Museum of Modern Art and saw several exhibits, including the performance art of Eiko & Koma, two Japanese artists who have been making art for over 40 years, and in this piece The Caravan Project, they entwine themselves in nest of twigs and grass in a box car, move around slowly within it, move over each other's bodies, and at times, slowly, slowly leave the container, climb on top and around, get close to the viewers, while never breaking the 4th wall.  Photographs were forbidden, unforch.  Eiko and Koma did this all day, and it was stunningly, stunningly beautiful.

3.  Decided to see the final "performance" of The Clock.  Stood in line for 45 minutes to watch for about 35 minutes.  Time flies in The Clock.
4. I've been trying to show up at my novel every single day. It seems to be helping. I now think about it all the time, when I can't write it.
Words: 22,073

Friday, January 18, 2013

sundance, day 2: a list

1) i started out the day writing morning pages, including this vow:  "today i will not be cynical."  i knew i would need some sort of intentional focus as i tramped around the festival, watching passersby glancing at my name tag to see if i was someone they should know. 

i wasn't.

i'm nobody.  who are you?  

but i stayed mostly happy and in the moment all day, not letting my thoughts waft in an existential direction. have i ever told you my mantra?  i repeat it to myself if i think there's a chance i might freak out.  goes like this:

don't think don't think
don't think don't think don't think.

works great.  give it a try some time.

2) then to austenland, a film by jerusha hess of napoleon dynamite fame.  a good midday romp to start off the festival.  nothing existential whatsoever in the film.  full write up to come.

oh, sat by rich white guys discussing (rather loudly) how hard the tax hike was going to be for folks making more than a million a year.  i wished i had a hankie to whip out and hand to them.

3) scored a pass to the miami lounge and some swag.  lula's wearing a cute hat i got there.  too bad it has a patron label on the back.  i'll try to pick it off later.

4) attended red carpet to emmanuel and the truth about fishes, a film from director francesca gregorini, daughter of barbara bach (bond girl) and step-daughter of ringo starr.  ringo was in attendance. as were cast members jessica biehl, sam jaeger, jimmie simpson, alfred molina (!!!) and rooney mara.  i got to do quick interviews with molina and simpson.  guess who was way, way smarter and more articulate?  that's right.  molina.  i really, really wanted to chat with gregorini, and she was the whole reason i attended, but the red carpet ended before she got to me. 

stood by canadian journalists on the red carpet.  canadians are the bomb!

5) took anna and joe, the photgraphers for the red carpet, to the annie leibovitz/ stella artois party.  ate some anti-pasti and marveled with anna, snarkily, at how tacky the stella girls looked.  fun though.  no sighting of annie leibovitz.

so, on the way home, the void started widening, but now i'm lying in bed blogging and watching garfield with moses, so everything's cool again.

but sometime, sometime soon, we need to talk.

oh, and legwear?  this is genius, and ingrid turned me on to it:  two pairs of tights. 

Friday Night: Wordswork

One of my fave things to do is stand on the sidewalk and peer into the East Village Radio booth,  much to the horror of my offspring.  I really ask for so little out of life.

Another Friday night finds me at home.

Save for a quick writing trip earlier out to a tiny coffee shop where everything is served in robin's egg blue cups and saucers, I spent most of the day and night in my grungy tenement working.  Writing and working for free, which is what adjuncts often do.

Around lunchtime, my friend who works in midtown decided to come down from his office and bring lunch in.  And then he had to travel all the way back.  

Tonight, plans were thwarted right and left.  

Twenty-nine degrees outside.  The coldest it's been all winter.

I put some words together.  I heard Barbara Streisand sing Bowie's "Life on Mars."  It's been a strange evening.

Words:  21,819

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

lady directors

lynn shelton shows touchy feely at the festival this year.
gals, i'm super excited that we're representing at full parity at the 2013 sundance film festival--for the first time ever, 50% of the directors are ladies.

here's my full preview of the festival at the gate.  i'll be posting reviews and interviews there for the next ten days.

freida lee mock directs a documentary about anita hill.  still trying to score an interview with her.
lot's of great looking films this year from guys & gals.

so excited for tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CamusGinsbergBurroughsSimonKrupaMoon: A Better Day

Tights: Butternut cable, the kind five year olds wore in the 70s.

Word Count: 20,740

I think I got some better words today.

I have to spend time with this novel every day.  It's like going to the gym.  If I don't, well that will be bad.

I'm reading this book:

 Lara, you won't believe me, but it's as riveting as a Ken Burns' documentary.  Did you know Paul Simon is only five four?

Today the counter boy was welcoming when I showed up in his cafe to write.  I was the only person there.  The boy was reading Camus, and had a Moleskin notebook face down on the counter.  He told me he's a poet and a philosopher and reads "What all people of my age read:  Ginsberg, Burroughs."

Isn't it strange how perennial those writers are?  Young people have all generations have read those dudes since they were first publishing.  I know I did.

Later, while making split pea soup with the not quite full cup of split peas I found in the bottom of a drawer, I watched this: .
Did you know that Keith Moon was influenced by Gene Krupa?  At least that's what Alice Cooper was speculating here.

I know I haven't talked about any female artists in this post.  Except for me. :-)

I learned a lot today Lara.

80's dresses, weekly writing goals

thrifted 80's dress reminds me of grandma eva.

ingrid thrifted this dress for me two summers ago.  i wore it once, to emily's rehearsal dinner, and then never again.  i love it, but am conflicted about it.  you see (let me school you a little on the 80's), back then, this was the kind of dress that my grandma eva, who had mad style, wore to bridge club, ladies' luncheons, and church.

not that it's not totally rad, but back then i was a confused sartorial and musical mixture of punk, new wave, and mod.  as actualized by a classical violin-playing introvert.

as confused as any gal growing up in the barren cultural landscape of mesa, arizona in the eighties.  with a bunch of jocks and metal heads.  has a right to be.

after watching the amazing documentary, everyday sunshine, about fishbone, who i saw live in tempe, arizona in 1986, i got some clarity on the idea of outsider-ness.  i was able to heal a little bit and wear the dress to church on sunday, despite the fact that my largely imaginary '80's mod peers would not have approved.

with ankle boots, tights, and slouchy socks.  just like in the 80's, and still a little bit confused.

this week, my writing goals are tiny and specific:

1)  consider new titles for gentian
2) do another copy edit of gentian
3) fix acknowledgements page of gentian
4) begin revising non-fiction piece for 1/25 deadline

i really wonder what everyone else wore in the 80's, or what you would have worn had you been born yet. . . .

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spirits Up, Trying to Keep My

Spotting these heels at a Katrina del Mar opening helped.

My book as of 8:26 pm EST:   18,860 words

I haven't added a lot since I last posted a word count.  I don't want to fight with my book.  Writing is one of the hardest non-life threatening things you can do.  At least, I think so.  It's spikey.  And uncomfortable.  Not always.  But it is for me right now.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Wendy Stance

I need to channel Wendy's stance for 2013
1.  I wasn't going to blog but then Lara did, posting a great photo of Ing.

2.  So I'm responding by posting a photo of the girl that came by Fed Ex today:  Wendy O. Williams, with whom I've become recently obsessed.   "Onward!" she seems to be saying.  Yes.

3.  I haven't been able to write at all so far this weekend.  I will try to once I finish this post.

4.  I walked around a lot aimlessly and bought two books today.

5.  I did some apartment therapy, attacking my ersatz "office" space--going through boxes of ephemera, letters I wrote to my grandparents in the '70s, fliers and ticket stubs from the '80s.  Assignments I wrote for my English 101 students in the '90s.  Yes, I've kept all of those things.

6.  One of the things I found was a small journal I kept during my trip to Europe in 1992.  I was so glad to find this, because I took no photos.   Oddly, did not bring a camera.  But I did write.  Here's an entry:

August 3, 1992
I have to sit and write in view of the Eiffel Tower, because it is the corniest place in the world to do it. I spent the night in a train station last night--actually a megalopolis train station.  Sci-fi and airport like with silver bullet-shaped trains.  I stayed the night curled up next to an ex-model who had put on a lot of weight.  (Her words.)  A very, very nice and pleasant girl, Jocelyn Swan.  I will see [my French friend] Stephanie soon.  I'm proud of myself that I found where to meet her.  I am by the Eiffel Tower which I had wanted to see though I had never wanted to admit it.

7.  And guess what?  I'm realizing a long time wish and going to Paris again in two months.

pink on pink on pink: a manuscript

dress thrifted from downtown s.l.c. deseret industries, tights from orem target, earrings h&m,  doc marten boots thrifted from provo deseret industries.

cold & dark.

hard to stay optimistic in january, no?

but things are good.  i have nothing whatsoever to be sad about right now.


sometimes that dark thing just takes over.  that black dog chasing you.

but ingrid's party outfit made me happy for a minute or two tonight--pink earrings, dress, and tights.  & the fact that there's a fun party of young people living it up out there somewhere, even whilst i'm home on a saturday night in my flannel nightgown.


should be happy that--

i did fulfill my writing goals this week:

1) write X and Y poems for gentian manuscript--check
2) make copy edits in document--check
3) print out draft of mss. to bring to writer's group--check

additionally, i changed the font from times new roman to perpetua.  i think it's an improvement.

speaking of fonts, what's your favorite?

i think i'm a little font-challenged.  or at least i've been told as much--too many years of enforcing stupid MLA style in the classroom.

i have just a few more things to do on the gentian manuscript, including finding a new title for it, before it's ready to send out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

vintage fur, friday list, date night

vintage fur & laundry in the background.
1. i found this camel coat with fur trim, thrifted from seattle's value village years ago, buried in the back of my closet.  i was also given a gift certificate for a vintage fur item from decades in salt lake city.  i need to get up there and pick it out.  do people feel okay about vintage fur over new fur?

2. friday yoga.  i forced myself out of the house and into the snow, knowing i would ultimately be glad i did.  it was a great class, and i was warm, finally from the exertion.  also, i got to practice next to & have a little gossip session with artist & sandwich aficionado josh graham before class.  it reminded me of how much i miss being at walden this year, and how much i hope sandwich boy will come up with a new post for us soon.

new dress.
3. date night.  i was warm enough from yoga to wear my new dress.  we went to bombay house, thinking that the hearty, spicy food would be perfect for tonight.  it was.

4.  christian's watching another in a series of '80's no wave films--unmade beds (actually, this one was made in '76, and features debbie harry).  dude has an attention span.  i both enjoy and am annoyed by those films and their studied naivete.  maybe it's just embarrassing because i remember how stunningly moved i was by works such as, say, jean paul sartre's nausea.  or maybe i turn out to be more of a nineties girl.

5.  completed all lesson plans and handouts for classes next week.  paid bills, did laundry (ingrid folded & put away), started my "apartment" therapy--the january cure-- & got totally overwhelmed, did some housework and organizing.  enough to get me by for a time.  no writing today.  i might try to do a little before bed tonight.

Week One Funk

We met this congenial fellow last night.  I'm trying to channel his seemingly perpetual good mood today.
Rough start to a new year, but I'm trying not to see it as a bad thing.

I'm trying to sit with and feel out my funk.

In spite of it, I've been writing.  Here's the lastest regarding my book project:

Pages:  76
Word count:  18,229

I'm a pretty slow and careful writer, so I'm hoping the book doesn't need much revising and that I can get this in by the end of Feb deadline.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

tentacle head

from rebecaa solnit's infinite city--a text i'm reading for the mapping salt lake city workshop.

i loved what julie wrote the other day about her new commitment to putting all her eggs in one basket.

i have a tendency, too, of putting many eggs in many baskets.

am i hedging my bets?

afraid of going all in and not succeeding?



these are all things i'm trying to tease out.

one thing i know for sure:  when i decide to focus on one thing, i suddenly develop an almost irresistable  urge to do something else.  as soon as i get, for instance, some success with publishing, i suddenly want to open a restaurant.  i'm writing a book of poems, and an idea for a screenplay tentacles out of my brain, wraps around that crazy organ, and squeezes.

what is this?  a psychological hang-up?  adhd?  something i should try to tamp out?  or a phenomenon i should try to embrace and work with rather than against?

this week, i'm working on many disparate, but somehow connected, projects:

1) final draft of poetry manuscript--in progress for five years now.

2) revision of non-fiction piece for a rad workshop i'm taking on mapping salt lake city for my ph.d program (another project that has given me about a million ideas that i'm trying to reign in.)  here's a link to infinite city by rebecca solnit, a text that inspired the creation of this course.

3) setting up interviews with publicists for sundance.  did i mention i'm covering the film festival for toronto's the gate?

4) finalizing my intro to creative writing course on canvas.

5) and, with ingrid in town, another tentacle-brained gal, i'm being urged to write a cookbook and start a youtube series.

okay, all you smart people.  what does a person do with flailing tentacles?  i'm feeling way out of control.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day Three: Muddling

I also want to take and post a photo per day.  Here's today's.  But why so much darker here than on my phone?
Another slow start complicated by a kid who unexpectedly needed me and before that, I woke to news that threw me.

Today I decided that I had to put all of my efforts in one basket.  Consolidate my energy--have I ever said that in my life?  I have to submit a completed book by the end of February.  Right now, I have about 70 pages of that book.  And I don't know if those pages are any good.

How do you deal with self doubt?

Tomorrow:  more pages, which will be trickier, as I return to work.  Still, I must write.  I absolutely have to.  Okay?  OKAY??

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day Two

S gave me my new Xmas Moleskin.   Can't stop thinking "foreskin."  Sorry.

Slow, soft start to '13's projects.   Like Lara, I'm hoping that being daily honest on the blog will be motivating.

1.  Reworked a story I want to send out this week.  But I don't know if I've made it better or worse.
2.  Good vibes on the other thing I'm working on--the thing with the end-of-Feb deadline--although did not allow enough time.
3.  Sent out nothing; made no queries.
4.  Worked on a student's incomplete from Fall '12.

Nice day, though, for my soft start.  A good clear light and brisk.  Sending better skies to Lara.

mommy's back-to-school outfit

julie selected the dress for me online.  i tried to make it work and weather appropriate.
the good thing about teaching is that you get two back-to-school outfits a year, a fall and a winter selection.

readers, it's hell out there.  eleven degrees, air like pea soup--my eyes, ears, throat, chest and nose are itching, burning and watering.  and i'm not sick.  people who don't live here think that the worst thing about living here is the mormons.  it's definitely not.  the people who do live here will tell you:  it's the very air you breathe.  we're trying to get by until wednesday, when a storm will hopefully clean out the muck.  pray for us.

so with all the heavy, cold air out there, i awoke feeling, as aretha says, "so uninspired," with no idea what to wear.  this is what i came up with.  i'm not saying that it's the most amazing outfit in the world, but this:  you haven't beaten me into submission yet, soul sucking pollution.  i'm standing, and i'm wearing an outfit, complete with earrings, cowboy boots, and lipstick.

one more thing:  i'm really inspired by julie's specific goals for writing this week.  i hope she won't mind if i copy her and put this week's writing goals down for bloggerly accountability:

1) write X and Y poems for gentian.
2) make copy edits in gentian document (i've already done the edits by hand)
3) print out draft of complete edited gentian manuscript to bring to writer's group on thursday.

(i've had a goal to do these three things for months now.  let's see if putting it on the blog motivates me to get it done this week.)

anyone else out there have goals for the week?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On a Train: Girls in a Free Place

It's funny that after a year of of near daily blogging in '12, I'm a little shy about mucking up the internet  in '13.

The past week's been transitional.  (And right now--right NOW--I'm writing this on a train.)  As much as we needed a break from the blog, I haven't enjoyed my break.  I missed having a frame around my day, something to raise the stakes--even a little. I missed being connected to Lara, and feeling connected to something larger than myself.

The blog was good.

I had mentioned on 12/31/12, that I wanted to make '13's blog practical.  At this moment, I'm not sure exactly what that means.  But I have some ideas, still forming.  We've still just stepped into January.

One idea was to focus on general things that would help create a job-enhancing writing identity.  These things include:

1.  Writing.
2.  Sending.
3.  Querying agents. 

So this blog will hopefully stay on track with this.

Also, January is month wherein I particularly feel my tight place.

So, I need to work the metaphor of free/freedom/freeing this year.  Girls in a Free Place.

No new year's resolutions except complete the weekly tasks that you will see.

My tasks for this week:

1.  Finish Night People story and send to four places.
2.  Work on the manuscript for a February 28th deadline.
3.  Look up agents.

It's this silly?  Silly is a good place to start.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

questions of a saturday morn

wool tights:  20 bucks or 60 bucks?
1)  it's 6 degrees outside.  i need to either buy wool tights or wear jeans (!!horrors!!)  will i regret buying the twenty dollar pair, or do i need to go upscale and get the sixty dollar tights?  also, can i buy the purple or red, or do i need to go neutral?

2) if i freeze the worry line between my brows with a little botox, will it also freeze my worries?  you know that "scientific study" showing that smiling makes you happier?  i'm wondering: if you are rendered physically incapable of frowning if it will have a similar effect on mood?

3) what should i do today:  fold laundry and pack up christmas decorations or read the trashy novel i picked up at d.i. yesterday for .75 cents?

4) what do you do when you feel totally overwhelmed? and how often do you feel totally overwhelmed?  and, if you're not totally overwhelmed, how do you keep from getting totally bored?

5)  what was your favorite movie in 2012?

6)  what is your favorite resolution for 2013?

7)  what difference do you think it will make having 98 women in the house and the senate for the first time ever?