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Auld Lang Syne

Mood: Curious
Drinking: Only Liquids

When you move six states away from your hometown, your alma mater, and your post-college haunts, you never really have to worry that you’ll unexpectedly run into that uppity bitch who went to your high school. Or that you’ll turn down the cracker aisle in Whole Foods while wearing nubby sweat pants and lopsided pigtails and suddenly find yourself face-to-face with that certain old boyfriend. In fact, when you move so far from home, you never have to worry about running into anybody at all.

When I left Chicago six years ago, I thought that would be a really good thing. Boy and I had a huge circle of friends, acquaintances, hangers-on, and one or two arch enemies, and except for a chosen few, I wasn’t really worried about missing anybody. I was excited to start all over, to make a few less mistakes.

I’ve made some incredibly spectacular friends here on the left coast, and although my circle of people is much smaller than it was back in Illinois, it’s a wider, deeper, cozier circle. And of course I have all my extra-special long-distance lovelies from back in the days in Dixon, in Sterling, in Crystal Lake and Geneva and beyond who still ring the phone and rattle the keyboard with juicy tidbits and the latest what-have-you. Sometimes one of us even packs up bags and makes the cross-country trek to see the other and get all caught up on the kind of stuff that works best eyeball to eyeball. Some of us are still working on making the trip (Hallooo, Yearlick sisters!).

But lately it’s all those other people I’ve been wondering about. The ones who’ve dropped off the map. The ones who are un-stalkable on myspace and non-existent on google. Where are they now?

Once upon a time, some of us were thick as thieves, rollerblading around the Loop at 2 a.m. and hunting for boys and bargains at Clark & Belmont and getting into all kinds of mischief at a neverending series of suburban chain restaurants. But then we grew up, grew apart, got married, moved away, lost our cellphones, changed our email, quit our jobs, and just gradually went AWOL.

And what I want to know now is what ever happened to Bryan with a y who disappeared somewhere in rural Ohio, or his sidekick Jon and his volleyball superstars? Where is Beth, who was working on her own brand of stardom last time I saw her? What ever happened to Kevin and his courthouse beat or Corina and her long black hair? What about Michelle who used to meet me at Big Bowl for noodles, and Gayle who always dyed her hair Feria Red? What about Christina the flight attendant who got married off into Montana or Jeff who moved down south somewhere? What ever happened to Monica and Richelle, Oscar and Mike, Kelly and Steve, Janet and Christy, Brandi and Julie. What ever happened to the rest of you? Are you happy, are you healthy, are you better off now than the last time I saw you?

Where are you now?

-Lo, who probably would have gone to her 10-year reunion, if they had one.

I can help the next in line.

Mood: Coma White
Drinking: Dry as a Bone

And that’s how it goes. Months of muteness. Complete creative silence. And then a one-two punch and your voice is back and louder than ever.

The ball was given a good shove and set off rolling the weekend before last when Patti the Photographer stepped off the plane from Chicago, cameras in hand. We launched a three-day marathon photo shoot with a cinepoem shoot sandwiched right there in the middle (in the Gypsy Baron room at the Archbishop’s Mansion).

Patti worked her ass off and got a lot of really, really great shots (thank you!!!), which have now been handed off to K so we can get Book Two moving, already.

And before we lost any steam or momentum or caffeine-fueled hyperactivity, we squeezed in one more cinepoem shoot this past weekend at The Hotel Utah Saloon here in SF. Thanks to all my gorgeous volunteers, you know who you are, and the rest of the world will, too, as soon as we roll credits.

I had lots of fun at both shoots–got to wear fancy dresses and wig out in a china doll bob of flamboyant red. It’s always liberating to play the vamp.

M and I start editing the first cinepoem (Pretty.Good.Girl.) next week, after Mem Day is behind us. And as soon as Pretty is in the can, we’ll start working on the Utah cinepoem (Alter Ego). I’m really excited about both of them, and I’ll introduce them to the Internet as soon as humanly possible.

Meanwhile, S has been location scouting up Mendocino way, so I think the crew and I will head up there this summer before M has to leave us for San Diego.

So. All is not silent on the western front. You watch. You wait. You’ll see.

-Lo, who loves her surgery scar.

I’d Give My Wrist a Little Twist

Mood: Mild with a chance of showers
Drinking: Black tea, with ice and sugar

You know how you go through life, oblivious to everything unless it means something to you? Like you never noticed how many sky blue Celicas there were in the world until you, yourself, owned a sky blue Celica. You never noticed how cute brown Boxer dogs were until you, yourself, knew a brown Boxer. You never noticed insert your own example here.

The same is true, I am discovering, of injuries. I never really noticed my fellow un-whole humans on the train or sidewalk or checkout line until I was sporting a broken wrist, a surgery scar, and a nifty fiberglass cast. Now I see the injured everywhere. The guy on the skateboard last night who had no legs. The man across the train with the crippled hand. The blind girl waiting at the bus stop. So many of us who are obviously, externally, “not right”.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m getting better. I have the potential and the power to be well. And I hope that getting well doesn’t mean losing this newfound sight. This more compassionate way of moving through the world. This realization of how much pain a person can carry around while the world walks on by, unaware.

My cast is long gone, and I gave away the wrist brace. I’m walking around with a naked wrist because it’s the best way to get better. I have a therapist who sees me twice a week to talk skulls (we both have collections) and massage my tired tendons and fit me with new “torture devices” that force my pinky finger to bend and my fist to clench and my wrist to leeeean just a little further each time. I’m learning new words like “pronation” and “supination” and I’ve found that 58 degrees of flexion is better, but not as good as 80.

My broken bones are healed, but my scars have memory, and they slow me down. I am so much better than I was a few weeks ago, and a few weeks from now I’ll bend even further. But it’s slow. It’s progress measured by small pressures and incremental degrees.

I can’t ride my motorcycle yet, but I can open a pickle jar. I can’t twist a doorknob, but I can button my own jeans again. I can’t hold my left hand out for change at the cash register, but I can hold Boy’s hand without wincing. Progress.

This whole unexpected interlude has been wonderfully and awfully strange. I’ve been amazed a thousand times over at the complexity of the body, at the domino effect of this injury. And though I’d never willingly choose to go through all this again, I’ve discovered things I never would have otherwise. No real surprise there–that’s how life always seems to work, yes?

And even though I feel like I lost a few months since February, even though I’m barely getting back to normal, I have high hopes and big plans of catching up.

So in the spirit of catching up, we’ve got two new cinepoems on the calendar. We’re shooting one this weekend and another the next, both in really cool new locations. And I’ve been buried in details for a photo shoot for Book #2, also this weekend. The talented and lovely Patti Monaghen is flying out from Chicago with her camera, just for me. The blank pages are filling up. Stay tuned…

-Lo, who always looks forward to the hot wax part of therapy.