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Never, Ever

Mood: Cloudy with chances of rain
Drinking: Yes

How much is enough?

Really. When does the resting come, with accompanying laurels? When do the questions cease? The nagging needle-teeth of doubt. When does silence finally reign supreme in heads, in beating hearts?

Never. I think that is the answer. Never, ever.

The rule is that you’re only as good as your Last Big Thing. And if your Thing happened in, say, 2005, and the calendar has rolled over to 2006, well, you are old news. You are yesterday’s leftover. You are a rerun.

And if all your work and sweat and toil is cloaked in obscurity, if your fan club numbers in the single digits, if you have no agent, no studio, no publisher and no papparazzi, who then is there to look over your shoulder? Who sends the has-been alert? Who pushes you to go faster, swim further, climb higher?

I do not think I’m alone when I say that I am my harshest critic, worst enemy, loudest heckler, creepiest stalker, fiercest competitor. Everyone who attempts art does so with the fear of failure breathing down their neck. Even though said “failure” is all in your own head. Even if you are the only one to pronounce all your efforts null.

So no matter what my word count is, no matter how many cinepoems created or poems recited, the answer is never. Never enough.

There is always the next one, the next line, the next project, the next concept, the next shoot. And before that’s even over, start planning for the next one. Because the next one will be better.

There are just some of us who will never be satisfied with what we create. With what we have. With what we know. Because you find the answer to a question, you find the line that finally rhymes, you find the stick to scratch the itch, and in the next breath you wonder why. Questions lead to more questions. And, really, that’s the way we like it.

To quote my friend G’s Wicker Chronicles: “Sweet spot? Comfort zone? Boring. Where’s the sour spot? The salty spot? What happens if I set the spot on fire?”

What happens, indeed. The fire burns and your skin sizzles and inspiration flies, phoenix-like, from the flames, and for one brief moment, for one tiny second, your breath comes easy and you watch it all gloriously burn.

But the moment passes and it’s on to the next one. Time to set another fire.

-Lo, whose next “fire” involves following a white rabbit.

On the 15th Day of Rain

Mood: Cautiously optimistic
Drinking: Coke of the diet variety

I woke up to a deluge Saturday morning. Grey sky. Grey streets. Grey raindrops falling down. Rather, they were racing down. Pouring, streaming, cascading down. The wet streets were the color of steel and there were miniature rivers running in the gutters.

And I thought, “Of course. Of course we’d be having yet another day of torrential downpours today.” I tried to wait it out. And I did. But it would only stop for a breather and then start pouring again. At one point, there was even hail involved, tick, tick, ticking against the window glass. C and I sat there and watched in amazement. Then we called M.

“So,” I said when she picked up the line, “what do you think?” We stared out our respective windows at the rain-drenched streets and she said, “Well, we said we were gonna do it today. I’m up for it if you are. We’ll just need an umbrella for the camera.”

And so that’s how I came to be wearing a white dress, sitting in the rain amid the mud and rocks on top of Golden Gate Heights, wind whipping my hair into tangled bits as I lip-synched to my own voice coming from a boombox. M did the camera thing and C stood bravely by with an umbrella and Project Cinepoetry has begun!

You may remember the pre-Christmas episode of recording poetry in a closet. Yes? Well, this is part 2 of that project. We have the vocal track done and now the video is about halfway done and IT LOOKS SO COOL!

We wanted muted colors and lots of grays and blues and although lugging a camera, tripod, boombox and raingear about in the midst of a rainstorm may not be the most fun thing you could think of, it definitely produces some amazing images.

And in spite of the wetness and the ranger who tried to kick us out and the constant running to the corner junkmart for new boombox batteries (we went through 3 boomboxes before we found one that would actually spin the CD), in spite of all that, we had fun.

At the end of the shoot, driving back to my house in the Jeep with the wind blowing us all around, C said, “Well, I actually feel like I did something productive with my day.” And I have to agree. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making progress on a creative project. Especially when you conquer the elements and make them work for you. It was exhilarating.

And I’d love to show you a teaser, but it’s better when you have to wait for it.

-Lo, who will admit that she did kinda feel like a rockstar, out there lipsynching in the rain. Cue soundtrack.