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Puddle Jumping

Mood: Bluesy
Drinking: Weak Tea

It’s rainy out west.

Rainy and cold. (Although according to the family in Illinois, it’s -17 degrees Fahrenheit, so I guess “cold” here is a relative term.) We have no shortage of mud puddles. No shortage of just plain old mud, either. I got plenty on my shoes this morning when the LeeLoo and I went for a run at Land’s End. (Yes, I’m still running. The bug doesn’t really let go after 13.1 miles, it seems. It just bites harder.)

There were a few brief minutes of sunshine this morning before the rain came down again, and we made sure to take advantage so we could spend the rest of the day lolling on the couch (Loo) and munching greasy popcorn at a Juno matinee (me).

Now it’s dark outside and the rain’s beating a wild rhythm on the windows. I’ve got a fire on and an itch in my fingers and I feel all out of practice writing anything interesting.

But there’s hope! I’m off to a big fancy writing conference this week, so I should be back in tip top word shape in no time at all.

I’m looking forward to it. For the past few months it’s been all running, all the time, and I’m ready to mix up the body action with some brain action and get the whole thing chugging along like some proverbial well-oiled machine.

I’ve noticed that’s what happens when you start to get some part of yourself in shape. Now that I’m well on my way to bulging — or at least slightly shapely — calf muscles, I’ve noticed that the noodley-lookin’ arms could use some attention. So I’m putting those cute little blue free weights that Boy bought me to work, finally. Bulging (or at least slightly shapely) biceps, here I come.

All this toning is addictive. First the legs, now the arms. Who knows what’s next! But the brain wants some attention, too. Hence the conference with all the books and the learning…

The rain drops are fading away now. Or at least blowing in a different, less audible direction. I like falling asleep to the splishing, splashing sound of it. Always have.

Tonight is rather melancholy, though. Boy’s at work. Loo’s crashed out on the couch, still. And I’m here at the table, tapping away, nothing much to say.

It’s nice to be slightly at a loss, though. All last year, if I had a moment like this, I pulled out my endless to-do list and got right to work.

There was no time to dawdle with directionless puddle-musing. I had a book to publish, a party to plan, a trip to take, and then books to sell and funds to raise and miles to run and a nephew to meet. 2007 was a lovely, astonishing, rewarding, incredible year, and it passed all too quickly.

But it was busy, too. So very busy. I’m ready to drag my feet a little.

Yes, 2008 has started with a race and a bang, but I’m determined to take it down a notch this year. To keep the list to just one page. To throw just one ball in the air at a time. To write about absolutely nothing important. To listen to the rain…

-Lo, who really should invest in some (cute) rubber wellies.

Can’t Rain All the Time

Mood: Persistently Wobbly
Drinking: Diet 7Up

Do dark clouds need a reason to descend? Do they require flames or wind? Do they have their own secret almanac, their own private entrance? Do they listen to a mad-hatted psychic who tells them that now would be a fortuitous time to bring the rain down on me?

I’ll never know.

But I am far too heavy for my little world. Not just today, but for the past several. I cannot point a finger and make it land on a rational excuse. I am just here, and glowering.

Yesterday on the street, a strange man walking toward me bent and said, “Very beautiful woman.”

And I said, “That’s easy to say when you don’t really know me.”

But he cheered me up, anyway. Yes, I am that superficial.

Then I wandered on home and watched Howl’s Moving Castle. And when Howl bursts into tears because his hair is all the wrong color and throws a mighty wizardly tantrum (complete with oozing green goo) because he no longer feels beautiful, I allowed myself three minutes of self-righteous hypocrisy.

“Stupid ass.” I thought. “Blubbering because he thinks his hair looks stupid. What a pussy!”

Meanwhile, bombs are heedlessly obliterating Beirut and I am a silly American girl, letting the mirror dictate my day. Who’s the ass now?

Boy said he’s worried because I’ve been sad for weeks.

But the clouds are familiar, and I’m not afraid. I’ve been happy for so long now. A little rain never hurt anything.


-Lo, who has drawn maps of the doldrums.

Not Even the Rain…

Mood: Ready for the day to end
Drinking: I’ve emptied the bottle

My list of favorite poets is very, very short. Back in high school, we dutifully covered the Maya Angelous and the Emily Dickinsons and I was mildly intrigued by Robert Frost and his two roads in a yellow woods somewhere.

But, all in all I found poetry to be either cloying and claustrophic or ridiculous and arrogant, and I wasn’t rushing out to stock my shelves with anybody’s chapbook. And then I was ambushed by Bukowski and Blackman, and suddenly my shelves started filling up.

Recently I’ve become increasingly enamoured of e.e.cummings. It all started when the lovely S quoted this line: “nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.”

The line is so shockingly beautiful that I found myself mumbling it under my breath at all hours. So I went out and bought myself the $33 volume of e.e. cummings’ complete poems, 1904-1962, so I could touch the page and read the words whenever I wanted.

If I ever write a line half as lovely, I can die happy…

“somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”

-Lo, who loves the rain and all its tiny hands

I’m It

Mood: Busywork
Drinking: Schnapple

It’s time for a lazy post. It’s rainy outside. It’s boring inside. And my sister-in-law tagged me to do this little survey-questionnaire-trivia-thingie and I’m feeling the Mondays (even though it’s a Wednesday), so I’m all over it.

Fun and meaningless trivia for you…

Four Jobs I’ve Had
1. Horse Wrangler. Although it sounds more sexy than it actually was. A lot of my wrangling time was spent coralling my riding instructor’s daughter, who was fond of dancing on the coffee table while wearing cowboy boots and singing “Leader of the Pack” at the highest volume setting.
2. Dairy Queen Chick. Just doin’ the cones… make sundaes, make blizzards an’ put stuff on ’em. Sometimes people just came by for a Coke…*
(*name that movie!)
3. Newspaper Reporter. A la Lois Lane. Only there was no Clark to my Lois, and it turns out that I was lacking in my Nancy Drew abilities. (Which is to say, I wasn’t nosy enough.) And also, the pay sucked.
4. Cookie Namer. “Hob Nob” oatmeal cookies and “Dark Chocolate Imperials” are among my favorites.

Four Movies to Watch Repeatedly
1. Serenity. Joss Whedon’s space western is out on DVD now and I’m wearing a groove in it.
2. Donnie Darko. “Smurfs are asexual. They don’t even have reproductive organs under those little white pants.”
3. Run Lola Run. I have the soundtrack, too.
4. The Fifth Element. LeeLoo Dallas Multipass!

Four Cities of Residence
1. Dixon, Illinois. Hometown of Ronald Reagan. No, seriously.
2. Virginia Beach, Virginia. The beachfront McDonalds-es don’t make you wear a shirt OR shoes to get your cheeseburger.
3. Indianapolis, Indiana. Three months only, for a fellowship at The Indianapolis Star. I’ve never seen so many rednecks in pickup trucks. I still have nightmares.
4. San Francisco, California. And I’m not leaving.

Four Favorite TV Shows
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dearly departed.
2. Dead Like Me. Oh, to be a Grim Reaper.
3. The Daily Show. Who doesn’t love Jon Stewart?
4. Veronica Mars. My substitute Buffy. With 09ers instead of vampires.

Four Vacation Destinations
1. West Virginia. We drove there in a camper when I was 10 to visit family friends, including the woman who gave me my middle name. She had twin sons, Garrett and Jared. We had a little love triangle, where I was crushing on Garrett, but Jared was crushing on me. (And no, they were NOT identical. That would have made things much easier!)
2. The 4-H Fair. Every summer for 10 years, my dad took a week off work and we camped out at the fair, rushing between the horse show (where I never did very well because my horse, Fantasia, was psychotic), the goat show (all our goats were named after flowers), the dog show (my beagle, Mitzi, won obedience trophies and my cocker spaniel, Biskit, totally cleaned up in the showmanship department), and the sheep barn (NOT the smartest animals).
3. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Honeymooning!
4. Italy. As you well know, if you read this thing at all.

Four Web Sites I Visit Daily
1. Overheard in New York. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s funnier.
2. Go Fug Yourself. A couple of wicked bitches after my own twisted little heart.
3. The Wicker Chronicles. My friend G is fucking brilliant. I keep trying to tell the world.
4. My Space. Stop looking at me that way.

Four Favorite Foods
1. Thai. Especially red curry.
2. Bagels. An everything toasted, with cream cheese.
3. Berries. Specifically strawberries and red raspberries.
4. Pickles. I’m really into bread and butter pickles right now. And by “into”, I mean I can eat an entire jar in 1 day. (No, Tater, I am NOT pregnant!)

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now
1. At home. On the couch. Curled up with the Loo. Watching a movie. With Boy in the kitchen, cooking up something scandalous for dinner.
2. Venice, Italy. Again and again.
3. Shopping on Melrose in Hollywood with my sister.
4. Wandering New York with the Boy. I know I just did that last month, but it never gets old.

Four Bloggers Who Have to Answer These Same Questions, or Kittens Will Die. Or Something.
1. Trin will totally do this. Right, sweets?
2. SnickySnackity. Save the kittens! Save them!
3. Ms. Crafty. I know you want to.
4. Homoheretic. Giiiirl, I know you need another update to make up for those long months of internet silence!

And I’m spent.

-Lo, who totally has ants in the pants today. Time to play hooky!

Cinépoem, Part Deux

Mood: Boooooring
Drinking: The usual poison

The second cinepoem is on its way!

We (we= M and M and I) shot the video footage a couple of weeks ago on another unseasonably rainy day. That’s two for two with the video shoot and the rain. If this continues, I may have to shoot all the cinepoems in the rain, a la John Cusack.

We spent the first several hours of the shoot all snug and dry in a semi-seedy hotel room in San Francisco’s Excelsior district. But then we had to head out into the weather, umbrellas and all. The weirdest part was that every time we reached a location and got out of the Jeep, the rain would disappear and leave us with bits of sun and shiny puddles. But then as soon as all three of us were back inside the vehicle, the clouds would scuttle back into position and unleash another torrent of rain, cats-and-dogs-style. It was eerie.

All that shooting resulted in a couple of hours of video for just one 7 minute poem, so now we’re in the process of sorting through all that footage and lining up the lip synch and putting our little story together.

This cinepoem was shot for Bored Now, which I posted on this site a few pages back, at the end of January. I posted the poem a day after I wrote it, so it has gone through a few revisions and has been neatly trimmed around the eges since then.

We’ve got several more editing sessions ahead of us before the final version ends up online, but it’s coming, it’s coming. And you’ll be the first to know. (Or maybe the second.)

-Lo, who used to be a total sucker for John Cusack. Say Anything, anybody?

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.