I used to know them. Possibly all of them. Sometime after moving to HelLA, when Google Earth was still a new product, I made a flythrough of all the places I’d lived. A few were approximate, and I’m sure I started only notionally in HelLA before the litany of addresses in the Bay and UK – Unit 1, women’s co-op, Dwight, funny summer sublet that the dead guy from Sublime had rented, Piedmont/Oakland, MLK couch, the Mission, Ward, Warehouse, Fyfield, Iffley, North Oxford, (redacted), Goldhawk Rd, West Ken, LES, UWS, West Village, East Village, Brooklyn, aaaand back to WeHo. And then the list continued – midcity, Silverlake, Echo Park. And now, my ultimate fear, back to the suburbs. As if all the in between places didn’t happen. (Apparently, I do in fact know them all still. But that’s not my point.)

Which of course isn’t true. This isn’t the leaving of Ox, or even the leaving London despair of present and future purpose (though return still looks slim). This is a move cross-town to save time, lots and lots of time, for people large and (more importantly) small.

The tangible scars of my past can live again. Not the burns or pierces or tattoos – the BOOKS. No longer in boxes in the basement, the selves that rose and fall, lived and died, and folded tens of thousands of pages over to varying depths. Who failed to read, and failed to fold, chastened, even humbled, by the staggering expanse of unread pages. On bookshelves, freshly ordered for delivery in 10 days.

A walk up in the wet from a bar I’m fond of, but never lived at. A last hike tomorrow, I think, more meaningful, a thousand loops later. Likely without the 35 pounds, though. Toddlers don’t experience nostalgia, I don’t think, in the ways I do.

Though, I think we’ll come back to look at the mustard flowers.

Stress, and grief

She said, to answer my question what points she was working on. Also, where your spine meets your ribs, so, a major parenting spot. Not really an empty center. And her “hot hands” (shared, apparently, by her 11 year old daughter but not her 11 year old son) healing. And also disturbing, working through old and newer ambitions and desires, aspirations and intentions. A Greek meander left to right, hyper rational and logical, and all I am, a Celtic knot, mystical and magical and all I’m not very good at being and have, frankly, neglected. And a not very empty center.

Wednesday May 03rd 2017, 1:23 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,himself,myjobfuckingrocks,nostalgia,whatsnext Tags:

I’m headed up to Santa Barbara to give a paper this weekend. The thing I’m most excited about for my most-expenses-paid, two nights in a beautiful beach town with good food and wine, plus a chance to chat with clever colleagues about work I love? Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. How times change.

4 minutes later
Wednesday June 01st 2016, 10:33 pm
Filed under: family,fear,friends,grief,whatsnext,Work Tags:

4 minutes later, 4 minutes after my meaningless check in to TPT this morning, a man would shoot another man. 2 shots, apparently, to shoot and kill his engineering professor. It has been widely reported, though without any substantiation I’ve seen, that he did so over grades.

So, here, everyone – have an A. Have 52 channels of A. Because I’m not dying because I gave you a B, or a C, or a D. And YCT shouldn’t have to spend 2+ hours “locked down” in an “active shooter situation” because your euphemisms don’t hide how FUCKED UP all of this is.

The anger is replacing the fear, the frustration overrunning the helplessness, the rage rumbling against the tender and the desperate.

The anger that we allow this to happen, over and over. A school shooting a week, apparently, since Sandy Hook. But fuck numbers, fuck statistics. Anger that MY ANGER is always-already a symptom that is somehow invalidating. That it’s “hysteria” and a particular political stance. That to be angry about senseless gun death is to be hysterical, and thus wrong, and eminently dismissable.

Two and a half hours. Her students asked to give their final presentations, despite sitting on the floor in the dark, despite not being able to show their slides, despite their phones lighting up with texts and calls from loved ones intermittently. How is it possible that 15 students and a teacher, times 10, times 100, times 1000, times 2000, can be frozen in the dark, in fear? More than thirty five thousand students on campus, maybe fifty plus thousand including staff and faculty. Frozen. Talking about the Brontës in context. The context of school shootings, of senseless wholesale death because we hold these truths to be self-evident: that my right to kill you, me, and anyone else with a gun is more important than anything else.

Tomorrow, I teach the last day of metaphors and embodied language – a “Fiat Lux” class, started in response to 9/11 to get students talking about the big issues. I think we’ll analyze the metaphors at play in all of the headlines and articles. And part of me, the terrified part, is relieved the class is pass/not-pass, and everyone will pas. And part of me is so, so, so very angry that I’m afraid.


And so the last weekend of a decade passes thusly. Errands, work, walk, drinks. Eat, narrative, more narrative. Walk, errands, play, narrative, eat, drink. Bustling, walk, music, drinks, eat, narrative, drink.

Much reflecting of late, as the decade ticks around again, but he looks up at me. Not much by way of conclusion, nor thoughts that add up to anything in particular. I’ll take it, I guess.

In spite of me
Thursday May 15th 2014, 10:00 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,Miscellaneous, Truly,something new,whatsnext Tags:

No smoke drifting in the heat of the house after a wretchedly hot day, the indelible association of this song with cigarettes smoked and strangers not talked to, of friends who are and are not still friends. The buzz of the fans about as loud as the mandolin strumming, the volume down as she sleeps. And the wondrous possibility, hedged by the usual early stage uncertainties, that this may have worked. That all of this over these last 5 months wasn’t just an exercise, a way to expiate guilt or uncertainty. That it may have worked, in spite of me. 113 bpm. Who knew?

Monday January 27th 2014, 7:08 am
Filed under: can't make that shit up,change,family,HelLA,Miscellaneous, Truly,nextish,something new,whatsnext Tags:

Places, everyone. Bloody ‘ell.

New / Old

A month missed. Less fussed. A new tattoo, the first in 16 years. Compensating? I don’t really give a fuck. Starting the cap-in-hand rounds anew and with renewed vigour, but first two old things to sort, and then something new. Même chose, bitches.

Sunday May 26th 2013, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Boozy,change,inner-polish-teenage-girl,memory,nostalgia,reminiscence,scooters,seasonal,whatsnext Tags:

Or, as The Bird and the Bee would have it, again and again and again and again / do it again. Nina Simone playing in the background, a nod to the same coming of age/romance films that have occasioned alarmingly much of the little writing found here in the last handful of years, 1995, 2004, and the latest before movie on the docket for tomorrow. For all of the ways in which I don’t want to live here, I’m rather reliant upon being able to see such films upon demand, before release, or to go see Joss talk after a screening of his latest. Entitlement meets indifference, sprezzatura meets traffic, soul meets mate. “Unexcited”, the cover of the nyt magazine reads (though, apparently, according to yctnw, it’s a matter of female sexual desire / drugs for same in one’s 50s+. I had thought it was a larger ennui / late life boredom issue. Which I suppose it is, in some ways – things not working? Things not exciting? Take drugs.) Anyway_s_, he said, with a nod to the boy who is now a young man who should really call his bloody mother, these damn movies. A student, a few years ago, talking about growing up the same age as Harry Potter, identifying beyond protagonist to deeper transitions and dilemmas of self. And these movies, I think, broadly appealing similarly – what it is to be young and in love, 32 and both in love and not in love and somewhat successful but not done, and above all being not 23. And, tomorrow, though I’ve assiduously avoided spoilers, to the point of reading no press or interviews or previews or even adjacent press on the matter, the 7-up for my romantic soul, the self that wrote, with the dark and biter passion of 18, “love, and I wish I could say always, but we both know it can’t be so” (or something vaguely similar. I’d have no ask her to dig the copy of R&G off her bookshelf and read me the ?incriminating? inscription), though I can’t remember seeing either film in the theatre, to the point of rather wondering if I did, or if it was blurry VHS and second run at the Sunshine or the Angelika. So with new 88 keys and hours of music made in the last few days, we’ll go see tomorrow if it resonates then as it has resonated for so long, whether they have something to say beyond what I’ve known, or are just a travel-porn version of lives i actually have lived. Or something.

where do we go / from here
Thursday November 29th 2012, 10:30 pm
Filed under: jazz,seasonal,whatsnext Tags:

Apparently I was waiting for permission. The vote was yay, the trip to Paris was a trip of some work and much non-work. The book exists qua book. But, despite the trappings, apparently I needed to hear it from the closest thing I’ve had to a mentor. Or perhaps just senior colleague might be the better description. That in itself was rare enough. Hoops jumped through, dented slightly on the way through, but the “long, slow exhale” that had begun, with the edges of the ragged breaths of tears, begins more convincingly. And drinks again with a drinker, from a local adjacency, interested in some of the things I’m interested in. Chicks in black tights, alas, have their well known propensities, and her enthusiasms would normally be the point at which I withdraw (or, go in for the kill, in an earlier life). But instead I enjoy the avidity, knowing my discomfort with ‘avidly’ as a category now site. And thoughts back to the interfaith friend’s claim I summarize back to him what he says, but with insight – is that, really, my skill. My notes to prepare for the interview for this, seven fucking years ago. “Where do you see the field in 5-10 years,” that is, now. Where I’m mainstream and my work is central? Pretty much. And lo, it was so. Plus Paris nostalgia and a quick Before Sunset rewatch for the nth time. The 30-something passion of disillusion and passion more recognizable as the years roll on than the 20-something passion of 20-something, even while walking through Pere Lachaise and across Pont Neuf. The student who pointed out how many things about her plans and projects I’m forgetting, and the idea that i should just keep a file per student, and notes, as it’s all too much to keep in my head, loose and, apparently, falling out.

Now I, too, put things in boxes. Not just knowledge of them, but being able to Access to them was precious beyond words, depths and moments shared of past selves made present, of present selves made sensible. ‘Who’s going to ride my wild horses’ become ‘who’s going to rifle through my boxes’. And yet, they’re there (on tarps, mostly, though the rain has me worried that damp may pervade the literal, rather than metaphorical, boxes).

And again and again and again and again: what’s next. how’s next. why next. what’s next what was. how does what’s next change what was. why does what next matter.

the imperative to do the next thing. the demand to look to the now that got lost, sometimes, in the doing that got here.