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Adventuring since 1986.

Posts tagged with ‘lit’

Jane, who has been dead for 31 years,
never could have
imagined that I would write a screenplay of our drinking
days together
and
that it would be made into a movie
and
that a beautiful movie star would play her
part.

I can hear Jane now: “A beautiful movie star? oh,
for Christ’s sake!”

Jane, that’s show biz, so go back to sleep, dear, because
no matter how hard they tried they
just couldn’t find anybody exactly like
you.

and neither can
I.

Barfly. Charles Bukowski. This poem shatters me.

In Motion.

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.  ~Lao Tzu

 Sometimes all I want to do is turn off my brain, put on The Rolling Stones, get on a train (going somewhere, anywhere) and get lost. The unknown doesn’t scare me because it always seems to work out.

Leaving for me and getting away when I am most comfortable somewhere is something that I do very well, almost skillfully. I will be sitting there, maybe on my bed or at a desk or in my oversized marbled white bathtub and this thing (a thought, an apparition disguised as discontent, maybe just a longing for adventure) washes over me & I sink into it almost drowning in it & it whispers in my ear “go”. The message slips and slides all over me & even if I say “no, but I am happy here right now,” or “no, but I am too lazy to make any plans” or “no, but I am content,” that something, that small but strong wild messenger does not hear what I say and pulls me away and the next thing I know it I am on a train somewhere & am in motion.

In the state of perpetual motion is where I feel most comfortable. Sitting or standing or being still always leaves me feeling a bit sad and even when I am falling asleep I have to continuously move my legs until I am pulled deep under the curtains of my heavy dreams.

When I was young, maybe from the ages of 10 − 15 I travelled almost every month with my mom in a van full of tiny dachshunds up and down and across America from Texas to Minnesota and from Louisiana to Missouri and back again. The open road made my heart beat a little faster & I loved the long trips we took where there was no one else on the highway expect for us. Miles and miles of open country road as far as the eye could see. And no Internet, no Twitter, no Facebook, no bullshit, only a few books and some disposable cameras that I would buy every few trips at Wallgreens or any old grocery store that we would come across that belonged to the little ghost towns with names like Denton, Faber, Mill City, Black Duck, Moorpark…that dotted the long expansive road to nowhere that we would drive up and down on the way to our next destination.

It made me feel so free being on the road so young, so often. I became addicted to it. Hooked on the feeling on “getting gone.”

I am reading Sylvia Plaths journal entries from when she was aged 17-30 (when she committed suicide) and I stopped when I read this because it struck me hard with truth:

Life was not to be sitting in hot amorphic leisure in my backyard idly writing or not-writing, as the spirit moved me. It was, instead, running madly, in crowded schedule, in a squirrel cage of busy people. Working, living, dancing, dreaming, talking, kissing, singing, laughing, learning.”

Motion. It just makes sense to me. When I talk to people about my desire to move, get away or change constantly, they are either horrified or mesmerized. They either get it or they don’t and to me, that is just fine. Change is my lover. Motion is my friend. Freedom means everything to me. So I go & I stay in motion or I might as well be dead if only metaphorically.

10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.

Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualizedemassification,attitudinallyjudgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6. Check your quotations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

David

Skepticism, Schnee & the City

Winter had manifested itself in the form of something cold, wet, depressing and lonely.

The whole week was grey and not quite cold enough to wear the winter jacket that my roommate Inga had loaned me. I mostly spent nights alone listening to Washed Out or something equally as synthy yet maybe with a bit of an apathetic musical twang. You know when you are listening to a tune and it is just there and sorta feels like it is weighing you down and not really making you feel any better about the current state of your affairs but you just can’t turn it off? That is the type of music that I was listening to on repeat.

It had been raining sleet for the past week and all my jeans were soaked up to the knees with a mixture of dirt and precipitation that had fallen in every which way from the sky. I didn’t care and I couldn’t be bothered to wash them. My mood was 1 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being “Exuberant” and 1 being “Woebegone” . I couldn’t write so I attempted to read my new book, “Norwegian Wood” by Murakami. I got through the first page and felt like my heart was going to explode if I continued so I just laid in my bed in silence as I stared up at the ceiling which seemed to go on and on and on. I imagined there was a cloud hanging over the top of my bed and if there had really been one, I would not feel too upset or surprised it had started a torrential downpour onto my head because it would have matched my mood perfectly.

This is how my first winter in Berlin started. After the childish glee and premature excitement that I felt over my first sleet/snow experience in early December,  I became skeptical of dodgy weather reports that promised snow, snow, snow. I talked back to my computer and swore at the imaginary weatherman inside calculating numbers and throwing them stupidly up on the screen in front of me. All I wanted was a large amount of white fluffy, crunchy snow blanketing the world around me. Largely to rescue me from the current grey palette but also to make me feel something new again.

I grew up in many places throughout the world and they were all warm with an exception of Seattle, Washington which was mostly just wet. I remember winters in California where I would be in my bikini by January and tanned to a golden bronze by February. Snow was a myth - a fairy tale - something that I only knew and visited somewhere in my head or occasionally something that I experienced whilst traveling with my dad to ski in Colorado. I had never lived anywhere so cold that I couldn’t wear a cheeky short dress out on a Saturday night or somewhere where I had to trade in my sandals for shoes. In fact I never wore socks (besides with my sport shoes) until I moved to Berlin and that is the truth. So after a summer that was grey and a fall that mild, I just wanted snow and I was not going to get over my winter slump until I had it dammit.

Saturday morning I met Marco at a nameless slightly posh cafe in Prenzlauerberg. It was colder than usual and I felt something in the air that I could not put my finger on but it lifted my spirits and I liked that I had to bundle up extra tight to keep the cold away from my bare skin. We spent the day talking and I bought a used book about travel and then we parted ways.  I could feel the day getting colder and as the sun dipped down beyond the horizon, all I wanted was to be wrapped up inside my brown velvety blanket that I had lugged all the way from California when I first moved to Berlin almost a year before. 

Sitting on my bed I snuggled into a comfortable position and read my new book quietly. As I dove deep into my book the hours sorta just disappeared into thin air and it was 6pm when I looked out my window.

All I saw was white.

White swirly snow flakes falling effortlessly from the sky to the earth in wild unison with the wind. Dancing. Twirling. Something in my heart stopped and then immediately I felt warm all over and was reminded of how I felt when I first saw the Pacific Ocean when I moved to Santa Cruz from Texas at age 14. Seeing snow fall is not as immense or epic as first seeing the cliffs that dotted the shoreline of my California childhood but I still got the feeling of a “pitter patter” in my heart, nay, whole body, that gave me the same chills that united those two very different experiences.

No one was outside in my empty industrialized Prenzlauerberg middle class kiez and as the snow fell in buckets. The cars that lined the street in front of my apartment building slowly disappeared into white leaving all the automobiles looking uniform and neat stacked in rows, forming lines, sleeping in the snow, dreaming of the autobahn. I opened my window excitedly and the cold hit me quickly as the warmth from my room was sucked out the window into the evening air. I wasn’t wearing a coat or a long sleeve shirt or even proper pants but the cold didn’t bother me nor did I notice it as a nuisance as I stuck my hand out the window to catch snow flakes before they hit the hard ground. A few rogue semi solid flakes drifted away from the others and landed on my face. One even landed on the tip of my nose dissolving quickly once coming in contact with my warm flesh. I just could not stop smiling.

It had finally snowed and I felt that all the tension that had been built up from the past three months of grey winter had been released in one snow shower from the sky. I felt like some sort of metaphorical bubble had just been burst and my mood immediately shifted from grey to light or bright or dare I say “hopeful”. My melancholy feelings melted away just as fast as the snowflake on my skin, gone in one beautiful instant. 

I closed the window but left my curtains opened and stared outside as the snow fall let up in a moment of rest. Everything was so still and quiet and clean and clear and I wanted to stay in that moment for a while so I did, watching the white winter-land that was my neighborhood through new eyes. A fresh perspective that had been hiding somewhere far away was finally right there and I was grabbing it, actually holding on to it and I felt good as the snow started to fall again slowly and more casually this time onto the Berlin neighborhood that I have come to call “home.”

Taking trains and trams in Berlin, I noticed: people reading. Books, I mean, not pocket-size devices that bleep as if censorious, on which even Shakespeare scans like a spreadsheet. Americans buy more than half of all e-books sold internationally — unless Europeans fly regularly to the United States for the sole purpose of downloading reading material from an American I.P. address. […] I began asking the multilingual, multi­ethnic artists around me why that was. It was 2 a.m., at Soho House, a private club I’d crashed in the former Hitler­jugend headquarters. One installationist said, “Americans like e-books because they’re easier to buy.” A performance artist said, “They’re also easier not to read.” True enough: their presence doesn’t remind you of what you’re missing; they don’t take up space on shelves.

Joshua Cohen, My Berlin Airlift - NYTimes.com (via housingworksbookstore)

(via housingworksbookstore)

music to me.

Music as I see it. Written in 10 minutes. I thought it would be fun. Challenge = give yourself 10 minutes to write in any way that you would like about your thoughts on music - any thoughts, any way - ready, set, go! And remember to stop at 10 minutes…and ya I did it too!

Music as I see it.

My mind is there. Your mind is not here, it is “here” and the music takes it there and there it stays until you change the music and then it goes somewhere else and that place can be cold or warm or wet or dry or it could make you laugh or cry or fall in love but it makes you feel and that is the point.

Where do you go?

When you get there you want to stay there and you don’t want the music to stop. The lyrics, the melody, the beat, the pulse, the sounds all around you and you are stubborn and you only like what you like and so do I. I scoff at the others and we listen on our record player and we are silent but the music is loud and we melt together and sometimes we hold hands but we say nothing. And you are miles away by a whole big gigantic sea.

The words.

The lyrics in a song have so much power over me and sometimes they make me smile and sometimes they make me feel uncomfortable and if they are empty lyrics, they make me sad and if they are heavy lyrics they can make me sad too, but the point is someone has taken time to write them and they probably affect someone else in a positive way and to me that is beautiful and also so poetic and I want to breathe in the lyrics and fly away with them and that is very corny. But I mean it.

The beat.

My friend who is an artist tells me to “ignore all the people who talk about beats” because everyone calls their music “beats.” “Check out my phat beats” “ Yo listen to my beats!” … etc … and maybe it is shitty music or maybe even someone elses music mashed up together but I still see some beauty in that and I like the word “beats” and I like the beat of the drum and the beat to a sax solo and the beat in a song. The beat goes on.

Therapy.

Music is therapy. It is the best kind of therapy because in some cases you don’t have to pay anything for it. Music can reach deep and the feeling of loud intense bass on a Saturday morning at 4am in an abandoned yet packed warehouse can be enough to get you through the day or the year or just that moment and how could that be considered a bad thing? 

Music has the power to heal. Billie Holiday’s voice on a rainy day in Winter while walking home from work can have the power to wipe away all the pain or maybe for some to add to it but for me it can only do good. Thom Yorke’s lyrics blow me away, far away and away and away until I am so far away that I forget how to come back to that place I was before and I am just singing along and it is a feeling that makes me feel whole. Music is my therapy.

What is music to you in 10 minutes?

I used to feel so alone in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because, how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for many years. And then I realized, you could just say, “Hi.” They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.

Augusten Burroughs  

Wanderung nach Praha

I took the slow train to somewhere unfamiliar at noon on a Saturday on the first day of October - the seventh month of my stay in Berlin.

Nothing much had changed. My German was still terrible, but the sun was shining. It had cruelly kept itself hidden away during the summer months. The sunshine in Berlin was reclusive and sporadic from June to August - it teased me and taunted me and made me miserable when it would go. The summer in Berlin had been dark and wet. Now I was glad to see the sun shining and I was happy to feel my arms burning as we rolled along the train tracks quickly towards the South.

I was looking out the window — my blurred reflection starred back and I made an awkward exaggerated face. The guy in front of me caught me in the act apparently and returned a frown toward me. I couldn’t understand why but I was used to Germany’s frowns by then and didn’t question them much anymore. These frowny faced Germans I lovingly refer to as Deutsch bags — the German version of a Douche Bag - something you never really strive to be in America.

As I starred out the window, I watched miles upon miles of flat farm land disappear in the distance as we hurled passed. Farm land that seemed like nothingness — never-ending to the casual observer, but to me so full. Little houses and tractors and green fields sprawling across the East German countryside. Green tufts of skinny trees dotted the horizon packed together like mini forests in between great expanses. The mini forests offered an oasis amongst the vast fields that almost seemed like a great sea of barley and wheat or maybe even just weeds.

I was wearing my flower printed dress that Jess left me when she went back to San Diego after being in Berlin for the summer and my hair was in a messy bun plopped a top my head. Looking around, I was on a train with mostly businessmen and families — everyone looked so serious and I felt self conscious for a moment and then like always I talked myself out of it, because what is the point of caring. A few moms and middle aged business men directed frowns at me, but I pretended not to notice and continued to stare out the window. I was getting lost in the fields.

I wondered who lived in those houses beyond the train tracks and beyond the little green mini forests. What kind of people chose to live out there so far from the city? I wanted to know more about them. I imagined they were completely content to be away from the big buildings, fast cars and stuffy cigarette smoke of the city — totally content without the constant tick of the clock. For a moment I was envious of them. I wanted to push open the window and jump out, running towards a new life somewhere beyond my seat on that train — somewhere away from all the chaos and maybe away from myself too but then I remembered that I had run away from the country before and there was a reason I lived in the city.

I was on my way to Prague - a city that always caught my interest but a city that was more of an escape than somewhere I really wanted to be a tourist. I was leaving to leave and there was no real reason except the fact that there was a cheap train there and it left at noon. So I had gotten on it with a bag packed with one change of clothing and two of my favorite books and I left Berlin behind and plummeted south towards the Czech Republic with the promise of cheaper beer, Bohemian nights and time alone to explore in a new place. 

Past the open fields of rye and weeds the earth opened up drastically and mountains started sprouting up around us and we continued on towards the Czech border along a beautiful blue river. The ticket man came by and asked me in German to see my ticket, — “Die Fahrkarte bitte” - I showed him and he stamped it stone-faced and serious moving on quickly towards the next row. I pressed my face up to the window and starred at awe at everything we passed by. Everything was so beautiful. I had not enjoyed just sitting and thinking for a long time. It was nice and it was needed.

Around sunset we arrived in Prague and I collected all my things to leave the train. I was alone.  I was okay. I took a minute to think about that as I looked once again in the mirror at my reflection — someone entirely different from even a year ago. Someone more grown up. Someone more brave in a way.

I had been alone for seven months in a new country completely different from America and I had made it. I was proud of that. Walking towards the subway that would take me to my hostel I couldn’t help but smile.