Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joan Didion

has a new memoir coming out, and there's a nice profile of her in today's LATimes. Here are some of my favorite bits--
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live," she begins "The White Album," then undercuts the sentiment almost immediately: "Or at least we do for a while." Implicit in those lines is a recognition of the fundamental friction between the shaping impulses of literature and the chaos of the world. "It's just a tension you never resolve," Didion explains, eyes pale, unwavering. "I think I was writing 'Democracy' [her 1984 novel] when it came to me that, as well as I might describe the palm trees, it wasn't going to get me anywhere."


"All I know now," she declares there, "is that writing … no longer comes easily to me" — a statement that echoes her admission in "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" "that there is always a point in the writing of a piece when I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered a small stroke." The more things change, in other words, the more they never do.

And so, on this Thursday afternoon in her living room, Didion continues to work it through. "Let me try again to talk to you directly," she writes in "Blue Nights," speaking to her readers as if the book were a kind of intimacy. And: "I tell you this story just to prove that I can." There it is, that push to tell, to observe, and then the deepening: "That my frailty has not yet reached a point at which I can no longer tell a true story." Here again, Didion is triangulating, positioning herself, commenting on the inability of narrative to sustain us even as she invokes it just the same. Or, as she puts it, surrounded by all her familiar photographs: "I didn't think I'd get through this book. But I did. You always do."
Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


exAngelus has 3 more readings, with the next one TONIGHT. Jessica Abrams' one-woman show, If I Look This Good, Why Do I Feel Like Shit? is being read by Lindsay Frame. Here are the details.

Psychic Visions Theatre
3447 Motor Ave, Los Angeles, CA

All readings start at 7 p.m.
The readings are free, though donations will be gratefully be accepted (and will help Psychic Visions with their impending moving costs).

Next week we have Pat McGowan's Fathoms, directed by Laurie Woolery, followed by Tira Palmquist's Ten Mile Lake, directed by Joshua Wolf Coleman on Sunday, October 30. Skip the Halloween parties and come see what we're up to.

I wrote this post

several days ago with the intention of publishing later that day and completely forgot! Should've scheduled in advance.

I read at the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday morning (10/2/11), which went well, even if it was so early we didn't have much of a crowd yet. Here's a picture taken by Jim Arnold, another reader there.

I read an abridged version of the extended version of my essay, "The Indie Rock Tastemakers of Heber Springs, Arkansas," which originated on this very blog. After that I went with a monologue from make a whisper. It was a good time, as well as a nice excuse to spend Sunday morning in West Hollywood with JW, who finally has Sunday mornings free to goof off with me.

A highlight of the morning was seeing the stunning views out of the new library. I hung out at the homo-centric booth to hear my friend Corey read, and then JW and I went to first MOCA, then the ONE, the National Gay and Lesbian Archives, which has an amazing show up in West Hollywood now called Cruising the Archives as part of the Pacific Standard Time business. Go check it out if you can. This link has some of my favorite images and objects from the show, but you have to go so you can see JW's favorite, a caftan from the 70s sold out of Ah Men! on Santa Monica Blvd.

So much for

daily blogging. I took a yoga class on the first Monday in October all about autumn and new beginnings and it was prescient and calming and then I threw myself into my new writers collective's first big public event and a new job and a fill-in part-time thing as well. The momentum has felt good, if a little frenzied. Hopefully I'll get back to yoga and dial it all down a notch or two.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The first of

ExAngelus' Month of Sundays readings was a big success. It was my play, too, so maybe I'm biased. But I was pleased. Of course I took no pictures because I never think to do so, but take my word for it.

The play is currently titled make a whisper, and it started in 2008 as a full-length play-within-a-play that's equal parts elegy for Elliott Smith and frustrated love letter to Los Angeles theater. Back then it was called Forgetting, and it was unwieldy and problematic and full of way too many scenes and characters. After the first reading, another writer suggested that I must've written this because I "needed to get it out of my system and move on to something else." And thanks to that and other withering critiques, that's more or less what I did, even though I persisted for at least a few more months of rewrites in hopes of proving that critic wrong.

Just for kicks I started looking at it again this year. I was surprised to find myself still fond of some of the writing in it, and distance made me a little ruthless about cutting it down to a long one-act. I'm pleased to say that I'm not even all that embarrassed by it anymore. I wish I had kept in touch with that writer so I could've invited him to the reading. It's still a little messy, and it's weird and brief and probably a failure (to paraphrase one of my characters), but on Sunday night the actors killed it and the crowd laughed a lot.

Come check us out again this Sunday for a reading of Psyche, by Meghan Brown.

I told myself

over the weekend that I'd try to update the blog at least once a day this week, and I'm already off my game. I even had time yesterday but I just didn't do it.

The reason I told myself this is because my last day at my job was Friday, freeing me up for a week before I start my new job next week. I'm very pleased about all of this, as you can imagine, but for this week I'm just trying to enjoy the city and being off work. It's been rare for me to have a decent amount of time off in Los Angeles with no friends or family in town to entertain.

So yesterday I got some writing done in my neighborhood and then went to yoga in the middle of the day. Today I'm at the bar at LAMill in Silver Lake, which, in spite of all the other laptops and people grinding away on scripts or other projects, feels a little too formal for me to settle in with legal pads and headphones and grind away for a couple of hours. So here I am on the blog. The coffee is great, though.

I had some business going on a couple of days ago. I'll write about that in a bit.