February 27, 2009

First Ear Phenomena...

I talk a lot on here about hearing a song for the first time...or maybe I talk a lot about it in life -- to anyone who will listen -- this idea of a drop or beat or croon actually, physically changing me...the idea that I remember forever, the first time I hear a certain song and the way it makes me feel, about how it latches on and becomes a part of the path of the rest of my life. Yes, that heavy. I'd like to think that everything done here is done in an attempt to honor the everyday profound and to me, music has the skills...

I've been writing all day today minus the 3 hour workout break I took in the early afternoon and was just re-reading a passage that inspired two thoughts. The first was about how a potential editor is going to deal with my form of expression when they read something like...

"I got up and started to walk, watching as I moved, the lightning cutting reveals into the jagged and abandoned land. Within minutes, my entire body was soaked. Drops of water were forming on my brow, would drip as I'd blink, fighting to see far enough ahead to merely place one foot in front of the next, to stay on the path of that black and invisible road. I hadn't yet turned to double back, not yet having any intention to return home, to my room at Villa Holiday Beach and the storm was growing. At the end of the Perissa beaches, there's a road to Oia that splits through the middle of two imposing hills and crosses through the center of the island. I stood before it and thought of it as a passage, because between strobes of the sky, it looked almost mythological, as if braving that road, that night would transport me anywhere...on Earth or in my dreams. I remember it gave me vicious chills, introduced me to a fear of grandeur. Maybe for the first time in my life, I thought of the possibility of something in this life existing that was bigger than myself."

The second thing...what was the first song that did it to me...the first time I remember experiencing what I just recently dubbed First Ear Phenomena. The answer came quick and easy. It was this song...and I wanted to honor that...

February 21, 2009

Here Comes Oscar...not so roaring back...

Tomorrow, the great golden statues are being handed out. Oscar Sunday is usually something of a holy day for me...usually. There's something about the weight of it - and celebrating great films over the course of the year usually makes for a date I calendar circle. This year...I don't know. Not so much. Don't get me wrong, I thought this was an excellent year, and I do remember being somewhat thoroughly entertained and there were a lot of good movies...good movies.

But I felt like most of them got me so close and then...they just left me, dick in my own hand, having to then take care of myself. Excuse the profanity, you have no idea what it's like working in proximity with this cretin Durban. In the past, I've found myself to be something of an elitist, maybe even a smug film-goer. I love awards season films - they're what inspired me to come out here. This year, though movie going's been solid, I feel like it's been just that and only that. And looking back, I think there were only a handful of films that really got me off. Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, Wall-E, Let The Right One In, Cloverfield, In Bruges, and this one, Ghost Town, that I saw tonight...this potentially derivative bag of shit high concept studio snatch up that unsurprisingly turned out to be not that at all. All from the great, great, great Ricky Gervais...

I feel like I'm going to be watching the Oscars like I'm watching Super Bowl Pittsburg v. Arizona. I care, but a whole hell of a lot less than you might think. Smug is out. It just ain't workin' for me this year. Apologies to all you Frosty Revolutionary Readers and Wrestling high Buttoned Milk drinking Slumdog Doubters. Apologies.

Point studios.

February 19, 2009

Hal Higdon...


My fucking calves. My fucking life. My fucking needs. Hal Higdon, welcome into my world.

I can't walk very pain free right now. And when I get out of bed, this is dramatic, but today, I nearly crumbled after that first foot hit the ground because I recently decided to undertake Hal Higdon's Advanced II Training program that will lead me into the LA Marathon on May 25th. It means that on top of the grueling classes I already teach...and the grueling classes I already take, I'm going to be running 4-5 extra sessions a week. I went for a run yesterday afternoon, an easy 4 miler, and in my mind, it felt like the exertion equivalent of brushing my teeth...because it has to, because in terms of relativity, I simply have no room in my mind to spend even a drop of my stretched discipline during the weekday runs when I know the long ones are waiting for me on the weekends.

It's early here on Thursday night. Really, quite early and I want to go to bed so I can wake up in the 5's...and for no real reason but because I have work to do...so much work to do. My Thursday has been utterly exhausted. I stayed up late last night, too many bouts of loveless sex and have been feeling the after-affects all day long, weighing on the soul...forcing me to confront myself, my past...my future, because I was born with extreme sensitivity. Sometimes, I wish I could just be...anything but constantly in my head...all the time. All the fucking time. With age and understanding, I'm finding that it (my mind, my place in the world) keeps brightening...or darkening, depending on your point of view, depending on which side of the fence you stand.

Me and Durban are working on this book and I have to say, it is utterly fulfilling, an absolute cure to the post K&V empty space that had me sinking. And I'm getting up every day and I don't run with my headphones anymore because the evolution of my mind thinks of them as a distraction...me keeping me from myself. In the arenas of creative and physical exertion, I'm as content as I've ever been. This is growth.

It's the 19th of February and I'm 27 years old. Next year, on the 19th of February, I'll be 28 years old. In one year, everything that exists in this world will have changed. Everything. And I won't know this person I am now, other than to know that I'll hold up well...that all through time, I'll know one thing for sure - that as I evolve, and I do everyday - I will always hold up.

Things are loose. I have all these anchors right now, these wonderful, colorful, hopeful anchors, crippling anchors. And they're out and falling and falling and as their slack is endlessly unwinding, I'm just coasting along. Because when the ocean is too deep...and sometimes it can be, there's little choice but to drift...and coast...and drift...

I hit a point recently where I stopped worrying when they'll catch or if they'll catch. I'm just letting them do their thing. And eventually, maybe I'll forget about whether or not they're drifting. And eventually, I'll forget about whether or not they're there. And eventually, eventually I'll just be...

Laughing at the thought of people Google searching "Hal Higdon Marathon Training Programs" and winding up here.

February 17, 2009

February 14, 2009

HVD...


So I'm sitting here on Valentine's Night putting together a playlist and getting ready to give Mulholland a go, and waiting on the Alec Baldwin SNL, and taking a break from the on again off again novel me and Durban have been writing the entire day through correspondence (he's still in London) and I'm thinking to myself, well, at least I'm keeping it real and all, Valentine's Day being a day you spend with someone you love and who in this world will I ever love more than myself? Real.

Durban just sent me an e-mail, precious he is. He had just written a section of our first chapter, Paris, bouncing back from my memoirs of our time spent in the Ritz Hemingway bar and sent me the opening line of the book - the line we'll be judged by throughout the rest of literary eternity...

Fuck, I want to tell you what it is...so much, knowing if this ever sees the light of day, a single word of it will never be changed. That's why I'm breaking rule #1 on this one - actual collaboration with the oddest of companions - because when he shines, kid fucking shines. And...he'll give me shit for this, but sometimes, even I need someone to lean on.

Anyway, I'm occupied again, and we're past the point of no return and it's starting to roll. I was talking to someone today and I didn't want to talk about the book too much and they asked me something like so you've got a good idea for this and I brushed it off with a yes, careless now and maybe forever - other's perceptions of what constitutes a good idea. Me and Durban are out to jerk ourselves and each other off for 200 pages. That's our idea.

...

So I'm sitting here writing a post about Valentine's and I'm starting to think that maybe I do have something that constitutes as a potential Valentine. Here's what I do, though. She's got my attention, and I can almost guarantee that even if we're operating in a worst case scenario, worst case scenario, I'm still going to go out with her a few more times. Or...maybe she ditches me but I really only say that to sound less than completely full of myself but by flagging the statement I turn everything around and leave you thinking exactly that...which is actually exactly what I want. So anyway...

I don't want to give the impression that I'm not excited about what's going on here. If we're keeping score...which I usually do, this girl has already once blown me back off my feet in our limited existence. FYI - those be rare words.

Almost there. Stick around because there's a lot of insight and subtext embedded into everything I'm saying. I'm not that cynical, per se. Actually, the thought of finding love - the good kind I've rarely stumbled upon is literally what gets me out of bed. It's the basis, essentially, of everything I write...and to be dramatic, it's the reason I keep breathing. Because when you hit that stride and find someone...that's all folks - at least until the fail or fade hits. Actually, that's very cynical.

But I'm in this...phase. And I can't really gauge what or who is happening in front of me. I'm afraid of anyone growing too fond...on either end, I suppose. And I love the guard. It's not always here. When it's not, I don't think about worst case scenario and of the number of times I'm going to see someone before it all comes crumbling down. Instead, I would pick up a rose and write a letter and tell someone at her work to pass it along and I wouldn't think about anything beyond tonight or whether we've been out enough for me to partake in such a gesture...I'd just do it. And man, when I'm in it, I envy the girls who get that. And when I have girls who give that to me, I step back, honestly, and envy myself.

But that's just not where I'm at, not today, not even for the sake of Saint Valentine...

All about keepin' it real.

February 13, 2009

So I'm Starting To Think It's Me...

Which is okay. I love epiphanies.

Sometime...either two nights ago or two months ago, I went out for a night on the town with this girl I'd previously met at a party. I was immediately drawn to her. And that's how it happens with me, knowing straight away whether someone stands a chance at occupying my time. And I get very forward. I pulled up a chair and we talked about tattoos and the expectations of life and all the things two oddly charming people talk about when they're dancing steps around each other.

We met for a drink sometime in that span, stayed at the first bar until it closed. And I don't drink that much any more, but it was as decent a reason as any to stay out, so we moved to a second bar, stayed until those lights came up.

And I don't know why I'm saying this, other than to work through self-realization...and because I've got these bruises on my shoulder and back...and I was looking in the mirror and realized that I'd forgotten my response to her question in the backseat of my car, asking if she could bite me and then my daring her, then again...then again and soon after just hoping a cop wasn't going to drive by while all the while thinking to myself -- I should have gotten this out of my system in high school.

That and why do I have to be so tall...

Hollywood weeknights.

February 10, 2009

Boycott Kelloggs...


I'll be the first to admit. I've always thought Michael Phelps was something of a douche. Not really a bad douche though - I'm just saying that if he was a regular guy who didn't win a dozen or so gold medals at the Olympics and I was talking to him at a party, I'd likely turn to a friend afterwards and say something like okay...I don't need to ever talk to that guy again. Harmless.

When the photos came out of him hitting a bong at some campus party, I laughed. In my mind, I thought something like okay, douche...good for you. And not because I'm a liberal druggie or that I like weed. Actually, I can't stand the stuff. More because...well, maybe I like the idea of bringing our heroes down because it's honest.

So I was reading an article on espn.com today and it really pissed me off. We all know Phelps has had some sponsorship issues since the whole thing went down, most notably, Kelloggs. I pulled this from the article, the whole thing about whether or not Phelps was going to compete in the 2012 Olympics, whether or not he was going to decide to be an entire nation's superman...again.

"
"I'm not feeling too good physically," Phelps said, according to the report. "But I'm actually able to sleep now. I had a real hard time sleeping over the last two weeks or so. Just swimming and thinking about everything going on. Everything is back to what I call normal, I guess."

Phelps, the winner of a record-breaking eight gold medals at Beijing last summer, said he called every one of his sponsors to apologize and spoke to everyone except Kellogg, according to the report.

"I guess the only one I didn't really talk to was Kellogg, and I attempted to call four days in a row and didn't get any responses," Phelps said, The Sun reported. "I talked to everybody else, and they're all supportive."
"

So now I have something to say...and it goes a little something like this...

Fuck you Tony the Tiger...

And you Toucan Sam...

Same goes for you Snap, Crackle and Pop. Actually, try this instead...have a 3-way and go fuck yourselves.


Even Douches need support.

February 08, 2009

Joshua Tree and Weekend Expansion...


I landed here sometime around 4 on Friday, as the sun was starting to fade...swirling clouds everywhere. Black skies, purple skies, red skies, blue. Something about being somewhere so empty when things in Los Angeles are so full all the time.

...

My entire life in a single picture...

And I realized the moment I took it, immediately moved. Winding road, chasing a setting sun. Empty, hopeful. Full, hopeless. Someday, I'll go back to sleep in the desert, let it fall and wash over me. The seed's in my mind.

...

From Joshua Tree, I made way to La Quinta. There, I met some gym rat friends for a yoga retreat. I signed on because it was a chance to get out of the city. I thought it would be a chill weekend at a far enough away resort, some chill yoga...all that biz. The first 90 minute class on Friday led to a 120 minute class on Saturday morning which led to 150 minutes of possibly the most opening class I've taken, ever, on Saturday night. When I speak of opening, know this isn't about body. Here, we almost only and always speak of the mind...

On Sunday, after what turned out to be a grueling schedule, I couldn't walk straight, absolutely ready for an easy 90 minute "reflection" class before I hit the road back to Los Angeles. Instead, we eased into something that demands explanation...

We started easy, early morning moving. If you don't do yoga, when you learn to commit, it's all about strength of mind and body working together, and breath - and you learn to reach for this thing I'll dub here as the push. It's about finding a place in your body that panics through work and finds struggle, suffering...and from there it's about controlling and rising above the suffering. When you get deep, it can be a deepening experience. That's what hit me on Sunday. As the class started to unfold, things grew aggressive. We crossed 1 hour, 90 minutes, 120 minutes, 150 minutes...just pushing and pushing and pushing - straight through failure, straight through exhaustion - straight through students snapping at their teacher - straight through all the shit you have to face when you put yourself through this kind of thing - because we're all capable of so much more than we know, because we're so much stronger than we realize...and I'm not talking bull shit affirmation.

Sometime around the 2 and a half hour mark, she brought us into a position called Frog. You lay face down and split your knees, rest with all your weight into your groin and outer hips...and it feels like you're giving birth and all you can do is sit and breathe and deal. In class at the WeHo Q-Nox, we'll hold the pose for 5 minutes, 10 if we go absolutely nuts. It's brutal. If you've got mess of life in your head and heart and body...they say you hold it all in your hips. Try this pose for 30 seconds and you'll believe exactly that. On Sunday, at the 15 minute point, I was done, completely cooked, completely ready to get up and go home and call it a tough and lovely weekend. Maybe she could read me...maybe we were just falling into the grand plan. She came around behind me and put her legs over my hips and started to lean back and I went nuts, hissing and twitching, no drama...all pain, all panic. At 17 minutes I was howling, literally involuntarily through the room...

There's that scene in Fight Club where Brad Pitt pours acid over Ed Norton's hand...it was that, maybe worse. And all she was saying...there's no pain you can't handle, there's no pain you can't deal with, I'm not going anywhere, you're not coming out, you're not done until you can find a way to let go. At 22 minutes, mind flowing with poison, I had to bite through my lip to keep something like you fucking bitch, get off me, fuck you, fuck you...down. At 24 minutes, I was about to throw up, saying I'm gonna puke I'm gonna puke I'm gonna puke...before realizing it was or wasn't my body pulling up whatever it had to to get me away from that pain - like it thought I was dying...and in turn was fighting for survival - literally trying to use parlor tricks as a method of escape. My body would go through these spurts of rest and panic, rest and panic and she was still leaning back on me, still pulling and at some point I was so far beyond gone I had to decide I would give up, die in it if I had to...that's the only way I can give a satisfactory explanation. At 26 minutes, she pulled off and left me there for 9 more minutes. There was no relief, just paralysis and pain...and all I had was breath and there was a waterfall in the background and I remember trying to hold onto that. When we hit 35 minutes, she told us to come out, slowly. I tried and couldn't, just pain. When I finally fell onto my chest, I broke in half...involuntary tears and no control and just laying there, face on the cold tile, trying to wrap mind on what had just happened to me.

...

I've been preaching something in my classes since the beginning. It's this idea of setting bars for yourself, and that I don't want people in my classes who only come to maintain or go through the motions. I demand growth. Spinning is leaving a job you can't stand. Yoga is having the guts to chase down someone you feel you should love. Push your heart, push your life. Cut corners anywhere, pay the price everywhere.

I taught a class this morning and felt the need to preach this, what I'd been through...because if I had a teacher who went through the things I went through this weekend, I'd want to hear it - I'd want to own it...

All I have left to say is that to some people...everything about this shared experience is absurd. And I get that...there was a day a while back where this would have been absurd to me, too. I'm not saying this is the path for everyone - or that we all find depth in the same things...I know this isn't the case...

But I left Los Angeles on Friday. It's Monday morning and the world looks different. We have absolute control.

February 05, 2009

Ditching Town...


Los Angeles is truly one in a million. I speak a lot on here about wanderlust, need to travel the world, to see and find and conquer this world's great hidden beauties. I'll be the first to admit...it's hard to believe anything meaningful can be found outside of a 14 hour plane ride. Every day, 30 times a day, I want so badly to be able to take off for Japan, Malawi, New Zealand, Brazil...and I think of anything less than those destinations as exactly that, somewhere less. Tomorrow, I'm driving into the desert. Finally, I'm going to give Joshua Tree its fair look, because I hear that's what it deserves. I'm staying at a resort in La Quinta on Friday and Saturday night and my life has evolved to the point where I honestly can't fathom coming back. I can't fathom what's going to stand waiting when I'm supposed to return on Monday - or the week after that...so on.

Everything relates, each to each other. Me and Durban have been going back and fourth, relentless. I wrote him yesterday, told him he was going to be the lead, that I was going to defer. By giving him the first sentence, I'm giving him the first page. It's crucial and he knows this. If you ever get the chance to read it, you'll see what I mean. The narrative is what you might expect from the two of us. It's a total fistfuck -- already, I'm beginning to speak like him. Already, he's rubbing his grimy paws into my pristine voice. I think by doing this, by giving him the anchor, I was asking, no, demanding that he step up to the plate. I wanted him to know that I'm dead fucking serious about this thing and I needed to see how he would respond. Today, he sent me his open. Right away, I read his open. It needs some work, everything always does. There was something about it, something inside it that's either inherently there or not, like this seed - but the seed isn't just content to grow. I read it and knew, flat out...this thing is going to burst right out of the fucking pot. Of course, after I read it I wrote him right back and told him it was miserable just to fuck with him and no doubt when he reads this post, he's going to be royally pissed. When he settles, he'll evolve. From there, he'll wait for my volley and so on and so on. I know we can be great, absolutely...but I have absolutely no idea how this is going to come out. Beautiful.

So tomorrow, I'm getting in my car and taking off. It's raining in Los Angeles and fog is covering the hills and life here is visually ominous. I love this town with all my heart, somehow. Still, I cherish leaving her...maybe just to return. I don't know. Probably. My relationships...why do I move so much to struggle?

February 02, 2009

There Goes The Neighborhood...

I can't say that Team Burn is going to be particularly excited about this one, but me and Durban finally broke ground on the novel we've been threatening. Okay, novella. Either way, it's going to be a bit of a departure. I can't quite wrap my head around a knockout script idea - and until I can, there's little use diving into something for the sake of. Since not writing or taking much of a break isn't a realistic option, I gotta keep moving...and in this case, I'm moving forward with an unstable collaborator. Today, he sent me a piece with an attached header, "crush back ut-fuck." Obviously, he meant to say nut-fuck but hardly believes in a one line proofread. The first thought I had, I had never heard that used before...nut-fuck. It makes no sense. None of this makes any sense and you can call me ill-led, but the thought of diving into senseless right now lights me up, me and Durban. I'm riding that. That's what I'm riding.

We both have this thing that's probably not very charming to anyone outside the two of us -- belief that we're literary gods in the ripening. I suppose only time will tell. But I can tell you this...the novel, the novella...anything that takes time and genuine thought to consume in this world is going extinct. We're ending. When our children's children rule the world, there won't be a world left to rule. I can't explain how that exact notion is going to relate exactly to our mighty pens, but it will.

Tragic, romantic, ridiculous, fitting. Durban And The Burn, Sweethearts...Durban And The Burn.