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point and purpose, (Los Angeles Books 12 & 13)

Point and Purpose Spotify Playlist: you can listen while reading!


I hope the effort has not been too obvious. But I have been trying to find a point to it all. You know: What's the point? What does it all mean? You may have noticed… No...? No biggie.


But with each blog entry, I have made an effort to make sense of the life expressed in the pages of my old journals. Which, by extension, is an effort to make sense of (capital-I, capital-A) "It All."


Effort slathered on writing is never pretty. Sorry.

Books twelve and thirteen. 1999 and 2000.


And furthermore, I have to ask myself what is the point of summarizing my journal material here? If the idea is to burn it all, why am I salvaging some of it in the eternal pages of https://….bean…blog… blah blah blah?


And further furthermore, why invest all this time in putting any words together, in trying to make sense of a world that thrives on contradictions and chaos? Reader, every day –every day– I have to talk myself into a career in theatre. Into writing, into the continued pursuit of an acting job. This week I sent out roughly 150 play submission emails that garnered two responses. Um, yikes.


And when I look at the seventy-some notebooks that I thought I’d read in the next ten months, well, that too feels like a lot of effort with minimal return. I have no idea how I’m going to finish reading all these books if I’m only on thirteen now…


The art/effort of convincing myself to do anything creative is often born of the answer to “What’s the point?”


I don’t always have an answer.



Books Twelve and Thirteen cover Los Angeles. The year I spent in L.A. was the ultimate test of point and purpose. It was a rough year in a lot of ways: my journals show lots of references to working too many hours, being worried about money, and because I had to wake up painfully early most days, lots of references to “the alarm clock of doom” (renamed by my friend Rob; see below.) But I’m happy to report that the pages were a much better read than the previous eleven journals. I found more poetry in them and more humor. I was living in an apartment by myself for the first time (poetry) and accepting any invitation to date (humor.)


Friends, I could work hard to eke out some wisdom from the journal pages I wrote during this time, but honestly, I think they speak for themselves . . . do you?



OF THE DRIVE FROM OHIO TO L.A.:


8-12-99 Megan and Alyssa suggested –and I heeded– that I send my wallet photo of (my ex) out the window. We put on the ceremonial music “What am I supposed to do? Sit around and wait for you? Well, I can’t do that. There’s no turning ba-a-ack.” I reached my arm out of the car window and somewhere along 315 I let that fucker sail.


These are my besties Megan and Alyssa. They did the cross-country drive with me. 23 years later. they are still my besties.

The toy pictured was from a happy meal. We named it "Man" it became the trip mascot. Anything that went wrong, we blamed on "Man."

IMPRESSIONS OF L.A.


The weather in LA is beautiful. Beautiful, sunny, and boring. Good old LA: boring and beautiful.


10-14-99 It's 8:39 on the alarm clock of doom (or, the dinosaur, as Rob likes to call it because it's so old.)


4-11-00 I have created a space here amid nothing sacred. Somehow I carved out this box in which to survive and it's actually working... though I still hate the carpet and the broken towel rack.


ON DREAMS:


8-15-99 I dreamt of Mike last night. It’s no wonder after the countless moments in which I had an impulse to share with him what I was seeing, what I was experiencing ….


8-30-99 I dreamt about Katie last night. We were outside camping and she took the blanket off of me and gave it to someone else.


5-8-00 I dreamt that I grabbed Katie’s hand and told her how happy I was to have her there. And she knew.


5-9-00 Another dream about Katie… I stopped her. I told her I loved her and I miss her and I just want her to know that. She acknowledged me but continued on.


9-10 Judy at work believes (as do I) that when two people are connected on a spiritual level, they can speak to each other through their sleep. I wonder what I’m saying…


ON LOVE AND DATING:


1-18-00 if I was right

‘bout love at first sight

then what the hell is this?


2-23- 00 I will fall in love. I am ready. I am strong and open. When I see him, I'll find him irresistible. There will be little question. He will recognize me too. He'll be funny and smart and funny and like to drink wine and beers and be funny, funny, funny and interesting and he'll read my plays and be moved. He will be crazy about me. Insane over me.



6-11-00 I admit, I have been picked up in some pretty sweet vehicles. If 4452 Finley has eyes, she’s seen me come and go in several nice cars. She might think I have a pretty impressive dating life. Or that I’m a call girl.


My sister Kelly came to visit me. Isn't she pretty?


1-30-00 I can tell if I could love a person or not just by watching them eat a large sandwich.

ON PURSUING ACTING:


9-21-99 I got a call from A.S.A., an agency. The owner just wasn’t very nice and they wanted bikini shots of me… I don’t think so. They want all of their talent to agree to nudity. I don’t think it’s a good first step for me out here…


2-8-00 (at URTA’s, unified auditions for grad schools) A room full of people who say things like “her and I.” Makes me want to jump out of my skin. . . . And I hate hearing other people’s warm-ups. Someone’s mom is in the room. Or is it an acting coach? Or just an asshole in a turtle neck?


3-22-00 I accepted the offer at Penn State. I’ll be going on 29 when I get out of there…!


6-4-00 I had a conversation with one of the most arrogant men I’ve ever met. He’s an agent… He said, “so you’re leaving the only town that could actually pay you as an actor to go study it where there is none. There is no theatre in Pennsylvania.” … I left the chichi martini bar. I asked the valet for my car. I smoked a Marlboro while I waited. I drove fast and turned up the music . . .


6-5-00 It’s 10:40 on the dinosaur and whatever will I wear?



JUST SHIT I WROTE THAT I STILL LIKE:


a thought or two

to get me through

when rent is due

when rent is due

The light is right,

the candle burns,

the coffee’s perfect,

but I’m concerned.


I dreamt about Katie last night. What does that mean?


January 1, 2000 my New Year's resolution is to be honest faster.


6-1-00 Yesterday I saw my name

on someone else’s vanity plates.

California plates on a

Mercedes Benz

And my name

In a grocery store parking lot

I had to look

and then look again

yep, that’s my name on a Mercedes Benz


It was gold, that car

And my name spelled right

But something about it

I just didn’t like

Maybe it was “California”

scrawled out in script

Or maybe the car

was a little too big.


But there in the lot

I stood and I stared

My name on the plates

and no one to care


5-7-00 There is an exquisite classical (piano) piece on the radio. Brahms? I think he said? It is saying something difficult. It is finding words for a person you don’t love anymore, but doing it with care. It is struggling and smiling with tears in your eyes, a tingling in your nose trying to fight. It’s a clogged-up heart blocked with sadness. It is understanding but sadness. Difficulty but acceptance. It is fond memories when there is nothing left. It is Katie. It is Mike. It is good-bye. It is hello again. It is a love gone away.


The radio announcer claims that whenever the piece airs, their switchboard lights up (with listeners) wondering where it can be found.

  • I found it: Peter Maxwell Davies, “Farewell to Stromness”



3-3-00 My eyes hurt. My future hurts.




ON LEAVING:


5-31-00 I feel okay. I feel relieved that I have survived thus far and I am dragging myself, injured and angry back to the theatre where I belong. To a place where the seasons change.


5-15 Certainly a good (day): smoothies, sunshine, yoga, movie. A good day with good friends. May I remember this as clearly as the days of crying and country music alone in the flooded kitchen with earthquakes, and 5 AM mornings at “The Coffee Bean.” The days of mailing out headshots and avoiding movie stars in my baseball hat and smudgy apron. Mornings that were cool on the patio as I enjoyed a latte and a cigarette. And I do mean enjoyed.


6-11-00 If 4452 has eyes, she’s getting a real eyeful. For every journal entry to talks among writers and experimental omelets. From all my shoes to my (usually) bare refrigerator. From constant supply of coffee to an occasional bottle of wine in the lonely wine rack.

If 4452 has eyes, she’s happy for me to leave because she has seen me collapse exhausted at the end of a day and wake sore to the bone every morning. She’s seen me cry myself to sleep and open rejection letters. She’s heard my phone conversations and seen my dates, my sad little Christmas tree, and my endless photos of happier times. She’s heard little else than NPR on the radio.


And she will never see a successful me, a happy me, a me-in-love. Some other building will get that honor. To house my happiness. Maybe it won’t be a BMW picking me up, and maybe I won’t be as fit or as tan, but I will have more laughter in my life and I will be back to a place of hope.


6-29-00 Oddly enough, I have really built a life for myself out here. From those dark 6 o’clocks leaving (the temp job) to 5 AM mornings at The Bean, I have concocted a little equation that works. A set of possessions, an arrangement of photos, of magnetic words by which I make poems, an older-than-dirt clock radio, empty wine bottles that line the counter and window sill. My odd collection of coffee mugs, several of them stolen, this new fountain, my new friends at work, and my old friends Rob and Dan. A bizarre collection themselves, I admit, not to mention the collection of bad dates! (Why do I go? I guess I’m slightly curious and it always makes for a good story.) The collection of jobs. The collection of aerobics classes. Of shoes. Of sandals and toe rings. It’s West Coast Ginna. Like Malibu Barbie.


7-29-00 Rob showed me the bottom of his shoe the other day and grinned as he said, “I lost part of my sole.” I repeated, "I lost part of my soul in Los Angeles too."

My friend Rob and I spent the same twelve months in LA. We're still best friends.


7-3-00 …Final page. Wow. This journal (book) began on New Year’s Day. This journal was a book about parts II and III of my life out here. A book about commitment and hope and accomplishment. Some confusion, some hurt, but mainly of creating a world for myself in LA that I could find acceptable. I made this world. I did it. And that’s what this journal is about. May my next please be about crazy, fun, spontaneous days of laughter and love-making. That’s how I see it.


. . . And a nose ring.



So, Readers? What do you think? What's the point?


To prove to douchebag LA dudes that there is theatre in Pennsylvania? And Ohio. And Kentucky. And in my fucking living room. And it has more substance than their fancy little minds can fathom?


Or maybe it's Farewell to Stromness.


Or maybe it's you. You reading this gives me a purpose.


I don't know.

You tell me.



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