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Sunday, 17 October - link

something resembling focus

It wasn't the best, most moist, most meltriffic slice of banana bread I'd ever had. But it was the first slice of banana bread I'd ever had that I'd backed in this house.

bakingI'm in a living way - electing many recent nights to stay here, cleaning up, moving things around. Sorting books. Watching the debates. Praying to Jebus that Kerry might win the Presidency. Pleasuring myself with these four walls and my unpacked possessions. About two weeks ago I realized I was losing my footing, I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I dropped out from socializing and dating, I switched my daily soundtrack from Raekwon to the Magnetic Fields, from the positively driven "Only built for Cuban Linx" to the absolutely sublime "69 Love Songs," and I began to focus intently on schoolwork and academic research.

The payoff? After two weeks of something resembling focus, I looked up last night and realized two things:

a) my I Ching clock is ahead of schedule. My next short film is done with shooting, and the footage is captured and ready to be edited - ahead of schedule! My work researching Social Software in Academic settings is progressing for an upcoming seminar on the subject.

b) My work preparing my house for a last minute BBQ to celebrate the end of my second movie shooting ended up saving me from the rain -

"winter is coming" some families say, and here it has arrived in Los Angeles - rain the last two nights, strong, hearty, steady rain. This is about the closest we come to winter, my neighbors say. I had moved my power tools, my boxes, my unfinished carpentry out of the way, under tarps, in storage areas - all out of the way so I could have ten friends over eating Korean BBQ and Mediterranean snacks. And after they left, as the rain fell, I looked up from my computer and smiled - prepping my home for a party had prepared me for the winter. Except for the cloth-covered furnitures I'd been using outside; I had to run and drag them inside, tracking mud all over my floor. Then I did some mopping, and I was glad I hadn't gone out rocking that night.

Maybe it's all the Jane's Addiction I listened to for my formative years - when people ask me, how are you enjoying to Los Angeles? My mind skips for a moment to all the people who are, at this very moment, in this very metropolitan area, scoring heroin for a three person orgy underneath some giant autobiographical sculpture, and I think, well, my life is pretty tranquilo. I haven't engaged much of the madness here, except as I've confronted my own need for stimulation and decided to work to anchor myself in school and home.

The good news is that I've found some resting place that I enjoy. Baking man! Joni Mitchell blaring, I'm singing along, mashing ripe bananas, feeling very macho.

I did have to fire someone. Basically. First time in my life! I think - I had to say to someone, we've been working on a project, you've been helping me build a bedframe and some benches for the backyard, but you've blown me off three days in a row, and five hours of carpentry has somehow taken over six weeks and it's still not finished. My natural inclination is to extend infinite hope - but I began to feel screwed. I meant I think the guy I was working with had a problem. "Yeah! I'll come by tonight and we'll finish it up!" and then not coming by and not answering the phone calls. The next day he'd ring my up, "I got tired. I didn't feel like calling you. But I'll come by tonight!" Etc.

I decided that I'm not stupid, I mean, I want to work with people who want to do good work and spread happiness. This guy was just overextended. I buried my urge to reach agreement on the subject over the phone; now I've got to find someone to start work in his stead, but I'm relaxed to think that I don't have to rally this reluctant collaborator.

Life presents a steady stream of adventures. Why bother reaching for "the next level" of challenge? It seems comfortable to remain where you are facing what you can imagine. I guess what I realized recently is that "Where I am" - school and a home - is a giant challenge I have only begun to wrassle down for tickling good times, and I can spend an entire weekend hanging out here, with friends but mostly alone, cooking, cleaning and feeling like a lucky punk.

Posted on 17 October 2004 : 23:01 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.