Saturday, May 19, 2012

MY NEW LIFE


video
MY NEW LIFE

It is time.  Time to begin again.  A U-Turn if you will. It has been over 2 years since I have written a blog post. I thought of abandoning this old blog and beginning a new one for the new life that I am creating for myself but then I read through a few of my old posts and they take me back to where I once was and how I struggled so. It is me and where I come from.  I still struggle but I want to write my way through  the struggle so it is less of an interference in my new world...my new life.  So, the old blog remains.  It will grow and change over time but the old posts will not be erased.

I say “new life” because after almost 15 years living in an environment that was literally killing me, I am now in a new home which for me is a major LIFE CHANGER. It was a very difficult move for me but I had to do it or die.  I was living in a place with toxic mold that was taking its toll on my body and mind.  It took a good friend who had been through a toxic mold situation in her own home a few years ago to recognize that that was the possible problem to the mystery of my ever declining health and sanity. What was going on with my body made no sense to the doctors but as soon as mold was identified as the culprit, I began to live differently and set my sights on seeking a new place to live.  Though I suffered many of the horrible physical symptoms of exposure to toxic mold, it was the mental ones that took its greatest toll and made the one thing I needed to do so very difficult which was MOVE!  I had one panic attack after the other, anxiety so strong I could hardly leave the house and depression and fatigue that kept me in bed more often than not.  I was TRAPPED in an environment I desperately needed to get out of.  There were no meds that helped though the doctor tried a few.  When I tried to discuss it with friends or family, it was clear that most did not “get it”. Thank heaven for my dear friend Annie Benjamin that pointed me in the right direction of what the issue very well was and it took about a year but I finally got out.  I have only been out a matter of a few weeks and feel like a completely different person. Even my cat Bill is a different person…I mean, cat.  ;-)  

There is such relief is waking up with the rising sun and truly WANTING to get up and tackle the day and to be productive until the sun goes down and go to bed at a regular hour and SLEEP…REALLY REALLY SLEEP and dream....I missed dreaming so much.  I have had insomnia for nearly 4 years and that alone would drive a sane man absolutely batty.
There is so much to share on that time in my life and I will do so here as my new life progresses.  I will keep most of it light because now that I am moving on and feeling better, I find that I can laugh about it on occasion.  I am doing my best to not regret the time lost and there was so much of it but instead to embrace the loss and live a very full life now…TODAY.

I wanted to express how grateful I am to the universe for bringing some really wonderful people into my life when I needed them the most.  I am a very independent person who hates to ask for help but I needed it and a few truly great friends rallied around me without my asking and in essence saved my life.
Now it is up to me to LIVE! I am confident this was a life worth saving and it will be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming year as I dedicate myself to LIVING a whole and creative life.  I made a commitment of one year to turn this once sad sack of a life and bad health into a healthy creative adventure into the unknown, unseen, uncharted territories and begin MY NEW LIFE.

PS The video is the waterfall in the backyard of my new residence.  It was the deal maker on choosing this place for my year of healing. Most of my writing and art will take place outside weather willing and my roommate and I have set up a work space in the room closest to the the great backyard for when the weather is fussy.  ;-)  In Southern California, the weather is usually rather zen so I best invest in some sunscreen. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

BEFORE THE MONTH ENDS

I wish I were a disciplined blogger but my blog started out chatting of nothing so I could just learn the interface of Blogger then I began chatting of the things I like to do creatively since that made sense to me.  Who would want to hear about my humdrum hourly wage life? So I wrote mostly about my arting and crafting.  Then my muse left town (hopefully temporarily) and now I am WRITING more and crafting only rarely until the creative muse comes back. In my head I want to make things but my hands seem to be unwilling.  So, I type.  I write.  I HAVE to do something that has nothing to do with what I do when I clock in and serve my 40 hours a week or I will simply lay down and die. Not that I hate the day job.  I don't.  It is semi-creative and I often have a very good time during those 40 hours.  I just know it is NOT my BLISS.  I think many can relate to that.  I have to pay the rent, ya know?

At the beginning of the week I was blessed to spend some time chatting with a friend I had not seen in months after a "day job" related meeting and she tells me to do just ONE THING creative each day even if it is just e-mailing a Craig's List job opportunity to myself or watching a film or even just writing a blog post.  So, here I am tonight struggling along with a post wishing for more discipline.

I had the day off today from the day job and did much of nothing due to battling a terrible sinus infection all week brought on by some insane allergies as Spring breaks and the Santa Ana winds kick up here in Los Angeles.  But I did sit on the couch with laptop in hand as well as one movie after another playing on my TV.  I discovered the wonderful world of "On Demand" and have been demanding one film after another absorbing as much as I can about the art of FILM.  I never studied it.  Just sat back & enjoyed or hated it.  Now I watch and take notice of absolutely everything.  Everything from the acting, the writing, plot devices, who cast it, who produced it to how much it might have cost to shoot the thing.  Cinema is simply MAGICAL to me.  It's like a 2 hour long painting, depending on the film.  Paint strokes that spark the imagination or feelings in me that make me FEEL, THINK and REMEMBER....

If not for cinema, my life would be a big fat void, I think.  I live vicariously through it.  I have fallen in love over and over again, died a thousand deaths, laughed a million laughs....I simply get inspired by it.  Moved to do things I never thought I could do.  It has kept me company when I had no one.  It is art, life and so much more.

I will shut my trap for now and hope to write just a bit more tomorrow and that, my friends, will be a miracle if I do.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

BLIND FAITH

A song by Blind Faith came to mind after returning to LA from a recent trip to Texas.

Can't Find My Way Home lyrics
written by: Steve Winwood

Come down off your throne and leave your body alone
somebody must change
You are the reason I've been waiting so long
somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home

Come down on your own and leave your body alone
somebody must change
You are the reason I've been waiting all these years
somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home



Many folk close to me know that I am working on writing something that takes me back in time to pretty much when I began in this big bad world. I thought that I had to be in Texas to write it. And maybe I do. It would make some of the research easier to be able to sit with my brother who has very clear memories of events I was witness to only a small portion of. He has a sharp memory for names, places and tiny details of so much. He amazes me in that respect. I have strong sensory memories. I remember the way the sun was setting or the smell of the yard's fresh cut grass or the smell & color of the light mint green paint that was slapped across my brother's face to get him to quit running in and out of a door that was being painted...that's a funny memory for me by the by. Maybe not so much for him.

I aimed for my story to be a funny one...dark comedy at best based on the dramatic nature of some of the events. Striving for the funny in the story got me stymied. A very good friend had some sage advice for me a few evenings ago, "Your most honest writing may not be amusing. Doesn't mean there isn't a place for it, not an audience. Write one true sentence after another, and see where it goes." Then today as I sit on the couch with my laptop mustering up enough courage to use some new writing software and to write the first "true sentence", the film Antwone Fisher is playing on AMC in the background down low. Usually I have music on Pandora playing but not today for whatever reason. My ears perk up when the character of Antwone Fisher reads a poem aloud to his psychiatrist played by Denzel Washington. The poem jerked a tear or two from me and then afterward Antwone says, "I told you I was good" and then Denzel replies, "You are good because you are honest." I put the laptop aside and watched the rest of the film and was very moved by this young man's story and his courage to not only live it but to share it with the world first as a book and then as a screenplay.

It is hard to "go home" and sometimes it is hard to find one's way there but I am putting on some sturdy hiking gear and am ready to make the trip. I also have a hunch that I just might find some funny in all of the dark caves I am about to explore.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

STEPPING BACKWARD TO MOVE FORWARD


I moved to LA almost 15 years ago. I met a young man in late 1994 doing a play in Dallas, Texas (where I was born and raised & had never left except for the occasional trip to a bordering state or country) titled Liebesreigen where he played a low-rent call boy and me a prostitute. I’d say “typecasting” just to get a laugh out of those who really know us…it really wasn’t at all. However, it was fun and even a bit of a stretch as an actor. We became good friends having coffee after rehearsals, and chatting late into the night. I was seeing someone else at time which would come to an end well before Easter of 1995. In that time, we became very good friends and come June, he was holding my hand or me his…I really don’t remember but what I do remember is that he said to me, “You realize you are holding hands with someone who is moving to LA?” Such was my life. I had a major tendency to get involved with men that were unavailable or would be shortly…it seemed like every fella I made my heart vulnerable to was moving this way or that way or on their way out of the closet….but never moving to LA. LA was a city on my list of possible destinations now that I was beginning to take this acting thing seriously. At this hand-holding juncture, my dream was to go to Chicago. I had visited a friend who lived there the year before and fell absolutely in love with the city and knew that Second City was going to be my new hang out. This would be the first time I got exposed to the idea that I might actually have at least ONE funny bone in my body and it may not be located near my elbow. Chicago would have to wait…and it still is.

A few months later, over coffee at some way-too-hip-for-me coffee joint on Lower Greenville, he popped the question or it was more of a statement really. “Move to LA with me.” Ok, that had never happened. In the past, the guy just left on his jet plane, one or the both of us blubbering about how we would miss the other and would write & blah blah blah. Ya know the sad story and we all know it ends right there. Well, not this time. I had to seriously consider it not ending and it going on. EGAD! Going all the way to LA and with a fella. Holy Moses! He was very convincing because any rebuttal of what a bad idea it would be for me, he knocked down and won the argument. He was right. I had done a little bit of everything in Dallas acting wise and had experienced a little of all it had to offer, why not take the next step. “Kelley, you can pay those credit card bills from LA just as easy from a mail box in Dallas.” OK OK…ya had me at, “Move to LA with me.” Well, not really. But he convinced me and the ball began to roll.

This young man made it very easy to move out there with him. He took care of all the logistics of U-Haul’s, plane tickets and we worked as a team to find a place to live once we got there. Notices were put in where they needed to be put in and a new life in LA began. It truly was an adventure. I will skip from here to the present…..for now…

The present…we are no longer together but yes, good friends, since that is how we started out to begin with thus it will be. After 2 years of living on my own here in LA and 2 years of genuine soul searching, I have come to realize a sense of HOME is more important than being in some one-horse town.

It has become clear to me here years later that despite standing in line behind Eddie Izzard for the bathroom at my local Starbuck’s or making friends with the likes of actress, Mimi Kennedy , chatting it up with Beck about PDA’s at a movie premiere after-party, stepping out of a limo just after Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters stepped out of his, having the paparazzi snap photos until they figured out I was an imposter or having a famous movie star hit on me (where the simple thought of walking down the red carpet with them being the nobody I felt like freaked me out so bad I simply blew him off…ha! No kidding! It happened!)…..I came to realize that LA is simply just another city. When I was nervous about moving to LA, I remember my father telling me, “Kelley, it’s just another city, just like Dallas. No reason to be scared.” He was very correct.

I aided in the production of a 10 minute short called CAT DEMON: RE-EXHUMED. Even had a part in it where I drop an F-bomb…wouldn’t my father be proud of me? The USA Film Fest in Dallas decided not only to screen it but to have the director, Laura Kightlinger come out and jury. They could not have asked a better person to jury as she is as smart and talented as they come and her taste is impeccable. So, off to Dallas we fly. I have visited Dallas several times over the years since leaving for LA but it was always for a wedding, the holidays or a funeral or 3. I could not wait to get back to LA each and every trip….well, not this time. So the young man that had tugged at my sleeve to join him LA who had now been back in Dallas for a year or so, showed me around the new and improved Dallas. I fell back in love with my home town. I knew the love was real the second my plane touched down in Burbank and I found my eyes filling up with tears on the cab ride home. I did not feel any connection to LA. I was breaking up with her……

I like LA. But it is not HOME….not right now anyway. Don’t know if it is because I am older and this place just moves too fast. I am completely uncertain of these feelings but it is time to “move backward to move forward”. Back a couple of years ago, my now ex-fella was so afraid to tell me that he was moving back to Texas because he said he felt it “was not a coup”. I choose the words “move backward to move forward” because I have witnessed a man who thought moving “back to Texas” was a let-down to me and those around him. He has since turned his life around. He has created a new life for himself in the political world and is doing a damn great job of it. He thought his dreams were in LA but really they were wherever he was as long as he was “on track”. I don’t think he was ever “on track” out here. I have had my moments of success out here and got some great opportunities, experiences and relationships I would not trade for but I became a workaholic who was always just a bit left of center…not “on track”. I wasn’t on MY TRACK, anyway. I was always pushing someone else down their track of stardom and success and I did a good job of it until I realized I was sitting there with no direction of my own.

It’s weird how there is a feeling of failure for those of us who come out here then decide to go back to where we came from. It’s a topic that has come up many a time with fellow Texan friends who I know out here and I think some stay out of spite as opposed to really wanting to be in LA. I watched folks come and go right and left from the moment I got here…they’d last a few months, maybe a year. We used to joke, “More parking spaces for us…more parts for us….more…whatever for us!” After 9/11, this city full of transplants emptied out as folks who’s dreams were still in limbo and the commitment to LA was not strong headed home to be close to those who were most important to them….FAMILY.

The feeling of moving back to Big D began to set in as I sat looking out the window of what was my grandmother’s home during a Texas summer thunder storm on May 3rd 2009 when the Dallas Cowboy practice facility collapsed due to strong winds and weather…that’s my Texas. Everything was so green, fresh, real and chaotic. I felt a joy I had not felt in years. I had a talk with 2 very good actor friends of mine on that rainy day in Dallas who had lived in LA at one point or another. They made it clear to me that it is not failure to come back to Dallas. That it is a lateral move to a different place to do what I love. Why did I have to hear that, I don’t know. They were right.

I was my most creative self in Texas. I will be my MOST creative self yet again…and who knows, I might even schlep back to LA on occasion with all the creativity that I hope will pour out of me in Texas. I do know this crazy city of angels so very well.

So, I am stepping backward to move forward.

Monday, October 5, 2009

HOPE

It's been a rough few months being bopped around by the "day job", having one thing after another happen with car, cat, work-related issues and even breaking a tooth...I could go on. In truth, I am doing A-OK despite the obstacles. I am always aware it sure could be worse and has been thus so.

My father had it pretty rough raising us kids on his own but what a great man who would say over and over to me, "this too shall pass" during the rough times. He was oh so right about that. It has become my mantra. That and "pick and choose your battles" but that is a whole other topic.

Today someone sent me a link to this short film titled The Butterfly Circus. It came at just the right time in my life. Not that I have lost hope just yet but I have wavered that way on occasion only to force myself to buck up and be a big girl and believe that "this too shall pass."

As these minor setbacks "pass", I have to move forward. Now more than ever. This is a time of great change, great opportunity and great risk as I step outside my comfort zone for the first time in over a decade. Life has been a certain way for so long for me that accepting change and flat out changing with the HOPE and FAITH that everything will work out for the best is a challenge for someone like myself who is very set in her ways.

This film gave me hope for a better tomorrow:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!!!

6 year old little girl sits on stoop of elementary school as the sun sets wondering where her mother is…who’s supposed to pick her up. Her auburn hair is a mess. Her clothes are unkempt and mismatched. This is a girl who is obviously dressing herself.


This is how it all starts. And I know how it ends but getting from here to there is more than I bargained for.

It's been a long while since I have officially written much more than the occasional "art/craft" article, blog post or frivolous snarky Facebook status update. This is different. This is about my life albeit I am fictionalizing much of it to protect the guilty. :-)


So, as I sit here tonight with my sweet one true companion of a friend at my side, Mr. Bill Hicks Cat, I stare at these words posted above and I am

right back on that elementary school stoop on that warm September evening at sunset in 1973 not too long before the 37th President of the United States of America would choose to vacate his office at the White House due to some lil' scandal called Watergate.


When this thing that I am working on comes to fruition in its entirety, I might just have Richard Milhouse Nixon to thank for the impetus to FINALLY get down and dirty on my keyboard on a story that has been brewing for a decade now. Whilst viewing Frost/Nixon, I was reminded of this time in my life again and the story I have often felt a need to get on paper.


I will be heading out for a hike tomorrow morning to clear the old cobwebs out of my brain and then back to this crazy world that is the story I am working on. I also have an art "thang" I am doing design work for. I find that one creative activity can often inspire the other. Though I said I was putting my art aside, I did not do so for very long. Out of necessity or sheer addiction, I 'spose.


LIFE IS GOOD is how I will close this entry. It's been easy to be nostalgic as of late with the loss of several childhood icons here in Hollywood...the weird place that I currently live in. It's in your face as ya drive a few blocks down the road from where I live or work. I feel like a stranger in this town and long for home and the good old "folk" back there. But for now, I am here doing what I am certain I am supposed to be doing as there is a drive that no matter how much I try to ignore it, stall it or get distracted from it, I go right back to that keyboard with one more story, one more memory, one more laugh, one more tear....



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CREATIVITY BEGATS CREATIVITY

So, I have been in the midst of my lil' writing project so much so that I am taking a bit of a writing retreat to somewhere far away.....from my apartment next week. Some travel plans fell through and I am taking this opportunity to commit to some time by the sea...ocean or whatever puddle of water I can find since water seems to lift the cobwebs from my head and ideas enter some portal into my psyche that only seems to open when water flows and nature abounds. Needless to say, I take far too many showers when desperate for a creative boost here at home.

Though I got a BFA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis on performance (which I got very little opportunity to do during my 4 year stint at university...a future blog post), I have since performed plenty. However, life and other work got in the way for the last few years making it near to impossible to do the stage work I so dearly love but I did do some stand-up since it was something I could write on my own time and commit to only single dates here and there which was doable with my workaholic schedule over the years.

I am now back at square one taking an acting class for the sheer joy of playing. It has been hell getting back on that horse and yet sheer bliss.

The acting has fired up the keyboard so the writing is happening when it was so difficult before.

And doing these things now has opened my mind to some very cool art projects and even a future book proposal.

I have always believed there is power in numbers and really believe that but this time it's not the number of people involved in the project so much as it is the various things I am working on are fueling the others. Much like how John Lennon wrote music and was also an artist. Tony Bennett...Phyllis Diller....performers and artists...and so many actors that are musicians and vice versa...who did not love Harry Connick Jr. in Hope Floats....or Will and Grace, if you will.

So, I am multi-tasking and wearing many hats at this time in my life. Though it is something I am familiar with, now that it is on my own terms vs. wearing many hats for the sake of a 9-5 paycheck, I think ...no, I KNOW that I like it much better.

It's fun to have something started in every room of the house, cooking some dinner (another creative endeavor that gives me such great joy) in the kitchen, dying some fabric in the bathroom, computer fired up with me writing bits of this or that, paper layed out, ready to tear to make a journal in my studio, cat on the couch ready to be pet....what can I say?

It's a beautiful LIFE!!!!

Creativity begats creativity!!!!