Post-Oscars Decompression

Awards season is over. Long live the Academy.

It was the morning after the Oscars. 8:00 am. I was supposed to have been up an hour ago. Were any of last night’s attendees up yet? Had anyone even gone to bed? Who among the nominees was jumping in to their next project? Who among the winners was sleeping in? Why was I so dehydrated?

These thoughts accompanied me, the non-Oscar participant, whose next project was to get out of bed and ready for work.

The morning sun was positioned just enough beneath the horizon to avoid major disturbance in my bedroom. I laid in bed, deflated after a lowkey weekend despite living a stone’s throw from Sir Elton’s annual viewing party. Spine pressed heavily into the mattress, my toes, then fingers, twitchef to life underneath the duvet. Turning my face towards the ceiling, my eyes tugged in their sockets, like pebbles in a slingshot. God, I don’t want tooooooo.

My phone blinked to life on the nightstand. Perhaps San Vicente was still closed to thru traffic and I’d get to work from home, a nptipn retracted the moment it was thought. San Vicente isn’t the 405 freeway, idiot. There’s life outside of Weho, remember?

My brain had a point. I grabbed my phone and swiped at the lock screen.

Happy new year, Lindzz! DID YOU SEE? Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay last night… will you be next? Only one way to find out — it’s go time!

My teeth clenched as a fire cut through knots in my long intestine. Gary was on to me in the most encouraging of tones. It had been four years since I agreed to work on the script, and I admired him for trusting me. I wondered how much longer it would last. Putting the phone down, I rolled onto my side and stared off into nowhere for another five minutes.

I’ve got 26 days, I thought. I can do this. I’d yet to type the first page of the draft. The farthest I’d gotten was a Google search on how to write a byline, falling down a rabbit hole with vegan, royalty-free YouTube at the end of it. I’d spent too much time there rather than on the script and building a high-definition dream life of my own. I knew better. Vegan YouTube didn’t promise me a rose garden. But neither did Gary. He just showed up, every time.

“I can’t stand awards shows. Such a bombastic parade with the intent to sell more shit that people don’t need,” Gary remarked, running a thumb along his scruffy jawline. We were at a coffee shop near my apartment that had a deal on vanilla lattes during the 3pm slump. Saturdays we used to flee there with Evernotes in tow, trying to get something done. But mostly we just talked smack about the industry. “I mean, come on, Nicholas Cage has an award. How’s that for politics? I’ve always felt that if you’re doing it for awards, for the fame, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”

I uncrossed my arms and dipped my gaze into my coffee cup. I loved him, my little brother, and his subtle, impassioned exhibition, ripe with hard truth. But it all sounded like something a loser would say.

Gary was no loser — if anything, he was a realist, young, a storyteller and visual craftsman. Sometimes I envied his arrogance, which both drove and grounded him, and how he moved with instinct, leading with his manhood. Save from the silver hammer of time, nothing was going to stop him and his dream of being a director. But even he knew that faith and a great idea wasn’t enough, not here. Not in next-generation Los Angeles.

Me, well, I was just tired, and getting old. Tired, and living in the matrix. Comparison was killing my dreams. I needed to learn how to lead with my tits.

“All the politics, Hollywood royalty, the uber-elite. Once you make it about awards, or money, all credibility goes out the window. All of it.” He shifted positions slightly, getting a little fired up on the subject. I let him go on, noticing the indentations his shoulders had left in the booth’s upholstery. “If that’s what you really want, though, then why not?” Pausing between breaths, he continued, “Just remember that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That statue will not be the heaviest thing you carry in this lifetime.”

Would it ever get old, living someone else’s dream come true? My thoughts, soggy and falling to pieces, floated to the bottom of my cup.

That was it. I turned over and reached for my phone, a piece of ceiling fan dust narrowly missing my eye. Blind with resolve, I wondered how long it would last.

Heeeyyy, Gary. I’m on it. It’s go time.


All of My Friends are Married

Actually, I take that back. Some, like me, are in long-term, unmarried relationships. Others are engaged. Some are single. Some are in long-distance relationships. One of my friends is in a phoneship. I asked her to clarify this a couple of weeks ago.

“A phoneship,” she started, “is basically where you talk on the phone.”

I was intrigued. Moira and I were two cocktails in at The Roosevelt Hotel, our talk switching from work to dating in LA. I’d told her how my now-boyfriend and I met in Las Vegas in 2011, before the dating appvalanche of 2012. In-person, apps, phones — it was the same mating dance, vibing to the same groove.

“So,” I began, hoping for more, “you’re going to have lunch with this guy, right?”

“Oh God, no,” she scoffed, settling way back into her old-fashioned.

“But why not?” I cajoled. “Lunch is totally safe.”

“Honestly, I don’t think either of us is ready for it,” she said, stone-cold with sincerity. “But you just gotta see how good-looking he is.”

She pulled out her phone excitedly, scrolled for a few seconds, then handed it to me. Chocolate skin, ivory smile — “good-looking” was putting it mildly. He looked like someone she could have fun with. And from what she’d further share, he seemed equal parts introspective and provocative, all without a full-on physical distraction. Perhaps there was something to this phoneship thing.

The other day, I told my boyfriend that if our friend Johannes and his girlfriend of a-year-and-a-half ended up getting married before we did, I’d break up with him. He laughed.

I guess I was joking. But when Trump was elected president last November, we had a serious conversation about the likelihood of getting married, and I can recall not liking the idea. After nearly seven years, I was just getting used to the idea of not being married to him.

“So are the two of you married?” We were at a rooftop house party, getting a pre-spring tan in the late afternoon warmth. The question, asked sweetly from a girl with peach-colored lips, removed me from my sun-and-seltzer-water buzz. My boyfriend sat in a wicker chair, similar to mine, not far from me. I felt a slight itch on my thighs.

“No,” I said. “We’re not married.” I decided to leave it at that. I didn’t really feel like mentioning that he’d been married before and was in stages of divorce while we were getting to know each other. Neither did it feel right to bring up the bitter taste of resentment when I realized that my father may not ever walk his baby girl down the aisle. Neither did I mention that I’ve literally dreamed about our wedding four or so times within the last year, and it felt kinda great. No, we’re not married, and God forbid I try to relate to a married couple, as I’d just be told, “it’s just different when you get married”.

I’ve one married friend who knows to not say that to me.

Anna Voight
Got Engaged to
Steven Broadbent
February 17, 2018 at Los Angeles, CA

The Facebook notifications aren’t all that surprising anymore. I do remember being more excited about seeing them, though. Ten seconds is about all I can muster now.

Sometimes I love weddings. I’ve caught the bouquet, twice. My boyfriend laughed each time.

I believe in love, but more importantly, I believed my mother when she told me to not get married, ever. My own mother, married to my father for forty years. “Get the dress, the ring, and have the party, but please do not feel that you need to get married,” she said. For all the times I’ve cried to her about life, I’ve decided to take that statement as her being on my team, and not declaring me a total disaster.

Guess I’m just going to go with it.

LA Horror Story: Los Angeles is Burning

Look up at the sky and it will tell you some kind of story. Like yesterday’s super moon, for instance, or a glimpse of the Milky Way on a particularly clear night — it will literally take your breath away if you let it.

I’ve always found the sky to be vibrant at sunset, especially from the ninth floor at the Univision 34 building near LAX. Last autumn really brought out the most silky rose-plum hues that rushed to meet ardent ambers. Me, I was just lucky enough to observe the overt flirtation.

“It’s just terrible about all of these fires, though,” my friend Eddie bemoaned in between drags of a cigarette. I nodded, keeping my mouth shut, all too aware that addictions don’t stop just because half of the city has gone up in smoke. “Yeah,” I started, looking down at Henry, my dog. He looked back up at me, his tail wagging in presumed empathy towards my ethical predicament. “Yeah, it’s pretty bad.” But what else could be done?

I had run into Eddie outside of my apartment building, and he ended up joining us on an improptu, abbreviated walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day, save for how the sunlight forced its way through the noxious air, not quire unlike Playdoh through a fun factory. These damned fires. We expected them every year, more so than the rain.

The thing is, the rain did come, too soon afterward, quite honestly, and did a lot of damage – to people’s homes, their lives. And then December brought about the largest fire in California history, according to Wikipedia, ar least. In showing its true colors right above our heads, the notion of a merry Christmas had undoubtedly been pushed well out of reach.

And what can be done?, I wondered.

I was so relieved at the rise in rainfall positively impacting a long-standing drought towards the beginning of last year, but the high didn’t last long. The idea that we humans have done insurmountable and likely irreversible damage is a total mood-killer. All the enjoyable instances — a gentle breeze, cool summer rain, or breathtaking sunrise — are likely just manifestations of circumstances borne of capitalism’s bottom line. Or perhaps that’s just me being cynical.

I believe in global warming. That said, it doesn’t need me to believe in it to be real.

We made our way down the block. Henry’s ecru coat had taken on the color of yams, and Eddie’s words were starting to gurgle over pockets of mucus in his throat. There wasn’t much to say and I wanted to take a nap before heading to work. It was time to go inside.

I awoke 45 minutes later from a fitful sleep, perhaps in the middle of REM. My surroundings felt heavy, disrupted, despite having kept the windows closed. The apartment building was old, on the side of both charming and barely hanging on. Pollutants were likely seeping in through what would be the leaky living room ceiling, if it ever rained enough.

I glanced at my phone on the nightstand — forty minutes ’til noon. It was time to get ready. Daydreaming and wondering and worrying was only going to make me late. I showered, got dressed, and made my way down the block to where my hatchback was parked.

“When the hills of Los Angeles are burning, palm trees are candles in the murder wind.”

Downtown, the bitcoin-and-blockchain mixer was packed and getting more congested by the half hour. Billed as a rooftop party, it was far more a bridge-type situation with a view. Taking a quick promo break from my place in the corner of the vendor floor plan, I strained to see the tops of the Wells Fargo and AEG buildings. Looking back at eye-level, I noticed a thin, charcoal-colored layer of smoke circling its way around an outdoor lamp just above the crowd. Bored with the attendees, I thought about Eddie, and the state of our lungs.

So many lives are on the breeze; even the stars are ill at ease, and Los Angeles is burning.”

(To be continued…)

Getting Off: How to Finish a Blog Entry

Between writer’s block and not completing a project, if I was forced to decide between which is worse, I’d go with the latter. Having been in both places all too recently, it is really nice that to have motivation where there was absolutely none before.

But the ability to write is not enough. With any project, there comes a point where things must come to an end, and to experience the satisfaction that comes with finishing. Simply put, I need to get off.

There are countless articles that give advice on how to find the motivation and get the creative juices flowing enough to start a blog entry — I, too, have written about the importance of “just starting” and have personally referred to multiple sources for tips and techniques. However, since this past September, I’ve started over 40 drafts, with no end in sight.

Clearly I have an issue, largely with perceived performance and anxiety. So, as a challenge, and because writing is rewriting, I have decided within the next few months to finish each draft and publish them here. At that point, perhaps I will have acquired the answer to a question wondered for months now: How the hell do I do this? And if not, perhaps I’ll merely have written — a joy compared to writing with no purpose, and no end in sight.

At your own discretion, this is what I will be working with:

Figure out when you do your best work, and make the time and commitment to write every day. Mornings are ideal for me, and five, ten minutes here and there throughout the day adds up to something worth working with. Try to make room for longer sessions, for concentrated practice makes better, but view short sessions as better than not at all, or ever again.

Don’t stop — if on a roll and it feels good, keep going. Go for another five minutes; start another sentence or paragraph. The payoff will be worth it. If distraction becomes a habit, start to view any derailing in thought as a mere segue in disguise. But whatever you do, don’t stop.

There is often no perfect time or place to write. A dedicated room-with-a-view setup up isn’t always guaranteed, so make use of what you’ve got, whether in the elevator or in line at the bank.

And finally, go for it. Lose yourself. Don’t overthink it, or worry about how it sounds. Go by how it feels. Don’t be afraid of things being ugly, awkward, or messy. They can always be cleaned up.

And for the record, I’ve been talking about writing this whole time.

It’s Time to Get My Shit Together 

There’s so much that I want to accomplish this year. I’ve actually been throwing around a #NewYearNewMeDamnIt hashtag on social media, mostly to make me laugh when feeling helpless. But I’ll tell you, I’m feeling anything but helpless these days, which is a huge improvement from where my head was last year.

I think the reason I feel this way is because not only do I know what I need to do, but that I absolutely need to do. Eventually all this “doing” will lead to some kinda awesome “being”, even if it’s not the Pinterest-perfect dream board on which a fair part of my right brain resides. 

Long story short: in order to “do” effectively, I have to get my shit together. More than passion planning, more than mantras, this is the only way going everything’s going to come up Linds.

This has meant making some costly repairs to two giant cracks in the foundation of my well-being, which I will talk about in future posts. In the interest of brevity I will note that in both areas, there’s no substitute to getting down into the dirt and digging up and clearing out the dead roots. 

For the duration of this overhaul, I am doing my best to approach insecurities with an inquisitive mind, to listen, research, and learn, so that I  can more effectively contribute passion and skill, even if I don’t feel that my efforts are nearly as important.

And in getting a hold on setting boundaries so my time suits my efforts, I’ve learned the importance of holding myself back whenever someone says “jump”, as it’s not in my best interest to do so blindly and with good faith.

Proficiency. Optimization. Activity. Results. Here we go. 

Until next time — thanks for reading,


Small Steps Lead to Great Destinations (Part 1)

Only four days into 2018 and I’m already looking forward to the weekend.

But I’ve already accomplished some things, however small. One of my big hang-ups last year was knowing where to separate my professional life from my personal life, to truly make clear mental distinctions, for my self and loved ones’ sake.

No matter how challenging or rewarding, most people’s lives and jobs are a source of stress. However, while some seem to inherently know how to leave their work at the office each night and return to it in the morning, others, such as myself, carry it into off-hours like an old suitcase with one handle. So one goal I am actively pursuing and encouraging this year is leaving projects at the door, and setting appropriate boundaries so that all tasks can be given equal opportunity to be focused on and completed.

Prior to, well, Tuesday, I used a sole task management system to streamline all processes, projects, and communications — professional and personal. In doing so, little did I realize that I was not optimizing performance as intended. Instead, I was muddling various stresses and responding with misdirected energies. Without the distinction, I soon grew numb and unresponsive to a tool designed to make me more productive.

With that, I’ve decided to separate my tasks between two systems: Microsoft Outlook for professional tasks, and Google Keep for personal tasks. Considering I have used both Office and G Suites in such a capacity over the years, it makes sense. I already feel lifted by the change, which has proven to be more psyche-oriented than purely administrative.

To recap: You wouldn’t run a half-marathon in a pair of six-inch stilettos, nor would you expect to sail across the ocean in a bus. Yes, shoes are shoes, and vehicles are vehicles, but knowing how to use them effectively and for their intended use only increases the benefits, inclusive of health and well-being. 

In the case of task management, seeing “practice restorative yoga” next to “update spreadsheet” was more burden then help. Making a clearer distinction of my personal and professional goals has already benefited me greatly, positioning me a few steps closer to my destination.

New Year, New Me?

My apartment is small, but I love the location. I’ve lived in it for six years and still have yet to find the perfect place for anything. As such, my mental state has been wavering somewhere in between the desire to stock up and the desire to burn everything to the ground.

I’ve been on a big decluttering kick for the past few weeks, this notion of minimalism being the undercurrent on which my efforts valiantly ride. I don’t think I have it down quite yet, but I find that self-interrogation is helping. “How much does one person really need?” “Am I ever going to wear that pair of shoes again?” “Can I just pay someone to do this for me?” Honest examination of the sum of my possessions against the limits of my abode has resulted in a lot of letting go. I have never seen so many garbage bags lined up for the dumpster and donation center.

On Friday, I took three hours to clear out my cosmetics drawers and linen closet, found something I hadn’t had in quite some time — clarity? Freedom? Sense. Sense could finally be made out of that particular corner of my apartment. And it felt great, amazing, even — until I realized I had another 600 square feet to go.

Like life, I would complain that the tasks are never ending — and I have, and will likely continue to do so. It’s exasperating work. So it is said this time of year, out with the old, and in with the new.

Except I don’t plan on adding a lot of new, not to my apartment, and not to my life. There’s still quite a lot of paring down to do, and a lot of good here to be utilized. Best believe that I’m taking that perspective with me into 2018. But I’m taking this one as well:

I physically cleared my space of five large bags of unused items. Good thing, right? Well, not exactly. Sure, I’ve freed up space in my environment, but I’ve also burdened the one that surrounds me. Someone has to empty the dumpster, go through recycling, figure out what’s worth reselling, etc. Out of my sight, out of my mind, but not necessarily for anyone else.

In an attempt to carve out a functional retreat, it’s been drilled home that I make use of what I have, and actually make it work, because it does. No more wasteful spending, of time, money, or energy. All it creates is unused potential. Heaps of it.

So, new year, new me? No, not really. I know what needs to be done. I’ll go with same me, but better.

From me to you — happy new year.