Feb 29, 2004

Oscar Predictions

Someone will wonder who much it would cost to put out a contract on Joan and Melissa Rivers.

Parking in Hollywood will be a nightmare.

I will be disappointed and wonder why I watched them.

posted by Mary Forrest at 11:08 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 28, 2004

There's no story here.

I know I said I wasn't going to continue flogging this horse, but I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher tonight, and The Passion of the Christ was one of the topics. Sir Ian McKellen pointed out the problem that I also saw: the complete absence of the story. Good old Gandalf reminded the panel that, for those who aren't Christian, the details of the story are missing. He didn't know who Herod Jr. was. He didn't know who Mary Magdalene was. "That's the problem with the movie. It isn't made for people who don't know the story. And if you're not a Christian you're probably not going to be able to respond to it...On the whole, you know, movies are meant to tell stories, and you have to tell people what's going on...You see, this is a movie, before everyone gets het up about it, not for atheists -- it's for Christians. And frankly, if you were really going to make a movie about Jesus Christ, wouldn't you want to tell us a little about what he believed in? -- and what he did?" Then he pointed out that the scourging we saw would have killed poor Jesus long before he got to the cross. Bill closed the discussion point by saying, "I think what's dangerous is the idea that someone can wash away your sins. You know, I think that you are the only person who can cleanse your sins." And then Ian said calmly, "You know, you have to be a Christian before you believe that you've sinned." And he's the most charming deliverer of a refutation I have ever seen. Sigh. I wish he was my friend.

Later, when an anti-gay lady with a crooked nose finished her diatribe on the decadence of our society, Ian McKellen quoted Thomas Jefferson, saying:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

I'm with him. And I have to say that I can't understand the tolerance of the American voting public for the focus being placed on this topic by the sitting executive. I suppose I'm glad that conservatives are making this a table issue, because it can only force the hand of civil progress, and that's for the best. But at the same time, with everything that is splintering and faltering in our country today, the idea that Americans would tolerate any resources being wasted on the legalized persecution of a portion of our citizenry before we do everything in our power to keep our economy from spiralling itself down the crimson-rimmed galactic toilet is a mystery to me. Do we really want to write this guy a check so that he can give us the finger from his new summer home on Mars -- one that will probably be decorated with lampshades made from well cared for gay skin? I, for one, would rather live in a country where I can get a job again. And if I have to marry a lesbian to do it, so be it. I realize that no one is asking me to do that, but I'm just saying.

One of the New Rules on the show was that gay marriage won't lead to dog marriage, captioning a photo of a demonstrator carrying a handmade sign that read, "I want to marry my dog." Bill Maher pointed out that when women got the right to vote, it didn't lead to hamsters voting. And that made me laugh. And also to think that hamsters, if they could vote, would probably vote Democrat.

So this started out on the Passion topic and veered off into politics, thanks to Bill Maher, for whom I have had a longstanding heap of pulsating affection. I know some people hate him, but they are wrong.

Oh, and Conan's bit about the Oscars tonight was blindingly brill. Night after night, I continue to wish Conan O'Brien had married me before I turned into the spinster I currently am.

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:38 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 27, 2004

"We'll rent to start."

It was fun for a while. There was no way of knowing. Like a dream in the night, who can say where we're going?

I've watched Lost in Translation a couple of times this week. And it keeps making me want to cry. Charlotte in the windowsill, alone, a grey day. I know that feeling. I know that windowsill. All the same, I love the way this movie makes me feel. I remember seeing it at The Grove on a hooky afternoon. I was wearing a short little black jumper and high heels. My bare legs were cold in the theater. And the movie made me want so much to go back to Japan. To relive that sort of inside joke. Knowing what's going on when no one else as tall as me does. Being a foreigner in Japan is very lonely. You stand out. You can't find obscurity. You can't blend in. You're lucky if you can find shoes in your size. But there's something about that singularity. Maybe I crave it again. I just want to be somewhere different. Somewhere else. And maybe being somewhere else will allow me to be someone else. Someone entirely else. Or maybe I will just be me. I have a feeling there's no escaping this particular prison.

My mother is going to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and there is talk that she will take me with her. I'm beginning to be excited about the prospect. My passport is valid. And I'm itching to go. Just go. I will take a million thousand million photographs. And I will take extra special note of how it feels to not be anywhere near anything or anyone I know. Of course, it's possible that I won't go. Even likely. But while the "no" has not yet been uttered, I'm hopeful.

In the scene when Bob Harris is in the elevator surrounded by stonyfaced Japanese men, my mom laughed and said, "They all look so sad, and he's the tallest one." When you tap into her humor, you are always the happier for it. She, more than anyone, says things that I scramble to write down. Laughing all the way.

The people at the Chinese restaurant near my apartment are so nice to me. They know me by name. They give me free stuff. They always compliment me and inquire about my love life. I always wished that there would be a place where I was considered a familar face. I have a few now. I am grateful for that. I saw Jay-Z at the Chinese place. I'll bet they didn't treat him as nicely as they treated me.

I wish I was going somewhere. I feel stuck. I'm not looking for the easy way out. But even that isn't enough. And I'm scared of certain things. A lot of things. And I don't like to admit that I am ever scared. Except at the movies. Startle me there, and I will throw the popcorn right up and over my head. A strange reaction, but a reliable one -- much as I try to change it. I think, in real life, when I am scared, I smile more. I go all nice. Charm the villains. Flirt with the demons. Wriggle out of your bonds while they're noticing your dimple. When I am scared and sad, however, I am hopeless.

I miss holding hands in the movie theater. I never really did it all that often. But it seems like a pleasant memory. And my hands always get so cold.

I hear music vibrating in my ears and in my chest cavity. A buzzing. It lifts me. Like I am rising to meet it. Ready to leap up at any moment.

As free as the wind and hopefully learning why the sea on the tide has no way of turning.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 5:01 PM | Back to Monoblog


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String Finger

I watched a little bit of The Count of Monte Cristo, mostly to make note of how different Jim Caviezel looks in it. And it tugged a bit at my nostalgic innards. I watched that movie on a flight to Boston, the day after my birthday in 2002. And I was prickly with that thing that sometimes happens when some sweeping romantic ending looms. I push it away. Reject it. This is not the world and what is real. This is the world through the perfected prism of literature. This is a story. This is rubbish. I don't know the exact dates, but there was a time when a wonderful romantic story sat fine with me. These days, even the crap ones are an irritant.

I wrote a lot in my journal on that flight. The one with the paper and cloth cover, with the screen print of a horse illustration with all sorts of angles and math nonsense written on it. I wrote in it once in 2000. September. Then I picked it back up again in 2001. And I have been writing in it on and off ever since. With very, very small handwriting. Which is why I am only a little past halfway through it. I flipped back to those pages and read some of what I wrote. Nothing I care to publish. Little that I care to remember. That is unusual for me. I am someone who catalogues things with such diligence that to realize one day that I wish I hadn't is jarring. I had the same experience when I was wrapping up some tax things and had to go through my 2002 desk calendar. Day after day of details I'd rather not recall. I have never ever felt that way before. I have always prized my meticulous memory and my ability to relive and recall. Somewhere along the way, the details began to be a burden. Little irritants. Like bug bites you get from your socks.

I don't know why I detect that slightly hostile response where romance is concerned. It seems unfitting for me. I think I am always in love with someone or something. But it has begun to feel like the aftermath of a mouthful of very dry toast. The romantic storytellers imply something with more moisture, I think.

Anyway, it's just a feeling. And they are nearly never permanent.

This was me at the John Kerry thing. Well, in the bathroom of the thing anyway.





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posted by Mary Forrest at 3:26 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Denzel Washington's Brick Tuxedo

I had sketches I wanted to post, but my scanner is funky since my last OS upgrade, and I have less patience than usual. The day fell.

I haven't colored this yet, but I drew it a while ago. And I liked it when it was done. It is not what I had hoped to share, but it is not dog food.

She dares not waste the firelight.
She anticipates hours of cold.
She despises the ordinary, celebrity, and steep climbs.
Where her pen falls, marks remain.

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:12 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 26, 2004

Oh, yeah. The score.

I forgot to make the comment that John Debney's score in The Passion of the Christ sounded so much like James Horner. There are pieces plucked right from Glory. I like John Debney, but I'm used to hearing his work in comedies and animated features, the occasional action flick, I guess. It was grand enough, though.

There are a lot of things I forgot to criticize. And there was that nagging feeling that -- if the goal of this picture was ever to evangelize -- it really blows a chance to tell the actual story. You don't see why the high priests have such a beef with Jesus. You don't see why Judas' guilt is so piquant. You don't see why people thought he was holy or why others thought he was dangerous. And because you don't see these things, you don't incorporate them into the film. Unless you are well-schooled in the gospels and are just going to the cinema to see a startlingly violent depiction of a tale you've heard before. However, if you are going to the cinema not really knowing the whole story, you will leave knowing little more than that. You'll just have a far more vivid idea of what it was like to die as Jesus, as opposed to any sort of idea of how it was to live as him. Or near him for that matter. In a way, I'm surprised that Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell have endorsed the film so vociferously. It's not that it would offend, but I'm surprised the evangelistic community didn't see this is a gargantuan missed opportunity.

You do see a few pieces of the preceding events. Little snatches here and there. Mostly in flashbacks bookended with dramatic slamming noises. Reminiscences of tender moments being recalled during moments of horrific agony. There are a handful of gentle vignettes, but they almost seem forced. Like when Mel Gibson implies that Jesus invented the dining table and chairs. I've read my Josephus, and I don't remember this bit. For my money, comic relief might have been the one element Gibson could have foregone in this flick.

I don't speak Latin or Aramaic, so I can't say if there are people out there who screwed up their faces and made that stinky face when they heard all these guys butchering their syllables. I suspect there might have been some of that. But I actually thought telling the story in this fashion might have been a stroke of genius. I do think that a lot of those lines have become canonized to such an extent that it might have just sounded corny to hear them in English. But I don't know. I got tired of craning to see the subtitles because they appeared so low on the screen that the heads of the people in front of me were often in the way.

And if there is room for such a complaint, I kept being distracted by all the special effects around Jim Caviezel's eyes.

And I'm pretty sure I've said all I need to. If I mention this picture again, it will probably be in reference to something else. It's not a promise, but it takes up space.

posted by Mary Forrest at 10:40 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Till my trophies at last I lay down.

I went to see The Passion of the Christ this afternoon. It was emotionally exhausting. Relentlessly emotional and heartwrenching. But that may be my gravest criticism of it. That, from the moment the film commences in Gethsemane until it ends in the vacant tomb, the intensity and melodrama never flags. Is there a way to pronounce melodrama so that it sounds ridiculously inappropriate? I wish I knew what portion of the film was shot in slow motion. Or how many frames of film centered on Jim Caviezel's gasping open mouth. It was just agonizingly drawn out. To the point where I found it alienating.

And yet, it recalled to me an experience from my youth.

When I was a young girl on the island of Guam, my family attended a missionary church whose services were broadcast on the radio. The pastor at the time was called Tom Larmore, and I appreciated him very much. Never moreso than on that one Sunday when he preached a sermon about the punishment and crucifixion of Jesus, based on something that had been published, I think, in the New England Journal of Mediciine or some similarly prestigious title. That Sunday, he gave a harrowing and clinically detailed account of what those last days were like, including descriptions of the scourge and explanations of the mechanism of execution that crucifixion employed. That a crucified man died -- after a time -- of suffocation, once he was so exhausted that he was no longer able to counteract the hanging forces with the resistance of his legs and feet. Things like that. On a different Sunday, Pastor Larmore gave a similarly studious depiction of all that befell Jonah in the belly of that great fish. And I remember that these messages appealed to the academic in me. The intellect that was being steadily alienated by spiritual fluff and the absence of salient answers. This film -- Mel Gibson's film -- was a depiction of this same horrific tale. And I did catch myself feeling a weighty grief. An empathy for Mary in particular. I found myself blinking back tears and admitting silently that this is a story I was taught to believe -- to know intimately -- from the time I was the very smallest child. When my daddy used to read Bible stories to me and my sister in our beds and I used to raise my hand at the end and hope that he would let me answer the questions, because I knew the answers so well. Those days seem a far-off memory. A shade of what remains.

The mischiefmonger in me admits that there was a moment depicting the three crosses at Golgotha when I thought how much barer would be the metaphoric lexicon had it not been for this event. And how ever would we rid ourselves of vampires?

I called my dad after I saw the film. He hasn't seen it yet, and I am interested to hear what he thinks of it. I know he can be a stickler about biblical accuracy. Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth is one of the few cinematic Bible stories of which he approves, and even that has its moments. But I also told him that we saw Elijah Wood outside the theater, discussing the film with a group of friends and citing what he knew of the biblical account. He sounded surprised. And maybe a little impressed. And when I said it, I said "Frodo Baggins" instead of "Elijah Wood." That way he would know. And he did.

I am not always certain what I believe. But at the center of it, I know that I am a big softy, and that it doesn't take much to make me cry. I feel things easily. Almost with a cruel ease. I am vulnerable. Fragile. And I experience nearly everything with empathy. I wish I didn't cry so much. But it can't be helped. And maybe someday this mushy center part of me will be of value to some other firmer soul. As a means of providing ballast.

With the rain and the gloom, I almost didn't want to go back out, but Krissy and I eventually got good and gussied up and went to the Young Hollywood for John Kerry event at the Luxe Hotel. Billy Baldwin was handsome and charming, and I wished I had gone up and told him so, but I feared that I would end up confessing that I really just wanted him to act as liaison and to give a message to Alec that I think he's the bee's knees. Donal Logue also spoke at the affair. And my friend Murad, who I haven't seen since the one time we ever saw each other -- a sultry night in 2002 -- introduced us around a bit. And I drank cocktails, broke the lever on my Lomo, and fussed over my skirt, which was dangerously short. And I realized at the end of it all, as I have a dozen -- no, a million times before, that it's always better to go and see.

Krissy decided that she will begin exclaiming "Jim Caviezel!" in place of "Jesus Christ!" And I have already adopted this protocol. I can't speak for the rest of mankind, but this makes Krissy and me laugh like fools.

The rain continues to fill the cracks and crevices. I can hear the water spilling from the gutters, splashing down onto earth and concrete. Beading up on windowpanes. It's wet out there. And I am cold and longing to be cozy.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 12:55 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 25, 2004

Unforgiven

I have so many things to say about how disappointed I was in Mystic River that I almost can't compose my thoughts into a paragraph. I think I must have had a perplexed expression on my face for most of the movie, as I was continuously thinking, "Why is everyone raving about this picture?" There are some truly wonderful performances, yes. But there are also some glaringly horrible ones (that means you, Morpheus; and the over-the-top kid playing Sean Penn's character as a child -- someone, smother him with an oily rag), and the head who most clearly deserves a conk has to be screenwriter Brian Helgeland's for delivering some of the most unnatural, obvious, and clumsily expository dialogue I have heard outside of the Star Trek universe.

And there was way too much butter on the popcorn.

Again, I can only laud the actors who didn't suck, because the ones that didn't suck tipped the scales in the opposite direction. Tim Robbins has only further solidified himself in my eyes as an actor of the highest caliber. And Sean Penn's first big outburst nearly drew empathetic tears from me. But it's surprising how quickly your tears dry when you start rolling your eyes, which I did in disbelief when all those police were swarming on him. One of many maddeningly deliberate visuals in a two-hour parade of unconvincing happenstance. I thought there was going to be some big plot twist when it seemed that the "woman" calling Kevin Bacon throughout the movie had a moustache and the lipliner of a drag queen. But I didn't read the book.

But Sean Penn has great hair. And the sound of my frustrated fists pounding on the table in my brain is meant not for him but for Clint Eastwood. Show. Don't tell. Right? George Lucas and I share a birthday, but when he converted from being the evangelist of the hero's journey to the new church of inspid chatterbox moviemaking, we parted ways. Has Clint Eastwood ever dated Linda Ronstadt? Because she may be the secret link to all this ruination. I just saw Jerry Brown on television the other night, and he looks awful. Coneheadedly bald and pinched and haggard. This may be something worth investigating.

I don't want to overdo my panning, but I noticed a lot of people applauding Clint for having composed the music for the film. I didn't pay very much attention to it, but some of it was bare piano that was about as complex as that annoying little etude from Eyes Wide Shut. Who cares?

In a nutshell: Disappointed in the writing. Too much butter on the popcorn. Sean Penn is hot. Go, ye, into the world and do with this information as you please. Tomorrow, I will be seeing The Passion of the Christ, and I suspect I will have a bit to say about that, too.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:20 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 24, 2004

Circular Breathing

When I stepped out of the bath just now, I had the most violent case of dizziness. I thought I would fall right over if I didn't hold onto the sink. It was very hot water. Maybe that's it. I remember getting a persistent case of this dizziness a while back. Nearly two years ago, actually. I had gone out for Indian food and to see a revival of Kiss Me, Stupid, and, for some reason I couldn't shake this feeling that I was falling backwards all the time. What I think vertigo would be like, but I'm not certain. And it lasted for a couple of days. Leaving the Indian restaurant, the person I was with told me that it was something nice about me: how I sometimes seemed like this fast-talking career woman and other times I was like this little, helpless baby. I won't say that it's untrue. I often seem like many things. A week later, I was laid off from my job, and the whole world seemed to be spinning out of control, but that was another sensation altogether. And, happily, it didn't last.

posted by Mary Forrest at 2:28 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Fits and Starts

I went to see Bill Clinton and Bob Dole speak tonight. I'm just all thrill and inspiration right now. Bob Dole is witty and self-deprecating. Bill Clinton is eloquent and whip smart. Just fucking smart as hell. He's also charming and winning and really down-to-earth. I often say that I wish he could be president again. And I always mean it.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:27 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 23, 2004

Hamburger Sandwich

I was telling my friend Alex about the mysteries of these Los Angeles relationships. The way people just fade in and fade out of your life. The way you eventually don't fight it anymore. In his typically eloquent fashion, he said:

...it's interesting to hear you describe the way LA people enter and exit life like some kind of social ebb and flow. That's a pattern I'm very familiar with here in the big smoke if it's any consolation. Doubtful, but sometimes I feel like this joint is just a giant airport and people you might trick yourself into believing friends are really just being polite to kill the time before they make their way to their destination...

He is something, n'est-ce pas? And "the big smoke" means London. If he made that up, I'll build him a shrine. He closed that paragraph by saying, "Suffice it to say, London's cold and I don't mean winter." I guess I'm learning that the name of the city in that sentence is irrelevant. It could be anywhere. It's the heat that rises. The cold stays on you. And it stays and stays and stays.

I fried a turkey burger and now I may as well be one for the way I smell. I do so shrink from food smells on my skin and in my hair. When a nose comes close to my neck, I would prefer it to find a sweeter scent there. This is probably the only reason I never took up smoking in my reckless youth. In high school, my oral fixation was legendary. I could tell you that, by that, I mean I used to chew on my pencils, but you're going to read into it what you're going to read into it. And that's just fine.

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:31 PM | Back to Monoblog


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Slow down. You move too fast.

I was listening to a roundtable discussion on NPR the other day. The topic was gay marriage and all this hubbub in San Francisco. And something very important was said, though I came in too late to hear who was who, so I can't give proper credit. One of the gentlemen pointed out that, once a civil rights movement gets going, you can't just tell it to stop. You can't just tell people to take it down a notch when the momentum of their recognition of injustice takes root. I think, historically, this has obviously been true. And, were we to have balked at every plaintiff who sought a fair shake in recent history, we would never have been relieved of such craggy beasts as segregation or absence of the suffrage. People are getting all cranky about these gay couples receiving marriage licenses in San Francisco, but one day, those same people will look to us like the jerks in Alabama who wanted to cream a group of black kids for going to school. Arianna Huffington was one of the panelists. I recognized her voice. And she said a lot that rang true with me. It almost created a sense of nostalgia. Having been so attuned to what was giong on during the stupid gubernatorial recall last year, here in California. But even before that, I had really grown to appreciate her voice and her ideas. And I always hung on to the irony of how much I hated her when she was a fiery conservative, decrying my boy Bill. It's odd. I think I have become so anxious about the coming election that I have almost gone into stasis. I can't bear the fear that things will get worse, so I try not to think about it every day. But whenever I do think about it, I find that the impassioned convictions are still there. Thriving. It's a wonder to be so afraid. I was not afraid in 2000, and look what happened. Even now, I ask myself how I can worry that our country will re-elect a guy who probably put Hooked on Phonics on his Christmas list. He nearly always speaks in sentence fragments. And to me, that smacks of something other than folksiness.

Speaking of Hooked on Phonics, I saw an infomercial for it the other day, and the woman doing the selling was saying that, for just "spare change," you could improve your child's happiness and potential for success. That's right. For "less than two dollars a day -- spare change! -- you can make a difference in your child's future today!" Two dollars a day. Yeah, that's spare change TODAY. But if I spend it, I don't just have two more dollars of spare change the next day lying around. I carry that two dollars of spare change around all month. And I only use it if I have to feed a parking meter. What kind of spare change machine does she think I am? Well, whatever kind, I'm not that.

Some commercial was playing that Willie Nelson song, but it was being sung by someone else with a more Django Reinhart approach. Now I've got it stuck in my head. All of me, why not take all of me...Can't you see that I'm no good without you... If you want to do it right, repeat both verses before the big finish.

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:25 PM | Back to Monoblog


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Susurrous

It's raining. It's pouring. The old man is snoring. And by "old man" I don't mean me, because I am obviously wide awake.

Ever since I cranked my hot water heater up to the SCALD setting, I have had the steamiest, most luxurious cleansing sessions. It's hot enough now that, if you simmer long enough, your meat will just fall right off the bone. I've taken to thinking of my tub as a stock pot and my bubbles as bouillon. The word "broth" comes to mind. Anyway, it means I'm clean.

posted by Mary Forrest at 2:44 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 22, 2004

Flash Flood Warning







































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posted by Mary Forrest at 6:27 PM | Back to Monoblog


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Amazon Apology

Small men say hello to me on the street in this town, and I feel embarrassed because it takes me a beat to realize where the sound is coming from. I always say hello back, but I can often no longer see their faces by the time I do.

posted by Mary Forrest at 11:31 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Your To-Do List If You Had Been Me

Hang out with a rock star at an old-timey hipster lounge. Stay awake until long after sunrise. Drink hot sake while it's raining and try not to cry. Fail at it. Choose the banana candy. Let the fire burn out. Finish your script. Walk in the rain. Warm your hands. Do something thoughtful. Spread your sunshine. Brush your hair. Say, "Cheese."

A smile is something special,
A ribbon is something rare
So I'll be special and I'll be rare
with a smile and a ribbon in my hair.

To be a girl they notice
Takes more than a fancy dress.
So I'll be special and I'll be rare.
I'll be something beyond compare.
I'll be noticed because I'll wear a smile
And a ribbon in my hair.

posted by Mary Forrest at 8:54 AM | Back to Monoblog


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A Give and a Take

The titles music for The Office makes me sad. In a way.

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:01 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Second Story Man

Everything that stretches out behind me -- the wake of all of this. If I had it to do over again, I would just want it to take longer. I would just want it to take much, much longer.

posted by Mary Forrest at 2:22 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 19, 2004

"In the middle of a cloud, I call your name."



The room my parents prepared for me is so luxurious. I feel like I'm in a hotel. Lonely like when you're in a hotel. But also private and safe. Except for when my mom bursts in and brings me something. Tea or a question. I should remember to lock the door.

There are bullfrogs outside. Imagine that. Bullfrogs. And just a little further down the road, there are railroad tracks. Sometimes a train comes rushing by. But you can't hear it from the house. You can just hear the frogs. And some crickets. In the morning, sunlight streams in through more windows than I've counted. The tile downstairs is cold underfoot. The doors have latches on them that remind me of the past. I like it here.

You got to live.
You got to love.
You got to be somebody.
You got to shove.
But it's hard.
It's really hard.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 3:33 AM | Back to Monoblog


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I spoke to them in the dark, and they lay still.



I think my father is disappointed that I never became a lawyer. Or maybe he's just disappointed that I'm not actively participating in a pension plan. We talked over very small glasses of wine -- cordial glasses were all he could find in the post-move bedlam -- and he asked me whether I ever thought about still getting that degree. It came on the heels of my telling him how much of a breeze I found tax court to be. I didn't want to disappoint him, but I didn't really know what to say. I think, ultimately, my parents want for me exactly what I want for me. But we have starkly opposed ideas about how one gets it. And it vexes me to feel so certain that neither my mother nor my father believes I have amounted to anything that approximates my full potential. Still, it was nice to sit and talk in the new house. My father even lit candles for our dinner. A big, florid tree of them. Far more fuss and fanfare than I am accustomed to when having dinner with him. There wasn't much hope of finding complex ingredients, so I made penne carbonara in a jif and we dined like kings. Kings surrounded by boxes and boxes and boxes.



I have been contending with a lot of disappointment this week. Just things not going the way I'd planned or hoped. Friends not coming through or plans splintering. I find myself growing weary of always donning the brave face. The no-I'm-not-upset face. The oh-it's-fine-I'm-better-off-this-way face. The face I wear so that everyone else doesn't have to feel guilty. They never seem to notice. It's not my face at all.



Having noticed some new photos on my MySpace profile, my friend Steve accused me of taking more pictures than anyone else he knows, even the photographers. I suppose this post is my way of proving him right. Although, I will note to myself that I haven't really been taking as many pictures as I would like. I want to be taking pictures I can thrill to. Showing them off is secondary. But getting a glimpse of some captured brilliance is lure enough. I think my poor digicam is beginning to tire, though. Knobs turning in a more grinding-like fashion. Compartment doors no longer smooth and true. Whatever will I do when this dear old friend succumbs to age and overuse. It's hard to imagine my hands knowing what to do with a facsimile. The spool on my trusty old Canon A-1 SLR camera broke somewhere between Gila Bend and Albuquerque. I don't remember where. It was outside a roadside attraction as I was trying to rewind a roll of shot film and found that it wouldn't go back into the canister. I ended up trying to do it manually under my jacket, but the color negative film was compromised and there were little shards sprinkling into my lap where the spool ripped through its perforated edges. Nearly seven years later, I hadn't yet taken that camera in to get it repaired. It had been my dearest love for years. Had carried me through high school melancholia and had introduced me to that special perfume of the darkroom. It busted on a vacation, so I made do with buying an Advantix camera at a Wal-Mart, in Albuquerque, I'm fairly certain, now that I think about it. I am not a fan of Advantix. And I'm sorry to have missed out on the certain-to-have-been-myriad pleasures my A-1 would have revealed. But the point is, this past summer, when I was at long last determined to get my A-1 back in working order, instead of suping it up, I bought another one online. The same model. With lots of fancy attachments. So now I have "my" A-1 again. And I still find it to be my most favorite camera. But it sure is heavy and impossible to carry in a handbag. So it stays at home most of the time. I long for an excuse to take it out and engage it in some stupid photo essay. It's much heavier than the cameras I currently use. My hands sometimes shake when I'm advancing the film. It makes me feel frail somehow.

As I have been sorting through stored things, I have come across many old photographs -- some of which I will likely post -- and folders filled with photos I enlarged and printed myself. They still smell of the darkroom. I like it. At Risley, I was darkroom manager for a year, and I remember spending nights in that creepy basement room, all alone in quarters which were already too close, glad that I had never seen Nightmare on Elm Street.

With her dark hair, and her arms around her knees, she looked like a little Chinese pirate.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:49 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 17, 2004

Tight Close-Up

I saw another guy I know on an H&R Block commercial last night. This time it was a guy named Brian who I went out with about a year and a half ago. One more such sighting and I'll begin to wonder if H&R Block is toying with me. Perhaps they've never gotten over the fact that I started to file my taxes online with them a couple of years ago and never finished, choosing instead to file with my own tax software. I just used their site to file an extension, but it was nothing personal.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 9:26 AM | Back to Monoblog


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"Can the child within my heart rise above?"

Last night, I had this great gob of desire to post something about how things felt, but I'm away from home and connectivity has been more challenging than usual, so I made notes and made do, assuming I would return to the fervor when a network came available. Instead, I have the fragments of what I wrote and no real understanding of how they break from the glomerular state into distinct pieces. It's gone from me. Further proof that you can't put off inspiration. You can only deny it and lose it. But you can't delay it. I carry a little Moleskine notebook in my handbag just in case. But a lot of what should be written down comes to me while I'm driving or in the dark or not wanting to look like an undercover reporter. And as a consequence, far too few of the notebook's pages are filled.

I wouldn't have been able to write it all down in the car anyway, last night. I know that. And it's not that I'm so convinced that I would have written anything earth-shattering. On the contrary. I think I would have aspired at best to the heights of the banal, but at least I would have known what I was talking about. At least I would have been feeling it as I typed. Doing it this way is sort of like writing an adaptation. It's like documenting a previous event with notes from bystanders. These feelings aren't real to me anymore. They are secondhand.

"Time makes you bolder. Even children get older."

I can't feel it right now, but I know that I had wanted to pull the car over as I was arriving in San Diego, and I had wanted to cry out, and it was with great joy. The kind of joy that lacks smugness. And permanence. I only remember that I had this tremendous good feeling. I breathed in so deeply I felt a pain in my chest. Till I was ready to burst with the anticipation of exhaling. And I heard music that meant something to me. Songs that made me feel things, and I wasn't afraid of them. I welcomed them. I didn't go, "Yes, that's very true," and feel glum that the whole of what I know of love can be summed up by any 80s band who had it in them to write a song about getting it served to you in the wrong fashion (in this case, it was Naked Eyes). It no longer felt like an indictment. It really didn't feel like much of anything. Except a catchy song with synthesized marimbas. It felt like music again. Instead of retribution.

I was grateful to be feeling something of great intensity that was entirely positive and almost cloyingly okay. I wanted to yell, "I feel something! I feel something! And I'm so happy!" And I would have meant it. Tired as I was, I was feeling something at last. I was swelling with desire and anticipation and the urgency to barrel forward. And it wasn't an aftershock of anything else. It was just that feeling of a Sunday night with gas in the gas tank, a song in the speakers, and somewhere to be with people I like. I want to say it was just like old times, but I don't think that would be true.

"I'm lost but I'm hopeful, baby."

I don't know where I am, but I don't hate being here. There are still foul words to contend with and fears and categories and the acknowledgement of all that is over. But I'm not afraid of the landslide anymore. At least for now.

And, for the record, this sort of thing comes and goes. Shooting shabby pool into the wee hours did little to prolong my illusion of grandeur. Even now, I'm only recounting what I remember of having felt like a force to be reckoned with. But writing the words has a way of helping you commit it to memory. Maybe that will slow the ebb to at least a comparable velocity to the flow. And maybe we all won't dry up so soon.

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:24 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 16, 2004

"And you ask me why I love her..."

I just saw this guy named Sean on an H&R Block commercial. He's an actor who performed in the first show I ever played at Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista. It was the Kopit and Yeston version of Phantom, and he was incredible. And I remember hanging out at a dive bar with the cast and orchestra after one of the shows and talking to him and discovering that we both shared this huge love for Benny and Bjorn and hoped that Moonlight would put up Chess one day. Several years later, Moonlight mounted a production of Chess, and I was an eager member of the orchestra and was pleased and not surprised to see Sean playing the Russian. I've seen him on a number of commercials over the years. Some of them hilarious. This one wasn't hilarious, but it was definitely Sean. It's encouraging to see that you can admire someone and have it linger. With me, it nearly always manages to. If you could have heard him sing Anthem, it would have meant something to you. I never managed to get my videotape copy of the performance, and I have always regretted that.

No man, no madness, though their sad power may prevail,
Can possess, conquer my country's heart. They rise to fail.


"They rise to fail." I love that.

posted by Mary Forrest at 2:39 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 15, 2004

Co-Opted

Adam sends me articles from the New York Times on the Web so frequently that I nearly never have to visit the web site on my own. As proof that I actually read these articles, I am prompted to direct you to this one about Janet Jackson's boob, because I agree with it wholeheartedly. Even the part -- I am sad to say -- where it indicts Justin Timberlake for pretending he's really sorry about the whole thing. I would have gone with you to the end, Justin. To the very fires of Mordor.

But Adam never reads my weblog, so this accomplishes nothing.

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     Feb 14, 2004

The Rhyming Scheme

Many Valentine's Days ago, I wrote a poem that went like this:

Unobscured by hearts and flowers
I wish to simply say
That for these sweet red-painted hours
I love you on this day

And more so as each moment passes
More each breath I take
Every hour more love amasses
And it's for your sake

More so on the next sun's rising
More each morning new
My love just keeps aggrandizing
With the dawning's dew

More each time I see you smiling
More each time you call
Thrilled it's me you're not reviling
Pleased it's me at all

Now I've told you, plain as plainness
Now I've made you see
Yet remaining, sate my vainness
Say it back to me


I think it's the only Valentine's Day poem I ever wrote. Or at least the only one I ever wrote for someone in particular. If you don't count infantile things I might have done back when everything I owned smelled like Elmer's Glue and pink erasers. Back when it didn't count, I guess. I wrote my share of sentimental messages, but few of my sweethearts have been the recipients of poetry. Maybe I knew well enough that I was dating people who would likely not know what to do with it. Anyway, I thought about that poem today. And I thought of other days when I had wanted to write poems but felt a certain paralysis of sentiment. Other years when I would have wanted to write a birthday verse but couldn't muster the generosity of spirit to think of something kind to say. Other Christmases when I fantasized that the shape of my lyrics might make the difference but couldn't seem to bring myself to risk discovering I was wrong. And then there have been times when the rhyming poured out of me with gushing force. When I didn't want to sleep for fear of losing the patter of the meter in my head. Synapses dance when you get it right. For me, they do. Electrochemical firings ally themselves to the rhythm and all of a sudden everything you can think of fits into the syllables you've left. I'm no Shakespeare, but maybe sometimes I feel as if I'm channeling a long-removed bastard son of his. Or something.

Anyway, I look at the softer sentiments I have committed to the page and I sometimes feel sorry for that lost me of a distant part of a forgotten history. I see such humility in her words. Such certainty that she will be scorned. Such confidence that she will not be loved for long. At the time, it was the guise of preemption. Like when you tell everyone how fat you are to keep them from saying it first. At the time, it was that girl's way of glibly defying the inevitable disappointment she was marginally certain awaited her round the next corner or the next. It's hard not to feel sorry for that girl. What I miss of her naivete I also sometimes rejoice to have excised. Wanting to preserve the goodness of a trusting nature is a means of denying the inevitability of growing old. Age, experience, a life lived in any fashion -- these are the pinpricks in the cask that allow the precious water supply to seep away, till you're left in the very heart of the desert with nothing to drink and only the memory of the songs you used to love and no real certainty about which horizon to chase. The world is round. There are no edges to be found.

I lingered in the sunshine today. Felt the prickle of its heat on my pant legs. Had to make do with feathery wisps of my hair blowing past my face and occasionally getting stuck in my lip gloss. After a time, you just let them stay stuck there. It makes me think of those starving children in the sponsorship commercials, covered with flies but making no move to dislodge them. At some point, you get so accustomed to the nuisances that they cease to bother you. But it's surprising and a little bit sad to see that complacency in those who seem too young to have acquiesced to it.

The year I wrote that poem, my Valentine's Day was a disappointment. Disappointment is the offspring of expectation. That is a lesson hard-learned. That Valentine's Day also fell on a Saturday. Like today. The world is a mirror running in circles.

Decontextualized, the poem is still nice. An instrument rather than a memory. I'm not sorry for having written it. I'm just agog at the passage of time.

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Persistent Tears

Even the memory of tears brings tears to my eyes. Even when I'm talking about a time of sadness, the sadness is upon me. Maybe it is a gift rather than a curse. I have not yet had cause to decide.

If I remember it at all, I will remember the January of 2004 as the gauntlet to which everything up until this point had challenged me. But there is very little reason for me to remember it. Very little happened. I just stopped at one point and took a deep, deep breath.

There are things on a list that I wish I could take back. I wish I could take all of it back in one fell swoop. Erase their ever having happened. Undo the sharing. Unmake the existence of it. When you give people things to remember you by, you never think how it will feel when you no longer wish to be remembered.

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:33 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Conversation Hearts

Alec Baldwin is my perennial sweetheart. I think he's tip-top. If you saw him on Letterman tonight, surely you will agree. If you don't agree, it's because you have a chip on your shoulder; you are broken and can't be fixed. I guess I can see how some people might not like him. And I can also accept that it's POSSIBLE that he's not actually so winning and wonderful in real life, but it's also possible that we live in a universe that is actually a mere figment created by the crazed fantasies of an atrophying boy in a coma. Lots of things are possible. Alec Baldwin has been a longstanding item on my list of men I would like to kidnap and keep tied up in a basement. My affection has a way of appearing to go dark at the edges, but I assure you that I have no malicious aspirations towards the many men I admire and clamber after. It's just more amusing than saying that I keep a scrapbook of their clippings. Anyway, I like him very much on many levels. And sometimes I wish he would be president.

So, I bought this year's "Love" stamps at the post office a few weeks ago. And they're little conversation hearts and they say, "I love you." And I wonder if this is more direct than the stamps that have previously just had the word "Love" on them with some accompanying lovey-dovey graphic. I actually think twice before affixing such a stamp to an envelope. Wondering if the person who receives my resume or my gas bill payment might get the wrong idea. Wondering if my application or my check might get placed in a "special" stack. I think it takes a unique kind of nothing to do to have time for so much neurotic obsession.

There are few people who look more uncomfortable in front of the camera than Sofia Coppola. I have great respect for her when she is behind the camera, though. I'm not expecting her to win an Oscar this year, but it's nice to know that she could.

It occurs to me that the confusion over the password at the walls of Moria was really more a problem of punctuation than of anything else. "Speak, friend, and enter." "Speak 'friend' and enter." What a difference a comma makes. Or a quotation mark, for that matter.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:19 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 13, 2004

It's your lucky day.

My sleeping returned to its corrugated state this past week. I took it for granted when it had suddenly and surprisingly gone all smooth. But that's the nature of everything. It's the absence of something that calls attention to the former presence of it, and then you can only acknowledge by missing it and feeling down about not having treasured it more when you had it. I can't properly list the number of times this has been true in my life. Everywhere I have ever lived, I have wanted to leave. Wanted to be in the States. Wanted to be where they had Big Macs. And every time I've left, I've always wanted to go back. Like clockwork. Anyway, I'm sleeping in spurts again. And that has its drawbacks.

It is not lovely out today. This is an aberration in an otherwise lovely week.

posted by Mary Forrest at 8:10 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Don't you just love me all to crazy?

I took Tom and Krissy to see Paul F. Tompkins at Largo tonight. He was recording stand-up for an upcoming CD, and he was in rare form. But then, he's always in rare form, so how rare can that be. If all goes to plan, I will be heard on this CD, choking on my amusement, yukking it up to his every line. To the point where you might think I'm a shill. I am in the sense that Paul F. Tompkins can do no wrong by me, but he's not actually paying me for my services. Quite the contrary. I pay to see him regularly. Like visiting your analyst. Only with great joy. Like visiting your most beloved prostitute friend.

I'm still saddened by the fact that Paul F. Tompkins and I are not the best of pals. But I'm not loony enough to do anything about it. Krissy suggested I flash him some boob. I demurred. I've been to enough of his performances at this point that if he isn't already dying to know who I am, it's probably because he isn't into Asian chicks. And I guess I can respect that. Listen for my laughter anyway. There is a good chance you will hear it. That's no basis for a restraining order, right? I am content to lurk. Innocently. Asianly. In an intentionally non-threatening manner. I have a crush and a giant set of very sharp knives, but these two facts are entirely unrelated. The crush stands alone. The knives are just for show. And for slicing soft tomatoes with ease.

Tom and I stayed up talking long after Krissy had gone to sleep and for some time after The Muppet Musicians of Bremen had played itself out. I suspect he will regret that, because he has to work in the morning. If only no one had to wake up in the morning. The night owl in me would rejoice for days. I've still got miles to go before I sleep. Miles and miles and a bit of bathtime.

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     Feb 12, 2004

Potential Orgasm

I went to Spaceland last night to see Seksu Roba, and see them I did. It was a fine set, though too brief for my taste. Any more of that pornographic multimedia backdrop they play, however, and questionable things might have gone on. So perhaps it's for the best. Lun*na Menoh is sexy like whipped cream in your mouth. I can't say more without sounding like a pervert.

Hollywood and Vine

The night before, I went to see Sting at the Pantages with my sister. Front row seats. It was a sit-down crowd, which I suppose I lamented, but when they started dancing, I was embarrassed by most of them. I don't lump myself in with that "adult contemporary" set. I loved the Police, and I adored Sting's solo work for the first few albums. I don't dislike what came after, but it was never as moving to me. Alienation by jazz, maybe. But these days -- and at these prices -- the crowds that come out for a Sting concert are shaking their elderly boob jobs and simultaneously checking their watches to make sure the sitter isn't kept up too late. It's sort of like watching your parents get down. You wish it would stop. But Sting himself was just grand. And Mary J. Blige walked right in front of us on her way out. She's very small. Apparently Christina Applegate and her husband gave my sister the once-over. But I don't blame them. She looked beautiful.



Out of Mind. Out of Sight.

I'm finally getting everything done, tax-wise, but that has been an ordeal. The volume of paper to sort through. Persistent computer hassles. Forlorn trips down a refuse-cluttered memory lane. It's a fine line between feeling triumphant and feeling relieved. But I am glad to be putting that part of things away. I even bought filing boxes that I can label and lid and stack conveniently in my garage.

I've had a lot of words swimming round in my brain. So much so that I have to step out of the bath just when I've settled in because I've got something I should write down or that I know I will forget, no matter how many times I repeat it to myself amongst the bubbles. But it hasn't really been materializing into much. I haven't liked much of what I've written here in a while. I think that I am not happy to just report on what I've been up to or to quote song lyrics. I want to be writing as part of some irresistible chemical reaction. I want it to be changing me, sentence by sentence. But I have never not been accused of expecting too much.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:42 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 10, 2004

The Return of the Coffee Table Book

Well, that was a surprise of grand proportions. My friend Arthur took me to see The Return of the King at the Writer's Guild Theatre, and we were given a very pretty hardcover commemorative book from New Line, and then afterwards, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens all sat and talked to us for another half hour, forty-five minutes or so about the writing process and how these three films came to be. Treatsville, population me. Although, from listening to her explanation of the progeny of her involvement, Philippa Boyens is only a successful screenwriter today because she was a Tolkien fan and Fran and Peter knew a friend of hers and somehow added her to the crew. She was the most talkative one on the panel, and I kept wanting her to shut up. Her claim on her notoriety is somewhat less legitimate in my eyes all of a sudden. If I had been living in New Zealand, maybe I'd be going to the Oscars this year. I've read the books, haven't I? Is there no justice? Well, I suppose I never really believed there was justice, but it's more plainly missing just now.

I went because it was free. The rest was just icing. Maybe there is a modicum of justice after all.

posted by Mary Forrest at 12:57 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 9, 2004

His Worst Fear Realized



I always seem to turn on Crimes and Misdemeanors at the same part. It's a shame. Most of the parts I like come before the end.

This has been a frustrating day so far. But I'm not willing to give up on it. Surely there is some solace to be taken from persisting reality. For instance, I am curvy in many of the right places. Even my dad once said so. And once I got over the akwardness of the moment, I was flattered.

I'm also being taken to see The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King tonight. I'm looking forward to that. I saw it already, of course. And I had intended to take my dad to see it over the holidays, but his health prevented it. And I just haven't been down in San Diego much. Perhaps that will change. It has a way of doing so.

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     Feb 8, 2004

Fair Means Fair Save for When It Doesn't



There is a song by Enya (hear me out) called I Want Tomorrow. For some reason, I have been thinking about it. Just now. Maybe because it feels like what I'm feeling. What my brain is saying. In very simple terms. Maybe because I feel discontented in the now and am banking on what comes after. And I want to know how it all turns out. I would rather be looking back on a moment than looking forward to it. I would rather have it in my pocket than looming.

I am always discontented, but not in a dire way. I am always editing. And there is always room for it. If I had it all to do over, it might not turn out better, but imagine how fine the edges would become. I just see the different options in the same frame. Whatever is could be otherwise. And I know this. And I think about it. And it makes me regret having a bowl of cereal when I could have made a hamburger. And it makes me look out the window to see if the sun is still there. I expect it to be. But I know better than to count on it.


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"I must be all these things..."

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posted by Mary Forrest at 6:23 PM | Back to Monoblog


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"Up to 4 Hours of Relaxing Flames"



I would have gone out into the day yesterday, but it was terribly windy out, and I had so much to catch up on, including my writing assignment, which seems to take over my Saturdays now. A product of a lifetime's development of that procrastination muscle. You know the one. It's behind a vein in the forehead.

Not wanting to focus on what needs to be finished usually launches me into all sorts of productivity. More profound ideas. More art. More tidying. Yesterday, I thought about Solaris, and I wondered if I am just that. The product of -- the reflection of -- what someone else thinks of me. Limited by the ideas that someone else has. Unable to exist beyond the perimeter of someone else's consciousness. And whose idea am I? Who dreams me today? It's such a sad idea. And yet I have my own garden of these creatures. Substantive and corporeal. But limited. They are only what I know of them. They are only when I think of them. In the absence of that, a form of stasis ensues. I have images burned into my brain. Pictures of how people once were. And they never age and they never deteriorate. They are always to me as they once were. As they first were. Now just curios. Things to be displayed. Unmoving. Unchanging. Inert.

Do not go gently into that good night. Whatever you do.

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     Feb 7, 2004

Jumpsuits Need Pockets



Went back to the LACMA campus today. Found a nice spot. There was a breeze.

Spent the evening with Bryn. Talked about movies and television and people that give us the creeps. Watched some U.F.O. Scratched the dog's ears. Laughed.

Wine makes me sleepy.

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     Feb 6, 2004

Apophenia



Yesterday, the La Brea Tarpits smelled like they do. And a man was playing the banjo while school children square danced. I read and drew and wrote letters and took photos and stayed in the outdoors until I smelled of them. I like the wind in my hair and on my skin. And in recent years, I have even begun to like the way it makes my skin and hair smell. This is a new development.

I'm off and out again. The sun is beautiful and I long to be kissed by it.


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     Feb 4, 2004

"Baby, when I see you, I'm gonna love you all over the place."



Macy Gray opened for David Bowie tonight at the Wiltern. I had been looking forward to the David Bowie portion of the show for so long that I had stopped looking forward to it and begun to dread it. As happens when the tumult of anticipation becomes so exhausting that I can only quiet it with disdain. I have never really been a fan of Macy's. I don't hate her music, but it didn't rile me or bowl me over in any way, and I found her speaking self to be nearly intolerable, so somehow an opinion was formed with less than typical basis, and I let it go at that. But she put on such a great show. I was glad to be wearing my dancing pants. And one of her back-up singers was just a dish and a half of sex and swiveling hips. It made my hips go round just watching her.

"Baby, when I see you, I'm gonna kiss you all over your face."

"Is it any wonder I reject you first?"

The man who sold the world had that same world on a string tonight. So continues my long love affair with the Thin White Duke. I never dreamed I would see him singing only tens of feet from my scream-choked gullet. Nor that I might see him perform so many of the songs that made him legend in my brain and in my notebook. He's still a hot ticket. Still a confusingly beautiful and sexual creature. Still a fashionista, whose outerwear tonight occasionally looked as if he bought it at Anthropologie, where I regularly shop. I and other GIRLS. Confusing, see?

"My little china girl, you shouldn't mess with me. I'll ruin everything you are."

I can pretend David Bowie wrote China Girl for me, can't I? Why not? I've said, "Shhh," before. Anyway, it doesn't matter. What you believe has nothing to do with me and my version of the truth.

"Why can't we give love one more chance?"

There was a stunning rendition of Under Pressure, with Gail Ann Dorsey, his bald chick bass player, singing Freddie Mercury's part in uncanny simulacrum, and I mean that in the most admiring fashion, despite it being the least flattering word I could have chosen, I suppose. It wasn't Freddie, but it couldn't have been, so it's nice that it was so nearly him and that it was not in any way Vanilla Ice. And "simulacrum" is a cool word. So I may have forced it a bit. The way you do when the shoe you love only comes in a size seven and a half.

I also loved hearing this:

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour, drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine, don't think
You knew you were in this song
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk


Good God, I can't believe how amazing his voice sounded. Granted, the Wiltern is nearly the best possible place to see live music in these parts, but he just sounded amazing. I remember admiring him so much a couple of years ago after seeing the first installment of Sound + Vision at the Museum of Television and Radio, and I saw him acutely for the musician and performer he was, not just the baffling sex object I had known him to be and the singer of so many great songs. A really great musician. An instrumentalist and songwriter. In addition to having that rare gift for self-promotion and stirring the froth of the masses. But I was still asking myself, "Do I think he's hot because he's a guy or do I think he's hot because he's a girl? And does it matter?" It was a pleasure to be so unsure.

In the aftermath at Pink's, the younger server smiled at me and said, "You've been here before, right?" I said, yes, and he said, "I remembered you because of your beautiful face." And that was a very nice thing to hear. When I was leaving, he said, "See you tomorrow!" Which wasn't so nice to hear. I mean, I haven't been there since last summer. He makes it sound as if I'm a regular there with polish dogs coming out of my pockets. Hang my picture up if you want to, but don't make the people in line think I'm a fatso. I might need their votes someday. This isn't true. I'm not running for anything. My friend Scott Wiener is though. If you're registered in the 13th Assembly District in San Francisco, you should vote for him. I can vouch for the fact that he is a good egg. A good egg with progressive ideas and an admirable record. And a rather slapdash web site put together for him by me.

So looking over this post, it occurs to me that David Bowie sang with John Lennon, and then he died. And he sang with Freddie Mercury, and then he died. And he sang with Bing Crosby, and then he died. I think the lesson here is don't sing with David Bowie. You might die. Did Gandhi ever sing with David Bowie? The fact that we're not sure only gives weight to my hypothesis.

Don't sing with him. But do listen to him. And often. Some of the songs on this new Reality album are quite wonderful. And see him live if you can. I don't like to buy into this whole once-in-a-lifetime-chance poppycock, but then, in a way, everything you do is just for that moment. It's all once in a lifetime. So even if you've seen David Bowie before, see him again, for this once. Your lifetime will be better for it. And you will have a better contextual basis for appreciating what I have written.

On the lesser topic of me, I have a combination of a bunch of pictures to post and a lazy, uninterested lack of desire to post them. This duel will shake out eventually, but the winner cannot be foretold. Not even by the elves, whose prescience was shoddy at best on the whole topic of the quest claiming Frodo's life and all. You will never see all of the pictures. And at times I wonder if I'm doing you any great favor by letting you see any of them. Until this matter has been basted with more time and distraction and something other than displeasure over the look on my face, enjoy these words. They are worth more than a thousand pictures, I assure you.

I am also at long last effecting my revival (read: rip-off) of Ray Johnson and the New York Correspondence School. I don't expect it to go anywhere or turn into anything, but friends of mine have already begun receiving letters and artwork and oddities by way of the mails. And if anything I send out is someday worth a bundle on account of my tragic death, I will only be too pleased. In the absence of that promise, I have just been enjoying writing by hand and putting stickers on envelopes and anticipating the surprise and delight of the acquaintances for whom I have mailing addresses. If you have a mailing address and would like to receive my "art" at it, you can send it to me. I don't promise you will get anything. But I don't guarantee you won't.

Also, I enjoy remembering Douglas Adams.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:49 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 3, 2004

The Public Opines

I was listening to NPR on Sunday, on the way from my writing workshop to a party in Santa Monica, and a piece was being done about the inertia of American public opinion. How -- despite factual revelations to the contrary -- a staggering percentage of the polled still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the World Trade Center attacks and assorted other lies propagated by the current administration, even after those lies have been rescinded by the liars who first spoke them. The point of the discussion was why it is that Americans hear a poltician say something and then can't seem to expunge it from their thinking, even after it has been contradicted or debunked by reputable sources in the news media. And this isn't the first time in history this thought-centered immobility has been extant. American support for our involvement in Vietnam took more than two years to wane, regardless of what was being reported. It wasn't until the Tet Offensive that the tide of public opinion turned. It's frightening and further highlights the onerous responsibility on the shoulders of those to whom fame and power have given an audible voice. Stop lying, you liars. People are believing you and it is making the world a shithole.

I had so many potentially astute and eloquent comments to make on this subject, but that was days ago, and I have lost the inspired tendrils. That happens to me all the time. More often recently than ever before. The muse whispers and I bat her away, opting instead for painting or reading or a bath or a drink. Anything but the cogent assembly of thoughts and ideas I am convinced no one really wants to hear.

Later that night, on Loveline, Adam scolded a young woman for liking a guy who was bad news saying, "The only thing that could make that guy worse is if he had crabs in his eyebrows." I laughed and laughed.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:53 PM | Back to Monoblog


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