Apr 4, 2006


I had a very nice date. She probably didn't.

Hi, have we met? I'm an idiot.

I felt very cloudy. I'm not sure what I said. I felt like I was losing her attention. I couldn't get her to open up more than once or twice, and yet, I felt rather comfortable with her, looking in her eyes, which is rare. Very rare. I do so much better with women I'm not interested in.

When I first got there, the restaurant she'd suggested was closed. So very closed, I imagined it was out of business. This was a prank. I walked up and down the street, in the rain, with my duck-head umbrella, hoping I wasn't getting stood up, almost certain I was. This was a mean prank. I sat in the car listening to NPR. At 8PM, Talk of the Nation started -- the show whose transcripts I spend two hours a day checking for errors. I got out to check for her one last time, and there she was. I closed the door, and locked my keys in the car.

Alli earned her keep and brought me the spare set of keys. In the middle of the date. You might imagine this could be very award - and it was.

It turns out that my date once randomly hooked up with someone from Hampshire college, in New York, in her senior year of highschool. It was Henry. I felt very cloudy. I couldn't remember his last name. Stirling and Keely could, via text message.

I botched a chance to get her cellphone number, and I botched the goodbye, never pressing for more than a hug. I felt very cloudy, and I was surprised it was ending so quickly.

When I came home, very cloudy turned into desperate to vomit. Not nerves. Illness. I spent the next three hours praying to puke. Trying so hard to throw up. About twenty minutes ago, I finally did it. A lot. And I feel so much better. Yes, I puked in utter joy.

I'm calling in sick tomorrow. It'll be my first time since arriving in LA.

 And right now, I'm gonna go puke a little more. I hope.

Apr 2, 2006

Paper and Pencil

I have an image in my mind. It is me, writing. It's strange. I have glasses in it. I'm at a desk, turning over sheets of paper. I think I'm writing in pencil, and the paper has a thick tooth, almost as rough as denim in my mind. I wrote an episode of Darwin's Kids, in college, in a single night, all on paper like that, with a pencil. It was the Jan Term episode.

In the vision, I'm not sure what I'm wearing. I don't know what time of day it is, the light is neither blue nor bronze. Not sure where I am. The camera's looking up at such an angle, I can't see the chair or the desk, or anything but the colorlessness of an out-of-focus ceiling. But what's so romantic about this image is... I'm totally absorbed. I'm just writing.

How can I get there? How can I shut up the stress, the expectations, the commercial/success imperative? How can I write something passionately, freely, without the critics and the critiques hovering and editing? You can't get lost -- truly, gleefully lost -- when always hear the chatter of the highway so nearby. Where are the dark woods I used to get lost in?

Sometimes I think, I need someone I can trust, someone to get lost with, someone beautiful, and difficult, and inspiring. But that's foolish, a deflection of responsibility. Even though it would be nice, in that image, to have someone come up and look over my shoulder, I am the only one capable of getting lost in those pages, instead of lost in the worry of ticking clocks and closing chances, graying hair and mounting debt.

So, clearly, the solution is -- paper and pencil. Right?