While meditating this morning, my eyes fell upon a turquoise notebook on the bookshelf next to my altar. Jammed with pages ripped from magazines, it was my journal and scrapbook from 2001-2002, just before I graduated from college and was beginning to think about what would follow.
What a treasure trove!
Haircuts, surf destinations, fashion, women running creative cooperative fashion companies, short stories, Paris, shoes, Tarot cards, worries, horoscopes, the ocean, sexy men, plans and ideas. And the striking thing was, how little has changed! Instead of paper magazines, I now pin images on Pinterest, but the themes, subjects, and aesthetic are strikingly similar, 15 years later.
In 2001, I was working in a restaurant, rotating my clothing at Buffalo Exchange, finishing up a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies, planning to move to LA or NYC to work in the fashion industry (in what capacity I had no idea), making skirts out of vintage tablecloths and selling them to local stores, and was interested in Tarot, Astrology, making short films, and I wanted to learn how to surf and to live near the ocean. Little did I know that a career as a Costumer in the film industry was just around the corner, that LA would play a key role in my life, that my home and home decor would continue to ground me, or that my interests would simply solidify and evolve, but not really change. We really are who we are!
What has changed is a confidence in myself. I trust in my ability to support myself financially, to create a home, to walk into a costume department full of strangers and be able to work well with them, and to basically manifest the life I want. Since graduating from college, that ability has been somewhat lopsided in the direction of career and financial and material security. And now, knowing I am capable of that stability, I know it is time to go back to the creative, blank slate of possibility which fill the pages of this scrapbook.
What do I do when no one is watching or paying me to do it and what causes me to spring out of bed in the morning? I still haven’t been to Bali and my surfing skills need (a lot of) work. I still want to create things from nothing, live near the ocean, be part of creative community, and to create beauty in the world.
As I stand at the threshold of what comes next, I have no doubt it has all gone exactly as it was supposed to. My confidence, home, and the clarity that comes with experience will all support me as I move in the creative and adventurous directions I wanted to as a twenty two year old but didn’t yet know how to. Fifteen years later, it is time to go back to then.
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No, not that one. The other one, in New Mexico, just north of Santa Fe, off of I-25. The once bustling, now somewhat abandoned railroad town, the one in which I have spent months of my life working on location, that is full of architectural beauties, albeit mostly boarded up. Yes, that one.
And, here I am again. Because of its location in Northeastern New Mexico, where the Great Plains meet the Rockie Mountains and the High Desert, Las Vegas can pass for many places, hence its popularity with movie producers and location scouts. This evening, as I left the ranch where we are shooting and drove down the frontage road towards my hotel, I couldn’t help but think of all that has and hasn’t changed in my life, career, and in the town, over the many years I’ve found myself on location in Las Vegas, NM.
In 2005, we used the Victorian houses as the backdrop for a small Minnesota town in the movie “North Country.” While working, my then boyfriend and I rented a “suite” at the Palomino Motel for $22 a night and pocketed the rest of our housing money. I turned 26 in that motel room and somewhere there exist photos of a party that included very tall grip holding a piñata above his head, while crew members swung at it with a machete until a bunch of porn fell out.
In 2006 we were back with “No Country For Old Men.” Same boyfriend, same suite, room number 6, at the Palomino Motel. Weeks of filming, mostly nights, ice cream cones at Dairy Queen on the way to work in the afternoons. A shootout in the Plaza Hotel, my Trader Joe’s shopping bag full of different types of fake blood. An overpass turned into the Mexican border by the Art Department that made it onto the front page of the local paper because drivers on I-25 were freaking out, afraid they’d taken a wrong turn somewhere.
Then there was “Paul” and an exploding farm house. “True Grit” in 2010 and then “The Homesman” in 2013, with six weeks of living in the Plaza Hotel, pretending the plains north of town were 1850’s Nebraska.
And I’m back. It’s 1894 this time. And again, a bag of fake blood. Another movie. Another hotel. Another year. And yet, so much has changed. This blog gives me a mission and instead of taking my wacky career for granted, I find the beauty in the random places it brings me. I appreciate the experiences it has given me, I laugh at the bizarreness of it all.
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