It’s been busy, ya’ll!

A brief glimpse…

It’s October, 90 degrees out, maybe cooler today, there is smoke in the air, people up north recently lost everything, stopped listening to the news to help with current insomnia (it’s helping), began a writing class last night (seems it will be great), reading six books, the man next to me is talking about rats in his apartment, I want to wear sweaters, fingers crossed for the Cubs tonight (dad has tickets for Game 6 if they do), good people keep appearing in my life, time is passing, so many great musicians coming through town, good dates/bad dates, baked a pie, make more time, patriarchy continues to crumble in all of its ugliness, fall road trip plans postponed, miss my friends when get too busy, to buy: food, clean out closet (again), write every day, woke up at 7, crawled back into bed at 8, back asleep until 11, should I become Cali resident (?), cool breeze blowing, going to beach tomorrow, need coffee, all is good. More soon.

Oh, and yesterday morning I saw three coyotes stalking the streets of LA as I walked to my car in the pre dawn dark.

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I returned to LA from Georgia over a week ago and am just beginning to feel part of my life again.  It’s something I write and think about frequently; the idea that there is my real life and my temporary life, the one I have never figured out how to live while on location, from a hotel room on the side of a freeway, complete with bad carpeting and a mini fridge.  And while I have discovered a few of the things that keep me connected (finding organic produce at Target, my workout CDs, and books), it still feels like I am killing time, waiting to get back to living.

So, what is living? When do I feel connected and present in my life? In addition to being around those I love, with whom laughter, talking, and silence come easy, the answer seems to be creativity. Whether its a blog post, a meal, or a card, when I create something, I feel that I am communicating with the world and can rest well.  For the past week I haven’t been sleeping and have also felt too tired to create anything; my meals have been quick, my outfits boring, my blogs nonexistent. Blank. But, slowly, the juices are returning.  The energy to cook, write, and create beauty is returning and I trust that, with some rest, so will the desire to pursue the larger projects floating around in my head.

I bought flowers, avocados, limes, and chips on the way home from work.  Time for a brainstorming, list making, happy hour party, even if it’s just me and my computer, on a Wednesday afternoon.  If I am going to keep making my living in an industry I don’t love, but that allows me time off and pays my bills, there need to be some ground rules:

1.Only go on Location if it’s to somewhere Awesome, for no longer than a month, and only if I am going to make a bunch of money.

2. Create something, anything, once a week, minimum. Write something everyday.

3. Use the money I make working to sign up for every class/workshop that looks fun, writing and otherwise. Save the rest.

4. Say No to Full Time work. Part time allows for classes and projects. 

5. Never forget to find and create beauty, even in Georgia.

 

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I’m sitting in an airport for the third time this month, reading my horoscope. Home, home, home. My fourth house is all lit up, hitting the domestic vibes/homefront notes for the next month, just in time to be outside of Atlanta, for work, living in a hotel.  So, how to avoid going crazy and give myself those homey vibes, while on the road? What does home mean? Where is my home? 

I recently had a reassuring realization while in Northern California for a couple of weeks, again for work and again living in a hotel. I missed LA. Having only lived there for six months, after repeatedly trying  to adapt for ten years and but always eventually fleeing for the clean air and calm of my previous home, New Mexico, this was a huge shift. And a welcome one. I missed the assortment of healthy food, the mass of stuff to do on weekends, the hipster adventuror spirit which can be both annoying and awesome,  my classes, friends, apartment, stuff and my morning routine. I was officially homesick for my new city. So, that’s a good thing! 

But, what to do to create home when away? My yoga mat, many books, music, a big bag of food and tea, journal, and tarot cards are traveling with. I’m heading out with an open attitude and belief that seeing different parts of the country and world will give me some good stories to tell and a greater appreciation of my own city when I return next month. 

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“I have one foot out the  door, but he doesn’t know where he’s going,” a co-worker told me last week, over a cup of coffee and a donut from the craft service table, as we stood, backs to a cold wind that whipped dust in our scarf and goggle covered faces, waiting for the director and cinematographer to set up a shot.  I laughed. At the moment my feet were cold, even inside winter boots, and I wondered if they had led me to that moment, or had merely followed along. “Where or when did we get the idea that a job in an office was such a bad thing?” I wondered. Later that night I sat on a cooler, next to a different co-worker, and again we waited for a shot to be set and again a dusty, cold wind whipped our faces.  And again I wondered how I’d come to view this as normal.

But, then, what is normal? I’ve spent the better part of thirteen years on movie sets, waiting for shots to be set, in the wind, and for a long time it felt very normal.  I became used to intense periods of work followed by equally intense periods of existential wandering. It is only recently, since I have been taking more time off, pursuing different goals, making different choices, and following my heart, aka feet, that my previous normal is up for examination. My new version involves sleeping well, writing, wandering with a purpose, taking care of myself physically, and making decisions based on how my overall wellbeing will be effected.

As I sat in the wind, I realized that my former and current normals had one thing in common; my desire for freedom. Somewhere along the way, I’d convinced myself that offices equalled cages, commitments equalled obligations and then resentments, and that there was no way to intertwine finances with my own creativity.  I loved to show up in the morning on a new set, to know that no job ever lasted more than a few months, and that I could save money while working because I had no time to spend it, or do anything really, other than work and sleep.  I was willing to overlook the lack of free time, the weather, and the adrenal depleting high, that was actually quite addictive.

But now, as I spend less time on set and more in the office I designed in my home, I realize my feet are leading me in a different direction than the one I am so familiar with. And I don’t actually know where we are going. I figure we haven’t gotten lost yet, so I’ll just continue to follow.

 

 

 

  
 Back at work for a week and, so far, so good! I have been sleeping AND waking with enough time to stretch and meditate, two things I’m determined to hold onto as the hours grow longer and the off-time shrinks. 

I can feel the adrenaline creeping back in but hope to keep it at the lowest levels possible. The annoying little truth is that on some level I love the crazy, the high, and the pace of a movie set. And this show promises to be a busy, if short, one. 

As I stood on set yesterday, our first day of shooting, I felt comfortable and confident, doing a job I’ve done for years and that has, overall, benefitted me on many levels. I am also starting this job having just had three months off. I feel refreshed and know that the money I make over the next couple of months will allow me to take more time off this fall. 

I’m beginning to see how these two sides balance each other; the prompt, organized, slightly OCD costumer and the relaxed, creative, let’s just see what happens wanderer. It’s a tricky balance that, even after twelve years, I haven’t figured out, but I’m optimistic that with awareness I can have and/with rather than either/or. Balance, balance, balance. I want to be in love with every minute of my little, awesome life, rather than waiting for this or that to happen or for the time when it’s all crystal clear and figured out. 

It’s a whacky ride and I think that’s what I’m starting to accept and appreciate. And sleep, meditation, and stretching all help that appreciation!

 It is hot! 105 in Albuquerque yesterday, with the same expected today. And, after such a cool, rainy spring, I think we are all in shock, though June is usually the month where it reaches triple digits for a week or two, so we really shouldn’t be. Today I plan to make mint sun tea, write a short story, meet a friend at the pool, and be grateful that for the first time in over a decade, I am not outside, working on a film set in this heat! 

Producers love to shoot in New Mexico in the summer; long days full of amazing skies, desert vistas stretching for miles, 16 hours before you lose the light.  Pouring water over my head, wrapping a wet bandana around my neck, reapplying sunscreen again and again, holding the wool coats and petticoats of actors too hot to wear them, lugging garment bags up a mountain or into a canyon, eating bananas for the potassium, waiting for the sun to go down, trying to drink even half as much water as I should. 

Early in my career, I wore skirts and light blouses, but after ruining too many, switched to shorts and tee shirts, but after getting too much sun, switched to high tech UV fabric clothing that I rinse out each night, same outfit day after day, no skin showing. Only when the director goes down with heat stroke, do people slow and drink a Gatorade. 

I think of my dad, building a house out in the country. Watermelon for lunch, gallons of water sweated out, like a cleanse, year after year working through the summer. And of all the farm workers, road crews, and walking mail deliverers, working in the heat. My grandmother would meet her mailman at the door with a glass of lemonade. 

And six months from now, I might be writing the same post for cold. Bitter  and biting. Seems unimaginable now. 

Stay cool out there!

I am sitting outside of a coffee shop in Albuquerque and a movie happens to be shooting across the street. Men in workbelts scurry around and I had to park around the corner because the street is full of “no parking due to filming” and “businesses are open” signs. And all I feel is relief. Relief that after sitting here for half an hour I can leave and go about my day. A day that didn’t start with an alarm and will end whenever I get tired and feel like going to bed. I’ve been off for just under two weeks and am only now starting to feel rested as the insomnia that dominated my last show begins to subside. 

I have a list of things I hope to accomplish during this self funded sabbatical, not the least of which is beginning to try to figure out a new way to make a living that doesn’t wreak havoc on my nervous system. Yikes! Whether it ends up taking over my film career or simply gives me more of a purpose and income in between film jobs, I don’t know. But, I do know that as I get older, the lifestyle that goes along with the film industry seems less and less sustainable for me.

I’ve signed up for writing classes and jewelry classes, I revamped my long neglected Etsy site, fresastudio.etsy.com, and am trying to stop thinking of such things as just hobbies, incapable of possibly supporting me. What if I gave them half of the hours I give my film career in a given week? Chances are they’d flourish. 

I am very grateful for a career that gives me the time to explore other options and has been such an interesting one for over a decade. But, at the moment, my studio is calling and I’m going to go see what I find there. I’ll let you know.