A re-write of “The Lightening Storm and the Hurricane” (SATURDAY, JULY 12, 2008)
“Live each day like it is your last.”
This particular saying both inspires and discourages me. Several months after my best friend, Amanda, passed away, I can look back on her life and see how different she was from everyone I have ever known. I always knew she was unique. Cut from a different cloth. But she differed greatly from the rest of the World.
While Amanda sought to fulfill her life’s meaning – to be a writer – most people seem to be directionless, although their careers might be on steady, forward-moving paths. While she calmly sought out life’s beauty through her poetry and photography, most people I know do not truly see the World around them. They walk by, day-by-day, and do not see what surrounds them. They do not see the little things in life that inspired her to start a new poem or to pick up her camera.
My friend, Eric and I were talking on the phone and we started discussing the subject of mortality and finding meaning in life. Perhaps the thing that differs greatly between Amanda and the rest of the Human Population is that she had a purpose, no matter how short she knew her time was on this Earth, and she did everything in her power to bring herself closer to her purpose, which was to write books of poetry and short stories, continue with her photography and start a literary journal (with Kristen and me,) as well a myriad of other things she did that enriched that life purpose.
Perhaps most souls do not truly grasp what their meaning on Earth is about. Perhaps they see only their own expiration dates – like Amanda did – but they do not have the strength or ability or power to focus. Instead, there are so many people that are like a hurricanes with no quiet center. No moment of peace.
On the positive side, I agree that each day should not be wasted. Each day should hold something unique and powerful in its arms, making it a “worthwhile” day, making it a day to remember; a day that can be looked back on with having a sense of meaning. Each day should be lived to its fullest. Each person should make each second, moment, minute, hour and day a priority.
Our lives are filled with memories. Good and bad ones. However, life is not solely about knowing exactly who we are or what you want when you are ten and then spending our lives trying to accomplish those particular things. How boring would that be? I want to be a writer. So all my life is spent focused solely on that, without any freedom to discover new things that will probably enrich my life and my craft? If I limited myself to being solely a filmmaker, then I would never have enriched my life as an artist or a photographer.
From the moment we take our first breathe and scream at the tops of our tiny infantile lungs, we are learning, changing, growing and developing as human beings. From 8 lbs to 130 lbs, we are constantly evolving. We are also dying. However, we constantly discover – on a day to day, minute to minute, basis – what we truly want and need to enrich our lives. From the moment we take our first breathe and our umbilical cord is cut, we are on man’s search for meaning.
My search for meaning has truly evolved over the last twenty-nine years as I learn to try to not to be held down by memories that I don’t think I can top or compete with. My childhood (overseas and in America) was pretty impressively vivid. There was a point in my life (which occasionally rears it’s doubting head) where my memories have made me feel like I will never do anything that would remotely compare to the splendor that was the past; however, I have found in learning from my past that I allow myself to live life to the fullest every day, because I concentrate on the present as I try to do things that enrich my future.
I cannot compare my adult life in Los Angeles to a childhood that sounds more like a novel than reality. If I did, I would be depressed and then I would never look forward into the future with hope and desire… Our lives feel like Lightening Storms. Especially in Los Angeles. Especially when you are genuinely sick. We have electricity surging down from the sky, cracking through the air and scorching the ground. Like a Hurricane, the winds are taking up our skirts and our hair and making it hard to not only walk, run or move, but makes it nearly impossible to SEE. But even in midst of the Storm, we have to keep our mind on what direction we really want to go.
A re-printing of “Intrigued and Illuminated.” (TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2008)
I went to see Liam Finn play at the Largo at the Coronet on La Cienega Blvd in West Hollywood last Wednesday. I laughed a great deal as he played for a large crowd sitting in a beautiful theatre, but when he (and his partner, Eliza Jane) played “Gather to the Chapel” and “Wide Awake On The Voyage Home,” I began to cry. Great floods of tears. My imagination was running wild. A new story was of course working its way around my brain.
After watching Mr. Finn and Ms. Eliza Jane play on Wednesday night, it is like life started to remind me that surprises will always be found around the corner from where you are. And when you open yourself up to those surprises, life truly comes into sharper focus. And my eyes have been opened in so many different ways since that night. A variety of things have happened to me in the last few months that have truly made me grow as an individual. Some have been harsh, horrible moments, while some have been enlightening, as well as freeing.
Yesterday, someone important in my life told me that I have been going through a “growth spurt.” Pardon? A growth spurt? Like the sort of thing you have when you are a gangly, graceless teenager and you grow an entire foot in the summer? Or you grow into your long legs? Or you grow into your considerably large mouth, filled with what seems to be a million straight perfect teeth, which begins to no longer look awkwardly enormous?
I wondered, to myself, does it have anything to do with… nearing thirty? I don’t think I have the dreaded turning thirty issues (yet,) but I do see that I am doing a lot right now with my life. There have been a lot of changes in the last few months that have moved me forward in my quest to be a filmmaker, a businesswoman, a lover, an environmentalist, a daughter, an individual and a woman. A complete human being.
Which brings to me to a thought that has been running through my mind while I am working on a new film: the ‘traditional’ woman versus the feminist. It is something that has always intrigued me – a place where a woman can have a career, a family, a marriage and her individuality.
A place where a woman can be a creative soul – a filmmaker, an author, an artist – who follows and seeks her own bliss without making apologies, but is also a committed lover to the man (or woman) she has chosen to love and call her own. A place where a woman can be a Co-founder/President of a green (environmentally friendly) Company while raising a child. A place where a devoted daughter can still have a solid relationship with her mother, but also let her own, independent soul speak loudly and clearly for itself.
In the UK Times Online, there is an article titled “The good wife is an old fashioned realist,” which states:
How to be a perfect wife is not, you might have thought, a very contemporary question. Decades of feminism have been much more concerned with how to be a perfect career woman, exotic lover, fully fledged fashionista, alpha female and, latterly, yummy mummy; being a wife has been somewhat incidental, even for those who get married or stay married.
First of all, why would we (women) be thinking that this particular question is… Contemporary!? Why wouldn’t we think that the women who have “Come up the Ranks” before us wouldn’t be troubled with the same questions that we are faced with today? I think of Virginia Woolf and her essay “A Room of One’s Own,” which points out the importance and necessity of women to be financially independent in order to be able to create. I think of Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Ella Fitzgerald, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Mead, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Bourke-White, to name a few fascinating, strong and driven women. And I realize that I will always be an evolving, ever changing work-in-progress.
(This re-printing was somewhat altered.)