The love of words in any language.

“There must be a Russian word to describe what has happened
between us, like ostyt, which can be used
for a cup of tea that is too hot, but after you walk to the next room,
and return, it is too cool; or perekhotet,
which is to want something so much over months
and even years that when you get it, you have lost
the desire. ” – Barbara Hamby

Maybe it’s because I’m a Russian-Latvian that I find this beautiful. I love the Russian soul. It’s part of my blood; my history. It’s in my DNA. I have always had a love for words. I love Woolf, Greene, Austen, Eliot, Plath, du Maurier, Brooke, Flaubert, the Brontë sisters. So many.

But then there are the words written down by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Pushkin, Pasternak, Akhmatova. A man once told me that Tolstoy was the mind of the Russian people. Dostoyevsky, the soul. I almost fell in love with him then and there. Almost.

We can also look at the compositions that came out of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Scriabin. Music felt in the chest. Resonating. We fear our hearts will explode. We cry to relieve emotions suddenly resurrected; uninvited.

And maybe it’s just the simple fact that I love the idea… the tepidness that comes from waiting.


George Hurrell – What inspires me at the moment.

Greta Garbo

Norma Shearer

Dorothy Jordan. 1930

Loretta Young & Tyrone Power

Greta Garbo

Madge Evans. 1932

Anita Page. 1932

When One Door Locks, Another Brightens With Promise

You Hear Colors * Raining Patterns

I was eleven when I went to Saint Petersburg, Russia, and I vaguely remember walking through the rooms of the Hermitage with my parents and a private guide; however, there are moments that stand out in my mind, like the way in which we entered the museum. We walked through the palace backwards. Not physically, with our heads turned as not to walk into anyone, but from the exit to the entrance; leaving with the grand staircase as our final descent out of the palace.

The Hermitage is so large that, after a few hours, your eyes start to glaze over and you grow tired; however, you’ve only seen a fraction of what is hung throughout the palace. There are three million pieces in the museum; however, underneath the rooms in which the public wander lies another museum with the artwork kept in boxes and protected from the elements. Very few see this part of the museum; only people like my father have been invited.

I remember tapestries and artwork hung throughout, but, above all, I remember the rooms. As a child, I was fascinated with rooms; where the decor had been staged to reflect an era of a ruler, like Catherine the Great of Imperial Russia. As we walked through this section of the palace, I looked above me at the high ceilings and around me at the decadence, which was overwhelming: large windows; rooms filled with beautifully handcrafted furniture; and precious pieces of artwork placed upon the walls.

We walked through wide doors that nearly reached the ceiling and down hallways that took your breathe away. I imagined Catherine the Great – perhaps my favorite along with Peter the Great – magnificently sweeping across the floor in her gown; gracefully marching through the rooms with dozens of people hanging on her every word. In a way, I want to walk with the determination of the Tzarina. Wasn’t she a timid Prussian when she came to Russia to marry Peter III? And didn’t she wage a coup d’etat to take the power away from him?

And I am forcefully making this life for myself. What are we really, but uncomfortably thrust into our futures? We are never given promotions (or positions) without feeling like we are in over our heads. In a way, I stepped through the door when I boarded the plane to Paris. I realize that I just haven’t shut the door behind me. I can see it across the hall from where I stand in this gilded room. And the last room is not as beautiful; or warm; or inviting. I say to myself, as I gracefully march to the door, “Shut and lock it! Close it and carry on your new life!

And the door is closed and locked. I turn the key and it disappears in my hand. It is gone. I then turn and, like Catherine, gracefully march down this path; a path that has been revealing itself to me since I arrived in Paris. It generously illuminates the way; beckoning me. I do not question my place in Paris for I belong here. I just have to remember: when one door locks, another brightens with promise.

The Lightening Storm and the Hurricane

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.


“Silent under the pressure of the sea”

A re-printing of Silent under the pressure of the sea” – Amanda L. Wilding (FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2008)

In a small row boat, in the midst of a vast ocean with no sight of land or other vessels around me, I let the waves rock me back and forth. And I stare at the surrounding blue. Where the light sky meets the darkness of the water. And it is not a graceful meeting between sky and water, but a severe contrast. As severe as emotions can be. Divided, intersected, broken by the crisp line of the horizon. By the suddenness of a passing second that can never be repeated or changed.

Art breathes existence and precious meaning into life. It keeps you rowing. Pushing through pain, disappointment, uncertainty and doubt. Ignoring the fear of tipping over. Into the unknown temperature of the blue water. Where numerous creatures live beneath the rippling surface.

And I jump. And, from one boat to another, I swim. Again and again and again. Sometimes twice in one intense day. Sometimes after the passing of several quiet months. Regardless of how tired I am, I jump. I always do. It is the only way to achieve change in our lives.

Change requires this sort of a jump. Change requires courage and faith. And you do not know how long you may tread water without the reassurance of a life jacket. And you do not know what swims around you. And you do not know when a slightly larger boat may come your way.

But a boat does float past and you lift yourself out of the water with a newfound, unknown strength and climb into the safety of your new vessel. And you wait until it is time to jump out of it again. Because that time will come.

Since I was a young girl, maybe thirteen or so, I have used this metaphor to explain the way I look at my life. And last year has been filled with a series of jumps and tiring days of treading rough water.

These waters have been filled with love affairs, friendships, excesses. The sea ebbs and flows with these moments. The waves rock us back and forth. Causing us to sleep. Or be sick. Last year, my strength to hold on did not stay constant. My pulse raced and slowed. My blood boiled. My tears came in steady, uncontrollable streams. I sobbed last year. I cursed everything I knew. I wished the most terrible things.

Several boats have been filled up with experiences that have forced me to grow. As an individual. A person. A filmmaker. A writer. A woman. A lover. An intellectual. A human being. A soul.

I aged another year. I cut my hair. I went Raw and changed my lifestyle. I started to run. I took up pilates. I broke people’s hearts and shattered their dreams. I gave other people opportunities. I started a company. I have been cheated on. I made love. I have been the player. I have hurt a man. Or two. I have gotten under the skin and buried myself beneath his veins. I have caused him to feel like he is bleeding to death from within. I have not wanted to let him leave. And he hasn’t and he has.

But these are the two most important and significant moments in 2007, as well as in my life: I experienced the beauty of finding ones artistic voice when I made “The Weight of It.” And I experienced the excruciating pain of loosing my best friend, Amanda, on December 10th, 2007.

Above all things, Amanda’s love, friendship, loyalty and the memories I have of our eight years of friendship has opened my eyes to what is important about why I am here. On Earth. In Los Angeles. In the film industry. About why I chose to move 3,000 miles away from my parents, my best friend and my other friends. About why I felt this sort of sacrifice was worth this sort of separation.

And Amanda knew where she wanted to go. We were both going to be successful writers. A few months ago, she reminded me of the time we met and I introduced myself to her: “Hi, I’m Elena. I’m a writer.” And she said she was impressed by my confidence. And I was thoroughly impressed by hers. I was always inspired by her. Of her knowledge about what boat to swim to. Of what direction to go in.

Sometimes our boats would float side by side. We would spend long hours, days, talking about the fears we had about jumping into our work. About our worth. About our abilities. About our talent. About our strength. We were exceptionally alike, her and I, although we took different paths in our lives in regards to our writing careers.

And we both have our enormous insecurities, especially in regards to our work; however, we were growing as artists. As writers. And, like myself, she knew exactly what she was about. And she never apologized for it. She never backed down. She was first and foremost a writer. She is one of the most amazing poets I have ever read.

Next to my parents, Amanda was my biggest fan. And I hers. We read each other’s work constantly. We critiqued and edited each other’s work. Since college, we had the dream of forming a modern day “Bloomsbury Group” and I still can’t imagine her absence in my personal, literary and filmmaking life. We had a mutual admiration society. We were starting a Literary and Arts Magazine together. We were going to make a place for ourselves in the Literary, Art and Film World together.

We were going to do so much more together.