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

Intrigued and Illuminated

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.)


“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.

A State of Mind

Some have remarked that I am going to be a fish out of water in Paris. Perhaps, but maybe the city will welcome me with open arms. I cannot walk into my new life with the fear that the city will expel me. It would be as if I entered a match or a battle with the decision that I had already lost; that my defeat had already been made up in my mind. How could you ever triumph over anything if you thought you would loose before you ever started?

And so I envision a beautiful image of life in France before I even arrive. I set the stage in my mind. The architecture of the city alone is the perfect backdrop for my dreams. I have an idea of what I want my existence to feel like. It’s as if my thoughts are judged by my senses. I warm to the idea of walking the streets of Paris. I tingle at the thought of taking photographs of people dressed in gorgeous clothing as they stroll past me or of buildings towering above. My mouth waters when I imagine the food that I will taste. My heartbeat quickens at the thought of running around the Seine for exercise. My eyes mist when the realization that I am moving there hits me.

I want to write in Paris. I want to write about the city and create stories that take place there. I want the pulse of the city to run through my sentences. My paragraphs. I want to know Paris through my own words and images. I want to study its landscape, as if my stories are Oxford dissertations. I want and I am going to have it.