Back in Los Angeles, and I want to write…

Moving back to the City of Angels has proven to be an interesting task. For one thing, my family is driving me nuts. I have moved back in with them temporarily. There is a place I am moving into in the summer…maybe…(meh) we’ll see how it goes. But meantime, I’ve bunked up with them and listened to all of their thoughts about my thirty-something life. Wow, I’m in my thirties now. Questions about marriage, the future, grad school, my weight (which has fluctuated since I was twelve years old) have become breakfast, lunch and dinner topics.

Are you telling me I can’t be happy without a man? 

So, what you’re saying is…my body is the reason I can’t seem to find a job in Hollywood?

I’ve told you a million times, I want to write. I know it’s competitive and crazy, hence why I was in NorCal for five years going to school and exploring other types of work. I just didn’t like where I was at up there.

I want to write. 

However, getting into a television writing room requires a lot of planning, a lot of cunning, a lot of meet and greets, and networking, and all those things that used to give me anxiety. Now, not so much. I suppose the stuffy chitter-chatter of what’s new with you and what project are you into now? — are genuine things I want to know about. Am I growing up? Or am I getting desperate?

Who knows?!

All I know is that I want to be making films again, writing stories and plot and developing characters that are three-dimensional and complex (but with a hint of humor because everyone likes to laugh at a hero every now and then).  I went to a screening and Q&A tonight and felt emotions of excitement. Creative juices overfilling my brain with ideas of projects to collaborate on, or places I can write about — San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Callao, Lima —etc. etc. etc.

To keep me busy, I’ve been working on video editing and other remote work. And I’ve had two amazing writing sessions with an old friend who was recently laid off by a major studio. The writing session was cathartic and wonderful and funny and relational. It was good to hear her thoughts on a webisode I’ve been developing with an SF writing group.

I suppose it’s now up to me, and how far I want to go. I hope to make a dent here in Los Angeles; I sure had fun in San Francisco and the East Bay. It’s time to find what next-level-Lis is all about.

NOW TO WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!!

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art / ART MAKING / ARTist

I have a younger sister who lives in Los Angeles. Well actually we’re from the San Fernando Valley; a hot place to live. But she currently resides in Temple City. Anyways, sometimes we write each other to keep in touch. Usually we gossip about family or talk about our future as granny’s touring some obscure town in the middle of nowhere drinking whine and talking about how hard it was to be an artist post the economic crash. But let’s be real, it’s always been hard to be an artists.

And that’s what this post is about, I suppose. Not my sister, but the world she and I live in. The world of Art/Art Making/Artists – and their purpose in this world.

As a young person I always thought, oh am I going to be impressed when I see this dance? this performance? this singer? Are they going to show me something I haven’t seen before? I sure hope so!

I suppose I thought that art was there to serve the artists — and in turn impress the audience. Like –you know, art for the sake of art. But the older I get; the more I make my own weird art — short videos, short stories, short dances and share them with people I find that what links us is our ability to connect through these experiences. We connect and wonder and remember together; each our individual journeys, but eternally connected through this one experience.

Once I saw a video that was about a woman turned man that lasted ten minutes long. This person wore a “feminine” outfit and gradually through a rewind effect (editing) the person’s clothes flew off of him to reveal the beginning of the film at the end — a naked man sticking his hand in different parts of his body and then smelling his finger. I sat there thinking, Oh my God—he’s putting his finger there and we are all watching this. 

This.

Art.

Not just that, but I have a bad habit of turning my head and looking at people as they watch something. I like to see their reactions, or I get curious as to who in the room has fallen asleep. But when I turn, the artist is in the center of the room and when his finger goes into … a hole, I remember seeing him cover his face, groan and say “Oh God!” in a loud whisper.

Now, if I would have seeing this video in a gallery on my own. I would have tried to connect it with the space — if it would have been a bare room, I would have thought — oh, this is about being bare, open, vulnerable, and real. But I saw this video in a free performance setting, in the dark, with a bunch of sweaty bodies around me, after performing myself (as a volunteer dancer) and with the artist present — and seeing the artist react to his art.

I fell in love!

Not with the man in the video, nor with the artist, but I fell in love with the feeling I got inside my heart seeing the artist completely fall apart in the center of the room. And I thought, that’s it — that has to be it!

Right?

Art is about sharing the deepest parts of ourselves and just throwing caution to the wind! Yes?

Yes. It’s that and yet every year another layer of it lovingly leans atop my head and piles itself on the other definitions I’ve been collecting as the days go by.

Today, I walked down the stairs of the Civic Center BART and saw a woman singing to herself, “you belong to me…” and I noticed her eyes were closed and she touched her chest as if her heart was ready to leap out. I kept walking through the BART station and saw one of the local musicians do his thing on some drum set. He hummed a tune, probably saving his voice after hours of singing in the hallway. Music just takes over that space, and it’s beautiful!

All kinds of musicians go there. Some do it for money, some for the chat, and some to network. There’s the Country Singer, an Afro-Caribbean performer, a Bob Dylan sound a like, a Lady Violinist with a pink music stand, and a gent who only plays the chorus of “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers.

So today I added another pile of my definition of art, based on this experience and the sister chat. Art is there to remind us of each other, that we are individuals, but that we are also a whole. It unifies us, it invades us, it reminds of our past lovers and our future goals.

Some wonder if it’s ever achievable —happiness— and I think Art helps us touch it.

 

The Boy’s Okay…

I met him two nights ago, a writer who wanted feedback. 2 hours in:

She talked his ear off about how he should write his play. She said all the things that came to her mind and even allowed herself to retract what she wanted to say — all in all to help him with the unfinished story. The character was interesting, different – kind of, but he wasn’t going anywhere! He wasn’t listening. Unfortunately, he had begun to think about sex. She saw this and realized her notes would be flowing somewhere in the space between the cold breeze coming through the door, and the hot air breathing onto the tips of their beer bottles. The three of them. So she sat back, allowed her round belly to overflow the front of her jeans, being held up by the added fat “hole” she had torn with a scissor about a year ago, when she stopped being 20-something. She was not thinking about sex at all. She was thinking about her pillow, and how she had left her apartment to help him finish this story and now … now he was clearly thinking about sex. Seeing her uninterested sigh and flesh, he then focused on the other girl with beautiful wavy hair who was hanging on his every word.

Let me read you…
Have you heard of this author…
I clean his front yard…
I am still working on this…
What I like about your suggestion is…

Later that night, wavy hair dropped off fat pants at home. Fat pants kept thinking about the empty main character, found him interesting, but knew there was something lacking in the story. Wavy hair watched as fat pants went up the stairs to her apartment, got on the phone and returned to the boys apartment. They talked for another hour and then decided to become intimate. 

And all of this because he impressed her with his story. A good story.

As wavy hair made love to him and watched him make poetry between the sheets, fat pants was at home thinking about his syntax. And they both had a romance that night, with this boy — as he climaxed on wavy hair 30 minutes too soon rolled over and fell asleep, wavy hair thought to herself, “the boy’s selfish.” Meantime, blocks away, fat pants took a breath and thought to herself, “the boy’s okay…needs work though.”

And they were probably both right.

#meetingwriters

Real Monsters

There is something in this world that frightens me more than aliens, Blog Land. And that something are people who think they are always right; additionally, the entitlement that comes with this kind of thinking. It is absolutely terrifying to witness in a conversation.

What ever happened to keeping an open mind? What ever happened to listening? What ever happened to common courtesy? Are we all just meant to forget about each other and go about the world saying what’s on our mind without considering (for just one second) that we may be wrong? That we may be seeing it from just one point of view? Are we all just going to eventually accept this way of thinking and procreate to then make talking baby heads possessing no receptive qualities?

When did collaboration and community become boring?!

In the art-world, this makes no sense to me.

Beware–the air–of real monsters — they’re never wrong according to themselves; and since they can’t hear you — they are doomed to believe they are right.

I do believe it to be hereditary.

Beware the heir!

Womyn’s Day

Well today is international women’s day and I feel pretty special…kind of. Okay, to be honest, I didn’t really try to do anything special, except have a huge umami burger in the evening. That counts, right? Whatever, it was pretty fracking awesome. I spent most of today in bed actually — watching my new obsession: House of Cards (season two) and doing some writing. I was pretty much alone all day. Alone with my thoughts because boo was at work. My thoughts can be pretty freaky, people! Sometimes it helps to write it out.

Anyways, I had a restful day, and I got to write — and the day I write is a day to celebrate!

Dear Ladies,  hope you had a restful day, and if not restful, I hope it was a whole lot of fun.

Party on, and long live vaginas. 

Moved in with the Boyfriend and Getting Fat, so I’m going to WRITE again.

Found this cat online. This is how I’ve been feeling the past week.

Meh.

I am growing up Blog Land. And more than that, I am getting to that point in my age when coming home early to catch a movie on: Netflix/Hulu Plus/my VHS collection – has gotten pretty exciting. I have already skipped out on a couple of bar chat events. I walk up to them, see the people holding their drinks, holding their face muscles up to smile, holding their breath to suck in their guts and I think to myself…not tonight! Not for me. Nope. I want to be home in my pj’s doing a video edit while listening to my boo talk about places we should travel when/if we ever get the money to do it again.

Holy Snickers…will we? Sometimes I dive into a IS THIS THE END OF MY LIFE? imaginary theme song and somewhere in the deepest parts of my brain I am caught in a web of first world problems. I won’t even begin to get into that issue right now.

My biggest success this week (from the move) was wrinkling up old little scraps of paper of creative writing that I had spread all over my notebooks and placed them in a box I titled, “Writing.” Oh joy! All the things I’ve been working on in my mid-twenties while living in LA and the Bay Area live in this box now. My notebook autographed by Quentin Tarantino, my sketchbook I bought in Paris in 2008 with my pseudo-poems, my scraps of notes for character development on my novel, and pieces of a script I abandoned for fear of success back in 2010. Don’t ask, I’m a mess! Even writing this stuff down is like an admonition to my self-depricative nature. Don’t tell me what you think! I disgust myself, and that is punishment enough. All this beautiful juicy work – all unfinished. Rotting away in all these little books, notebooks, and plastic baggies I thought were cute once upon a time. But I’m growing up blog land. I have put all these things in the one box. I hope it inspires me to keep going with them.

A person who keeps pushing me forward is my boyfriend who is currently playing Angry Birds on the bed, so go figure! Life is a mystery. Also this place we moved into is super cute and creepy. We have a deck in the back, which makes me feel like taking breaks to write outdoors. Maybe I’ll do that, I’ll go out on that deck with a bottle of beer, and write. I don’t care what comes out, but it’s getting down on a piece of paper.

I hope you are all working your way through your writing and creative work. Artists are enigmas to me (and I include myself in that comment). I come up with these clever little ways to share my deepest thoughts through fictional characters in hopes that someday I’ll be published, and then the fear of being published or getting noticed freaks me out and I break out in hives thinking — maybe not today. Honestly, it’s time to get over this stupid fear. It’s stupid. Time to share the work, get rejection letters, and continue working. I mean, I love writing for myself — but I think it’s high time I start sharing the writing with others.

Challenge yourself today Blog Land, challenge yourself everyday! I plan on doing just that. Onward.

MIDNIGHT POST 4 aka Self-esteem

Bloggers of the WordPress World,

I have a confession.  Sometimes, I doubt myself. Sometimes, I doubt my art. I doubt myself to a point when I start to think negative thoughts, like: LIS MORENO = FRAUD. There I am, sharing something insightful about a personal experience that enhanced by art when all of a sudden I feel like dangling neon arrows suddenly appear around me — pointing and flashing: NOT GOOD ENOUGH, PROCRASTINATOR, DREAMER, DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS MADWOMAN—SHE IS WEIRD, etc. etc. etc.

Why do artist tend to be their own worst enemies? 
Why can’t we be content with our work?
Why this constant desire to fall into the traps of FAME, when in reality—all Art is is an expression of life. A need to connect with others? Why monetize that? 
When is enough, enough? 

I mean, I know—artists have to make a living. Of course there’s a reason to monetize the ART INDUSTRY, but does that mean forgetting who we are in the process? Does that mean censoring things you normally would never think of censoring just to be more…accessible?

My head hurts, lately.

Reader, I am lacking good ol’ fashioned self-esteem. I need some of that late 80’s and early 90’s Public Teen Announcements about loving who you are, saying no to bad stuff, and accepting yourself.        Lately, I’ve been taking criticism personally. I’ve been receiving the bad, and not deciphering the potential. I have not been MYSELF.

However, tonight, I was part of a performance called FROM THE FIELD TO THE TABLE — and it lifted my spirits as an artist. A young girl came up to me in the lobby and told me how lovely my piece was. My writing. My personal story. No, it’s not just my story. It’s not just mine—it’s ours. For who would I be now, if it were not for those who have been around me? People in my life who inspire and spark life into my work? In this case, my mom.

A human connection.
Why do we need to put a label on it?
Why do we need to give it a price?

It is what it is. And it is art.

Just say it.

I make Art.
I love Art.

We are Art.
We are connected through this love for Art.
Even here, in Blog-Land, the desire to connect with others is powerful. We follow things that similar interests to us—there’s a need to connect. The desire to know that we are not alone, as people….as artists. That we are searching, reaching, grabbing onto life and it’s amazing ways through our self-expressions/self-creations/selves.

It’s beautiful.
Self-esteem.

Breathe it in, and let it be.
Self-esteem.

I welcome you when  you are ready.

La Peña on Shattuck Blvd. & COuNTeRPULSE.org

Just a quick update regarding my last post:  I have two options with the writing partnership. Either (1) I write up a contract saying, HEYO–let’s get published and split the profit, or (2) Pay me up front per page and you can have the book. What do you think? I’m still debating it.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Anyways, this post is about a place I recently went to. It’s called La Peña. I was there with a group of performers, and the event was a potluck/creative writing workshop with a whole mess of people. Our facilitator was Marvin K. White, and the event was organized by dancer extraordinaire, Amara Tabor-Smith, and the non-profit organization, CounterPULSE.

Blogland—-it was so amazing being in a room with writers, non-writers, people, cooks, food enthusiasts, regular folks, Berkeley students, etc. We wrote on spoons, plates, cups, notebooks, and shared our recipes and meals with each other. It was the perfect hippie Berkeley moment, but with the bonus addition of Creative Writing.

I wanted to share some cool exercises we did as a group with Marvin K. White‘s guidance, of course.

1. Draw a line down the center of your page, and over the line start your prompt: “I come from a long line of…”

This exercise was fun because there was a range of possibilities.
Someone got deep into their history and roots and wrote about family.
I wrote, “I come from a long line of bullshitters…” and etc. etc. etc.
Try it, it’s fun.

2. Stone Soup Story. This one is tricky. You have to come up with 4 dry ingredients. 4 wet ingredients. Then you have to come up with how to prepare, how many people does it serve, and the name/purpose of the recipe.

People in the room got really creative with this one.
Someone wrote about high heals as one of their  dry ingredients,
and wet slushy sex as one of their wet ingredients. She ended the
whole thing with, “A recipe for disaster.” Everyone laughed.
And as writers out there know, you laugh when you can relate.

3. Since the whole event surrounded the potluck we had some cool exercises around our utensils. (1) On the spoon we wrote “Love tastes like…” , (2) on the knife we wrote about what cuts or divides us, (3) On our plate we wrote what feeds us, (4) On our napkin we wrote what protects us, or what can wipe our story away? (5) On our cups we wrote what do you thirst for? (6) And in the back of our plate we wrote the names of people who could not enjoy this meal with us.

 * * * * * * * * * *

One of the most important messages I got from Mr. White last night was to always do these fun games because it clears your mind, and after you clear your mind, you can write anything. Writing is a practice. After you write, look back at your words and investigate what these words mean. How do they connect with the world or community you are in? Why are you writing them? What is the history of a word? Etc. etc. etc.

The whole event surrounded and celebrated food. It was great. It was to commomerate Amara Tabor-Smith‘s dance show, which I have seen and totally recommend–OUR DAILY BREAD. Their show will be up again in La Peña on Shattuck Blvd. Come support these artists and check out this community space. It’s beautiful!

Long live Art.

Midnight Post 3 aka food for thought

You know that part in the book The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, written by the ever-fabulous Dr. Seuss, when the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes? Well, it has happened. I have matured by three tiny levels tonight in a way I have never before. Okay, the truth is I’ve been on this “growing-up” kick for a while now, but tonight I feel like all the things I have been challenging through have been paying off. I would like to share some of these discoveries with you. Just know, that this is all based on my personal experiences. Everybody is different. But if it can help a few fellow artists out there, then good! So here’s the deal writers and artists alike:

1. Take your art seriously because if you don’t, nobody else will.

2. Be responsible. If you know events are coming up in just a few weeks – don’t be wimpy and do things the last minute. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Better to be over prepared then have things falling apart during your events. In fact, in the film industry (when I used to work in it) we had this saying, “Have a back-up for your back-up.” It’s no joke.

3. Don’t be a flake. Do not expect people to come to your music concerts, fundraisers, food events, screenings, readings when you do not invest into that person/community. Give more–take less, in the end it’s most rewarding. You develop as an artist, plus, the more things you go to — the more you get to network!   Get out of your comfort zone already.

4. Write your mom. It’s good karma. If you don’t have a mom, write someone dear to your heart who has seen you grow up and develop.

5. NEVER–and I mean NEVER FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU. To those who have helped you, supported you, stood by you, loved you while you were on your path to self-discovery as an artist. These are the people worth keeping around.

6. I’ve learned that the people I feel the most awkward/uncomfortable/defensive with — are the people I usually have the most in common with. Do not ignore yourself. Great work can come out of these awkward encounters sometimes.

7. It’s okay to have your downs, just as long as you appreciate them as much as your highs. I get very creative during my lows, so use that depressing time wisely peeps.

8. Remember that what you create, whether it is a piece of writing, a canvas full of paint, or a song — you are impacting some type of energy around you. This energy can be a single person. It can be a community. It can be the self. Be bold and brave, but know that there are always consequences to your creations.

In my short life, I have found that everything is balanced. Therefore, after something really bad happens — I look forward to something really good happening. And when something really good happens, I TRY to make peace with the likelihood of something bad happening. Because good and bad are irrelevant. It’s all about how you take it into your being and your creations as a writer/artist/performer/ etc. etc. etc.

Just know that the bad is just like the good: fairies, fantasies, and farts. Everything is ephemeral.

Long live Art.

Dear Artist

Dearest,

You interesting, colorful, humorous, strange, introverted, son of a queen—I am in love with your world. You see order in chaos, and lines in your zig zags. You, speaker of the now, living in the future and avoiding the rejections of the past—strong individual— you: you are my enemy and my friend. Collector of bottle caps, rusty nails, and sidewalk garbage that is always “the evolution of street art” –spray can tagger who lurks in the dark — midnight writer surfing through insomnia— can you please share your secrets? Sometimes, dearest, I think you are fiction itself. Sometimes, dearest, I think you are full of yourself. Sometimes, dearest, I can see all artists in you—writhing, wondering, waiting for the next message to deliver what we want to hear. Your stroke, your pencil, your keyboard, your fingers to push against the canvas of life and create the message that is bursting in us all. Tell us our message. Dearest, tell us with colors and letters what we already know. Give us confirmation. Say:  life is beautiful, and strange, and short, and for just a moment, take our breath away. Let us recognize ourselves in your piece, so that we may continue with our own journey. So that we too…can evolve. Artist, dearest, let me understand myself.

Sincerely,

LM