back in los angeles

The world trip turned out to be a difficult and wonderful one. I would like to say that out of all the places I was able to visit, Paris was the most productive in terms of writing. I think it has to do with the history of it just being a tremendously inspirational place for writers. As is Fresno, I’ve recently heard (grin towards all my Latinos in the house). Maybe it’s time to explore some California writing nooks.

After all that lugging around with hard drives, notebooks, tee-shirts and jeans dragging me down from stair case to stair case throughout the various cities I visited … I have to stay, it’s nice to be home.

Back to applying for television writing. Oh, and apparently – improv classes too. Because improv helps you with television writing. Did you know that Blog Land?

Me either.

Here I go.

Journaling Turkey-Paris

I managed to fit some writing into my Turkey travel. Most of the time I was talking to my cousin about our childhood traumas and helping her watch after her baby. I honestly felt like a straight up aunty while I was there. I was able to write, but it was mostly journaling about the dynamics between the men and women in Turkey. I have to say, most of the men I encountered in Turkey are remarkably handsome. Part of me wondered why? Part of me enjoyed the view.

Now I am in Paris, trying to get some work done but finding it hard to focus. Had a spiritual conversation with my friend today and it was very intense.

But do I have tons of writing material? Oh yes. Plenty. My journal is full of mini-stories and encounters I’ve had with people and or environments.

Here’s one of my favorite ones thus far:

I went into a garden store and asked a man if he could let me wander and take pictures. He said of course in his mannerisms – I walked in and found a lighthouse clothes hook and instantly fell in love with it. I asked him how much on a notepad, and he wrote down 30 L, then I wrote down 25 L? and gave him a goofy smile. He laughed and said “Okay!”

I am sure he overcharged me. I am sure it was a restaurant with lots of plants, and I just grabbed one of his ornaments to take home with me. But it was his graciousness that was absolutely wonderful to be around.

The lighthouse now will live in my luggage until I reach the states later this month.

I arrived in Paris yesterday, and wandered the streets with my friend. She got flirted on by some waiters as I stuffed a crêpe into my mouth. But overall, it was a magical night.

Now onto some plain working time. Then maybe tonight, some serious writing inspired by my journaling travel stories.

Writing when you travel, it’s freaking hard!

I am having a creative meltdown … or just a massive case of traveling itch, Blog Land. I’m off to Turkey, then jumping on a plane to Paris and then maybe doing a weekend trip to England. I have no idea what I am doing — I mean, technically some of it involves videography and art — yet I am concerned about managing my writing time. I barely did any when I went to see family for 2 weeks in March.

I head over to my laptop or bring a small notebook with me, the BLAM! – something happens. Sometimes I have to lock myself in a room, but then family or friends get concerned because I should be relaxing or in vacation mode…and they don’t understand sitting down to write. It’s quite impossible with Peruvians who want to feed and get you drunk all the time.

Also, when I travel – there are wonderful mundane things happening all around me. If my brain could produce bubble thoughts, it would be ongoing and non stop with – sunsets, dance classes, brunches, conversations with people who are not tourists, me trying to order croissants at a bakery, Metro riding, or seeing the moon from a different part of the world. Sometimes it doesn’t look like a man’s face…like in Perú, for example, the moon looks like lips blowing you a kiss, for example. And I want to write it all down, but sometimes just looking at something is enough. Other times there are no ways to describe the atmosphere, and you have to LIVE.

So how do I focus?

I don’t know. This is an experiment. I will try to make it my prerogative to not be such a creeper on this trip and actually try to make friends with the interesting people, I tend to just write about. Maybe some of them will be writers. Maybe some of them could give me tips. And then I can share these tips on this blog.

Only time will tell. Leaving in April, coming back in May. I should have something to share.

And to answer your question (the one I am assuming you are asking), I am going abroad because I am running away from responsibilities that don’t involve writing or art. You know, growing up, getting a real job, and etc. etc. etc. I think a workaholic who has been sitting behind a desk for a little over a year should be allowed to have a meltdown at least once in their lifetime – or at least once per decade. Here is my thirties meltdown!

I’m just lucky enough to have my meltdown be a creative one, and not…like…heroin. I’m also lucky I have family and friends in these places to house me. Otherwise that would suck. I’m going to destroy my savings and eat with my credit cards. Bring it on world!

#WritingAbroad

Going Mad in a CAFÉ

Image

I’m in a café trying to edit some footage. I had to come out of my little hole in the wall apartment. Going a little crazy being indoors nowadays. My sassy Ecuadorian friend came out with me because she has a French exam this coming Friday. We are both nervous about our deadlines. She’s working away  at her French book, thinking about getting back with her lover in Paris. She dreams about romance, La Seine,  red wine, and the reunion with her studies abroad. She dreams of biology — scrapping out rat brains to find out the effects of epilepsy through certain medications…I may be embellashing what she does, but it’s definitely not what I do. I write, or at least I used to.

Having a dilemma here Blog Land. Having an internal depression about my writing.

I got a letter of rejection from a fellowship I applied to. I was sad, but also glad because great things are happening for me with video work. But now I’m on this fork in the road. Writing? Videography? What’s happening? WHO AM I? WHY IS LIFE SO COMPLICATED? OMERGARSH I’M ALMOST 30!!! You know, the usual internal freak outs people tend to have when drinking coffee in a public place—or laying down on their bed at 3:41pm in the afternoon. The kind of freak out that makes your left eye twitch, yeah, I’m there right now.

I’m working on a few promotional videos. One about dancers, and the other about of engineers, mathematicians, and animators.  Why am I sharing this information? Because I am not writing, I mean…aside from this I suppose.

Blog Land, something is happening to my dream of writing. It’s evolving but in a visual way. I am making stories with video, telling tales with imagery, making gestural and analytical conversations with subjects. I like to call this work video prose…I think I just made that up, but after studying at Berkeley I might have not. Almost everything under the sun has been written about!

I suppose I feel as if I am expanding my writing into video work. It’s great. It’s also extremely frustrating because I haven’t written a lick in a while. But C’est la vie! as my sassy Ecuadorian friend tells me in her South-American Californian accent.

We have to make the best of what we have, I suppose. And right now, I have a lot of work. I have to be grateful for that at least. Right? Right.

So here I am eating a Chicken Caesar Salad, venting online, and seeing my pal on the other end of the vigorously studying for love, for science, for her life after summer. She rubs her eyes in frustration and I pretend to listen to music while I type type type.

I share nothing significant, and therefore this is a vent! A writer’s venting session!

Reunions or RE: Inspirational People

There is something absolutely gratifying about being able to reunite with people you’ve had really cool experiences with. Today, I met up with the Paris peeps; also known as the group that I went to Paris with. It felt like a fresh breath of air being around them today.

We talked about our trip openly and without judgment. We talked about being back in the states, and how many things needed to change back to “REGULAR LIFE” mode. We talked about missing each other. We talked about drinking, life, scandals, robberies, accents, love, lovely strangers, and crêpes.   We all agreed it was nice to let it all out and share without feeling the need to censor ourselves. And it’s true, we do censor ourselves. Because when people ask about my trip to Paris, I have to watch what I say and how I say it. If I sound excited and eager, they think I’m a deuchbag/showing off. If I sound disinterested/trying-to-keep-it-simple, I sound conceited. What a relief to share and not feel any level of expectations.

We met at a crêperie in Berkeley, and our mouths filled with oversized breaded meals overflowing with spinach, salmon, mozarella, etc. etc. etc. Everything we gorged on was spectacular, an American version of the French cuisine. Larger than life, of course. Oh, to be back in America! Smiles, drinks, and too much food. It’s good to be back, we all agreed. And it was good to remember what we had in Paris.

I realized that it wasn’t necessarily the fact that we were in Paris (See, I sound like a deuchbag writing this!), but the combination of the people there. These people are incredible, and okay now I may sound like I’m showing off, but being around them literally brought back that little fire in me that triggers me to write. They inspire me! Their talks, their laughter, their mannerisms, our shared stories and experiences — it put me back smack down in the middle of Montmartre at 3:05pm when we were all walking through the souvenir shops and I pointed out this cheetah spotted scarf that was only six euros. A scarf my friend wore today because I did not want to spend the extra cash on something I might give away. 3:05pm in Montmartre—taking pictures  as if we were always going to live there, laughing with the storekeepers, buying tiny circular music boxes that played popular music like Thriller. There was nothing else in the world but that moment, and it all came rushing back to me as I talked and ate my large crêpe

I hope every writer out there has people around that makes them want to get up and write, write, write. This was a good day.

Ernest Hemingway lived here

A few days ago, I wandered into a small town within the Latin Quarter of gay Paris. In that town, between a mosque and the Pantheon, I found Ernest Hemingway’s old pad.

Hemingway happens to be one of my favorite American writers—mainly because of his memorable quotes that are great for all writers (aspiring and/or experienced) to read. Have you read any of his work? His stuff is fearless, in a way, and it is also a complicated style that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Well, it’s complicated for a lot of other reasons. For one thing, some critics consider him to be a sexist writer; a male-chauvinist to be exact. It’s hard to dispute that argument because of the way he portrayed some of the women in his stories. However, (and this—I think—overshadows this negative perception of him) —- Hemingway was simplicity at its finest.

What does that mean? Well, Reader, it means that if at first glance his work might come off as repetitive, later it can reveal itself to be beautiful and full of technique. The man is memorable, quotable, and thanks to Woody Allen’s recent interpretation of him in Midnight in Paris — we can all imagine how incredibly charismatic and seductive he can be with his syntax.  Although, the character in the film was a satirical view on Hemingway, I tend to believe Woody is capability of grasping the essence of this man/writer/legend/person…etc. etc. etc.  Let’s not forget that he was handsome back then too.

All in all, the man knew how to tell a compelling story. In my imaginary world, if you were to cut Hemingway’s flesh he would bleed ink.     Okay, now I will stop drooling and admiring  and just say PICK UP  A BOOK if you haven’t already, and get to know this author.

Here are some clever Hemingway quotes.

* * *

Oh, Paris, you never disappoint. Ernest Hemingway lived in that building, he probably smoked a cigarette outside that door, leaned on that wall, took a leak somewhere around that corner, and walked up those stairs.   He was there, and, for a couple of minutes, I got to live in that space. I stood there wishing that I would somehow grasp onto one of his muses. Hopefully, she has been diligently waiting somewhere in that building for someone like me. Someone to latch onto. If I were Hemingway’s muse, I know I’d sure be missing him by now.

The Boy Who Ran Home

Paris nightlife can be pretty wild.

However, this interesting person post is not about Paris, but about a boy who ran home from a nightclub. I am traveling with a group of people, but I am going to talk about one of the gentlemen we are traveling with — who for all purposes we will call COURIR. 🙂 

A little bit of information I have collected from the source himself: he loves to travel, climb, talk to strangers, sketch, and basically share his many cool adventure stories with whoever wants to lend their ear. He’s pretty rad, actually. He’s a Latino surfer dude from Souther California, and well, basically, the epitome of ChiLL. The type of person who hates to hold grudges, etc. etc. etc.

BUT the most interesting about this guy is that he’s kind of the lone-ranger-type. Sometimes, he likes to part his way from the group of us and do his own thing. Another interesting thing to know about this world traveler is that he hates nightclubs. I imagine it has something to do with nightclubs usually being a meat market with hot air and sweaty bodies rubbing up against eachother. I imagine this, but I don’t know the real reason. However, the group of travelers managed to convince him to go clubbing with us because…well, that’s how this group bonds. We dance together in a large circle, and scream like banshees when American songs come on. Songs like: Starships, California Love, and Hit the Road Jack (the French do love Ray Charles). And we sing along to

“New York!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York!

And the Parisians look over and say, “Oh, that’s where the Americans are” or “No, stupid, you’re in Paris!”   Well, if you can imagine, we Americans can get pretty darn loud.  Well, we convince him is the point, and our night starts out like any other night.

We make it to the club and boogie. There’s like nine of us all together, and we’re going from first floor to basement trying to get a feel for the atmosphere. The basement has cool lasers, but the first floor has reggae. You can’t beat reggae in my opinion. I stick to one other Latina girl who happens to like the same music I do, and we see COURIR from a distance. He’s boogying down with the large group—dancing the night away. Maybe he was just trying to make us happy–or–maybe, he was actually enjoying himself. All I know is that I look away, and all of a sudden he disappears. As if he was never there, as if a ghost had been present in our lives for two weeks and then suddenly decided to evaporate. Poof! Gone!

Reader, you know me, I get curious, imaginative and inventive. So here are some ideas I came up with (as to why he left the club last night):

1. He realized his socks did not match and he had to go home.
2. The girl who he wanted to dance with shot him down.
3. A large male bouncer threatened his life with a broken glass bottle as he went to the restroom.
4. He got the runs.

Later on that night, perplexed and with tired feet we walk up the flight of stairs to find out that COURIR had run all the way home. The man was wearing a nice white button-up shirt, a black tie, and nice shoes—-and he ran in all of them. We were by the Arc de Triomphe and he ran about 10 kilometers home alone at 2-something in the morning.

We don’t know why he did it. We don’t even know how he beat us to the hotel, but he did.

Do you ever get the urge to run away from some place, Reader? You feel like there’s nothing for you at one place, and you get this urge to run as fast as you can in the other direction? I think that’s what happened to this chap. Maybe in the end, the night was just a confirmation of how much he detests nightclubs. I would have been thinking: my body will hurt tomorrow. What if I get kidnapped? Who’s going to know I’m gone at 2-something in the morning? Etc. etc. etc. I suppose some people don’t concern themselves with doubt, they just do what they feel like doing in that moment. So interesting.

Of being 20-something in Paris & without a man for two weeks.

What is LoVE in Paris when you are 20-something wandering the streets without a man? What happens as you absorb the architecture, the art,  the history, and the people?

. . .

Love.

It is virtually everywhere you look in Paris.

It infests the streets and monuments. It gets pushed around in carriages throughout the Luxembourg park. It leans on the other when walking up the steps of a metro station while the other is holding a cane. It spews out ducklings’ chirps as they float on a pond.  It lives in the trees when they shake by the force of a warm summer breeze. At night, it glistens on the water through the reflected boat lights on La Seine. It blows kisses from the sparkling lights turning the ever alluring Tour d’Eiffel into a diamond-like spectacle as the sun sets. It taps you on the shoulder and says, “Pardon,” when you stand in the way in the escalator. It’s two kisses on each cheek. It’s THE LOOK from a stranger across the table. It’s an old French book of poetry. It’s sipping coffee at a cafe and taking the time to do nothing but admire the view–people and buildings alike.   That is what love is.

But when  you are a 20-something person in Paris without a partner (in my case tis my man) for two weeks—the process of experiencing these things alone or with friends can be kind of…lonely. An Au-Pair lady told me yesterday (she’s lived in Paris for a good year)—-“Paris is beautiful! BUT Paris without a lover can often times suck.”

There are so many beautiful moments I have experienced. Moments I wish I could have turned around to ask him,”Did you see that?”

No, he did not. He’s not here to see me be weird, loud, or obnoxious. Only judgmental eyes of those I travel with.

On the other hand, I have to admit…it’s nice getting back to me and what I like. Yes, Paris can be painful if you are single. It seems there are lovers everywhere! French men are also very forward and brave when it comes to approaching ladies. It’s admirable, actually. I have enjoyed my two weeks, and I am looking forward to the next two. Yet, there are moments when I wish I could gossip to my significant other. He gets me and my weird jokes. Sometimes I turn to speak, but only the ghosts beside me get to hear my thoughts. I must look nuts to Parisians. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Viva la France!

Bastille July 14, 2012

On July 14th I spooned with hundreds of people, and it was not the sexy kind of spooning, either.

After the Bastille celebration in Paris, crowds were forced into into a small street corner entering the single functioning Metro for the evening. We were sardined, stuffed, and breathing each other’s wine and fromage breath. We were let go in groups of about a hundred at a time. When my friends and I finally made it through we ran on the opposite direction of the Metro, which steps were quickly covered in hurried stomps for the next possible cart. A cart that was just another chance to spoon with yet more hoards of people on your way home.

No, Reader, we were not feeling a sense of adventure at that point. We were tired twenty-something year old ladies trying to get away from the fresh hands of the men in the crowd. We bolted into a sushi restaurant, just in time to see a girl having a panic attack outside of the restaurant. Some people, including my broken French self, decided to try and help her by getting some water. The manager brought out a champagne glass with tap water — quite French– if you ask me. I didn’t check after that, but hoped she was okay. It was simply madness, Reader. Absolute madness!

The show before the Metro-drama, on the other hand, was absolutely spectacular. We had some wine, cheese, and baguette on the grass and when the music began to beat—so did our dancing feet. The Tour d’Eiffel lit up the sky and reflected the smile on our faces. We were in Paris, and we were going to see them celebrate their independence day. Amazing. The fireworks went on and on and for days! We were enjoying every second of it. They played disco music all night (the theme for the celebration) and the other Americans I’m traveling with (and I) boogied on the grass. I guess boogying is a crime when not everyone around you is doing it, but after some time people let loose and danced with each other.

The atmosphere, well, it had its ups and downs. I am still getting used to the French people. After reading much of their history, I can see why their culture is so particular about who they let into their lives. I read somewhere, friends are hard to make, but if you do they usually last a lifetime. Watching the Bastille celebration unfold showed me the pride this country has in celebrating their spectacular history. The fireworks seemed to stand in for centuries of repression unleashed through their revolution. Bread for everyone!

You should add this to your bucket list, Reader. Even if it gets this crowded, just find a cafe to dwell in after the celebration and chill for a couple of hours before going home. At least you’ll have a bathroom and some good company. In the ned, being in France is like being in love. You have to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly. Once you do—you will see true love for the first time, and never let it go.

Too Many Windows or The Cat Spirit

Have you ever walked naked in your living room? Ever wonder if there was anyone watching you?

Well, I don’t technically LIVE in this hotel, but it will be a “kind-of-home” for the next couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to write a composition in French for a few hours now, but no luck. It’s pretty difficult actually, my grammar in English is kind of sketchy as it is—but I’m trying my best, Reader. I am originally from Peru. Cut me some slack Language gods.

The other day, after I had exasperated myself from writing the France entry, I decided to rest. That evening, I had an ugly nightmare. I picked up a book to read, and then let it fall gently upon my chest and stretched my awkward limbs (like a daddy long leg spider) on the couch. It was misty-warm out, so I left the window open.

As I explained in the last post, I love ambiance noise, especially French ambiance noise. It’s magical to me. I know that in a few weeks, all this will be gone. As always in life: fantasies, fairies, and farts—all ephemeral.   Still, I want to share this story. It is a strange story about cats, naps, windows, and sex…and one more thing. Accidental creeping.   I pride myself in being a creeper (for writing that is), but I am not usually a creeper just to be creepy. However, this was all an accident. Okay, I will just tell it.

It all began because a spirit visited me as I slept on the couch. I will call it the CAT SPIRIT.

The Dream:

A cat had found itself in the hotel room. I came out of the bathroom, and there it was sitting by the window looking inside. I wondered how it got into the room. “It must be a flying cat,” I thought to myself in my dream. So then I went to the kitchen to grab a glass of water. It was not good water, so I put it aside. Then I went back to the small living room space, and the cat was now licking it’s paw in the middle of the room. She was making herself at home. I was like, “Non chat! Allez!” or something in my broken French. It just stared at me and kept licking its paw. I walked over to it to pick it up, and as I reached down it — the cat went bezerko! It crawled up my arm in swirls as if it was a snake trying to wrap around me. It reached my head and scratched me everywhere. “Non chat!” I kept saying. I finally grabbed a hold of it and threw it out the window.

: /

I know. It’s a violent dream. Don’t worry! I am aware that it is a horrible thing to throw a cat out the window, but anything is possible in dreams. As I walked over to see the damage, I cringed expecting guts, blood, brain and, well, death, really.  There was nothing on the ground. No cat, no thing. “I’m mad,” I said to myself. I didn’t know what else to say. I was in the hotel and I thought I was awake.

Reality

Then a cold breeze pushed it’s way through the window, and I found my legs curled up next to me with my oversized sweater attempting to cover my entire body. I touched my arms frantically to see if the scratches were there, and they were not. “It was a dream,” I thought to myself. I relaxed on the couch again and stretched my toes. In the corner of my eye, however, I see a couple on a balcony.

They are talking with their faces close to one another, the way the French do, and I sighed. How romantic I said. Then the man grabs the woman and pushes her against the balcony. They grope, touch, kiss, push against the bars with their bodies and nuzzle their faces into one another like animals in a petting zoo.

What was I doing, you ask?

I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to watch what they were doing, but I was transfixed — lost, even–between reality and a dream. Where am I? Is this happening? Am I still dreaming? and — Wow, that’s really hot! Etc. etc. etc.

All I have to say is that, here in Paris, my neighbors are not shy. There are way too many windows in this city. You can see into them, and they can see into yours. I wonder if there was someone watching me frozen in shock from all the passionate man-handling in the top floor of the apartment building across the way. Maybe the Cat Spirit was trying to warn me about the lack of passion in my life. Why did I have to nap so late? Why did I have the perfect view of this couple? Why couldn’t I keep myself from staring?

Why?

Because watching the French love on one another is like watching the word passion manifest in front of your eyes. There is no space to breathe, no piece of flesh unnoticed, no touch avoided—it’s simple, sexy, and very VERY real. I suppose that in that moment I realized how unreal I was, and how real they were. How they were able to live, and I was living in sleep—almost like death, and definitely alone. Alone and not being passionate. It made me feel longing and sadness all at once.    Ugh.

There are too many windows in Paris. Note to self, do not walk around naked in the living room when the curtains are opened.