In school I always doodled in the margins. Since I moved from California to Virginia when I was five, it was easy to idealize the West Coast and my drawings often reflected that which I was "robbed of". I yearned for the Pacific Ocean because I didn’t have it and I perfected my sketches of palm trees associating the cliché symbol with the magical place I felt I was meant to be in. I wanted to live where the palm trees lived.
Later in the middle of my high school years, we did come back, but of course getting what you want isn’t always what you think it will be. Just like coming closer to an impressionist work, the image changes and change can be ugly. Some native Californians I’ve met resent the palm trees because they, in fact, are non-native species. They are an ugly cliché just like the symbols I used to sketch and they just don’t belong.
As the sun goes down on another hot day in LA I stand on my balcony and enjoy something else as cliché as “long walks on the beach”. I enjoy a beautiful sunset that no picture can capture and no words can describe. Peeking up among the buildings are scattered palm trees and as I look at them my heart opens and softens like the pink light all around us.
We may not belong here, we may be loved by some and resented by others but we’re here. We are all here together for whatever reason and we are all native to Earth. Hot and tired I enjoy one of nature’s beautiful offerings with the palm trees as my fellow audience members. The sky is on fire and a moving painting is being created in front of us, more inspiring than anything I have to offer and absolutely free. It may be cliché but I’m grateful that my breath has been taken away tonight on this balcony. Maybe one day I’ll have something as lovely to offer to someone too.
Part II: After Dark
It’s 3:19am and I’m awakened by the smell of smoke. I look around to see where it might be coming from and realize it’s arrived on the slight breeze that finally makes the temperature bearable. Southern California is burning and I’m being cooked alive. San Francisco seems like a distant, little heaven. Dolores Park a lush green oasis and here I am in the smoggy city of [fallen] angels breathing in the smoke and pollution. But I have to be here. Too much of a good place can lull me to a dreaming sleep and this dramatic setting is starting to wake me up…
In the meantime, I’m also kept awake by thoughts of my newest guilty pleasure, the British Comedy “Pulling”. Finally, I’ve had time to watch some (Internet) TV and it’s been pretty damn great!
Unemployment = Finishing “MadMen”, gorging on “30 Rock” and completing seasons 1 and 2 of “Pulling”.
This show is a brilliant dark comedy that has been called “the anti-Sex and the City” and the “anti-Friends” and it is both. The story focuses on the life of 30-year-old Donna, her radical quest for happiness in a humdrum life and the heart-breakingly tragic ups and downs of her two best friends Karen and Louise. The three women end up living together and trying to figure out what they want from life and how to get it, helping and hurting each other along the way.
The comedy is the darkest, the plot lines are heavy and the characters are extremely human. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the entire 12 episodes and already dying to find out more. I’m completely drawn in.
Another reason to love the show is that the actress playing Donna is also co-creator and writer, Sharon Horgan. Much like Tina Fey and “30 Rock”, Horgan seems to pull from her life experience and is carefully carving a new place for the female lead in our collective imagination. Her lead is not a wife or mother, not an ingénue or merely the counterpart to some man, she is a courageous and yet deeply flawed, narcissistic and yet loveable, female anti-hero.
Now, this isn’t to say that the show is overtly Feminist or that there isn’t also a male writer/creator involved, a male love interest character and other ridiculous (but hilarious) portrayals of women. But what inspires me is the fact that another high profile, female writer-actor is telling a story and acting it out too! This is exactly the kind of career I fantasize about and I’m just happy to see it becoming a possibility, at least for some!
I don’t want perfect in my characters, I want interesting and funny and complex! Donna, Karen and Louise possess these qualities among many others and they aren’t anorexic, twig-figures either. They’re real looking women with interesting bodies and faces and they’re all wonderful actors. I don’t know where you can get these DVDs, (I borrowed them from my new roommate) but if you can find them, check out the show! You won’t be disappointed.