One Potent Mash Up

Go for the jugular or don’t go at all. If you don’t write from the gut, then what’s the point? Losing friends, family members, jobs, means you’re on the correct path. But you better be right, even when you make mistakes. It better be true. If it’s not. If it’s made up. If it’s cruel for cruelty’s sake or to make yourself look good, then you don’t deserve the title of writer.

But I’m not a journalist. I don’t have the stomach for it. My facts are subjective, therefore opinions. Listen, I don’t write to smear. My observations are just that, conclusions strung together on a clothesline  of experiences.

You should deduce from that that I’m a coward. I don’t fact check or interview sources. I vomit my positions onto the page and press,”publish,” without a second thought. Until about 24 hours later when, like Colonel Nicholson in Bridge Over the River Kwai, I think, What have I done? I had to remove another post. This time it was a judgement call and not a corporate directive. Social media is a bit like walking into an interview and spilling your guts to a future employer about everything you hated about your last job.

I don’t know. I don’t know why I had to do it. To write that. To lash out with my words. Because they’re good words when they’re close words, yes? The closer they are, the bloodier they flow. Because no one cares about bloodless words. They want a murder scene, carnage. They want assassinations carried out by the person who cares the most. The one who will stab 27 times. Overkill.

That’s me. That’s what I do. That’s what I want. To hurt. I think. Because I hurt. And you hurt me. And don’t you deserve it for being cruel and stupid? I’m smarter. That’s my weapon. And I hold a grudge. Until I don’t. And then I toss  your body into the river. I won’t even watch you go.

And for what? For who? I don’t know what I serve. Because I’m not serving myself. Jesus, let it go, Amy. Because I can’t. I just can’t. Not until I write it and not until someone reads it. And honestly, I don’t want the subjects of my ire to read it. I don’t want anyone who misunderstands the point to read it. The point that it’s about the writing less so the subject. Don’t listen to what I say, but how I say it. It’s the words that matter. Yes, the subject. Of course the subject. But we all say the same things. We just don’t say it in the same ways. And it’s the ways of saying things that matter to me. That’s the skill. That’s the craft of writing.

I wrote something and I lost a family member. Snip, in one essay, snap. That was a clean break. It’s one I think of nearly everyday. Turn it over, study it. Wonder if it was worth it. Ask myself again and again, Why? Why did I write something like that? Couldn’t I have left some things out. Just at the beginning. Just those few sentences. Everything would be so different.

That’s right. Everything.

But if you’re going to tell the truth, even when you make a mistake, you better be right. And I was right. But do you want to be right, or do you want a normal life with family and friends and frustrating jobs filled with secrets and shadows and unspoken wounds. Why not? It’s what everyone else has. Social constructs hang in the balance. Why would anyone in their right mind rip that apart? No really?

The written word is not the spoken word and the Internet is forever….But I gotta tell you, full disclosure, I’m glad that it is. It is my fail safe against my own remorse because my biggest regrets are when I must hide behind an anonymous curtain. I wrote several pieces for Salon that had to be published anonymously. The editors and lawyers decided it was best. No one wants to be a Rolling Stone. I don’t want to be a Jackie. But I’m not a Jackie. I tell the truth.

I want to write about it. I am never as good a writer as when I am spitting with rage. And when I write something I know is particularly imprudent, I want to keep it up.

But we live in a society for a reason. There are rules. And my rage along with this blog, a potent mash up for sure, could be my undoing. So best to keep it all under raps. And so here I go, back underwater. Perhaps an Ophelia, or just dumb doll, I’ll ride the tides and I may not emerge.

Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t you dare.

 

 

Betrayed

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This piece is not meant to represent any specific person, place, or event. It’s a compilation of conversations and experiences I’ve had in many different places. I’ve written one experience here to represent many. Any similarities to specific people, places, or events is a mere coincidence.

“If you’re so miserable, why don’t you just do something about it? Everyday you come in here and you just complain. Just get another job already,” Sandy said.
It was late. We stood near our counters. The department stood empty. Yellow track lighting glared above us. The chrome counters glistened. Bright shades of lipstick waited in their black heavy plastic units, ready for the next day’s clients. Her counter always looked great. I was in the process of dusting mine with an old powder brush.
“Wow. OK black,” I said.
“What?”
“Pot. Black.”
She gave be a blank stare.
“Pot calling the kettle black.”
“I’m not miserable.”
“You complain as much as I do.”
“I don’t complain everyday. And I don’t complain about my job. I’m working through bigger life goals. And I’m doing something about them.”
“OK. Got it,” I said, a little too loudly and too aggressively. But I was pissed and all I wanted to say was, Fuck you. You absolutely complain as much as I do. And when that’s the only thing you can think of to say, you walk away. Conversation over.
Her voice rose the further away I got. “I’m just not telling you about them.”
My eyes grew wider, in what I can imagine was my mother’s, I’m going to silently punish you face. “OK, I got it, Sandy.”
“Well if you’re so miserable don’t take it out on me,” She turned away.

Which I should’ve seen coming. A few weeks back I told her that a co-worker took some products from her counter. She told a mutual friend of ours. Our mutual friend told me. I did not know she already knew, that she had been the source of the information. I told her, because I thought I was doing her a favor. She flipped out. Completely and totally melted down. I was shocked. It’s not like I had betrayed state secrets. This wasn’t the Pentagon for Christ’s sake.

Sandy seethed. “I told Alison that in confidence. I can’t believe she told anyone. Who else did she tell?”
“No one, I’m sure. She only told me because we’re all friends. Listen, I thought I was doing you a favor. I thought we were friends. I would want to know. Jesus Sandy. What’s the big deal?”
“That’s fine. It’s not you. I just know I can never trust her again.”
“OK, you’re overreacting.”
“I don’t think so.”

I walked away from her counter. Fallout would come. She’d confront Alison and punish us both. I was too chicken to tell Alison I’d told Sandy. I can’t remember if she’d told me not to say anything.

Sandy confronted Alison. Alison, indirectly, communicated to me, she knew I’d told. In the end, it seemed, it blew over. We shared laughs, covered each other’s counters while the other went on break. In general, we enjoyed an ease and camaraderie one needs when working together in about a 500 square foot area.

Until last night. Sandy’s sanctimonious direction to “find another job if you’re so miserable,” revealed she hadn’t let it go. Her barb, “I’m doing something about it. I’m just not telling you,” was a clear message. It was meant to impugn my character. I can’t be trusted and I’m too afraid or too lazy to find another job.

Sandy got me when I least expected it. So yes, she won. I know that revenge can feel sweet in the moment. I hope she enjoyed it because the effects are final. Maybe she just wanted it that way. Alison’s the only ally I have left. I plan on protecting that with my life. No one can survive that floor on her own. You’re bait.

No Place For Alice

alice-in-wonderland-30327__340A former student wanted help breaking into the entertainment industry. Her plan included calling studios and setting up appointments with studio executives.

I’m mystified why people imagine they can navigate the entertainment industry with ease. Particularly my students. Haven’t I warned them enough? Didn’t I tell them repeatedly they need a body of work before they come to L.A.? And none of it matters if they don’t have the right introductions. And none of that matters if they don’t have the right experience.

Make your own path, I pled. Shoot your own films. Get a presence that draws talented people to you. Then network the hell out of yourself. Continue reading “No Place For Alice”

What Shame Looks Like

I wear a denim mini skirt in the summer because L.A. is very hot. I’m not trying to be sexy. One day I walked up a staircase as a man walked down.

imgresHe had stringy white hair and a white 5 o’clock shadow. He wore a straw hat, a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. I did not like the look of him, but that might be something I’m laying over the memory because of what happened next.

I felt weird, so pulled my skirt snug around my thighs and looked down. He was looking at my bare thighs and deeper, into the center of me.

And in that split second we locked eyes. Continue reading “What Shame Looks Like”