Lilo and I share a trait of being both small and large depending on how we feel. I fluctuate emotionally between three feet tall and ten feet tall on any given day. They say dogs resemble their owners and this is one of the many ways Lilo resembles me. She is a lap dog when she wants to be, and giant when she feels she has to be.
- I was disturbed by the death of Robin Williams. I was eleven the first time I seriously contemplated suicide. I slept with a knife under my pillow for several days before my mom found it, confiscated it and then grounded me. We didn’t talk about why I felt that way. I didn’t hear anyone use the words suicide or depression until Robin Williams talked about his childhood depression and struggles with suicide. It gave me hope. I felt like less of an outcast with his words pounding in my chest, telling me it was alright to be weird, to have these thoughts, to fight this fight. When he felt that he could no longer fight, it was like a twenty-one year old balloon in my chest deflated. Most people mistakenly think that depression is a mood, but it’s not. It can exist in the heart or mind when you’re happy. It can be there when you’re successful. It’s a shadow that follows you and can reappear, even on the sunniest days. I empathize: sixty-three years old and it reappears and it’s the same shadow that’s followed you since childhood. I feel that way in my thirties. I know it’s the same shadow. We all have so much strength, and Robin’s gave out. It frightens me. It sends me back to think about how I’m doing. Am I underestimating my depression, this age-old battle I fight? Am I forgetting that it’s not just a mood, and giving it too much ground again when days get harder and it gets easier to slip into?
- All this reminds me of the scariest, saddest Hans Christian Anderson short story, "The Shadow." If you haven’t read it, and you like the fairy tale neuroses of Anderson, you have to read it.
- I was sickened/am sickened/will continue to be horrified by the militarization of police around the country and their blatant disregard for the lives of young black men. We’ve all seen the posters of the white psychotic maniacs who’ve been taken alive compared to the young men who’ve been shot in the back of the head, unarmed, on the ground, because they were black and the officers pulling the trigger weren’t. While I haven’t been posting about it here (I haven’t done any serious blogging in weeks,) I have on Twitter, and to say it’s been making me sick is an understatement. Some departments will welcome reform, some obviously won’t. If you’re too bureaucratic with calling for oversight or reform, change can’t occur fast enough to save more innocent lives. If you’re too aggressive, then what happens when you try to take power away from these problematic forces? How do you de-militarize without creating a militia? That’s been the thought plaguing me. We need widespread overhaul of our domestic police force, regardless.
- On that note, is everyone registered to vote this fall? Mid-term elections are more important than presidential ones. If you don’t aggressively vote for pro-Obamacare senators and congressmen this fall, for example, a lot of seriously ill people who’ve received care this year will cease to get medical attention. There’s another post that’s been in the works all this year, but if you’ve followed me for a while, you know I have a disease that I’ve barely been able to treat the last seven years because it was considered a pre-existing condition. This year that’s changed, and I daresay it’s the only reason I’ve been able to function in this demanding role on the film, let alone get better and begin to actually live life well again. The loss of Obamacare, if the GOP gains any more ground in either section of Congress, will result in the loss of healthcare for millions who, regardless of wealth or stature in society, are very sick and have been denied healthcare by companies looking to make a buck, people who have it much worse than me.
- I am reading Edan Lepucki’s California right now and it is undoing me with it’s wonderfully sharp, bright, dark, and funny prose as a couple struggles to hold on in the wilderness of post-collapse America. She puts you in the forest with the main characters. It’s enough space for the imagination to really go wild, and enough description to let you know the limitations they face. Claire reminded me that in a post-apocalyptic era, she and I probably won’t survive because we need certain medication to live. The thought is making me a little panicky during parts of the book and has, more than once, sent me to the weirder parts of the internet to see how to treat certain diseases homeopathically. I like to think about what I would do post-collapse, but now that I’m reading a story set there, and have had my own limitations pointed out, I’m realizing I’d be darwinistically winnowed out with so many others.
- My strategy: Enjoy life now. Enjoy life ecstatically. Fight the shadow, tell good stories, feed your soul the things it needs to thrive, and help others thrive too. If the world ends soon or thousands of years from now, we can, as individuals, still go too quickly and without warning. Until that moment when things transition from here to not here, live this quote: I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. —Jack London. If I do these things, then no matter how long I’ve got, no matter what darkness I contend with, I’ll love the life I lead, and those I live it with.
- Vasant and I have finished the bulk of our traveling for the film and we’ve been home now for a little over two weeks. While things have not been calm-there have been more shoots, script deadlines, funerals to attend, and work for our Samudre Media clients-it’s been so good to not have to leave town. We’re only a couple weeks away from wrapping production and we’re a month into post-production. This has allowed for us to catch up on rest, business, and as of right now, catching up on Tumblr. We’re still hard at work on the film, but it’s amazing how much more energy I have to tackle a myriad of projects if I’m at home and not traveling.
- I finished an essay this last week that I’ve been working on for years. I worked on it for the first time in four months last week to get it into its final revision. It was amazing to have time to write again. I’m so excited to send this film off into the world not only for its impact, but I’m excited to dive into my own prose again. I’m hungry for it.
- The Seahawks are having an amazing pre-season. It’s going to be us versus the Patriots this next February. Calling it now. Barring any huge injury to Russell, we’ll be there again and I think we’ll be facing Brady this year, not Peyton. The game of the year won’t be the SuperBowl, though. It’ll be the NFC Championship, like last year. It just remains to see whether or not Arizona will be there facing us, or if it will be a healthier version of the 49ers than what they’re starting the season with now.
Just had to end this list on a subject of importance. of which I know you all care about deeply.