Goodness Gracious

I was waiting in line at a coffee shop when I noticed a dollar bill on the ground. It was not my dollar. The woman in front of me had been discussing her coffee order with the barista for some time (as people often do in Los Angeles) and it occurred to me that the dollar might be hers. I waited for a pause in their conversation, which was easier said than done–the natural rhythm of an LA coffee-counter conversation is tedious in form but the overall amount of words to be said about coffee is voluminous. When I had grown tired of awkwardly standing there and clutching a rogue dollar, I finally said, “Excuse me, is this your dollar?” By that point it is fair to say that I should have just pocketed it. But I had already committed to asking, and I really hate engaging with strangers, so I couldn’t just interrupt my momentum.

The woman looked down at my hand, verifying that it was indeed just one dollar, and said, “Nope. Looks like you just made a dollar!”

But as soon as I heard “No” I was already making a b-line for the tip jar, stuffing the dollar in tightly with the other random bills. I watched the woman’s face fall as she instantly regretted suggesting I keep it.

“Oh,” she said. “That was really nice of you.”

The voice in my head said, Yeah. I know. And it said that because this is not a story about how good I am, but rather, one about how I sometimes feel compelled to perform goodness in order to feel better about myself.

But the voice that came out of my mouth said, “Aw, it’s nothing!” as though I don’t spend most of my time dreaming of money falling from the sky.

The woman turned back to the barista (because she STILL HAD NOT PLACED HER ORDER) and another, uglier thought crossed my mind. Today is the day the stranger in front of me buys my coffee. Today is the day it gets “paid forward.” And I thought this because there is a pervasive rumor circling the internet that people are just buying coffees for each other willy-nilly, that patrons approach a counter or a drive-thru microphone and a chipper barista announces, “Actually, ma’am, the customer in front of you picked up your coffee today!” I don’t believe that this happens to anybody. I don’t believe that people wander the streets looking for ways to treat each other to free cupcakes and lattes. I have even seen several accounts of this on social media posted by people I know IRL, but I still don’t buy it. And yet, I stood there feeling absolutely certain that the woman in front of me would buy my coffee because she was so impressed with my selflessness, with my ability to part ways with one free dollar.

After the woman eventually decided on half-cafs and double-pumps and extra-foams and had feigned concern over (but happily accepted) a plastic straw, she left without paying me any mind. Which is her prerogative, by the way–to reiterate, I don’t talk to strangers either. I only bother them when I think they dropped a dollar/I want them to see that I am willing to part ways with a free dollar. When it was my turn at the counter, I ordered the Katie Markovich Special (the smallest drip coffee on the menu, no modifications, thank you very much!). The barista peered at me through her Warby Parkers and said, with the confident ennui that comes only with being a barista who works at a Larchmont coffee shop, “That will be three fifty.” Which, fine, sure, yes, take my money. Except I didn’t have any money, not cash money anyway, because I haven’t carried cash in years. It drives my husband crazy but the joke’s on him when he’s always stuck paying for parking.

I charged my coffee. As I waited for the chip reader to decide if I had three dollars in my bank account or not, it occurred to me that I had already tipped with the free dollar. What luck! Only this barista hadn’t witnessed it. Instead of writing “CASH” on the tip line of my receipt, like a sane person, I decided I would tell her that I had tipped her. Because I really needed someone to care that I hadn’t kept the dollar. I tapped the tip jar with my finger.

“I put a dollar in here,” I said, like a child presenting a scribbled drawing to a tired parent. “That one on top, that’s mine.”

“Okay,” she said. “Wait, what did you want again?”

“Just a coffee. Like, the smallest coffee.”

“Oh. That’s all you want?”

“Yep. That’s it. And I already–” I tapped the jar again.

“Tipped, I know.” The barista slid the coffee to me then returned to stocking pastries.

I went outside to the patio and found a seat. I saw a customer let the door slam on a woman who was holding a tray of food, soup splattering all over her floral-print dress. I saw another customer from inside follow out a very old woman, asking which table was hers so she could set down her tray of scones and coffee. I saw a customer agree to watch a woman’s purse while she took a phone call. I saw a homeless teenager not be bothered by staff while he ate his collage of collected food, random pieces of yesterday’s meals stored in Ziploc baggies. I saw an old man conduct a conference call from his cell phone while his elderly wife with a hunched spine served him water and made sure his lunch was perfect. He never said thank you.

I don’t blame the barista for being unaffected by my base-level of human decency. I don’t blame the woman from the line for suggesting I keep a dollar, and then not being very impressed when I parted with it. And I don’t blame myself for thinking a returned dollar would atone for not giving my lunch leftovers to a homeless man I’d seen on the way to the coffee shop. Because sometimes a good deed is only relative to the cacophony of shit that surrounds it, and that’s okay too.

The Coyote

About a year and two months ago, I embarked on a blogging journey. I told myself that this time it would be different–after all the years of experimenting with Tumblr and Word Press and the half-dozen or so other blogging platforms I’ve used, I was going to commit fully to katiemarkovich.com. Content is king, after all, and in order to prove how good I am at writing, my plan was to do it regularly and publicly! Only this time, the fact that I own my domain and pay money for it would hold me accountable for this precious little exercise. I started by posting once a week, and I stuck to that schedule for a surprisingly long amount of time. Then I moved to once every two weeks; how in-demand was my writing anyway? Have to keep the people on their toes! And then that turned into once a month, because every other week is strange, but once a month? Now that’s a schedule! I never formally announced this is as a scheduling choice, but people will figure it out, I thought. And then, here we are: two months have passed. Why? Why did I betray the schedule? Why did I reject the golden rule of blogging, which is to treat it like a business and to give it the same credence and commitment that you would any other professional venture? Well. Just got busy and stuff, I guess. I recently read a profile of a food blogger and she outlined her daily routine. After cooking for 12 hours straight and perfecting recipes and photographing the food and cleaning up, she then settles into her bed and BLOGS ALL NIGHT. After feeling a little bad about my own blogging habits for a couple minutes, I reminded myself that no one is paying me to do this. And then I felt better and continued not writing any new posts.

I attempted to get the ball rolling by jotting down some ideas. The result was just a list of everything that’s happened over the last 2 months, and then that made me feel guilty about not writing in my diary, and then that made me feel guilty about all the email correspondence that I let fall to the wayside, and then that made me feel guilty about all the things I’ve ever meant to do but then just didn’t. I meant to sign up for piano lessons several years ago. Why didn’t I do that? I had the tab open on my computer for weeks until one day I just closed it, knowing that I had missed my window of opportunity (and because the fan on my computer was freaking out and I needed to close some tabs). What else could have possibly been more important than piano lessons? I wager it involved drinking at a bar with my friends. Now, my stuff-that-has-happened list includes such highlights as the entire staff of a flight not helping me hang up my wedding dress; meeting a man at the bank who had just won 10k on a scratcher; that same man immediately getting into an argument with a woman because he complimented her jeans; another man at a restaurant who, upon being asked how he wanted his burger cooked, replied, “Uh. The one in the middle?”; a man street parking his BMW, then waving a credit card at his girlfriend and saying, “We can only use this card until midnight tonight, ok? Not the others ones. There’s no money on those.” He was paying for parking.

But I settled on this one:

Over the weekend, Tony and I were walking back to our car from dinner when we spotted a coyote. The coyote was trotting up the sidewalk, minding his own business, presumably coming from the Samuel French bookstore on Sunset where he was disappointed not to find the play he wanted. We walked behind him at a safe distance, trying not to let him know we were talking about him. Strangely, it was a lot like seeing a celebrity in public. Tony and I marveled at the beauty of the coyote, undoubtedly referring to it as a “cuy-YOTE” at least once. I’ve been trying to write a story about a coyote for about a year now and it keeps coming out wrong. I have a few different drafts and none of them are very good. I’m not even sure if the idea is any good, to tell you the truth, but all these words poured out of me (about 3000 of them, according to my most recent draft) and who was I to stop it. When I write short stories, they usually come out by hand, written directly into my notebook. I get tired of staring at a screen all the time, so sitting down to write in a notebook allows me to compartmentalize the task and see how my hand and brain are processing the information. I also like flipping through the pages I’ve filled and exclaiming “I have made fire!”, showing the empty room just how very good I am at barfing out thoughts in ink. But the coyote story is not great. I’ve typed it out and cut it down then rebuilt it again and it’s still not working.

Tony and I continued walking behind the coyote until it was time to cross the street and walk to our car. “Bye buddy,” I said, waving at the animal. I was incredibly sleepy and a little drunk; I think somewhere in my brain, I wandered into a dreamscape where the coyote and I were friends and he would remember me the next time we met. When we got into the car, Tony said, “Should we give our leftovers to the coyote?” We both knew the answer was no, but we spent a good long time deliberating. One of the pro-giving arguments was that the coyote would like us very much and want to be our friends. In the meanwhile, we watched him from our car. He jumped up into the front yard of a home, settling in on the grass as though he lived there. In the silhouette of the porch light, he looked like any old German Shepherd, enjoying Los Angeles in the fall. Tony said he wanted a dog. I said me too. The coyote stood, alert, like he had heard us, deciding he should go home with us. Instead he thrust his snout into the ground and with the greatest of ease, pulled out a rabbit by its neck. He shook it violently, tufts of fur rising like dried dandelion heads. The coyote set in to tear it apart and we decided it was time to go home.

The next day, we roamed around our apartment in a Sunday malaise. The fires in California have turned the sky into a tapestry of post-apocalyptic dread; the light is all wrong. It’s always a little hard to know what time it is, what day it is, how many layers to wear, if it’s Christmas yet. But now the sun is red and the sky is thick, and we walk around not knowing when to turn on our lamps. But in this haze we would stop and say, not prompted by anything other than memory, “Remember that coyote?” as if he were a friend we could have made if only we’d stayed a little longer.

 

 

California in April

April already. Where has the year gone?

I’ve talked to several people in Los Angeles who have all said the same thing: it’s hard to notice time passing when the weather never changes. I never considered that before I moved here but now I wholeheartedly agree. I also want to get ahead of the haters and acknowledge that yes, I know, I know, it’s still snowing where you live or it’s still snowing AND tornado-ing where you live or it’s still ping-ponging between all four seasons all the time where ever it is you happen to live. I’m sorry. To that I say, at least you can feel time elapsing. Right around Groundhog Day this past year, Tony said, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we were living in Groundhog Day [the movie]…but in LA?” I responded to this by pounding my head against a wall and saying “BUT WE ARE DON’T YOU SEE?” A side note (or is this a foot note?) to this story is that Tony and I promised each other years ago that if one of us were ever stuck in a Groundhog Day, the other promised to believe them. That’s true love.

This is all to say: I blinked and three weeks passed.

I’ve filled my time with all sorts of things: An uptick in freelance work, a renewed commitment to volunteer work, the never ending slurry of emails that comes with reunions and weddings and trying to get Entertainment Weekly to send me my special edition Dawson’s Creek 20th Anniversary issue with Joshua Jackson on the cover. (By the time it arrives I will have waited a solid month to receive a copy of a magazine I’ve already read online. But you better believe my TERSELY WORDED emails to EW ultimately made this dream a reality.) I’ve also continued my new-year-new-me workout regiment, a sleek combination of yoga stretching, lifting 5 pound weights, and grimacing. I also like to “take advantage of the weather” and run outside, which is painful and I hate it but it makes me look cool and seem breezy. This, too, has much grimacing.

We also kicked off our Super Fun Spring Event Calendar, a thing I just formally made up but has existed spiritually for a few weeks. Events have included seeing Patton Oswalt discuss his late wife’s true crime book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, something that made Tony and me have a frank conversation about what becomes of each other’s writing should anything ever “happen” to us. (Let it be known, I said, “PUBLISH. EVERYTHING.” And then I laughed and laughed knowing that this just refers to a bunch of weird Word Docs from college that bemuse not being liked by boys.) We also drove up to the Bay Area (more on that in a minute) and saw the Indians get absolutely clobbered by the Angels in Anaheim. Going to a baseball game at Angels Stadium is the best for many reasons. 1. I bought tickets for 6 dollars a piece. 2. They have a home run volcano, which is a volcano in the outfield that erupts any time the Angels homer. 3. They sell cans of beer for 4 dollars, something that could for sure never be done in Chicago or Cleveland. I don’t know which scenario is worse, enabling fans with drinking problems to keep drinking or arming rowdy fans with the perfect object to huck onto a field of play. 4. The fans are the SWEETEST sweethearts I have ever been in contact with. We were sitting in front of two large, admittedly intimidating-looking men. They proceeded to have the following conversation (name* of minor has been changed/also big time dramatizing this, this is not a verbatim account):

Guy 1: I brought Michael* to the game last night. Just us.

Guy 2: Yeah?

Guy 1: Yeah. And it’s fun because like…he’s starting to pay attention. He didn’t used to. He asks who’s at bat, he asks what the count is. Like. He cares, man.

Guy 2: That’s awesome, man.

Guy 1: And he’s been in my life for years, man. And I love his mom with all my heart. And I love that kid. But you know, I’m not his dad…

Guy 2: It’s hard, man.

Guy 1: But I’m thinking. This can be our thing. Right?

Guy 2: Absolutely, man. You take him to the batting cages?

Guy 1: Not yet, I’ve had to work.

Guy 2: Then call off work! This is way more important than that.

Guy 1: You’re right. I’ll call off work.

Guy 2: You should. Yeah, that’s awesome, man.

END SCENE.

I was devastated in the best way possible after overhearing this. It negated all the other truly Overheard LA things I hear on a daily basis. (Like that one time I saw a man and a woman meet for coffee and upon being asked how she’s doing post-surgery, the woman said, “Good, good, getting back into my routine: working, seeing people, recreational drug use.” Cool cool cool.) As Tony says to me about once a day in reference to absolutely nothing related to baseball, “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” How can I not, indeed.

As promised, I will now return to talk about our intra-California road trip.

Look, you knew California had farm land. I knew California had farm land. You know that because of TV or movies or Happy Cow commercials or John Steinbeck books or all the times I’ve said, “LA is great, can’t complain about the produce!!!” California is HUGE, of course there are acres and acres of green space that are neither beach nor mountain. Of course. I knew this like I know a heart pumps blood or like there’s red dirt on Mars or like people paid money to see the Emoji Movie. You just accept it as a truth even though you can’t really fathom it. So intellectually I understood that not all of California looks like Los Angeles.

But then I saw it.

We drove LA to Oakland/San Francisco, Oakland/SF to Monterey, and then Monterey back to LA over Easter weekend. (Now is also a good time to admit freely to buying a used copy of East of Eden on Cannery Row in Monterey. It’s like buying a hurricane while in New Orleans.) And dear reader, let me tell you, CALIFORNIA IS HUGE. This is coming from a woman who drove across the country but 6 months ago. But this was, for whatever reason, really shocking to us. We oohed and ahhed at every crest of a hill and turn of a bend. We pointed at trees and rows of agriculture like we’d never seen things grow before. We shouted out “Ooh, grapes!” and “Ooh, sheep!” like we were on some sort of bizarre scavenger hunt. And then other times we felt uneasy, surrounded on all sides by oil wells, robotic arms pumping the earth for miles down the highway, not a human worker in sight. Or we would silently drive past rows of correctional facility buses, lining the highway shoulders, waiting for its laborers to finish up their shifts in a farming field. We drove through an unexceptional intersection on Route 46 where I noticed a makeshift memorial on the other side of the road, an American flag strung up on a fence with a few flowers strewn about. This is nothing new if you’ve ever driven on any major highway or interstate, but I saw a man walking over to the flag from his parked car. I began to say “Huh, I wonder what–” when I looked up, directly into the sign that reads “James Dean Memorial Junction.” I guess this is all to say that the drive was overwhelming in an unexpected way. So often you look at the land and it only registers as “Nature.” That stretch of California is where Humans and Nature have met, and you see the ways in which we’ve monetized the land and preserved the land and destroyed the land and all the ways the land destroyed us. It’s incredible.

Those days didn’t feel the same. I was more than aware of the passing of time. It’s possible to un-Groundhog Day your life when decide to go look at something new.

 

A Real California Girl

I have a really charming (see: “charming enough”) story that has to do with both the Oscars AND my engagement, so I’ll go ahead and tell it to you right now.

Typically when filling out your Oscar ballot, you might stumble a bit over the technical award nominations. If you don’t struggle, then that means you’re either in the industry, or kind of a film geek, or you checked the Vegas odds beforehand (which is a very effective method for winning an Oscar pool!). I did fairly well with my tech awards this year, thanks in part to a very personal encounter I had with one of the categories. Sound Mixing and Sound Editing? Had to be Dunkirk! I did not even hesitate (or Google the projected winner) when selecting this movie for both sound categories. This is because it’s the loudest fucking movie….ever? Ever. And I know that not because I saw it, but because the movie was too loud for Tony to propose.

Upon finding out a proposal was imminent, I started listing Katie-approved proposal locations. Definitely did not hint; I named names. I did this because I don’t like surprises, and because I had made it very clear that if there was another living, breathing soul within a city block of being asked to marry anyone, I would say no. Some of my top picks for the occasion were “Alone, in our apartment, with all the curtains drawn,” and “Alone, on top of a mountain, where no one else lives nor has traveled to in decades.” Tony wisely took these into consideration, but ultimately came up with an idea of his own. It was a good one, for all intents and purposes: We would go to our favorite movie theatre, on a quiet Thursday night, wait until the auditorium was cleared out, and do it there. Management had even told him that they would “wait to clean up popcorn or whatever,” giving us our total privacy.

Well guess the fuck what went into this theatre a full week earlier than it was supposed to, because it was going to be a big hit and make gobs of money?

It was Dunkirk!

When Tony called the theatre early in the day to make sure we would still have our privacy, he was met with a “Sorry man, but we just got Dunkirk. We’re expecting a lot of people. Can’t guarantee they won’t be milling around.”He was told he could use the small blackbox theatre next door to the large one, but no guarantees about anything because Dunkirk, baby! And sure enough, after we had our final dinner as un-engaged people (where I asked questions like, “How do you feel about asking me to marry you tonight? Was it hard to find pants that hide the ring box? Are you nervous right now?” Because I totally knew what was happening, I hate surprises!) , we headed towards the movie theatre where we saw a line forming from more than a block away. And once directly in front of the theatre, we were met with the deafening roar of bomber planes, sporadic gun fire, and Kenneth Branagh shouting. This was what we heard standing outside the building, from the sidewalk! Even if we managed to find a place to be physically alone inside, it wouldn’t change the fact that this special moment would forever be punctuated by the staccato of bullets leaving machine guns and Tom Hardy like, screaming into a mask of some kind (like always, am I right, heh heh, it’s a typecasting joke). So we kept walking….and never got engaged!!!! Just kidding, we just did it somewhere else.

And that’s why I knew that Dunkirk would win both sound Oscars. Which it did! Next year, I recommend you go and stand outside some movie theatres to hear which are loudest. (“Loud” doesn’t actually translate to “best sound mixing and editing” but…this time it did, so.) Then, use that intel to vote on your Oscar ballot. Now that’s some sound advice!

There are a bunch of other cool things happening for me, too. For example, I’m growing out my bangs and wearing denim-on-denim far more often. Oh, and I’m still sneaking walnuts into most of our meals, even meals that don’t necessarily need walnuts. I guess you could say I’m becoming a real California girl. The other day at Lassens, our local health food store where I like to buy produce and discretely look for celebrities, a tall handsome man approached me. Seconds before, I had heard him explaining to someone that the mouth is like an ecosystem, and toothpaste kills all the good bacteria that the ecosystem needs. So like, let’s all stop using toothpaste, you know? In retrospect, I think it’s very possible that he was explaining this to his 10-year-old daughter, who was manning some kind of merch table. But it’s also very possible that he was explaining it to one of the countless people who have been searching for a disruptor to Big Toothpaste. Anyway, the tall handsome man approached me and handed me a travel-size tube of toothpaste and a travel-size bottle of mouthwash, explained that these are the products he and his wife make, that they’re totally free, that they consist only of the “good stuff, none of the bad stuff,” that he would love it if I used them for a one-week trial and then take note of the differences between his product and whatever I use now, and then he turned to head back to his merch table, stopped himself and said, “It’s aloe! All aloe. None of that charcoal stuff. Aloe. You will never have whiter teeth. Never!” The man looked like Armie Hammer and the logo design of his dental hygiene company looked like it was pulled from the Scientology branding library. This is all to say, yes, my teeth have all fallen out, but the aloe really does make the gums soft. And I’ve attained total clarity! What more could I ask for? A handsome stranger offers me a “life-changing” product that will change the way I think about my teeth and my life. If that’s not the LA dream, then baby, I don’t know what is.

 

 

Into the Ocean of Almost

Whenever I return to my diary after having not written for about a month, (a now typical increment of time, mind you, age can make personal gossip a little boring) I begin the entry by apologizing profusely. This act is inherently counter-productive, not to mention downright silly, as I’m basically just apologizing to myself. No one else reads my diary! Imagine that. (Though I do have a hazy memory of handing a diary over to a boyfriend so he could read how much I liked him, and yes, I did cook the pages ahead of time so that he could read something beautiful and profound, which is not at all how I write when I write for myself. Was it you I let read my diary? Well I’m sorry, that seems really awkward for you, but take solace in knowing that I’m none too comfortable with it either.) I suppose in years from now, when my diaries all live in special collections at my alma mater, a young reader will quietly forgive me as they read a new entry, one that begins “I’m so sorry, it’s just been a really crazy month!” And then that future student will continue writing their thesis paper about Katie Markovich, the great apologizer, who really only takes to her diary to voice anxiety about not getting enough photo likes on Facebook.

Oh, right, the point: I’m so sorry, it’s just been a really crazy two weeks! Did you notice I didn’t write a post last week? Judging by the single-digit number of daily clicks I see in my analytics, I’ll take that as a maybe!

I’ve recently had a strange run of Almosts. Almost getting pieces published, almost getting noticed by readers at festivals, almost getting hired at impossible-to-get jobs. And I don’t feel bad about not completing the full rotation, for not sticking the landing. I’ve been quietly submitting and working and writing for lots of years, at times putting in entire full-time shifts at home after a full-time shift at a day job. This doesn’t make me unique, by the way. Lots of people do this. Lots of people want to leave a piece of themselves behind, to show that they did more than simply Got Through It. I guess this is both an admission and an acknowledgement to you that I am no stranger to rejection, and to also remind you that this is what I signed up for. I will also admit that it’s hard to know how much time I put into my work when I am met daily by social media posts boasting #riseandgrind, talking about the hustle, how one must set goals if they intend to get anywhere in life, how it’s easy to succeed if you just put the work in. You don’t need to tell me this, I think. This is just the best I can do right now. Sometimes I rise and I grind and I hustle and I goal and I action verb and I #hashtag. Other days I just get through it. There should be no shame in that. Though I understand the empowerment and visibility in touting your own successes (something you must do; self-advocacy is important), I also long for the day where we will all quietly do our work–hell, maybe some of us will even half-ass that work–and that will be totally ok. Millennials will change the world, this is true. Millennials are also going to burn out super fast. What is my point? My point is that I’ve chosen a nontraditional professional path, one that cannot be conquered by merely checking off boxes and taking the right classes and completing the right amount of hours and experiences. It is one that is solely dependent on literally some person liking something you’ve created from inside your heart and your brain. No checkboxes, no right or wrong, no correct path. So as insane as it sounds, as frustrating or sugar-coated as it might be to some, a week of Almosts for a writer is a big. fucking. deal.

I was blindly fearless when I was 22. Maybe we all were, but I was really, especially, naively fearless. I suspect it was equal parts precious and terrifying from an outsider’s point of view. But there I was, fresh out of college and fully convinced I could do anything. I even gave a speech to incoming college first years at an orientation event in which I basically said, “It’s easy! Just be brave.” I was accepted to the first publication I ever submitted to. Imagine: For a brief moment, I was batting 1000. I was like, “It’s easy, just be a really great writer,” and then I tossed my hair over my shoulder and went back to being unemployed and living with my parents. But then it got harder. I got better, but the time and place and luck elements wore thin. Which is normal! At first I didn’t think it was, but now I deeply understand and know that it is. When my first piece was published, I got an amazingly kind email from a kind of famous MSNBC news commentator and journalist (and not to mention super cute pro-Obama pundit, heeeyyy) who just wanted to reach out and let me know he had read my piece and loved it. But then he said something to the effect of (and I am not quoting verbatim), “Lots of people wait years and years to get anything published anywhere. You’re really lucky to have done this on the first try.” And again, because I was 22 and flipping my hair, I probably thought, “Well, sure I’m lucky, but I’m also good.” But he was totally right: Luck. I see that now. Thank you handsome political correspondent, where ever you are. (I Googled it; he’s in New York.)

The other night at dinner, Tony and I talked at length about what each of us seeks and aims to create in our own writing. I said truth, Tony said beauty. After some more dissection, we realized we were probably talking about the same thing but calling it by different names. At one point we landed on ecstasy, on release, on truth and beauty being a part of both of those concepts. The most thrilling part [for me] about living in California is the beauty, the release one experiences when driving towards ocean or mountains. I cry every time we drive north out of LA. It’s too beautiful to understand, so I cry. And I think about how I want to let go of everything that’s inside me, put it all out there, because there’s so much sky and water and rock into which it can go. It can handle all of me, every truth I have to tell. This is why people come here, I think. This is it. The bigness of this world makes the Almosts manageable, sought after, treasured. It’s hard not to feel endless possibilities when you see an endless horizon. But know that my day-to-day is often spent looking into my living room, out on the courtyard bike racks if the blinds are open, wringing inspiration out of what is sometimes a dry bone of a day, not grinding at all but just getting through it, thinking about what else I can do to make myself better at what I do, to convince others that I am the best at what I do. And I chose this. I almost didn’t, but then I did, and I’m not sorry.

 

Note: These same basic sentiments will also be handwritten into my diary, but there will be more shouting and curse words and sentences that don’t make sense and weird tangents about a person I haven’t seen in 10 years but I’m really into everything they post on Instagram and I just wanted to record that truth somewhere.