Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Sept. 15, 2007

It’s Saturday morning and Mulan is still asleep. Yeah! My theory is that the reason kids sleep more hours than adults is that the ones who didn’t were…well, basically killed off my annoyed parents before they could reproduce themselves – and over the eons children who slept longer… lived. And then reproduced, making more kids who slept longer than their parents. My favorite part of this cock-eyed theory is teaching Mulan about evolution using this example. Ha. Okay, before you write in, I don’t really do that. At any rate, this is truly the sacred time of day – actually of the week -- because I don’t have to harangue Mulan to get up for school.

I am also happy because yesterday I turned in my outline for the TV pilot I’m writing. This is only step one, I turned it in to the producer I’m working with and not even the studio, so it’s just a small first step on this project, but still, I feel good. In any case, I cannot go forward until I get notes from my producer so that makes me free, free, free!… – to confront all the other things I have to do in the meantime. The schedule really worked – me turning off the phone and the Internet, not playing music, having three or four full hours to concentrate. Next week I will attack the book. Oh people, you have no idea how this book – GAWD, ARGH, MNNNPH! ERRRRRGH. I am giving myself two months to see if I can pull this book together – just see if I have the potential to pull this book together, just to feel positive that this book is potentially able to be born. I have hundreds of pages sitting around, most of it junk, old notes from a previous editor, my notes in various notebooks, a zillion disorganized entries on my computer. If I were killed today and someone went through my stuff they would think I was insane. I am leaving the door open to junk it altogether, to just move on. But my schedule is so-far purposefully clear in order to do this. I mean, aside from everything else. Like, finishing the pilot, doing ten shows, parenting, organizing my pen drawer (which screams to me to be organized like a hopeful child drowning whenever I write – my closet needs desperately to be organized too when I write, especially my shoes – each shoe sobs at the placement it’s been forced to take and they all cry out, mouths open, like little fishes at the top of a fish tank who are starving: “Organize me! Organize me!” This is the soundtrack that plays in the background when I am trying to write something… something… big.)

Okay, what is more tedious than reading out someone else’s struggle to write? Nothing, my friends. And so for now, I will stop.

I don’t know what I have to say this week. The highlight of my week was Thursday night when I took Mulan to the Hollywood Bowl to see the L.A. Philharmonic. I was going to be going with Jill Sobule, I had a babysitter and everything, and then Jill found out from her manager that she was flying out for a gig, to Wisconsin, a day earlier than she thought she was and she had to cancel. It was sort of last minute, so I called off the babysitter and took Mulan. We packed a haphazard picnic: leftover Pad Thai in a thermos, two apples and a hunk of parmesan, two diet Dr. Pepper’s, carrots and hummus. I thought she would start complaining as soon as the music started, but she did not, she was mesmerized and she remembered meeting the harpist last year when I did my thing at the Hollywood Bowl, and the instruments seemed much more individual to her than they had in the past. We watched this amazing cellist Lynn Harrell play a cello concerto by Dvorak. He is older, white hair and beard, and he played with such mastery, his fingers were so deft, we were both so caught up in the sound and his hand movements over the cello, like a ballerina at her peak dancing on a familiar wood floor. I said to Mulan, “That takes a lifetime of concentration to play like that, that is a lifetime of practice, that is what mastery is.” Of course she just liked the sound, and being outside, and sitting next to me, and eating while she listened - but for me, after spending a week really struggling to write and then spitting out some very small outline, to watch someone show the culmination of their life’s work like Lynn Harrell did for us, what must be a zillion hours of applied direction and refinement of skill, it was inspiring. Exhilarating, actually.

Then, I made us leave at the intermission. Mulan protested but it was a school night and we had to go.

What else happened this week? I saw, “No End In Site” – a documentary about the war in Iraq and the bungling of the reconstruction. I recommend it. Everyone should see it. It was so deeply upsetting, for obvious reasons. I am so hopeful that this country can withstand what it’s done to itself, what we have done to ourselves, what we have done to this world. Lately I’ve been thinking of us, the U.S., like an organism, a unified living being, and we have a virus – or maybe this is better: a cancer growing inside of us, and it’s partly back luck, but mostly it’s because we were doing unhealthy things with our body, we weren’t taking care, we weren’t restraining ourselves when we should have, we partied too long, we smoked and drank, we participated in dangerous sports, we didn’t exercise and eat our vegetables, we got no roughage at all and then we were terribly unlucky to boot. And now here we are with this cancer. Will it kill us? Do we have the stamina and strength to survive the chemo that we need to douse ourselves with to get rid of it? Or can we live with the cancer? I mean lots of organisms live a long time with cancer. Not forever. Not as long as they might have.

Okay, I’m running that analogy into the ground now, but that is how I am thinking of this administration and what we have done and what it will take to make ourselves healthy again.

Maybe I’m thinking this way because I just finished, “The World Without Us” – this wonderful book by Alan Weisman. Go to www. Worldwithoutus.com and just watch the opening animation – it is awesome! Anyway, the book is a thought experiment – about what would happen to our world if people were suddenly gone from it, just exactly how “nature” would recover or forget about us – I say “nature” in quotes because of course we are nature. I am always saying to people, “You don’t go out into nature, you are nature!”

But anyway, it’s very disturbing, this book. I downloaded it on audible, and I’ve listened to it twice – then I bought the actual book – that’s how much I loved it. I find it frightening, as frightening as anything I’ve read, and at the same time I find it – well, spiritual. That’s the only word I can come up with right now. And it’s causing me to look at my house in this new way. The book starts with the author getting you to think about how much effort you currently take to just keep “nature” out of your own dwelling place. How much it wants in: water leaks, etc. It quotes someone saying, “Do you know how to tear down a barn? Cut an 18 inch square hole in the roof and then just stand back.” Anyway, there is a small little green something – a vine – or really a green shoot of something growing and it’s coming out near my dishwasher, on the floor, from under my house! And normally I would just pull something like that immediately – and I will, today probably. But for this week, I just left it there – this little reminder to myself when I empty the dishwasher that nature is all around, creeping in, wanting into my house, getting into my house, and eventually it will win – or maybe I will lose or whatever way you want to look at it – in the long run, those green shoots will have the upper hand.

Get this book! It is so awesome.

Wow. Mulan is still asleep. What’s up with that? It’s after eight. Tonight I think I am going to take her to the L.A. County Art Museum to see “South Pacific.” She loves “The Sound of Music” so much, so I started telling her all about Rodgers and Hammerstein. Last night, which we did not attend, they showed “Carousel” – it’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein extravaganza there at the museum apparently. Did you know that Nora Ephron’s mother wrote the script for it? For “Carousel,” the movie version? I did not know that until yesterday.

Mulan told me she wants to have seven children and name them all the same names as the children in “The Sound Of Music” (Brigitta, Louisa, Kurt, Gretle, Frederich, Marta, etc.) but then she won’t let them see the “Sound of Music” because then they would know they were named after some people in a movie. I think that’s so funny because everywhere we go, people say to Mulan, “Oh Mulan, like after the movie?” And Mulan is always so annoyed by that. Maybe she thinks you have to have this burden of being named after a character in a movie and then hate it your whole life and this is her way of protecting her own imagined kids from it. Anyway, that made me laugh.

“South Pacific” was the very first play I was in. I was in the chorus of my high school production. I sang, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” and my little brother, Jim, who is ten years younger than me, played a “native” boy and we slathered him with dark make up all over his body and he walked around the stage – god that was so funny.

Okay, this is a very chattery blog entry. Time to start the day. Laundry. Cooking. Food shopping. Exercise. Not in that order.

29 comments:

Cyn said...

Hey Julia!

I really enjoy your chattering, Miss; thanks for keeping to it with everything else you have going on. I believe I own all of your audiobooks, and listen to "Letting Go of God" often (usually after getting so worked up by some "The Secret" fiend that I start sputtering and need a logical, soothing and intelligent antidote).

Your blog is a great thread that connects everything you've published, and it feeds me until the next 'big thing'.

Cyndy M, VA

Petra said...

Your section about nature being everywhere, even under your dishwasher reminded me of a thought I had when I was younger.

We have walking stick bugs, and insects that look exactly like leaves (see http://tinyurl.com/249lz8 ), how long will it be until evolution gives us actual "plants" that think and move (like Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors")?

I put plants in quotes because at the point that they move and think, they would be classified as something other than plants.

And now that we have the ability to look at the DNA of animals, will some be re-classified? I mean, I have seen types of dogs that move more like cats - at what point do we call a dog a cat?

Asking more questions is my specialty *g*.

: ) Petra

MJ said...

I find that no matter how laid back and go-with-the-flow I would like to be, sticking with a schedule and being strict with myself about it is the best way for me to function. The ONLY way for me to get things accomplished some days. I hope you can pull the book together, but that's only my selfishness talking, because there are days when I find myself needing to hear some sanity in this world of craziness. (I love reading Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris, and I have read them, but it really is nice to stray from the academic and hear the conversation that you bring to the table. I've listened to my "Letting Go of God" CD and the TAL podcasts more times than I can count!)

Looking forward to your performance in Chicago.

Veronica (the uruguayan) said...

.Julia, I heard the author of "The World without us" on NPR's "Science Friday" recently and was absolutely riveted. Now I realize I should definitely buy the book. It was such a coincidence to hear you talking about it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You're back!

Love the chatty. Love to read about other moms with second grade girls. :-)

Finish the book 'cause I want to read it!

Betty

Ed L. said...

What this administration put in motion when it decided to invade Iraq will plague our nation for a long time to come. We have the terrorists right where they want us. They can slowly bleed us both figuratively and literaly. Sadly there are still Americans who think this was and still is a good idea. Our hubris and national ego seem to know no bounds. We will continue to boast and flag wave while the world looks on in disbelief at a great nation in slow decline. I fear for my heirs.

Mule Skinner said...

Couldn't agree more, Julia!!

--->Lately I’ve been thinking of us, the U.S., like an organism, a unified living being, and we have a virus – or maybe this is better: a cancer growing inside of us, and it’s partly back luck, but mostly it’s because we were doing unhealthy things with our body, we weren’t taking care, we weren’t restraining ourselves when we should have, we partied too long, we smoked and drank, we participated in dangerous sports, we didn’t exercise and eat our vegetables, we got no roughage at all and then we were terribly unlucky to boot. And now here we are with this cancer. Will it kill us? Do we have the stamina and strength to survive the chemo that we need to douse ourselves with to get rid of it? Or can we live with the cancer? I mean lots of organisms live a long time with cancer. Not forever. Not as long as they might have.

Okay, I’m running that analogy into the ground now, but that is how I am thinking of this administration and what we have done and what it will take to make ourselves healthy again. <---

But we as progressives are in big trouble believeing the democrat party is going to change things, because they are not and will not.

If you look at the big, fat petroleum, parmaceutical and auto industry donations Hillary Rodham has taken (same for the son of a mill worker and Babakazama) there is no reason to expect a change or a difference.

It really is disheartening. And now she is talking of socilaist medicine as though she thinks it will get past her donors. Smoke and mirrors, every bit of it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia-I found your myspace page through "The Bad Astronomer". I sent you a message there but I don't know how often you frequent on that site?

Anyway, my name is Jean Low-

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=745401

Ryan said...

Julia,

I came across your CD about a month ago when a friend let me hear it believing I would enjoy it. And I did. A lot! I now have a copy of it myself. I was just now looking up the numerous names you quoted and referred to in your dialog, and in the process decided to give you a look up to - which led to coming across this blog.

I'm sure people have sent you numerous messages gushing on and on about how wonderful "Letting Go of God" is - so I'll spare you the repetition, though I share the sentiment. I will say that my appreciation of it comes from your way of adequately describing the process of trying to find your faith and in the end loosing - your line, when letting go of your religious faith, that says how it's "really a sign of respect" captures how I so clearly felt when I reached the same conclusion. So thank you. Among my books of Stenger, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Howard Bloom and many others sits your CD.

I scanned through your blog, and while I have other things to do aside from stalking you on the internet (I am a soldier in the Army about to leave for some good old training), I was intrigued about your reference to "The World Without Us" and will be sure to look it up.

I will have to check out your other works, and do hope that there will be more to follow on your rather insightful opinions and experience of life.

v/r,
Ryan

Tamara said...

Hi Julia :)

I just came accross your blog from Rosie's....I love your chattiness! Isn't it funny that reading someone else's thoughts helps us (or maybe just me) feel less alone.

I absolutely LOVE "Letting Go of God", and home to come see you in Bothel!

xoxo!

Tamara said...

I mean HOPE to come see you in Bothel. (Lazy pinky)

Jane Devin said...

Julia, maybe the pens and shoes don't really have to be organized in order for the muse to agree to a prolonged book-length visit, but I totally empathize.

I can't write if my space is messy. While I'm organizing things, I think my mind is freeing itself of the day-to-day clutter that interferes with an extended writing process.

Maybe it's just me, but I like to "get into character" when I write -- whatever that character is -- and if there are too many reminders around of my own chaotic life, I tend to think about everything but the story. Instead I think about what I have to do, what I should be doing, what I didn't do, and what I may have forgotten...and yeah, laundry is always on that list.

Best of luck to you on your book. I'll look forward to reading it.

I wasn't even aware you had a blog -- found your link on Rosie's. Now that I know, I'll be sure to check back often.

ariane price said...

hi Julia
I was looking you up trying to find out how I can get a copy of "Letting Go Of God" which I saw at the Groundlings a while back. I am a current Groundling company member, and a big fan of yours. I am thrilled to find your blog. I have a young child (he's just 1) but man can I relate to some of the stuff you write about your daughter. I am in the midst of writing my own "one woman show" (although calling it that makes me imagine me wearing different wigs and coming downstage on one knee, just for a moment, to cry) It will hopefully not be like that, but instead a conversational tale of growing up without a mom and some of my hopefully funny "coming of age" stories. What an undertaking. You are such a brilliant speaker and performer, your show was incredible engaging and natural yet so polished.
Well, I don't even know if you check these things but I just wanted to check in and say hello.
Thanks!
Ariane Price
arianeprice@earthlink.net

EdgeWalker said...

I wandered here after listening to "Letting Go of God," and feeling a sense of identification with the story. Now I'm interested in A World Without us, though I have to admit to some skepticism. After all, is any of it going to be unexpected? Won't everything kind of just cover in vegetation, be devoured by insects, and/or eventually worn away by the elements? I guess I'm even more interested now, though.

Marc said...

Well Julia I just started reading your blog.

I really enjoyed SNL back during that era and you of course made
the World laugh with Pat.

Keep up the good work and best with everything.

Best,

Marc

jefftexas said...

“The World Without Us” looks amazing-I'm going to amazon to get it (looking at yours as well)! Thanks for sharing.

I have ivy growing outside my bay window in my breakfast nook, it crept in through the window and I didn't notice it for awhile since my wallpaper is ivy! One day over my bran muffin I saw it and realized that nature always finds a way.

I found your blog today and wanted to say hello-I have always admired you and followed your career. I hope you are having a great week and have a great weekend-Jeff

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for all of your work!! You probably have no idea how much it helps not only me, but a great deal of other people as well.

Suzanne said...

Just found your blog and love it. It's smart, funny, informative, etc. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'll keep reading. And yes, I agree with so many of the issues you address.

Continued success and wisdom,
Suzanne from CA

Anonymous said...

>>My theory is that the reason kids sleep more hours than adults is that the ones who didn’t were…well, basically killed off my annoyed parents before they could reproduce themselves

LOL. At 49, I just got my son out of the house... and moved in with my girlfriend who has two kids, ages 4 and 5. They get up EVERY STINKIN' DAY at 5:30 to 6. I think we will be testing your theory soon.

Listening to Letting Go of God right now. Hilarity ensues.

sathaporn said...

Hellow Julia!
I just started reading your blog. I really enjoyed SNL back during that era and you of course made
the World laugh with Pat.
Keep up the good work and best with everything.

Anyway, my name is sathaporn polamueng

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