Just made it back from the premier of Pornography, a film that should have an LiveJournal credit line, given all the talent from our little digital backwater both in front of and behind the camera. The screening was packed, so much so that an extra screening has been added. So congrats David and Sean: it’s a thoughtful twisty thriller. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay for the Q&A.

Around the house, much work was done, by me. The work desk is in better shape than it has been in months.


…like someone who likes to file.

It took almost two months, but I’ve managed to get my work desk from this to the state you see above. And that doesn’t mean that I just shoved the stacks off camera, either: with some stellar assistance fomr someone here in the office, I’ve managed to break the files down into manageable bits and set up a system that I think will be much more useful to me over the next years.

And today, Mom dropped by the office with Rhubarb bread pudding that my sister made. How cool are they?


Laundry, Shopping, Cooking: a Susie Homemaker day. I have too many damn clothes, that’s for sure. So here’s a picture that remained unposted after the recent LA trip.


This is my desk. At work. Where I am.

It needs attention. Attention in the form of pile reduction. I’ve come to the point where fauxganizing (for explanation see here) no longer does the trick. Things need to actually either be acted upon or put away.

I’ll prepare my burnt offerings for the productivity gods. I guess this falls under the strength to change those things I can.

Here’s an unrelated but time wastery-type question: Do any of you with experience with WordPress know how to track how many people are subscribing to your RSS feed? The dashboard tracks page views, but I’m assuming that those are independent of subscribers.


Those who know me either through this journal or elsewhere, know that I am tidy only episodically. Usually I would spend some time bemoaning this. I won’t. But I have been going through a slovenly patch. Today, I’m making an effort to shift that.

Recycling goes out on Thursday night for Friday collection. Last night I managed to take out two boxes of corrugated board which had the effect of clearing a space in front of my kitchen window. I’d been living with it blocked for so long (months let’s say) That I was taken aback to see the light spilling in. There are quite a few other piles like that around my house.

I’ve been reading Alan Bennett’s Writing Home, which in it’s way is cheering for the project of this journal. A reminder: it’s enough to record impressions; do that enough and you end up expression opinions. Bennett’s diaries contain many notes about life under Thatcher, and in reading them I get an interesting angle on what life is like under Bush: a daily flow of sanctimonious thuggery. Bush certainly hasn’t led with Thatcher’s iron noblesse (we’re more easily awed by the folksy style here anyway), but he has presided over the most aggressive attempt to undermine the constitution in the past century. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t griped about it enough. I hope I’m more on the watch for the coming administration.

A friend asked me at lunch the other day how I was, and in response I launched into a long description of a dream I had just had. It was a funny response, but one that was attempting to express the way in which I feel at a turning point. I don’t quite understand the dream but the clarity of the remembrance seemed important to me somehow. This has been a very big year for me, full of good news on the career front, as well greater personal prosperity than I have enjoyed in many years. Normally I would find a way to fritter that all away, but I feel that somehow now I have the tools to tackle the future differently.


Is the storm coming or not? That’s the question the sky is asking. All I know is that it’s mid-day and the boiler is on break between shifts so my feet are cold. It reminds me of living in San Francisco. While I was away this weekend, I hired someone to come in and clean the apartment, so I came home to a shockingly tidy space. I’m embarrassed by how different the floors feel under foot. But I have to buy a new little carpet to put underneath my desk chair so it doesn’t keep rolling away from the keyboard. Anyone have experience with CB2’s carpet tiles?

I’ve noticed that when the cleaning professional encounters my more haphazard work surfaces (my two desks, basically) they have to make a guess about how to tackle it. So today I’m seeing a number of my little containers repurposed in kind of quirky ways that make me hunt around for stuff more. Now I get to audition their solution and see if it works.

Earlier I was playing Liz Phair’s Supernova over and over and singing along. Out in the hall work has resumed on the renovation: thumping, scraping, etc. That’s in contrast to Boss Hog’s Ski Bunny, which is what on the playlist now.

Current Book: Richard Brookhiser – The Adamses, 1735 – 1918, America’s First Dynasty

Again, a big gap in postings which means that I can’t recount all the important stuff. Or maybe only the important stuff. In any event, unless you’re a hard core fan of the minutia of my life, scroll down now!

For the rest of you, don’t say I didn’t warn you. This weekend I made substantial progress in getting the house in order. I did it in the classic way: by giving myself two easily acheivable goals. First was to assemble the two bookcases I bought last week. Second was to stack all the loose papers that filled the floor of what should be the living room, but what had become the “file room”. By telling myself over and over that was all I had to do, I of course got excited by the tidier space and branched out from there. I went from the floor to the super cluttered living room desk, to changing the sheets, to taking things to the dry cleaner, to sorting through boxes of books to picking coins off the floor (don’t ask) to transcribing phone info into the palm desktop. Some of the things I discovered:
A. I owned ten pairs of sunglasses, most some variation on aviator frames and all very cheap. I chucked eight of them. On top of that I “found” three pairs of perscription glasses that I haven’t been wearing. Since lately I’ve been despairing at my worsening far sightedness, I should probably start wearing these.
B. I tend to leave pens in the pockets of clothes as part of a cycle where “I can’t find a single pen!” when i went though all those pockets and all of my shoulder bags I ended up with tons of them:thus the title for this post.
C. It’s better to admit that I won’t read something than to save it. I’ve got tons of announcements, catalogs, newspapers, etc. in the apartment that are only there because I think that I’ll get to them. I won’t, and for all the time I don’t they sit there and make me anxious and guilty.
D. My body is inherently messy. When you are hirsute, hair comes off of you and ends up on the floor more often than not. without regular removal, it can make your living space hirsute as well.
E. Placing bags of garbage on the curb feels good. Farewell to the six books of ‘while you were out memos that i was holding onto in order to save contact numbers. Some of them were from eight years ago. I know: a gold mine for my biographers, now gone for ever.

There’s more and more of this stuff of course. One of the most crucial points is that the same information can either make me clean more (as it did this weekend) or make me despair and cringe in my bed (as it has over the past few months). Some of this has to do with available time: when I get into the cycle of Home work shop sleep, I can only note the problem. When I feel that I have more time available, I can devise some strategies for moving it along As it was, I barely left the house Saturday, and got very little Christmas shopping done Sunday. But if it means that after two years I can start to fully inhabit my house, then it’s fine by me.

It is oh so difficult to not turn on the TV right now. Sunday morning, sunlight streaming in and I’m in bed, chilled. Winter has arrived. Actually went through my voice mail just now and listened to my messages and returned calls. Some were 27 days old, unreturned. I think I read some where that a hallmark of the addict was that feeling of extraordinary accomplishment for doing the simplest, most routine things. Spent a while going through my files yesterday. They sit in about ten boxes in my living room., with various other papers and odds and ends strewn around the floor. Any horizontal surface is pretty much obscured. While going through them, I find myself facing previous incarnations: there have been times when I hired assistants and all they were doing was watching after the filing. Other times I’ve been a careless demented pack rat. I have old pay stubs, copies of essays I was assigned in grad school twenty years ago, scripts from performances, designs for neon sculptures that were never executed and manuscripts from when I was the porn reviewer for the Bay Area Reporter. Most difficult are the folders marked “needs attention”. Here’s a lesson I should take from all of this: I will never attend to something I put in such a folder.
Also problematic are other artists’ slides and videos. One way or another I’ve ended up with quite a few of these. Sometimes I’ve asked for them for a curatorial project, other times people have sent them unsolicited. I can’t bear to throw them out, but in many cases a lot of time has passed, and they are not doing anyone any good in a box in my living room. Again , this is stuff that seems to bring with it the weight of obligation. I suppose the graceful solution would be to start a repatriation program, contact the most recent address I have for the person and work on sending everything back.
If only one aspect of my environment was like this it would be ok, but every room has its version of this. How did things get to this state? I feel in service to my stuff, rather than the other way around.
I’m grateful that I’ve had three relatively clear days together, as that seems to be the only way I can make any headway with this process.

SO that’s about two hours of work. Things are incrementally better. Is there some sort of recovery tag about “Acting one’s way into right thinking is easier than thinking one’s way into right acting?” It seems pathetic that whenever I spend some time doing self nurtuing things I feel better and yet when I feel badly my last impulse is to do something self nurturing. At the moment that I’m going through the pile of papers I can begin to feel some measure of control of them. Once I begin to reflect on it, I drown beneath the tide. All of this accompanied by paralyzing guilt over everything I haven’t done and every one I’ve let down.

If this activity is about anything, it’s about returning me to a life of reflection and integration. The past two years have been ones of upheaval. My life has been reshuffled, and It seems as though I’m still playing catch up. For the first time since high school I’m living in the same place as all my possessions. I’ve spent the last year in a kind of shock. All of my friendships seem up in the air. In the last month I’ve tried to rectify some of this, to reconnect. Complicating the effort is my tendency to react emotionally and not always in my own best interests. That has led me to false starts, allowing myself to drop out of touch with people. There is a curious way that I’m feeling unable to manage my connections to others. It all seems haphazard. My apartment is a series of narrow walkways between heaps of stuff – clothes, files, boxes, collections of things that only have a value to me because they are collected. Again it feels clotted, constricted, (oh no, my chi is blocked!) . This is a physical manifestation of the past holding the future back. Or at least that is the way I keep presenting it to myself. By this point any one reading this must be thinking “For god’s sake! get up and clean the fuckin room instead of writing about it!” so I will.