Posted by: lilaminal on: 03.18.2011
Haven’t slept properly for weeks.
Lost an arm. Gained two legs. Have no shoes.
Learn to dance?
Passed out from sheer exhaustion, and there you were:
Just like he used to be, before he left, so many years ago.
I think you knew him too.
A bit like Peter Pan.
For some reason you were dressed like a mime.
– No paint or gloves –
It suited you. Made sense.
And talking to you was so easy…
Your smile — your warmth — has stayed with me all day.
You don’t have to leave any time soon;
I know you’ll be with me for a while.
Maybe he even sent you to me
(or I to you).
He was always that fucking clever.
I have such a reason to close my eyes!
Posted by: lilaminal on: 03.17.2011
Recently, whilst excitedly emailing friends about a night out we had half planned, I received one reply telling me I think too much and to chill. There was no ill intention, the person in question is a very good friend and I can imagine the exact intonation he’d use, but it was a very ‘adult’ response which happens to me a lot. It made me question what I had written, my enthusiasm and why sometimes people act in a — possibly subconsciously — negative way towards my general overt happiness/easily pleased-ness.
Here’s the email I sent, with names and places changed. Bear in mind said friend has been out of the country for over a month, I’ve been stuck in the house a lot studying and lacking pennies, and I pulled my back/slipped a disc last week so have reasons (if you need any,) for being quite excited:
So, we’re all still going out on Sat night for Mike’s brother’s 18th boffday, I think! I haven’t been out in aaaages.
I remember Mike saying his bro was having a party for his friends at theirs, and then he was bringing him into town to go clubbing with us oldies. Soo… You me and Holly will need somewhere to drink until they get in town! And I just got invited to a gig at The Dog & Bone by that musician I’m always raving about.
Sat night gigs at D&B are usually free AND I think you get free entry into Basement [club] if you go… (though am not sure if that’s where Mike was planning to head).
Do you think you’d fancy it? =D Have messaged Holly and Mike about it too.
Can’t wait to get out, see people, have a beer and relax! YAY!
Admittedly it’s quite puppy-like, that’s my general state of being when I’m excited — you can almost see my tail wag — but why the response?
Happiness, like some terrible illness, seems to beg to be ‘fixed’. OHMYGODWHAT’SWRONGWITHTHATHAPPYPERSON? GETITAWAY! It often seems to get on people’s nerves or it’s too energetic for them. The default reaction actually seems to be very much that of a parent speaking to an excitable child, and I often find myself feeling rather frustratedly patronised. Indeed, in a later message he said he was proud of me for organising things. Odd choice of words.
Worse still is the misconception that I don’t want to talk about anything serious or involved, and I often get the impression, from new people I meet, that they don’t consider me all that intelligent or interesting. Maybe I’m not, but I’m still considering printing a T-shirt that reads: “I’m happy, not stupid.”
Yet so many people are drawn to Moody Aloof…
Maybe Moody Aloof brings some sense of comfort or intrigue. Perhaps happiness is simply too much for someone who feels down, or out of sorts, to deal with. It’s probably the easiest thing to attack. An innocent vulnerability. It’s also very easily broken for precisely the same reason, and it takes quite a good deal of strength to be a continually happy person, regardless of how effortless it can seem. That’s not to say all happy people are sad clowns, just that some people choose happiness, and for me that’s what it’s all about.
So what IS happiness, and why do some people seem to be infected with it? In an old blog, some years ago, I explained something I like to call ‘The Happy’.
I don’t believe in happiness being a pinnacle or goal. It’s not something you need to attain, it’s more a state of being. I see myself as living in this state –which I call ‘The Happy’ — where life itself is a big adventure and anything is possible. For me, it’s conscious, for others, like children or people who don’t think too much, it’s subconscious.
Set backs or down periods are things to be dealt with, but not part of my state of being. Not part of ”The Happy’. In other words, it’s not that I aim to achieve happiness, but by living and doing, creating and moving, I am experiencing happiness in almost everything I do. I enjoy life within the moment to the best of my ability. I smell the fucking roses. I can still play with my toes for an hour and not get bored (boredom is bollocks, don’t believe in it).
The set backs and downers are the tricky part. Back when I concocted ‘The Happy’, I used this analogy for them, which I now use all the time: “When the shit hits the fan, join the dots.” Whatever crap life throws, and no matter how far and wide the splatter, step back and look at it.
Now turn it into something. Turn it into something beautiful, funny, useful, whatever. I often shape my greatest struggles and sadnesses into lyrics and poetry. This is where the conscious choice comes in, and I think this is what all happiness-infected people do. Either that or let it go, like the kid crying inconsolably over his scraped knee… who suddenly runs off laughing because his friend found a frog.
So next time someone runs over to you wagging their tail, don’t act like Mum, Dad or Moody Aloof. Think “Happy, not stupid.” and try not to be such a miserable bastard. And if you’re a happy soul, I salute you.
Oh, and for the record, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as thinking too much.
As I was writing this, a status came up in my facebook feed from the Official Patch Adams page, inviting people to follow his twitter. I knew there would be something utterly perfect and relevant; I think he sums it up perfectly:
“The most revolutionary act you can commit in today’s society is to be publicly happy.” –Patch Adams @realpatchadams
Posted by: lilaminal on: 02.23.2011
I was wondering what to write my first post about when this came up: James Franco/Gus Van Sant: Unfinished. Given what this means to me — and the title — it seems a fitting way to start the new blog.
I seem to have an eye for a certain type of actor. They’re usually quite raw, intense, vulnerable and possess some kind of quirky vibe. The best way I can explain it is that they have some quality, or presence, that sucks me in. Often, but not always, they don’t quite seem to belong in films or TV shows they work on — at least in the beginning — and I follow them eagerly, waiting to catch the magical butterfly moments of their careers. They truly inspire me; I suppose you could call them my muses.
The first time I noticed an actor like this was River Phoenix in Stand by Me. I’m not sure how old I was when I first saw it — it certainly wasn’t when I was 6, when it came out — but I grew up loving that film, and Chris Chambers. I followed River avidly, many of the films he made suiting his presence, perhaps none so much as My Own Private Idaho. MOPI was the first film to transport me from what was pretty much a Hollywood bubble, the first film to confuse and impassion me enough to dissect and review, and it introduced me to Gus Van Sant who became a huge inspiration.
I was 13 when River died, and it broke my heart. Not because of some schoolgirl crush, but because I knew how great he was and felt the hole it seemed to leave in the world.
It happened again the first time I saw Heath Ledger in a late night TV show called ROAR. I knew he had that same quality — some untapped awesomeness — and I eagerly jabbered about him to my friends. One day, as I passed a bus stop, there he was, staring out at me from a bright red poster with wild, wild hair. It read “He will rock you.” And he did. I think it’s pretty safe to say he rocked us all. Then I was heartbroken once more.
Four more actors are floating on my radar. Wes Bentley and Joaquin Phoenix linger on the periphery, whilst Ryan Gosling is right up there, beeping. Ryan was utterly devastating as Danny in ‘The Believer’ and has just started stepping into wonderful films such as ‘Half Nelson’, ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ and ‘Blue Valentine’.
But the one I’m really excited about is James Franco. I first noticed him in Spiderman, and although undeniably talented, something told me he didn’t really belong there. He didn’t blink on my radar again until Pineapple Express, and perhaps this GQ article helps to explain why. Then, of course, there was ‘Milk’ and I’m unbelievably excited about seeing ’127 Hours’ and ‘Howl’.
So you see, Gus Van Sant, My Own Private Idaho and River Phoenix have all been in my life for a long time. They have influenced me in so many ways: through deciding to study acting in college, to my writing and film aspirations, and even my decision to pick up a guitar, which was down to finding out River Phoenix was a musician. River even introduced me to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Flea, which is how I came to fall in love with the bass (I now have a custom made bass, based on one of Flea’s).
In fact, River changed a lot in my life, and if I told you everything you’d probably think I was nuts… but we all have a hero — someone who gets us through that moment when we have no idea who we are, and opens the door — and he was mine. He was ‘weird’, arty, messy, musical, poetic, principled, talented, intelligent and utterly mesmerising.
When I finish writing this blog, I’ll go get a drink, and linger over the framed postcard of River Phoenix clutching a guitar, which sits by my kettle. It seems like such a long time since I really noticed he was there.
This exhibition looks utterly amazing for so many reasons, and I’m ecstatic that James Franco has been the one to do this, but Beverly Hills is a long way to go and far too expensive for the likes of me. I really hope they bring it to the UK. For anyone who makes it there, I’d love to hear about your experience.