Here it is...The Dining Desk Table!

Ecstatic! I have figured out how to post pics and blogs all in one. Okay, I asked a writer friend of mine and she told me how! But still for those of you who asked, here it is.

Held a Labor Day BBQ in our courtyard...and a labor it was indeed! A labor of love, for friends and friends of friends who have become friends! It has been a long time since I have hosted anything larger than a dinner party for 6, so 16 people...was a bit overwhelming. But sitting by candlelight outside with a glass of wine in my one hand, a cupcake in the other, getting to know everyone just a little bit better and sharing some great laughs...made all that labor, worthwhile.


The First Five Pages...

The first five pages is the name of a book by the famous agent and author Noah Lukeman. He talks about how those first five pages are the most important pages in your book. These are the pages that an a prospective agent will look at, and decide if they want to read on, and the same apparently is true of anyone who picks a book off the table or shelf at their local bookstore. Five pages to grab the readers attention, five pages to state your story, five pages that decide the fate of your book...to read it, or not to read it.

Well, I have my first five pages and I never thought that five small pages could make me so happy. I know it's not a lot, but after staring at my laptop for hours and hearing nothing but the hum of white noise in my brain, I am thrilled. Why? Because it means that it is possible.

Now if I could only figure out how to post pictures in the body of my blog, I would be ecstatic!


I see signs...and stars on stage

I am twenty minutes into my self imposed writing deadline, but I had to respond to some lovely e-mails from friends. I give myself these start times because I know that as the day wears on, my resolve to sit in front of this computer and pick cotton from my brain weakens. In a few more hours I will be dreaming of something salty and a glass of wine. It will officially be cocktail hour by then, so no need to worry about me. And so now, that I have moved my outside start date to 1:30pm at the latest...I will just quickly write that ever since I decided to start this novel, I have seen signs everywhere supporting that decision. It is also that I am of course noticing all things related to the subject matter, of which I can not share yet, because I am terribly superstitious...but wherever I look there they are. And so I am encouraged.

On more thing...last night I went to see a ridiculously talented young friend of mine perform a play reading about Armenians living through the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and I was just blown away. There was also this really famous actor from the movie Borat, who was terrific, but the night belonged to my friend, playing the lead in the play Nadia. It was one of those wonderful things, where everyone was murmuring about her during intermission and at the end of the play you could hear people raving about her performance. It was great to see, and so well deserved, and so even though it isn't even time for the Saturday Shout Out yet...I am sending a shout out to the amazingly talented beyond her years...Ms. Katie Boland.

Time to plunge into novel land...


New Novel Nightmares...

Day 2 of the new novel, yesterday was filled with chores, and deadlines. Yesterday although exhausting was much easier than today. Today as I sit and stare at the page, I wonder what is louder...the incessant drone of the lawnmower outside my window or the static in my brain. I have one page of prose and one page of notes and a whole book full of worries and angst and anguish over what I am writing, and if in fact I am actually writing anything at all?! Maybe I am just playing writer...tappety tap tap on my keyboard, "somewhere in the distance a fishmonger cries..." thank-you Barton Fink.

Inevitably I have already scanned the UCLA catalogue for a course I can take that will be aimed at those who have already written a book and have completely forgotten how they ever did such a thing. Alas no such luck. My friend and mentor the amazing Caroline Leavitt, has assured me many times that this is normal...that one forgets and has to start all over and that each time is just as wonderful and terrible as the first, which coming from such a great writer is actually reassuring. She says that I have to just plunge ahead...but into what? Darkness? Murky waters? A great abyss? The answer of course is that I do not know. But what I do know, is that not knowing is actually more painful than trying to find out.

So back to the keyboard I go.



I have big plans for today...and just knowing that makes me want to go back to sleep. This is my body's response to stress, to take to it's bed. I have even uttered my plans out loud to a few friends in an attempt to force me into keeping my Monday promise...to start my new novel. Cue the horror film scream...AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

Now this strategy doesn't always work, case in point; I have not done either of my script treatments. I was too busy with work commitments to even get them started, and I have been working on my personal essays...and I didn't really want to. Sigh. And I even started to work on a different novel, but knew that it wasn't what I should be writing, so I abandoned it. No, what I should be writing is this new novel, and I know this, because I have been irritable and restless and have rearranged my apartment, and now it is gorgeous, and there is nothing left to clean or organize, and I can not avoid it anymore, if I expect my husband to still live with me.

This novel has been following me for years now, working it's way forward from the back of my brain, creeping it's way into my periphery vision and tumbling itself out of my mouth when people ask..."So do you know what your next novel will be about?"

My first novel took me three plus years to write and as this new idea promises to be complicated and tangled and completely different in style and genre...I better not wait much longer if I want to get it done before my fortieth birthday! It is time to hunker down and start the gloriously agonizing process of sorting through the mass of images and ideas in my brain. And just the idea of it makes me simultaneously excited and exhausted and longing for sleep.


Saturday shout out for...The Feng Shui Guy!!!

Today's shout out goes to my friend Ariel Joseph Towne...also known as The Feng Shui Guy. Click this heading at it goes straight to his website!

His bio will tell you that he is on the "AOL hotlist of what to do see and wear in Los Angeles." His work has appeared in Variety Stylephile, Yoga Journal, Yogi Times and In Touch magazines. Ariel created Everyday Feng Shui for Lime Media, which aired on Sirius Radio (114) for two years. He's led workshops and retreats around the country, is developing several books and a television series.

But what it doesn't say is that he is one of those rare guys who is extremely likable, great at what he does, an excellent listener, talented, (he is also an actor and writer) very spiritual...and yet super down to earth, with a love of sushi, cupcakes and football! And if this wasn't enough he hails from the East Coast, so he gets extra points for his big city sensibility and understanding that not everyone out there is just willing to drink the Kool-aid without knowing what is in it. I am one of those prove-it-to-me- big-guy people and after meeting Ariel a year and a half ago, and having him do two Feng Shui treatments on my home and loving the results, I can now happily say...more Kool-Aid please!!

It's not magic, but the idea of really thinking about what you want your life to be about, where you want to go, what you want to do, and focusing on how your space and the way in which you inhabit it affects you...can have magical results. Ariel calls it intentionalizing. I call it amazing. And the fact that I am actually meeting the goals that I set out for myself and love my super creative home...are all the proof I need.

Check him out for yourself...he's offering friends of this post 25% off their first consult. Pretty groovy.


What's with all the boobs?

Okay, so I am an actor as well as a writer, and I am a woman, as evidenced by my photo...it really is me...and like all women, I have breasts...yes we all have them, whether they are large or small, or barely there...everyone has 'em...but what I am finally realizing, albeit far too late apparently, is that being a woman who is an actor, what some may call an actress, means that whatever size they are..if you got 'em, you're supposed to flaunt em!!

I was at an industry showcase last night...an actor friend of mine had asked me to be his partner for a little meet and greet and put on a show for the nice industry folk kind of event...and what I couldn't help but notice, was that no matter what part any of the women were playing...lawyer, doctor, suicidal painter...one thing they all had in common was that their breasts were getting top billing. Everybody was flashing the cleavage, it was like a Victoria Secrets catalogue for crying out loud. I couldn't help but feel kind of overdressed, and yet I knew that these talented women were just doing everything they could to be noticed. In a business that rewards youth and firm flesh over talent, these ladies who no longer had what L.A. deems to be youth anymore, (one manager had told me that the cut off age for women she'd represent was fifteen!!) still had flesh and lots of it that could be spilled out of push up bras as they argued that their client should not get the death penalty.

Just as I started to wonder if I should run into the bathroom with a pair of scissors and do some quick alterations on the clothing I had worn...I took a deep breath, and instead thought about all the work that I had done over the years. Work that I was proud of. And I reminded myself that it was actually my large resume, and not my not so large breasts, that I wanted to get noticed.


Is it a dining table? A desk? Or both...?

It's both! It's the brand new Ryland table from Pottery barn, that has secret side compartments and a power strip for charging and storing all your office stuff. I love it and am now happily seated at it across from my husband in my living/dining room.

This table is our anniversary gift to each other...we celebrated this weekend...along with a new leather storage bench and a giant starburst mirror for the living room. You see, we were going to go away for the weekend, but decided to take that money and spruce up the living room with all the things that I have been drooling over on line for the past two years. Living in a one bedroom apartment and working from home, nothing can be hidden out of sight and tucked away, there is no room for extra things and every piece must be loved if it is to be granted a special place in our 650 square foot home.

I love our little New York style apartment, with it's garden courtyard, palm trees, wild birds and the best neighbors on the planet. I love all the art deco detailing and the romantic French windows, the old O'keefe and Merritt stove and all the charm that comes with a building that was built in the 1930's. What I don't love is that it doesn't have an office, and so since moving here, I have tried to cram where I do my writing into various tiny corners; the kitchen by the window, a converted closet, a tiny desk in the bedroom...all the while thinking longingly of a larger space, until finally this year, I moved into that larger space...the living/dining room.

My dining room table is seated right next to the window and over looks our magical courtyard. It also happens to be in the creativity section of my home according to Feng Shui principles which we have adhered to in our little space. Now whether you believe in Feng Shui or not, once I started writing here, I made the most progress I ever had on my novel...I finished it, did rewrites, edited it, and did my completed draft in this spot. And finally after two years, I had come to embrace what this space really was to me and my family...a work/live space. We left behind friends and family and came to L.A. seeking the opportunity to work more, and we have worked hard at trying to make that happen. It has been a challenging and creative time and for me a time of real discovery and progress as a writer. As a result I spend so much time at my desk, practically living at it, and eating at it, that it seems only fitting that it should be in the living/dining room. And finally we have a desk that is large enough for both of us, to work at.

When a friend of mine came over to see it, I said..."I know it's huge, too huge right?" To which he replied..."No, it's beautiful. It's the focus of your home, it says...this is who you are, this what you do...no sense denying it. It's perfect."

I couldn't have said it better myself.



What? Is it possible that I really haven't posted since Monday? What on earth happened to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday?!!! Oh wait, I remember...it was something like this...wake up hit the computer, NY Times, Toronto Star, LA Times, Daily Candy, UCLA Blackboard, e-mail and then....type, type, type, coffee number one, go for a walk, come home, shower, hit the computer, type, type, type, breakfast at computer, conference call, type, type, type, lunch at computer, Perez break, People break, check friends Blogs, type, type, type, more work calls, work e-mails, sunshine break with Mabel, get the mail, stare into the sun, retreat back to the desk, type, type, type, evening walk with Jeff and Mabel, tyyyyype, tyyyype, tyyyyyzzzzppppe...dinner at 8:30, Olympics, work with Jeff on auditions, crawl to bed around 11:30...collapse. Wake up and do it all over again.

TGIF!!!!!!! Although I am so happy to be so busy, I do remember saying last night as the crickets chirped and Mabel fussed and Jeff tried to read, that if I didn't get some F%#$%#$%#%@% sleep, I was going to kill someone! 7 full hours later, I am feeling more human.

Just one more day and then tomorrow it's our yard sale, and tomorrow night we are out to dinner! Yay!


Rocking Monday...

Well, I have decided to love Monday's and they seem to be loving me back! After a killer workout with my friend and fitness guru Jessica (I've listed her website), where I was sweating like a maniac, pulled every face imaginable and flat out begged her to lower the resistance on my exercise bike...she declined all the while, cheerily encouraging me on and ignoring the fact that I was started to curse her in gibberish...I came home and met another deadline! And I got some more super exciting freelance work..yay...and wait for it...I think I am actually ready to start plotting out my next novel! What? Am I crazy? Yes, but for other reasons. I have had this idea for a while now, and it has been trailing me for years, but just recently it feels like it is catching up to me demanding to be noticed and taken seriously and fleshed out beyond the fringes of my brain. I am trying to listen to it take shape. I am trying not to freak out that I haven't even finished my screenplay treatments yet, and I am excited that I have a reason to plunge ahead into novel madness once more!


Was I complaining about Wednesday?

I should have waited until Thursday to gripe! The sweet symphony of recycling trucks started at 7:00am...ahhhh just glorious!
No matter, these days I am up and at 'em writing away right until Sundown...and then again before bed. Strange how sometimes the busier you are the more you get done! Just met all my deadlines only to get one more due for Monday...heaven I tell you...pure heaven knowing what to write and having a deadline to meet. Ah, yes this is my idea of a good time. Oh boy, time to leave the apartment again.


Hotter than Hades...

It's Wednesday, affectionately known as the loudest morning of the week-day. The garbage starts at 6:30am, the neighbors gardener at 7:30 am, and 8:30 and 9:00...they do every house on a two block street. At 10:00 am we have street cleaning to look forward to...which means I have to run out and move my car or I'll be ticketed for $55.00. It's not only insanely loud...but HOT. I am talking 72 degrees and climbing...we are expected to go to at least 90 degrees today, and we have no air conditioning. Oh wait, I exaggerate, we have a unit in the bedroom, which really helps, considering I do all my writing at my desk in the living room. Thanks to heavy curtains, and fans we are able to block out the sunlight and draw the thin wisp of cool air from the tiny window unit, into the rest of the apartment. It helps us keep this place to a crisp 10 degrees less than outside. I have written a letter requesting permission to put another unit in the living room, but have been denied. It appears it will change "the look" of the building. And after all "it's not that hot, and it lasts just a few months of the year." No doubt, the person writing this letter is sitting at their desk working in an air conditioned out of home office. How nice for them. I think I would like to turn off their A/C and see how productive they are. It's not that bad after all, just a few months... of living on the sun, while my brain melts and I turn into an evil witch.


Neighbor Night...

Last night I hosted a neighbor night potluck for the 7 other units in our sweet complex. We decorated the courtyard, set up patio tables and umbrellas, had a buffet full of food, a bucket full of drinks and a plethora of mini Crumb cupcakes for dessert! One of my neighbors was even a guest dj, spinning vinyl on his turntables until the sun went down. It was fantastic, and there was so much goodwill and good energy and good stories to keep us chatting and laughing for hours. For instance, I never knew that the house across the street, that is on a historic register, and a walking tour was once a brothel!! And not a hundred years ago, but 8 years ago! There was also a designer who used to live in our building that used one apartment as his home and the other as his casting couch, I mean office...and there was an old cat lady that used to live in my apartment and when she died, they discovered over $300,00.00 stuffed in tins and cereal boxes!! Crazy. Hmmm, house cleaning just became that much more exciting.


It ain't a dry heat...

Hot, humid, hazy...ahhh life on the east coast. I'd forgotten what Toronto summers felt like, and even better what they made me look like. I have been wandering around the city with a slight drag in my step, sheen on my face, and a head full of frizz. Very attractive. But I have been having a great time, and somehow have managed to keep up with my freelance work, my essays, my commitments to UCLA, and like the end of any good vacation, will come home to a mountain of work. But I can not think of a better reward to a great vacation. I love working, love being busy and knowing that I will be living in my uglies, chained to my desk for the next week, meeting super fast turnaround times, makes me strangely happy! But first one more night of friends and family and then it's back to L.A. for Neighbor Night...and on Monday...we are off to the races!
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