Secret Pop

Nov 30, 2001

Gentle Weeping

George Harrison died yesterday. I saw the little news ticker run across the bottom of the screen while I was watching Conan last night. What a weird, sad night it was. I was supposed to go to the Jim Henson Studios to see a private preview of the new Jack and the Beanstalk miniseries, hosted by Brian Henson himself. But I found out late in the day that I was supposed to be in San Diego for a comedy remote, so I had to dash down to The Abbey in Hillcrest to be not-so-funny for the be-prom-clothed kids of Point Loma Nazarene College. It was cold and rainy, but I made good time. I was a bit out of myself all night, for some reason. It just felt very lonely and unwise to be Mary Forrest yesterday. If I could have chosen otherwise, I might have.

And then I found out that George Harrison had died, and I felt suddenly very sad and mortal and fearful of what lies ahead.

Nov 27, 2001

Archetypes of Inspiration

I was watching Star Trek Generations the other night. Because it was on. It always seems to be. And it occurred to me to consider what might be in my Nexus. I think the same thought came upon me when I was watching Harry Potter and that mirror was introduced. What is the thing I desire most? What would be my reality if I had it to choose? I don't know the answer. A few months ago, I might have had a quick answer for that. I might have thought my happiness could be found in one person or in one assurance. But I don't think that is the case any longer. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm certain it's worth thinking about. As much as anything is. What do I want? And how in the world will I ever get it?

Nov 22, 2001

I took Tasha for a run this morning. It was a gloomy, cool day. It occurred to me that when I started running this time last year, I used to do it with a sweatshirt on, and I used to come home with my legs feeling windburned and chapped. I've still been relying on my standard running garb, even into these colder months. Tank tops and bike shorts made of mysterious space-age materials that promise to prevent discomfort in all sorts of curious ways.

Tasha and I were almost to the end of the bike path running along the 56 when we came upon three people with two large dogs on leashes. The dogs came at Tasha, who ran at them as well. One of them bit Tasha's right haunch, lifting her into the air and swinging her like a rag doll. I was so horrified. I was screaming, "No!" and "Oh, my God!" And the people who had been trying to hold the dogs back were caring for the younger boy among them, who had been knocked down in the fracas. Tasha began to run back down the bike path, tearing her leash from my hands and only slowing after I chased and called her again and again. I scooped her up and carried her the mile or so home. Her blood was all over my arms and my clothes. I was crying and apologizing to her. I can't believe it happened. I washed my clothes out and had a good cry in the shower.

It's Thanksgiving Day. The house smells of turkey and warmth and all sorts of goodness. And my eyes are swollen and burning. And I am filled with a sense of sadness and failure at having let this innocent little creature come to harm.

Beulah and Justin just came in and showed me Tasha's stapled wound. She is quiet and still. And I am so sorry.

Nov 9, 2001

From an old book of poetry called City Ballads

So I have come: but The City is great,
Bearing me down like a brute with its weight.
So I have come: but The City is cold,
And I am lonelier now than of old.

I bought this book with a stack of others at a used bookstore on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest one night after dinner at the Tofu House and before ice cream at Moo Time. So many, many things are no longer in walking distance. And, yes, that's a metaphor.

Here is the whole:

[From Arthur Selwyn's Note-book.]

    Here in The City I ponder,
    Through its long pathways I wander.
    These are the spires that were gleaming
    All through my juvenile dreaming.
This is The Something I heaard, far away,
When, at the close of a tired Summer day,
Resting from work on the the lap of a lawn,
Gazing to whither The Sun-god had gone,
Leaving behind him his mantles of gold--
This is The Something by which I was told:
    "Bend your head, dreamer, and listen --
    Come to my splendors that glisten!
    Either to triumph they call you,
    Or to what worst could befall you!"
This is The Something that thrilled my desires,
When the weird Morning had kindled his fires,
And the gray city of clouds in the east
Lighted its streets as for pageant or feast,
    Whisp'ring -- my spirit elating --
    "Come to me, boy, I am waiting
Bring me your muscle and spirit and brain --
Here to my glory-strewn, ruin-strewn plain!"
    Treading the trough of the furrow,
    Digging where life-rootlets burrow,
    Blade of the food-harvest swinging,
    In the barns toiling and singing,
    Breath of a bay-meadow smelling,
    Forest-trees loving and felling --
    Where'er my spirit was turning,
    Lived that mysterious yearning!
When in the old country school-house I conned
Legends of life in the broad world beyond --
When in the trim hamlet-college I cast
Wondering glances at days that were past --
Ever I longed for the walls and the streets,
And the rich conflict that energy meets!


So I have come: but The City is great,
Bearing me down like a brute with its weight.
So I have come: but The City is cold,
And I am lonelier now than of old.


    Yet, 'tis the same restless story:
    Even to fail here were glory!
    Grand, to be part of this ocean
    Of matter and mind and emotion!
    Here flow the streams of endeavor,
    Cityward trending forever, --
    Wheat-stalks that tassel the field,
    Harvests of opulent yield,
    Grass-blades that fence with each other,
    Flower-blossoms -- sister and brother --
    Roots that are sturdy and tender,
    Stalks in your thrift and your splendor,
    Mind that is fertile and daring,
    Face that true beauty is wearing --
    All that is strongest and fleetest,    
All that are dainty and sweetest.
Look to the domes and the glittering spires,
Waiting for you with majestic desires!
List to The City's gaunt, thunderous roar,
Calling and calling for you evermore!
Long in the fields you may labor and wait --
You and your tribe may come early or late;
Beauty and excellence dwell and will dwell
Oft amid garden and moorland and fell;
    Long generations may hold them;
    Centuries oft can enfold them;
But the rich City's they some time shall be,
Sure as the spring is the food of the sea.

I wonder if there are people who will love the sad girl inside, too.

Nov 8, 2001

"Be there tomorrow. Quit smoking today."

I just saw an anti-smoking spot that really gave me chills. The one where the toddler is learning to walk and his grandpa gets down on his knee to encourage him to come to him, and the little boy just walks right throught the grandpa, as the grandpa begins to fade away with a sad expression on his face. Death is an uncomfortable subject for me.

Nov 7, 2001

Dressing on Faith

I need need NEED a mirror. I only have the little medicine cabinet mirror in my bathroom. I have no idea until I get to work how I actually look. And the mirror in our bathroom here makes me look like I have short legs, blast it. I can't believe I've been able to go to work every day trusting that I look all right but having no palpable evidence of that fact. It's almost akin to me turning "rugged."

"I feel nothing. I'm in L.A."

I love tonight! New friends. Spontaneous outings. Drop dead kick ass music. I went to The Joint to meet up with my new friend Jo and her friends to see Melodine. They were third on the line-up. The second act was this incredible guy called Chris Pierce. He just set the place on fire. His singing, his guitar and harmonica playing. He was just huge. And the songs were brilliant. Apparently one song called "Static Trampoline" will air on "Dawson's Creek" tomorrow night. I was so impressed. I felt like this big, stupid groupie. I bought his homemade CD and everything. I'm listening to it right now. It's great. You should buy it. Although there's little that can compare with the experience of seeing this guy live. For an encore, he did a song called "Keep On Keepin' On" with the help of a guy he called Billy Porter. I just can't stress enough how great it was. I was beaming and happy and dancing and just thoroughly alive. Yay!

Then I brought my new friends back to my place and set Jo and her fianc7eacute; up with some Mac help. Now, I'm shirking my responsibilities and doing font conversions that will probably go unappreciated. It is a confirmed fact that I will never learn.

Melodine, by the way, was also quite awesome. And they have a CD to buy, too.

I almost forgot. The title. Yes. So, Melodine was asking the audience whether we could hear okay. The lead singer goes, "Can you feel it?" And this guy pipes up, "I feel nothing! I'm in L.A.!" People around him laughed, but there was a moment of it occurring to them that what he was saying might be an insult.

I added my name to The Joint's mailing list.

Nov 6, 2001


Last night was super cool. Birthday celebrations. Korean barbecue. New friends. Admiration of lovely restroom facilities. Valet parking. The works. Loved every minute of it.

Except the discovery that the reason my DVD/LD player wouldn't open was that my Criterion Rushmore DVD was stuck in it and mangled in a particularly cruel fashion. I tried to take relief from this discovery, assuming that once I put the housing back in place, my player would work again. Instead, I found that it makes an alarming grinding noise and still doesn't actually open. Off to the Pioneer authorized repair shop I go.

I've got to write something. Really.

Nov 4, 2001

Lightning crashes

On my drive home to L.A. tonight, there was just a huge lot of lightning to be seen, admired, feared, distracted by. I was listening to Game 7 of the World Series on the radio. That is unheard of for me. Listening to a sporting event on the radio. Or watching one for that matter. Unless I've been invited to and there's some sort of social event going on. But I listened tonight. And I realized that I have no ability to visualize what's happening in a baseball game with just the assistance of an audio feed.

Today, I went to a Target in North San Diego County with my mom. A girl -- who was with a guy -- came up to me and asked if I was in a movie. I was confused. "Are you an actress?" I told her that I do theater, but..."Comedy!" the guy cried. "You're in the National Comedy Theatre." I affirmed. The girl was relieved by the realization. "It was driving us crazy. We knew we had seen you somewhere. It was the Spanish Inquisition Animatronic thing that night. Remember?" I did.

This is the second time I have been out doing something innocuous in San Diego and been asked if I'm an actress or if I'm in a movie or a TV show. The last time, it was in Kensington, outside of LeStat's coffee house, where I was going to watch a show. A woman stopped me at the crosswalk with her daughter in tow and asked me if I was an actress. I remember being terribly flattered to be recognized. I felt similarly today. I'm no budding starlet, but one can't help but feel a little dizzy when fame looms. Later today, at the Home Depot, an orange-aproned fellow pointed us in the direction of fireplace accessories, and I said to my mom, when we were out of earshot, "Thank you, kind sir. You just provided service to a star." My mom laughed. But then, she's on my side and very easy to amuse.

I performed with the comedy group on Saturday night. Two really great shows. I think the Forward/Reverse Dr. Seuss Romance with the Smelly Clown theme was the highlight. Although I also got a very welcome big laugh when I sang a jingle based on Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" during World's Worst. I think this proves my theory that Rick Astley is a surefire crowdpleaser. That song is a guilty pleasure for nearly everyone. And I bought the CD when it was a new release. Beat that, if you can.

I've gotten a smidge of unpacking done. Not enough to feel proud about, though. I hope the week will be filled with accomplishments and wise choices. This girl knows the cup of a carpenter when she sees it.

Nov 1, 2001

In praise of industry

I finally built my little Ikea bathroom thingy. I even tried to install some window coverings, but found that I lacked the tools I needed. All the same, there's now a little something on which to stack other somethings on the floor of my old-fashioned bathroom. Maybe even burn a pretty candle or display a bit of ikebana. Ah, the ambitions that come with a new home. How shortlived they are likely to be. A sinking feeling overcomes me when I imagine how many more weeks my apartment is likely to smell of cardboard. Make time, Mary. Paradoxically, there will be time for making other things later.

Hurray for kept promises.

I told myself I would go and have my lunch at the La Brea Tarpits and write in my journal, and today I did it. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and the weather was perfect for sitting in the sun, even all dressed in black as I was. Incidentally, S&B pants fit me like a dream. I have many reasons to be glad of shopping at Nordstrom.

There is a smell at the Tarpits. But it isn't so very obtrusive. It was just so lovely. I had a later lunch, so it was about 2 P.M. when I was sitting out there. The sun was shining through the spindly fingers of very tall palm trees that line Wilshire at that stretch. There were field trippers galore -- school kids as well as older students sketching in the sculpture garden. Beulah and I chatted on the phone for a bit. We talked about one day being filmmakers together. And we laughed about things that only we would laugh about. I ate a delicious panini and drank a Red Bull and watched the little birds on the fence and wondered why more strings of words weren't springing to my pencil. Maybe there is something too contrived about planned inspiration.

A friendly blond woman on a bicycle stopped to ask me where I got my Krispy Kremes. I had gotten them at the little eatery where I bought my panini. They sell them by the box there, and I had bought a box to share with my co-workers. I also let her know that they sell Krispy Kremes in the Plaza Cafe at LACMA. She was happy because that's where she and the guy she was with had intended to go next. She thanked me and suggested that I should enjoy my doughnuts. All very friendly. The only disappointing epilogue is that I brought the doughnuts back to the office, and virtually no one wanted to eat them. Health-conscious crazies all. My boss was later saying concerned things about the manifestations of terrorism we are likely to see in the near future. Doom and gloom, implying we won't be able to save our skins. So I interjected cheerily, "With that in mind, why not have a lovely doughnut!" Still no takers. I managed to pawn some off on the web guys and one of the women I work with. But she chose a doughnut whose filling didn't please her. It was just a day for letdowns in that respect.

In other respects, it was a day for jubilation. I just felt pretty good, and I loved being at work and getting a lot done. I'm looking forward to some of my meetings tomorrow. And I'm looking forward to driving down to San Diego to do some comedy shows and to play with Elizabeth again.

I canceled a date tonight. It would have been fun, but I'm just tuckered out. It is a shame to waste my outfit. It's very simple, but I was pleased at how I looked when I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror at the office. It's always a bit of a crapshoot, since I don't have anything but the medicine cabinet mirror to look at in my apartment. The hunt for space-conscious mirrored furniture continues. Anyway, rainchecks were issued. Perhaps tomorrow.

Cold hands. Relatively warm everything else.

Cold hand. Just the one. The one that works the optical mouse. It's cold and rebellious. Fevered heart. Temperatures soaring into dangerous ranges. Causing mild delirium and a desire to drink something sweet and cool. Fever does that.