invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

it’s the simple things December 14, 2008

Filed under: life — clementine @ 2:54 am
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I’ve been using genius at itunes and really loving the feature. certain play lists bring back so many memories, both good and bad. i never listened to music as a child/teenager with the exception of Madonna, Michael Jackson and The Cars (oh, ok a little Tiffany, Journey and Pat Benatar) but over the past several years I have found comfort and happiness in so many artists (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Amos Lee, Tori Amos, James Taylor, Death Cab for Cutie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Aimee Mann, Nick Drake, Ani DiFranco, Jeff Buckley, Arcade Fire, Pixies, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, The Cure, Interpol, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash,Tom Waits and Nina Simone to name a few…) I have a difficult time writing these days without music playing.

Last night I avoided going to a party-still not quite ready to socially interact. And yet, we’re hosting a holiday party on the 20th. I will spend this week planning a party (with no money) and luckily it’s potluck so I’m hoping to find something creative to make with items in our pantry and counting on friends to bring a variety of good foods. I will prepare myself to interact with friends and loved ones without breaking down. That’s the tricky part about medications, you never know how they might affect you on a daily basis. (I won’t get into why I really despise the antidepressants and antipsychotics tonight)

Tomorrow I will paint. Nothing significant or fancy. I’m painting the trim in our guest bathroom. I’m using the excuse that I need to do this before our guests arrive next weekend and liven the room up a bit. But in reality, it’s a form of therapy. Lining the floors with blue tape, paint splattering everywhere and all over me, shiny new trim and finally…a nice long, hot bath afterward.

Five years ago I was fortunate enough to befriend Joni Mitchell and she immediately told me upon our first meeting, “You need to find your center.” It was a powerful statement especially coming from her and I’ve never forgotten it. I think that’s what most of us living with a mental illness long for…finding that center. I have been working on it and have decided sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get me closer to that place.

And so I will paint, and listen to music. stare at our Christmas tree lights and our fireplace. shop for angel tree families with money from the richest of rich in our town. i will burn cinnamon sticks in water over the stove since I can’t afford one of my most favorite things in the world-candles. open holiday cards and smile. and i will dream of reaching that center… (more…)


down to you April 7, 2006

Filed under: life — clementine @ 7:33 pm
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i will admit, i can be quite the name-dropper. it’s difficult not to be in the film business. you are working with people whose names are recognizable. if i worked in say, the insurance business, you would probably find me monday morning at the water cooler discussing sally and her latest auto claim. or, if i worked in the restaurant business, you might find me chatting with the bartender about lisa, the morning hostess, who was sleeping with john, the assistant manager. i work with stars. celebrities. overpaid and some underpaid actors. musicians.

yesterday during a break in filming, the director, a hairstylist and i were discussing our surreal moments in the business. we all have them. we all grew up watching/loving films. we associate a song or film with a time in our life. the hairstylist spoke of her first experience at the academy awards- bumping into george clooney-the one “star” she has always wanted to meet. the director told the story of a day in los angeles while shopping he heard a familiar voice. he looked up and it was ringo starr. he froze. inside he was screaming, “i can’t believe it’s ringo f*cking starr. i love you. i love your music. you rock!” but no words came out. i have worked with many actors and rarely have that moment of….oh my god…it’s so and so from that movie. i see them at their best and their worst. they are just like you and me. one exception:

when i moved to los angeles a few years ago, i was a small town girl who had never traveled west of kansas. i spent four days on the road. a day in texas. new mexico. arizona. my first visit to the grand canyon. i arrived late one evening in los angeles, discombobulated. the traffic. the interstates. too many cars. too many people. finally found sunset blvd and headed towards my destination. i would be living with a sister of a friend in beverly hills. i called and she opened the gate. i parked my toyota next to one of three mercedes. the next morning i explored the property. it was a beautiful place. a home once owned by lana turner, she planted the lemon trees. i enjoyed my first month there. so much to see and do. i quickly tired of it all. the bad outweighed the good. i was ready to leave. i decided to give it three months. maybe things would get better.

one night the woman i was living with intercoms my room and told me she was about to take her nightly bath- she added that her friend joni would be stopping by later, please let her in if she buzzed. ten minutes later, she buzzed. in my pajamas, i walked down the stairs and opened the door. her friend, joni, was joni mitchell. i can only imagine the look on my face. complete shock i am sure. i let her in and we sat waiting. within a few minutes she tells me i need to find my “center.” she got me. it was as if we had known each for years. we sipped tea and chain smoked. she sang a song in french. i do not speak french but it was the most beautiful song and it was the most beautiful voice. many cigarettes and many hours later, we were still talking. laughing. many stories that evening. many evenings and more stories followed.

three months later i decided to leave los angeles. i knew it was for the best and i have no regrets. but my surreal moment changed me. i will never forget that first evening with joni. she taught me so much about life and love in so little time. and when life and love do not make sense i think of her words and i smile. a wise woman who entered my life for a reason.