Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I haven't been able to write anything for over a year now. I'm more dedicated to my journal than I was even in high school, I find myself making an endless number of lists of things to do or buy or think about, and I've written several letters to my friend Laurel, but I haven't produced anything creative since I handed in my thesis last spring. It bothers me because even when I wasn't writing anything terribly substantial, I was at least able to scrawl down little poems or phrases or fragments of stories that managed to hook into a piece of my brain. But now there's nothing. Even this post feels uncertain and difficult. I had a blog once before- a little page on livejournal where I complained about my troubles and made lists of the new music or movies I had recently consumed. I think a lot of what I wrote was pretty insincere and shallow (I seem to remember once saying that Green Day's fashion aesthetic was so damn cool), but I'll never really know because I deleted it during my junior year at about the same time I purged my Myspace and Facebook accounts. I think I was trying to liberate myself from dependency on meaningless digital media, but I ended up effectively severing myself from the people around me. I regret it, largely because I also lost my high school journal when my mother's house burned down last October, and now that strange boy who lived in that wonderful, critical, wretched time seems so impossibly far away. It's strange to think that it's only been five years.

Lately I've been trying to write something of a fantasized, fictionalized memoir of those high school years. I've been stuck on the first page for about five months now. I'll be driving around San Diego or talking with old friends, and suddenly I'll feel inspired to start writing so I can sort out all of my feelings about my Southern California life, but when I finally force myself to sit down in front of the computer, I just revise the same two paragraphs over and over and over again. I think part of the problem is that my would-be story is too thinly autobiographical and self-involved to make for very appropriate fiction. Right now the characters are all just stand-ins for me and my parents and my high school friends, and I know that this needs to change or at least mutate in some interesting way before I'll be able to make any substantial progress.

Maybe I've just been in a non-fiction mode. The only piece of my writing that I have been happy with recently was a documentary treatment that I submitted with some of my graduate school applications. The idea was basically to make a surfing documentary without any surfing in it. I have a bunch of friends who are connected with the surf industry, so I wrote my treatment about how I would follow them around in their everyday lives, which I would then contrast with the romanticized pop culture image of the surfer that they are all helping to create and promote. I also talked about my own attraction to this image of the surfer, a figure which I have found to be alluring and seductive but also deceitful and impossibly out of reach. I actually got so excited while working on the treatment that I decided to start shooting the project , and I've now gone through 20 hours of tape. I hope something good comes of this, but I'm more than a little worried by the length of the thing, as I probably still have another 10 hours left to shoot, and then I have massive amounts of editing to worry about.

I eventually heard back from the two grad programs who saw my treatment. I was accepted at CalArts but turned down by UCLA. Strangely enough, I was pretty happy with both pieces of news.

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