Guys, last night we saw Mötley Crüe play at the Hollywood Bowl and I’m not even ashamed to tell you how earnestly I sang along to the perfect encore or how sincerely I enjoyed Nikki Sixx’s storytelling. It was a surreal, communing with your 14 year old self kind of night.
When I was young, leg cramps would pounce on me in the middle of the night every few months or so. Growing pains, they called them, so maybe you got them too? They’d knot and strangle my calves and I would lie in my cold, musty basement bedroom and scream for my mother until my sister would wake up and run to get her. And my mom would come down with a glass of milk and sit on the edge of my bed (a weight and a presence that comforts me still) and massage my leg muscles loose and free with her eyes closed, going half back to sleep in the dark. I never thought much about that act of selflessness; I just understood that I needed her and she was there. Simple and balanced as a clap.
Last night, I had leg aches so similar I didn’t trust it. Showing up like some ex-boyfriend or ghost of a childhood dog. Terrible and anxiety-provoking and I wanted to know, Where have you been all this time? There was another ache too and another worry that kept yelling me awake like I was my own sister, my own mother. And in some ways, at this age, I guess we are.
This morning I rubbed lavender oil into my calf, like my sister would probably tell me to do and listened to a song she sent me, about keeping my eyes above the waves. Which felt like just the right amount of wisdom I needed. I am always doing this: casting about for one precise concept or phrase or word that I can tolerate in this moment. Maybe that is called soothing. Maybe this is how you lead yourself out of this anxious fear.
We are in the midst of trying and wanting things that seem to need to be hard fought for and yet can’t be controlled in any way. Cannot be bribed or deserved or earned or bought. This seems a cruel combination, but six days out of seven, I make a surprising peace with it.
Today is not those six days. Today is the fear of understanding: sometimes we might call all night long for things that are not coming.
There is a wall across from my desk / kitchen table / kombucha brewing station where I have begun to hang these ideas and phrases and photos that inspire me because when these spinning days touch down, I need something to fix my eyes on. Some holier words than I have today as a sort of guy line into tomorrow.
Given the choice, I would like to be strong and admired. Lately, I find myself more winded than friends on hikes and I laugh as we talk and move to cover the admission that I need a deeper breath. I don’t ever want to need more than you need. All morning I’ve been wondering when I became old enough to understand there is a tally.
Tonight we are going to see an embarrassing concert of a hairband I loved when I was 14 or so. And I feel like I am taking that girl to this show. Like it is something I am surprising her with and she is going to be so excited. I remembered all the words to all the songs, just for her.
I have abundant platitudes, so I don’t need any of yours, which is a hard thing to say politely. What I mean is, lie beside me and let’s breathe slow and deep and deep and deep enough to float. Let’s manage to buoy ourselves or be lifted up onto the glassy frontier between water and air and consider the sky that stretches from one outstretched finger tip to the other and be quiet and wait together.
I did nothing this weekend so today I will be working my ass off and then I will rinse and repeat for the rest of all time. Or something.
We have places that can be marked on a map with bright red Xs and beneath those bright red Xs are memories and moments we have shared. This could mean…
If you are not following Roxane Gay on Tumblr, I think you are missing a sort of midnight commune that you can’t afford to miss. I read these essays, these revelatory baking talks, and I feel the fine lines where grafts have begun to form over my own heart rend back apart. Which I mean as a compliment, of course, because the cracks are where the light gets in. This is the sort of writing I think Kafka was talking about and thank goodness it has not been polished and published and edited away. Thank goodness for its rawness and its weekly showing up.
HALT AND CATCH FIRE #108
You’re going to want to watch this one.
It’s beautifully written by Dahvi Waller and Zack Whedon, and directed by Daisy Meyer (Orange is the New Black).
I’ve alternately referred to this episode as “The Shit Hits the Fan” and “Everyone Tries to Get Their Shit Together.” Both may be true.
Tonight winds up the clock and sets us off toward big glowing letters on the immediate horizon that read “THE END.”
From here on out it’s a sprint. Buckle up.
Zach Whedon wrote my favorite episode thus far, so I’m pretty excited about this one.
Today’s @mosaicla service was on Tribe — specifically how we encourage, lift, speak support into and demand each other don’t quit when life gets hard as it does. We practiced on strangers — hearing the battle they are fighting them and giving back our belief that they were made to best it — and hugged each other until I cried a little and then went out to the front yard for a post sermon dance party. So pretty much, my heart is overfilled. Thanks for being one of our tribes @mosaicla. We love you!
It’s hard not to grin through your entire late afternoon hike when this city shows up looking as soft and lovely as it did today.
KTLA 5 News
Oh, I’m sorry LA television news; Is acknowledging the death of 240+ Palestinians and 300 passengers of a Malaysian airline bumming you out??
By all means, get back to your shout outs to CeeLo for brilliantly tweeting that we need rain, and vital updates on the new Ramen Burger restaurant.
This issue is so fantastic. Why? Let me count the ways:
- Kara Vanderbijl’s essay on Blue Velvet is up at rogerebert.com and got Kyle Maclachlan’s stamp of approval
- Jimmy Stewart
- Terrence Malick + Arielle Greenberg = poetry2
- Erica Cantoni partners with Coach Taylor to bring you some truth about teamwork
- Albert Brooks quits his job and moves to Arizona and Karina Wolf is there to tell us all about it
- Richard Linklater
- Matt Brennan delivers a stunningly perfect meditation on Far From Heaven
- THREE of these essays are about films that take place in Texas
- Brianna Ashby’s illustrations are more gorgeous than ever
Go subscribe now! Or read your subscription! And then go outside because it’s summer.
We are insanely excited to officially announce some very BIG news:
Beginning this week, RogerEbert.com will be running one essay from each new issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room magazine on their website.
We are partnering with them to make this possible, thanks to the work of their editor-in-chief (and writer/critic extraordinaire) Matt Zoller Seitz, who reached out to us and offered us a chance to be a part of the amazing work they’re doing to further Ebert’s legacy and spirit by continuing to build an international community of passionate critics, writers, and fans through the site.
We feel immensely blessed to be associated, in any way, with Roger Ebert (who was, for many of us, the man who first helped us fall in love with movies), and we couldn’t be more excited about this collaboration!
This is awesome. Congratulations, you guys! Roger Ebert forever….