“A good one,” I smile. “My Little Ponys rock. Lets bring them back...with guitars!”
“Hmmm,” he guffaws. “You might be onto something.”
________________________ In other news, I have been talking to a very cool mamacita. For now, it is top secret and may remain so forever. Who knows? Lets just say I’m having fun, hearing about another person’s life that is as much a hodgepodge as mine.
“I used to be a clown.”
“What?” I laugh. “A clown?”
“What’s so funny about that?”
“Well, it’s not the typical job choice out of high school.”
“Well, I was a clown, so…”
At work, T-master keeps me giggling consistently. This was his latest tour de force.
“I am drinking so much Diet Coke I think I’m getting blonder.”
I must have laughed for five minutes. I told T-master he was the funniest person I had ever met. He responded with a simple, “Oh, alright.”
As you can see from the Shikow Fund Drive, a generous donor has kicked things off. Now we only have 2,000 or so dollars to go before I can make cartoons and other such merriments.
So it's three in the morning. I'm up. I figured I'd drop the dilly.
Right now I am chewing a chocolate truffle. It was a gift for my birthday (Thanks, Mom!) It's nutritious and delicious. So is Herman Dune, a band with a special sound from Israel, Monte Carlo, and New York. A bit of everything really. Right up my alley.
You can view their video for "Not on Top" by clicking here or on the photo.
I haven't been writing much. I've been reading. It's little bits of things - things I find at this place or other: Rushdie, Brautigan, Rolling Stone, Stolen Sharpie Revolution, and others.
They keep my attention for a few paragraphs. Then I throw them.
"Nope," I say. "Not for me."
I wonder if there is any point to anything. I even ask Brad about it at his retreat.
"Don't you ever feel like, 'What's the point?' "
"Yes," he says.
I listen as he tells me how he was over a friend's place watching Three's Company, and that it was a waste of time.
"People waste time in all kinds of ways," he says. "I prefer speding my time sitting, because of what I get out of the experience."
Makes sense. Meditation is productive for him. I don't know about me though. I mean, I don't mind kicking it for a little while, but 6 hours straight? That's karazee. Still, these Zen guys do it all the time.
Seems like a waste to me. If you're going to die, why not do things that are a bit more fun. Like fucking or dancing or eating or writing or painting...
I don't know. I guess I could waste just as much time in front of a television or computer. I could sit for a bit everyday.
I don't give a shit about Enlightenment. I just want to do my thing. I want a nice gal, some money, a dog, and a house on a mountain. Why do I have to meditate to get that stuff?
And God knows it's not very Zen to be wanting things anyway. Zen Folks are always dropping desires and all, and all I got our my desires to be comfortable and happy like some nomad, painting away in the Carribean like a Gauguin without the disease, and getting my water from some oasis cacti.
I guess that's my problem. Even my Gauguinian dream is 'wanting' and it's 'no wanting' that makes me feel better about right now. Wanting only makes me think about what I don't got, so what's the point in that.
Besides, who knows if the Gauguinian dream is really going to make me all that happy? I mean, imagine Pirooz in Tahiti just drawing in a room, until he got influenza and died. Is that fun?
Yes, totally. I love painting. It so turns me on. I guess maybe that's it. Maybe, I just need to bust out a painting. It's been 5 months or so since my last one, and that is my form of meditation. Nothing gets me in the zone like painting. It's what I keep returning to when I look within myself.
Yeah, I'll check out that possibility. Maybe, a painting and see what happens.
Who knows? I might not paint a thing.
Anyway, I know I'm all over the place right now. It's just too many questions for my mind to handle. When I paint, I don't think. I'm good and quiet. I could meditate and get the same quiet, and maybe I'll do a little of both, but painting is definitely my joy.
I have more questions. I will ask them with you later.
Orange Lamborghini is moving right along. Here is the final version of Hollywood Boulevard, one of my favorite songs from The Slipshod Swingers. There are so many people singing on this track. At first, I was against it. Then I realized it was the only way it could be. It was an anthem. It was Hollywood. It was home.
Bret Agins - Guitar, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocal Timmery - Backing Vocal Belinda - Backing Vocal Panauh - Engineer and Backing Vocal JP - Djembe Me - Obviously Click here or below to walk along.
Now for a question:
Which cover for the album do you like better? Top or bottom?
I need a vacation from my car. I don't think it likes to work. It prefers Pep Boys. They treat her good.
"Is this Guido?"
"I dropped off my Honda."
"I wanted to know what's up with it."
"Hold on." I am on hold for awhile. It's so long I am in past tense. Then I stop. It's between Guido and her. It's their story. I'm just a spectator.
"Is this Guido?"
"What's going on?"
"The car is being worked on right now, bro."
"Can you call me when you know what's going on?"
"Can you call at my work number?"
"Yes." I look at my computer screen. I think: That's it. I'm going to end it. She's not what I need right now. I'm a young man in L.A.. I need a car that wants to work with me. Spend time with me. Support me. I don't need a car that prefers Guido or smoking on the 405. That's not what I want in this relationship. Not at all.
"This is hard for me to say. You've been good to me, but -"
"Hello, this is Jose from Pep Boys. Is this Pizolla Kray-"
"Okay so the Honda has a leaking hose and the thermostat needs to be changed."
"So when we do that the coolant is going to spill, so we're going to have to replace the coolant."
"And how much is that going to cost me?"
"So the grand total with replacing the hose, thermostat, oil change and the coolant is going to run you 396 dollars and 42 cents."
"The total is going to be 396 dollars and 42 cents."
"Okay. When can I pick her up?"
"It'll be ready at 430."
I hang up the phone.
"So what's up?
"You were saying?"
"Nothing, baby. Everything's good."
"Yeah, I'll pick you up later."
I walk to Pep Boys. I try and come up with ways to tell her. It's three more blocks. I'm sure I can build the courage. I'm sure I can.
"Hey," a voice says. "You want to take me out instead."
It's American Spirit. She's shaking those legs.
"Don't you want to? For old time's sake?"
Man, I think. These girls are everywhere.
I got an email from Brad Warner. It looks like I will be sitting zazen tomorrow with him. How cool, huh? I read a book and then go sit with the guy who wrote it. Only in L.A.
I also found that Brad has a blogger account. He writes about his love for monster movies, zen, and good food. Check it out!
I also happened to find a link on his site that pointed to "A Reason Why Writers Shouldn't Blog." It was written by a Dolbey character. His opinion is that blogging saturates the creative juices and leaves nothing for novels.
Is this true?
I have been told that people who date or meet friends through the internet are saturating their juices to actually meet up in the physical world.
Is this true?
I have been told by friends that love is coming to me - someone will love me for all that I am.
I don't go on internet dating services. I don't go to bars. I spend all my time writing novels, making music, working in television, blogging, and going to Pep Boys.
Is this true?
I will catch you on the flip,
P to the Z...
"Watch out for that tree?" I said. "I am not afraid of trees," Tanto said. "It's branches I'm worried about."
I finished Hardcore Zen at the DMV. Good book. I enjoyed it. The DMV too. It only took 2 hours. That isn't so bad. Not for Los Angeles. I know. I live here. I can also prove it. With a license plate! (Oh, yeah! Take that CHP!)
I managed to put my new plate on the back of the car, but not the front. I just couldn't get the front ones off. I'll need some WD-40, or whatever it's called to pry the rust from the nut. Maybe baking soda will work? Who knows?
After the DMV, I headed to Target and got Sharpies, a card table, and Nicorette. I am down to 5 cigarettes a day, and it's still making me feel ill. I don't know if it's turning 30 or what, but I have been having strange pains throughout my body when I smoke. I take that as a clear signal to give them to shove off. I don't have time for idiocy. I love life too much. I'm also willing to see reality. Smoking is bad for the body. I am older. It's not a good idea. I will help the world by staying alive, and creating more works of art and literature. End of story.
That being said, I came back to the TELEVISION office to find an acceptance of my story, 12 Days of Christmas from Iranian.com. I was so proud to be involved with the site, especially with the story they accepted. It's an edgy piece. I even thought it might be too edgy. But, no, I was wrong. They dug it. In fact, it's already up. Thank you, Jahanshah, and all the editors at Iranian.com. It's a thrill to be included on your site.
I have created xingtones of the first single off of Orange Lambhorgini. You can download them for free at http://phippsinc.mstore.xingtone.com. Just click on New Ringtone. Send it to your phone. Open the message and click GO TO to launch your phone's browser. Then download and set that puppy loud, because you are now fronting a completely orginal ringtone from the song Orange Lambhorgini (video coming soon) off of the album Orange Lambhorgini, and yes you're cool.
The car adventure has ended. After weeks of debating between buying a new car and repairing the old one, I have replaced my catalytic converter and passed California's smog exam. Now I will hit the DMV in style tomorrow.
This is a load off my back. It was causing way too much stress. And thanks to financial help from my father I will be able to get out of the car debt hole as well. Thank, God!
Now my one goal is to get a functioning computer to start tearing up a website for myself.
I hung out with Jennifer Perkins of Austin Craft Mafia. She is so sweet and purty. I will see if she can do an interview on her rise to television stardom and how she and the other craft mobsters have changed consumerism in the new millenium.
Richard Froude of Ellipsis has interviewed me for Issue 7 of Ellipsis Magazine. Believe it or not, this is my first interview in association with writing.
I am hard at work on adapting a screenplay of The Whopper Strategies. There is talk of a movie. People are interested and it looks like my brother, Paiman, and I are to be sold as The Kalayeh Brothers. I find this exciting and fascinating. Paiman is an excellent director and artist and I am excited at what we will create together.
My youngest brother, Panauh, is tearing up the music scene. He is working at the very hot Track Records and is dealing with so many great artists it's unreal. Right now he is in the works of putting out a mix tape with Phenom, and others, and, you won't believe this, The Slipshod Swingers. That's right. Our little group has gone gangster.
[ I also hope The Starving Artist's Beach Boyz makes the album. It has been my Los Angeles anthem - one of the best songs out there hands down. I feel like crying and laughing everytime I hear it. Long live The Hawkeye and Mickey Gees!]
Thus far, the track of choice from Slipshod is Bootylicious Call, which thanks to Panauh's engineering skillz is available here. That's right, baby. All kinds of treasure in these here posts.
I was pretty thrown when I heard that his crew dug our Booty.
"They want that song? Why?"
"It made them laugh," Panauh smiled. "They also said it was catchy."
That being said, I have to bow down to my youngest brother. The kid is 19, living on his own, and kicking ass left and right.
Can you say Rick Rubin? Def Jam?
I wouldn't be surprised.
Tara Blaine of American Drivel Review is chatting with me about doing something for the magazine. I am not sure what she has in mind, but I am open to whatever she wants. I'm a fan of the Drivel, and although I don't consider myself solely a comedic writer, I am happy to be in the company of such funny, witty cats. Especially Tara. Her Hopeless Housefrau says it all. In other news, I am reading a book recommended by Moksha entitled, Hardcore Zen, by Brad Warner. It is, shall I say, Enlightening to find a Zen master who spits it straight and lets us all know the idea of Enlightenment is useless and you're better off questioning everything and sitting a little zazen to keep you puffing on reality under the New Moon.
Oh, yes. Tonight I saw Anita Apple Bum, the cute Persian I asked out through her grandmother. She was with some other bloke. It made me remember this letter I put on her doorstep a couple months ago. I don't know if I shared it with all of you, but I figured you'd get a kick out of it now.
Today I went to the post office. There was a boy. He swung his shoelace against the guard rail. It wrapped around the pole. His mother got upset. She screamed his name. She looked at the father.
"You know why he's whipping that around?"
"It's because of that Tigra - no, Lion-o from Thundercats, using that whip. That's why he's swinging things around."
"Hmph," the father crosses his arms and looks at the boy. "You want a whip?"
"You want me to get you a whip?"
"Yeah, I want a whip."
The boy makes whipping sounds with his mouth. He runs to his mother.
"Mom, can I have a whip?"
"Who's going to get it for you?"
"Why do you want a whip?"
"I want to be invisible."
"You want me to say, 'Where is Terrence? What happened to Terrence?' "
"Yeah," Terrence giggles and runs under the guard rail.
I don't say a word a word. I address my packages. I get a call. It's the Volkswagon dealer. His rates are too high.
"You paying for these?" the attendant points at the envelopes.
"Yeah," I say, hanging up the phone. "But I need a zip code."
He looks up the code. I pay for my postage and head back to work.
I don't expect a call from Samuel Jackson. I get one though. He tells me to "get my butt to the theater." I figure I better listen. He just made my day. My dad's too. I send him the message after I get it. We have a good laugh about it.
"Anybody call you today, dad?"
"Oh, yes," he says. "I get a call from this actor."
"Yes, this guy! He is very serious."
"Did you listen to it?"
"I personalized it. Didn't you hear? It said, 'Stop messing with your computers and take your son to the theater.' "
"Yes, it is something," my father laughs.
"I sent it to Paiman too. He called me up and was like, 'Dude, I just got a call from Samuel Jackson.' "
"Oh, that is so funny!"
"Yeah...oh, hold on dad, that's Paiman calling."
"Okay, I see you."
"Yeah, dad. Talk to you soon."
I talk to Paiman. I buy a salad at the grocery store. I walk around my street looking at cars. Hardad, my neighbor from upstairs, takes an interest in my search.
"Dude, you don't want a used car."
"No, man. I don't recommend a used car to anyone."
"Because you don't know who was the previous owner. And if the previous owner was someone like me, forget it! That car is no good, bro."
"I'm serious, man. A new car is the way to go."
"I don't know. I need a computer too. I was looking at getting something used."
"I can help you with that. Just let me know, bro. My cousins sell used cars. I can get you a good, reliable used car for 5,000. If you do 2,000 down it'll be," Art pulls out his calculator, "270 a month."
He puts away the calculator,"That's if you got a good credit score."
"Okay, well, I know these guys. I can talk to them. I'll say you live near me. You're not going anywhere. That's it. Whenever you want to go, bro, just-"
A smoking, hot girl passes by on the street. It takes Hardad awhile to say anything as he waits for her to come past a van into plain sight again.
"Did you see that girl, man?" Hardad whispers.
"Yeah," I say. "She was beautiful."
"Hey!" Hardad yells after her. "You made me forget what I was saying."
She doesn't reply.
"Oh, man," Hardad frowns. "She didn't say anything."
I watch her walk up the block.
"She must not be into white boys," Hardad says to me.
"It's dark," I say. "She's alone. She doesn't know you. It's dangerous."
"Sure," I say. "For a woman alone at this time of night in L.A."
"I don't know, man. I've never been able to mess with black chicks. I don't know, man. It's something about me."
"Well, everyone has their own tastes."
"That's true, bro."
"I have friends who will only date Asian girls. That's all they like."
"Oh, Asians are smoothe, man. No hair. I've had two. Real smooth. Then if they let it grow it's like a hairy bush."
I smile. I look at the moon. Hardad looks too. It's the second day. She's very bright and big. She almost looks like she's leaning over us, waiting to say something. Hardad beats her to it though. He's got calls to make.
"Alright, man, I got to make my calls." "
"Alright," I say.
"Give me a call about the car. I get off around 7."
"Okay," I say. "Thanks for helping."
"No problem, bro. This is what I do,"
Hardad smiles. He flips open his cell. He walks down the block; his voice loud in the night.
I pick up my sidewalk chair and power drink. I carry them to the complex. My sweat pants fall to my knees. I let them dangle for awhile, trying to make a couple more steps to the door. I stop when they get to my ankle. I put down the chair and yank them up with my free hand.
Jessica Smith has released a book of poetry, entitled Organic Furniture Cellar. It is a topography of love, loss, and renewal. Like the author, this collection invites an integrity and openness that beckons the reader to offer the same of themselves.
Recently, I asked the author what mattered most to her. She had a simple answer. I had more questions.
PK: What matters most to you?
Jessica Smith: Love.
PK: Do other people know this?
JS: I tend to keep pretty quiet about it. But anyone could know if they bothered to ask.
PK: Would people know it if they read your work?
JS: Oh, yes. My entire oeuvre, such as it stands, is one giant love poem. Not to only one person, but rather, an ode to Love. I'm a die-hard Romantic. You saw this silly quiz on my blog, right, "Which of the 9 muses are you?" When I took the quiz I was Erato.
I've been giving you skimpy answers so far so I'll elaborate. I don't believe in an afterlife, so I think that we're all mortal beings. Being mortal spurs us to write about our experiences, which are also fleeting and must be recorded to be remembered. It's because we love life--even at its worst--that we affirm these experiences and want to record them, want witnesses for them. This love is a love stripped bare--the elementary tie that binds us to Life. So I write because I love life and want to celebrate it, even when it's awful. I want to celebrate the love that binds me to other mortal beings, to my past experiences, and to Life.
There are much more astute philosophical expressions of these ideas in my boyfriend's (Martin Hagglund's) essays on Chronophobia. For me it's mainly a feeling of openness. Of course, people sometimes treat me horribly and then it's hard to "love" them in a generous, Christian way. I don't really mean it like that, though. I mean that it's necessary to love others and oneself as if we were all mortal. ("Imagine there's no heaven," etc.)
It doesn't apply to just people and personal memories, either. This love, this desire to preserve that makes me write, also makes me a vegetarian, makes me recycle, vote Green, drive an older car that happens to get good mileage, etc. I want to be more environmentally conscientious than I am, but it will take some personal growth.
PK: Has there ever been a time when you believed in an afterlife?
JS: Yes. I was a good little Southern Christian girl (Methodist), went to church at least twice a week, till I was 14 and my grandmother died. The immediate effect was that there was no one else willing to drive me to church Sunday mornings, since my parents are kind of anti-church (if you live in Alabama "you're either for us or against us," "us" being the Southern Baptists who run everything). But this was a good time to come-of-age anyway, so I began doing that. I was confirmed in the church when I was 12, and took it very seriously, but the same year my little cousin died of leukemia. So that was perhaps the beginning of the end, because it made me ask the "why does God kill children" question. I think that was the same year I found out about the Holocaust. I remember hearing about it in the car at the gas station on the way home from school. My mom was talking about it. I was horrified. I didn't know things like that happened (and of course they happen all the time). I was just really naive and had a pleasant, even idyllic childhood. So between the Holocaust, the research into my own religion during confirmation, my cousin's untimely death, and my grandmother's death, a lot broke down for me in a few years. I was rather depressed and isolated (because religious doubts weren't really allowed at school, where we were taught in Social Studies that although there *were* other religions, the True Religion was Southern Baptist). Luckily it was only a few months after my grandmother's death that I discovered Wordsworth and Coleridge and the concept of pantheism. Also, being one of about 3 non-Judeo-Christians in my school led to me a group of other misfits, one of whom is still among my closest friends. So the personal growth and friendships that developed from the years of religious confusion were good, although many of my worst memories from high school involve walking down the hall to cries of "devil girl," threats, and people wondering what animals I sacrificed that weekend-- just because I wasn't Christian. Suffice it to say I will never live in the Deep South again. Living in Virginia is enough of a stretch for me. Many permutations of Christianity result in hatred, war, and misery. Other religions often lead to this too. If you believe that some people go to heaven and others go to hell, it makes for biases against one's fellow mortals. And if you believe that the world will come to an end one day (the Day of Reckoning), there's no good reason not to drive an SUV.
PK: Was that when writing began for you? When you were 14 and all these harsh realities were thrown your way?
JS: No, no. I was writing much earlier. I started writing poems as soon as I could write. They were generally about fantastical creatures and such, like I read out of children's books and saw in movies (my favorites were Labyrinth, The Wizard of Oz, The Dark Crystal, The Last Unicorn, Alice in Wonderland...). My mom read to me every night so I had a wide range of material to choose from when composing my own new stories and poems. I began writing songs, plays, and novels around age 10, and still have many of those things. Although I continued writing novels until I was 15 or so, and I still dabble in prose fiction, I decided at the ripe old age of 12 that I had conquered all forms of writing except poetry and that my major energies would focus on that genre. I have yet to "conquer" poetry (or any other genre); it continues to be the most challenging genre for me.
I didn't really write about the things I just spoke of, at least not in poetic form. I've kept a diary since I was 8 or so, and as I said, also wrote prose fiction. Those were the genres I used for exploring the pains of high school and such. After 1992 my poetry deals almost exclusively with_autobiographical sketches of love and being-in-the-world. Not that most of the work from my high school years is as adroit as all that! But that's what I'm going for, that's what I've been going for.
So maybe the answer is sort of yes. Because although I wrote before that I didn't love before that. Perhaps I didn't understand that I loved before the people I loved began to be stripped away from me. This was probably made more complex by two things. First, my dog Duchess died around the same time. And second, my first lover, who I met when we were 14, lost his mother to breast cancer a few months before I met him. She was always on his mind and consequently often on mine. This caused a lot of problems in our relationship because he became more and more Christian in an effort to keep his mother, where I became less and less Christian in despair at not being able to keep my loved ones. The interpersonal tension between us, related to these matters, was the impetus for a lot of the poetry I wrote in junior high.
PK: I love The Last Unicorn too. There was something special about it. That whole time period of Junior High: yellow hallways, Garbage Pail Kids, gym, Salt N Peppa, gym dances, so yummy.
Now you say you have made poetry from that time period, but have you ever written poems that captured the voice of that 14 year old?
JS: Ha-- Junior Highs. I guess they're pretty much all the same (at least in the US). No, I haven't tried to recapture my 14-year-old voice. I think my 14-yr-old self spoke pretty well for herself. Now the goal is to capture the 26-year-old before she, too, fades away.