Showing posts from January, 2017

people under pressure

1. when in doubt I signed up to help with the Homeless Count because I have house guilt . (I’m also working on a story about homelessness in L.A. for Razorcake , because what is more DIY than building your own makeshift shelter?) As we’ve settled into our new place, the streets of Highland Park and Chinatown have filled with motor homes like the one my family camped in when I was a kid. It’s like a post-apocalyptic time capsule. Meanwhile my middle-class friends struggle to pay rent on tiny apartments, and a not-small percentage of staff and clients at Homeboy commute from Palmdale. It’s safe to say L.A.—despite all its blue-state benefits—has a housing crisis. Glamping? After watching two online training videos, I arrive at W.O.R.K.S. , an affordable housing organization in Highland Park. I actually emailed them a while back to volunteer, but I never heard back. Ah, nonprofits. W.O.R.K.S. will be the starting point for counting NELA census tracts. I see my former neighbors,

you gotta fight for your right to write

1. getting there is half the fun “It doesn’t even look like we’re on Earth,” says Janice. I am in a car full of writers I don’t know, driving toward wet black mountains half hidden by clouds. Today Donald Trump is being inaugurated as president. Our hearts and our friends will be at Women’s Marches around the country tomorrow, but we’ve decided to leave town and write. Cole took the train from Santa Barbara and met us at Union Station in L.A. It arrived late, so we sat in Janice’s Prius for an hour, watching the rain. Not long after getting on the 210 freeway, Janice’s tire blew. We limped to an off-ramp and waited for AAA.   Sporting a new used tire from Moreno’s Tires New & Used Llantas in Irwindale, we are back on the road now. Cole says she’s writing a book of lyric essays about uncertainty. I tell her I’m writing about uncertainty too, and proceed to tell my three fellow travelers “my story.” I don’t mean the story I’m writing, although I build a literary framew

it's always both

All the sentences I say to AK lately begin with "In Far from the Tree ...." When I was reading the chapter about prodigies, she would say, "Ugh, what about prodigies now ?" I think I've shown great restraint in not diagnosing myself or Dash with the various maladies and challenges covered in the book, but right now I'm feeling a little extra empathy for the schizophrenics in the schizophrenia chapter. Many of them know that the voices they hear aren't real; it just takes a lot of energy--spoons in the language of disability and chronic illness--to shut them out. In the same vein, I know that my anxieties aren't grounded in a ton of reality, but it still takes effort to whittle them down to a manageable size. It's haaaaarrd, and I don't even have an official anxiety disorder, let alone auditory hallucinations.  Here's what's on my plate today: 1) Is it a problem that Dash dropped a lot of height percentile points between his 18-m