It isn't easy for me to stay in one place too long. But this year I'm making a commitment to myself and to this city. I only have two trips outside of LA planned before the end of this semester, one of which is a conference I'm presenting at in Boulder, the other of which is Thanksgiving break in God Only Knows Where, USA. I don't need any help learning to love this city, but I do need reminders that this is a safe place for me, no matter what. That I have established something real here. That I have earned the right to call Los Angeles "home." To document this place, its neighborhoods, its people, my people who are here and not elsewhere.
|nomatterwhatness is rocking some new work at the Junction lately.|
|Turns out, this is a friend of a friend's work. Webs of people are all that exist here.|
For one thing, I replaced Banch, my sad, sad stolen bicycle. And I've been riding New Banch almost every day up and down the streets of Los Angeles. L & I spent the past two weeks riding to school for pre-semester business. We also rode to Fuck Yeah Fest, also known as FYF, both days this past weekend. And I can tell you right now, nothing washes away anxiety like cruising through downtown LA with your friends at 1am, no traffic, just warm, almost-ocean air.
|This was my 7:30am for the past two weeks. Relieved to be back on a|
Humanities schedule. No class till at least noon.
We recently discovered that my friend's apartment complex in WeHo has a pool, so we took full advantage last weekend and bought a blow up orca whale and some inflatable floating flamingo coasters and spent the day in true California fashion: sunscreen & swimsuits, water & sunglasses, lemonade & fashion magazines.
I've only been able to spend two days at the beach since I got back here two and a half weeks ago, but both days were perfect, gorgeous, all you can ask for hours of sunshine and palm trees. I've said this before and it continues to be true: no matter how hard I'm working, no matter how stressed I get, living in Los Angeles feels like a perpetual vacation. I think it has to do with the fact that when you grow up in a place like Colorado, you don't see palm trees or the beach unless you're on vacation. So to live here, to look out my window and see those feathered leaves topping their skinny, reaching trunks, to smell the salt air, will always retain some feeling of paradise for me, no matter how hard things get. And if I'm going to go through the hardest things I hope I'll ever have to go through, I'm relieved to at least do that here, under the sun, next to the sea.
Today was my first day back at school. Technically, this is my last full year of coursework ever. After this, I've got one class next fall, then I'm on to field exams, quals, and my dissertation. Tomorrow, I start teaching for the first time at this new institution of mine. It's been a year since I've taught and I miss it. I've got so many exciting assignments planned for the semester already. Having the freedom to basically write your own syllabus is something I'm only just now experiencing, and I find that it allows me to access a whole new level of creativity that I wasn't aware existed in me until now.
To celebrate the last day of summer, which for my friends and me was yesterday, L, C, and I spent the weekend at FYF. Over the span of two very, very long days/nights, we saw Charles Bradley, The Breeders, Devendra Banhart, TV on the Radio, Starfucker, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House, MGMT, and Holy Ghost! We ate pizza made in the back of a fire truck. We stood in dirt and wood chips. We danced like crazy. We watched the sun set on our city, on thousands of people gathered in a historic park on the east side. I sang to the stars, even though none were visible. I watched police choppers occasionally circle overhead. I felt, more than ever, that I am a part of this place now. So I will stay here, for the next few weeks, and then for a full two months.
|TV on the Radio|
|Yeah Yeah Yeahs|
|Yeah Yeah Yeahs|
|MGMT with Henry Winkler center stage playing the cowbell. No fucking joke.|
And to celebrate the first day of school, I spent the evening watching Sunday night's episodes of The Newsroom, Breaking Bad, and Dexter with my boo. Tomorrow: teaching day one. Tonight: much needed sleep.