On Sunday, Allison and I hiked a trail in the Santa Monica mountains. We veered off and up a side path to climb a hill that gives views of the ocean -- a magnificent, dazzling show of sparks on dusty blue water through the thin, marine gauze -- and, to the left, the spiked rise of downtown. I hike/run this trail regularly, but I don't ever get to talk about Salinger on it. I might think about Salinger, but I don't usually get to discuss him or Pema Chodron or Almodóvar out in nature, in the same discussion. I often think my verbal skills are weak compared to my writing. I mispronounced Holden Caulfield's name -- ha! I think I said Cauldwell, and Allison graciously said nothing and kept the smooth beat of what we were talking about. Feh, It didn't really bother me either. It wasn't important. I used to die inside when I did stuff like that; I was so self conscious of the cracks in my self education. I've learned to appreciate more my ability to deeply contemplate things even when my spelling sucks or I misremember shit. My grammar has come along like you don't even know. When we were at dinner with a couple of Allison's friends from Nashville, I listened, mainly, to the stories told with a beautiful southern spin -- a world that is foreign to me. And I tried to think if I even knew shit about shit. The next morning, I told my friend Page this and she said, "You know a lot of shit about a lot of shit." And I said, "I know. I just couldn't remember any of it then." Note to self: Hang out with adults more often. Wow. The rust really does build if you don't. But man, Allison's friends were charming and interestingly fun, even if one friend was laying on the charm with a thick spread (haha). I just really enjoyed being there.
I wanted to show her all the little pockets; show her the rough jewels of LA, at least from my perspective. We didn't have time to see much at all, but in that, I got all sparked up about LA myself, again. Parts are so interesting and beautiful in the most quirky ways. This whole entire, contrasting city, the highs and lows and hype and struggle, the grime and beauty -- I just feel similarly. Maybe not similarly; maybe I feel exactly this way. My connection to all of that got unearthed, again, this weekend. When I get in my parenting groove and work groove and when everything else seems impossible, my connection to what's really interesting downshifts to dormant. Man, keeping all the fires stoked - or balls in the air or whatever the fuck -- all the time is maddening, exhausting. But creatively I felt inspired this weekend. I felt deep satisfaction adding the third dimension to my friendship with Allison. She is every bit as beautiful and interesting in person. Our connection was fast and tight, easy and real. In a virtual reality, in a thoughtful fantasy, I hoped it would turn out the way it did. I don't think we're always prepared for the emotional impact when things turn out the way we want. I'm using it as inspiration though.
On the mountain, above LA, on the creamy, dirt peak lined in chaparral, Allison shared the Pema Chodron philosophy that failure and progress are the balance of practice. That the failure or the falling off of practice strengthens the muscle of it; makes it stronger, better. Holy shit, that pretty much catapulted me into thought for a good long time. I’m still intensely thinking about it. I was so thankful to be reminded of the sentiment in a way that resonated new to me.
All the experiences of the weekend made me realize that what we believe our blog circle to be, is. The deep connection to like-minded sisters who are diverse and interesting and have big love is real. It is as real as anything else.