Forest Lawn

Driving through brutal traffic at a crawl on the 405 and listening to 1070 AM. My news fix, which these days I find more soothing than music. Until one commercial break, when a goofy, cheerful voice advertises Forest Lawn. Changing times for the funeral business. Cremations are trending, but they want you to know that you can still get the same Forest Lawn standard of services. You can bury your urn! You can have a private cremation with family present! And don't forget, plan for the future now so when you die, your family doesn't have to worry. All of this is morbid and sad and makes you think about your life in the bleakest of terms. Other people's lives also flash before you. But then you're confused because the voiceover actors - one woman and one man - seem to be selling wart remover or blemish cream. Just like that and you'll be wart free. Just like that and you'll be all paid up and planned for that urn in the ground that you always wanted, except wait, why are we looking forward to our deaths and our loved ones deaths simply because we've planned well for them?

And perhaps more to the point: does burying an urn defeat entirely the purpose of cremation?

The Sense of an Ending

Deep into my first Julian Barnes and this line, like so many others in this novel, sticks with me. Melancholy, haunting, too truthful.

Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sweet, bitter musings, as we ponder what it is that this means to us.

Various Artists at Silverlake Lounge

A couple months ago, I was incredibly fortunate to be asked to participate in Various Artists, a variety show put together by my friend and fellow writer, Wayne Lewis.

The show took place Saturday, September 27th, and featured amazing stand up and music, along with what I hope was some decent fiction (mine).

Time for a confession: I've never read my work  aloud before, unless you count reading in the kitchen to my husband as he pours a beer or mans a stir-fry. I had opportunities in school, but mostly wussed out because I am (mis)guided by fear and public speaking (and public humiliation) is very high on my list of debilitating concerns.

But it felt like the time to say "yes." Big risks hopefully reap decent-sized rewards. I was nervous as I imagined I'd be while waiting to read my short story "Furries," but after I did it, I felt not high or even proud, but, and this might sound weird, like I was a writer.

I mean, I know I am a writer, because this is what I do every day (even if I don't get paid), but it felt like I finally put it out there to the world, sort of announced it by baring it all in the form of 800 plus words of fiction.

Thanks go to all the fellow performers with me that night--who made me feel extra special for performing among them, in the same venue and lineup and everything--and to Wayne, who went out of his way to make sure my reading debut was something special and happy and valuable, and like something I might (and could) do again.

For more photos of the show, see Wayne's website.

Various Artists - Avni.jpg