The Friday after the election, I found myself back at the Farmer’s Market eating jambalaya alone, thinking about Tom. I walked to “his” section where he used to write when I was a child and I took this photo.
I knew I had done it before, but it had been a long time and I didn’t remember what I had captured. So I shot again, this time on Snapchat, so I had a caption, and I ate my Spaghetti O’s tasting jambalaya and I wrote in a notebook a page of text, which has since evaporated.
It’s been almost a week now since I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone. I was an early adopter of both and an almost obsessive user. It was a big moment for me when the deleting occurred. I felt courageous and possessed, but my choice was clear, lying in bed after walking past Electric Lady studios, completely paralyzed after an intense evening spent with a new but important friend. I swiftly just let them go.
At that moment, I knew I had wasted way too much time not working on art, grinding on social and it was time to make a change about how to spend the precious hours of the day.
In the 6 days since, I’ve worked on 4 paintings, finished a book, and had better conversations with friends than I’ve had in recent time. And then tonight I found this, taken in 2008, before I was wasting my time on social, but was just taking pictures and talking to myself. The below is a reminder that so many stories are written, they just need a chance to be rewritten, to be transformed from memory into activity and dialogue. Then finally be birthed and live in the world. That is the strategy and that must be the order of operations.
When his documentary first came out about the end of his life, she was curious to see where they fit in. She figured they would have a place somewhere in it. He basically had lived with them for 10 years. He was part of their life.
He was more than her mother’s writing partner, he was her uncle, her mentor, her friend. He had often felt more like her dad than her own father when she was a teenager. He was her sensitive dad, the writer one, who loved art, music and movies, and who hated football and classic rock. He’d spend most afternoons at the Farmer’s Market writing scripts. He’d spend most evenings at their dinner table rewriting them with her mom.
Someday they would all be famous filmmakers and everyone could write all day long in their big houses north of Sunset. They could sit by the pool and drink root beer in highball glasses and eat jambalaya from the Cajun place. They played that game for so many years. Ines’ whole childhood. The “what are we going to do when we’re famous” game.
He died before he became famous, but he got his wish. It took about 2 years after he passed for it to occur. She was there when it happened and it was the most bizarre thing she still had ever experienced. Sometimes she still yearned to see the hundreds of hours of film he had shot towards the end of his life to see if he ever talked about them, to hear what he had to say, because she had never gotten to say goodbye. She had been at camp when he had passed away. Still gutted her after all this time.
Almost 20 years later, she still grappled with his death. He haunted the Farmer’s Market. She liked to visit him every once in a while. It brought her some sense of peace and stability in the transitory feeling city. No one ever said they were from LA, but it was the only home she really knew.
She still had difficulty talking about it though – even if she was beginning to be able to shoot pictures.
I feel I’m getting closer to the story than ever before and discovering that I’ve forgotten so many of the details that made parts of it pop in the first place. But technology is distracting. It’s much easier to post a photo of my kitten than to write about the people that matter. But Dylan said, “The times, they are a-changing,” and decades later, I sing along and repeat his lyrics.
November 20, 2016.