Friday, July 9, 2010

My Body.

Another reason to go back to school is that I would probably have a gym to work out in. When I was at UT, I lifted weights and used the elliptical machine 4 or 5 days a week. Nothing too intense, but I kept my upper body strong and my gut reasonably in check. And I rode my bike, so my legs were strong. After the accident last summer, I stopped riding my bike and going to the gym. By the time I was recovered enough from the injuries to start working out again, I was out of school and didn’t have access to the gym any more. I am not unconscious of how much my body changed in the 7 months I was with M.

Food, Love, etc.

I’ve eaten almost nothing but scrambled eggs for lunch (I haven’t been getting up early enough for breakfast) and big salads with some kind of meat on them for dinner for the last couple of weeks. The meat has mostly been chicken, which I’ve marinated in lemon and garlic and sautéed and sliced about 1/4 of a breast onto the salad. Today, though, I bought a fat sirloin steak on sale at Whole Foods, cut it up into 4 pieces, rubbed one portion with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cooked it in a very hot skillet for about 3 minutes on each side. It was very rare. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then sliced it and put it on the salad. The salad was simple: romaine, radishes, red onion, roasted red pepper, simple vinaigrette. It was delicious.

Perfect food for my state of mind, my physical health, and the weather.

Later, when J came home, beer and pot and 3 episodes of Strangers with Candy on Netflix streaming. God bless Netflix streaming.

Cooking is still fraught. One, because it still reminds me of M. One of the things we enjoyed together very much was food, and I miss his cooking, and I miss hanging out in the kitchen with him while he cooked. But it was more complicated. When we were together, I would help M prepare meals, sometimes, but he was definitely the cook. That was strange for me, because I’ve been the cook in the family for many years. I love cooking for people, I’ve done it a lot, it brings me joy and satisfaction and comfort. I’m good at it and it’s very tied to who I am, to myself and to others. It gives me a comfortable role in social situations. But I wasn’t the cook, M was. I wanted to insinuate myself into his kitchen, but had a hard time actually doing it. It was another way in which I became passive.

But salads don’t ever remind me of meals with M.

The crying is past, for the most part, though I still have spells of heavy, heavy sadness at odd times throughout the day. I still think we could have been great partners. We could have had a singular relationship. I think that, whatever problem there was, we could have fixed it if he had wanted to. Unless, I guess, the problem was that he didn’t want to be with me anymore. Not sure how to fix that.

I mourn the companionship. I’m lonely. We were together nearly every day for 7 months and now not at all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


It’s been raining all day in Austin. I drove to Whole Foods this afternoon because I needed a certain brand of body powder they sell, made with corn starch and tea tree oil.

(When it’s hot, sometimes I get a rash in my crotch. It’s like an allergy to summer. For many years I thought it was jock itch, and I was treating it with antifungal lotions and Gold Bond powder, which was making it worse. But a couple years ago, when I was at U.T., I went to the student clinic one time when it got really bad, and I saw a sports doctor who told me it wasn’t jock itch, just irritated skin. He also told me that he had seen several athletes recently who were using Gold Bond lotion for masturbation and the menthol in it had caused severe skin irritation on their penises. I love it when doctors tell me stuff about college athletes’ penises.)

I still have some funds on my food stamps card, so I bought groceries we needed, too. On the way home, the rain was really heavy, so heavy that everyone on Lamar Blvd. (a crowded 4-lane road) slowed to a crawl. I kind of love that, as long as I know I’m not stuck there for a long time.


The two big questions related to moving are, one, what do I do with my car? and two, what do I do with all my stuff until I have long-term lodging in New York?

I don’t have that much stuff. I have my computer and camera equipment. My guitar. My clothes will probably fit in a couple suitcases. I have about 8 boxes of Life in a Box soundtrack CDs, which I should just throw away, but can’t bring myself to do it since I spent all that money to make them. (I suppose I will carry that brand of stupid optimism to my grave.) I have a few boxes of archival stuff from Life in a Box, like hard drives, CD backups, paper logs, the raw tapes, etc. A few boxes of Y’all archival material. And I have a couple of boxes of personal stuff, like old journals and photographs. I don’t keep books and CDs to speak of anymore.

It’s not a lot, but still I have to put it somewhere. If I spend a month or 6 weeks with my parents or my friend MS in Indianapolis this summer, I want to be packed and moved out of here by then. New York is closer to Indiana than it is to Texas.


It looks like NYU, CUNY, and Columbia are the top MFA film schools in New York, so those are the ones I will apply to. CUNY is smaller and I think less prestigious, but it looks like the program is more experimental and it’s way more affordable than the others. NYU of course is crazy expensive.


M is on a train excursion in Mexico this week with his two best friends. I can’t remember exactly where, but I know they crossed the border in West Texas and the train takes a spectacular route through mountains. He showed me pictures a long time ago when they were planning the trip. I sent him a text to say Bon Voyage. I have to consciously resist typing little kissy-face emoticons. It still feels so right to give him that kind of affection. But of course it’s not right.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Still Trying To Figure It Out.

Soon, I will stop scrutinizing my breakup with M and just let it be. After our dinner together Sunday, a lot more of the whole ordeal makes sense to me. I realize that there were incompatibilities I didn’t see, or maybe that I ignored or denied. And I know now that M was frustrated for longer than I knew, and I understand why. I understand better why things went south for him. Now that we are in contact again and will, I hope, have a friendship that endures this episode, I want to think about the future.

But there’s one point I get stuck on. Let me try to articulate it:

I don’t get how his feelings changed so quickly. Or why it seemed to me that they changed quickly. What made him so sure so fast that he wanted out?

I think I understood him to say that the differences in our lifestyles, our philosophies regarding financial security, etc., were possibly negotiable but the fact that he didn’t want to have sex with me made it impossible for him to want to be boyfriends.

We didn’t have sex every day, but when we did he was … good to go. We had great sex. You can tell when a man is turned on, and M was, until a few weeks ago, turned on. It wasn’t like he had to work up the enthusiasm. So, from my point of view, what it looked like is that less than a couple weeks after we were having great sex, he told me that he didn’t feel attracted to me anymore and didn’t want to be together. That’s an awfully short period of decreased interest to base such an irrevocable decision on, isn’t it?

He suggested that his frustrations with my life, my way of getting along in the world, may have contributed to the waning of his interest in sex with me – maybe that’s the key. Maybe that’s why he’s so sure the change in his sexual response to me is more than temporary. He said that when he started to feel like he had to take care of me (because of my stressful, insecure life), his sexual interest waned. This is fascinating and heartbreaking to know, because I’ve recently started to realize that I have always used my insecurity, my vulnerability as a way of attracting men. I’m like the woman who acts all hapless and girly to get the big man to change her tire. And that’s exactly what turned M off. Maybe.

I wonder if I’m trying too hard to connect the sex with the other problems he had with the relationship. Or maybe I’m trying too hard to separate them.

So … I just needed to get these thoughts down.

I will probably never have an answer to this question, and I’m almost ready to drop it. That’s the hardest thing about love for me, the fact that I will never know what’s in his head. We all have things we don’t tell or can’t tell, things we lie about with various degrees of self-consciousness and intentionality. I’m not likely to change that. Life and love certainly don’t depend on my understanding them. Every day is a mystery.

All Roads, Etc.

We’ve known for weeks, but they made an official announcement today, so now I can tell everyone: Lizzie Borden was selected for the NAMT Festival of New Musicals, a prestigious industry showcase. It’s kind of a big deal. Only 8 shows are chosen each year. In the festival, NAMT presents staged readings of the shows to a crowd of theater industry people -- specifically, people from all over the country who are looking for new musicals to present, for example, producers and directors of big regional theaters. Lots of shows, as a result of being seen in this festival, go on to high profile productions.

I found out about this right in the middle of breaking up with M. It was a big secret until the press announcement, but they told us we were allowed to tell “significant others,” so, because M still sort of was that, I told him. The excitement of finding out was dimmed, to say the least, but this morning I feel giddy and short of breath and very optimistic.

This is one of the reasons I decided to move to New York. I have to be there for a week or two in October for the festival, so I figured I should think in terms of being moved there by then.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I went to bed at 2 but didn’t fall asleep until after 5 and then slept fitfully. I had gone to a friend’s house, a bar buddy from Chain Drive, not a good friend but a sweet man who I’ve had a chatting acquaintance with the whole time I’ve been in Austin. He lives with his partner somewhere in the northern suburbs. It was good to get out of my room/prison cell and hang out with people who are very different from the people I usually see.

The pot was veeeery strong. I got home by midnight but my brain was dancing all night long. I have a stack of scrap paper here on my desk, notes I got out of bed to write down. Some of them have great stuff on them, in particular some ideas for a film I’ve been writing for years called Wall of Angels. It’s a kind of surreal Ingmar Bergman/John Waters-style film about a woman who survives a house fire and goes on a road trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I downloaded Grindr again. In the days after M and I broke up, the idea of Grindr was depressing beyond words and it still makes me roll my eyes at how boring it gets to be a man and horny all the time, but there you go. How many millions of years of evolution have led to this moment when I'm advertising on a cell phone because I just need someone to touch my penis?

But, I remind myself that I met M at a trashy gay leather bar. Technically, I met him through a mutual friend, but the introduction took place in a trashy gay leather bar. There are opportunities everywhere.

This is the picture I posted on my profile. I hope I don’t look too much like a leering pedophile.


I’ve set the end of this week as a deadline for making some kind of rough plan or timeline for the rest of the summer and my move to New York. I asked J to sit down with me and help me, or probably just listen to me, list and organize all the possible things I could do and all the considerations and contingencies.

How much would gas cost for a drive to Utah and back? I want to go to Utah to see my friends and clear my head. Maybe a week there? It’s at least a 2 day drive, maybe 3. And do I want to spend time in Indiana, with my friend M, or with my parents? Or both? Do I want to go for a long visit with my brother and his partner in Columbus? Will it make my move to New York easier, or more difficult, if I go somewhere else in between?


I think I wrote this before, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how this breakup has thrown it in my face how much I really do want to be in a long-term relationship. I think, to, y’know, oversimplify, M was, is, my fantasy perfect boyfriend, he was the boyfriend I’ve mused about since I was in high school: a scholar, an artist, solicitous, handsome, well-traveled, worldly, has sophisticated taste and an ironic sense of humor. He sounds like something out of a Jacqueline Susann novel. Ha! But he is all those things.

When I was younger, that man in my fantasy was older than me, more confident, had his life together. The fact that M is younger complicates my relationship to the fantasy in an interesting way that probably wasn't good in the end. I'll have to ponder that one.

There’s nothing too special about wanting to be with someone. Most people do. I think I thought I was unique. Or I was too strident to admit that there’s a difference between a mindless longing for Prince Charming and a simple human desire for companionship. It's embarrassing to find out how much of my disdain for romance was just a way of protecting myself from getting hurt. Lot of good that did me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Liberty Bar.

M and I met for beers last night at Liberty Bar and food from East Side King. We talked for a couple hours, and then his roommate and best friend both joined us for a couple more.

It was strangely not difficult. The last 3 weeks have been harrowing for me here in my room, but heartbreak almost takes on a life of its own. Last night I was just having beers with this man whose wishes didn’t happen to coincide with mine but who is obviously very fond of me.

I’m sitting here trying to resist analyzing the evening. I want to let it sit there and be what it was, which was very nice.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I think I’m going to apply to NYU’s graduate film program. I think I’m gonna do it. The application deadline is December 1, to start in the fall of 2011. I just need to forget about the age thing. What does it matter if I’m in graduate school in my 50s? Really, what does it matter? I was reading on the admissions web site of the MFA program a statement by the chairman of the department describing the program and what kind of candidates they look for, what kind of people succeed in the program, and I felt like he was describing me.

So why the fuck not? Why not apply? It’s extremely competitive, but what isn’t? If anyone can think of a reason why I shouldn’t, please tell me.