The Alcoholics Anonymous shit is the usual shit. The same characters, the same stories, the same mental illness. I sit in those rooms wondering why I’m there, if I belong to a cult? Yet, I never think about drinking. I mean, I’m not looking for an excuse to drink. That’s the very last thing I want to do.
You see, it was one of those weeks when I heard that someone in AA killed themselves. Someone I heard speak, someone I had spoken to. Someone I had lunch with, someone I had hope for. Then he blew his brains out. No obituary, no news report. Just another recovering alcoholic who couldn’t take it any more. I thought about how we collectively accept the plaudits for keeping each other sober yet when a man kills himself it was his problem. His solution. Never our responsibility. He had a six-year-old son. He dressed very well. Now he’s dead.
Since getting sober 18 years ago I have known many, many men and not so many women to kill themselves in the rooms of AA/NA. It is never easy. Yet, I have become desensitized from these terrible deaths and I hate myself for it. I’m sorry. I really am.
This week, I ate a great deal at Gjelina in Venice and these men graciously served me.
Last week I drove to San Francisco to see my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis read excerpts from his book Travels With Casey. After the reading we had dinner with Armistead Maupin and his charming boyfriend. I told Armistead that I hadn’t read his famous book Tales of the City until I got to The Men’s County Jail. I found a dog eared copy there. It was a first edition.
That night we stayed in an odd 50’s hotel/ex-motel off of trendy Chestnut Street. The following day we drove to Napa and had lunch with Gene. After lunch we wandered the giant redwoods in Muir Woods. On the way back to San Francisco we watched people flying kites on Stinson Beach.
On my way home to Los Angeles I met up with my Whitstable friend Ben Clayton in Berkeley, we ate brunch then sauntered all over the UC Berkeley campus. We talked a great deal about home. We talked about our mothers.
Back in Malibu I picked a huge bunch of bananas from the banana trees at the end of the garden, I harvested (and continue to) an abundance of figs and lemons. I sold the bananas to my friend Nicolle the pie lady at Gjelina who bruleed them.
Yesterday, I went to the Norco Rodeo with Stuart Sandford. Norco is an hour from Los Angeles. It was the whitest event I have ever been to. White people everywhere eating nachos and swilling beer. The men wore cowboy hats. The women screamed when the obedient bulls tossed their riders into the sand.
We wondered if there were other gays there. The nearest gay on-line was 3 miles away. I took pictures of cowboys. I ate tri-tip sandwiches. I was looking for bucking bronco Cody Gaines who I met the day before on Malibu beach. Cody lives in Texas. Cody loves Jesus.
Mostly I have been amusing myself in the garden. I have been sweeping paths and mending lights and restoring order. The dogs have been lazing all over the house during the day, finding patches of sunlight to flop into. At night they spend too much time protecting me from deer and raccoons. Go to sleep!
Michael came to visit from NYC. He was sweet and charming. I met the guy with a beard… and here’s a better picture of Stuart. Stuart Sandford is a very fine artist. He lives and works at the Tom of Finland House in Echo Park. My friend Martin arrived from Provincetown. He’s staying for a few days.
All in all it hasn’t been a bad month. It’s just these past few hours. I needed to sit down and write a gratitude list… and this is it. You see, I woke up today and I’m not a hounded black teen on the streets of any city USA. I’m not a hounded Palestinian in the ever shrinking patch of land they call home. I’m not a fatherless 6 year old… and lastly, I didn’t blow my brains out this week because I couldn’t take it any more… and for that I must be grateful.
Latex bondage wear ready to be washed from the dungeon at The Tom of Finland House, Echo Park.
Monday morning. Brooklyn. The end of this particularly hard winter is nowhere in sight. In LA the sun shines over the glittering sea, in London my friends post pictures of balmy evenings in St James Park. I run from our place to sit in crowded coffee shops. I’m writing under a pseudonym nowadays for publications that love paying him/her but would never pay me. Funny. Doing what writers have always done: assuming different names for different opinions, different styles, different genres. Consequently, I don’t get to write my blog very often… as I traverse the continent once a month. From sea to shining sea. No one understands why I love driving 2,800 miles twice over once a month… but I do. The last trip was short and sweet. I stayed in LA a few days then drove back over the Rockies and into a 50 car wreck on the i80 a hundred miles east of Chicago on the Ohio Turnpike. Trapped on the side of the road for ten hours with two patient dogs and so many bad christian radio stations. Badly educated, right-wing bigots on the radio. Wondering out loud how they will roll back the rights of women and gays and undocumented workers, how they will keep hold of their white America. The America their ancestors battled to tame. I think about those early Americans very often as I drive over the Rockies, the hardship they suffered, the dreams they had… the cruelty they inflicted on those who lived on the land they took and the slaves they owned.
I tried sleeping in the car. Minus 6 degrees. Occasionally fellow travelers would stop by to see if we were okay. They offered cookies and consolation.
I’ve been with my boy for 8 months. We cook at home and watch bad make over TV. Every day our situation gets stronger as we over come our own and the prejudices of others. I realized that most of my male gay friends are single, even the ones with the best pedigrees. The ones who are good-looking and sweet and a ‘good catch’. I, of course, am none of those things. I am the bullet you need to dodge. That’s what they say. But the gays are eager to diss all of their friends burgeoning relationships. They are disparaging about anyone who may not be ‘ideal’. This ideal that keeps them single and lonely. They look at me sadly when they find out how old L is as if I am deluding myself that my relationship could ever work. Did I think it would work? Well, not in some fairy tale way, not the way gay writers write the perfect arrangement… the ideal. We muddle through, we miss each other when we are apart, we fight occasionally but not as much as we did when we first met. All in all, I’m happy and feel love from him and let my love flow… to him. That’s occasionally a very confusing and baffling thing for me. To let myself be loved.
In Des Moines, I met Kookie Kardashian… the morbidly obese (500lb), hirsute… older sister of Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian. She is the least known of the KKK Klan. Drinking alone in a dump of a hotel bar, reruns of KUWTK playing on the flickering TV above the tequila selection, staring absently into a soupy pina colada. Text messages remained unanswered as she pulls at her thin mustache. I introduce myself, she says she appreciates the company. Apparently, when the cameras are in her Calabasas house Kris makes her leave with the undocumented servants. Kris pokes her with a stick. Kookie said that Ryan Seacrest called her a ‘fat cunt’, that if she wanted to be on the show she should ‘get a fucking lap band’. Kookie, blinded by grief, drinks herself regularly into a blackout. She commandeered Kanye’s jet and took it to Iowa. Her brushed denim and patent leather Fendi bag stuffed with cash. If she loses the weight… Kris promised her that she and Rob can have their own show.
She told me she misses her dad.
Has anyone been watching the OWN Lindsay Lohan ‘documentary’? That girl is OUT OF HER MIND. A world without consequence will do that to you. A world where nobody has the guts to confront an addict and her worst defects. A world where she believes she is still important or relevant, a world where no one will tell her that death is imminent… like Heath, Phil, River… living in a room stuffed with clothes, jewelry… evidence of active addiction.
Despicably, this tragedy is being manipulated by entertainment industry matriarch Oprah Winfrey… the disingenuous bad mum who knew all along that her little girl would let her down. Oprah’s fake outrage is utterly disgusting.
I felt both overwhelmed and liberated in 2013. Simultaneously.
I spent the past few hours un-subscribing from 100 mailing lists from whom I receive emails begging for money. All perfectly decent causes, gun control, black theatre, saving the ocean, climate control, Unicef, the world wildlife fund, democratic causes, mercy for animals, slow money…
I un-subscribed from cook shops, travel companies, furniture stores and fashion lines. I spent a few moments each day erasing my name from the lists I added myself in the hope of being better informed, no more Gawker or Huffington Post or the Daily Beast.
It was an odd year. It was unusually diverse. I continued writing my film tho I stopped talking about it. I met thieving producers and film industry liars. I spent time with weed smoking Susan Sarandon in the back of her ping-pong club.
Away from the film I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, to Des Moines and over the Rocky Mountains. I travelled by car all over America. Los Angeles to New York and back again… three times. I was constantly surprised by American kindness whenever I found it.
I fell in and out of love with AA. In and out of love with the gays tho… mostly out of love.
We are presently finalizing our divorce.
During the past months I began a strange adventure with a young man who I tentatively call my boy friend. I began to dream again… of better things… even though I am still cautious and burned. Erring toward single at all times.
I wrote a great deal but never published a word of it.
I wrote indignant things like this…
I am queer. They are gay. They are white and affluent. They want to get married and join the army. They want to assimilate. That’s what they say.
When you question them… when you ask them what assimilation looks like… they still want to keep gay pride, gay bars, gay apps, gay film festivals, gay morality.
They want the gay section in the bookshop, the ‘gay voice’ section in The Huffington Post. They don’t really understand what assimilation looks like because most of them are too comfy not assimilating.
He said, “This is all about your internalized homophobia.” I smiled. “It’s not internalized, it’s externalized.”
One can devote ones life to betrayal. Betrayed by parents, family members, institutions, schools, by loved ones even the country of ones origin. I have felt a smidgen from all of the above. Yet, I forgave my family, my school, the class system, my beloved country.
Because I wanted to be free.
I huffed and puffed about the NSA, I applauded Glen Greenwald and Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowdon. I stopped worrying about who could read whatever I was writing privately or which ever websites I was wacking to because there is nothing private. Not any more.
My counsellor asks things like, “Where in your body to you feel the anger first?”
I began to identify the genesis of my anger and feelings of uncomfortability. It usually starts with a demand for money from a worthy cause. A picture or video of a screaming rabbit as it is having it’s fur pulled off or a pile of euthanized dogs waiting to be incinerated.
It was the hopelessness that infuriated me, the cruelty, the stupidity, the hypocrisy.
I came to conclusions in 2013. That I do not, have never had, am not interested in… A CAREER! Careers, I realized, are… for other people. For those who may be interested in a legacy. I stopped calling myself a film maker and started telling people, if they asked, that I do… nothing.
I understood that wherever I found myself both good or bad I was meant to be. It was all for a reason. A reason that would one day be revealed to me. That my life was a series of choreographed moments. The life of a narcissist. That the cameras I learned to love whilst in the reality show had always been there and had never gone away.
In 2013 I never gave up. I waited patiently. I didn’t worry about the future nor was I enslaved to the past. For this I was grateful.
Occasionally I hankered to go home but knew that after a few days in Whitstable I would find my life shrinking and darkening. I did not go home. Though, I spoke more to my Mother this year and was curious about my nieces and nephews.
Finally the JB entanglement came to an end one nondescript day in November. I wanted to write to him and make amends for the mess I had caused.
But I wrote this instead… it was never sent.
An apology is owed.
I was wrong to lie to you. I was wrong to lose my temper. I was wrong to fight you. I was wrong to have asked for money to be paid when you owed me nothing. I was wrong to have blamed you for any part of our unhealthy association. The blame must fall squarely at my feet for everything that went wrong. The moment you came out I should have politely walked way… I did not. I was advised by everyone I knew and cared about… to walk away from you but chose to ignore their good suggestion. I should have thanked you and walked away. I regret very much that I did not. I am extremely remorseful. Due to my weakness of character I initiated a drama that harmed you and caused distress to your family. I should have walked away. The moment you told me you were gay. I know that you are happy now. I know that your happiness will continue.
It took two years to own up.
2013. Un-subscribing to websites, making amends, keeping my side of the street clean, owning up, anger management.
Let’s see what 2014 will bring.
As the years pass by, unrelenting, amazing, fulfilling, desperate, happy, sad.
Even though I have filled my homes with art and furniture and friends and the lingering smells of delicious feasts… even though I have made films and plays and paintings…. all I have ever wanted, really craved… was peace of mind.
I’m getting there. Slowly. A Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone.
The Little Dog is, as usual, very chill. He becomes more trusting as he gets older.
I spent two days in the hospital having a stent removed from my gall bladder. Yes, I did.
I had dinner with Fern Mallis… who, as you know, invented fashion week.
After dinner we decided to attend the Giorgio Armani One Night Only event.
When we arrived we were whisked off to meet Armani who refuses to speak english but spoke english to Fern… because Fern is a legend.
On Sunday we went to the doggy Halloween parade in Tompkins Square Park but we couldn’t be bothered to wait in line.
In Woodstock we met a man wearing a lovely sweater.
I met a friend of Wendy Asher’s.
The hedge fund billionaire who owned the apartment also owned a perfect Nakashima coffee table.
The lounge is perfectly beautiful and looks like the Beverly Hills Hotel interior on Acid.
This is my Halloween costume:
It is a paper napkin with two slits torn into it.
The following day I went back to Woodstock to look at a lake house I want to buy.
This is me and The Little Dog in the view taken by Angelo:
I let the dogs out into the beautiful garden. The Little Dog caught and killed a large rat in the orchard. Dude tore it out of his mouth and shook it until its guts were all over his red fur. They looked very pleased with their murderous selves.
Daisy and I huffed and puffed up the steep hill to The Tower. Her father collaborated with local craftsman to build this beautiful space. Originally built to disguise two ten thousand gallon tanks fed by spring water this tower can now be rented (click here) on Airbnb.
Alexander died less than a year ago. It is a strange and wonderful experience living in his comfortable home.
We have been exploring. All weekend we dropped in at community events: private and public parties. The Mattole River Restoration cookout and dance, a wonderful wedding anniversary party where they made their own Grappa in a copper still. A young cook from Oakland roasted pig and served it by an open fire under white canvas awnings.
The following day they called us to taste the gin they had just made in the same still. Last night a local intellectual cooked us home-grown free range chicken and home-made pink grapefruit sorbet. On Sunday morning we bought basil mayonnaise, catnip and tomato starts from the Petrolia Farmers Market.
Most of the Lost Coast is designated wilderness within the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the King Range National Conservation Area. Remote beaches backed up by steep cliffs and mountains. King’s Peak reaches an elevation of 4,088 feet only three miles from the Pacific Ocean.
The King Range has risen 66 feet in the last 6,000 years due to the meeting of three tectonic plates: North American, Pacific, and Juan de Fuca, just off the white cap coast. The land on the North American plate is being piled rapidly upward. Its grey crumbly sandstone creating beaches of pristine, black sand.
On the beach we meet a few passers-by. We meet hikers who, by law, keep their food in locked plastic containers. Bear proof. The containers looked like the barrels atomic waste is stored in.
We needed cleaning supplies. We drive an hour to get them. The road from Petrolia to the Victorian town of Ferndale is perhaps one of the most beautiful roads I have ever traveled. Hogweed, ancient ferns and Douglas Fir.
Ferndale was founded by Danish settlers. The 19th century houses are really well-preserved. The history of the town inextricably linked to tinned salmon and logging, both of which have gone forever. The trees cut down, the salmon extinct. We saw two huge trucks loaded with old growth tree trunks but apparently they come from small ‘sustainable’ forests.
Daisy’s father said:
Start with the word “sustainable.” These days fund-raisers and grant-writers string it round each sentence like an adjectival fanny pack, bulging with self-congratulation. Mostly, the term is meaningless or a vague expression of hope. In the case of timber, it’s a haphazard and often highly debatable designation that amounts to little more than a vague pledge that the timber is not virgin old growth.
We stop in at the lumber yard to buy laminated boards for Daisy to paint. We are served by a fresh-faced youth. I ask him if he’ll ever leave Ferndale. He says, he’s a small town boy. He doesn’t want to leave. I understand why.
I haven’t written anything for so long.
Perhaps I just ran out of things to say.
Roger Ebert died. He wrote to me recently urging me to write more. I have no idea why.
The house in Malibu is filled with my things again and the garden, this beautiful spring, overwhelms me.
Moving back in gave me the opportunity to start editing once again. I threw out three huge boxes of old clothes. Cashmere, labels, everything loved for a moment back then. Helmut, Yves, Issy, Comme des Garcons… boxy shirts from another era, trousers that I can (after my op) still get into but have lost interest in.
I kept all the Helmut Lang couture. It’s just too special.
I feel myself floating over the surface of my life.
The road trip across the USA was spectacular. Chicago, Denver, The Rockies, Utah and Vegas. Just me and the dogs and a car full of art and luggage. I met lovely people and saw cities I had only ever heard of.
I never went over the speed limit.
The operation to have my gall bladder removed was painful but since having the surgery I feel wonderful.
I didn’t realize how much pain I was living with. How the pain made me grumpy, listless and intolerant.
Now, without that girdle of pain, without the imminent GB attacks… I feel perfectly happy. Peaceful.
I can concentrate. perhaps that’s why I need to write?
During the past few months so much has happened. Things I can tell you and things I can’t.
Yet, after the moment passes, I can’t be bothered to write it down.
Editing the huge amount of stuff I own to a few essential pieces. Taking my old stuff to vintage stores, consignment stores and auction houses has been cathartic and profitable. Who knew things were so valuable?
But more than that. It feels like I am winding down. Not is a morbid way.
With less stuff and less girth (since the op I lost a great deal of weight) I feel not only lighter but more agile, more energy to do important things (for me) more time to devote to others, causes, delights.
As you know, those who know me, I like my decisions to be made for me. I LIKED my decisions to be made for me.
Recently I have taken control of the reigns. Less at the mercy of Duncan Roy. Do you know what I’m talking about?