USE YOUR WORDS

My mom used to say that. My child-educator hippy dippy mom. Whenever my brother and I started to beat at each other, or get so furious that throwing things seemed like the best option — that’s what we’d hear. “Use your words.” She was teaching us that finding words to express what’s going on inside could work magic. It could melt anger. It could create understanding where there had been only intolerance. And for me, as someone who’s battled anorexia and substance abuse, digging deep and using words to express long buried memories and emotions made (and makes) the difference between life and death. Quite literally.

Words are also my primary way to create connection with other people. Whether in conversation or on the page, finding common ground through honest, considered words is my “go-to” when it comes to intimacy.

And then words failed me.

I thought the ugliness and xenophobia of Donald Trump’s words would make him unelectable.

I thought the powerful words raised in protest would create understanding.

I though Hillary Clinton’s, Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren’s cutting, emotional and humane words would be convincing.

But they weren’t.

People were swayed by things I still can’t quite comprehend. Fake News. Fake facts. Excuses. Words used in the service of cruelty and lies.

It’s genuinely frightening if words have been your salvation. They are not allowed to fail. They are what I hold on to, they are what I use to make sense out of the chaos of living and dying and everything inbetween.

At times in the last three weeks I’ve wanted to just crawl into my cave and shut down. And my cave is awesome. It’s like my own hipster Xanadu, stocked full of nitro cold brew, lentil chips and equipped with free wireless wifi. It comes with a cosy bed, a big tv and a cat who is mostly not a dick. It is very, very tempting.

But the very thing that failed me, now keeps me going. The words of smart, caring people. Beautiful words. Healing words. Energizing words. Word of unity and purpose.

Words matter.

I know I keep saying that, you guys. Sorry. In my defense, if you read a blog about widgets, you’d probably get bored of reading “widgets matter” (They do but that’s another story.)

Cookies matter. This is also true.

But words. Back to words. They encourage me to rise above fear and join what Van Jones calls the LOVE ARMY.

I am a walking love bomb in the wake of this election because of all these good words. I look everyone in the eye. I ask them how they are. And I actually wait for the answer most of the time. I try to be helpful and considerate. I try to appreciate what others do for me. I almost said “thank you for your service” today to the bathroom attendant. I probably should have even though I felt a little crazy. Why? Because the smallest kindness has a ripple effect that we need in the world right now.

That’s my short term plan. Make love, not war. The long term plan, I think we’re all still working on. But I’m not backing down. I won’t let fascism sneak past me while I try to pretend it’s not happening. I’m not going to let my kids think that bigotry, greed and pettiness are a path to any kind of satisfying life.

Words matter. Did I mention that?

I’m going to share some of these awesome words here. If you want to share some, leave them in the comments and I’ll post them as soon as I can.

BLOGS & VIDEOS

Stronger Together

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/11/09/van-jones-emotional-election-results-sot.cnn

http://www.vanjones.net/the_messy_truth

BOOKS

“The Throwback Special”

“Dark Money” (if you want to understand how the far right sausage is made, oy)

MOVIE

13th

xo M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BIGGEST BAD

The truth is. I don’t exactly know yet. What to do.

I do have some thoughts…

Democracy allows for people we disagree with to win. So that part we suck up.

We comfort each other and practice respect for all people, unless they get violent. Then we fight.

We stand up for our friends.

We gather and think.

Writers write, we do our work. And that can be meaningful. But it’s not enough.

We consult. We make a plan of ACTION and we get to work.

But one thing we can’t do?

We can’t waste time believing we can bring out the better nature in Trump and his ilk. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that there is a better nature there. Because there isn’t.

Over the last few years, I’ve had incredible good fortune in work and life. I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with and collaborate with some of the best people. Spectacular actors who also respect everyone they work with. Incredible writers and directors. Crews who care passionately about every aspect of filmmaking and at the same time, creating a loving and fun environment. And supportive and smart executives who make everything better.

But in work (and in dating) I’ve also encountered bonafide, real life… I want to write “monsters.” People who, when empowered, suck the life and sanity out of anybody willing to play their games.

Monster. I know that’s overly simplistic. I believe these folks have genetically enhanced bees in their brains. They don’t want to be bad, they were just born that way. And if I learned ONE THING about dealing with people who in all likelihood have some type of genuine clinical issue — reason does not apply.

Often these people are AMAZING. They are attractive. They are charming. If you meet one of these beasts at a party, you’ll probably find them brilliant, warm and incredibly engaging. They have the art of seduction down. Not only will you feel good about them, you’ll feel good about yourself. In their light, you feel elevated. Why yes, you ARE fabulous! Numbers are exchanged. You walk away thinking “I’m a little bit in love.”

And at first you will be in love. Because that person is in the “collecting and cultivating” stage. They want something from you. In dating, this person often thinks they want a relationship with you. They BELIEVE that, which is part of why they are so seductive. What you don’t know about them yet, is that they only want you until the moment you no longer fit the story ABOUT THEM that they’re always living and creating in their buzzy-bee brains. The minute you become an individual with needs that conflict with theirs, they either scheme ways to change you, or become disenchanted and angry. Never for a deep or meaningful moment do they consider that they are wrong or uncompromising. They may appear to — they say the right things, they seem to feel real life feelingy feelings. But with this type of human, nothing sticks. They live in a very small loop of grandiosity and victimhood.

And this type preys on people they sense are “weak” in some way. Some circumstance in life and/or trait of personality that makes their quarry want to be liked, helped or filled up. The person they set their sights on will consciously or unconsciously leave themselves unprotected. The front door may appear locked, but the “monster” senses an open window. They’re masterful at it.

Any of this sound familiar?

Sound a little “pussy grabbin”? Sound like somebody who lives for attention and praise, and who lashes out when people question them or they don’t get what they want?

Yep.

I’m lucky I’m too old for Trump. I’ve lived my life painfully attracted to this type of person. On every level. It’s taken me years and years to get past the base-level assumption that I am broken in some fundamental way that people will see if they get too close. So who better to chase then someone who will never actually get out of themselves enough to see me?  For me to be a real person? I knew this was an issue with men, and I’ve gotten smarter. I’ve had some wonderful guys in my life.

(Things still went south. But that’s another post. NOTE TO SELF: write about my fucked up cycle of presenting a false self to my object of desire — the person who meets all their needs — and how they feel betrayed when we discover I can’t sustain that and worse, I look at them and go “why don’t you meet all my needs!?)

Getting off track.

It’s only recently I really got down to the hard work of dealing with this type in my personal and professional life. And let me say it again: REASON DOES NOT APPLY.

If you can, the simplest thing is to GET AWAY FROM THEM. RUN. QUIT. CHANGE YOUR NUMBER. DELETE THAT ACCOUNT. (DON’T VOTE FOR THEM — *sob*) But we don’t always have that luxury.

What you can’t do is play by traditional rules of fairness. This is hard if you consider yourself a “nice” person who wants to be liked. Forget that shit. Liked is not on the table. But you can make yourself USEFUL to this person while always keeping all your inside doors and windows and vents locked. Do not show this person your tender belly. Do NOT share anything that could be used against you. Always assume they are lying. They lie. Because truth is constantly shifting for them. This is the kind of person who genuinely BELIEVES the lies they tell. They are fact-proof. A true monster is so crazy they make YOU feel crazy. The bees. It’s the Goddamn bees. Those crazy chemical bees.

Sound familiar? Yep.

Trump makes me crazy. I’ve worked hard not to let his language and lies under my skin. Not to get sucked into a echo chamber of past hurts and regrets.

But you don’t negotiate with a monster. You figure out a way to way to do a few things:

One — Make them hang themselves on their own petard. This is a long game. It requires a great deal of patience. It usually involves giving them exactly what they think they want. What they think they can do but actually don’t have the capacity for. This may be exactly what is happening to Trump. We’ll see. But when somebody is enabled by a lot of other people, this strategy may not actually work. And we certainly can’t wait or hope for it.

Two — Obstruct their ability to act. Throw up roadblocks. Flatter and distract. Give them busy work that appears meaningful. The smart play for the people around Trump was what appeared to be happening — they put him in front of an audience on the road. He WAS the puppet. How WE can do a similar thing is help aid every single legal challenge, every single meaningless distraction and side track. It’s not nice. But it’s effective. Play dirty.

Three — Show them again and again that they are weak and powerless over YOU. They hate that. It makes them furious. It may, in fact, be the thing that destroys them in the end. It’s what Hillary did to Trump in the debates. The last one in particular. She found ways to belittle him in the same way he routinely did to her. That’s why we’re taking to the streets right now. Not just to express our outrage and grief, but to get under his big baby carrot orange skin. Yes he has the nuclear codes, but here’s something comforting — he doesn’t want to die more than he wants to start trouble. Because in the end — it’s all about HIM. So go ahead, make him and his buddies lose it. Regularly and spectacularly. Because this guy in a tizzy makes mistakes. He tweets and says dumb things. He bites every hand. Right now Trump and his advisors can look at the unrest and say — “Crybabies!” “Whiners” and so on — but if we keep it up, we will be a thorn in their fucking side.`If we remind Trump every single day that he LOST THE POPULAR VOTE by pretty big number, he’ll feel it. He’s too much of a narcissist to look the other way.

Those are three ideas about how to deal with a monster. Go GILES on this shite. Get strategic. Because we’re in for quite a fight and this one takes strategy supreme.

Oh. And don’t date those guys (or girls or people). Just don’t. They can be fun friends but protect your naughty bits unless it’s just a romp. Even then — don’t be surprised if they suck in bed. You think Trump is a giving lover?

Nope.

 

TRUMP CAN’T SLEEP

I’d put good money on the fact that Donald Trump, the man I’ve read about and listened to (if you haven’t listened to The Donald Tapes on The Run Up do so now — https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-run-up/id1142083165?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4) is in a cold panic right about now.

Why? Because there is no “there” there. The guy lives to serve his narcissism and his needs in the moment. His myopic focus is and was on WINNING. This is a man who routinely wrote hand-written notes to ANYBODY who dared suggest he wasn’t “number one” when he went through his morning press clips. My agent showed me one Trump sent to his bosses when my agent went on record saying that Jeff Zucker made a mistake putting “The Apprentice” on Thursday Nights.

Really? This Billionaire, this titan, had enough time in his day to address every little slight? Think about his Twitter rants. He’s lived in a bubble where he had so much control that anything that didn’t go his way was RIGGED and he was ready to tell you so.

The other day I heard on the news that Trump barely ever spends a night away from Trump Tower or one of his hotels. He is a creature of habit, creating a world around him that reflects his wants and needs. A world where taking advantage of people makes them stupid and him “smart.” A world where most of what he’s done on the campaign trail is talk about TRUMP and attack other people.

But being president is a JOB. One that requires doing lots of things he probably doesn’t want to do.

Now, he may be able to empower the people around him and try to emcee the “show” like the host of the ultimate reality gig. But every second of his life will now be even further scrutinized. Trump has shown little capacity for self-discipline. He’s shown little capacity for true reflection or forward thinking. Case in point, POLICY. He hasn’t expressed any in a detailed way because he was too busy defending himself against the latest news cycle. He couldn’t focus. But his ego won’t allow him to give over control completely. So will he truly empower anybody else?  All eyes are on him, and now that he is President Elect, Mr. Trump is beyond ripe for scandal.

Donald Trump can’t sleep because he is in a prison of his own making.  A place where he appears to be king, but he’s actually an employee for perhaps the first time in his life. And half of his employers — the American people — are a sleeping giant, awoken and ready to pounce on the first blunder he makes.

It’s no comfort, but if you think he’s gloating I suspect it’s only in moments. Shit just got real.

Now — our job — is to remain ACTIVATED. In some ways Hillary’s loss can be a gift to us. Had she won, we might have believed that things were better for marginalized people than they are. We might have minimized the impact of corporate greed on the poor and working class people of our country. We talk about morals, but a vast number of people vote over TAXES and jobs. They’re thinking about the bottom line. And yes, it’s the cruelest irony that they elected the very type of person who is happy to take advantage of them to make a buck — but maybe now that we can put a face to the rapacious greed that has cannibalized our economy, we can focus our efforts.

We all need to find our power. Whatever form is takes, and strap in for a fight.

And maybe adopt a puppy. As a rage offset.

xo M

UNREAL

So few saw this coming.

Except Donald Trump.

Like many, I’m still reeling.

So much to think and say.

But if you are a writer, know that WORDS MATTER. We’ve been assaulted by words of hate for months and months. And we can pray that for Donald Trump, a product of REALITY TELEVISION, many of his words are meaningless to him. They are an act. If you listen to people who have spent time with him — there is no there there. He lives for admiration far more than deeply held beliefs.

We can pray that his want to be the most admired president will triumph over being the president of a nation of haters. He lost the popular vote. We can pray that that eats at him and now he hopes to “act” like a man of the world.

If you are a writer, know that WORDS MATTER. Your words now can heal. Your words can stir people to ACT. Think about the words of Martin Luther King and how they changed a nation and helped move the cause of civil rights further than anybody dreamed possible.

My brother is writing a book about converting to Judaism. This morning he was full of self loathing because he feels ashamed about being ONLY a writer. But my brother became a Jew because he cares so deeply about social justice, love, meaning and his family. So if you are a writer, think deeply. Write deeply. Because WORDS MATTER.

As he wrote to me, “we take a few days to feel all the feels, then we form the rebel alliance.”

I love words and their power. Find yours.

xo M

 

 

VOTER GUIDE FOR NOV. 8, 2016

THIS IS FROM WEARERALLY.COM 

RALLY is a communications firm that works to influence the way people think about and respond to political and social issues. 

Progessive issues, from what I can see. I mean, the work with Alicia Keys so thay have to be pretty sweet. What’s great about this is it shows you endorses and opposes each ballot measure and candidate.  I’m checking it against: 

http://www.laweekly.com/news/la-weeklys-ultimate-2016-voter-cheat-sheet-7565768

— which gives you more intel. As I get a little more informed I’m learning how important each and every vote you cast is. And how deceptive things can be on the surface if you see ads, etc. GET OUT THERE and vote, my friends. And thinking about writing and any other thing can commence shortly.

M xo

Overview & Disclaimer

Many of you have asked for suggestions on how to vote in the upcoming November election. Below you will find a guide compiled by our colleagues based on research and recommendations from progressive sources. Please note nothing in this guide constitutes an endorsement by RALLY staff or RALLY. We offer it as a resource and encourage you to review multiple resources before voting.

Voting Iformation

From our friends at Rock the Vote
Polling Place Lookup: rockthevote.com/get-informed/elections/find-your-polling-place/
Additional Information: rockthevote.com/get-informed/elections/state/california.html
Having trouble? If you live in Los Angeles County, you may have to click here.

Vote November 8

Polls open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM on election day.

Vote by Mail

Application due November 1. Ballot due to county elections office November 11.

offices and recommended candidates

President and Vice President: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

United States Senator: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
Endorsed by CA Democratic Party, President Obama, VP Biden, Gov. Brown, Lt Gov. Newsom, Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, Sen. Warren, La Opinion, LA Times, SF Chronicle, Sac Bee, Brady Campaign, LCV, NRDC, Sierra Club, NARAL, EMILY’s List, Equality California, LPAC, Labor

United States Representative

  • 11th District: Congressman Mark DeSaulnier
  • 12th District: Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • 13th District: Congresswoman Barbara Lee
  • 15th District: Congressman Eric Swalwell
  • 27th District: Congresswoman Judy Chu
  • 28th District: Congressman Adam Schiff
  • 29th District: Congressman Tony Cardenas
  • 30th District: Congressman Brad Sherman
  • 33rd District: Congressman Ted Lieu
  • 34th District: Congressman Xavier Becerra
  • 37th District: Congresswoman Karen Bass
  • 40th District: Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard
  • 44th District: Nanette Barragan
    Endorsed by EMILY’s List, LA Times, Sierra Club, LCV, DFA, Our Revolution, Feminist Majority PAC, Latino Victory Project, UAW, Sandra Fluke, Wendy Greuel, Dolores Huerta, LA Times

Member of the State Senate:

  • 3rd District: Bill Dodd
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party
  • 9th District: Nancy Skinner
    Endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice California, Sierra Club, EMILY’s List, Equality California, SF Chronicle, East Bay Times, Cal Berkeley Dems, East Bay Young Dems
  • 11th District: Scott Wiener
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party, Lt Gov. Newsom, Labor, SF Chronicle
  • 25th District: Anthony Portantino, Jr.
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party, Sierra Club, Labor
  • 35th District: Steven Bradford
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party, Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, LCV, Labor

Member of the State Assembly:

  • 4th District: Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party
  • 10th District: Marc Levine
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party
  • 14th District: Tim Grayson
    Endorsed by Congressman George Miller, Sen. Steve Glazer, Building Trades
  • 24th District: Marc Berman
    Endorsed by Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, Congressman Jerry McNerney, Equality California, CA Young Dems, Silicon Valley Young Dems, Peninsula Young Dems, Labor,  SJ Mercury News
  • 30th District: Anna Caballero
    Endorsed by Equality California, Dolores Huerta, CA NAACP President, CCSA, Democratic Women of Monterey County, Monterey Herald, Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • 39th District: Raul Bocanegra
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party
  • 43rd District: Laura Friedman
    Endorsed by Burbank Democratic Club, CA LCV, EMILY’s List, Equality California, LA Daily News, NOW California, Sierra Club CA, Planned Parenthood LA, Building Trades
  • 50th District: Assemblymember Richard Bloom
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party

Superior Court Judge:

  • Office No. 1: Scott Jackson
    Endorsed by CA Democratic Party, Alameda County Democratic Party
  • Office No. 7: Victor Huang
    SF Democratic Party, SF Republican Party, SF Chronicle, SF Examiner
  • Office No. 11: Debra R. Archuleta
    Endorsed by LA County Democratic Party
  • Office No. 42: Alicia Molina
    Endorsed by LA County Democratic Party
  • Office No. 84: Susan Jung Townsend
    Endorsed by LA County Democratic Party & LA Times
  • Office No. 158: Kim L. Nguyen
    Endorsed by LA County Democratic Party

Local Races:

  • Berkeley Mayor: Jesse Arreguin
    Endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Alameda County Democratic Party, Sierra Club, Labor, Berkeley Democratic Caucus, Cal Berkeley Dems, East Bay Young Dems
  • Santa Rosa City Council: Jack Tibbetts
    Endorsed by Congressman Mike Thompson, North Bay Labor Council, Santa Rosa Chamber, Sierra Club,  Sonoma County Democratic Party, The Press Democrat

Statewide Ballot measures

Prop 51 – $9B in school bonds to build and improve K-12 and community colleges; supported by SF Chronicle, Lt Gov. Newsom, state legislators, CA Democratic & Republican Parties; opposed by SJ Mercury News, SD Union Tribune, Gov. Brown: YES

Prop 52 – Medi-Cal hospital fee program, no public opposition: YES

Prop 53 – Require state infrastructure projects over $2B to be voter-approved; would slow high speed rail and California Water Fix; no exemption for emergencies; opposed by CA Democratic Party, Gov. Brown, CA NAACP, CA LULAC, MALDEF, Labor, CA Chamber: NO

Prop 54 – Would require CA legislation to be posted online for 72 hrs before vote; includes exemption for emergencies; supported by CA LWV, CA NAACP, CA Common Cause, CA Chamber, League of CA Cities, CA Senior Advocates League, Dan Schnur, SF Chronicle, LA Times, Santa Cruz Sentinel; opposed by CA Democratic Party: YES

Prop 55 – Tax extension to fund education and healthcare; supported by Lt Gov. Newsom, other Democratic state officials and legislators, Labor, healthcare associations, Advancement Project CA, CA Democratic Party, SJ Mercury News, Sac Bee, Fresno Bee, Bakersfield Californian; opposed by CA Republican Party, CA Chamber, SD Union Tribune, SF Chronicle: YES

Prop 56 – Cigarette tax to fund healthcare, tobacco prevention; supported by CA Democratic Party, Tom Steyer, CA NAACP, Advancement Project CA, healthcare associations, environmental groups, Labor, SF Chronicle, SJ Mercury News; opposed by CA Republican Party, Big Tobacco, taxpayers associations: YES

Prop 57 – Criminal justice, sentencing and parole reform; supported by Gov. Brown, Lt Gov. Newsom, LA Police Chief, CA Democratic Party, Labor, SF Chronicle, Sac Bee, Bakersfield Californian; opposed by Republican legislators, CA Republican Party, police unions, district attorneys and county sheriffs, SJ Mercury News: YES

Prop 58 – Multilingual education; supported by Gov. Brown, Lt Gov. Brown, Democratic state officials and legislators, CA Democratic Party, Labor, Ed Trust—West, Children Now, CA Chamber, Advancement Project CA, LA Times, SD Union Tribune; opposed by CA Republican Party, Bakersfield Californian: YES

Prop 59 – Nonbinding advisory opinion on overturning Citizens United; supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Common Cause, CA Democratic Party, Advancement Project CA, Labor, SF Chronicle, Sac Bee; opposed by Republican legislators, LA Times: YES

Prop 60 – Condoms in adult films; supported by select healthcare foundations and two AIDS foundations; opposed by CA Democratic and Republican Parties, Equality California, AIDS Project LA, LA LGBT Center, SF AIDS Foundation, Transgender Law Center, Courage Campaign, SF Chronicle, Sac Bee: NO

Prop 61 – State prescription drug pricing standards; supporters say Prop 61 would lower drug prices for all state agencies, including Medi-Cal; Pharma and vets groups say Prop 61 would raise drug prices for CA veterans; supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich, Progressive Democrats of America, LA Urban League, VoteVets, AARP CA, Dolores Huerta, Al Sharpton, CA Nurses Association; opposed by CA Republican Party, SF Democratic Party, LGBT Democratic Clubs, big pharmaceutical companies, CA NAACP, CA LULAC, CA Senior Advocates League, various medical associations, most veterans organizations, CA Chamber, Building Trades unions, SF Chronicle, LA Times, SJ Mercury News: no recommendation – vote your conscience

Prop 62 – Repeal the death penalty, replace with life without parole, save $150M/year; supported by Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Bernie Sanders, President Carter, Willie Brown, Antonio Villaraigosa, CA Democratic Party, Death Penalty Focus, CA NAACP, ACLU CA, CA LWV, Dem legislators and Members of Congress, Dolores Huerta, SF Bar Association, Homeboy Industries, National Legal Aid & Defender Association, CA Catholic Conference, Labor, Tom Steyer, Richard Branson, Russell Simmons, Van Jones, Mike Farrell, American Humanist Association, LA Times, SJ Mercury News, SF Chronicle, East Bay Times; opposed by CA Republican Party, law enforcement officials and organizations: YES

Prop 63 – Gun and ammunition control, background checks; supported by Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, CA Democratic Party, CA Young Dems, local officials, law enforcement officials and associations, CA LWV, Courage Campaign, Equality CA, SEIU; opposed by CA Republican Party, NRA, some law enforcement associations: YES

Prop 64 – Marijuana legalization and regulation; supported by Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dem legislators and Members of Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, fmr. Congressman George Miller, CA Democratic Party, CA Young Dems, ACLU California, CA NAACP, Drug Policy Alliance, Equality California, Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), LA Times, Mod Bee, SF Chronicle; opposed by Sen. Feinstein, CA Republican Party, Republican legislators, law enforcement associations, Sac Bee, Fresno Bee: YES

Prop 65 – Plastic bag revenue; a ploy by the paper and bag companies to confuse the issue; supported by CA Republican Party; opposed by Clean Water Action, Surfrider Foundation, CA Environmental Justice Alliance Action, CA LWV: NO

Prop 66 – Speed up the death penalty, no fiscal savings; supported by CA Republican Party, law enforcement officials and organizations; opposed by everyone supporting Prop 62: NO

Prop 67 – Plastic bag ban; supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dem legislators and officials, CA Democratic Party, Tom Steyer, entire environmental community, CA LWV, Labor, Monterey Bay Aquarium, LA Times; opposed by paper and bag companies: YES

Local ballot Measures

LA County Measure A – safe, clean neighborhood parks; supported by Eli Broad, Audubon CA, Heal the Bay, LA Parks Foundation, LA LCV, LA County Democratic Party, Advancement Project CA, NRDC, REI, Latino Outdoors, Mayor Garcetti, LBC Mayor Garcia, La Opinion, LA Times; no public opposition: YES

LA County Measure M – traffic improvement plan; AARP CA, Building Trades, American Heart Associaition, Friends of the LA River, LA Times, LA Business Council, LA County Democratic Party, LA County Young Dems, LAUSD, LA LCV, City of LA, NRDC; opposed by Bus Riders Union, City of Beverly Hills, taxpayers associations: YES

LA Prop HHH – homelessness reduction; supported by LA Times, Mayor Garcetti, LA County Board of Supervisors, United Way LA, CA Community Foundation, Covenant House CA, Dolores Mission, Friends of LA River, Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, Housing Works, Inner City Law Center, LA Voice, LAANE, LA LCV, Public Counsel, SoCal Association of Nonprofit Housing, LA Chamber, Labor, LA County Democratic Party, LA County Young Dems; no prominent public opposition: YES

LA Initiative Ordinance JJJ – affordable housing and labor standards; supported by Labor, ACLU Southern California, Inner City Struggle, LA Voice, LA County Democratic Party, LA LCV, LAANE, LAUSD, National Action Network, NRDC, NCJW-LA, Public Council, Vote Vets, Youth Policy Institute, Climate Resolve, SoCal Association of Nonprofit Housing; opposed by developers, Valley Industry & Commerce Association, LA Chamber, LA Times: YES

LA Charter Amend RRR – DWP reform; supported by DWP, LA Times; opposed by Labor, LA County Young Dems, retired local elected officials: NO

LA Charter Amend SSS – LAX police pensions; would add to city’s pension burden, opposed by the unions of all workers impacted, LA Times: NO

Pacific Grove Measure P – admissions tax; opposed by Monterey Bay Aquarium, Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library, Big Sur International Marathon, Meals on Wheels, Monterey County Democratic Party, Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, Monterey Peninsula Chamber, Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County, Monterey Herald: NO

Baking the World a Better Place

Why baking, you ask? I mean, cooks get all the love. Chefs get groupies. They’re the improvisers, the “dash of this, touch of that” sensual sweethearts of the culinary world. Bakers are kind of the equivalent of the super nerdy girl who does the chef’s homework in the hopes that s/he may someday notice that without her glasses she’s kinda sexy (totally random side note — I want to make a movie where the super hot girl puts on glasses and the man goes “why Ms. Murple, you’re smart!”)

And yes. I have a touch of OCD. Like, legitimately. The more anxious I get, the more organized my sock drawer is (another side note, we must discuss bullet journaling in another post!) Baking appeals to the part of me that likes cause and effect. Especially when the world feels out of control. Here is a hobby where, when certain principals are applied, the outcome is fairly predictable. There are moments of surprise — like yesterday I discovered that when an oven is hot enough, a sheet of thin parchment paper will ignite rather rapidly. Like, rather dramatically burst into flames. So that was fun. And sometimes the surprises are un-fun. Like the cake that sort of sunk under the weight of too much frosting. It was salvaged. I almost always find a way to salvage — with yummy baked dough and chocolate flavored sugar butter, there’s going to be a way  to put it in your mouth even if it’s not pretty. But more often — because SCIENCE (which is mostly real, Mr. Trump) — there are principals at work that yield good to great results.

And the truth is, the better you get at understanding those principals, the more you can play with the bits that don’t make things rise, brown or melt. You can riff. You can be all jazzy and sexy with your baking, damnit.

But I think the reason I love baking so, so much is that it is the opposite of writing in a lot of ways. What I do for a living is try to make something personal and unwieldy fit into a corporate model. I work for big money-making entities that don’t just want something good, they want something good that sells and connects with as many people as possible. The problem is, what’s good to me may not be good to you. For instance, the older I get and the more I write, the more I love ambiguity (see my post on same) and the less I like exposition (I was never a big fan but now I’m almost allergic to it.) I love mystery and letting the audience take different things from what I do. The film I am finishing now — the first I’ve ever both written and directed (!) — is called To The Bone and it’s a kinda funny/serious movie about an anorexic young woman (played by the luminous baker and also actress Lily Collins) and her journey as she tries to get better. It’s very loosely based on my own experiences. Some parts are pulled from my life directly, other parts are made up. I bring it up because I love that people watch it and have quite different ideas about what they saw and what it means, depending on their lives. And men and women seem to experience it very differently. The world of disordered eating is much more familiar to women. So they are more oriented. But I really encourage people to see what THEY see in the movie. To take their own meaning from it. In that way, I want it to feel more like a yummy stew made by an improving cook. The viewer is an active ingredient in it. What they take away depends on what they put in.

But big money making corporations aren’t as fond of improvising. For good reason. In the new world that is “content providers” as opposed to the big 4 networks, every channel or streaming service is marketing to very specific audiences. They do “demos” and “optics” and they want to make something that appeals to those folks — oh and everybody else in the entire world if you can. So as a creator/showrunner, I answer to them. I try to wrangle the creative process and provide a product that is “good.” But again, what does “good” even mean?

Last season on Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce (season 2) I wanted, very much, to show Abby go through a hard time and kind of lose it. This, by the way, was influenced by Bravo’s own research that affirmed my experiences and those of my friends  — women are feeling on the verge of a nervous breakdown too much of the time. We’re pushing ourselves to be our best selves in every fucking area and we’re about to break like brittle sleep-deprived twigs (can twigs be sleep-deprived? Note to self: google that shit.) That’s why women could relate to Hillary Clinton pushing through an illness and nearly collapsing. We’re all about to collapse, sister! And we feel like we can’t afford to stop either. Last year me and two other female friends with big jobs and big kids fainted. All for different reasons but the common thread was — we were pushing it and not listening to our bodies. So Abby’s dilemma felt real and relatable and funny to me. But according to the “demos” and the “optics” some of the audience found Abby too unlikable and too sad. She went through too much hard stuff. I got the experience for my character that I wanted, but maybe I didn’t give the audience enough sweet with the savory. So was it “good” or “bad”? In the end, it depends on what you’re watching the show for and what you bring to the table. I mean,  I definitely make mistakes, and more is revealed the more distance you have from something. But the bottom line is, the experience of art is highly subjective. Even commercially made art for big money-making entities.

Know what’s not nearly as subjective? Cake.

Most people like cake. Maybe not carrot cake. But most cake. And cookies. And pie. It fills the house with warm, comforting smells. I share what I bake and it makes people happy. It feels like handing somebody a slice of love. It’s simple.

Unlike writing.

So baking is the yin to my yang. I love them both. I need them both. They each teach me daily about being a person. And they help me reach out and connect with other humans. Which is what it’s all about.

Love, words and cookies.

xo