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The best: she was so excited to be at the Big U, to be learning new things and adding to her base of knowledge, to be exploring and trying on new ideas. Knowledge excited her and pursuing her literary and artistic ambitions set her mind on fire. The worst: she worked nearly full-time to put herself through school. Her instinct was to avoid student loans and her parents couldn’t afford to help, other than to offer room and board. She had almost no spare time for anything but study. She thought herself deprived because she missed out on the whole “party” aspect of college. After graduating with a degree in English Lit. there were not many employment opportunities so she grabbed what she could get: a job was a clerk. She did catch up on her partying then. But after a while she thought it was time to stop messing about, to stop pursuing the dead-end and money-scarce goal of making art. She wanted to make money, to be somebody, maybe go back to school for her MBA. A small bout of cancer scotched those plans. She came out the other side of that experience realizing that she really had been someone all along. She was an artist. That was what made her happy. Life, she concluded, was way the hell too short to be pursuing goals that didn’t make her happy. She never regretted that decision.

L (grey) & P (teal) had been BFFs since they were 12—sisters, more like. After college, considering the shocking price of housing in Los Angeles, they moved in together. That way they got a fun duplex on Venice Beach, a block from the famous boardwalk, with a sheltered yard out back. They had a blast, work drones by day, punk/new wave girls on the weekends, going to music shows all over LA. The Whisky on the Sunset Strip and Madame Wong’s in Chinatown were favorites, as well as Club 88 in West LA, but there were many venues, many weekends, and many great acts. They assiduously scanned the gig section of the LA Weekly for the weekend’s entertainment. Iggy Pop, Oingo Boingo, and X were sure bets, especially if they played one of those Hollywood or Chinatown dives, though L & P did love many bands that never really made it super big: Wall of Voodoo, the Brainiacs, the Twisters, the Cramps, the Dead Kennedys… It was a long list. Two years into their co-tenancy L’s boyfriend C moved in and they all got along and liked each other. L & C, along with their friend F, rented the garage in the back of the duplex for an art studio. P tried desperately to finish a novel, but always got short circuited somehow. About a year into this happy phase of tenancy, P started experiencing sleep paralysis syndrome, night terrors, and her personality went through a disturbing change. She was filled with sorrow, with unpredictable rage, and lost many friends. She couldn’t blame them. But L & C stuck by her, as did F who had also become a good friend. Later, L & C got married and moved into their own place, and P was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After surgery and radioactive iodine therapy she felt much better. The rage and sorrow, sleep paralysis and night terrors, went away. She managed to finish eight novels eventually. F moved to Portland and they gradually lost touch, but L & C remained her closest friends. The family she created for herself.

He worked for decades as a property master at one of the major film studios, often on location, sometimes mundane, sometimes exotic. He didn’t have much good to say about the stars he worked with—except Elvis. He loved Elvis. “A real gentleman,” he used to say. But he loathed Marlon Brando, having once spent seven months in Tahiti filming Mutiny on the Bounty. He came back with a bunch of vinyl albums of Tahitian music, a man’s ceremonial headdress, and a long cloth Polynesian print skirt. Normally quiet and ultra-taciturn, when they had one of their many backyard parties and he’d had sufficient alcohol, he’d strip off his pants and shoes, don his Tahitian headdress and skirt (usually with an Izod t-shirt), put on the records, and do his Scottish white guy version of Tahitian male dancing. The parties usually broke up soon after. She stayed home, socializing with her many friends, doing craft projects and helping friends in need, spoiling the little girl who lived next door who she treated like a granddaughter, tending to the house, tending to the herds of dogs they had—mostly Scotties with the occasional mutt thrown in—and generally having a good time. She was much quieter when he was home. Sometimes when he was not on location she’d go on vacation with her friends and leave him to tend the house and the dogs. He really loved his dogs.

Okay, so posting these old ones the last couple of days inspired me. I probably won’t post these often, but they may show up now and then.

This is the last one unless I decide to do some more.

I realized that I never finished posting my Instagram Stories here. I haven’t done any for quite some time—my heart went out of me at a certain point—but I have four more. I’ll post them over the next days to at least finish out that part of the project. I don’t know if I’ll get back to them.


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