On D+8, I finally bought deodorant

Somewhere between Flagstaff and Los Angeles It had been a little better than 10 days since I’d actually owned roll-on human-style antiperspirant. In the meantime, I’d borrowed liberally from Caitlin M. Foyt’s unscented unisex Ban deodorant to avoid being likened to some sort of barnyard animal.

My lack of procurement of what many consider a basic staple of personal hygiene is indicative of the mass of chaos days D+3 through D+7 had been. We hit the ground running on the apartment search upon arriving in Los Angeles. Starting Sunday, D+3 or three days after D-Day, the day of departure, for you lay people, we were scrambling for somewhere to live. It was about two hours after our arrival in the city after 3.5 days of driving.

We finally signed a lease on D+12, after much chagrin in the looking. After scouring Craigslist, the easiest of Internet classifieds to peruse, we had finally taken to just wandering streets near where we wanted to live, scanning for ubiquitous FOR RENT signs. (Read and see more on the Great L.A. Apartment Hunt of 2010 on caitlinmfoyt.com.)

Scenes from Los Feliz Location was our biggest issue. For my part, I hate driving, so a walkable neighborhood is a huge selling point for me. Los Angeles is a driving city, complete with terrifying traffic, so having home around the block from groceries, restaurants, coffee shops, drug stores, movie theaters and bars is very important to me. In fact, it’s much, much more important than the apartment itself. I’m prepared to live in any manner of rat-infested earthquake hazard if only I don’t have to drive.

Fortunately, the pickier of the two of us prevailed and we found a nice apartment in the location I wanted. Roughly 40,000 thrift stores later, we’ve started to put together what looks like a real-live apartment living space, with only a few pieces of garbage-quality furniture. The worst of it Caitlin is in the process of refinishing or otherwise making cool. Side effect: I now have a better geographical knowledge of the immediate area than I ever have anywhere I’ve lived.

Los Feliz from our building's roof Meanwhile, the ordeal of L.A. has been punctuated quite well by spectacular weather and the easygoing, active atmosphere I’ve been craving. Hanging with high school friend and Nick Hurwitch-roommate Josh Kade, Caitlin and I attending inside the first 10 days two separate art shows, which brings my total art shows attended ever to four. I’m excited about this development.

And so far the living is easy. Caitlin remains the intrepid job-hunter, but her prospects are getting better every day, so I haven’t lapsed into that mild financial panic that I can feel creeping in. We still have money saved, one must remember. We have planned for this contingency.

But already I’m writing more, thinking about writing more, excited about writing more, seeing possibilities for the betterment and extension of writing, and that’s exactly what this is all about. Close proximity with Nick has reignited many various projects we’ve been back-burner-ing for the better part of the last year, not the least of which is THE TIME TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO TIME TRAVEL, a hopefully hilarious pop-culture/fiction/reference guide to theoretical science and made-up experience in temporal relocation. I’m currently rereading old chapters, dressing up our outline and writing the book proposal. With a little sweat, the first query letters could be going out as early as the beginning of next week.

My head’s also buzzing with a few new ideas. I woke up the other idea in the new IKEA bed I built awash with all the important details of a new unaffiliated short story, which I hope to write within the next few days (along with 90 other things I keep slating for myself to accomplish). It shouldn’t be long and it’s literary and it’s deep and I hope it’s as artsy as I’m imagining it to be, because I sometimes have a tendency to write nerdslop rather than art.

I also have to report that living with Caitlin is just as phenomenal as I predicted. She’s the best roommate I’ve ever had, and her cooking kicks ass, despite her self-deprecation. I very much appreciate that.

Apartment 211To be noted: The many (many) purposely discouraging reports of the supposedly “higher cost of living” in Los Angeles are exaggerated. Cost of living isn’t at Southeast Michigan standards, to be sure. But anybody thinking about moving out here shouldn’t be discouraged by the mostly older people who look at you with slight disappointment or perhaps annoyance and who almost always intone in that same condescending way, “Well you know – the cost of living out there is a lot higher.”

A lot is a relative term. It’s a city. Adjust cost estimates accordingly. But don’t let anyone scare you – we’re doing just fine on one relatively low income for the time being. The situation is hopefully temporary, but even if it wasn’t – we’re under our own steam and nobody’s crying “Iceberg!” just yet.

This is Hornshaw, D+24, 13:14 PST.

Destruction and creation

I can’t seem to shake this sneaking, nagging desire to sell off all my junk.

The more I think about it, the more the boxes of random stuff I moved back from Chicago six months ago just annoy me. What’s really in there? Let’s run it down:

1. Toys
2. DVDs
3. Books
4. More toys
5. Video games

These things include my extensive collection of Mighty Muggs, a few action figures, some bobbleheads, and other knicknacks and odds and ends that looked fun scattered around my apartment.

After packing them all up, I realize how little I need of that stuff anymore.

The reality of it is, that stuff was a crutch for my identity. Movie memorabilia and old action figures no longer define me. I don’t need them (all).

I am somewhat loathe to part with my fairly huge DVD collection. I might salvage some or all of that. But my 50-inch TV, my $600 surround sound system, my numerous video game systems collecting dust, my three-foot replica “Gears of War” Lancer rifle — I just don’t feel the same attachment to them that I once did.

For one, they’re a pain to move, and what I’m really feeling right now is a need to go. The trip to NYC reawakened in me the notion that I don’t belong here and have never belonged here. Plus living with my parents (and by circumstances, Caitlin) isn’t awful, it’s just not independent enough.

I’ve always felt a need to go elsewhere. It didn’t work out with Chicago, but there were mitigating factors involved there that made that situation ultimately fail on every level.

Really, I had no reason to be there. I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t explore the city. I didn’t fulfill myself. I watched movies and did my job quietly in my living room. And while I was sitting around, unhappy and lost, large portions of the rest of my life were disintigrating. I wrote next to nothing in that city, and I realize now how soul-crushing that was.

In retrospect, I was unhappy a lot in Chicago, but I came through that fire much better off. Now I’m looking for a place where I can feel more at home. And I can’t be lugging needless material bullshit with me across this country.

The old life, the old me, is coming apart. I feel it every day. The things I wanted I don’t want anymore. The things that mattered don’t matter anymore. Whole new things matter now — most of all, forging ahead in the career that I really have always wanted. It’s not journalism, despite what I told myself as I trudged through my degree and various jobs out of college.

It’s time to declare total war on my life. I think the ceasefire will come when I relocate.

At the same time as I’m deciding that large portions of my life require destroying, creation is on my mind. I’ve spent more time blogging and writing in the last few months (mostly because Caitlin is an incredible inspiration) than in a long while. A lot of ideas are buzzing in my head.

The “Wrath of the Damned” project, for example, is going swimmingly. The @wrathofdamned Twitter account is a lot of fun, if not always the brainiest of literary exercises, but it’s like having a new prompt every day. I just finished what I’m thinking may be a final edit on “Defense of Self,” a new story for the “Wrath” blog, that I think is my current favorite of the pieces I’ve written.

“Millennium Men” is slow-going, but on my mind. When I finish the final edit of “Defense,” I’ll go back to work on the novel relentlessly. I have four or five stories just floating around in my head. And I keep thinking about buying notecards and poster board to create a moving, workable storyboard/outline that I can use to finally nail down exactly what I need to work on for the story.

Other writing projects include a pilot for a television show and a humorous time travel textbook I’m working on with Nick Hurwitch. We’re about to start a third draft of the script and this week, which includes a visit from Nick, will also include work on the time travel book to figure out how to pitch it to a publishing company, hopefully.

There’s more. My brain’s buzzing. I’ve finally discovered the software to run my webcam as a regular camera, and so now I’m bending my brainstorming muscle toward coming up with something to make out of all that technology.

On a more personal level, spending time with Caitlin constantly leaves me wanting to spend more time with her. We’ve talked about moving in together when her lease ends in the next six weeks or so. Really, the life I want to create, I think, is in Los Angeles. To work as a writer, and especially in film, that’s the place to go. Not to mention that the many projects I’m working on with Nick would be far easier to finish while in the same place.

But L.A. isn’t an option without Caitlin — what I want to create includes her, or doesn’t exist at all. We’ve talked about it and she’s willing to go. I haven’t worked out the logistics of the situation just yet, but that’s where I want to end up — provided she’ll go with me.

More than anything, of all the stuff that’s running through my mind, finding a way to make sure Caitlin is a part of my life is my biggest concern. Nothing else matters.

Out with the old, in with the new, I guess. I’ve never been this excited about the new.