Aug 1, 2016

I've never

Felt more of a shifting chaos

It's not bad or pain or sad

It's not angry or mad

I do feel like kicking

And I'd like to just punch

Swing and smack and smash

But it's all from a deep muscle feeling

Of not really belonging

But having nowhere to go

While knowing the life I chose

Jul 22, 2016


This is really long, bear with me.
In my young life, the world has changed wildly. Just a little over halfway ago, September 11th happened. Half of that ago, the smartphone and the age of information took off at lightning speed. I've grown up with two sets of memories: America before fear, and America after fear.
Before 9/11, the idea that anyone would - or COULD - attack America with the viciousness displayed that day was unthinkable. I was about to turn 14, but I remember the difference. The change in the air that happened in the subsequent weeks and months. I remember campaigning hard on the streets of Washington DC for George W. Bush in 2004, believing wholeheartedly that John Kerry was a lame weakling who would let our enemies walk all over us. I believed those things fervently. I felt them in my bones and knew that the only thing that could keep the terrorists at bay was a strong Red White & Blue warhead... and Rev. Moon, somehow. I never fully understood what I believed, never truly grasped the nuance of it all, but I knew that we needed strength.
I went to Israel and Palestine in 2006 and 2007. I made a movie there. I was there for an extended period, two different times in those two years. Starting in Tel Aviv, then to Jerusalem, Tiberius, Bethlehem, and finally Ramallah. I went to Paris (by accident, but thankfully I stuck around long enough for the shock to wear off and actually take some information in). I traveled all along the east coast, went to Moonie camp, watched matching after matching fail, experienced my own attempts at fail, watched the UC's "forgiveness ceremonies" unfurl, and watched my faith crumble.
My faith didn't crumble because I became tired and disillusioned. My faith crumbled because I watched corruption and willful ignorance at play. My faith crumbled because I watched those I trusted turn their backs on basic reason. My faith crumbled because none of the leaders I was supposed to turn to in times of trouble, not one, could answer any of my earnest questions with anything other than a deflecting directive to pray and reflect and trust in my elders.
When I was in Jerusalem, I was asked by the team coordinators to stay behind an extra evening while the rest of the team flew back home. They wanted me to go into the Arabic quarter of Old Jerusalem, with a translator and a MEPI Representative (a completely ineffectual, newly-minted UC "Rev."). Our mission was to knock door-to-door on people's homes and interview them about whether or not they believed that peace could ever occur in the middle east. I'll say up top that this did not go well, but here's a bit of the story regardless:
After many failed attempts at getting a "satisfactory" (read: "yes") answer out of any of these citizens - who nonetheless invited us, strangers, into their homes and shared with us what little they had - we finally came across a ramshackle house with an expensive looking door. Imagine a lean-to made of metal sidings with an expensive suburban door from Home Depot. It looked ridiculous.
We knocked on the door, and we were welcomed into a home that contained the following people, all Palestinian arabs: a 30-something woman in a 90's style pantsuit, complete with Gillian Anderson X-Files hair-do; a young man with platinum-blonde hair and an Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirt; a 30-something woman in full hijab; and a dog.
None of them spoke any English except for Gillian Anderson 2.0, and she told us to "wait for her brother." We waited for almost an hour. As we were getting antsy and a little nervous, the door flew open.
A man in his late 30s came into the house, wearing a medical coat. It had blood on it. He saw us, asked his sister some hurried questions, went into the kitchen, and didn't come out for many minutes. He finally sat across from us and spread his hands in a "what can I do for you?" motion.
I clumsily asked my question about peace in the middle east. He stared at me, and wiped his glasses, and gave me his answer. I paraphrase:
"The blood on my coat is my son's, who is dead now. He was killed my an Israeli soldier this morning while playing in a park. No."
I asked him to elaborate. He said the following (also paraphrased):
"As long as America is involved the way that it is involved, there will not be peace here. As long as Israel continues to kill us, there will be no peace here. As long as young men and women continue to join Hamas and die in the streets like dogs, there will be no peace here. No one in my family hates Americans. No one in my family hates the average Israeli. Neither does anyone I know. What we, and I, do hate is your president Bush. I would charge him in the streets and rip his eyes from his head, kill him with every breath I could kill him with, until I were dead, but it wouldn't bring my son back. But I would do it happily all the same." He went on to explain that the rhetoric of American media and political policy was having more of an effect on Arabs (at this time Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghans in particular) than anyone in the states could possibly imagine. I didn't say a word for almost three hours. I just listened.
I hadn't turned my camera off for this exchange. The robbery of my footage in Paris a few days later was a titanic blow to me.
I said my goodbyes to this man, as he plied me with coffee and fruits, and we parted ways. I got on a plane, got stuck in France, and eventually went home without the most crucial footage I had, and probably will ever, shoot.
That experience in the Middle East was a turning point for me, the beginning of an enormous shift that changed me from someone who regurgitated what was told to me, who absorbed what I was told to believe and do and reflected it outward again, into someone who knew they knew nothing. I was embarrassed for many years to have a hard opinion of anything. I would still constantly fall into the trap of spouting my mouth like I knew what was up and then tuck my tail between my legs when I realized what an ass I was being, but the overriding theme of those moments, and the trap that I would fall into, was when I would miss the forest for the trees, or when I would talk about a "firmly held belief" in a way that attempted to delineate my own feelings about how people should be, or behave, or believe.
The only thing that has changed since then is that I try not to bear absolutes on human behavior anymore. I try bear absolutes on reason. I know this might sound bananas but I beg of you to hold your breath and really attempt to listen to, and unpack for yourself, what I'm saying here.
Living in New York City, and DC, and very briefly Maine, and Westchester, and Virginia, all while flooded with doubt about the world and how/who/what people are/should be, has been an overwhelming process. I am a heterosexual white male in my 20s. I am physically imposing. I have a deep voice. I am eloquent. I am intelligent. I am educated. I am not hungry or sick or unattractive. I am sociable. I am talented. I am exceedingly privileged.
Life is easier and more immediately accessible for me than it is for quite literally 75% of the people I know. Half of them are women, and at least half of the men I know are minorities. This is not an opinion. This is a measured fact. All (read: all) of these people who are not white men can attest, and all of them who I have spoken to of this, which is a countless number, HAVE attested to this. Whether it's discrimination in the workplace, or in a place of business, or on the phone, or in the dating scene, or by cops, or by taxi-drivers, or by their own friends and family, or their own partners sometimes, or the climate of their own government, it is an endemic issue.
The argument that the Republican party is the party of Lincoln, party that "freed the slaves," is reductive to a point that impedes any meaningful conversation. The Republican Party is unrecognizable today to the party that existed over 150 years ago. It is the Republican Party in name only. What's more, focusing on the bald outlines of one party over another is distracting. My focus has always been about the policies that are being put into place, and the butterfly effect of an empowered base of people. While Donald Trump is an evil sociopath, it's not exactly him by himself that I'm worried about. It's not even a conservative House and Senate with a despotic figurehead that I'm necessarily worried about. It's his base.
The majority of America is comprised of hard-working, underpaid people. This has been the case since the end of Vietnam, with a definitive settling of incomes that haven't meaningfully risen since the 80s. These people are frustrated, largely uneducated, and earnest. Putting a media mogul in front of them, in a nice suit with a nice flag behind him, and having him spout loudly about all of the outside reasons that the world is "coming to get you" is a surefire way to incite people into monstrous acts of violence and chaos. Take, for example, what happened in Britain with the Brexit vote. Sovereign fear overtook reason, and Britain has now thrown away every advantage they had by being European. They ousted themselves from one of the largest single-markets in the world. They drove fear into the hearts of every first and second and third generation immigrant living there. They've completely fucked themselves up a wall, and now every single one of the Brexit and UKIP and Tory leaders have cut and run, leaving Theresa May to deal with a nightmare. And at least half of the country wants a redo on the referendum. All because of insane fearmongering and media attention on things that weren't exactly real, and were then manufactured.
Equality feels like oppression when all you've known is oblivious privilege. What's happening in America right now is not the deflation of the currency of our values. It's growing pains from learning how to walk. I hear a lot of talk about this supposed "liberal agenda of hating whites and hating America," but I can tell you in no uncertain terms that that shit is nonsense. Living in one of the biggest cities in the world, and having lived all over, I am out and about with the good and the bad virtuous and the wretched and the scum and the saints and the people who don't fit into those categories and are just normal people who want to pay their bills and have fun. My mission in life, if not my job, is understanding and exploring people. There sure are people out there who hate white people. Sure. There sure are people out there who hate America. Sure. There are also people who hate Lord of the Rings and kimchi, but they're a stupid and loud minority. A microscopic minority.
If Donald Trump becomes the president, a lot of people are going to die. Maybe not as many here as in Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Central Africa, but a lot. Black people are literally being gunned down by cops, often for actually no reason. Yesterday a man lay prostrate in the street, unmoving, holding his hands up, saying "don't shoot," and he was shot. The cop's answer for why he shot him was "I don't know."
There's this attitude of grimacing dismissal when these things are brought up, as if they're isolated incidents and not symptomatic. There's also a serious misunderstanding of the term "institutionalized racism," wherein people (most often conservatives and blustering commentators) say things like "but that's illegal! No company or governmental body has rules like that! Or even policies like that! That's insane!"
That's avoiding the conversation. This issue isn't about what's written down. It's about behavior. It's about process. It's about what's taught. It's why so many white people walk a little straighter and a little faster when they see a lone black person on the street walking by them. It's why so many white people feel uncomfortable when addressing black culture. There's a taboo that is unique to whiteness when addressing it. Either through a sense of guilt, or a sense of mystique, or a sense of fetishization, or a sense of fear. Normalizing these things feels unnatural to many, because it doesn't seem to fit with the narrative of manifest destiny that America has been told it must carry.
Equality feels like oppression when all you've known is oblivious privilege. This is not a critique on anyone's value or validity. It is simply a truth about life and people. I hate using such a bald statement, but rich white southerners felt oppressed when their slaves were taken away. What's happening today is in the same family of phenomenon, even if it's wildly less extreme than slavery.
Donald Trump literally says anything and everything that will get him attention. He does not "love you." He does not love anything except for himself and his dynasty. His actions for the last thirty years speak to this. He is attenuating his policies and his language to appeal to a broad audience as November inches closer. Look back on the last year of his campaign. Remember Jeb Bush? Marco Rubio? Mitt Romney? While I disagreed with most of their policies, they were folks I could theoretically get behind as president, not just because they were more qualified, but because they had a conscience. Donald Trump is a man who literally dove into wrestling wrings to deliver finishing blows. He's literally a man who made a television show about humiliating people. He is a man who engages in wild and vicious and ungainly ad hominem attacks against anyone who criticizes him for anything ever at any time, no matter what it is, until they are silenced. He's a man who retweets Mussolini, for gods sake.
He will spell disaster for equality and progress in this country. If he is elected, people will die. Half of my friends are terrified for their safety walking down the streets with this man as president. Even I am, and I have no reason to be, other than being a dissenter.
I'm not voting for Clinton because she's great. She's not great. But her presence will be a vanguard against fascism.
‪#‎NeverTrump‬ ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎ImWithHer‬ ‪#‎FeelTheBern‬

Jan 15, 2016

The easiest and most immediate thing to miss is walking arm in arm, calm and safe and excited for where you are right now, and for what will happen tomorrow, and for what you will share in love with this person. And then, suddenly, that lucid love is put aside in favor of allowing the potential for something else to occur to take shape. 

It's one of the most unfair and violent things about being alive. I think it requires a deliberate disconnection of your mind and your heart to commit that act, much less follow through with it.

Dec 31, 2015

This year was, largely, a lost one for me. When I look back on what's happened in my life and the lives of my family and close friends, very few specifics come to mind - the last twelve months is a blur. I switched jobs six times, cycled through half a dozen roommates, moved, rescued a kitten from the garbage, and dealt with some heavy personal loss that threw me into a persistent melancholia that's been darker and harder to bear than anything I've known. And, I finally hit a wall that convinced me I needed to start recovering from my twenties. Getting a nosebleed while jogging will do that to you - especially when you can remember a time when you could run a five minute mile without feeling it.
So I quit smoking. I stopped pretending that I'm 20, and curbed my drinking a bit (as befits someone flailing wildly on the cusp of their thirtieth year). I started working out. I bought a blender and figured out what matcha is. I started watching movies again. I called my family more - or at least answered their calls more deliberately. I got a good job. I started writing again. In taking care of myself more, I even noticed that my fucking hair was growing back. All of it was a gradual change, an accumulation that wasn't obvious until there was enough time and context behind all of these decisions.
On December 31st 2012, at Yofred's party in Washington Heights, I remember a buzz of conversation that flew through everyone there; a desire to take an active charge of their lives in the following year. The phrase "Year of Command" was thrown around a lot. It felt like a powerful shared thing, the desire to make manifest our collective will to not succumb to the ebb and flow of the river of life that we're all in together, but to instead make the decision to actively swim. The following year was an extremely powerful one for me, and for many of my friends, especially the ones who were there. Obviously that wasn't universal (how could it be?), but there surely was something in the air. I won't chalk that up to the power of intention; I don't believe in it, and I think the law of attraction is largely misunderstood and colloquially bullshit.
What I will say is that stepping into a new year with a sense of agency, despite the arbitrary trappings of labeling chunks of time (what even "is" a "year"), was absolutely crucial. That year, I let myself be aware of opportunity; I didn't "wish" or "meditate" for "the universe" to do something for me. Because, there are no such thing as signs from the universe - just the recognition of patterns.
I have a tendency to talk in circles and take left-turn tangents into tributary conversations whenever I try to make a swift point, so I'll wrap this up by avoiding vulgar platitudes and saying the following:
The only thing that keeps me going is the happy phenomenon of experiencing love while having a sense of purpose. Love with purpose makes me feel like there is no such thing as a "burden" – that difficulties and obstacles are simply part of earning what you want, and that pain and miscommunication are surmountable things. This is hard to put into practice; I have a tendency to get off on my loneliness. I spend a lot of time grieving vagaries and being angry – usually with really good reasons – and then I wake up a year later and realize that I spent a year being angry. And then the reasons don't seem as important as they did before.
I'd like for this new year to be another college try at taking command of life and energy and time. Life is never going to be easy and it will always be shit, but it's also extremely worth struggling through. Push, push, push, work as hard as you can for the things you actually want, and don't check out early.
If you can read this, it's because I think you're really important - to me, and in general. And I really do love you and miss you, so let's try to spend some time together soon.

Dec 23, 2015

funny that she looks just like a mixture between eva green and greta gerwig, and i love eva green and hate greta gerwig

Dec 7, 2015

"We need to put out this fire."

"Listen, not all fires are bad."

"Yes but we need to put out this fire."

"People have had fire for thousands of years!"

"Okay, but you see this fire here, it's burning down our house, we have to put the fire out before our house burns down."

"Fires don't kill people. People who don't get out of the way of fires kill people."

"You know what, I'm just gonna grab the cat and my guitar and then I'm leaving. Good luck."

Oct 5, 2015

Every night I dream that you come back
And you are soft and warm
And everything is quiet
And you hold your hand to my face and say everything that you didn't know how to say
And I say everything that I didn't know I could say
And we are held

This is the you that lives inside me
The you that you'll never meet
As real as the real you
As toxic and intoxicating as the you outside
I know there is a me in you
One no one could ever know
I want to approach him
I want you to approach me

Aug 20, 2015

I really loved you, Katie. I really love you.

Jun 21, 2015

as you grapple with time passing, flailing on the cusp of your thirtieth year, you squint and blink heavily and rub your eyes with rough and tired hands. you flinch at the sun, with something like surprise at the intense burn that it is throwing at you, that it has always thrown at you, though you may have taken it for granted with a more regular obliviousness than you would like to admit. you kneel to tie your ungainly thick leather laces on your new-ish leather shoes that are starting to fray around the soles much faster than you would have expected. you'll need to fix them but it's not really urgent at the moment.

you get on the subway. it shakes around a lot, because you're on a line in deep brooklyn that is woefully under-serviced. you can kind of feel the thirty-six minute trip go by even though you're engrossed in your book. you get a text message on your stupid smartphone. nope, not her. maybe someday. you pocket the phone. maybe never. you still won't or can't believe that that thing that mattered to you more than most things, that you felt with so much earnest care and strength no matter how much you tried to keep it on the level, has ended. you move to pull out your phone again, maybe to be the one to speak first. you pocket the phone hastily, shaking your head, trying to focus on your book. you have no idea how to make sense of what to do with your time and energy and mind, but you have to try. chapter thirty-six rolls on by, line by line, and you repeat the same paragraph thirty-six times. you finally close the book with a sharp snap - too sharp, because some people are looking at you with that standoffish glance that suggests that they are assessing whether or not you're a crazy. you look out the window and they immediately forget about you. you feel like a crazy but you're relieved that you don't have to walk out of the subway with another label from other people.

you weave through the throngs of people, bounce up the stairs, maneuver your heavy bag away from the trajectory of people who aren't paying attention to where they're going, and step back into the blazing sunlight. you maneuver through another throng on the sidewalk, ducking large men carrying important boxes, taxicabs with lightning reflexes, and well-meaning yet mouthbreathing tourists. you finally arrive at your destination, and see whoever you're meeting sitting at whatever table they've picked in whatever place this is. you get ready to talk about whatever thing you've both agreed to talk about in an effort to distract yourselves from how scary life can be. thankfully it'll probably be a movie that you'll work on together. that would be fun. as you sit down, all smiles and desperate attempts at chipping away the ice that's suffocated your enthusiasm, you once more try to remind yourself that it doesn't matter how strongly you felt. you meant nothing to her, it meant nothing to her, and she's already moved on. you probably should too.

Jun 8, 2015

A preview of the novel I'm currently writing.

Anda would call the arrival of Tomas into her life the advent of her confusion, though her certainty that he had a smile which could raise a child on its own was clear from her speechlessness when together at social gatherings.
There is the hit of the sun in your eyes and there is the sting of the wind at your back. With the frantic misguided decisiveness that grips the overwhelmed college graduate, Anda chose to remain motionless between the sun and the wind. She chose to remain motionless between Tomas and his absence. She chose to remain standing at the fork between aimless adventure and higher choices. These opposing states were all simultaneously present, and none of them had her steadfast commitment.

She would blast forth through her life as a whirlwind person, a sub-person, a lord among persons, an average person, absorbing all things in sight and judging them at once. She would inform people in her path of these things. She would relish every chance to “talk-shop” over a neglected beer during after-hours at the restaurant where she played hostess. She never paid for those barely sipped draughts. She felt it was wasteful to not capitalize on the unwanted workplace perk of free booze. The racquet-ball bounce-board person to whom her rambling, passionate declarations were directed would casually steal sips from Anda’s glass until it was empty. In this way the tax of time was paid, though never in full.
Tomas was spared Anda’s rambling talking-at. She had attempted it after the first few days of knowing him. She found her words would fall away and leave her alone to deal with this man across from her, looking at her with his head. She would feel the shift in space caused by her breathing, then assess the shift, then breathe less noticeably in response to her suddenly conspicuous breaths. Rhinocerine breaths. She would hold those breaths and let them out slowly and replace them slowly, motionless, until dizziness threatened to make her slump over as a fool and then where would she be?

Anda and Tomas had known each other years before. Many things had changed. Time and space continued to carry on without them, neglecting to fill them in on current events, except with the bothersome courtesy of the annual holiday card from alleged relatives whom you wished had forgotton your address.
Anda and Tomas had precious few people whom they truly cared for. A family does little else but sit and watch you and behave garishly and expose your flaws with greater pleasure than the masochistic vomiting of a sexless youth at confessional.

She was living in New York City, like so many of her similarly anti-familial peers. A community of children with bills to pay and neuroses to nurse. Anda loathed them all. She aggressively resented her place in their ranks. She had always made public her plans to escape. She would stay for years, affirming with each fresh January her intentions to vanish and then like clockwork relent to picking up shifts until the hated rhythm, flush with an agendaless victory, was again entrenched. Her rent rose and her plants grew and her spare bedroom held a new transient roommate with every new season. These roommates would politely listen to Anda’s loud plans of escape during the rare moments when the apartment was buzzing with the happy accident of all the tenants at home simultaneously, temporarily in sync with their work schedules, all waiting for the bathroom in a flurry of shoes being kicked off and slipped on. The nods of “yes, I know the feeling,” and “no, no, I’m listening,” while staring at smartphones. The smartphone is the ultimate force of destruction. Any conversation in the presence of a smartphone has no chance of survival. Anda knew this, and resolved to increase her vocal volume until the incessantly texting, well-meaning rent-fraction would look up, sheepishly pocket the offending device, and submit with a blush. The embarrassment was stronger than the indignation. Anda would give up and retreat to her room. The smartphone wins.

Anda was a transplant. Her parents were kind-hearted people who were incapable of understanding their daughter’s desire to live in the unkind rat’s den that New York City had become. Anda was furiously aware of her own part in her adopted borough’s demise. She was an unwitting gentrifier, a drone in the invasive species. Her real degree was not in film directing but in moving to Brooklyn. It was the half-planned dubious payoff for locking oneself into a lifetime of double rent and resentment directed towards anyone in her orbit who would dare speak of their “dream of being a filmmaker.”
She would eloquently scorch these people. And she would have nothing to back up her massive attack, save the technically flawed college thesis films which she hid from view with a jealous rage. Her own inadequacies were all she could think of while verbally murdering some unfortunate shit-bro.

Tomas was a successful transplant, indistinguishable from the native organs. So seamless was his communal integration that Anda wondered whether he might regard her with the same disdain that she held for so many.

May 26, 2015

I'm walking to the subway in Bushwick at 3:00 AM. I come across a young woman from rural Illinois; she is apparently stranded in Brooklyn. She says "the taxi told me to get out here."

I look around at the empty streets and ask her if she has anywhere to go. She says that she has an apartment, but that she doesn't know where it is. I say "hmm" and ask her if she can tell me anything about where it might be. She tells me that it's at the end of the G train in Brooklyn. I tell her that I'm taking the G also, so I could show her the way.

We take the train together and chat lightly until we get off at the end of the line. We're walking in the general direction of my apartment, because I want to go home, and we're both hoping that she orients herself here. We pass an unremarkable apartment building. "Here it is," she says. I say "oh good," with relief, and say goodnight. As I'm turning away, she asks me to come upstairs. For a drink. I'm more curious than sensible at this point so I follow her inside, up the elevator, and into her one-bedroom that she has to herself. Somehow I'm surprised that her keys worked.

We sit at a table in a room devoid of furnishings other than the table, and she forgets about the drinks. She launches into a lengthy account of how much she hates her job, but that she's sticking with it because she's pulling in a couple grand shy of six figures. She interrupts herself to show me scratch marks all over her legs, lifting her skirt so I can see. Then she asks if I can come into her bedroom to inspect for bedbugs. I ask her if we can have a drink first, because bedbugs probably are not interested in people with a higher blood alcohol content. She doesn't hear me and jumps into the tale of her broken home life, her isolation in New York, the hypothetical way that she and I would treat each other if we were in a relationship, her suicidal tendencies, her interest in having me stay over, and her belief in the all-power of the law of attraction.

I give up on the drink and say goodnight. As I'm leaving, she gives me her business card.

Mar 15, 2015

Honing in on and identifying what the strangest characteristic of our relationship was is a pretty difficult thing to do, but a strong contender would be this: she doesn't remember at least half of what's happened, between us or independently, since the winter of 2013.
Half of the bliss, progress, struggles, conversations; no memory of the first time we said that we loved each other.

The helplessness that this fills me with is akin to scratching my way out of a room with no exits.

Feb 3, 2015


It seems like a pretty good deal. $30 for unlimited movies in theaters. In theory, if you saw three movies per month, you'd be ahead of the game. But the unfortunate reality of the thing is, I guess, that once you have access to the magic movie money, you don't really feel a pressing need to make use of it. "There are thirty whole days this month," you say to yourself. No need to do it tonight because it can totally wait. Tonight, you'll sit on your couch and look at the wall. You need that time to overthink things and have a mild panic attack about how you're misusing your time. It's so much easier to do that than to actually get up and make something of your hours. Best of all, it gives you the illusion of progress, because you get to remind yourself that you spent three hours "getting things done" (read: wasting time freaking out over how little time you have).

Do you know that feeling that comes over you when you're writing very quickly on a keyboard, and you find that your brain and your intention and your hands have all somehow found synchronicity and you can type close to the speed of your thought? When you're finally unpacking that impossible text which you've put off for months due to myriad distractions, that synchronicity becomes like a unicorn. 

So I cancelled the MoviePass. And the Netflix subscription. And the unlimited data plan on my smartphone. And the Google Drive storage plans. And the Crashplan hard drive auto cloud backup. And my IMDBPro account. And then I quit my job. And then my girlfriend left me (for the third time, this girl. And no, it had nothing to do with me cancelling my Netflix subscription). And then I sat and I looked at a wall.

Fighting against the city is not a good idea. This is clear. You duck, you leave, or you speed up. Forgive the simplicity of that sentiment. It remains true. You actually have to just stand there in the library or the coffeeshop until a table opens up. Don't leave and look for another place, because if you do, you will walk around with the same level of disappointment that you had just experienced, but now it will dominate your day. Acquiescing will rob you of an entire day. Don't leave. Stand there, and wait for one of your fellow assholes to grow weary of hunching over their laptop. They will leave. You will sit. You will win. You will have more fortitude than the subsequent goons to enter the library or coffeeshop. They will leave, disappointed, and they will lose one entire day. But you will sit, and win, and write, and fidget, and hold in your pee, and not move, and then you will have a finished draft which you will send to your old professor or to that one colleague for whom real friendship has proven too elusive, but will sincerely read your manuscript and talk animatedly with you about over a glass of whiskey, watered down by melting ice, at the next party that one of your other outer-net colleagues hosts within the month.

There is no sense to envisioning any future at all unless you take steps to arrive. If you ignore where you are, you will ultimately lose the ability to experience the moments that make up your days. It is akin to religion; ignore what you now have in favor of what you may someday get. Also known as The Fear Of Missing Out (syndrome).

Don't misunderstand me here; I advocate living as a shameless dreamer. But there's a big difference between imagining a future nostalgia, and inadvertently shunning life and love because you're afraid of what you might miss or what else is out there.


Jul 12, 2014

When you're finally alone for a moment, which is a very rare thing in New York City for a lot of reasons, tiny things quickly become big things. The clicks and squeaks of your knees. Small shifts in your weight when you walk which you might normally be unaware of. Empty space in your fridge. Extra time in your day. The sound you make when you breathe. Quiet thoughts which seize their chance to speak up.

For me, the most potent is the minimization of ego-willpower. No one is watching, which means I am allowed to be simple. This is not a bad thing.

The similarities to an image you love, whether it is a film, painting, or memory, remind you of your own awareness of yourself. Solitude creates reflection which heightens one's sense of self for a short time. Strangely, there is a sharp drop in that self-awareness once too much time has elapsed. You become a stranger to yourself, your thoughts bouncing off of themselves in a swirl.

Jun 21, 2014

got on at union square. they got on right after. he was maybe fifty-five, she was maybe forty-seven. she was drunk and he was exhausted. they got jostled getting onto the train.

"Yeah, that's why they call it the Hell Train."
"Ha. That's funny, a funny name. Fuck this train."
"Yeah, sit down here, it's too small for me too."

ten minutes of silence.

"What are we doing first?"
"I'm hungry. We'll go see the Muslims, get some food."
"What kind of food?"
"I don't know. Cheap."
"We... We gotta get cigarettes first."
"We'll get 'em."
"Y'want to get some beers?"
"Yeah, we'll get cigarettes, food, and beers."
"It's funny, we're talking about food right now, because you know, I was so hungry today that when I got a sandwich... I mean, I got one of those sandwiches--"
"I got one of them and it was bad. It went bad, I demanded my fucking money back right then and there, and they gave it."

nothing for a few minutes.

"Hey, what kind of food do you want to get?"
"I don't know."
"Y'want to get some White Castle burgers?"
"Yeah, I could go for two."
"Yeah, we could get some White Castle burgers, and then go home, and get it bed, or get in-- get in Jennifer's new bed and give each other back rubs."
"Want to get some beers? I can buy 'em, I'll give you the money for 'em."
"Yeah, that'll be good."
"Yeah let's get a 12."
"We can't get hammered, we're working tomorrow."

a long pause.

"...We're working again?"
"Yeah, nine to nine."

she sat there for a long time without talking, until

"Well when are we gonna fuck?"

nothing for many minutes. man with a bicycle enters the train.

"Hey can I just touch the pedals? Can I just spin them--"
"Hey, stop. Just don't pay any attention to her, sorry."
"What do you mean don't pay any attention to me?"
"Just stop bothering people."
"I just want to look at the bike!"
"Okay, so fucking just look at it."
"Well okay."
"This is our stop."
"Well what?"

they both get off at Montrose Avenue. right after that, the train broke down in the tunnel. we all sat in the hot dark without good air for about an hour. the silence underground is startling.

a woman walked up and asked if the door opened onto the tracks. she was cold and lonely looking, waxed in makeup, sneering, unfocused. i said no, it doesn't, unless you open it. she didn't laugh, but gave the wolf-snarl that suggested i thought she should have. i didn't want her to laugh even a little, so she wasted that one.

Jun 10, 2014

Because my name is Tymon Brown, this filmmaking and directing reel of mine is called "The Tymon Brown Filmmaking and Directing Reel." Pretty self-explanatory and non-contradictory. Anyway, here's what I can do with a camera, so far.

Jun 9, 2014

Kazu, a good friend of mine, had a cinema blog called Naive Cinema which I used to read regularly. Visiting that page sparked another weird kind of exploration desire in me to find underground movie blogs and to engage with the new-age Cinemateque-lings of the digital realm. Slashfilm, Indiewire, FilmThreat, all worked in different ways. Then I found a strange little blog called Distant Voices, with this list:

Distant Voices - 100 Films.

Finding this list woke up a strange appreciation for calculated darkness that I didn't know I had in me. It's wild.

Jun 8, 2014

A few books - On Photography, The Piano Teacher, French Cinema of the Occupation and Resistance, Jean Renoir, The Second Sex, and Regarding the Pain of Others - arrived in the mail. Most of them were already old friends, because I never lend books.

At a right-angle to the red brick is the drywall and wooden support beams that hold up this weird culvert in the wall of my bedroom. Three naked screws on either side hold up a plank of wood that strains a little under the weight of hard and soft-cover Sontag, Bazin, Tolkien, and some weird books that came from somewhere.

I like to look at them almost as much as reading them.

Teaser trailer for a new film of mine.

May 9, 2014

Dec 16, 2013


One thousand pieces of ice fell out of the tree and skittered across the lightly crusted sun-snow and hit her car and hit my head. It was totally magic and a little bit scary but mostly just guffawingly new and weird and rarely seen. Her windshield wipers were even weird. One was bent bow-forward, making it useless and stupid. The sun was licking the snow all over and the ice from the trees just kept falling and falling and wouldn't quit. There was far more ice in the trees than I would have thought.

It was the last day of a long week in front of each other. A good week, but a long week, and I was sick for the whole damned thing. Sick on her birthday. Took care of me for a week and then got sick herself. Stupid belated birthday joke. Faced the hard thing a little bit this week that happens when you love someone a lot, which is this: what do you do when you love someone a lot, but you just want them to fuck off for a second so you can be a person by yourself for an evening? She felt like that a little and I felt like that maybe a little, but I'm a goon and not too much bothers me I guess, until it does. And then it really, really does.

This was a good thing though. Talking about what you want and what you need is hard. All the time it's hard, it's never easy, it always sucks, and it always feels like you're leaning too far over the edge of your relationship's roof, but it always (always), ALWAYS feels better at the end. You shit out a bad thing and it's fine.

The snow had many moods. Chunky, slushy, soft, lazy, squishy, ice, rain, ice, soft. Toasters on the floor and belladonna fever dreams and uh uh baby oh

Sep 16, 2013


If one were to assume that any and all decisions made throughout the course of one’s life were merely experiments, devoid of the burden of permanence, then the worry of recurrence would instead be a salvation. The struggle to find meaning or purpose would not be present in an existence that is destined to repeat itself. Conversely, if all things are but once, then there is automatically the potential for total paralysis of the self; and yet there is also the potential for lucidity. Life, reality, and our actions can all be seen as a sequence of images, independent of one another and yet existent only due to the images that precede them. If we were to see each image but once, constantly moving forward through the sequence, we would soon forget much of what we had seen; we might become distracted, or the images might be too much for us to take in. Despite this, we will only be present at any given point in our watching of the sequence because of what has come before; we could not jump ahead in the image sequence, or behind, or stay put.

Each image in a sequence can be seen only once; but, in the very existence of that image, the foundations for the next image have been set. In our actions in life, we hold a trifecta of potential effects, always at the cusp of a decision. There is the moment preceding action; the action itself; and the effect.

However, if all of life is a sequence of independent actions with no possibility of repetition, then how does one make a decision about anything at any time? What if the decisions that we make, after careful deliberation, turn out to be the wrong ones? The heaviness of life and the options therein turn into a cancerous burden. On the other hand if, as Henri Cartier-Bresson stated, “life is once, forever”, then the lightness of being can manifest as an experiential immunity; the inability of one to be affected by the unknown possibilities of the universe.

But the lightness of being can become unbearable. Existence, human interaction, and even the enactment of desires can be seen as an empty exercise in frivolity. What can one do if one’s actions not only hold no weight, but neither do the relationships one fosters over the course of a life? How does one balance their desires with the knowledge that their desires ultimately do not matter?

The characters in Roman Polanski’s 1962 film Knife in the Water exist in a world that holds no promise of guidance. Every element of the film focuses on the transient nature of decision-making, while maintaining a level of objectivity that can only be sustained by the presence of the viewer; the act of watching the film shows us what transpires between the three characters in such a way that we begin to extrapolate what their future actions could be, with a level of objective understanding that the characters themselves could never possess.

Andrzej and Krystyna, a married couple, drive to a marina where their sailboat awaits them. The opening sequence shows a stillness between them that at first seems to be rife with bitterness; they do not talk unless they are in conflict of some kind. The conflict between them is never centered around any clearly tangible idea of contention until the end of the film; Andrzej’s explosive nature, in counterpoint to Krystyna’s overwhelming passivity, manifests its own struggle simply by the very nature of their interaction. Frustration and failure to communicate dominate their relationship, which makes it possible for the smallest, seemingly meaningless comments and events to take on a flavor of violence.

The opening shot - a long, drawn-out dirge of obscured vision through a heavily reflected car windshield - plays out with a strong resistance to being watched. The viewer is made to feel the distance between Andrzej and Krystyna by being separated from them twice; first by screen, and then by an obscured windshield. We are not let into their world, which they themselves struggle to participate in.

The dirge is broken by a sudden display of Andrzej’s aggression. Until later, under the presence of the hitchhiker amongst them, Andrzej’s attitude towards Krystyna is one of dissatisfaction, blame, bitterness, and control. The camera shows this to us by focusing squarely on Andrzej, in close up, whenever he raises a point of contention with Krystyna. His personal failings are directed at his young wife, and she reacts with an apathy that suggests many years of such interactions. Her unwillingness to meet his eyes in her own close up illustrates that she has long ago passed the point of exhaustion. She has been numbed by the monotony of her co-dependent relationship, and exists above it. Every inaction on her part is a decision; her relationship with Andrzej is thusly seen not as an invested course, but as a state of being for her body. Andrzej, on the other hand, deliberately places a weight to his unhappiness by projecting reasons and consequences on Krystyna; even if he does not blame her for the state of his personal life, he still directs his malaise at her, never realizing that his emotional disconnect is caused by this very attitude. Even in taking over the driving of the car can we see his inability to simply be. Unwittingly, he is fulfilling his own despair.

The sudden arrival of the hitchhiker throws Andrzej and Krystyna’s dysfunction into sharp relief, and the hitchhiker’s subsequent presence on their sailboat sets into motion the wild unraveling of a precarious state of being for the unhappy couple. From the very beginning of the trio’s interactions, a clear conflict grows. Andrzej flits between grudging acquiescence to Krystyna’s implied desire to help the young man, and condescending benevolence to the plight and inexperience of the hitchhiker. Andrzej’s caprice, Krystyna’s hands-off empathy, and the hitchhiker’s distracted countenance all highlight the weightlessness of their being. Krystyna has taken the state of lightness to an extreme; every action she takes, from expressing concern for the hitchhiker to swimming with a crocodile to her ultimate moment of passion with the hitchhiker, are not pre-meditated; they also do not seem to hold any special weight once enacted. For Krystyna, these decisions are merely moments that bring us to another image in the sequence, another action in the timeline. They are reality as it is - nothing more, nothing especially significant, nothing imperative over the rest.

However, this lightness of being eventually transforms for the trio into an unbearable state. What began as an easy and relatively carefree joyride on a sailboat quickly evolves into a battle of tension, with Andrzej and the hitchhiker both vying for the attention of Krystyna. While the antidote for this conflict is readily apparent (clearer communication), it is not easy to swallow. Clear communication requires a desire not only to be understood, but to understand your counterpart. Counterparts can take many forms; one’s spouse, one’s friend, the cashier at the post-office, the teacher and student, or the hitchhiker picked up and placed in your boat for the weekend. If one were only to care about themselves being understood by others, without a desire to understand others in turn, then aggression and rage would manifest. Violence erupts from these lapses in connectivity, which Andrzej and the hitchhiker demonstrate to great effect.

The boat becomes a prison for the trio. The disparity between desires and intention reaches a fever pitch when Andrzej pockets the hitchhiker’s most prized possession - a large knife. When the hitchhiker requests that Andrzej returns it to him, Andrzej antagonizes the young man. This conflict, set atop the floating cage of the couple’s sailboat, is the clearest indicator of the random and transient nature of the trio’s process of analyzing each other and their subsequent decisions.

The sequence in which the hitchhiker emerges from the bow of the boat is the breaking point for the trio’s journey. A standoff occurs between Andrzej and the young man, and in this flurry of shots it is made clear that there is no foundation of stability between them - they are literally floating, with no place to ground their power play. The shot/reverse-shot of Andrzej and the hitchhiker frames them against a cascade of clouds, and their positioning in each frame is unusual; they are set against the edge of the frame, weak and then strong, dominant and the defiant. Andrzej’s incessant, cruel toying with the knife finally results in the blade falling into the lake. In a flash, it is submerged - gone, drowned from view, as if it never existed. It simply ceases to be. There is no hope of retrieving it and no hope of making amends; immediately a scuffle ensues, and Andrzej flings the hitchhiker onto the sail of the boat. Krystyna, shocked into action by this sudden outpouring of violence, wildly attempts to hoist the sail back in and save the hitchhiker, who is suspended like bait above the water. His helplessness, whether a ruse or not, is keen in this moment; lying prostrate on the canvas and followed by the camera. The intercutting of Andrzej’s maliciously gleeful laughter at the young man’s plight cuts through the madness of the scene and shows us something else alongside the impending disaster; Andrzej is enjoying the moment of control. He is on a solid surface, his foe is flailing, and whatever consequence this action in the sequence may hold, it is far from Andrzej’s mind. In this moment, he is in power, and the weight of his actions is seen as meaningless and mean.

And then, just like the knife slipping into the depths, the hitchhiker is swept away, lost to the current. We do not yet know at this point that he can, in fact, swim, and neither do Andrzej and Krystyna. The apparent danger at hand quickly takes on the demeanor of a tragedy as Krystyna, in an effort to finally exert an active role in the sequence of events, rebukes Andrzej for his excessive use of force. She dives into the lake immediately to search for the supposedly drowning young man, and when there is no sign of him, the couple returns to three boat in the distance, at a loss for what to do. The boat has now become a place of conflict and discord; it’s original purpose is lost in the wake of the violence that has forever sullied it. Standing atop the deck, which is the scene of his crime, Andrzej is faced with the sheer magnitude of what he believes he has done; in an effort to escape from this sharply altered and corrupt reality, he dives from the boat and swims towards the distant shore. Krystyna is left alone, framed in the scene of the violence, the boat floating through waters which could hold the revelation of death in every inch.

This sequence clearly divines just how intense the unbearable lightness of being really is. Action, reaction; cause, and effect; Andrzej steals the knife, the lake devours it, blows are exchanged, and the hitchhiker is swept away. If one of the actions in this sequence had been altered, the subsequent actions would have certainly been altered as well, possibly changing the end result from one of total discord. This is not to say that each action is predetermined; A may equal B, but it may also equal C or D. But there is no way for any of us to know what could be. Seen in this light, the swiftness of this chain of events reads as insane chaos. Where once was a knife, there is a ripple, and where once was a hitchhiker, there is an absence marked by guilt. Andrzej, in his inability to reconcile with himself the finality of his actions, makes the only choice that he feels is available to him, and flees the scene of his crime.

The film ends on a note of total uncertainty. After it is revealed that the hitchhiker did not in fact drown, he shares the boat with Krystyna. They operate in a state of confusion and exhaustion, and then, while packing up his various effects in order to depart the boat, they find themselves upon each other in a kiss; the camera holds on Krystyna and the young man, sitting closely together while putting his things away, and then their hands touch while they both grab for the same item. The electric charge of their contact is seen immediately. They lock eyes on each other, the sail behind them undulates in a rhythmic pulse, and they press themselves together close and firm. Andrzej is not present, and so this action has no weight; they exist only in this image in the sequence, alone and separate, connecting for one time and then never again. There is only weight to this action when it ceases and they realize that their time together is over. Krystyna glides along the water in total kinetic unity with the momentum of the boat as the hitchhiker gingerly hops atop a scattered smattering of wood piles floating by the shore. His visual entreaties to Krystyna are unmet and fall into nothing. The boat is relentless in its forward movement, and the scenery whips behind the young man as he disembarks into unknown territory. The lightness of their time together is such that it has already dissipated; the sequence of actions moves inexorably forward, independent of their predecessors, and unbearably light.

And then the boat comes crashing into the dock. Waiting on the dock stands Andrzej, who makes not a mention of the young man or the damage to the boat, or to his guilt over what has transpired. Only when they are in their car, driving away, does Krystyna admit to Andrzej that the hitchhiker is alive, and that she was unfaithful with him. Andrzej refuses to believe her. Acquiescing his opinion on the matter to her admission of truth would be to relinquish his control over his situation and his tenderly honed sense of guilt, and as that is all that he can presently lay claim to, it would be unbearable for him to be swayed in his mindset. He remains determined to contact the police, but also remains motionless in the car at a crossroads.

The motionless car is perhaps the only indicator in the film that Andrzej and Krystyna have reached a point in which they will be able to consider the cause and effect of their actions. What could the next image in the sequence of events be? This is the weight of life and the weight of decisions. The unhappy couple, only a few days ago on their way to another repeated process in the unbearable lightness of their lives, have been stopped dead in their tracks. Is their dilemma lightness or weight? Is the paralysis of the self caused by the presence of a tangible burden, or the total lack of one? If Krystyna has seen life as maddening in its weightless silence, and if Andrzej has seen life as imperious in its aggressive weight, then here, at the end of the film in a motionless car with untold possibilities for what the next image in the sequence could hold, their minds have switched modes - however briefly.


Waking up at 4:37 PM on a Sunday is a pretty clear indicator that your life has become a bit over-fucked. Or under-fucked. Whichever one suggests a dearth of agency is the one I mean. Whichever one is bad. The bad one.

Been feeling stretched thinner than the devil on doomsday these days. It's been an unreal few weeks. From losing my apartment to losing a great gig to losing my girl to losing sleep to losing my mind, I think I've had enough.

Sep 2, 2013


I firmly believe that before 10:00 AM, God is dead.
Or at the very least, cranky and vindictive.


Six hours after returning my keys and making a glorious handshake faux-pas with an Orthodox Jewish real estate agent named Sarah, I closed the door to my apartment for the last time. Walking away for good from a homestead is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is always visceral.

Boy did she put up a fight. Took the better part of four days of unceasing work amongst four men to get everything packed up and spirited away. There was a new obstacle under every article we packed up; no hot water, no time, no tools, no convenience. Tadin and I between us spent maybe $100 on luggage-transport taxis alone since Thursday. 

I've never been bothered by hard work. This experience was difficult for a very different reason.

As of this writing, I am sitting in the kitchen of an apartment belonging to my good friends Frank, James, and Will, having just finished an edit for James (he's taking a shot at the Jim Henson grant). Last night I was at my friend Jen's place, finishing an edit for a short film we made (which you can watch here). And before THAT, I was:

Finishing the edit of a feature film,
Finding my way back to my Manhattan apartment all the way from Livingston, NJ in the middle of the night without any official transportation and no phone, 
Moving my brother into the city, 
Writing my thesis film, 
Editing/shooting a promo video for Caroline's (completely excellent) business,
Doing my laundry,
Working my day job.

This was all happening as I was packing up my apartment for a one-month long stint of being homeless due to the universe reneging on the pretty sweet hand that I happened to have been dealt. 

Aug 26, 2013


One of my favorite people, +Kate Dearing, asked me to edit some how-to videos that she was making with her buddy Jacob (who's a solid dude, we got along friendly as pigs).

These are those videos. DOIN' EVERYTHIN'!

How To Tie A Tie!

How To Draw A Cat Eye!

How To Link Your Exchange Account To Your iPhone!

How To Take A Screenshot On A Mac!

Aug 25, 2013


I have waited many long years for something like this to happen. Very glad that it was one of my best friends, +Daniel Onoda, who made it.


One of my newer songs. Working hard on revitalizing Seth and the Swan with some good folks in NYC this winter.


Bob Siegel called me at just after dawn, almost a month ago now.

"You need an editing job? Bumped into this fella who is making a feature doc on Tagore. His previous editors were boneheads and cut together a shitty film. He needs someone to fix it, make it good, make it work. Rate is pretty good. Told him you could do it. Lied through my teeth about how much of an excellent, beautiful fuckup you are."

So I said,

"Hey, thanks. I'd love to. What's the turnaround?"

Bob said,

"About a week."

Here I am, one month later, and I'm half done (it isn't my fault, I swear). See, his previous editors were fucking goons; when they gave my client the project hard drive, they neglected to include about half of the files. I found this out after an agreement of pay had been made.

Rabindranath Tagore. This would be a great project to work on, if it wasn't so awful.

What was supposed to be a week-long gig in which I'd be essentially doing body work on a wrecked car slowly transformed into a total re-cut of an inherently troubled film. It doesn't help that my client struggles with English, and I am utterly ignorant of a single word in Bengali.

A typical conversation would play out like this:

Me: "I can't edit that shot in, because it's not on the hard drive that you gave to me. It's not in any of the folders. It's just not here."

Client: "Can't you just get the shot from the timeline?"

Me: "... Pardon?"

Client: "If the shot isn't in the hard drive, just get it from the timeline and cut it into the project."

Me: "How many of your AOL disks have you kept?"

Client: "How many do you need? Will they help?"

Me: "Wow."

Client: "What?"

Me: "Okay, uh, an analogy for the situation is this: imagine that you're making dinner, and some of the spices (movie files) are missing from the cabinet (hard drive), so you go check if the spices are hiding on your dinner plate (timeline). It doesn't make sense. The timeline is dependent on the hard drive for its content - not mutually, and certainly not the other way around. You know what I mean?"

Client: "Ah, yes, well, um."

So now I am tasked with re-cutting this entire picture upon pain of forfeiture of payment. I've pulled more all-nighters in the past month than I ever have during school. Couldn't be more tired if I tried. Constant explanations of reality to the client, leading to rage. Glorious rage. After my client suggested (for the tenth time) that I put my entire life on hold and come stay at his house for a week so I can edit with him looming over my shoulder like a golem, I was forced to put my foot down very firmly on his fine imported rug.

Me: "No."

Client: "My wife will cook you dinner for a week."

Me: "I will pack my bags and be there tomorrow."

I am easily undone.