Wide Open Wide (Untitled)
WIDE OPEN RIDE

Settled comfortably now into a summer sublet in Los Angeles, on the second floor of a white stucco duplex with air and light and a balcony that is tucked into the hills of Angelino Heights, I recognize the luxury of a quiet bedroom, daily showers, and a place to put my shoes. My dog is acclimated, my van is clean, the tan of my right arm has since caught up with the left one, the one I stretched out like a wing from the driver side window, the one that drank up all the sun from Alabama, to Louisiana, to Texas and New Mexico. My heart aches a bit, for the things that were then, during that wide open ride, the ones I can almost no longer recall. But Los Angeles has welcomed me with open arms and I have found a nice place to live, and reclaimed a position at the Juice Bar where I worked last summer, and found a full length mirror on the side of the road, just one day after I told the universe I needed one. There have been backyard BBQs with friends and it is nice to see that everyone is doing well, and working hard, and looking good. I look forward to my own growth here, the waves I’ll ride, the trees I’ll climb. 

The finale of our journey, beginning with our departure from Santa Fe, was quite possibly the very best of it all. The changes in terrain were instantaneous and unpredictable, like a mood ring, from yellow to green, to red, as we drove through the desert and up into the mountains. The southwest is made of magic, I am left without a better word or words, because it is purely colors and smells and earth and spirits. We resisted the temptation to stop at every side of the highway town, as our goal was to make it to the Grand Canyon by 7:45, when the sun goes down. I did buy a silver ring along the way, with a green stone and a red stone, a lone souvenier, and a perfect one at that. 

When we finally reached the little town surrounding the Grand Canyon National Forrest and Park, we spent far too much time in the snack aisle at the general store, and missed the sun setting over that monsterous canyon by about 5 minutes. Capital T, typical, but those infinitely hollow depths are just as soul shaking in the dark. We parked the van in the trees and howled through the night at the moon and the stars, over White Russians, of course, and in the morning we basked in the freedom of the forrest, for several hours, and my dog roamed at will, and rolled in the dirt. Alone in the woods is an important thing to be. 

Following a couple dozen photo shoots in front of the Grand Canyon with another several hundred other spectators from unique and varied walks of life, we left that place and we drove through the day, the 15 towards Los Angeles. We crossed the Californian border just as the sun set again, and the trees got weird, and the sky went purple, and the present rapidly began to shift into the past. We were silent for quite some time. We had made it, it was over, it was never, it is always. It had been a long, strange trip, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

MILO

The Grand Finale/Canyon

The Grand Finale/Canyon

and i want to be (come) her. 

and i want to be (come) her. 

Summing up New Orleans

Summing up New Orleans

want to be(come) her.

want to be(come) her.

052912 16:55

santa fe, i feel it fair to say, had the most difficult job of any city on our path. any time one places a certain amount of hope, anticipation, expectation, you dig, on a person/place/thing it … well, creates a lot of room for dissatisfaction. at some point, i really can’t remember what sparked?, in my earl(ier) twenties i developed a sort of obsession with all things new mexico. it was pretty straightforward as far as hankerings go: i wanted to go, needed to go, felt strongly it would maybe/most likely/definitely impact my existence inexorably. inexhaustibly. infinitely! you know.  

i am pleased to announce i was not disappointed. the drive from austin was, i’ll admit, a little rough. no one, including/especially jaida, wanted to be in the van as we bumped through 90+ degree NEVER ENDING texas (i will say the scenery was a drastic improvement from our new orleans to austin drive — i-45? wound us through tons of pioneer looking towns + we had one of our loveliest sunsets turned twilights amidst a cool, if not slightly creepy, field.) the climate change as we reached new mexico was instantaneous: the air became crisp and cold (the kind where upon opening window you have to literally gasp for breath!) and the sky … i lack descriptive energy/talent but i’ve never seen such stars. along the way we encountered a series of sort of but not really funnily unfortunate events: milo was stung (again) by a strange and probably ill intentioned insect, milo broke a tooth, our hotel (fine, motel 6) announced our room contained only one bed and would be many dollars more than previously quoted, kelly got a speeding ticket, kelly dropped her phone in her blizzard … but we forged onward and arrived in one, if not several fragmented/frazzled, piece(s).

the next day was one of my most pleasant. we spent the afternoon wandering — this was the first city we could actually walk from hotel — the fine, extremely bougey (i have somehow never written this word — spelling?) but still very beautiful shops and streets of santa fe.  we encountered lots of ladies in hiking sandals (including one of my favorite outfitted “older” women of recent times — photo to come), a cool dude playing guitar, some child milo loved, cactus flavored taffy, and countless stucco walls. we were caught filming in a restaurant (and in turn caught the staff talking smack —> milo confronted/explained gracefully), called FREAK by a passing car (not that we weren’t wearing sort of matching outfits but TACKY) and had an embarrassingly lengthy (but seriously amazing) photo shoot in front of a local brake repair shop. we saw milo’s teacher scott’s art (if you’re reading, scott, it ruled) and met one of the baddest (in the cool way) girls who will hopefully become a full time friend if/when she moves to los angeles. we were tempted an unfair amount of times by handmade jewelry proclamations beside the highway on our next day’s drive out (and maybe succumbed a wee) but did, i am proud to declare, resist our daily milkshake urge. all in all new mexico was TO DIE and i am already planning my next trip under which circumstances i will somehow be at least a thousandaire and buy every stupid shot glass/turquoise ring my wannabe native american heart desires.

that said: i write you from the back of (a very clean) moody. it is the last day of our journey and i have “mixed emotions.” i look to normal life’s return with excitement but will truly miss the ways of the road — stealing plastic forks from fast food establishments, scolding milo for not closing the cooler. if i don’t get the chance/forget, i want to thank you for “following.” we couldn’t have made it these 69706050404040 miles without your undying love and support. i’d like to also thank my agent, william morris, and the academy for —

for reals, though. thanks. i’ll let milo divulge the debauchery that was arizona. newsflash: the grand canyon is BIG.

check you later!

M*o*U*s*E

santa fe, new mexico

santa fe, new mexico

Austin, TX

The first two nights we stayed in a rather cracky part of town. It was convenient enough to the downtown area that the Austin Crime Scene van and cop car in the parking lot the morning after our first night didn’t deter us from booking a second. Apparently, the cleaning staff entered a room that morning to find a pool of blood on the floor near the nightstand, though no one was there to claim the blood. There was no sign of a struggle. The desk attendant casually informed a line of nervous (or cracky) looking guests that they must always report their findings of blood to the authorities, which makes sense I suppose, although it was the inference that this is a common practice that I found to be slightly cracky.

After a day and a half of moseying around Austin, we moved a bit north to Cedar Hill so we could be nearer to Leander, the location of the infamous Hag Holler, occupied by the one and only Elaine Dunning, my mothers sister, my blood and kindred spirit. We grilled in her yard two nights in a row, amidst a circle of tiki torches, with my beautiful cousins, and second cousins, and Flo, the Wiccan from up the hill who was blowing a nice breeze our way, and my good friends there who were just making perfect sense. It was a magical visit and one that will go down in my books as monumental for years to come.

Blood, they say, is as thick as it runs. And its true. As thick as the Confetti Cake Blizzard currently on special at the Dairy Queen, which we stopped to get twice, on our drive to Santa Fe, via Route 67, which included a scare of nearly running out of gas and many sideways glances from the local folks at the multiple bathroom and snack stops we made, considering the holes in my t-shirt and the lack of length on my shorts. 

MILO

Hags in the Holler

Hags in the Holler

Peacock feathers are really, really bad luck. Borderline evil if they haven’t been blessed in the correct, traditional way.
052612 11:14

leaving austin, i am struck by three things:

1) the amount of milkshake like products i/we have consumed in the past week

2) i have $11

3) milo’s aunt elaine <3 <3 <3

wish us luck on 10+ hour drive to sante fe. love!

mouse

New Orleans, Louisiana