philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
This is the kind of thing I do when I'm avoiding writing.

1. How did you choose your LJ/DW username?

For a very long time I was obsessed with ancient Alexandria. Okay, I'm still obsessed with ancient Alexandria, but I attend meetings about it now so it's manageable. My first novel is a historical set during the reign of Ptolemy II and his sister Arsinoe II (say it with me: Are-SIN-oh-ā). In the course of my research I learned that they had a sister, completely unknown, named Philotera. We know nothing of Philotera other than she was a priestess of Isis and made a goddess after her early death. Given the fact that she was the only child not married off to Potlemy I's political advantage, and the age of her mother Berenike I at the time of her birth, I suspect she was a Downs child, and well-beloved by her siblings. I have never seen this name elsewhere, and I began to use it because since no one in the entire world has this name, I don't have to affix a number after it. After Mark died, I legally changed my name to Elizabeth Philotera Bourne, and now I use Philotera as a user ID and as my artist name.

2. What has been your favorite day this year and why?

August 24. I was out on a hike with my favorite guide looking for an uncharted paleo Eskimo village he had heard about. And we found it! A completely untouched site. Tools, bone middens, house foundations -- everything lying there as if they'd left it just six months ago. It was breathtaking. My second favorite day was August 30, our last day in Svalbard. Same guide, in a zodiac wandering through Kongsbreen Fjord. Oh the ice that day was exceptional! So beautiful I wanted to wander there forever. Yukka spoiled me, and went to every iceberg I wanted to see, close enough I could run my hands over them. I have no words to describe how magnificent the whole experience that morning was. The High Arctic took my breath away again and again.

3. What is your favorite film you've seen in the past year and why?

Baby Driver. I loved that it didn't take the easy action hero way out. I love that it was complicated, and felt like it was about real people.

4. What is your favorite book you've read in the past year and why?

Kij's River Bank, of course. It was written for me and to me and is completely perfect in every way

5. You get to program a half-hour of music videos on MTV. What videos to you pick?

Seriously? I think you would all be listening to a lot of Sigur Rós and seeing a lot of luscious Iceland.
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
I said on FB that this trip was transformational, and so it was. I've traveled alone before but this trip was different. Maybe I was simply ready, or maybe it was something about where I was. There's a whole list of maybes that don't really matter. Whatever it was, as I said to a friend made on the trip, I feel as if I am finally walking out of the shadow of grief. I will be forever changed by it, but the blanket that muffled my emotions fell away and I can feel things I haven't felt for years.

I've remembered what it is to feel desire, to feel passion, to feel that there is a world of possibility for me. I feel twenty years younger. While away I felt strong and powerful and beautiful. I am not afraid. I'm ready to take chances again. I woke up.

It was fantastic to not have any contact with the world. No news of any sort. No social media. I came to believe that we have made ourselves sick with our current culture. I have gone on FB and it's a mire of bad news and rage and self-absorption. It feels desperate to me, and I don't want to feel desperate. So I'll be severely curtailing my time there. I'm glad to have made some friends that I consider truly good friends and I hope to stay in touch, but the time spent scrolling through repeated awful news and anger -- all of it feels impotent and toxic to me. So no. I'll do what I must to keep in touch, but no more.

To my vast amazement, I lost weight. I ate like a horse and drank like a fucking fish and I lost weight. Some of it no doubt is the fact that I was moving 5 to six hours a day. We hiked and walked and I took photos from the zodiacs which have left my legs covered with bruises. The air was cold (my Lopi sweater was a miraculous thing, finally a place where it shone) and the food was cooked by a Russians so -very- different from what we eat. Sugar was practically invisible though there was a desert every dinner. Big, meaty fatty dinners, the rest of the day was grains and broth-based soups. No bread. Almost no cheese. I ate tons of potato chips, everything was very salty, I drank two G&Ts a day plus a glass of wine and I left with my too-tight rain pants hanging on me. I am amazed. Part of it was also, I think, because I was happy, contented, and sometimes ecstatic.

Being outside made me happy. I must do more of this. I will get a damn dry suit and find a way to get the kayaks closer because I must do this -- I love it and let myself forget. I will hike more, alone if I have to, but with people if I can. I will be physical because I've remembered now that I love my body, it's strong and flexible and I'm lucky to have it.

UNTOUCHED PALEO ESKIMO SITES OMFG I THOUGHT I'D DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. I went for the icebergs, but the paleo sites were mind-blowing. I am in love with them. Truly lost my heart.

The animals were nice too. :)

The arctic is a fever in my blood. I am going to sign up to learn Norwegian this fall at the Scandinavian Center. They don't teach Icelandic, alas, but Svalbard belongs to Norway and to be in Longyearbyen for any length of time Norwegian would be a good idea. And I will return, not this year but I am going to go and I will stay for months either in Longyearbyen or Iceland to see what I think. I will go on a dog sled and camp in the arctic. I want to do this. I can do this. So I am formulating a plan.

Seattle will always be the other half of my heart, but this heat, this summer. I hate it. I hate it hard.

I have friends around the world. I promised Hilary, the expedition doctor, that I'd come to London next year so we can do theater together. I have friends who would give me a room in England, the Falklands, Tasmania, every city in Australia, indeed the boys from Perth were -particularly- enthusiastic with their invitations, so maybe not them. :)

It was amazing. I learned so much. I fell a little in lust. I rediscovered my passion for archeology. I'm a much better photographer, which is not a big thing in some ways but it was one of the reasons for going. And now I know I must go back.
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
Uneasy dream last night. For the first time in a while, I got a phone call from Mark in my dream. I don't see him any more, he told me he couldn't stay longer. He told me it was dangerous for me to keep trying to pursue him.

Last time he called me, he told he had to stop calling as well. So we had the whole conversation over again, which is ridiculous but it doesn't seem that way in a dream. I'm all, you don't call, you don't write, are you ever coming home? Well duh, he can't. He can't come back. (Of course, says the logical me, cremation and all that does get in the way. And ew if he did.) I can't let go. Tenacity, stubbornness, temper. I'm really good at those. Acceptance and moving on, not so much. Maybe, five years out, it times to think about grief counseling. Which I feel a stubborn resistance to because that's like giving up. But something to think about. I can tell this day will be colored by sadness.
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
Recipes. I have long considered that I'm not good at cooking, but Jay recently made me see it in a new light. He said I may not be a good cook, he's no judge of that, but that I am a yummy cook. I can be happy with yummy cooking.

1) What was the first recipe or food you learned how to cook?
Probably opening a can of soup, if that counts. If that doesn't count, then (because I was insane) the first thing I remember actually cooking from a recipe was a roast duck for Christmas in the shitty kitchen of my NYC apartment. It came out terrible.

2) What recipe or food did you cook most recently?
Slow cooked barbecue brisket. It came out yummy. I love the slow cooker. Best kitchen appliance ever.

3) What recipe or food do you cook most often?
Pork shoulder roast. In the slow cooker. I live on it for a week.

4) What is your favorite recipe?
Did I mention the roast pork?

5) What is the recipe you make that impresses other people the most?
I don't know that I cook anything in particular that impresses other people. I'm not that kind of cook. I guess the most recent thing I cooked that impressed someone was scallops. They came out like restaurant scallops which I felt was a major win. Jay was impressed. So was I. There were not enough scallops.
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
If you could, would you be a movie star or a rock star?

Movie star. I was once a pretty good young actress, but my sister wanted to be an actress and there was no competing with that. Never a rock star. I have no musical sense at all.

Have you ever been in the media (TV, Radio, Papers)?
Nope.

Do you know anyone who's been on a reality TV show?
I do! My chiropractor, who was big into cross fit, was on Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge. He did really well too, made it into the pit, where he lost. I was impressed -- he did great!

Have you ever met anyone famous?
Depends on what you mean but famous, but yes, even by the most exacting definition. Mostly when I lived in NY. I house sat for Director George Roy Hill. While house sitting for him with my friend, I met Jack Nicholson who is as terrifying as you think. I also met Edward Gorey through the same friend (Gorey was a neighbor or aforementioned friend). He was very shy. I have known a bunch of famous artists, I know a bunch of famous to some degree writers. I worked for a famous mafia don as a cocktail waitress. No, I'm not telling you who.

Who would play you in a movie? Oh Signorney Weaver for sure.
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
I am beginning to get feedback from the beta readers I sent my mystery novel draft to. Two people have recommended calling it The Art of Dying, so I am now leaning that way. So far, everyone likes it, a lot. I had great pleasure in getting an email from one of my readers who told me he couldn't put it down, and stayed up until 2:00am to finish it. That pleased me.

Of course, there will be work yet to do. But so far, of the pros who have read it, no one has found any serious problems. Little inconsistencies here and there which will be easy fixes. I am very gratified with that. As well as by the fact that the ending surprised and delighted everyone. I was very afraid I was making it too obvious, so lesson for me. It's obvious to me because I -know- what's happening.

Also, my two medical experts say I handled the gunshot wound perfectly. I am smug about that as well. :)

Of course, the long slog will be finding an agent for it. I hate doing that bit. But so does everyone else, so eh, just part of the job.
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
Today I received yet another notice from another friend who is fleeing FB. I haven't been keeping count, but it is noticeable. The reasons are pretty much all the same. It's too depressing, too many jerks, political rants that are not productive and wearing.

This is a thing I get. FB right now exhausts me. I try not to post much political stuff because I don't see the point. My friends list is mostly people of my mind set -- I'm not going to apologize for that. I have yet to see or hear any proof that anything I say will change anyone's mind. That's just not how minds change. So my friends list is the proverbial "echo chamber" and I'm good with that.

That being said, I find the constant deluge of negative political news and images completely exhausting. People post images of things that are painful to me. I've blocked some people who post pictures of suffering animals. Yes, I get it, but it strikes me as one more kind of porn and I'm not going to look at tortured animals. It's bad for me, and if I were to act on the feelings it engenders, it would be bad for other people as well.

But I have made friends, and some good ones, on FB. There are people I value, and unless I begin writing even more letters to people, FB is the easy way to keep in touch. And occasionally, like today, I post a political action I took and I get a message that I have inspired someone else to call or write or whatever to their representative, and I do feel good about that.

But it is exhausting, and I do cringe a little when I check in on it in the morning. So my mental jury is still out, but I see it. I understand it. And I wonder, if the departure is noticeable to me, how many other people are seeing the same things with their friends?
philotera: self portrait #1 2017 (Default)
I've been away from any kind of serious journaling, which was at LJ, for five years. Feeling a tad nervous, but also a little pleased.

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