Author Archive

My Dreamscape Is Weird

Hi.

I’ve been given some very odd dreams lately. The realm my sleeping mind has occupied has been weird and uncharacteristically rich. I recently issued a series of tweets describing a dream in which Google annexed the moon (like, our moon) and announced the acquisition on cable television at 2 a.m.

It was a cool dream. I think I’m going to write a short story from it. Colors featured prominently in it — the moon was orange, but everything else felt blue and silver — and, just, what’s cooler than such a vivid, emotionally jarring scenario like that? The most potent part of the dream was really that when I woke up, I felt that I wouldn’t be surprised if Google really did take the moon one day. THey could.

This wasn’t the only recent dream that I emerged from not knowing if it was real or not. The other night, maybe Saturday night, I dreamt of an illicit love affair I’ve longed for for years now. Shit was coming to a head, emotionally and physically, and we were at some kind of ultimatum. I didn’t know what choice to make. It was like the choice between marriage or ending it altogether — one extreme, or the other.

Amazingly enough, a friend came to me a few days later asking for advice on a very similar situation. Except his isn’t a dream.

So maybe Google really will take the moon soon.

Here’s hoping for much more weirdness tonight. My brain is awesome and I love the things it tells me.

What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

How to Leave a Peruvian Girl

You may have to do it more than once.
You may have to do it more tenderly than you originally planned.
(You may fail at this.)

You may have to kiss her very sweetly,
Even as you remind her
It just isn’t working.
You may end up kissing quite deeply.

She might take your hands in hers
And put one in her hair.
She may tell you that she loves you;
She may say it many times.

She’ll say it in Spanish,
She’ll throw it down in English,
She’ll say it on the way between biting your neck
And kissing your ear.

She may act like she doesn’t understand you or hear you
When you tell her she can’t stay.
She won’t listen.
Then again, you won’t repeat yourself.

You may begin to doubt your resolve;
You may consider giving it one more go,
Or yet another go.
You’ll wonder for the thousandth time what might’ve been.

– J.E. sometime in October or November

What it feels like to have run a successful crowdfunding campaign

HOLY CRAP.

I came up with the idea for Rose Petal Pathways back in November, when I was spending some time meditating on where to focus my energies in life. At the time, I was pretty bored and pretty sick of feeling like an underachiever. I wanted to add a little extracurricular excitement to my daily pursuits, and I also wanted to stop wondering when I’d ever get around to doing one of those big, fulfilling projects I’m always daydreaming about. So I spent some time alone, just me, the universe, and a tiny notebook, and wrote down whatever came to mind while my eyes were closed. After having done this a few times, one day I opened my eyes, smiled, and said, “OK. I’m gonna do the crowdfunding campaign.”

It was really, really exciting, y’all. If you know me personally, you know I can be indecisive and scatterbrained; from knowing that, you’d know that I rarely have the satisfaction of seeing a big project through from start to finish. So setting myself to raise $5,000 by February 1 (and later, when the deadline was extended, February 15), and then completely following through, has been a transformative experience. But the metaphysical shift I’m talking about hasn’t been a passive experience; rather, it’s been through the actions I’ve taken on a daily basis that I’ve grown a ton, learned about myself, and really gathered some momentum over here.

The truth is that I am bursting with ideas. I didn’t use the word “daydream” lightly above; I am up in them clouds like it’s my job, for real tho. Luckily, successfully raising more than $5,000 nearly entirely on my own in a month and a half has revealed to me the possibility that my dreams really can become my job. Nothing like turning a profit, and having a blast while doing it, to really make you perk up.

At the end of my campaign, after a night of dancing and celebration with dozens of D.C.-area Iranians who had come out to party and support my project, I was overcome by a feeling I’d never felt before. I still don’t know what to call it. It was some kind of deep satisfaction, a better payoff than anything I could have asked for or imagined. It was something about knowing that my friends, the ones who helped me do everything from the crowdfunding’s social media campaign to throwing a dance party at the end of the period, thought my idea and I were worth giving up all that time and effort. All they’ve gotten in return is my profuse and genuine thanks. What more I can give, only time will tell. But what I do know is that this was awesome.

So I say go out there and do it up. What have you got to lose?

Hit me up on Twitter. Don’t be shy.julierpp

Rose Petal Pathways: Journeys Through Iranian America

Interested in the stories of Iranian-Americans? Check out the crowdfunding campaign here: http://bit.ly/rpp-iran

Hey! I am raising $5,000 by February 1st in order to take a cross-country train ride and write a longform journalism piece on the lives of Iranian-Americans & their children. Watch the video on the project below:

SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN: http://bit.ly/rpp-iran

HERE’S THE IDEA: There are millions of Iranian immigrants and their American-born children living in the United States. At a time when relations between Iranian and American political leaders may finally be thawing, we need to hear the stories of the courageous, enterprising individuals who have a foot in both worlds. With the help of a few friends, I aim to tell those stories through my project, Rose Petal Pathways: Journeys Through Iranian America.

WHY THE NAME? The rose is the national flower of both Iran and the United States. Iran is a country that has seen strife, turmoil, and mass exodus in recent decades. The tragedies of modern Iran make it like a rose whose petals have blown off and scattered in a gale; the places where those petals land form paths that Iranians follow on their way out — many to the United States.

HOW I’LL DO IT: My undertaking is organized in part by the Millennial Trains Project. On a ten-day train ride from Los Angeles to Miami in March 2014, I’ll meet with Iranian families and individuals in cities across the country. Through interviews, videos, and photographs, I will compile the information that tells their stories of separation, rebirth, and triumph. But that’s only if I meet my funding goal: $5,000 by February 1, 2014.

iran rose

If you like what you see, go here to learn more and SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN: http://bit.ly/rpp-iran

Survive a Single Day

[I wrote this 10/10/13]

See, it’s not that simple:
When the air runs out,
I cannot breathe you.
When your love like a river runs dry,
I cannot swim in its memory.
The stars could fill a barn
and my heart could house the barn.

When the air runs out,
What will I breathe?
Who will come to save me?

You throw me a bone, but
I need a lifeline.
You love me to love me,
but I need help.

This isn’t something I can just think about.

Only when your hands,
like two small rabbits I
might crush in my sleep,
brush backwards over my face once more –

Only when I know I can know
that I don’t need you,
or I can believe that one day I won’t,
and that maybe today is the day –

Only when I want you
bad enough to need you,
but I don’t need you –

Will I survive a single day.

Is it reasonable to have
such demands when the
stakes are so high?

Is it fair to love only you,
and only me?

Is there by chance
another way
to find the will to live?

My eyes lose focus and
my lungs relax –
the granite in front of me doubles and
loses dimension.
No focus, no shape, no texture.
Only a long and structured
history of darkness.

The threat is real.
The possibility looms.
To go out as others have
gone, to die like my
family does.
Or –

to choose another path?

A bit of Jung on the State and the Individual

It’s a fine Sunday evening in a capital turning to snowy, icy slosh. What better time to crack open a little Carl Gustav Jung and learn what my subconscious is trying to tell me? I’m about halfway through The Undiscovered Self, an essay the great German-Swiss psychiatrist wrote later in his life during a time when Communism posed a grave threat not only to the countries it had consumed in the East but to the holdouts in the West as well. Check out this line from the chapter on religion, which I found really powerful:

The State, like the Church, demands enthusiasm, self-sacrifice and love, and if religion requires or presupposes the ‘fear of God,’ then the dictator State takes good care to provide the necessary terror.

And how.

In a grander sense, the book is about the morality governing the individual’s conscience and the very different morality that takes over in larger groups of people, including entire societies. That disparity there is why huge governments that crush the souls and livelihoods of entire populations can be made up of lots of more or less decent people. Every last bureaucrat here in Washington is, after all, “just doing their job.”

The Agony of Having Finished a Book

Reading a good book is like falling in love. Between the pages, dreamlike worlds take over the reader’s mind’s eye. The mundane obligations of her life begin to glaze over and float away: reading on the subway or the bus, she nearly misses her stop on the regular. The one time when she actually has to backtrack a mile on foot late one night, she isn’t even mad.

The avid reader knows that no matter what goes on around her, she has there in her bag hundreds of pages of respite. She’s transported from her own shortcomings and is a welcome guest, for a time, in a world unlike her own. Anything seems possible when she is reading, or knows she will read again soon.

But the approach of a good book’s end brings on truly unsettling sensations. As the pages dwindle down and the events described on them begin to tidy up, in creeps a feeling of impending abandonment and a premonition of the return of that old, insidious companion, solitude. And reality. Never again will she contemplate the wonders of the untouched Amazon or an illicit but overwhelming love; these images are gone, and the feelings they conjured can’t ever be felt as they were the first time: So it seems.

Without a book to read, the’s dogged by the anxiety that worlds are unfolding around her and without her, between the covers of the millions of books she hasn’t read and never will. But because there are so many, it’s impossible to pick a new one.

In the end, she’s simply got to crack one open and dive back in.

The Reasons

There are not always reasons for the things we do or the way we do them. The love of which the universe is made is eternal and all-encompassing; yet too often, we set it aside — or ignore that we feel it — and focus our energy instead on rejecting the truth about who we are.

For a few months once upon a time, my mom and I would drive up and down California between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The journey was characterized by a speeding montage of different sights along the way, each distinctive and at this point unforgettable. I didn’t know at the time that while we were blazing trails in our minds as well as on the road. Years later I learned about neural pathways. I still don’t know much about them, but I learned enough to know that doing the same thing over and over does something to your brain. Well, driving to and from our temporary home up north every weekend really did something to us. There’s a feeling there when I listen to the music we used to put on or even when I meet somebody from NorCal. When they throw down a hella, I’m simultaneously grossed out and nostalgic. There’s something to all of that — the mother-daughter relationship, the nationalism (SoCal will always triumph over NorCal – always — and they really should be separate states), the roadtripping…the smell of garlic as you come upon Gilroy, the smell of cow shit and pigs as you leave it…there’s something to it all, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

One day we’ll know the reasons for what we do. Or we won’t. Whatever.

How to Be

New poem.

How I like to imagine you:
Forlorn,
Missing me,
Staring at the floor.

How you really are:
Busy,
Working and
Running to and fro.

And if I had you once more?
Supine
With my kiss
Upon your brow and neck.

A poem for those of you still up at the wee hours

frida

[I wrote this. Don't steal it mkay]

What Will It Take to Fix Me?

To see you standing there at the door:
What would I have given?

I gave you everything I could;
It wasn’t much.

To love you in silence,
Or to fear you out loud?

Which would you have preferred?
Which would have come easier to me?

To keep you here,
I gave you everything I could.

It was not much.
I take off your ring and replace it with the evil eye.

You offered to kiss me
And I would not let you.

Would that have made it better?
Would that have solved the problem?

What can the abundantly selfish give
More than the feeling of being alone?

Just tell me what it would have taken.
What have you got to lose?

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