Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I won!

As my friend Tom says, my good luck continues. I just learned from Lindsay at the Austin Film Festival that one of my nights at this year’s conference will be on the house. Sweet!

They seem to like having me there as much as I like going. Last year my producer’s badge was covered since Tom and I won the pitch contest the previous year. At this rate, I fully expect to be invited to speak on next year’s panel “How to Win Things at Austin.” Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Enlightenment! While Supplies Last

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Land of the Long Black

There’s a great moment in U2 By U2 where Bono, returning from a year or more of nonstop touring, asks a friend, “Do you have a routine I could use?” The friend, knowing that Bono hasn’t had any domestic stability in a long time, explains how he likes to get up in the morning, go to a local coffee shop, converse with the regulars, and read the newspaper. Bono is amazed by this.

I’ve been home a week now, regaining my hemispheric equilibrium, contemplating the second draft of the Viking epic, and wondering about the shape of my life. The office feels more distant than ever, a miniature corporate diorama observed through the wrong end of a telescope. I don’t remember the lights being so . . . fluorescent. My house is cluttered and leaden, full of things I don’t use or need, things I can’t carry with me. The local highways, eerily empty upon our early-morning return, confound me. How do I get from A to B?

I’ve always been a creature of structure and routine. Each day begins with The Coffee Ritual, a meticulous way of producing a simple cup of press-pot coffee, taken black. This is my preferred style, but in New Zealand I learned that it’s hard to find anything similar. There is no drip coffee, what most Americans are used to, but instead a panoply of familiar-sounding styles: long blacks, short blacks, flat whites. I tended to favor the long black, but on occasion would order the half-strength Americano. At Wellington’s celebrated Caffe L’affare this came in the form of a single shot of espresso accompanied by a cup of hot water. I had to assemble the drink myself, like tea.

Funny how something as simple as coffee can remain a constant across continents and time zones, a touchstone of familiarity and longing, something to hold onto when the world feels foreign. And now The Coffee Ritual points irrevocably back the other way to my brief sojourn in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

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