Foundations, hurricanes, etc
Hi, my darling.
The love affair with Pasadena continues.
Every morning I go for a walk. My view is… My view is.
If you’re thinking that tableau looks very green for LA you are not incorrect. It didn’t just rain when I got here, my entrance ushered in a fracking once in history hurricane, okay?! Daniel, Patrick and I have been giggling because it appears, as usual, that I do indeed control the weather.
When I arrived here in 2017 it rained every day. I’m not even remotely joking: Here is an article to prove it because I am no slouch and cite my sources. If you’d like to just stay in the taalitalk (thanks!) and not get distracted (awesome!) (i am so easily distracted!) (as is evidenced!) (by these constant parantheticals!), here is the article’s headline to save you the time.
Bone-dry! To! 216% of normal rainfall! In four months!!!
(you’re welcome, Los Angeles)
(But actually? Woof. It was terrible.)
I, not being a born and bred Angeleno, was furious about this 2017 development because like most humans I did not move to LA for rain and clouds. I moved for sunshine. Palm Trees. Large sets of fake lips/boobs. Etc.
(Like all the songs promised.)
Sunshine was not in the cards, though. It rained and rained and rained and rained. For the first time in a decade Los Angeles bloomed.
As the barren mountains flowered, I realized I could do the same. I put aside my deep, frantic need for external sunny validation and replaced it with a budding inner strength.
Also ended up writing a pretty bomb song about the whole thing, if I may say so myself.
To say I wrote that song is actually a stretch. I didn’t have much to do with the process. It came out of me, fully formed, within 15 minutes. At the piano I remember singing the line, “I said goodbye to you.”
It felt strange to sing it.
Out of place and confusing.
So I knew I had to repeat it.
I’ve learned by now that when things come that quickly you get out of the way. You trust it, because something is speaking through you. Now when I hear and sing “I said goodbye to you,” it doesn’t feel strange, out of place or confusing.
It feels prescient and cathartic.
I have said goodbye to so many different “you”s. People, patterns, cities, addictions. Each time I said goodbye and took a bet on myself the results were magical. Once I learned I already had everything I needed it truly “wasn’t really hard for me to go” (look at this pretentious bish, quoting herself! apologies!).
In all seriousness, though: If there’s anything I’ve done these past two years with you it’s learned how to say goodbye with grace.
This hasn’t always been the case. For hours, days, years, I agonized over transitions. But in the end, as we’ve often discussed together, real art, real creation, happens in those spaces.
I could do with the reminder as I feverishly micromanage the next steps upon landing back in LA. Here, for example, is what I had on deck for “September” in the taali artist plan.
Here is what it looks like now.
An alarming relief and also a painful chuckle to do that massive delete. I’m not even mad at myself: By now I know this is a key part of any one of my plans.
I get excited.
I forget about it.
I get very excited.
I eat a sandwich.
I dream of the stars.
I shoot for them!
Through it all, I often forget to build the foundation.
Too focused on how to decorate the windows, what the stars will look like up there.
This can lead to heartbreak because without a foundation a house, plan or dream crumbles. So I’ve been hard at work at mine this week, starting with our home.
(Our home! Dreamy gasp. Dreamy sigh.)
Yesterday the movers finally arrived. Their names were Manny and Reuben, we cut them up fresh watermelon and they were absolute treasures.
Manny and Reuben were heroically patient as all of the tension, trauma, etc immediately reemerged from me. Our belongings, out of storage for the first time in two and a half years. An archaeological dig of startling joy, nostalgia, hope for the future.
All of those beautiful things are back in our home now. Of fracking course I had every single box unpacked before Manny and Reuben left (the hyper-focus to end all hyper-focus). The whole house brings me so much joy that it will have to be a taalitalk for next week, because I could talk to you about it until next year.
For now I get to work on foundations. There are legitimate things to take care of - the album has a release date (!), there’s a new single coming your way (!) around December, etc. But all of it will crumble, as it always does, without essential elements.
I certainly have the sunlight.
Water? Check. The rain completely stopped when I left LA in 2019 because I control the weather (sorry, Los Angeles). Returned like a motherfucker upon my return (you’re welcome, Los Angeles).
Roots are another story. Last time I was in LA I put down shoddy ones. Grew within the boundaries of what my own limited imagination could think up. This time, hopefully, there’ll be more blossoms and more space to blossom.
And you know what, my love? It all looks pretty beautiful today. The house is fantastic. There’s a place called Cost Plus World Market with a teller named Kat who grew up in Manhattan and lived above Max Fish in the 90s on the same floor as Billy Corgan’s girlfriend. The other day I saw this magnificence in a parking lot.
It’s a beautiful evening now in LA and I love you. Just cooked this glorious Ottolenghi recipe (he lies! he lies! caramelizing onions takes YEARS, not 15 minutes!) and girl if it wasn’t one of my best works.
In about five minutes José and I will go for our nightly sunset walk (what is this existence?! Who gave me the right!).
I feel clear, calm and ready.
Because we are stronger than we think.
We are clearer than we think.
We are bolder than we think.
We are capable of things so much further than the boundaries of our own limited imaginations.
I know that now. So the only actually important question is - what cake should I make first in the new house!?
More next week.