Tuesday, March 31, 2009

illuminate, explain

Last night I went to a Salon at the Ink Spot. The Salon was a conversation with Arthur Salm, former books editor the San Diego Union-Tribune. Salm so longer works for the U-T and is now at columnist at the brand spanking new San Diego News Network.

Salm was soft-spoken and entertaining. His passion for his former job was clear and I learned things I don't know if I wanted to learn. The discussion was fascinating to me. He said agreeing or disagreeing with a critic is irrelevant, the job of critic is to illuminate, explain. I agree. I read book reviews to read good writing about writing. He doesn't know where the future of criticism lies, that most major newspapers have gotten rid of their books sections. He compared it to knowing how to sew spats. It is becoming an obsolete art. Scary, nay terrifying. Without critics who will define what is good art? How can we package it and sell it? (Then my bohemian monster comes out roaring to say me "if it is true art then why package/sell it, it will stand alone as greatness blah blah?" Hush bohemian monster, we don't want to work construction forever. . .)

Listening to him made my heart a little bit sad wondering how we aspiring writers will fare in the next few years, decades. The publishing industry is haywire, people are reading books on hand-held devices, authors are battling superstars for advances and getting slashed and destroyed like an army of Orcs. I won't think of it. I'll work on my book and march on towards whatever awaits me.

I started the new Charles de Lint book, Mystery of Grace last night and stayed up way too late reading. Mr. De Lint has swung back to my culture, writing about a Latina women living (and dying) somewhere in the irrigated desert. One of my other favorite books of his, Forests of the Heart also took place in the Southwest. This new book is taking a little longer to grow in me in terms of plot and I am still getting to know the characters, but the setting is intimate and familiar. He describes a local Mexican grocery store and I swear he must have spent time in as many as I have, he got it down pat. The main character Grace reminds me physically of a local waitress I can't stand, I must get over that to fall in love with her and give myself over to the story. He will deliver, he always does.

I started reading another book I may or may not admit to reading. I've been reading several books on this subject with the half-assed idea of writing an essay discussing the topic and how easily it sells books. But I hide the books in my closet under my camping gear so no one looking at the bookshelf will get the wrong idea. I wonder how many of us edit our bookshelves for company, especially potential romantic possibilities. I have no shame to my game about all the young adult fiction and fantasy I read but I've quite the collection of crap that I secretly read then hide.

I need to get out of town. No such luck as La Creep will be down this weekend with Baby D. Yay Creep time!

The desert is calling. Soon, soon.


Breaking the Girl
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Monday, March 30, 2009

come back sunshines!

Spring is kind of a tease, no? Friday was beautiful and I spent a big portion in the sun. Saturday was gorgeous and I spent the day inside, physically and metaphorically. Yesterday I woke up eager for more of that vitamin D, put on a sleeveless slip of a thing, sprayed on the spf and went outside to. . . clouds. Nay Spring, return! I am ready for the sunshine, the heat, the kind of clothing I like best, minimal, not restricting.

I am rereading a Barbara Kingsolver book Pigs in Heaven, one of her earlier works. I love reading Kingsolver from the beginning of her career to the latest works, including the poetry and non-fiction. She is such a great writer, but it also clear to se her evolution as a writer. She has matured and developed a voice that resonates. I get completely lost in her work. Sometimes I want to live in her books.

I'm going to go find the new Charles de Lint book today, The Mystery of Grace, and disappear into it. I know I'll love it, I love everything he writes.



Back in the Day
Erykah Badu

Sunday, March 29, 2009

whoa

I did it. I wrote for nine hours yesterday. Whoa. I exhausted myself but it was also invigorating. I did a lot of work on my novel and played with some other work too. Great energy, good crowd. Last night I went to bed early and slept eleven hours, something I never do. It was nice to be surrounded by other writers. Each hour we had a different exercise led by a different instructor. I led one exercise in letter writing since I am always writing letters I never send. Maybe one I'm dead there will be a collection of mine called The Unsent Letters . That would be funny and not so funny at the same time.


Cherish the Day
Sade

Saturday, March 28, 2009

writing all day long

Today is the SDWINK Write-a-Thon. I'll be writing from 9am to 6pm to raise money for San Diego Writers, Ink. Feel free to sponsor me!

I have several things I want to work on today. My memoir piece about my Jehovah's Witness childhood. I am beginning to see I wont be able to properly write it all in an essay. I also want to get another couple of thousand words in my novel. I can do it.

The only sad face thing is that the weather is so damn beautiful and I'll be indoors all day. I spent most of yesterday outdoors drinking beer with a friend in the sunshine. Good times. I'l try to spend more time outdoors tomorrow. Today I write.


One Cup of Coffee
Bob Marley

Friday, March 27, 2009

One Last Friday

Last year this week I moved out of my old place in Golden Hill and moved into my place here in South Park. It was a very exciting move for me and I was full of happy dances. I remember this vividly this morning because one year ago at the write-a-thon I wrote a long journal entry about my forthcoming change of environment. I had things to look forward to back then. I am much more of a moment to moment type this days.

I keep hearing about this book The Art Instinct. I've read several reviews and articles about the book. It really should be right up my alley, evolutionary psychology and humans instincts towards creating art and responding to it. I bet it still has something to do with getting laid. It always does.

The South Park Walkabout is tomorrow evening. I will probably be exhausted from the write-a-thon (sponsor me!) but I'll go anyway. A band is playing at Citizen Video (where I picked up and watch Gadjo Dilo the other night, phenomenal & surprising.)


Sunshine Superman
Donovan

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chaka fixes the Crank

After a night of bad dreams and insomnia I am not the happiest kid on earth but Chaka Khan soothes the crank in me. My insomnia has been slipping back into my life. I fall asleep fine but am wide awake in the middle of the night. Existential dilemmas are always so much more daunting alone at 4am in bed. I try exercises to get me back to sleep, math equations, Hail Marys, other mantras, I talk to myself and tell myself comforting things but it doesn't matter. For some odd reason I wake up tragic with my heart pounding and struggle to get over it. Days after my night terrors are always a little rough.

I'm looking forward to nine hours of writing this weekend though I know it will be challenging. I won't have the distractions of an internet connection or telephone. There will be many other writers doing the same thing.

I have lots of notes on things I want to write and I'll take them with me to the writing marathon. Yesterday I looked over some old notes and found the beginnings of poems I eventually finished and even put in my chapbook. It was interesting to see them on their original states without any editing or rearranging. I found notes for poems I've been wanting to write. So much, so little. I forget about my voice sometimes but have to remind myself.


Sweet Thing
Chaka Khan & Rufus

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

to the valley below

Yesterday after a roughish day I came home to candy in my mailbox. Not really candy but the latest issue of ZYZZYVA. How dorky am I that getting a lit mag in the mail automatically makes my day a good day? The new issue is pretty interesting, all about textimage, "instances in which text and image collide and collude on the page-- from the artist playing with that basic literary unit, the letter, to the writer sketching and doodling in his notebook." Pretty good timing as I have been in an ongoing inner dialogue about form, not just in literature but in film, life etc, blah blah. When I am working construction I sometimes scribble small poems on the iron with a marker before I paint it. Anyway, the issue is going to require another solid perusal or two as I was frayed yesterday. But from my first few looks I may have to get another copy of the issue since there are several pieces I already want to cut out and hang in my office on my wall of things to look at when the writing isn't coming.


One More Cup of Coffee
The White Stripes

Also, if you can, please please please consider sponsoring my writing for NINE hours this Saturday to raise money for San Diego Writers, Ink. Your donation will help keep a great organization running. Writing is a solitary act and isolating at times and SDWINK is one of those places we can go to to connect. I love this organization, it truly supports local writers and is a home. Support my home.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

spock and civil war beards

B & I went to see Grand Ole Party. I dig their music much and B is a big fan. They were debuting music from their forthcoming album. My morning after observations and thoughts:

--I am glad earplugs were invented.
--What is up with men and their Civil War beards?
--Some people can't help playing air guitar while a band plays. I am not one of those people.
--I was the tallest woman in the room. I was wearing heels. I like wearing heels.
--The music was good but the acoustics were pretty crappy.
--I will never go to the Soda Bar again lest I get a bladder infection from waiting in line for the ONE toilet. I like the place but if I can't pee I can't drink and what's the point?
--I noticed a new trend in female hipster haircuts last night. Think Spock from the old Star Trek. All I can say is really guys? really?!?


Clementine
The Decemberists

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I am

I am the best friend a drunk on a skateboard can have.

I saw two rollover accidents yesterday. One was on the 15 South. A small black car was flipped over. A few other slightly bashed cars were parked around it while the police and ambulance filled out paperwork. A well-dressed young woman was screaming and sobbing on the shoulder. As I drove by she collapsed into the arms of a man who had run up to her. It was really odd to observe such a personal and emotional moments from the fish bowl safety of my car. It made my heart hurt. On the way to Coronado yesterday C and I saw a convertible that had flipped over on the Coronado bridge. I am really into my seatbelt.

We critiqued my essay in my memoir class last night. I had to read the entire nine pages aloud. I was surprised to get laughs in places I didn't even think were funny. I received a lot of good feedback and ideas. Apparently I put too much work into too small a space. The instructor even said each page could be a chapter. Yikes! A chapter? I had hoped this memoir would be a long essay, my 10,000 words max. But maybe I am under-ambitious.

I want to dance to this song at night in the middle of nowhere where no one can see me. That is my mood.


Cosmic Dancer
T-Rex

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Herbie like the love bug

Love and more love to my deceased grandfather, Herbie Jordan. Today was his birthday. He was my best friend. As I write this I am drinking a cup of strong coffee with milk in it. As far back as my memory reaches I have been drinking coffee. When I was very young my parents would take me to my grandparent's house before they went to work. I would sit with m grandpa and we would drink coffee. He would pour an inch of coffee into a cup for me and fill the rest up with milk. As I grew he poured me less milk and more coffee. I credit Herbie with many things in my life, especially my love of solitude. We would sit in silence for hours in his backyard while my grandmother gardened and my sisters chased the chickens around. Our love was the most comfortable thing I have ever known. He would always counsel me Don't give a shit what anyone thinks. I miss him dearly but dream of him often. Happy birthday, viejito.

I finished Downtown Owl. Great characters, good inner dialogue, interesting and brilliant scenes but at the end of the book I was dissatisfied. (I think) I understand what Klosterman was doing but, well, shit. I like resolution. I know things aren't supposed to be wrapped up in neat packages and messes are left behind all of the time in real life. But I have enough real life living and wanted something more. I still recommend it.

The writing is coming along though I am hit with freight train moments of not wanting to ever write again. But they pass. What really inspires me is the mediocre writing I see many places. However the mediocre the writers are, however, they send out work a lot more than I do. I think it may be a confidence thing. As soon as I put a stamp on an envelope containing my work and stick it in the mailbox I have a mini-breakdown of fear that my writing is terrible and I am wasting my time. I shut that voice up as quickly as I can but it is always whispering somewhere in the background. Bad voice! Bad!


You're No Good
Linda Ronstadt

Monday, March 16, 2009

scents, sense

I planted night-blooming jasmine on my balcony yesterday afternoon. The scent is intoxicating to me and reminds me of childhood. When I was a child my father planted many vines of night-blooming jasmine outside my bedroom window and when I slept with the window open I fell asleep to the thick, sweet scent.

I read a great book last year called The Scent of Desire by Rachel Herz. Pretty damn brilliant reading for a nerd like me. All about emotion and memory and how they are affected by scent. The other day on my bike ride I could smell the marsh from San Diego Bay and started recalling memories of my childhood I had filed away in a forgotten place.

Working on memoir I am trying to recall other scents that will trigger things for me. Freshly vacuumed industrial carpet, cleaning products, the elementary school scents of paste and the pinky metallic taste of the fluoride in the drinking water. I love my mind and the intricacies it is capable of. I love going places within myself. If I didn't love it so much I would probably be a crazy person.



Superstar
The Carpenters

Sunday, March 15, 2009

the rush and pull

I went for NINETEEN mile bicycle ride yesterday. I, who haven't ridden a bicycle in ten years, rode nineteen miles. I was worried my legs would be jelly today and that I would be exhausted but I went to bed at a normal late-ish hour and woke up early, happy. My quads are fine, the calves are fine, the part of my body that was sitting on the seat . . .not so good. I will write today from the comfort of my sofa, no hard chairs for Lizz, thank you very much. Thanks to my friend Andy for convincing me I could do it.

I watched Silent Light last night. The movie is set in Northern Mexico in a Mennonite community. It is a love story about a man with a wife and family who falls in love with another woman. It was deeply odd and to say it was slow-paced would be an underwhelming description. I actually thought the dvd had frozen at several parts during the film. It was a character study and as much about landscape as the world without the rush and pull of modernity. (I've driven through Chihuahua where there is a large Mennonite population; it was odd to see them and even odder, billboards advertising Mennonite juice. . .) The film was beautifully shot but I don't recommend it to anyone who can't handle very very very slow unfolding. The actors were phenomenal, the setting gorgeous and the very odd ending was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the middle of the night. I had read the NYT Review months ago and was curious about the film but I couldn't watch it again.

I overheard a woman say yesterday The smell of puppy's breath is God's greatest gift to women. I really had to bite my tongue not to say something facetious. Really? Whoever she is, I hope she always speaks in hyperbole like that because if not, what a sad thing to believe is a great gift.

I went for an early walk this morning. Spring is coming! I could smell gardenias and night-blooming jasmine. I will spend more time outdoors.


Across the Universe
Fiona Apple

Friday, March 13, 2009

cartoon overload

I dig this article: Nobody in Love is Original at the Poetry Foundation website.

La Creep and Baby D are still staying with me and enjoying my neighborhood. Yesterday they went down to So Childish where La Creep bought Baby D Never Mind Your P's and Q's- Here's the Punk Rock Alphabet. Baby D now walks around my apartment looking for his book and asking "Where's Sid and Nancy?" I love having Baby D around but if I never have to watch another episode of Spongebob it will be too soon.


Baby I Love You
The Ramones

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sponsor Me!

Hey kids! On March 28 of this month I'll be participating in the San Diego Writers, Ink Write-A-Thon, Blazing Laptops. A bunch of writers pedge to write for nine hours and then we get people in the community, friends, businesses, etc to sponsor us to raise money for the wonderful non-profit that is San Diego Writers, Ink. I've been participating in events at SDWINK for about two years now and it is truly a kick-ass place. I've met great friends there, taken challenging classes and in general, had a good time. I currently serve on the board of directors.

I ask very nicely friends and strangers, if you can sponsor me! You don't have to give much, five bucks, ten bucks, anything little amount will help. Here is my pledge page. You will be supporting my writing and a great organization. Thank you in advance.

Also, happy birthday Aiiiya! May the Real World be less real than the real world and may you know the difference. We miss you and hope that the reality television insanity isn't going to your head. . . We look forward to having you back on Mama Evelyn's sofa, stealing the best seat, spoiling the animals and making us laugh. The Huerta house just isn't the same without you. Besos.



Cities in Dust
Siouxie and the Banshees

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the sweeter parts

Last night I had one of the happiest nights I've had in a long time. I stayed up late at the Whistle & home with two of my best friends in the history of my life, La Creep and B, drinking beer and laughing. We stayed up at my place drinking espresso bean beer and cracking up. La Creep and I deluged B with our tales of wildness from when lived in Mexico and with our insane level of energy in general. I really have to write more of those down. (Our ill-fated attempt at getting the women in town to stop hating on each other is one of the funniest and sad things ever, our intentions were good but it blew up in our face.) I love that La Creep just moved to L.A,. we haven't lived so close to each other since we lived in Mexico 2003-04.

La Creep's 2 year old son was with us yesterday afternoon before going to be with his dad for the night. I love him to pieces but after five hours of him think I may have my ovaries removed. There are cheerios everywhere.

I have an interesting peeve though I wonder if it stinks of moral superiority or is just common sense. I've been going to a lot of workshops and classes lately and most people bring water to class with them. Almost all of them drink out of disposable (but recyclable) plastic bottles. For some reason it drives me crazy. I have a water filter at home and refill a reusable plastic bottle every day. It is not much, I know but I figure I am not contributing to the energy it takes to bottle the water and then to recycle the used bottles. Get on it, people!


Be My Baby
The Ronettes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

love and some

I woke up joyous and sleepy. Good dreams. I have a lot on my plate this week but will handle it well. I had a long, slow day yesterday to rev my engines and mentally prepare.

I'm still reading Downtown Owl before I go to bed at night and keep laughing out loud, something I rarely do when reading.

I finished the last book in Alison Croggon's Pellinor Series, The Singing yesterday. I love young adult novels so much, especially fantasy. When I started my novel I intended it to be a YA novel but have realized I am flinging abut some heavy material that is not really for younger readers. I can barely handle it and I'm writing it.



Overjoyed
Stevie Wonder

Also, I got this note from my friend Drew Andrews: My 1st novella, written, edited, and debated over many years is finally out!! Yes!!

You can download the book, FREE OF CHARGE, at feedbooks.com. If you have a Blackberry, an Iphone with Stanza, a Kindle, or most other E-Reader formats, you are set and ready to go....even if you just read a PDF from your computer, that's fine too!!

Visit drewandrews.org for more info - or Download Now at feedbooks.com under Original Books.

This is a dark, seedy, series of journal entries from a narrator known only as The Shepherd - the novella gets deeper and unfolds crazy more as the book goes on...I'm very happy with it all, check it out!!

Support this book by telling everyone you know in your entire life and social stratosphere - except for fundamentalist Christians, they will really hate this book and will come after me...

But I know that you love me!!! Read this!!


Support local writers!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

brewing

I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona last night and enjoyed it. Somehow Woody Allen films sometimes make me feel dumb. I don't know where it comes from but often an odd dissatisfaction will swell up in me while watching.

I sometimes wonder if I play things too safe and think back to when I was more adventurous. I had a lot of fun when I wasn't worried about what would happen to me. My Pavlovian reaction now is to shy away from anything that could hurt me. I'm much braver in my writing than I am in real life. I think sometimes people confuse the voice I write in with my own voice and experiences.

Saturday I reread a chapter of my novel I had forgotten about and was really impressed. I've placed the characters in Chula Vista, my hometown. I feel I can know them a little better if I know where they're from and where they go. I've read one other novel from a person from Chula Vista, Along the Border Lies by Paul S. Flores. We went to the same high school, years apart. His version of Chula Vista is much grittier than mine but I recognize it anyway. My poor main character has such a jealous little heart. I hope I can lead her out of it.


Agua
Jarabe de Palo

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Forward Some More!


I woke up at 10am dismayed at at my late bones until I realized that last night everyone sprang forward. I was scared I was getting lazy. I never sleep in.

Last night's show was a success. I always get scared nobody will show up but have grown to realize that shows never start on time and that people will trickle in all night long. This is one of the reasons I never like to perform first. I read loving and loving my enemy which is one of my favorite poems to read aloud. I love how it feels in my mouth. I also performed my telenovela piece and was very pleased with the response. I think it is harder to write humor than t is to write drama. I always get scared that the piece falls flat but I always get really good audience feedback from it. At the heart, it is a serious piece but I take it to the absurd, where the humor comes in.

I bought a bicycle off of my baby sister yesterday and look forward to getting out on it. I have inherited a helmet as well in a funny, sad kind of way. My other sister had a boyfriend for a couple of years who bought her a really nice bicycle and all the gear for her birthday . They broke up a few months ago and she left many things at his place, including her bicycle, helmet and other random things. They no longer communicate at all so I was enlisted to be the go-between to get her stuff back. He promised he would send her things. He did. He sent a box of her clothes, books and the bicycle helmet, but not the bicycle. It has become a bit a family joke. My sister has a helmet but no bike. She is prone to sometimes randomly shouting Who sends the helmet but not the bicycle?! Yesterday she gave me the helmet but asked that I pay for it. I told her no way, she didn't pay for it and I won't either. She said I did pay for it, I'm still paying for it. . Oh, yeah, I've been there. I get it and am totally going to write her a check.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday, In the Park

Tonight, tonight! Performing in Balboa Park! Scroll down my blog for more information. I think I'll perform my telenovela piece which is a lot of fun. I have an extended version I really need to start performing but haven't quite figured out the balance between comedy and drama. Dramady. Ill have copies of half life of memory available for purchase tonight.

It is a beautiful day out here in San Diego and I want to be outside! I will be as soon as I finish my breakfast of brussel sprout scrambled eggs over garlic mashed potato patties and the New York Times. Weekend rituals rock.


Saturday in the Park
Chicago

Friday, March 6, 2009

Leonard Cohen, I am disappointed

Leonard Cohen tickets went on sale earlier this week. I dig Leonard Cohen and have for a while. Cohen is a hero to me. I know, heros disappoint, blah, blah but I really want to see him. He's performing at Copley Symphony Hall. Not. In. My. Budget. $90 for the nose-bleed, cheap-o seats where he would be a speck to me. In the fantasy camp of my mind I hold Cohen as this bohemian literary figure who has changed the world with his music and those he has influenced. He is a traveler, poet, musician, all of these beautiful things. Some part of me imagines that he would have a kinship to those of us who are struggling artists and would have less expensive tickets, make his live music accessible. Nope. Maybe in twenty-five years when he's dead and I still love him I'll kick myself for not having purchased the tickets but ninety dollars covers bills and as much as I love it, music won't feed my belly.

Down the alley from where I live a very interesting man lives. I've watched him since I moved in here a year ago. He welds things to his roof at all hours of the night. Sometimes I sit on my balcony transfixed by his art. He has planted plants in the sculptures, he paints them bright colors. In my mind he is an artist, someone marching to his own. I've admired him for it. I've even spoken to him briefly, telling him how much I appreciate his odd rooftop sculpture garden. I point out the house to my friends when they come by and have felt honored to live near under-appreciated genius. Last night the police came and surrounded his house and arrested him. Alleged drug something or another. A part of me thinks that makes sense, he was up all hours of the night welding things to his roof. . . But another part of me cries foul play. For some reason I thought of the scene in Fahrenheit 451 where the police kill the man who was going for a walk and pretend they had killed Guy Montag. They had been watching the walker for a long time, keeping tabs on him because he marched to his own. When they needed someone to scapegoat, they had their man.


Chelsea Hotel #2
Leonard Cohen

Thursday, March 5, 2009

local yumness

Last year I was driving on University in North Park and chanced across a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place on Oregon and University, Vo's Vietnamese Cafe. I love Vietnamese food but hate driving all the way to Convoy or dealing with the weird waiter kid at Dao Son. Hello wonderful deliciousness! Hello inexpensive wonder of my palate! I am a happy woman with this place only a few minutes away. South Park is a pretty dang cool place to live but food-wise it can be limiting. I tried to BBQ Chicken last night and may have a new favorite dish. The Vietnamese Chow Mein is fabulosity. Spring rolls=heaven. If you are in San Diego, support this charming local business (support all local businesses) but especially this one. I wish they delivered. Also, they have a vegetarian menu.

I'm performing with several other women with saturday at the Centro Cultural de la Raza for International Women's Day. Thanks to Calaca Press for inviting me to be part of this event.

I kind of want to shake my hips.


Shake Your Hips
The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This Saturday


WOMBYNISTA WORD
The Redz 9th annual Celebración del Día de la Mujer Internacional

With wild womynz word by
Elyde Arroyo
Teresa E. Caballero
Irene Castruita
Sara R. Eslava
Estela Flores
Gaviotah
Lizz Huerta
Lady J
Brandi S
Mariajulia Urias
and other wombynistas!

This Saturday, March 7, 2009 @ 7pm

$7 public, $5 students

Centro Cultural de la Raza
2125 Park Blvd.
San Diego, Califas

memoir is not an ice-pick for the unreachable

I started my memoir class last night with Tom Larson and pretty damn impressed. He spoke of things I hadn't even thought of and I am excited to dig deeper into his book Memoir and the Memoirist. Memoir is a genre I have been hesitant to delve into but, (like everyone), think parts of my story are important.

The other night at dinner I was speaking with my father about our family's history as Jehovah's Witnesses and explaining to him why I want to write about. A few weeks ago I was at a construction job site and in chatting with a young Mexican man, discovered the J-Dubs had him and he was studying to be baptized. He reminded me of how my father looked when he was young. He was excited about the new world order and also excited to raise his infant daughter as a J-Dub. I had such a rage and sadness build up in me when he told me this, not against him but against the religion. I tried to explain to the man how the religion damaged me as a child. He listened and told me the world wouldn't last that long, the end is near. I tried to tell him how my parents married in '75 because they had been told the world would end in '76 but like anyone enamored of their faith, he didn't want to hear it. I wish him luck and went and cried in my truck. My father listened to this story. I asked him if he had any regrets about being a J-Dub and he said yes but I'm not going to dwell on it and let it ruin my life and continued to eat his meal silently. Oh Mexican stoicism! Is there a story or way I can ever get through you?

There is a great chapter in Palahniuk's Stranger than Fiction about writing conferences. He is sardonic but honest in describing the scene of would-be writers waiting for their chance to tell their story and land an agent, book deal, film, etc. He writes If events occur to challenge and test us and we experience them only as story to be recorded and sold, then have we lived? Have we matured? Or will we die feeling vaguely cheated and shortchanged by our storytelling vocation? Interesting. I've thought about this before. (Especially during my last relationship, with a writer who always carried a notebook and pen in his pocket and would write down notes constantly. I spent a lot of time waiting for the notes to be written, waiting while we could have been experiencing. . .) Palahniuk also writes .. Learning to write means learning to look at yourself and the world in extreme close-up. If nothing else, maybe learning to write will force s to take a closer look at everything, to really see it-- if only in order to reproduce it on the page.

Shit, yes. And then some.


Can't Let Go
Lucinda Williams

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In the Desert

I love the natural desert, I do. Something about how much lives despite the lack of water and insane swings of temperature. For living so close I really should come out here more often. As it is, I may have to come back later this week. But the drive out here was lovely, I dig the changing landscape, scrubland, desert, the climb over the mountain the back into scrubland, desert. What I don't like about the desert is how false living out here it I can't tell you how many golf courses there are out here and everyone has a front lawn. It bothers me (at home too) that no one seems to care that water is a precious resource that is being completely wasted for vanity.

The desert at night may be one of my favorite things in the world. I love the night air, the scents. I dreamt strange, strange dreams last night. The landscape got in to me. I woke up just before sunrise and had a nice hour of contemplation. I really do need to get out of my environment more. I want to come camping out here, maybe Joshua Tree, but none of my friends like camping.

Yesterday when I arrived I sat outside with my (dying) computer and started a long essay. I wrote about 3000 words before my computer crashed. No worries, I thought, I had saved it. When my computer came back to life, 1500 words were saved. Not the best ones either. I sat at a cafe last night and rewrote the essay but something about writing something twice is exhausting and sad. I loved the original essay and the energy I had behind it. I spent two hours putting my writing on Google Documents because I am tired of trusting machines, even my external hard drive.

I drive back today and start a memoir class with Tom Larson tonight at the Ink Spot. My friend Jim Ruland will be in the class with me so I am pretty excited. But, it will be a long, long day. Somebody is going to be a sleepy woman.


Sweetness Follows
R.E.M.

Monday, March 2, 2009

losing it

I came thisclose to losing it, and all of my writing, yesterday. My computer has been acting up so I took it in to get a new hard-drive yesterday. I back-up every two days so I imagined everything I had was backed up. After they gave me a new hard-drive I came home and attempted to access a couple of poems. They were nowhere. I was mildly concerned. I then decided to look for some pictures. Nothing. I assumed my files we somewhere on my external drive and would find them later.

B came over to go for a walk and apparently, I have a certain look right before I lose my sh*t and that look was on my face. He strongly suggested we cancel the walk and he drove me back to Apple with my computer to see if they could figure it out. It turns out my back-up had failed and nothing was saved. They still had my old hard-drive and put it back in my computer. Had I waited another hour the store would have closed and they would sent my old hard-drive to be destroyed this morning. Thank the stars for that crazy look on my face or I would probably still be screaming. Thank B for knowing what I look like right before I come apart at the seams.

I tried to be zen yesterday when I thought all of my work was gone but know I would have lost it had I lost all of my writing and photographs, etc. I can't imagine the grief I would have felt. I not only have all of my poetry, fictions, essays and novel on this machine but I have years of journal entries I wrote. So much of me is in my writing. It would have been an emotional amputation.

I'm off to Palm Springs to run some errands for my dad. I've heard Palm Springs has excellent thrift store shopping because a lot of the population of retired folk pass (a numbers game, I"m not trying to be ageist), and leave their belongings to Goodwill and such. I may have to go on a little vintage hunt after my errand's are done. . .

Adding to my pile of things I'm reading: Chuck Palahniuk's Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories and dig it so far. How many ways are there to write an essay? A lot.


Instant Karma
John Lennon

Sunday, March 1, 2009

narrative immersion

I took Ana Castillo's one day memoir workshop yesterday at SDSU. There were about 16 women in the class ranging in age from their twenties to sixties. I took a lot of notes but my head is still spinning from all the information and all of the sharing.

As I sat listening to the women tell their stories and what they want to write about I thought about how humans have a need for narrative. We are are all natural storytellers. I wonder if it is a part of our evolutionary make-up. Think about it: early humans had the desire to communicate information to their offspring in ways that would help their offspring relate to their environment and society in ways that would help them survive. Maybe it was so important to our development as humans that storytelling is something we will never rid ourselves of.

Along those lines I was thinking about ritual, how it is handed down through the generations, along with culture. I thought of this specifically pertaining to my essay on religion. I realized there was a lot more going on in me that I had previously thought. Will the digging ever cease? I feel like my own personal can of worms. So many thoughts flying around in my head, so many permutations of ideas that my dreams were staccato and exhausting last night. I wonder if we are at times unhappy because we feel punished by the myth of what should be.

My brain is firing too fast for me to keep up this morning. Maybe one cup of coffee is enough.

Yesterday the last writing exercise we were given surprised me a little bit. The beginning of my novel is the same exact exercise. But I'm not going to change it. Yet, or maybe ever. I had a couple of big revelations about my main character this week and my heart flew out to her. I want to buy her a drink (when she is old enough) and tell her a thing or two.


Nothing But a Heartache
The Flirtations