Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the water table

I found another poem this morning. I wrote it in April. Not too shabby. I love finding old pieces of writing that I've lost emotional attachment to; not to say emotion isn't there, but the drive or push to write it has disappeared and I'm left with the artifact of emotion. Oh beloved little scratches on a page! I love you, sweet detritus.

Keeping extraordinarily busy. Being an adult. Kind of weird. I'm living well these days. (I wish you could see the sky from my window right now and how the undersides of the clouds are a peachy-pink and the tops gloomy., Fucking beautiful.) I'm moved quickly into my old self, social. Stepping into the swagger.

Here is the piece I read at V.A.M.P. for Say Say We All last month, "The Game." And another song I dig.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I fill my mouth with water

Last night before bed I was digging around under my bed and I found a handwritten poem. I don't remember writing it but I must have, in the last year and a half or so. I remember one line, I remember writing the one line and immediately after I started crying and cried a good, hard cry. Reading the poem last night I had forgotten the why or how of it came to me but the emotion is there, the duende. Next to the first few lines I annotated the meter, which is very strange since I rarely ever count out the meter. I must have gone into the writing with the intention of form, the first few lines are in iambic pentameter; maybe an attempt at a sonnet? Regardless, there are parts of the poem that are fucking gorgeous, getting my mouth around them is sweet. It makes me want to write more. The ending is a lament, I almost want to go to my knees when I read it. I kind of don't want to edit it, but I will. There is a part in the middle I don't at all like but it was the gate to getting to the line I love, to the end.

I had dreams last night that left me contemplative. I suppose this is called turning the corner, seeing the light; all those cliches that attempt to assuage the mucky walk that is moving on. I am somehow reminded of the different sacrifices in the bible and ways of penance. Sackcloth and ashes. Blood offerings. Burnt offerings. How different animals were opened for different sins. I can make lists of what I have sacrificed, maybe I will. Could be the basis for some poems. Perhaps, perhaps.

I may sound morose but really, I'm not. Contemplation is different from sadness. I think the two can be confused, and of course there are times when they are dancing a moribund waltz on one's heart, but it isn't always a bad thing. Aristotle said contemplation is the highest form of human activity. Get thee to thinking! And being.

And listen to this song. I love Andrea Echeverri.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

whoa to the whoa

In the swing of things, once again. I've been keeping myself social, spending time with those who stimulate my mind. I'm laughing a lot, singing a lot. I'm sleeping through the night and feel energized. My blues show up mostly in the morning, briefly, and sharply in the few moments before I fall asleep. But, out of a 24 hour day, that isn't bad at all.

Vermin on the Mount was awesome Saturday night. Great line-up of readers. I was pretty damn proud to be a part of the line-up. I left energized and full of awesome.

Last night was Literary Death Match. I competed in one a year and a half ago. Last night's readers were brilliant. I forget how many talented people there are, since they tend to stay home and write. The judges cracked me up, I laughed belly laughs. I met a couple of writers I look forward to getting to know better. I also started a conversation with a friend about a great plan for the near-ish future and we're both very excited about it. We're meeting tomorrow night to start on the details.

All in all, all is well.

Considering NaNoWriMo

Friday, October 14, 2011

homeward bound

Last morning here in Sayulita. I spent a couple of hours on the beach early this morning, watching the surfers and beach dogs. The tide was high. A storm was out over the Pacific but the sky over the beach was clear.

Heading to the airport in about an hour for an afternoon flight. A part of me is ready to go home, to sleep in my own bed, see my family and get back into the rhythm of things. Another part of me dreads walking into my apartment. I did a lot of cleaning before I left so I'll go home to a clean place, washed sheets. Scrubbed of memory too. No food. Flowers dying in the vase.

In my dreams last night I was underwater. I kept waking up after intense dreams and looking out the window. My dreams were near the surface of my emotional consciousness, everything going on in my life appearing and mutating into strange visions. I didn't sleep well at all and I'm in a little bit of a daze this morning. A brick of sadness sat in my belly this morning. Part vacation ennui, part other.

I'm excited to read tomorrow night at Vermin on the Mount. Vermin readings are always awesome casts of great writers/readers. The audience is always engaging and smart. I know a lot of very cool people who will be there, a lot of the So Say We All Crowd. The host's wife Nuvia is a soul-mate-friend of mine.

The best part of this trip has been discovering that Cecil and I are great travel partners. I like to travel alone since I always have a hard time playing nice with others when I'm on the road. Cecil and I laugh a lot and talk a lot of shit to each other. We bicker and snap at each other but neither one of holds on to any of the little arguments. Now I know I have a travel partner, if I want one. Neither one of us sweat small things, nor do we feel the need to be spenders whilst traveling. A very good thing.

Coming home a little damaged. forgot to put sunscreen on my face yesterday for the first time ever, and I suffered a little sunburn on my nose and cheeks. It didn't hurt but I was red and am now a little toastier than before. Last night I also forgot to put on mosquito repellant and I was a feast for the bloodsuckers. And they alway go for the parts that are not so nice to scratch, knuckles, booty, elbows. The bastards.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

doing fine

I've settled into the rhythm here in Sayulita. It took a few days as we were concerned and slightly on edge about the hurricane, which never arrived. Yesterday the arms of the storm reached the town late in the day and we had a good drenching. Everything shut down, we stayed in the hotel, writing and reading in the inner courtyard, windows open. Now I'm just in the being, letting the day happen without expectation. I'll swim today, get sun, drink beer, read.

This morning we woke up early, got coffee and sat on a log the beach. The sun finally broke through the clouds and it was idyllic. I sat on a log on the beach late yesterday afternoon as well, watching the ocean. The sea calms me, always has. I try to lock the peace into me, hold on to the moment so that when I'm frenzied I can revisit it. In the breaking waves large fish were chasing smaller fish. Pelicans sailed over the waves, skimming the water for a meal. High overhead frigates circled. I love the shape of flying frigates, black angles turning on the currents. I was surprised how empty the beach was while we were there. Except for a few surfers and workers setting up beach chairs, it was empty. If I lived his close to the beach I would spend as much time there as possible.

I haven't brushed my hair since Monday and it has reverted to curls. I rarely let my hair go natural. It looks good, away from a hair brush and taming. Vanity is a strange thing. I don't think too much about how I look and feel awkward taking pictures. But I know later in life I'll want a record. I prefer to feel good. I look forward to getting back to the gym this weekend, challenging my body.

I haven't done much writing but I've done a lot of contemplating. Good and uncomfortable contemplating. I'm in the middle of a sea change, the waves come and go as I look to what's next in my life. I have to relearn the whole being in the moment. I think too much at times, get too wrapped up in what if. The questions, I have to remind myself, are more interesting than the answers.

My dreams have been more intense here in Mexico, as they always are. More vibrant and meaningful. I go again and again to the same place in my dreams, the same landscape but the emotions have been stronger.

Ex-pat towns are always odd. People who live in another country but choose to isolate themselves in a community that has little to do with immersing oneself in the culture. Why move to another country if you don't like the people and don't want to learn the language? Yesterday Cecil snapped at a man who didn't even know how to say the name of the town we're in.

I'm reading Saturday night at Vermin on the Mount. I've not decided what I'm going to read. I have options, and am leaning toward a short fiction piece. I'm billed as a poet, which I am but I haven't written much poetry the last year. I've tried to go into storytelling. I'm contemplating reading a short story I started on Mexico a year and ago. I started it because of a song I heard sung by a family member. I have an idea for a novella based on my favorite Mexican songs.

Tonight we'll be the only guests in the hotel. I don't think either of us mind as we have isolated ourselves. I don't feel particularly social and don't feel like engaging in vacation conversation. I haven't taken many pictures, I rarely do. I don't travel to being home souvenirs or photographs, I travel to get into myself away from what I'm used to. My experiences on this trip haven't been anything extraordinary but I'm enjoying the pace of it. The days are long and slow. Heading home tomorrow. I have a little acid in my stomach over it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the storm that never was

In Mexico, I've been here almost a week. Right now I'm in Sayulita, a beach town in Nayarit. A hurricane was supposed to hit last night but didn't. I waited up until I couldn't then slept. When I woke up the town was wet. I don't if the storm fizzled out or if it went somewhere else. I got the beginning of a poem out of it. Waiting for something that will change the landscape and it never arrives, or when it does, you don't notice.

I was coming to Mexico to spend some days (after another trip to the ranch) alone, on the beach, writing and getting back to myself. The day before I left my friend Cecil decided to come with me and I'm super glad he did. We've been friends for a long time. Our friendship has been through a lot, bad things I did back in the day, bad shit he did back in the day. I think that out of all of my friends he is the one I am able to be most honest with since we have no romantic history, no possibility of romantic future and we know way too much about each other. I think he knows more about me than anyone else alive on the planet and he regularly calls me out on my bullshit, which I appreciate. We don't judge each other. We have similar traveling styles and attitudes so the trip has been very laid back so far.

There have been adventures. We went to the ranch for the annual Festival de la Virgen. The village parties were lovely. This year the festival was slightly bigger, with carnival rides. There was more of a police presence than last year, probably because of the shooting last year but it was pretty calm. Great big crowds of men gather at the edge of the dance floor (basketball court) and swig beer after beer. Cecil and I set up lawn chairs in the back of my grandmother’s truck so that we could have a good view. The first night after we went to bed masked gunmen showed up and the entire town shut down rather quickly, not surprisingly.

Village life is pretty damn interesting, the relationships are complicated because everyone is very much related. Our family is especially complicated since my paternal grandfather had so many children. 52 live births with 38 of those still living. Three out of the six women he had all those children with live in the village, which isn’t very big. Fifty years after the fact those three women still don’t like to be near each other, but all of their kids are friends. People gossip non-stop. A women will walk by and my grandmother will tell me of how that women slighted her 60 years ago.

I love the pace of life at the ranch. Everything slows down. The first night is always rough, getting used to the constant flow of people, how laid back everything is. I always get a little frantic, wondering how I’m going to fill my days then at some point something in me turns off and I relax into the rhythm of it. The children in town are awesome, none of them are bratty. They all are independent, respectful and creative. They don’t have the distractions of television and computers. They don’t have schedules or strict rules about what they can or cannot do. There are no play dates. I worry that things are going to change quickly. Already everyone has cell phones. They have facebook accounts they access from school. Soon internet services will be available in town and the way of life will disappear.

The town we're in is a surf spot, filled with a lot of ex-pats. Having lived in an ex-pat Mexican town before I recognize certain archetypes, hustlers, escapees. The weather has limited our beach time but we swam in the ocean yesterday. Our hotel has a large patio outside our room where the other guests gather to chat and eat. I'm not feeling especially social these days so I haven't interacted much. We have two more days here before heading back and I'm not sure what we'll do. The outer arms of the storm have the sky clouded, rain comes and goes. I'll try to get some novel writing down, maybe. Or I'll just keep sitting on the balcony, watch the rain and think too much.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

love, surprises, spnning

Happy 30th birthday to my sweet sister Deanna. My earliest memory is being taken to the hospital to meet her. I was two and a half. I remember my aunt lifting me up to the nursery window and pointing the baby out and saying "That's your sister!" I couldn't figure out which baby she was. I remember my parents bringing her home and how excited I was for her to be old enough to play with me. I would ask my mom every day "Can she play with me today?" We grew up pretty close, even though we fought all of the time. I loved being a big sister and having someone I could experiment on. I was always making her eat weird concoctions I made. I always invented elaborate games for us to play, based on books I was reading. I specifically remember making her play Becky to my Sara while I was reading The Little Princess. Our youngest sister arrived six years after Deanna. We're all very close. I was able to spend a lot of time with both of them this weekend.

Saturday night we had a big surprise party planned for Deanna. We flew in a bunch of her close friends from the Bay Area and rented part of a ballroom on a harbor dinner cruise. All of us arrived at the boat to pre-board and waited on the top deck. Deanna her her boyfriend Matt boarded a while later and came up to the top deck where all of us shouted "Surprise!" She was super surprised and cried like a baby. he was especially thrilled to see all of her college friends as she rarely gets to see them and they''re really close.

During dinner my sister and Matt disappeared for a little while. When they came back to the ballroom they went to talk to my parents and the screaming started. Mat had taken Deanna to the top deck and proposed to her and she said yes. I cried my eyes out, I was so happy for her. (I also almost punched an elderly relative who came up to me excited and said "Oh Lizz, we thought you'd be the first one to get married!") It was awesome. After the cruise my sisters, Matt, some friends and I went to the Whistlestop to keep drinking and dancing. It was beautiful.

I am so happy for my sister. She has always wanted to get married and have her own family. She and her fiance recently bought a house a few blocks from where I live and I get to see them all of the time. Matt is a great guy, kind, generous and he makes her truly happy. I look forward to having him as a brother-in-law.

I drank too much this weekend. I went out three nights in a row and was not completely sober until yesterday morning. It was one of the strangest weekends I've ever had. The joy of my sister's engagement coupled with the grief of my very recent break-up had my mind all over of the place. My head was spinning. I was overjoyed for my sister then sadness would sucker-punch me in the heart. Life goes on.