Sunday, June 29, 2008

Plotting Fate

Greetings! Lest you think I have forgotten you , I have not. I decided last week to plot out a short story. I miss writing! I have these blog posts, and other little things. I have my Siren Dialogues novel that is revving up to make its grand entry into the world (the doorway to this "world" at the moment being the access to top literary agencies). But I miss writing stories. So I overcame my prejudice against plotting and outlines and sat down at my newly cleared-off desk (which I couldn't work at until I could see it!) and wrote an outline. Okay, I started the outline at Starbucks, my old "office" but I finished it at my own desk, which I would like to make a friendlier work place this year so I don't always have to leave my house to write.

Rather than going out to seek the perfect place to work, my inner voice gave me a little kick and said, "Hey, you've got yourself a great office right here at home -- how about using it?" So I'm listening to that voice. Clearing the desk was the first step. Next is some necessary filing and stuff, but then decorating, getting a plant or tree to bring in some nature, maybe a fountain (not near the papers or computer of course), putting something on the wall over my desk so I'm not looking up at a blank wall between the windows. A different "window" to the world. I can make it anything I want it to be.

It could work. I can put on music, make myself a cup of tea, even close the door and light a candle (with the window open a little of course). I can kick the kids out, too. It is MY office, after all. I set up an art area for them in the other half of the office, as the room is quite long, but I don't need to give them unlimited access. Because it is MY office. Let me say that enough times that I hear it.

Anyway, outlining: I did make an outline. It's for a story with several characters interacting during a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek. I'm trying to open up my stories beyond one-character monologues and musings. I'm writing down story ideas as I think of them. And maybe I don't need to leave all my ideas to "fate." I've left a lot of my life to fate: When Jon and I would get together (he finally gave fate a gentle shove), what direction my stories would take, what decisions would be made about the most minute things about my life because I didn't want to interfere with "fate...."

I am fate. Isn't that obvious by now? Even if that doesn't make total sense, it gives ME something to think about...and report in about at a later date when I melt my pen again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Giving Myself a Break

I took last week to rest, and to feel just how tired I was from the whole year. I let the dishes and laundry and unmade beds sit. Enough of it got done somehow by the end of the day. I just relieved myself of all the "shoulds" and let myself sit in the garden and enjoy it, lie in the garden, take a nap, read a book, let the kids watch TV, get into a little mischief (like inadvertently painting their whole bodies with black paint -- and I'm NOT talking body paint) and really just give myself a break.

I needed it. I so needed to feel that.

This week is organization week, preparing and gearing up to actually do something. But it can't go on much longer. It's time to jump in and get to work!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Two Old Ladies

More stuff has been crammed into the past week than I can believe. End-of-year parties, Sophie's 8th birthday, Aaron's preschool graduation, a full weekend workshop for me, and grabbing hold of its foothold tenaciously, the San Francisco Chapter of the Women's National Book Association's 40th birthday party, which I almost couldn't squeeze in. But heck, it was on the calendar for longer than some of the rest!

I was exhausted--Jon had been traveling and I'd been single-parenting all week-- but Saturday night found me at the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco sitting around a table with women from all over the country. We were moms, grandmas, writers, agents, publishers, book lovers, and chapter presidents. With, of course, lots of combinations of the above.

This was an historic event. I don't know what it is about 40th's. They somehow seem like a bigger deal than 50th's, more of a magical number. Like 40 years wandering in the desert.

Anyway, we hard a great speaker -- humor writer Beth Lisick. She was very funny and genuine and started off with, "I feel like I'm with my people." There were speeches, food, books. At the end, almost delerious to get to my car and get home and fall into my bed, I got on my jacket to walk the couple of blocks to the parking garage. Effie Lee Morris, our founding member and president of 40 years ago, and Adele Horwitz, a member and former president for about as long, were heading to the garage, too, so we walked together.

Adele walks with a cane now, and both of them are slower than they used to be. I thought of myself as their escort, but they didn't need me, not even to lean on an arm. I refrained from offering my arm, even though I felt like I should. After all, they were old ladies. But some old ladies! Effie Lee still serves on several boards, has a special collection named for her in the San Francisco Public Library as well as an annual children's book there. She held forth on the podium that night on the history of the WNBA SF chapter and its many members and glories. She would have talked all night if we'd asked. Adele was driving an hour home and does it all the time. She has raised her children, her grandchildren, and now in her retirement, her great-grandchildren as well.

These two old ladies ARE supports in their homes and communities, with experience far beyond mine, and I knew I could lean on them if needed and they wouldn't bat an eye.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


It was this game we played in elementary school. We'd close our eyes and lay our heads down on our desks. The person who was "It" would walk around the room and lay their hand on the heads of 7 people. I lay there expectantly each time. I loved the feel of the strange hand bearing down gently on my head, brushing against my hair. I was a sheep in a play once, wrapped in a tangled ball of yarn, and it was the same sensation, a hand pressing down on me. It's funny. Something about closed eyes and darkness, about simple touch serving a simple purpose. It was the waiting for it, the wondering if it would come, because it didn't always. It was a craving, pure and simple, a yearning and reaching out from my body and heart.

I remember it when I'm in yoga class now, decades later, and experiencing the same anticipation of soft connection and touch when the teacher comes around and adjusts my posture, laying hands on my back or hips. Is it the anonymity, I wonder? The darkness, the whisper?

Report on the Horse Races

I never did report back about the horse races. It was fun, it was the last Friday night they were open before being torn down to build condos and stores, Jon made me gamble a bet on my own. We lost several bets, then I made him reduce the bet from $20 to $5 and that was the one we won. Well, it was good to win, even though we only got $7 and lost $80.

Our one mistake: it was kind of cold out that night and we were in the cushy club area with a big buffet. I missed the first race because I was getting dessert. Huge windows looked out onto the track, but it was far away and people watched the little TV screens at the tables, and we couldn't hear the noise of the horses thundering by, or smell any of that sweat. Of course, we were more likely to smell the beer in the cheap seats. The mistake was, we were going to go outside for one race, but then we just decided to stay in where it was warmer. That was plain silly. It's California for God's Sakes, we weren't really going to freeze to death!

So perhaps the races in the summer time some other place some time. Still, I'm glad we went. We were there at the end of an era.