Archive for the ‘Patronage’ Category

Doing All The Things

May 23, 2016

I mean.

Seriously.

I broke it off today.

And I don’t feel broken, albeit tired, albeit a little keyed up from the day, but so in love with myself and the gift I gave to myself of doing this trip.

Now.

Don’t get me wrong.

I have had some moments of dis-ease (disease) and had to quietly pull myself back and get real and be grateful for all the things I have been given and all the experiences I have gotten to do.

Twice over the last two days or so I had moments of wishing I was not alone having a meal or walking through Brooklyn.

I wanted to be with someone.

I wanted to be holding a hand.

I wanted to be sharing conversation.

I wanted to be coupled up.

And those things are not wrong, that’s just human nature.

I just have to tread carefully in those areas because I can fall into the self-pity pot all to easily and frankly I’m all for avoiding potholes at this time in my life.

I’m being a good girl.

I mean I am being a very, very, very good girl.

I did no Tinder’ing while I was here, frankly the idea of trying to figure out how to hook up with someone out here was just too much to even fucking contemplate.

And yeah.

I like sex.

A LOT.

However, I don’t need it that bad.

I’m not desperate.

And I’m not an addict.

Although I play one on tv.

Just kidding.

Oh.

And I had the opportunity.

Believe me.

It was on the table.

However.

I turned down the offer after finding out said offer was not in my best interest–really too complicated and stupid to even write about here.

And.

I also ran into someone I met at Burning Man in 2013.

“I’m sorry, I know it seems I’ve been staring at you for the last hour,” he said to me sidling into my space yesterday afternoon after we had closed up and said the prayers and did the deal.  “I mean,” he eyed me up and down (I can’t remember the last time I was that blatantly, to my face, scoped out), “I really like your look.”

“Thanks I said,” and I his, let me be honest.

“And I remember where I know you from,” he added, “you go to Burning Man, you’re hair’s different, but I recognized your tattoos.”  He paused, “you’ve gotten a few more I see, and you’re hair was blue the last time I saw you.”

He handed me his card and asked what I was doing the rest of the day.

My friend swooped in, “Hey, _______, I see you met Carmen, she’s one of my oldest friends, I’m stealing her back now,” he said and took my elbow.

I mean, tall, dark and handsome was tempting, but my friend, my old friend, my friend from the early days of the crazy, he was who I wanted to spend time with.

And there was a time when I would have ditched a friend in a heart beat for a piece of action.

Not so much now.

My friends are treasures and I don’t get out here often, twice in the eight years my old friend has lived here–we caught up at the deal in Atlanta last July and I usually see him for a minute if he gets out to SF, but he’s busy, I’m busy, so no getting busy for me.

And I’m grateful for that.

Then.

Another gentleman who had reached out to me this trip.

I texted him back.

“Hey, when you get a chance, give me a call,” I wrote earlier this afternoon.

I was surprised to not get a call for awhile then just a few minutes back, he finally did.

“Ah, I knew it was coming,” he said to me on the phone, his voice thick with the chagrin and the knowing of what I had decided I was going to tell him.

“You’re first year is a gift I don’t want to intrude on,” I summed it up, “I don’t date guys when they’ve got less than a year.”

It’s not my place, I don’t want to mess up anyone’s shit, and yeah, I know my pussy’s not that powerful, I’m not the reason some one relapses or stays sober, but I see a lot of folks that get focused on the dating deal and not doing the deal and I respect and like this guy.

So after consulting with the powers that be, “I need to tell on myself,” I told my person as I walked around Chelsea today after an amazing afternoon at The New Whitney Museum.

“It’s just really nice to be told how beautiful you are, that someone who is attractive finds me so compelling, I mean, it’s super ego feeding and I know that I can’t see this guy, I know it’s not right, it’s just, well, yeah, tempting.”

“Good on you for telling on yourself, and now you won’t do that, because that’s not the woman you are,”  I was told.

Yup.

“Get your year,” I said, “don’t let me interfere with it.”

He knew, he told me that was what he thought I was going to say.

He was sweet.

And I hung up the phone feeling like.

Well.

An adult.

Perhaps an adult with the hormones of a horny sixteen year old girl, but an adult.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I don’t want to hurt anyone.

Sometimes it’s inevitable and someone gets hurt and I can be sorry for that and still not engage, and that’s what an adult does too.

And sometimes God blows magic fairy dust all over me and I am suddenly Alice in the looking glass.

“OH, I was just about to bring that in,” he said as I was snapping pictures of this spectacular piece of sculpture art in the front area of one of the historic brownstones in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

“I love it,” I said, “It just, well, it’s amazing.”

We started to talk.

He was the artist, Doug Beube.

He told me a few things, we chatted about me and my travels and being a nanny and a grad school student and then somehow onto Burning Man and I asked, I don’t know why, serendipity, God, what have you.

I told him about my favorite piece from last year-Storied Haven.

And then.

He cocked his head at me and said, “I don’t suppose you want to see my studio?”

OH my God.

I was so floored.

“I know, trying to get a beautiful woman into my house, and all, but,” he paused, “I think you’ll like it.”

I joked, “as long as your studio isn’t in your bedroom, I’d be honored.”

I was not only honored.

I was blown the fuck away.

The man’s work is amazing.

AMAZING.

I was in tears a number of time, over awed by the depth and breadth and beauty of his work.

I took a lot of photos-they’re up on my facecrack page and on twitter and intstagram, and I’d put them here, but they just do not do them justice, my photos, so check out his website.

www.dougbeube.com

So good.

He works with old books and cuts them up and remakes them and he does photography and organic art and found art and these cunning little sculptures and so much political art that was poignant and beautiful, so insightful, so thoughtful, it was just such an over the moon experience.

I mean I got to go to the Brooklyn Museum, the MOMA, and The New Whitney and then, to top it off I get a private tour of this amazing artist out of nowhere?

Who is the luckiest girl in the world?

Me.

Hands down.

And perhaps I should change that up as I realize I have been a woman.

A proud woman, a respectful woman, a woman who looks the world in the face and who above all is not afraid to smile and thank someone for their contributions.

We all want to be seen.

And when I am allowed to see someone and the things that they do that make them artists, I am so very grateful.

I am blessed.

I am graced.

I am loved.

Thanks New York, thanks Brooklyn, thanks to my friends who drank coffee with me and the ones I called and said, hey where should I eat today, and all the friends who said, hey check this place out and to all those people who smiled at me in the city and said, “nice outfit!”

I like being seen too.

It’s been special New York.

Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart.

Which I left in San Francisco.

Time for me to go back home.

But you will not soon be forgot.

I promise.

Kisses.

And.

Big.

Big.

Big.

Love.

 

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You Use Your Mouth Prettier

November 5, 2014

Than a twenty-dollar whore.

I’ll take that.

I have been on the receiving end of some really nice compliments the last couple of days.

I’ll take them all.

It’s quite handy to know that I am doing this thing alright, that it’s getting out there, that folks read what I write, that there’s an impact.

That it is not all for naught.

Not that I ever have thought that it was all for naught.

Not even when I had ten readers.

I, in fact, remember quite distinctly the day I came home from work and booted up my laptop, said laptop, self-same laptop, just about obsolete, vintage laptop, and typed in my blog and there it was–my tenth subscriber.

Ten people following me!

Wow.

I have a few more readers now, I believe, I’ll have to double-check, I have about 250 subscribers, that is folks who have signed up to receive my blog straight to their inbox.

Which, sometimes I feel like I might have to apologize for.

There are always a few typos or goofy footed wording that I might not catch until later on, usually, of course, after I have pushed the publish button and its sent out into the world, into the dark night of the internet to land in some one’s email account.

Then there’s anywhere from 40 to 50 people who pick it up off of Facebook or occasionally Reddit.

I get a read or two off of LinkedIn as well, but I stopped posting to my LinkedIn account when I was interviewing for my current nanny position, I didn’t want my blog to pop up on the family’s radar.

Who knows.

It may have.

I scrubbed it pretty clean though.

I did not want to, but I pulled about two hundred, maybe, three hundred blog posts off.

Anything that I felt was too nefarious, anything meanly said, anything judgemental, and a lot of the nanny blogs I had up from a tremendously challenging family I worked for years and years ago.

I knew my current employers were going to run a back ground check and I just wanted to be extra special careful.

Every time I see how many blog posts I have I always add another two hundred in my mind.

It’s sort of like getting on the scale and saying, well, my jeans probably weigh a pound and I had a big breakfast, so let’s just take two pounds right off the top to account for that.

Anyway, what I am saying is that I have been doing this a while and I do forget that there are readers out there, some I know really well, some I don’t know at all, a few family members here and there, old highschool acquaintances, perhaps a man or two I may have dated or slept with.

Hard to say.

Occasionally there is a reader or two that I am unaware of who they are, but boy howdy are they interested in me, they either search engine my name or my blog name and obsessively read certain posts.

This hasn’t happened in a bit, but when it does I do feel as though someone has walked across my grave.

The blog  means a lot though and I have found it comforting to have a few friends and fellows and folks and family reach out to me over the past week and tell me how much they either love me or they love my blog.

I had one friend who was wondering last night, as I posted quite early, if I had a date.

Nope.

I wish I had a date.

No date on the horizon.

Perhaps for the best as I sort through all the feelings and emotions from last week.

Oh feelings.

Someone break out a tiny squeaky violin for me please.

I am going to give it one more day of process and climb back aboard the dating train.

I am not fond of the whole deal, but I will say I am learning so much about myself that it is worth it and when it hurts or is hard, why it makes for a great blog.

“He’s an artist, he’ll create,” a friend said once over pints at the bar.

Said friend was perhaps a touch tipsy, but he was money on the nose.

Our mutual friend was grieving a rough break up with the woman of his dreams and it was almost, almost, not quite, comical, how devastated he was, the drama was pretty high color.

I remember we all laughed like hyenas at his pain.

But I recalled that this past week when I have been blogging, experiences that are painful do pull something extra out of my being, the writing, I suppose, makes the pain more bearable, then, almost as though I have put a balm on it, it is soothed and then goes away.

“It’s your process, you’re living in real-time, you’re revealing it all and you have to choose whether you’re going to put it out there and not care, really let it all go, or whether you need to be more circumspect.”

It’s a choice I am not comfortable making, the power of the word, the work, the way it flings itself out of my fingers doesn’t always feel like it’s mine.

Shadows of the trees on the grass swath of park lawn rolling along the road as I whip down the road, turning onto the last leg of my bicycle journey through the park.

The moon tonight, so bright, so high, that a few times I turned to see if it was the high beams of a car coming up behind me.

But no.

It was just the moon.

“There’s the moon,” I said.

I leaned into him and breathed in his smell.

How is that sentence to repudiate me at a later time?

I don’t know.

I do just know that as much as I wish I could curtail it, that it just comes out, so perhaps, it is a kind of self-sabotage, a sacrifice, a surrender of my life to the art.

Sure.

Maybe.

One day.

Down the road, around the corner, my shadow flying ahead of me, I won’t mistake the moon’s bright frosting of light for my own truth, but rather that of another and I can fictionalize this life I lead and I can write something out of experience that has the cake icing of fiction.

But for now.

This is what I’ve got.

I know it’s good.

And for the moment.

That’s all I need to keep going.

At least for tonight.

Doing For Me What I Cannot

June 19, 2014

Do for myself.

Wow.

I had no idea how hard it would be to surrender to this, but, I have, and here is the result–I let someone start a fundraising campaign to help me get through this month plus of not working due to being out of work with a severe sprain.

It’s hard to wrangle toddlers when you can’t do more than hobble about on crutches.

Although, hurrah, I did do some more walking about my studio.

I even did a load of laundry and I made my bed.

Then I took a shower.

In between these monumental tasks, because that’s what they are at the moment, time-consuming, monumental chores, I text back and forth with my new friend and followed the directions he gave me to get the link and see the site he set up.

He started a Go Fund Me donation site to help me get through until I am back at work.

I did nothing other than say, yes, you may and yes, thank you, and yes, I need help, and yes, I will let you.

Yes, yes, yes and more yes.

I explained to a friend earlier how uncomfortable I was accepting the offer that it made me realize that I needed to accept the offer.

In fact, the site had been live for an hour before I could bring myself to look at it.

It takes something to admit, at least for me it does, that I need help, that I haven’t gotten it all figured out.

Granted I don’t need as much help as I would have if my employers hadn’t agreed to pay me a little stipend until I get back.  I haven’t yet received word as to how much exactly it is, but I am estimating it to be about $300.

I sat down when my friend said figure it out, the total to ask for, $2,000, $3,000, and I’ll make it happen.

Whoa.

I don’t need that much.

Although, sure, give me the money!

Eek.

No.

That’s dishonest.

That’s not a principle I am supposed to be working.

The opposite of that in fact, so I took out my notebook with my spending plan, took a photo of it and sent it to him, sans the manicure/pedicure/eyebrow waxing column (no one need pay for my vanity except me, thank you very much) and what I had in the bank and was expecting to get from my employers.

The needed rest to get through I estimated at $1500.

He set it up to be slightly higher than that, to cover the cost of the fees for using the site.

I finally looked at it.

And yes.

I did cry.

I also shivered and got goosebumps, I am so playing this forward.

I am currently doing some data entry for a service entity in my community and I was offered $10 an hour to do it.

I made the decision to not ask for money, but volunteer my service to the facility until I was back at work.  I told the manager of the establishment today and he said I may change my mind, to keep track nonetheless, and maybe we could move forward with it when I went back to work.

Uh.

Probably not.

But who knows.

$10 and hour for data entry is not my cup of tea.

And I like tea.

But not all tea.

I don’t like green tea, it tastes like data entry.

So.

I also resolved that I would continue to do creative work and use my time well that way, to not sit on my ass and watch movies and shows and downloads.

I read a little today, in between the chores, and that felt good too.

To be a competent writer I need to help hone my craft by reading.

I will say, I am not really into the book I am currently reading, Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, it’s ok, but it’s too transparent and obvious in the narrative, and too wordy in a historical way that I don’t find compelling–I’m not much on historical novels.

However, I am reading it as it’s well written, sometimes I will continue to read something that doesn’t capture me all that much  just because it’s written in a style completely different from mine.

It is the learning and being teachable.

And hey, something’s working for Lethem, he’s got a lot more books published than I do.

Plus, I only have one other book in the house that I haven’t read and I am saving it for as long as I can.

I still have two and a half weeks of down time before I return to work.

I am feeling better, just getting to be a little more active is helpful.

I did notice that I pushed a little harder and had to sit down and rest more this afternoon than I wanted too and by the time I was ready for my once a day outing, I was reduced to needing to use the crutches to get about.

But, hey, they are some fancy looking things, all gold and shiny, that I don’t mind relying on them.

Keep that upper body strong since I am not hauling and toting little boys and girls around.

Ugh.

Miss those little monkeys too.

I feel like they are going to be five years old by the time I get back to them.

With full on adult vocabularies and career paths that outstrip mine.

Right now, there is no career path for me other than humbly accepting with gratitude the help being offered to me.

“You are helping other people to ask for what they need,” she said to me on the phone when I choked up telling her about the GoFundMe  account.  “It is so important that we allow ourselves to ask for help when it is needed, and it’s keeping you connected, you aren’t isolated.”

No.

I am not.

I have taken more phone calls these past thirteen days then I can recall having all the last two months.  I have seen people whom I haven’t gotten to see because our work schedules and life schedules haven’t synced up.

Now, well, I am hostage, humble hostage, to this ankle and this slow recovery and healing.

But I can see it.

The healing.

Both of my ego and of my ankle.

It’s an amazing thing.

Not something I could have ever orchestrated on my own whatsoever.

And for that I am grateful.

Over the moon grateful.

Thank you friends for your help.

May I return the favor soon.

 

 

 

Have You Done Any Writing About it?

June 15, 2014

Yes.

Damn it.

Every fucking day.

More writing.

Writing and more writing, morning and night, the writing.

“Well, you still sound really angry,” she said to me, rocking forward on the chair outside on my back patio.

I had a special visitor this afternoon and we checked in and did some work and I got to tell her how I was really feeling and also get to be told what she was seeing, ie, anger.

Which I know is a masquerade for fear, which if I continue to turn it inward will manifest into depression.

Anger turned inward equals depression.

I know this.

I haven’t been on antidepressants now in years and I don’t want to go back, not that they didn’t help, they did, for three years, but I like myself unmedicated.

Besides anything that potentially messes with my sex drive is not something that I want in my system.

Ahem.

Side bar.

Yay sex.

Back to blog.

I did wake up in self-pity yesterday, which is not depression but it’s a flagstone on the garden path leading there.

I woke up and the voice said, “oh, why bother?”

Why bother getting out of bed, that is.

I did lay there for a minute longer, the hardest part of the day is getting out of bed in the morning, not because I normally have my sad face self-pity party hat on askew, just that it’s a challenge to get up and out of bed.

My body is wonky, my head is muzzy, and I don’t spring forward like I did when my leg was just my leg and not this weird apparatus that I have to pick up and lift about and haul around on crutches.

The effort of going to the bathroom to pee.

I mean, I got to be awake and a bit cognizant or I will wrench myself on something or set my foot down or further injure myself.

Oh.

And my visitor, all about the shower chair.

“Oh,” she said in regards to the news that my employers are going to help me out, “so you get the news you’re being taken care of and you decide to self-sabotage by taking a shower and balancing on one foot in said shower.  Are you trying to break your other ankle?”

Not that this one is broken.

But she has a valid point.

Tomorrow finding shower chair/stool/high chair/lawn chair/golf stool/giant Lego blocks, whatever, to put in the shower so that I can wash myself without being a hazard to myself.

“What was going through your head when this happened?” She asked, pointedly.

Ugh.

I know what was in my head, I can still hear it, fucking little weasley voice trying to cram more things in so that I could be efficient, be faster, get to where I needed to go quicker.

I parked my bike.

I threw my bag inside.

I got the keys to the scooter.

I put on my helmet.

I tried to start it.

The voice said, “slow down.”

I kicked it.

It didn’t start.

I prayed to give myself a time to pause.

Then I tried again.

Then again.

Then, well then the rest is swollen ankle history and trip to ER and six months before it’s really healed.

“Oh, you are so lucky,” she said to me tonight, the new girlfriend of a good friend of mine, hiking up her jeans over her ankle,” broke this bad boy, had to have surgery and the recuperation time was one year.”

Oh my fucking god.

Yes.

I am lucky.

Lucky I got put on a full stop without having to break my ankle.

I cannot imagine.

I am so overwhelmed with relief, when I am not angry at myself, my vain, egotistical self,  my overweening ego that says, you got to go back to the mother land–Wisconsin–with money in your pockets, looking good.

The self that is too scared and lives in fear.

You got to ask for a raise for Burning Man so you can pay rent.

Or.

Yes, this is a better idea, work extra hours and pick up more shifts to make more money so you can pre-pay your rent and not have to ask for a raise.

Because that makes so much sense too.

My disease is a sneaky ass motherfucker.

And I can be mad at myself.

Or I can cut right to the chase and go smoke some crack.

Ok.

Maybe it’s not that cut and dry, but I keep that anger up and I keep resenting myself for something that I need to forgive myself for, because I did not plan this, it’s just life, I am not that all god awful powerful, it’s just life.

Life happens.

I am not impervious to life.

I can plan it all out.

I can try to run around and keep myself busy and think that I am somehow managing the chaos in the world, instead of contributing to it, and be safe.

Life is not meant to be safe.

Life is meant to be lived.

And so, here, now, I forgive myself, in my little public forum, on my little stump, standing behind my podium of self-loathing and doubt and I am not good enough, let me throw down the gauntlet, or perhaps a crutch, and say.

I surrender.

Again.

Jesus.

Always this.

I forgive myself.

I did not do this on purpose and there’s no one to blame.

And I am not a victim.

And I am being taken care of.

He handed me his card, “call me, I can help, I am a party planner, I do this all the time, we used to do this all the time in New York, send me two numbers and I will set it up.”

I cried.

Are you kidding me?

“Listen, you do a lot of service in the community, you are loved and needed, let your community love you.”

Now I am going to cry again.

He wants to throw me a rent party.

I don’t even know you!

And, I am not worthy, I am going to be fine, it’s gonna be tight, but, I will make it.

(where’s the God in this sentence?)

“Let people help you,” she said to me when she left today, “let people be of service.”

Ok, ok, ok.

“Text me your number and two other numbers,” he finished, “before tomorrow night, let me help you.”

Ok.

I cry uncle.

Before I get too in my head about it I will.

And I did.

I took out the card, teared up, and sent him a text with my number and two others.

I can’t think my way into right acting.

But sometimes.

I can act my way there.

And that’s enough writing about it for today.

Ha.

Another action.

I take them all the time, I just don’t let myself see them.

Humility is also seeing that.

Humbled again.

Hum-bowled over.

Love and service.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Just make sure you’re on a shower chair while doing so.

 

What To Do? What To Do? What To Do?

April 4, 2013

Next.

I had really believed that once I was in Paris I would just be staying in Paris.

Oh, maybe I would move around a few of the arrondissements until I settled in place, then life would unfold, and I would be here for the next ten years.

Fantasy land.

Reality land is much different.

I was thinking about that today as I reviewed a conversation with my room-mate in my head–he pointed out to me that I have not been on vacation here.  I have been trying to live here.

Excuse me, I have been living here.

I am not on a vacation and I have put in enormous amounts of energy to make this work.

I have struggled.

I have not surrendered.

Until recently.

Yesterday when the final moment tick tocked down and the wallet was opened and the ticket was bought.  I cried a bit, then I had a head ache, then I laughed a bit, then I cried some more, then there was the hugging.

Then I got a gift from the Universe.

Two actually.

First was an invite to come to Rome.

Friend of a friend who I met over the Christmas holidays, who happened to be room-mates with a wonderful friend of mine back in San Francisco (who I met a Burning Man five and a half years ago) and we struck up a conversation and hung out one evening in Paris over dinner, which led to more talks, another dinner, and a walk with some fellow travelers around the Opera area one night.

She read my Facecrack page, as I updated it, begrudgingly, after I got the confirmation on the ticket, and said, “we should see each other before you go, either I come up to Paris or you come down to Rome.”

Now, I have never been to Rome.

A Roman holiday could be quite lovely.

I hear they have a new fearless leader.

The second thing that I saw happen was a hit on my “Patronage” post.

When this happens, which is not as frequently as I would like, but far more frequent than I imagined it would, it means that some one has read my blog about asking for help.

Yes, that is correct, a darling friend in San Francisco sent me 100 Euro and said, “go do something fun with it.”

Perhaps knowing that I would be loath to spend it on something frivolous.

Which is true.

My friend in Rome said these days work best for me.

I checked them out and the cost to go is a bit more than what I had planned on them being–200 Euro instead of the 70 Euro I had thought it would be.

Thello Trains runs a special 35 Euro rate one way from Paris to Rome via sleeper train.

Which sounds way more romantic than it really is.

Believe me, the photographs are not depicting luxury travel at 35 Euro a night.

The train company also apparently has a very limited amount of these berths.

I did not purchase the tickets.

My internet here at the house today has been patchy at best, you should have seen the hilarious Skype session I had earlier, it was in slow motion, I laughed a lot, flirted a bit, and got flustered a lot as well, all in what felt like stop time animation.

I am uncertain if it has to do with the construction happening in the courtyard, but the internet for the apartment is down completely.  I am on the SFR Wifi, which is heavily trafficked and slow.

Regardless the connection is trash.

I got off the Thello site and started attempting to research further the tickets, they do not provide the only train from Paris to Rome.  I may also try to hook up a plane ticket there and back, that may be the quickest way and cheaper.

I am hitting the pause button for tonight, but I do believe I will take up my friend on the offer of a place to stay.  Her only requirement is that I bring a fridge magnet from Paris for the room-mates who collect them.

Done.

If the ticket ends up being a little more, well, I did get asked to babysit tomorrow and Saturday.  I could swing the remainder.  It would seem a shame to not go to Rome for a few days if I can do so.  How many people get the offer of a two night stay in Rome for the cost of a refrigerator magnet?

Not many I am supposing.

Say yes to the Universe, I hear the voice saying in my heart.

This is a good voice, it is in my heart, not from my head.

Say yes, Carmen, you will be taken care of.

Yes.

I will buy the tickets.

Yes I will go to Rome.

I hear they have some nice paintings there.

I do not have to grasp and clutch and hold tight onto the money out of fear.

I can open my hands up and say, yes please, and thank you very much.

I accept these gifts.

All these gifts, the presents of being in the moment, here in Paris, where I am for a little while yet.  There was a reason I was brought here.  It may have only been to be in Paris for six months, that is no little reason.

It may have been to strike up a conversation with a flirt bucket in New York.

It may have been so that I was of service to a few people.

Or that I needed to see that art there, go for that walk here, taste this, smell that, thousands of moments, the feel of snow falling on my face in Paris as I crossed Pont Alma, the sound of birds in the woods in Chambourcy, the laughter of little French children swarming around a playground.

I don’t know.

I don’t care.

I don’t have to know what to do or where to go, actually, I am being told quite distinctly, quite loudly.

Go to Rome.

Go to San Francisco.

Go to New York.

See what happens when you get there and do the next action in front of you.

Enjoy the moment.

And then write about it.

Tour Guide

March 1, 2013

I got to take some folks out and about today.

We went to the Eiffel Tower and walked over to the Passy Metro stop, went to Montmartre, walked up to Sacre Couer and ended with dinner in my neighborhood at Odette & Aime.

Sacre Couer

Sacre Couer

It is fun to have folks in town and be of service.

Plus, I got fed like no bodies business.

I was loved.

I am really in a place of gratitude right now.

Full and replete.

I read some more of the King memoir, although I did not do nearly any writing today.

I am doing my best to rectify that tonight.

I do not believe I will write much past my blog tonight, however.

I did send out another query, just a few more and I will hit my goal of 40, then the follow-up e-mails will begin.  Since I have a full week without any gigs lined up I am going to see how much work I can get in on the writing, see if I can really set up a nice schedule for myself.

I realized one thing today, which when I look back at it, I see it again and again, but I don’t always remember until it is too late; sleeping in is not much fun.

Oh, I think it’s going to be great, but then my whole day is thrown and I get off track and I don’t get in the things that really settle me in my day.  I am still new to this town, although tomorrow marks four months, four!  Having a schedule, even without a “job” in the typical sense of the word, is a vital thing for me.

I slept until noon this “morning”.

Two hours plus past my normal get up time.

It just throws me.

I think that I am giving myself some sort of extra pleasure, but in the end it is never worth it, as I look at the day and go, what did I do?  What did I accomplish.

Now, granted, I had a lovely day with my friends.

Cold.

But lovely.

So, I have not a one excuse to complain.

No one is allowed to complain when they have been fed steak tartare.

Least of all me.

Had I gotten up at my regular time, however, I would have gotten in a lot more writing.  That is what I missed today.  Ironically after just reading the part of the memoir that King writes about needing to devote 4-6 hours a day to reading and writing.

I do actually hit damn close to that when I look over my habits and writing patterns.

I write a half hour every morning, the blog typically takes another hour, and I read for at least an hour everyday.  That puts me at two and a half hours with just my typical output.

I need to up that a little.

Which is why I want to be writing more in the afternoon, finding a way to schedule that, make it a priority.  Having the faith to allow myself the wherewithal to actually sit down and write more.

I have to say it is a little overwhelming.

This non-paying job is starting to really be a full-time job.

I know that I am being paid, but as of yet it is not in money.

I have been getting support though, financially here and there, friends slipping bills into my pocket, which I will be readily handing over to my room-mate as soon as he walks in the door tonight.

Another fifty Euro to rent.

I am still shy the rest of the month, but I have groceries and two and a half weeks paid off.

Taking it day by day.

One minute at a time, sometimes.

I also get overwhelmed with the amount of ideas coming at me.

And how to do the rewrites on the next two books in front of me.

Do I continue to flesh out fresh stories, or do I start in on the manuscripts taking them from first to second drafts?

Can I do a mixture of both?

I have another short story idea pop out at me.

I have the novel to keep writing.

Sigh.

If I just did not have to worry about working or rent right now.

That would be a dream.

I have so much to do.

Damn it.

Whew.

That’s a load of bullshit.  I have to be present, it will all work out.  I have the committee in full force shaking the tambourines and clattering the tin pans in my head.

Quiet down up there.

I got a weird message from my pops last night, on facecrack, and he posted it publicly to the page, I took it down and sent him a private message to not down that again.

Dad’s a drunk.

I’m a drunk.

But dad’s still drinking.

I, on the other hand, am still thinking.

The thinking can get to me bad, like when I am brushing my teeth and the words from my dad’s message keep replaying about the house that may or may not be in the family that he stayed in here in Paris decades ago, you know the two-story with fire places, which is probably, his words, worth 2.5 million right now, look up your aunt so and so and see if….

Sure dad.

How about the pony you promised me too?

Ugh.

My dad’s still alive.

I have not seen him in nine years.  I would love to see him and give him a hug, but I don’t need to be sold a pipe dream.  It is a big enough struggle to just stick to the dream in front of me.  The challenge of allowing myself to write.

So tomorrow, I will play tour guide a teeny bit more and go out with my friends to dinner, and I will then begin the fifth month of my stay here in Paris doing what I came to do.

Write, in Pars.

No matter what that I am not being paid for it yet, I have to put in my time.

It will happen, here, there, or elsewhere.

But it will happen.

Keep Swimming

February 25, 2013

Keep pushing.

Keep submitting.

“How many queries have you sent out,” she asked me from the deep-seated chair snuck up against the second story window in Shakespeare and Company.

I rapidly flicked through the e-mails in my head.

“About thirty, maybe forty,” I said after a moment’s calculations.

“After you hit fifty, stop and start doing follow-up e-mails,” she said with a smile, “that’ll keep you busy for the next few months.”

Sigh.

Yes, it will.

“Have you gotten any response?” She asked, the light glinting off her glasses, I noticed the miniature frame of the window in her frames and then the snow drift that fell from the swollen grey lowering sky.

I shared the response, mostly no’s and one agent in Connecticut who asked for the entire book.

“Push her, follow-up,” she said, leaning forward out of the chair.

The door behind me opened and an employee of the book store came out with a small black and white Holstein, no, wait that is a baby French Bulldog.

Oh, I want one.

I want a little Frenchie to nestle in my lap as I read books in a corner of Shakespeare and Company, really on a cold day there are only a few places more appealing than a warm book store with corners and cubbies and nooks, one in which a stand up piano was softly being played and a woman with a halting French accent picked out a tune on the yellowed keys.

Maybe a warm cafe.

Shakespeare and Company should also open a cafe.

I am sure they have heard that before.

Maybe I could open my own.

Or I could just style a salon in my home, I will have a home someday in Paris, a home with a library and deep cozy chairs and a fireplace to warm up the toes on.

Ah dreams.

Ah, the dreams I get to currently live.

The experience of being here, even when I have no idea how long or wherefore after, I have this, I have had three and a half months in Paris.

Wintery Paris.

Snowy wet cold grey slate salt ice crackled frost white bare branched windy Paris.

Imagine how it will be in Spring.

Just hang in there this month is almost over.

On one hand I don’t want March to come, I don’t want to think past these last few days of my rent being paid and then back in the boat of scrapping and scrabbling.

A friend from San Francisco is here and we had lunch today at le Comptoir de L’Arc, thank you for the treat!  And I expressed that no I don’t know what I am doing, or where I am going, or how I am going to get there.  But I have this, these experiences.

And this is worth an awful lot.

I am happy.

I am happy despite what my writer friend said to me in the book store.

She did not paint the brightest of pictures.

She described the challenge of being a writer and how she has gone about it.  The more she talked the more I was in awe that there were even any books that ever did get published.  Looking at the titles on the bookshelves, how did they do it?

I tried to keep the frown of my face, I sighed.

“The market is over saturated,” she continued, “there’s a lot of books out there like your book.”

Memoir that is.

She’s right, the market probably is over saturated, but when have I cared for odds?

Never.

She did say to keep swimming, she did say it would change, she did say there would be a yes, she said, follow-up, then follow-up, then follow-up again.  Hit your 50 queries and start bugging people.

Annoy them.

Pester.

The person who gets published is often the person who does not give up.

I am not about to give up.

I am here in Paris after all, past the point of my tourist Visa, past the point of my savings, slipping on and off the Metro and transferring stations all over the city to get to a baby sitting gig here or there or elsewhere, just so that I can be here, getting a lunch here from a friend, a small gift of money from another friend via Paypal, a few euro in the mail.

I am getting to live so in the present, that I am constantly being showered with gifts.

Sometimes they look like snow flurries falling through the glazed pane windows of a book shop on the Left Bank in Paris.  I won’t forget the snow falling along the lamp-post of Pont Neuf, or the way the spire of Notre Dame raises up, almost supporting the heavy mass of grey clouds.

Then she said the magic words, words I was waiting for more than perhaps the hows and whats and whys of publishing (honestly after the talk I had no idea if I was meant to be a published author at all) or whether I will get published at all…and then she said,

“you’re a great writer.”

I inwardly heaved a sigh.

Yes, I want to be a published writer living on my words, getting advances and royalties and options and all the stuff she was talking about, yes, drench my ego in the financial glory of glittery literary stardom.

Fete me damn it.

Yet, what I want more, much more, is to be a good writer.

I accept that I may not have the kind of financial success that I dream of.

I have, however, had success.

I have had another person pick up the book and say, you are a good writer.

“You are a great writer, don’t stop writing.”

I am a great writer in Paris.

I’ll keep swimming with that kind of motivation.

That was the push I needed to send out another query today, number 37 (random, arbitrary number I just pulled out of my ass, I have no idea to the number how many I have sent out since I finished the book) toward the next step in the long process of getting published.

I will get published.

I will.

In Paris.

Asking For Help

November 25, 2012

Should not be so hard.

Then again, it has gotten easier the more I have done it.  I actually just put a post up on Paris Craigslist for a patron/ness as well.

I would never have thought of that.  A friend made the suggestion.  I mean, why the hell not.  I am game for trying just about anything.

I was in a weird place today as I got some responses to the request I put out.  Most were just a lack of response, which as I have been told is a response.

That is cool.

Then there was the conversation in my head, not so cool.  The overwhelming, what am I doing with this as well.  Lastly, the what anybody thinks of me is none of my business, nor what I think of myself is not my business.

What is my business?

The next action in front of me.  The living, to the best of my ability as an artist.

Aha!

I just had a thought.  I have never tried to just live as an artist.  I have always looked for a career that would support me being an artist.  Of course, all that has happened is that I would find myself in a job that I did not like working too many hours for not enough money and not spending the kind of time on my work and my art as I would like.

Thus defeating the entire purpose.

Although, each job has given me something.

Like my small, poorly spoken interaction in the middle of the road today in the Marais.

“Pardon,” he said to me at the stop sign.

“Avez-vous un fixie?”

“Oui, c’est un fixie,”  I smiled and nodded my head briskly.

There were two guys next to me, both on fixed gear bikes, neither of which I recognized.  They were absolutely agog at my bike.

Velo

Velo

There is nothing like my bicycle in Paris.

Rien.

Then again, my bike is unique in that there is no other quite like its design.  There are similar bicycles, with similar frames, but nothing else set up quite like mine, it screams custom.

We had an awkward talk, my French, though better is not up to par, and neither of the guys spoke English, but their eyes, full of admiration, spoke volumes.

I felt proud of my bike.

I felt proud of me for finally getting on my bike.  The fear was great and my room-mate’s parting words did not help either, “take it out of fixed.  Do not ride it fixed, the cobblestones will kill you.”

Of course, I ignored that admonishment.

I am a fixed gear riding gal, dontcha know?

Happy, joyous, free.

Free as a bird, free as a girl on a bike.  I got on my bike, then a half block later I got off and took a photograph of it, I ended up taking a number of them, I could not help it.  I mean, when you are by the Louvre you need to stop and take a picture of your piece of art.

Framed in the doorway to the Louvre

Art

My heart was full, a smile plastered on my face, I rode my bicycle around Paris.

I felt so at home and so free I cannot describe how amazing it was to be in the saddle riding along the Seine.

Of course, the traffic was very light today, it is Sunday and Paris is verifiably asleep.

I do wonder where all the people go.  The traffic is none existent and the pedestrians also few and far between.

When I left the house I turned simply to the left on Rue Bellefond.  It is a one way, I just followed the traffic direction.  The cobblestones are not the most fun ever, but they are not horrid, and I actually had no problems riding down the streets.

I just followed the bicycle lanes and figured I would let myself get lost.  I had my book of maps on me and hours before I needed to be anywhere.  I knew I would be writing tonight and I figured I would use the bicycle as my photography studies today.

I followed a few people as they rode, mimicking the way they wove in and out of traffic, which again was light, I do not know what tomorrow or the rest of the week will look like, but I am going to add riding into my repetoire.  It felt so good and the exercise is good not just for my body, but really for my brain.

A moving meditation, truly.

Following other bicyclists worked really well.

Then following street signs.

Then, yes, oh yes, I rode down the Champs Elysees on my fixed gear sparkle pony.

I can only admit this here on my blog, but yes, that damn song was in my head the entire time, “Oh Champs Elysees, Oh, Champs Elysees…”  I think it is from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg?  It was a film I watched in French class way back when.

I rode all the way to Place de la Concorde, then on to the Louvre and since I was nearby I figured I would surprise my room-mate and see if he was up for grabbing a bite of lunch.

Of course, I got lost.

That’s what I do.

I decided to not push myself, I had food at the house and what with my finances being what my finances are, read previous blog about looking for patronage, I rode back toward the direction I thought the apartment might be in.

I also had an apple with me.

I stopped at a likely looking spot close to Gare de L’est and took a few more photographs of my lovely steed.

Gates of St. Laurent

Gates of St. Laurent

I sat on a bench.  I ate an apple, one I had purchased at the market on Rue Mouffetard.

I sat in the sunshine.

I smiled.

Life.

Life is amazing.

How lucky am I?

How did I get here?

And how long do I get to stay?

Insert mild financial insecurity.  Which I squashed like a bug immediately.  OH no you don’t, enjoy this.

Be present.

This is such a gift.

I am so beyond grateful to be here, living, just living, writing, doing the work. I spent an hour at Odette & Aime this evening editing.  I wrote a lot earlier today in my journal–I actually am going to have to get another one soon, probably by Friday of this week.

I read from Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”

Being a writer, it is important for me to read, to fill the well with others words and images.  It is also nice to juxtapose the Paris that Hemingway writes about with the Paris that I am living in.

I find it humourous, to be reading it on the Metro–to be on the Metro Line 4 coming back from Rue Madame this evening, headed toward Pt. Clignancourt to connect with the line 7 which will drop me at Cadet.  I do not know why exactly this tickles me, but it does.

Metro

Metro Stop–Cadet

I am not the first person to come to Paris and write.  I will not be the last.  There is a kind of comfort in that.  And I am not the only artist to ask for help.

Papa did it.

So can I.

 

Patronage

November 24, 2012

And how I am now officially asking for it.

That is after consulting with another person who knows me and knows my motives.

She said, and I quote, “do it.  The worst some one can say is no.  And then you are exactly where you are now, no different except that you asked for help.”

Gah.

This whole asking for help thing.  I did not want to be given humility for my 40th birthday, but that is what it is looking like I am being given.

That and a used copy of Hemingway’s, “A Moveable Feast”.

Which is what led me to the discussion with Corinne today.  I had been reading the book, it was left here by a guest recently and she had asked if I would care for the book, had I ever read it?

Nope.

She recommended it highly.

Then another person recommended it to me yesterday.

I thought, ok, ok, I am being told something, listen to it.  I also decided to head off to the market associated with Hemingway and the book–Rue Mouffetard.

Flowers

Flowers

I was a little disappointed with the market, to tell you my thoughts exactly, it was a tourist trap from hell.

But there were parts of it, here, this flower vendor.

And then there, that bit of color on the leaves of the trees in the corner park.

Fall Color

Fall Color

 

 

Lovely little things.

I did traverse the street and I was not entirely disappointed.  I found some delicious apples and a pair of darling finger less gloves.  The kind of gloves I have been looking for since I got to Paris.  I scooped them right up.

Frankly, though, the market was over priced, as are many of the places where the tourist is a targeted mark.  I understand this, but as I am doing my best to be a local, despite not looking, acting, or sounding like one, I am trying to shop like one.

My favorite market is on Friday on Rue D’Anvers.  It is a small market around the Square D’Anvers.  It strikes me as being for the more upper class in the neighborhood, but I always find a really good price on a chicken and I get the best and I do mean the best apples ever from this older woman and her son.  They are not only exquisite looking and quite large, the flesh and taste is something wild and old and tart and sweet and antique.

I feel like I am eating an apple from a tree in the countryside that has been grown on a tree that is over two hundred years old.  It is good stuff, I tell you.

I digress a wee bit.

I get off track a little.

I am embarrassed to ask this.

But ask I shall.

Will you support me?

Will you help me write?

Will you send some money to my Paypal Account?

I am not kidding.  I am actually asking for patrons.  Corinne said, “it’s not like you’re not working.  You are not asking for some one to pay for your vacation, you’re working.”

She is right.

I am working a lot.  Aside from the two hours of French class every day.  Which should you opt to help me out, I will sign up for another month of classes (190 Euro plus 28 Euro for the study book and workbooks), I am also out every day walking and taking photographs.

In the three weeks I have been here I have taken over 500 photographs.

I do not have an exact count.

Some make it to my other blog–www.whereintheworldisauntibubba.wordpress.com

Some make it here onto this blog.

Some, a lot of them go onto my FaceBook account.

Today I spent about a half hour editing the 54 photographs I took today.  Then I posted the ones that I liked the best to my photography blog.  Then, I spent another hour uploading about another 80 to Facebook.

Last night, I also spent about two hours re-formatting my photography blog.

In addition to this, I write every day.

Some times you see it, I have posted a poem and a short story that are completely separated from my blog and my book and my photo blog, here.

The short story is “The Button Boy”  which I am thinking about expanding, to what, I am not sure, but it feels like there is more to just the short story than I wrote, I feel like it has some legs.

The poem is “Salon De The”  written last Sunday at just that, a Tea house, or salon, as it may be called off Rue De Vieux Pompiers et Rue Madame.

I also, really, this is the juicy part of my day, the part I like the most and dread the most, as the case may be, edit my book.

I am 75 pages of editing in.

I do the majority of it at Odette & Aime which is the cafe just down the street from me.

Odette & Aime

Odette & Aime

 

Editing

Editing avec cafe creme

 

 

 

 

 

 

I try to get in about an hour of editing a day.  There have been times when I go about an hour and a half and there are times when I only last 45 minutes

The material is emotionally draining.  I am writing about being addicted to crack cocaine, about homelessness and poverty, about an abusive relationship, about being lost, it is challenging to keep myself and the story separate.

Which is the grace and the beauty of the situation.  That is my situation.  I am here in Paris, having given myself perhaps the greatest gift I could, unlimited beauty to assuage my soul with as I delve into the ugliness of reading and editing my first memoir.

Yes, my first, there are two follow up pieces.

I cannot write yet about Paris.  I have not lived here long enough.  However, I can use Paris as my muse as my inspiration, as the place I get to take a break into when the image of being 19 and scared and overwhelmed and sleeping on a piece of plywood on an abandoned airforce base becomes a little much.

I set my pen down.

I take a break.

I make a bowl of cafe here at the house or I take a walk or I go to market.

I got myself here, not alone, I cannot say alone, so many people loved and supported me.  But if I am going to stay, I am going to need a little more help.

Hemingway had patrons.

I am allowed patronage too.

I have a Paypal account.

I have a work ethic too.  I am not going to sit on my ass and eat baguette and chocolate bon bons.

I promise.

What I am going to do, is continue to write, to edit, to walk, to take photographs, to live an artistic, bohemian life, in Paris.

You send me 5 Euro.  I will send you a postcard.

You send me 200 Euro.  I will take another month of French class.

You send me whatever the hell you want and I will write you a poem, I will take a photograph for you. I will go to market, or Notre Dame, or walk along the Seine.

You send me rent, 500 Euro, you get a signed first edition of my book and I add your name to the acknowledgements.

I do not know what I am doing.  But that is how I learn.  I make a jump.  I take a risk.

I ask for help.

I take some one else suggestion.

You got one, let me know.

Current suggestions being followed–read “A Moveable Feast,” write every day, blog every day, take a walk every day, meditate, be of service, ask for help, let people know what is happening, get outside, sit up front at French class, take the opposite direction from the Metro stop as you think you should.

Let yourself get lost.

Oh, and let me not forget, my lovely, my dearest, my blog.

I will keep posting to my blog, every day, every adventure, every tear, date, dream, love.

     Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. 

My Paypal account is my old yahoo e-mail address:

carmenreginamartines@yahoo.com

Click here to donate.

Don’t forget your address so I can send you a postcard!


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