Archive for the ‘Submissions’ Category

So I Said

September 16, 2016

Fuck it.

And went to yoga.

I expressed to my friend via text.

We were commiserating about having both gotten a rejection from a publisher in the past twenty-four hours.

Yeah.

I don’t write about it much, but I did send off a couple of poems in recent memory and yesterday I got the thanks but no thanks.

Ditto for my friend.

Although I still get them impression that he’ll be published in a big way and then I can be all like, I knew him when.

He asked if I was working on anything new and where I was going to submit next and what was the contest that I had submitted to.

I had already forgotten.

I explained that I have been too focused on trying to get through the reading for my second year grad program.

I haven’t had time to think about polishing any of my current pieces and submitting them anywhere.

I suppose I could.

I probably should.

I would like to.

Could, would, should.

Good ways to take me out of the moment and beat myself for not having done all the things yet.

But I told him I had a fuck it moment last night and decided to screw doing any more reading and go to yoga this morning instead.

I am grateful I did.

Although.

Fuck me.

It was hard.

In fact.

I cringed when I saw the instructor who was teaching my class today.

I went anyway.

I sacked up.

I got up.

I went.

It was hard.

It was hella hard.

I am still sore.

But.

Man.

I was out of my head and that’s the point, right?

To not be in my head, but to be in my body.

I floated out the door of the studio, gingerly, I was sore, I am sore, I’ll be sore tomorrow too.

I’m going to go to yoga again in the morning.

I have a busy weekend with the things and the doing and the goings and the people and oh, all the freaking home work.

But.

I will make time for fun.

Yes.

Yes I will.

Because all work and all grad school and all recovery can make Carmen a kind of crazy girl.

I have to do the work and I’m down to do it.

But I’m also going to take my joy where I find it.

I’m hella grateful tomorrow is Friday though, let me tell you.

I’m also grateful that I don’t have a paper due for my Psychopathology class; although there’s an uncomfortable amount of reading I need to do for the class by next weekend, at least there’s not a paper.

I have papers due in my two other classes.

Plus.

Sigh.

The paper I need to write for my Gestalt class.

Which.

Shouldn’t be too hard.

I really had some powerful experiences in Gestalt and I don’t feel that there will be any lack of things to write about, plus I read the readings and I took good notes.

It’s a six page paper.

I’ll have it done in an hour and a half.

Twenty minutes to review my notes, go through my notes in the reading, then forty minutes to an hour of writing, some time to proof it and voila.

A paper in 1.5 hours.

I’m a fast writer.

But please, don’t think that my work comes without effort.

It is work.

I have also been practicing my craft for years.

I started this blog what now, seven years ago?

I have been writing in my notebook for ten and a half years.

Every day.

Every god damn day.

I write, I write, I write.

So.

Yeah.

The papers do come fast, but I’m always doing the work, putting in the time and getting down to the actual practice.

I was a little afraid when I started my grad school program that I would lose the habit, maybe not blog as much or write less in the morning.

But.

That has not happened.

I have been consistent.

With that consistency.

Rewards.

The first being that I type hella fast.

I’m not sure how fast, but over 60 words a minutes, probably somewhere around 75 if I’m honest, 80-100 on occasion when the words are really flowing.

I can knock out a 1,000 word blog in a half hour.

Not that I always do.

My typewriting skills not withstanding, sometimes I’m crafting the blog or messing with it or I’m feeling poetic.

Anyway.

Yeah.

Lots and lots and lots of practice.

So the other two papers that are due won’t take me too long either.

Besides.

They’re both two-three page reflection papers.

I’ll review my notes and kick out each one in a half hour.

The biggest challenge is just keeping up with the reading.

And.

Fortunately for me I am a fast reader.

Granted I read slower when I am studying then when I am reading for pleasure, underling pertinent information, re-reading certain things, making sure I understand what I am reading.

But.

l still read at a fairly fast clip.

I am gifted and I get it and I am lucky and I also work my fucking ass off.

I had a friend who would give me shit last year while I was working on my papers about how fast I wrote, and it was no skin off my nose and I have to say, it is work, and I do so much outside work that is not my job job or my school job, that it can feel like I’m working all the fucking time.

I took some offense to it, despite also knowing that he was pretty correct.

The worst thing for me is not the paper writing.

It’s the anticipation of having to write the paper.

That’s where the anxiety lies.

And that’s just another way to take me out of the moment.

In the moment.

Right here.

Right now.

Nothing is wrong.

I have a roof over my head.

It’s an awful cute roof too.

I have food in my belly–dinner with a dearest to celebrate my nine-year anniversary in, well a sister program I go to–and!

I got persimmons at the farmer’s market today.

I have clean clothes folded up in my closet.

I have had a hot shower today.

I had coffee.

The nice kind.

Home brewed for breakfast then an Americano today at work from Ritual.

I got to spend an amazing hour with an extraordinary mentor and friend.

I got to talk with one of my best friends on the phone today.

I got to make plans for the weekend.

I went to yoga.

There’s a hot cup of tea waiting for me and a cozy bed.

Life is fabulous.

And.

Tomorrow is Friday.

So yeah.

Fuck it.

I’ll be going to yoga again in the morning.

The reading and the papers can wait one more day.

Seriously.

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You’re Such A Nanny

June 10, 2016

My friend chuckled after I admitted that I almost offered him a graham cracker.

“Hey, do you want a gra….oh my god.”

I laughed.

I was so my job at the moment.

I was also just excited to be talking to adults that weren’t the parent of my charges.

Like just my peeps on the street.

I got a text asking what I was doing and where I was and I replied at the playground, my friend knows the one, and there until swimming lessons and the farmers market and laundry had to be got done.

I had already made the roasted cauliflower and vat of broccoli soup during the earlier part of the day.

It was a super sweet surprise to get to hang out with my friend and his lady, also my friend, these are your friends/here are your friends/these are your friends, and it was just a special quick moment of getting to be relaxed and playful with my charges and catch up a little with my friends.

I am so lucky to have the friends I do.

It has taken awhile.

Some relationships get let go.

Some become stronger.

Sometimes I have a friend for a few years then they disappear for a while.

That always makes me sad.

But.

There’s not much I can do except focus on getting what I need for myself and letting that friend do what he or she has got to do to get back to where I am at.

Some do.

A lot don’t.

So the ones that stick.

Fuck.

They are important.

They are cherished.

Plus.

Despite my apparent transparency here.

I don’t have a ton of close friends.

I have enough.

I have just what I need.

I am not complaining.

I am grateful for the amazing friends in my life.

I just am not quite so popular as my facecrack page would like you to believe.

Sometimes I just can’t keep up with it all, the events, the parties, the things, the doings the goings, but I try to keep up with a select few.

And that makes me very happy.

To know that I have friends in my life.

I am a social animal even though I try to act like I’m some sort of lone wolf.

So.

I am quite happy to have a coffee date this weekend, some doing the deal with three different ladies, and a dinner date with a friend who is just had a really big anniversary.

Plus.

I feel good because tomorrow is Friday and I’m almost through my first full time work week after school has let out.

I am getting used to getting up early again and being at the house in the mornings.

I am also happy because I had a little epiphany in the shower when I got home tonight after doing the deal.

I was laughing to myself about the graham cracker offer at the park and then I recalled a brief conversation I had once with an acquaintance years ago.

I was nannying.

Shocker.

It was an afternoon in the Mission and the parents I worked for were hella cool about letting me take there kids everywhere.

Even church basements.

And as I sat in the spot, the metal folding chair more comfortable than the crap running through my brain which was why I was there during the work day instead of after the work day had finished, one of my monkeys was getting fussy.

So I took him out of the stroller and nestled him on my shoulder and crooned to him and rocked him until he fell asleep, heavy in my arms, completely warm, soft, a puddle of love, all collapsed on my shoulders.

I hummed a lullaby under my breath.

I have two go to’s–the classic “Hush Little Baby” and one I made up that consists of a couple of bars that I hum.

I couldn’t tell you what key it’s in.

Perhaps the key of gratitude.

But.

It’s affective.

I cannot tell you how many babies, toddlers, children I have hummed that little ditty to, rocked to sleep, held through teething bouts, calming them down at the park after a scraped knee or a startled dropped plate shatters on the floor.

I would later, much later, realize, fuck I am dense, hit on me after the deal was wrapped up.

“I don’t know that I have ever envied a two year old more,” he said to me, eyes a twinkle, “what I wouldn’t give to be held in your lap having you sing me a lullaby.”

God damn it.

Even writing that I can tell he was hitting on me.

I however, was busy bundling the monkey back into the stroller and keeping the other one, I specialize in nanny shares and almost always do double duty, busy with the snacks and the milk.

I tucked the blankets around them and smiled.

I walked away.

And I wonder why I am single.

Gah.

Anyway.

Total digression.

All this in a flash in the shower, the lullaby, the song, the oh!

Oh!

Oh!

I got it.

I got it!

Lullabies and Love Songs.

My book!

Er.

Well, my chap book.

I’m not sure how much I’m going to get, but it has been needling at me to put together a group of poems.

Hmm.

Or should it be.

Love Songs and Lullabies?

Not sure.

But.

I want to gather my materials.

I have tons of poems scattered through out my notebooks.

I want to go through them and find the pearls.

There’s a lot of dross.

But there is gold too.

I will also mine this blog.

I have some poems tucked in here too.

I got super excited.

I have something to report on for the podcast and I have a real sense of it.

I can see it very well.

And I want it.

I want to do this.

Lullabies and Love Songs.

That’s the one.

That sounds good coming out of my mouth.

Oh.

Happy.

I like having a creative goal and I don’t know that I’m ready to go back in and try and re-work my book yet.

I also do want to find one of my old short stories.

I have an idea to polish it up and submit it to Glimmer Train for their emerging authors contest.

I have had a short story published, but the circulation, I’m pretty freaking sure, was under 5,000, which was the cut off to be considered for the contest.

Anyway.

I am going to do this.

I usually do.

When I put it here.

This blog.

My blueprint.

My happy.

My graham cracker.

Heh.

My crumble bum muse, tumbled out like grains of sand from the park expedition, harmonies of love and joy and the sweet hands of a little boy riding my shoulders calling my name out gleefully as we stride down Valencia street.

Can’t ask for more

My life.

So.

Fucking.

Good.

Be Flexible

June 4, 2016

And I’m not talking yoga.

I am talking to myself.

I am about to embark on the summer time schedule at work, aka, the boys full time.

However the family has a lot of traveling, summer camps, swimming time, and activities planned, it’s going to be busy and the mom has asked me to work 10 a.m. to 6p.m. Monday through Friday.

Except next week Tuesday when I’ll work 12-7p.m.

Or the next week when I’ll be on call for jury duty, so who knows if I’ll be working or not.

Oh!

And that Friday, the 17th, I’ll have it off completely!

They will be out of town visiting family in the Midwest.

And although they won’t be back until the following Tuesday, I will work that Monday for them, just to let the housekeeper in to clean the house and also for me to accept whatever Instacart order the mom has placed so I’ll be there cooking food for them.

Like this week: oatmeal for the boys breakfast, broccoli soup for the mom over the weekend, pitted 6 pints of cherries for snacks, hulled an entire flat of strawberries, roasted cauliflower twice, homemade baked macaroni with cheese, homemade beef stroganoff with bow tie noodles, cheese tortellini with pesto, plus lots of peeling of carrots and chopping of raw veggies.

Yeah.

Like that.

Then the next week.

Well.

Who the hell knows.

I did ask that I have a set schedule, but the mom has other ideas and I’m ok with it to a point, I do need some regularity in my schedule.

Or.

Do I?

Can I be flexible?

I want to be flexible, I want this job through the school year, through all my school years if I can, and that means trying to fit myself of maximum service to the situation.

I did ask that I have a weeks time to negotiate my own schedule.

Seeing as how I already went ahead and offered my time to one of my ladies for next Tuesday thinking I had the schedule all figured out.

Nope.

Ugh.

Fortunately she’s flexible too and all the women I work with are sweet about my school schedule and work schedule and I’m just going to do my best to stay in the moment.

Each moment.

To each moment.

To each moment.

It’s really the best I can do.

Like not trying to figure out my weekend plans.

Because.

Um.

I have none.

That would have once thrown me into paroxym of terror.

Unscheduled down time?

NO!!!

I’ll do yoga.

Or not.

I’ll sleep in.

Or not.

Probably not, although I did a little today and  that was lovely, my Fridays previous for the last year have been days when I got up early to do reading and school work, today I slept in long, did lots of reading, loads of writing and did some laundry, putting fresh sheets on the bed.

I’d like to get them rumpled up.

My possible date has not gotten back to me and I have eschewed chasing him down to nail down a time this weekend.

It will happen.

Or.

It will not.

I’m being flexible.

I’m doing my best to lighten up.

“I’m open to be available for what you need,” I told my boss, in sincerity, once I had a moment to breathe and realize that though it was not my ideal, the change in my schedule that she was out lining, “even if you want to have a date night in there, just let me know.”

Um.

Hey.

Lady.

Before you give it all away, remember, there is too flexible too.

I want to bend, but not break.

I will need fun time for me too.

Especially since the rest of my summer vacation time is not vacation time–it will be my second year school retreat.

Even if I’m not sure what I want to do on my weekends, aside from getting my hair colored the weekend of the 18th and being interviewed the weekend of the 25th.

Wait.

What?

Yeah.

I’m super excited about that, and a bit nervous too.

I actually have to confirm it and let her in on some of my creative process and see what she wants from me in regards to the filming.

It’s a podcast, so I’ll keep you posted as to when it airs.

Fuck.

I don’t even know what that means, podcast.

Bwahahaha.

I have to, scratch that, I get, to talk about my creative process and what that looks like, what I’m working on, what the fuck am I working on?

Inspirations, loads of those, but a definitive list, and so on.

Ooh.

I just realized, heh, I’ll have had my hair done pink from the previous weekend.

Nice.

I’ll be on film with pink hair.

Heh.

I have actually practiced reading the sonnet sequence that I wrote for the gentleman I met last year at Burning Man, I like how I sound in my head reading it, of course, I don’t like hearing myself so much, but I have been told many times I have a nice voice and I do believe that as well.

Plus there’s a couple of longer poems I have memorized that I could perform.

But.

I haven’t done an open mic in a while.

And I’m not sure what exactly I am working on.

I have had a thought about re-working a short story I wrote years ago and sending it to Glimmer Train, they have a “new writer” contest deadline coming up–they send me updates all the time since I have applied to the contest before.

That could be something I’m working on.

And of course.

This blog.

I am always working on this blog, or it is working on me.

The blog works me.

It is where I find solace.

It is where I find my truth.

It’s not always pretty.

But once in a while, I believe, it is searing in its honesty.

And once in a great while.

It is beautiful.

I have no idea which blogs those would be, I don’t go back and re-read them once they have posted unless I feel like I need to do some grammatical editing, or, ugh, I have written something that affects someone in a negative manner.

Really.

I can only write about myself.

I cannot judge another.

Fuck.

I’m not allowed to judge myself.

See.

There!

That!

I am searching for the things to show this artist who wants to film me about all the things I am doing and already I am not enough and I am judging myself.

Wrong.

This is not how it works.

I show up.

Every day.

Or damn near close.

And put my heart on my sleeve and let you in.

I show up.

And that may be the best artistry I am capable of at any moment.

It is not the awards or accolades.

It is the daily grind.

The words mount and flow and I can sit on them and bury my heart.

Or.

I can show up.

Let them out.

Have a little dance party.

And surrender to the art of what is happening.

Not to worry about what I have published, accomplished, or succeeded with.

The failure is just as important.

Every experience and opportunity.

For love.

Art.

Poetry.

More love.

All the time.

As long as I show up.

That’s it.

Oh yeah.

And let go of the results.

That too.

Always that.

Always.

Are You Just Coming

May 31, 2016

From the Warriors game?

He asked me, his head cocked and curious, “you look amazing, really, beautiful.”

And he gave me a big hug.

So surprised, sweetly so, to run into my yoga instructor as I was mailing off a letter at the corner mailbox on Judah and 44th.

“The what?” I asked, “no, um, ha, I was working on a poetry submission.”

“That’s even better!”  He smiled and lit up, I mean, really lit up, it was nice to see.

“It’s the blue,” he said, “that’s what got my attention.”

And.

Wouldn’t you know?

It is the exact shade of blue as the Warriors blue and gold, and though I was not technically wearing gold pants, um, ha, I am wearing leopard print leggings which in certain light do come across as gold.

Nice God.

Subconsciously supporting the sports ball.

I mean.

Seriously.

Same blue, some gold, blue eyeshadow and blue glitter, blue flower in my hair and yes, I’m not kidding, blue nail polish, blue star necklace, blue star earring, and I don’t often wear this color, nor in the amount that I did today.

It must have worked.

I hear they won.

Heh.

“Carmen you are the only person I would take a phone call from at this time and only because I know you have no idea what is happening right now,” my friend on East Coast time said to me years ago when I called to chatter excitedly to him how I was taking dj lessons and the guy that I was working with really thought I had some skills.

Note to self, cocaine addiction not great for keeping up with things like.

Although super grateful that I did not know how much I could get for my sweet Technic turn tables until after I had gotten sober, sold my entire (oh the tears on my face) vinyl collection to Amoeba on Haight Street and all my cds too.

I might have been out there running awhile longer.

As it stands the money I got from the sales of those things kept me in food and rent for a month of San Francisco living.

Well spent, frankly, well spent.

My friend who I was talking to on the phone was in the middle of a nail biter, seventh game of the World Series, his team, tied or some such thing, and only took the phone call from me because he realized I had no clue.

Still little to this day.

Cue parking on 15th and Valencia the time the Giants swept the series in 2013.

Oops.

Ha.

I left the car there.

I was literally on 16th and Valencia when the entire world erupted and people poured out into the streets with brooms and starting lighting shit on fire and drinking open containers and screaming and jumping up and down.

And fuck people.

Cue the same team winning the series two years ago and I’m coming from The Gratitude Center on 7th and Irving at the exact time the series is won and I’m on my fucking bicycle trying to get around police in riot gear and the entire block erupts.

So.

Yeah.

Um.

I knew the Warriors were playing and it was a big deal.

But.

What was really a big deal to me today.

This.

Thank you for your entering the Rattle Poetry Prize competition—your entry has been received. If there are any problems with it, we will let you know, but otherwise it is safe to assume everything is set. Winners will be announced on September 15th.

It’s a huge prize.

The odds of me winning it are slim.

But the odds of me winning if I had not submitted, well, that would be nil.

I took the effort.

I pulled together three sonnets and a longer free verse poem and I submitted to the journal.

I am not making any promises, but what with the time I have off over the summer, I thought it wise to submit some work again.

Plus.

I read a blog that someone wrote about me a few years ago and it inspired me to submit again, it’s been a hot second since I have sent any work anywhere.

I had forgotten about the blog–She Inspired Me To Write–by my friend.

I was googling searching something and it popped up.

I re-read the blog and got a little misty eyed, recalling how excited he was to talk with me, about my travels to Paris, about taking risks and not knowing it and doing it anyway.

I have had it in my head to unearth a short story I wrote years and years ago as well and perhaps submit that out as well.

And.

I would like to put together a small manuscript of my poems.

I have never published a chap book or a manuscript, well, I did a limited, and I do mean very limited, press of a zine called 7 Months, but that was super small and super rough.

I think that it’s time to do something with all the words.

I have felt this before and gotten out there and submitted and nothing happens.

And.

That is ok.

I have to remember that, it’s just how it works.

Loads of folks get loads of rejection.

It’s not to take it personally.

This is my art.

“What kind of art do you do?” He asked me, assuming what I’m not sure, but that from my attire, my tattoos, my star tights, the flower in my hair, that I was an artist.

There was a time that I would have said.

“I’m not an artist.”

There was a time when I was more comfortable with the lie than the truth.

That I have been an artist since I was young and picked up my pen and started scrawling poems in a notebook sometime in middle school.

Or when I started doing forensics and reciting Edna St. Vincent Millay poems at competitions.

Imagine if you will.

I took first place at state.

Not too shabby.

Although I won’t soon forget what it felt like to have the entire school wait on me, as no one else on the team had made it to the final round–the guilt I felt as I progressed was almost subsumed by the pride I felt when my name was announced during the awards ceremony and I got up and walked to get my first place trophy.

And then I thought about being at The Strand book store in New York recently and how I touched and caressed titles of books that I had read, and then, to see a class mate from Wisconsin and his series of books doing so well, displayed prominently at the front of the store.

And.

Then there.

Another woman I know in San Francisco.

Her memoir there.

I had a moment.

I’ll be here too.

When?

Who knows.

But I will.

I have been given a gift and for me it is enough that I get to write.

Not that I am acknowledged for my efforts.

But.

To hear once in a while that I have inspired someone else.

That means the world.

Or.

To have someone tell me they loved a blog I wrote or a poem they heard me recite.

Well.

Love.

That means so much to me.

It’s almost unbearable to express.

But.

Thank you.

I am so graced with these gifts.

I have to share them.

Whether or not they are received.

That’s not my business.

I just get to have the experience of giving the gift.

And.

That.

Well.

That is everything.

Oops

May 17, 2016

Ha.

I just re-sent my paper for Psychodynamics.

Turns out that the e-mail I sent my professor did not have my paper attached.

This lady can write a scintillating amazing theoretical paper and forget to attach it apparently.

Jesus on a pogo stick.

I actually don’t think this was my issue, it’s the system, no I’m not passing the buck, I’ve had this issue before when I have directly responded to this self same professor through the school’s platform–Canvas.

So.

I just sent it off again through Canvas in case it was user error and also through my own g-mail account, just in case.

I had a horrid moment, but it passed quickly, when I thought, please let me have saved that paper, which of course I had, and then realized I know how to retrieve something from the trash had I accidentally trashed it.

Which was not the case.

So.

Now I’m officially done.

Just slightly anti-climatic.

Ha.

I am just a little tired, having not really had a weekend to decompress, just doing all the papers and finals and such, and now back to work today.

But that being said I realized a whole bunch of stuff.

Number one.

I’m going to New York in three days!

Fuck I’m so excited and I have resolved that this is the the grand way to incentivize myself to get through each semester–plan a trip somewhere two weeks following the last weekend of classes.

This gives me a carrot and also forces me to complete the work before leaving for the trip.

It’s perfect and I am just over the moon that I am letting myself take the time to do this and go.

Last time I was in New York I was still coming off that horrible ankle injury I had.

I really couldn’t walk as much or nearly as fast as I wanted.

It was bad.

It blew up a few times.

I remember my friend taking a look at it and demanding I sit down.

Yeah.

Like that.

Now.

Well.

I’m in some fine health.

Feeling sore, but that’s just from having done yoga today, three days in a row people, yes.

Tomorrow I’m probably going to take the day off, sleep in.

I can actually sleep in.

I don’t have to get up early and read for school or work on a paper, I can just get up and do my writing in the morning and then, off to work.

Second big thing that I realized.

It’s Memorial Day the 30th!

I will have a three day weekend right after my four day weekend.

I’m basically getting two Mondays off in a row.

Hallelujah!

I’m quite excited for that.

And third.

The boys are in school until June 3rd.

So the rest of the month I will be working my “normal” 35 hour week.

I’ll have mornings off for the rest of the month.

Come summer vacation for the boys I will be switching up my hours for the family–10a.m.-6p.m.

Although the mom wants to keep one day a week with me starting late so she and the dad can have a date night dinner night out with out the boys.

We haven’t figured out what night that is yet.

But it makes sense that’s it’s probably going to be Friday.

I ain’t gonna fuss my head with the logistics right now.

Suffice to say I have some spare time this month that I was not expecting since I’m done with my school for the year and the boys are still in theirs and there’s a holiday in the month.

I am very happy and very grateful for that.

I feel like I have earned some down time.

I’ll get my fill of doing yoga and sleeping and oh!

PLEASURE READING!

Oh.

How I have missed reading whatever the fuck I want to read.

I have a friend who just sent me some work to read over and I was like, ugh, I don’t have time, then, wait, ha!  Yes I do, I can totally read this whenever the hell I want.

Plus, I’ll have it on the plane with me to New York, it’s a bit of a long piece.

I’m always super flattered when he wants me to read his work, he’s a great writer and I find no little satisfaction in being asked to read what he’s working on before he sends it out.

I suspect he’ll get a publishing contract for a book long before I do.

I’ll get mine too, but I’m not worried about it.

Not right now.

Although, it would behoove me to write somethings that are not scholarly pieces over the summer, some poetry, some short stories, or even go back over some of my work that I haven’t gotten published yet.

I want to actually put together a chap book of poems including the pieces that I did last fall for my patron I met at Burning Man.

He gave me permission to submit it out into the world and I have not since I have been so busy with school, I have not submitted a thing all this past year so focused on school have I been.

It’s beginning to sink in.

This not being in school for the summer.

It feels really nice.

The break will go by fast, I am sure, but I am going to suck every last drop of juice out of it.

I’m going to have a full, busy, playful, raucous summer.

I’m going to see friends.

Go dancing.

Hit up museums.

Write poetry.

Dye my hair pink again.

Just because I can’t go to Burning Man doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a hair party.

I’m going to date and get laid and make the fuck out like a school girl on summer break.

Because I am one!

There’s got to be a drive in movie for me somewhere to go to!

I’m going to walk on the beach, hike, play in the sand.

I’ll have a bonfire.

I’m going to go to shows.

I’m going to hang out in coffee shops.

I’m just going to have fun.

And be light and let whatever happens happen.

I will meet my life with joy.

Happiness.

Freedom.

All the things.

Yes.

Darling.

All the things.

 

Silence of the Lamb

January 12, 2015

You have been silenced by your grandfather and the abuse he perpetuated, the silence from your father who was not there, and the silence enforced upon you by your stepfather.

I heard it like that.

In italics.

Bold.

Times New Roman.

It may as well have been underscored as well.

Point well made.

Point taken.

And one small point for me and my process and showing up to sit in another cafe on another Sunday in San Francisco and cry and let go and ask for suggestions and be given a set of amends to go about.

It is a never-ending process it appears.

This unfolding and unwrapping of self and all its manifestations.

So today I practice not being silent, I practice speaking up and saying who I am and what I do.

I also allow myself to be creative and to grow that way too.

“Oh, it’s the first thing that came to mind,” he said emphatically around a bite of salad.  “I totally agree.”

I had mentioned that when meeting another person I work with yesterday at another cafe in the city, today I was in the Castro, yesterday in the Inner Sunset, I had been given the exact same instructions.

This is what happens when even decades later, almost three, I cry in a booth at a table around an old resentment.

Those things which I think I should be or have done or am not allowed to do haunt me in ways that I just don’t even realize until the pain surfaces and the tears melt and slide down my face.

Ugh.

Here I go again.

I have been directed to make some amends, I have done them before and I am certain that I will continue to do so the rest of my life.

That’s just the way it goes.

I have a lot to amend.

I have learned a way of living that I have to unlearn.

The silence being one of them.

Silent scorn.

Dropping a wall of silence on a situation, not saying what I think or feel or need, disappearing, getting small.

“Girl, God does not make 6 foot Amazonian princesses to be silent,” he paused with drama, “please.”

I am not six-foot.

Although I walk around like I am.

Not the point.

Point is that I do try to get small, wrap up in myself, go unnoticed.

Although it may be hard to ignore me and my glitter dipped self.

“You get to express yourself creatively, that is your amends, and you know what to do.”

Yup.

I do.

One act of not being silent is to allow myself to move forward with graduate school adventures.

Yes.

I did it.

I finished and submitted, along with my $65 fee, my application to the California Institute of Integral Studies for their Intensive Masters Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.

Whew.

I had to redo the application that I had saved online as I could not find the one I saved and just figured it would be more hassle than just starting over.

I reviewed, re-read, edited, and tightened up my six page, 1800 word, autobiographical statement, wrote a one page statement of intent, and did a CV.

I also sent out the forms for my letter of recommendations for the two women I have asked to recommend me to the program along with the above mentioned essays so that they could use them as reference material to write the letters.

My transcript order was received by the University of Wisconsin, Madison and sent out this past Friday to the institute.

While all that was cooking, so was I.

I made myself a nice pot of three bean chili with chicken and celery, black olives, and fire roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, and brown rice.

I have three mason jars full and two containers for the freezer.

I think I used the cooking as a way to keep myself calm while I was in the process of finishing up the application.

I knew, too, that I was going to do it today.

It was just time.

And in that spirit of its time.

I so too, shall start playing cello again.

“What defect comes up for you when you think of your stepfather?” He asked me.

The picture I get is always the same one, although, there were plenty of not so pretty ones in the mix, the first thing that always comes up is this:  walking in the snow at night down Windsor Road with my mother and stepfather.

We are not quite to the block the post office is on.

The snow is falling thick and heavy and my mother is wearing an ugly pair of boots that my stepfather got her–she hates them, but they are warm and she says nothing.

And I say nothing.

I am trapped between two adults choosing the path ahead for me with no say in the matter, my heart already broken by the move to Windsor and the loss of playing cello in the orchestra I had grown into and become so wildly fond of.

Mister Zeigler of Madison, Wisconsin, orchestra conductor for Gompers Middle School, where ever you are, however you are, I always have and always will owe you a great debt of gratitude for the gift of playing cello in your orchestra.

And for interceding on my behalf when my parents decided to pull me out.

My stepfather made that decision.

And so many others.

The one that was being made that cold snowy night was whether to allow me to take the advanced placement ACT test early as allowed certain students so that they could matriculate into upper level course in the highschool.

Nope.

Nada.

No.

No.

No.

Why had I bothered even asking?

My stepfather would not hear my mom’s arguments in favor of and I was to be taught a lesson, so quickly learned, so hard to let go, that I was not allowed to ask.

That I was to be silenced.

My words.

My art.

My creativity.

My music.

You are not allowed to make noise.

Perhaps that is why having had now almost ten years of self-reflection and constant daily growth I grow loud in my dress at times and my voice, in my passion for life, in my need to create and love and dance and sing, even though often off-key.

“Go get yourself a cello,” he said.

Ok.

I got my application out.

Now I can get my cello on.

The world.

It spins constant and continuous, and sometimes the orbit brings me back to an old standard and I get to listen to it anew and perhaps find a new way of introducing an old love to my life again.

I won’t silence myself.

Bring on the music.

Feels Like Vacation

February 18, 2014

How’s the time off been going?

An acquaintance asked me this evening as I wheeled my bike across the intersection at 7th and Irving.

“I slept until noon,” I said, the awe apparent in the tone of my voice.  “I wore my slippers until I came up here on my bike, about um, oh, fifteen minutes ago.”

I had gotten dressed, yes, but I did not leave the house until almost 6p.m. this evening.

These things happen when I don’t go to bed until 4a.m.

Yup.

That’s about how long it took for me to write last night’s blog, unwind, and get myself to bed.

Getting up at noon, though an extreme time difference from my usual hours, was not all that crazy–I got 8 hours–but not really packing in anything to said day was the difference.

I sent my housemate a message about not having gotten in until late, let’s reschedule our utility talk for another time (which we pretty much addressed already anyhow) and took a really long hot shower to get myself going.

But, not going too far.

When I think of all the energy I expended last night, riding to and from the club, three plus hours of solid dancing, it makes sense for me to have laid low.

I was recuperating and I didn’t have anywhere to be until 6:30 p.m. so I let myself, well, chill the fuck out.

My only regret was that I had not picked up a book yesterday when I had a moment in between this place and that place and had gone in to Aardvark Books to ramble through the aisles.

I could have used a book to curl up with.

Yeah, there is a book here that I could have been reading, but I was not in that kind of place for it.

I do hope to be in that space on Wednesday.

I have plans to hang out with a friend tomorrow and I think we will probably cruise around all day, maybe check out his scooter, drink a good bit of coffee and play some bones.

Dominoes that is.

Wednesday, then, seems the day.

The day I told myself, hey, lady, why don’t you pick up the manuscript your friend so kindly printed off and edited for you laborious page by laborious page, and give it a read.

I am prompted to do this because it stares at me when I walk by it, taunting me to pick it up, come on, what are you afraid of.

I am afraid it is shit and not worth the effort is what I am.

Yet, pick it up I will.

I am also inspired by a good friend of mine who has been sending me his short stories and asking me for editing suggestions.

I have read drafts of each of the stories, made comments, asked for him to not use adverbs, pesky little fuckers those, and to clarify what I as a reader am feeling or hearing or not understanding.

His stories have gotten better and better and he’s sending them out.

I want to be doing that as well.

I could not get myself to address any of that today and I was alright with that.

Fun needed to be had yesterday.

Fun was had.

Recuperation from said fun had to be done as well.

It was also a holiday for the housemate’s daughter  and there was general melee in the house as a play date with twin five-year olds and a little two and a half-year old galloped about the upstairs.

No way was I going to have the quiet to do what I wanted to do.

One of them jumped on something so hard or off something or slammed something, who knows what it was, but as I was sitting on the chaise I heard the bang then watched as the reverberation from it shook a glass jar out of my dish drainer and saw it crash to the floor.

Yeah.

Not really the day to sit and read my memoir.

Tomorrow neither as it really is a rare thing for me to have the same day off as my friend who typically works weekends, so Wednesday, when school is back in and I am back to or heading into my typical work schedule (I am on for Thursday, possibly Friday as well, though I am waiting to hear back about that), then I shall sit and read.

I suspect I won’t like what I am reading.

However, I get to honor my process and not judge it and just do it.

Every little action a step forward with it.

I just made a notation in my calendar and scheduled myself the afternoon to read it.

Five hours should be enough to kick through it.

I just want to read it and let myself soak in it.

I can go back over it with a fine tooth comb later.

Then I have the Motorcycle Safety Course in the evening.

I will have a day of study on Wednesday.

I know that I can beat myself up about not moving forward with the writing or the stories or what piece am I working on.  But I realize, with certainty, that I am doing a big part of what is going to make my book a better book by this daily practice of writing.

I am the type of person who works during their “vacation”.

Keeps me sane and happy.

Sure, I was a bit of a sloth today, but I still wrote my morning pages, a few extra then the typical three since I had the day to do so, I did a good meditation, I ate some homemade soup, did some laundry, did some service, and sat down to do this blog.

It’s all about the balance for me.

I don’t need to swim frantically to keep a float, but I do need to keep a gentle pace going, even when I have some down time.

Most especially then, it would seem.

But vacation it did feel like and slippers were had.

What’s nice for me to realize is that I don’t have to justify the down time to anyone, just myself, and ever more and more, not even to me.

That is the best vacation of all.

Perched Atop A Yoga Ball

December 7, 2013

High above the city.

Up in the Castro hills this evening doing a nanny gig.

I am sitting very proper and correct with the stunning view of the downtown twinkling and winking and sparkling out the balcony window.

They do have one hell of a view up here.

And a large screen monitor with a remote keyboard hooked to the internet.

No hunching over my laptop today on my non-ergonomic table and borrowed chair.

I have to get a better set up at the house.

I was doing my morning pages today and I could feel the shoulder starting to sing and I believe that it is definitely exacerbated by the writing, which, fuck me, though it don’t pay the bills, yet, I still love to do.

Am compelled to do.

“You may only write for the joy of writing, you may never make money at it and you will count yourself as lucky that you give yourself the space to do it.”

Yes, ma’am.

You are entirely correct.

Which reminded me, that and the back and forth shop talk with a friend back in Wisconsin who has been sending me drafts of a short story he’s been working on, that I need to submit again to the Bastille before the dead line is up.

They contacted me about submissions and I have been meaning to send them something, if only to say that I am published a second time in Paris, despite not currently being in Paris.

The pay for the short I submitted was to see my own name in print and a free copy of the journal.

But hey, like I told my friend, I can say for ever and always that my first short story was published in a Paris literary journal.

Can’t really sneeze at that.

Nope.

I am going to not only submit another story, but I am going to send them some photographs.

The solicit for materials mentioned photographs, and well, I took a few when I was there.

Grateful over and over and over again that I took so many.

Grateful too that I Instagramed a bunch, not even 1% of what I took ended up on Instagram, but a few did and as I randomly scrolled through the photos  I put up today on my wanders through the Castro and the Mission, I drifted down my own feed and saw them and remembered exactly where I was when.

The rain, the light, the cobblestones slick and shiny, the tower, the staircases in the Montmartre, Christmas Eve climbing up them to Sacre Coeur for midnight mass, all the street graffiti and paste art, the street lamps, the shadows of snow fall, the cafe chairs and tables at closing time, Odette & Aime.

Oh, I took some photographs.

I will be taking more.

It’s a great hobby to have for me.

I would actually be adding a few into the mix with this blog were I writing it at home, but I don’t want to download my photos to the computer here.  And I don’t want to wait until I get home to write my blog, I am working until 11:30 or midnight, depending.

I got here at 11:30a.m.

I did get a big break in between.

Enough time to get over to 2900 24th Street and catch up with my people for an hour.

Enough time to get soaked riding my bicycle in the rain.

Enough time to sit and have a nice dinner with myself and the last few chapters of Clockers at Herbivore, was craving the Mexican beans and rice.

Enough time to pop over to Valencia and 18th and go up to Arin Fishkin’s open studio, give the artist a hug, give the kid a hug, give the hubby a hug, scratch the dog, check out the new prints, awesome, then back out the door, into the wet and rain and back up the hill to the spot here.

I walked my bike.

I had just enough time to do so.

I wasn’t really into getting on it again with the rain falling  heavier and the happy hour segue into the late dinner and cocktail hour, the taxi’s getting flagged, the people jumping in and out of traffic with umbrellas, the slick streets.

I opted to just walk.

Got here wet and soggy, but they have a dryer and all my layers are nice and toasty now and I have to say, this is rather a fun experience, listening to some excellent electronica mix of the dads on the computer (he’s a professional dj amongst other talents and has a fantastic music library), writing on top of the yoga ball.

It is down pouring right now and though it may disperse by the time they get back, the weather is cold, the wind is growly, and I don’t have any desire to get on my bicycle and brave the storm.

No freaking way.

I am either getting a ride out to the beach from the dad or calling a friend who happens to drive taxi, I already checked to see if he had a vehicle that I could toss a bicycle into the back of, I asked the parents to pay me out for the week partially in cash in case I have to hit the taxi.

Then the next two days off.

I have tentative plans to go surfing, but not sure what this weather is going to be doing.

I also just found out that 2ManyDjs are playing at Mighty tomorrow night for the clubs’ 10 year anniversary.

First, how is it ten years?

Damn, Gina.

I remember going to the club when it first opened.

I was there a lot for a while, it was part of my mix–DNA Lounge, The End Up, 1015, Mighty–you could say I like the dancing, jah.

The posting I saw said sold out, but if I could get tickets I would be there in a heart beat.

The last time I saw them was at the Mezzanine just a bit over 9 years ago.

I danced so hard.

I might have had some extracurriculars in my system, ahem.

But they really are an amazing group.

They played New Years Eve in Paris, but I was working.

I am not working tomorrow night and I would love to see them.

I have a couple of commitments to attend to in Noe Valley, but after that, nada.

Well, as the rain continues to fall I will continue to be grateful that I am currently dry and my work week is just about over.

Working it out, holding on, grooving to the good life.

My, my, my, it is a good life.

Flattened, I Mean

June 26, 2013

Flattered.

I ran into an old friend of mine tonight down at the Women’s Building in the Mission of San Francisco, he had just gotten back from celebrating his 75th birthday.

In Paris.

He showed my his photographs and I knew where they all were taken, literally, all of them.

It was a day to be reminded of Paris, in lovely ways.

“I know you are probably not that happy about it,” a friend said to me this evening as I was preparing to head over to the 16th Street BART station, “but frankly, I am so fucking happy you are back.”

Me too, love, me too.

But I actually am happy about it, happy to be back, happy to be making some work and personal progress, happy to be just a little lighter and easier in my skin.

Also happy to be connecting and staying accountable to my life, my choices, and my actions.

“I just wanted to call and leave you a message about this upcoming weekend,” I told a friend’s voice mail, “despite my protestations to the opposite, I am going to house sit again.”

I promised to take care of myself, I promised to not isolate, and I promised to stay away from the sugar and their cupboards and from all things tempting.

I am ok with this house sitting gig, as well, as it feels really safe, it’s in Cole Valley in a gorgeous house and it happens to be the place where I do my nanny gig on Tuesdays, and it will be the spot I also get to pick up an extra gig for Monday.

I don’t have to commute anywhere, I get to just wake up and be in the spot.

This morning the commute was not bad, but getting back was a headache.

The rain pouring down was discouraging to me, the thought of showing up wet, as well as the need to leave early so that I could take extra precautions on the road–when it rains people do not drive as well, and I always have to be a defensive bicyclists.

I packed my messenger bag with my lunch and dinner, I had plans to meet up with a lady at the Dolores Park Cafe after work and knew I wouldn’t get home til late, and as it turns out, way late.

My room-mate offered me a ride to BART and I made the executive decision to leave the bike at the house, I would take the bus, or a cab.

Or the MUNI!

Totally forgot about that.

I had to leave the house faster than I was prepared for, breakfast left on the counter, half my lunch left on the counter, 1/2 a cup of coffee quickly ingested, but it was worth it to not be wet at work (although I am sure I could have tossed the wet items in the dryer) and once the BART pulled into Civic Center I realized I could take the NJudah to work.

I got there so fast I actually had 45 minutes to spare.

I went to Crepes on Cole and had an omelet and some fruit and a couple of cups of coffee, did some writing and prepared to meet the day.

The kids were great, but I am sore, yes I am.

Mostly just achy, not as flattened as normal.

Although every time I tried to do any sort of work remotely, I was unable to.  I kept checking in my e-mail and there were little things here and there to address and I could just keep on top of the babies.

Which is just how it’s going to go some time.

I was also intrigued by an e-mail I received from an organization that I had submitted some work to.  They had chosen one of my photographs to be in a gallery show in New York.

I got all excited, I clicked on the photo they had pulled from the portfolio.

Sidebar-fuck me!  I forgot to down load my photos, grrr.  It’s almost eleven pm.  I had made the decision to get my photography back up and going and said I would at least post a daily photo.  Where’s my camera, I took some shots today.

Yes!

The photograph they chose was one I was quite fond of and I was thrilled they wanted to use it.

Then something struck me as fishy, I read the fine print and sure as shit, I had to upgrade to a different platform with in the artist site to be eligible.

No thank you.

I will however use the money that I would have spent on printing off some of my photos, I would love to print off a couple of larger ones for my new in-law.

But it was nice for a moment to feel special.

What it reminded me to, was to my commitment to continue taking photographs, even if they’re just for me.

I love pictures.

I do.

So, as my friend was scrolling through his shots of Pont Neuf and Notre Dame and Hotel de Ville, the Seine, and one magic shot he got at sunset from Pont Alexandre of the Eiffel Tower, I was thrilled to see that my memories of the city were still firm in place.

“I asked about the magazine, you know,” he said to me, as the last picture floated by on his I-pad.  “Mo said it had not come out yet, and that you should be very pleased to have gotten them to publish you.”

“Really? That’s sweet,” I replied, “I was asked to read from the magazine as one of the contributors at the launch party, but well, I don’t plan on being in Paris on July 22nd, unless something crazy happens.”

“That’s when it comes out, July 22nd, I will be sent a copy,” I finished and gave him another hug, “it’s really good to see you.”

“You should know, Mo says you should be very flattered, they got 1,000s of submissions,” he said, “you should be very proud of yourself.”

I am.

Mostly for just getting through the day and not dropping any babies on their heads, but I am also flattered, I am.  It’s awesome to have a publishing credit.

Even an unpaid one.

I will take it.

“Dear Carmen”

May 31, 2013

We like your writing very much.

Holy shit.

I am getting published.

I knew it was happening, or I should say, I had some suspicions it might.

The magazine contacted me while I was still in Paris and asked me for an author’s bio and a different file format for my submission.

I had forgotten about it.

and would like to publish “The Button Boy”

Wait, did yo say you would like to publish The Button Boy?

You did not.

Wait.

You did!

Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick.

I cannot believe that my first publishing credit (ok, I am going to clarify that, it sounds like I have not been published and I have, The Peacock, also in Paris, published a piece I wrote, but it is a student magazine and I was not a student there, I knew the editor and she needed something in a pinch and I tossed out a little epistolary to accompany some photographs in the magazine, so technically I do have publication credits.  And there is this, my blog, which is published every night, but neither were submitted publications) is a short story.

Not only a short story, but a science fiction short story.

“May I make a suggestion,” my room mate said as I was laying my weary head down on the table top at 36 Rue Bellefond.  I was either beating myself up for not doing enough work, or I was castigating myself around my edits to my book, or I was dying of fatigue from having crammed in a full day of walking the cold, wet, mean streets of Paris, taking photographs and trying to live the idea, the fantasy, of the kind of life I was supposed to live in Paris as a struggling writer.

Where is my tiny violin playing for me right now?

“NO, I don’t want your suggestions,” is what I thought, “sure,” is what I said.

“Well, when you are tired of all this work that you are doing, and I know that it is work, you are putting in a lot of time, doing things in Paris, writing, taking pictures and stuff, why don’t you write something fun for you.”  He said unfurling the scarf from around his neck.

“You know, just write something completely out there, something that has nothing to do with what you’re working on.” He said and stepped toward the stairs, turning on the overhead light.

“Hmm, I hear you, you may be right,” I said.

I was being flippant.

But something dinged in my head.

Something said, he’s got a point.

Do you want to be happy or do you want to be write.

I mean “right”.

“I do have an idea for something, now that you mention it,” I said and he paused foot suspended in mid air.  “I saw something on the Metro the other day that I could not figure out what it was and I suddenly got a line, a sentence, and it’s been stuck in my head now for a week or so.”

“There ya go, buddy, write about that,” then he trundled up the steps and I sighed and went back to editing the photographs I had taken that day, a job in and of itself that took anywhere from an hour to two hours depending on how many I had taken during my walk about Paris.

in the next issue of The Bastille.

“You should come check it out!” She said to me one afternoon as I was rinsing out a tea cup in the kitchen of the Scots Kirk Church, “I go every Monday, it’s a lot of fun, and yeah, there’s some drinking, but most people are pretty chill and there’s some good stuff and I love going.”

I knew what she was talking about, I had seen the flyer for it in the window at Shakespeare & Company on one of my first visits to the famous book store across the river from Notre Dame.

Paris Spoken Word Open Mic.

I googled the event.

I made plans to go.

I did not go.

I had a baby sitting gig.

I got a case of nerves.

I was tired.

I was full of excuses.

I don’t have anything to say.

“Hey, I’m going to go this Monday,” Hannah said to me as we hugged outside 65 Quai D’Orsay.  “You should come, you don’t have to perform, I just like to watch actually, we can just hang out.”

“Ok,” I said, I had begun to see, with the help of someone wiser and more experienced and oh, I don’t know, not me, that I have limited perspective and that I often make fear based decisions and that I need to practice saying yes instead of no.

And fellowshipping is good.

So go.

I went.

I performed.

I got high from the adrenalin of getting on stage.

The lights bright, the faces rapt, I felt caught, captured, held, and I recited “While You Were Sleeping”.

I had them in the palm of my hand and I knew it.

Then, I was hooked.

I went back, I did more poems, I did “Cry Baby” and I did “Into the Pink”.  I read a long free verse poem called “Fevered”  I read an old poem about an old lover that I wrote on a break in between a double at Hawthorne Lane while having coffee at a cafe on Market Street in San Francisco back in 2002.

At one of the Open Mics the MC mentioned that The Bastille was closing down it’s next round of submissions, if you want to submit then go to blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to submit.

I had a feeling that I would get in.

I was feeling cocky and high from the performing.

I did not always nail it, but when I did.

I really did.

“So, I just wanted to let you know, I took your suggestion,” I told my room mate one evening.

“Which one,” he said without breaking a beat.

He had given me a lot of suggestions.

“The one about writing something fun,” I said.

“Oh!  Awesome, good on you,” he replied, settling down at the chair kitty corner from me at the table.  “What did you write about?”

“I actually wrote a short story, a science fiction short story at that, I have never written science fiction before, either,” I said.  “I was at Odette & Aime and I did not feel like I was done yet, but I was finished editing, I did a full chapter, and I read for an hour and I was just suddenly poked to take out my notebook and write something completely different.”

“Good for you!” My room mate exhorted again, then he told me about his day and I zoned out a little thinking about how I wanted to write more of these short stories, how good it felt to write.

We’ll be in touch to let you know when it will come out and to get a free copy to you.

I’ll send them “While You Were Sleeping,” “Cry Baby,” and something else, I thought as I looked over the submissions page.

A little voice said, send “The Button Boy”.

I had put it, the short, up on my blog and my friend had given me a really detailed and lovely response of his reaction to the story just a few days prior.

I never expected that they would choose it.

I never thought, boy, when I get my first piece published it will be for a magazine in Paris and it will be a science fiction short story.

SCIENCE FICTION!

Not a poem, not an essay, not one of my blogs.

A science fiction piece that I was inspired to write because I saw something on a little boys’ head that did not make sense to me, I made up a story to explain the unknown.

This is how Gods are created and constellations and mythologies, personal mythologies, my history.

I can still see that little boy and the gigantic plastic button, which I learned later is a hearing aid, on the back of his skull with a little wire running into the black nest of his short cropped hair.

I can see the car I am in on the Metro and I know where I am going.

And now I know what piece I need to work on next.

But just for this moment, just for today, I get to celebrate this little victory.

I get to bask.

Then back to work.

But for now, the basking.

Bask.

Bask.

Bask.

All the best,
 
David & the rest of the editorial team DSCF5360

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