Posts Tagged ‘journey’

The Journey Of A Thousand Miles

September 12, 2015

Begins with a single step.

Foiled again.

I just put down Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching–The Tao of Leadership.

I had never known who to attribute this quote to, although it resonated with me so much so when I first heard it, I was 17 or 18, that I used it for my senior year quotation.

It was either that or I was going to use the Fear Prayer from Dune.

I will leave to your imagination the challenges of my growing up.

I have written of them often and I don’t see them as good or bad, wrong or right, I certainly don’t apply these terminally ugly words either–would, should, or could, to my experiences.

They are just experiences.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with them and I have to get out all my feeling words and vocabulary and try to parse something from the experience, rather than just be in it.

I was trying to do something akin to that on my ride home from school today.

My ride home from my campus, my ride home from my graduate school program, my first day of school, my first day, truly, as a graduate school student.

It was a full ass day.

It started at 9 a.m. and it ended at 8p.m.

Tomorrow will be much the same, the day will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 8p.m.

I will have diversity training from 9 a.m. until 2p.m.

Then Group Dynamics from 2p.m. until 4p.m.

After that an hour break and then convening from 5p.m. until 8p.m. for Psychodynamics.

Class will be the same for Sunday, 9 a.m. until 8p.m.


Work is going to feel like a picnic, like a break, like a rest.

And work is not necessarily restful for me.

I digress.

I get ahead of myself.

I leave the moment, where there is nothing wrong, where I am doing the best I god damn can, and I am writing, even though I could be reading more, my brain will only hold so much and if I don’t lay some of it down, like a good yeoman dropping the plow to rest, I won’t have the space in my brain to take in more information.

There will be more information.

There will be more learning.

There will be more not understanding what is happening and just letting it happen.

There will also be the happy coincidence of having actually taken a good photograph for a student id!

I was shocked.

I figured there would be thirteen chins and my nostrils would be flared and I don’t know, all my photos for ids are wonky, but it actually turned out and there it is.

I have a student Id.

Where are my discounts bitches?

I jest.

Really the only thing I want with my student id is to be able to access the gated and locked space where I can park my bicycle, a space that is outdoors, but also covered.


It’s such a nice thing.

Just not having to worry about my whip.

I was grateful.

I was also grateful to get on my bicycle at the end of the day.

To ride away from campus and head home.

Despite the wind kicking up and the night being a little blustery, it felt good to be in my body, when I could get my mind off my classes and actually be present for the bicycle ride.

There was the same old song and dance in my head about how I work so hard and I am doing all the things and how come I am working so hard again, and that phrase popped into my head, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” except that I transmuted it to my bicycle pedal.

One pedal at a time.

One stroke at a time.

Push down.

Pull up.

I wanted to be stuck in my head.

I wanted to feel isolated.

I wanted to cry out.

Just because you read my blog does not mean you know what I am feeling!

I am lonely.

But not alone.

I know that.

And the lonely will pass.

I am busy and I have made this choice to go to graduate school, to take on the awesome and amazing adventure of becoming more me and more of service and more available.

My needs are met.

Despite my pay check being $0.00 today–really why even send me a pay stub?

I had forgotten that.

No pay for me while I was at Burning Man.


But I am ok.

I have what I need.

I paid my phone bill today.

I have a beautiful body that I get to walk around in, bicycle in, sleep in.

I have food.

Although I am going to have to manage eating better, I can’t afford to eat out twice in one day three times a weekend, that’s just too much.

I will be bringing food with, I just have to find time to go grocery shopping.

Probably Sunday night after my last class ends.

I don’t think I’ll be doing my normal cooking for the week like I usually do, but I don’t think anything about my schedule is going to be “usual” any more.

This is ok.

I am learning.

I am growing.

I will continue to do so.


I am loving more.

I did find that I wanted to wall up a little my first day of class, that there was a struggle, internal, to be open, to be present, to be with my cohort and to let them see me.

Despite my “newly” pink hair (new to folks in my class, not that I have dyed it again) and safety orange pants.

I was grateful to reconnect with friends and classmates and to have met a new professor who is eccentric and smart and called me right the fuck out in class when we did our introductions, “oh, yes, you ARE smarter than me, I can tell.”

I did not mean to put on my smarty pants, but I felt inadequate.

I am just a nanny after all.

Not a clinician or lawyer or social worker.

I haven’t studied Gestalt for the last two years.

Hell, I don’t even know what Gestalt is or Freud for that matter.


My professor picked up on both my insecurity be hearing the language I used and gently and succinctly put me in my place.

I am not smarter than she.

But I am smart.

And just because no one validated me the way I needed to be validated growing up doesn’t mean that I can’t give it to myself, that I can’t move forward, that it is all hard work with no validation and approval.

I approve myself.

I have worked so fucking hard to get here.

And the journey is beautiful.

And one step at a time.

And once in a while.

I will stop in that step, look around, and be so grateful that my journey has brought me here, to this place of privilege.

“How do you do it?” He asked me in the hall way between classes.

“How do you manage to live in San Francisco and go to school?”

I don’t know and if I speculate too hard on it I will freak out.

I just get to do it.

I get to.

Being the operative language.

I am a lucky motherfucker.

I am.


The journey?


It is glorious.

How’s The Ankle

September 6, 2014

My friend asked.



Takes one to know one.

That’s what I love about my friends, they call me on my bullshit.

My friend called mine, supplied be with some ibuprofen and a chair to rest the ankle on, a bag of frozen peas; the more things change the more they stay the same.

The place.

The location.

A little different.

An opposite coast.

But me?

Still stubborn, still doing just fine, no, don’t worry about me, I got this.

Sort of.

Not really, but let’s pretend, shall we.

I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get back to San Francisco, but then again, when do I?  I will have an interview on Monday at 4 p.m. that I set up prior to getting on a jet plane and traveling from one coast to the other.

I spoke with the admission department at CIIS about enrolling for the fall 2015 semester, right before I hopped on the N-Judah to take the MUNI to the BART to the SFO to the JFK to the Airtrain to the subway to the Jamaica Line to Myrtle Ave Stop on Broadway, then up some flights of steps with all my gear because my friend wanted to show me the view from the rooftop.

It was a pretty good view.

I had a pretty good day.

Ate lots of good food.

Omelet and salad for breakfast with really good iced coffee out of a Mason jar on Broadway Ave.

Lunch was a lobster roll and a pickle, no bun, thanks.


But of course.

A dozen oysters, Malpeques, on the half shell with fresh squeezed lemon.

Dinner–at a top notch, and busy as fuck, little Korean spot in Manhatten, bibimpop, edamame, sushi, kimchi, seaweed, tasty, tasty, tasty.

And in between the walking.

And the art.

I can know take the Metropolitan Museum of Art officially off my list of museums I wish to yet see.

I got good and art high.

I bought some postcards.

I bought a refrigerator magnet from a photography exhibit I really got into, Garry Winogrand.


Wise saying from Winogrand

I quite enjoyed my walking about the museum and the city, even if it was at the cost of a tender ankle and a little sleepless wonky’ness on my end.

It was a long day yesterday with the travel, but once I got to my destination (having the obligatory random encounter with a semi-drunk foreign man on the subway at 1:45 in the a.m. about my tattoos and whether or not I knew which stop to get off at, I do, and please, no assistance needed, and yes, thanks, I like my tattoos too) it was too much to just plop right into bed.

We sat on the roof and watched the trains running by through Brooklyn, the night sky smudged above with grey and the bouncing of lights from the city reflecting back down, the Chrysler building across the water, and the lights of the horizon, winking and blinking at us in the warm, humid air.

Train Tracks

Train Tracks

I knew it was time for bed, the yawning was constant, but the air warm, the company grand, and the hours, they did slip past.

I am sure the hours they shall slide past tomorrow as well.

I am seeing another friend in the early afternoon in the city for a couple of hours, down by Union Square, then back with my host.

I am not certain what we are doing.

We will walk the Williamsburg Bridge an holler out, I suspect, song lyrics from fond memory.

We will eat ourselves some good rare, yes I said rare, steak at Peter Luger’s.

We will not go to the top of the Empire State Building.

Because we did that between an oyster appetizer at Wild Edibles and Sea Food Bar and dinner at Wonjo, a Korean restaurant that was off the hook.

It was well worth the $46 to go to the top of the building.

Though, suffice to say, either of us would have been just fine with the observation deck on the 86th floor–it was an open air terrace, versus the enclosed little mezzanine around the 102nd floor.  Although, it was pretty cool to see that we had ascended, in a high-speed Otis elevator, to 1250 feet into the air.

The view, well, it wasn’t too bad, you could say.



Empire State Building


Rushing about

Rushing about














The vertigo was pretty intense too.

“Here, give me your glasses,” my friend admonished, as I shoved them off my face so I could smash my camera viewfinder to my eye and frame my shot.


They take care of you and watch out for you and invite you into their lives, good, bad, ugly, beautiful, painful, all of it and accept you in your silliness, sadness, and foolishness too.

They give you props for leaping and bags of frozen peas when you’ve pushed too hard.

I still have some friend time with the city of New York and my good friend who is hosting me.  I still have time to see more and be more and try harder.

You know.

I just have to keep trying harder.

I have so many friends to live up to.

To write for.

I just jotted out a few postcards too as I was editing the photographs I took today, over 135 shots and think I pulled sixteen decent ones and maybe three good ones.

That’s how it goes, I know that, I just keep trying.

I will keep trying to find the way, through the canyons of city lights and the melody of music seeping under the door, easing out into the hot humid night air to slither down Myrtle Avenue on a late summer night in Brooklyn.

It’s nice to meet you New York.

Thanks for having me.

Let’s be friends.

Pump Up the Jams

April 28, 2014

Pump up the jam.

Pump it up.

While your feet are stompin’  and, uh the jam is pumpin’ ….

And um.


I meant.

Pump up the tires, pump them up, don’t freak out, you can do it, yes you can.

Pump up your tires.

I got a little obsessive in my thinking this afternoon.

I knew I needed to inflate the tires on the Vespa, the front especially, it looked low and the Vespa felt like it was riding mushy last night.

Not a comfortable feeling on a scooter going 35 mph.

But I didn’t want to fuck it up, so I did a bunch of research, looked up proper PSI for scooters, for Vespa’s in particular.

Apparently, and once I thought about it, it made complete sense, the tire in the rear should be inflated at a higher PSI than the one in the rear.

Now, when my friend sold me the Vespa and I nervously asked about tire inflation he gleefully wielded the portable tire pump that was in the little side hubcap of the Vespa.

“This is it,” he said, “you pump it up with a bicycle pump.”

No freaking way.


I have one of those things.

I keep the little portable pump in the Vespa and I have my trusty Park Tool stand up bicycle pump with my one speed whip in the garage.

I have plenty of experience pumping up tires, changing flat tires, exploding inner tubes, once I popped a tube, while changing a flat, and screamed out as it sounded as loud as a gun shot.

Then giggled maniacally when the ensuing silence from the neighboring apartments became apparent to me.

“Blew my bicycle tube,” I hollered up the stair base, “no cause for alarm.”

The noise went back to normal.

I inserted another tube into the rim and made sure it fit.

I have experience.

But I was nervous anyhow.

I shot out a few texts to a good friend of mine who is a bit of a Vespa connoisseur.

In fact he told me that he loved riding his Vespa around San Francisco more than anything, more even maybe so than sex, and he likes sex a lot.

A lot.


He was the first person this morning to get a text about inflating the tires.

I had already been hopping around on-line checking out this site and that and I discovered the old Vespa manual in a PDF file that was on Scooter Masters, it turns out this was the link my friend would send me not even five minutes later.

I flipped through the pages, flitting here and there and not seeing a whole lot of tips and tricks to doing it.

Yes, Carmen, it is just that simple, you don’t need to watch fourteen YouTube videos to figure it out.

Go out to the garage.

Get the bicycle pump.

Use the Presta valve not the Schroeder valve.

Pull up on the pump arm and compress.

And watch the air got directly into the tire and watch the tire inflate.


The only thing, and I went with my gut on this, was that the tire pressure was reading higher on the pump gauge than my friend had suggested I pump my tires too.

BEFORE I had put any air into the front tire.

But I knew just from looking at it that it was under inflated.

I trusted my instinct, pumped it up a bit more than did the rear wheel which did not really seem to need any air, but I figured I would feel it out and just squeeze a little in.

It rode so much better.

I was quite happy.



I still had to pray and psyche myself up to get on her and go for the ride, but the ride in was smooth, I rode up Lincoln to Oak and took that into the Haight then dropped down to Church and Market.

Nary a slip of the gear, smooth sailing all the way.

Same going home after I finished with my commitment.

It was a little more stop and start for me as the traffic was a little goofy.

I had one person in front of me that was either intoxicated or just not paying any attention what so ever and took a turn to the left while he had signalled a turn to the right.

I reacted and responded and zoomed by.

But it was a moment and I realized that now that I am more competent, having gone on a total now of nine scooter rides, that I can do this and I am getting to a point where I am having more fun with it.

I thought some time today about this upcoming week, work goes back to its normal five days, and that I will still ride my bicycle into work Monday through Thursday.

I want the exercise, it’s good for my brain.

I really need it.

I did go for a short ride today as well as getting out for a walk down to the beach with my friend who surprised me in my hood with a guest from out-of-town who wanted to go down to the beach and dip her toes in the surf.

That kind of exertion can sustain me for a day, but not for a week.

I will need a longer bit of exercise.

Plus, the morning commute to Cole Valley is only 20 minutes on my bicycle, less actually.

I give myself twenty minutes from walking out the door to the studio to walking into the garage at work.

I would probably be that much if not more time wise for me to ride the scooter, morning traffic, stopping, starting, I figure when I am working in Cole Valley I will still probably ride in.

Thursdays the same thing, I have a pretty quick commute on the bicycle and there’s not very good parking by the house where I work in the NOPA.

But Friday.

Friday, I believe I will ride my scooter to work.

Tackle that big hill at Noe and 19th.

If I can get up the hill on Castro I can make it up to this gig.

Plus, there will be parking there.

I am going to check with the mom tomorrow, but I should be able to park my scooter by the dad’s motorcycle alongside the garage on the sidewalk.

If so.

It’s on.

Though at times the Vespa learning curve has been more than I thought I could chew, I am finding it more and more palatable.

More fun.

More sexy.

More about the journey.

Less and less about the fear and the nerves.

At least I don’t feel like I am going to vomit before I get on the scooter.

Just a little nauseous.

And butterflies are good.

Nerves are good.

Just not when they stop me from getting on the ride.

The gift of riding, walking, bicycling through the fear.

Never thought I would be grateful for the discomfort.

But that I am.

And that I didn’t explode the inner tube on the front tire of the Vespa.




You Brightened the Day

March 30, 2014

“I just wanted to mention that, Carmen,” he said as he dropped me off at my house tonight, “I almost forgot, but that flower in your hair really brought something tropical with it, you really brightened up the day.”

Here to be of service.

Wearing my flowers in my hair.

I had actually done it on purpose.

It was a deluge this morning, down pour, raining cats and dogs, sloughing out of the sky like it was never going to stop.

I am wearing pink.

I am thinking spring.

I am going to glitter a little bit.

Well, I always glitter a little bit, can’t be helped.

And I brought out my heart-shaped umbrella and was a cheerful girl today.

A happy girl today.

I was told more than once to have fun and while I don’t know that sitting a reading a book for two hours while drinking tea is anyone else’s idea of fun, it is a rich indulgence that I rarely get.

Rare too, that I allow myself the treat.

Today the rain excused it.

I didn’t run out and go grocery shopping–until a bit later this evening when I made my way up to Noe Valley–I did not go on a bike ride down by the sea.  I did go to my weekly meet up in the Inner Sunset at 7th and Irving and get some perspective.

I need perspective.


And I mean a change of perspective, hearing someone else frame for me what is happening in my life is a valuable thing.

Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to do anything before.

Life was hard and complicated and it didn’t make sense and I could never figure it out.

Not that I can figure it out now, I make no claim to that, but that I don’t suffer those wild bouts of anxiety about being able to figure it out.  I am so much more serene and getting to share that with others, whether it’s brightening up the day with a pink rose drenched in glitter, or with a smile, it’s nice to know I can.

Now I am at that point in my life where I need to also see what kind of wants I have.

Much of my life I have just done the getting by thing, the struggling thing, which I have often confused with living an honorable life.

That there is something off-color about making money or pursuing goals and desires.

I had been given a suggestion to write down ten things that I want to do and I did not hear it that way, I heard, write down ten things I like to do.

That was easy:

1. Swimming

2. Playing pinball

3. Dancing

4. Reading magazines in cafes

5. Taking photographs

6. Going to museums

7. Going to art supply stores

8. Watching movies

9. Going to bookstores

10. Beach bonfires

This suggestion had been given to me when I had made a panicked outreach phone call when I suddenly had some spare time on my hands and did not know what to do.

Or so I thought.

What I did not hear, what I had to re-hear today, changing the perspective, is make a list of ten things you want to do.




And shoot the moon.



I have sort of done this before, but here goes:

1. Go to Hawaii.

I mean Christ, I am part Polynesian, it’s about time I went, having never gone it would be awesome to see some part of my family history

2. Go camping at Yosemite

Never been, time to go.

3. See the Grand Canyon.


4.Own a Jeep Wrangler.

Preferably a Sport 4.0 Lifted

5. Drive said Jeep to Alaska during the height of the Northern Lights

6. Take the train all the way across the United States

7. Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

8. This one got me, I just about yelped when I wrote it down, travel with my boyfriend.

I mean, I did not say where or how or when or what, just that I wanted to travel with a boyfriend.  I have never travelled with another person, I have done the vast majority with a few exceptions, on my own.

I want to share the experience with another person.

9. Go on safari in Africa.

Something about seeing the grasslands and the wild animals, the coffee plantations, I have just always wanted that.  I blame Isaac Dinesen and Out of Africa completely.

10. Got to Australia and New Zealand

I have no idea why, but this has kept popping up in my head a lot lately.  Australia and more Australia.  Something wild and exotic about it has been calling my name.

That’s a lot of travel in the ten things I want to do.

I like experiences.

I like things too, don’t get me wrong, but experience is where it’s at for me.

I did not write I want to own a house, though I do.

I did not write I want to get married, although sometimes I do.

I did not write I want to have children, although I sometimes do.

I did not write I want to get my MFA in Creative Writing at the Iowa’s Writers Workshop or at Columbia or Berkeley or get the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford.

Although I have often thought about those things as well.

I frequently think about doing more travel.

That seems a constant.

I feel my life expanding, exploding, blossoming, like the giant pink rose I wore in my hair tonight, bright and glittery and eye-catching and full.

I am feeling a kind of sweet joy and happiness for the follow through of doing things and taking actions that though I still need prompting to do, I am finding easier and easier to walk towards.

And through.

“You just have to go through to get through,” I told her tonight as she wiped the tears off her face.  “It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time, it’s going to be long and slow,” I continued, “that’s just how it is with us.”

Or at least with me.

But this slow, long winding path, this journey I choose to brighten even when it rains and squalls and it is grey, I know I can walk through, get through, and do it wearing flowers in my hair only makes the journey that much lovelier.



And yes.


Let Go Those Old Ideas

March 9, 2014

Let them the fuck go.

I had a list, she asked me to read them out to her.

Amazing what perspective and a little pen to paper can afford a person.

Well, this person anyway.

Old Ideas List–The Top Ten (I am sure there are others, but these were the ones that popped right out when I did the list)

1. I am not worthy of better

Better what you ask?  Better anything, better lifestyle, better job, better boyfriend (or even a boyfriend period) better clothes, better shoes, fuck, better underwear (I hate to air this one out, but this lady needs to go bra shopping, it is time), better toothbrush, better socks, better food (that one has slowly, significantly changed and I do a lot, uh, better, with that then I have ever had before).

2. I am lazy

Yeah, I know, I am.  But then again, no, no I am not.  What time did I get up this morning, on my day off? 7:39 a.m. I was awake, I was ready to go, but damn it, it’s my day off, loll about a little love, nope.  I was up and going.  By 9a.m. I had showered, made the bed, dried the hair (there’s a lot of it, it does take some time), made a homemade breakfast and fresh ground pour over coffee, written three pages long hand, read from a number of spiritual pieces of literature, and meditated.

By 9 a.m. on my day off.

Yeah, I am a lazy, lazy girl.

Yesterday I did all of that and rode my bicycle to work, 46th and Judah to 19th and Noe.  Worked a 3/4 day, left, rode my bicycle over to 850 Bryant, went to my traffic court deal, then rode back to Fell Street to the DMV, then over to 7th and Irving, did an hour-long commitment there, finally riding home back to my place, made dinner (nothing fancy, just an omelet, but still), then I blogged–even though the internet was down, I still blogged.

I do nothing all day long, I am sooo lazy.

Get you gone old idea.

3. I am a bad writer.


Not really.

I mean, I am not the world’s best writer, but I am an ok writer, sometimes  a good writer, and once in a while, I can say I wrote something great.  I have had published authors read my work and say I am talented, I have had a professor tell me that I was the only student he ever had that had the likelihood of winning the Nemerov award (poetry award for best sonnet), there are people who read my blog that aren’t my friends, that I don’t know (consistently read too, for like years now, love you guys and thank you!), I have been thanked in person, over the phone, via text, by e-mail, for what I have written.

Folks would not continue to read if I was a bad writer.


4. I am always going to be single.

Yeah, pity pot, I am on it.  I hate this one, who cares if you are and you probably will have a boyfriend next week, so shove off old thought.

Somebody out there right now wants to date me, so who’s getting in the way of that?

Probably me and my old crusty thoughts.

5. I am always going to be poor.


No, I am not.

I am not poor now.

Oh, I live below what I would like to, but I am not poor, I have many amenities, the least of which is a gorgeous bicycle, a great laptop (hey, I keep saying it’s about to die and it hasn’t yet), I have a wonderful camera, an Iphone (yeah, it’s a four, it’s still an Iphone), I have clothes and toiletries and nice candles.

I am not poor.

Poor people don’t have laptops or organic vanilla almond milk in the fridge.

6. I am alone.


Such a crock.

I am not alone.

Two, no three people today told me point-blank, “I love you.”  I have wonderful, incredible, amazing friends in my life.  I am alone in the sense of the word only at this moment as I sit in my in-law writing, and even then, I am not alone.  I have a relationship with a little, big, something called God and if you don’t care for that, not my problem.

I have a spiritual connection to my world and I do not apologize for it.

Alone I am not.

7. No one loves me.

See above.

Such a bullshit, scared, cowardly old idea.  I am loved, I am lovable, I am worthy of love (yes, I hear you Stuart Smalley, we can do our affirmations in the mirror in just a minute–I forgive you and accept you–just let me finish my blog for the night).   I have so much love in my life, I can just look at all the photographs of amazing little people on my phone that I get to work with every week to prove that.

Then I can extrapolate that out to all the children I have been privileged to have in my life.  Next add in my mom and my dad and my sister and my aunts and my grandparents and uncles.  Then throw in a few best friends and some amazing mentor relationships, even toss in the lovers, the ex-boyfriends, the former employees I have gotten to work with, I mean, my life is a long list of love.

I just don’t always acknowledge it or recognize it, because I am too busy paying attention to an old idea that doesn’t serve me or my way of life.

8. I am not enough.

Not smart enough, not sexy enough, not pretty enough, not fast enough, the list could go on ad infinitum.

Such craziness.

I am not perfect enough, I am not a good enough nanny, I am not, blah, blah, blah.

Even I am tired of listening to this one.

I am enough.

There is no improvements that need to be made.

I do not have to self-improve.

I am just right.

End of story.

9. I have to figure it out.


This one is awful, it means that I have the ultimate responsibility to make everything work, your schedule, my schedule, potty training three different charges, juggling this that and the other to “make things work”.

What fucking things?

And who put me in charge?

And aren’t I just a bit presumptuous?

I don’t have to figure anything out.

In fact, it would be really healthy to not figure it out.

Let’s leave figure it out to someone else, okay?

10. I am not allowed success.

Says who?

Hell, just looking around the place I live I can see that I am successful.

It is my idea of success that is also the old idea–wealth, fame, accolades, notoriety–I have an amazing successful life.

I will continue to have an amazing life.

Just need to let this all go.


One hour at a time, sometimes one minute at a time, and then, voila!

A new perspective, a space to breathe, a song catches in my ear and my heart swells, and I am loved, lauded, and held perfect, secure, and taken care of.

And awed.

Once again by this journey.

You Did The Thing

February 4, 2014

My friend said tonight over a hot cup of lemon ginger tea.

“That’s the thing, you did it,” he continued, “I haven’t done this, how many people have?”

He was referring to my book, Baby Girl.

He surprised me by pulling the printed manuscript, bound and collated, out of his messenger bag.

There it was, my book, here it is, my book.

It’s sitting on the floor to the left of my “writing desk” while I write this.

“You have something,” he said, “you got to do a lot of work to get it to stand on its own, you might just have to junk the whole thing, but there is something there.”

But the best was hearing, “you are such a better writer, you have come so far with the writing, it’s really obvious that you wrote this a long time ago.”

I did, indeed write it a long time ago.

I started the manuscript in an orange 5 subject notebook 8 years ago this month.

I finished it three months after starting it.

I let it sit for about six months then took it to second draft.

Then I left it alone for a while.

Never printed it off, just had the original manuscript and the “second draft” which was really just me typing almost literally word for word the work from notebook into my ancient PC.

I mean ancient, this thing was so old, running Windows that was registered to DeForest High School, I still don’t know how my friend managed to pull it off my computer when it looked like the thing was finally about to die.

But she did.

And the book lived on.

I re-wrote another draft of it a year or so later.

Somewhere in my head I got the idea that I was a great and capable writer and that I just needed to get this book published and the world would bow and scrape at my feet, throwing money and applause to me while the champagne swirled and the caviar glinted.

I mean I have not an idea why I did that to myself except, perhaps to help manufacture a great deal of misery when those things did not happen and the work just languished and sat and mouldered in a drawer.

“She went to Paris to work on her memoirs,” he said to his friends in front of the Cole Street Cafe as I was walking by with the boys in the double stroller.

“How amazing is that?” He said and his friends looked at me goggle eyed.


I did.

And see me back here in San Francisco just doing the nanny thing again.

But you know that nanny thing it gives me the kind of job that I don’t have to take home with me.  It gives me some mental freedom and some space to write, much more so than when I worked in the service industry and thought, you know I’ll write before work.

I was too busy before work sleeping it off from the night before to write.

I did manage a little when I first moved to San Francisco.

I can compile some things I wrote, I won’t get rid of them as they are part of who I am and my experience, but I am, as my friend noted, a much better writer now.

I would not change a thing of the way it all has happened.

Not going to Paris.

Not taking years and years for the manuscript to evolve.

Or devolve.

“You might want to scrap the whole thing and start with a blank page,” he said, “you know, re-write it completely from scratch and see what happens.”

What he means is ignore the draft that I have saved to this computer and to my blog and to my Gmail account and start over from beginning the way that I write now.

Can I do that?

Sure, why the fuck not?

He also suggested that I sit down and read it straight through, I have not done that with a bound copy of the work.

The feed back he gave me was absolute gold.

I have a new idea how to frame the story.

I need to start with the end rather than end with the start.

I need to do a lot of work.

And will it be worth it?


I did the thing.

I wrote the book.


I have to keep writing the book.

Maybe it will be done when I am 95 years old and I will still be talking about that damn book I started working on in my early thirties.

But so be it.

I have a purpose.

I mean I have a primary purpose and I attend to that every day, but I also have a purpose as an artist who predominately creates through her words.

I have an art.

I have a craft.

I have something to sustain me and something that I get to learn from and grow from.

I am excited to have this opportunity.

The best things take time.

They take re-working, you don’t just go in and become a virtuoso over night.

At least I don’t.

I have been practising my craft now for a few years.

I have the time, day and night, devoted to it.

Most times, I admit, I am not thinking that I do this to get better, I am thinking I do this because I can’t not do it, I am compelled and in the compulsion is the subsuming of who I am.

I become something more than just the characters shaping themselves on the screen or to the page.

I become more myself every time I write.

More concise.

More alert.

More aware.

More allowed to be authentic in my person and to sustain this amazing life that I have been granted.

“That is so white trash, I can hardly stand it,” my friend laughed shaking his head, after I told him some of the stories that happened directly after the story arc of the first work.

It was.

I was.


I grew and became something more.

“Wait, wait a second, I think I have a picture of him somewhere,” I said and disappeared into the garage to find my old photo album.

I did not find that photo I must have it stashed elsewhere (and I just remembered where!), but I did have a photo of me from not too long after the events in the book take place.

“You look exactly alike and yet, totally different,” he said looking from the photo of me at 20 to the reality of me at 41.

I am exactly alike.

And totally different.

I did the thing.

I am going to continue doing the thing.

Because I deserve all the things.

And this is a part of my journey to get there.

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