Posts Tagged ‘memoir’

Three More Weeks of This?

June 17, 2014

How the hell am I going to get through it?

That thought came unbidden again as I settled myself down for a quick rest before tackling the daily drudgery or daily living.

Which really is not drudgery until you get so slowed down that you, or I should say I, I get tired after walking, WALKING! the laundry to the garage.

Little did I know that by the time it was ready to be folded I would have to take a nap to recover from it.

Seriously?

I had to take a nap to recharge myself.

Then again, I did a lot of “walking” today.

First time in the house using the crutches about half time.

This is pretty much what the doctor had told me would happen, 7-10 days on the crutches, then I would be able to start walking in the boot, and with some time and patience, now, damn it, now, I would be able to walk with one crutch, then none at all.

When I am inside I can do the none at all about half time.

I go real slow, however, there is no going fast.

“Wow, you’re getting fast on those,” my friend said, referring to my bright bling bling gold crutches, when he picked me up today to take me to the Inner Sunset and then to do some grocery shopping after.

I am, but I get tired faster than I want to.

Although, last Monday all I could do was sit and softly cry and be misty eyed watching the frog scroll in through the park as my friend shopped for me, this time I was able to go in and lend a hand.

Well, maybe not even a hand.

For by that time the novelty of walking on the boot had more than wore off and my ankle was letting me know quite clearly that it was not having much more of it.

I used the crutches throughout the store and I don’t know if it was that, the lack of my list, which I realized later was in my purse, the getting out-of-the-way of other shoppers, (wow is everyone so self-involved?  I have never seen so many folks standing in the aisles looking off into nowhere or having blithe conversations with friends, totally blocking the way) I caught a larger path with the crutches, or the need to get in and out as fast as possible, to less inconvenience my friend, but.

Wow.

Sticker shock at the register.

I did get myself a few treats, nice avocados, a bag of cherries, a bag of Four Barrel coffee, a pre-made roasted chicken, but damn Gina.

Of course, I normally don’t buy that much pre-pared food, but I was getting winded and tired and wanted to be done with it.

I had been a hero.

I did my laundry.

I grocery shopped.

And now, I’m done.

Who the hell needs to worry about the weeks ahead?

I can barely make it through the store.

I have a lot of healing to do yet.

Despite my head saying, hey, look, you’re doing great, let’s go back to work.

Um.

Yeah.

No.

I cannot imagine what it would take out of me to climb the stairs to change a diaper, let alone two boys who are active and engaging and bright and, uh, active, I can’t go back yet.

Silly head.

I do miss the boys though and I was thinking I should ask for a visit, that might be nice,  meet them somewhere, maybe close by, I don’t know, yet, that’s a little outside my bailiwick at the moment.

Wrangling boys or wrangling my schedule.

“Now’s a great time to look at that list,” she reminded me this weekend.

That list is my list of creative projects and things I want to be working towards, things I want to do, not things I like to do, but things that I want to do, and so many of them are creative things.

I have my book to edit, a book proposal to write, hats to make, songs to write, poems, I had an idea for a vocal album that  I want to flesh out, there’s really so much that I can be doing.

Once I recuperate from laundry and grocery shopping, I’ll get right on it.

There is time.

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create.

Murder those old ideas about what I can and cannot do, to unlearn the lessons that have caused me untold nightmares of self-flagellation for so damn long.

“He said, ‘shit or get off the pot’ so I did,” he told me last night recounting how he started making music and singing three years ago after “whining” about it for the previous ten.

I don’t want to be ten years in and still bewailing the book not being published, the song not being written, the poem in my heart still lingering, like yellow fog smudged and dirty corralling through the channels and chapels of my arteries, I do not want to corrode myself and my creativity out of fear, because it just won’t be good enough.

I do deserve better than that.

And as I sit, frozen peas at hand, ankle up on three fluffed up pillows I can allow myself to start the walking there too.

Not the walking on my ankle, it needs a damn rest, but those small, tiny steps that lead somewhere, not seen as much, but they add up, they do, those tiny actions that suddenly lead to a work, an oeuvre, a body of my own creating.

I have it in me, it just gets drown out in the clamour of getting ahead and getting my way and getting from point A to point B as fast as my bicycling legs can go.

Which right now, is nowhere.

I have some folks I need to chat with, some avenues to explore, but I will be getting out that list tomorrow and I will start small and take an action, any action will do, towards a creative goal.

And in between ruminations I will rest, ice, compress, and elevate that ankle.

This may be the last rest I get for a while.

Take advantage of it while it’s here.

Things are a shifting.

I want to be prepared for them.

Rested and ready for the next long walk on the path.

It’s only up from here.

 

 

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I Can Do This

October 20, 2013

I can totally do this.

“You can do this,” the small, still voice in my head said.

Not the crazy chorus of naysayers that usually live up there, and suddenly I saw where and when and how.

Last night after I finished my blog I watched a badly pirated version of Project Runway, hey we all have our foibles shut up, and then regarded the message a friend of mine had sent me about November Novel Writing month.

Or whatever the acronym is.

Basically it is a call to arms, or words, if you would, to write a novel in one month.

It’s totally doable.

I have done it before.

I can do it again.

I will be doing it again.

As it turns out,  I signed up for the thing.

The last time I took a writing challenge it was to do a post-a-day blog back nearly four years ago.

And look at me now.

Blogging away, even at two a.m.

Soul Coughing cheerily singing away about the Chrysler Building, and a hot cup of Bengal Spice tea by my side.  I lit up some candles, ambience you know, and slipped into my yoga pants.

After taking a few amusing photographs of my larger than life hair.

The foggy ride home did a number on it, it is gigantic.

I mean really.

The last time I had hair this big was when I was in Paris and I went and saw LOUISAAAA performing at a club.

I was out until the wee small alcohol soaked hours of the literally underground music scene–the club was a gigantic cavernous underground space–and my hair was smashed with cigarette smoke, sweat, and the vodka fumed breath of thousands of early twenty something grinding away in a night club.

I walked home that night through the chilly mist and felt like my hair was expanding off my head and it certainly was.

I took photographs of myself in the kitchen of the apartment and posted them up.

Partially because I felt sexy for being in Paris and being up at five a.m. at an underground night club, and well, my hair looked freaking amaze balls.

It did not smell good, but that’s the magic of photographs, they’re not scratch and sniff.

I have Paris a lot on my mind.

Harking back to this time last year as the last few days were winding down to my inevitable leaving, because I was given a book tonight “Time Was Soft There” a memoir of a man who lived above the infamous Shakespeare & Company on the Left Bank of Paris, and because of the aforementioned novel-writing month thingy.

First, let me say that I have no plans on writing a memoir of my time in Paris.

Second, let me say that I will be using every single experience, taste, touch, smell, notebook and blog post that I wrote to help me write this novel.

I wrote the synopsis on the website last night after I registered to do it.

I have had this idea kicking around for a while and thought I would be writing a short story but, no.

I am writing a novel.

I am further writing a science fiction novel.

Despite the last science fiction novel I read was when….

No clue.

I don’t really read sci-fi or fantasy.

Although I do love a good bodice ripper sci-fi read once in a while.

And some of my favorite writers, especially short story, were science fiction writers.

H.G. Wells.

Phillip K. Dick.

Frank Herbert.

Ray Bradbury.

I feel the general style of the writing will be something akin to Dick or Bradbury.

I do not put myself at their level, nor will I ever label myself as such, I am however, going to explore writing this genre.

My setting will be Paris.

The Paris of a post-apocalyptic world and the Paris of the near recent past.

Like, oh, beginning a little over six months ago.

I have the opening line.

“The monkey is off my back, but the circus is still in town.”

I have a thematic “man against the world”.

And there will be a love story, the near recent Parisian past will frame the love story.

Despite my not having a romantic liaison there, many, so many romantic things happened to me, not excluding receiving a package with mixed cds in it from a lover back in the states.

The night I got it was raining and I was disconsolate and the rain sluiced down in the courtyard and I was cold and lonely and it was raining in Paris and then I open the package, see the book, cry to find a few Euro tucked in the book, and then the cds.

I made it a quarter through one of the songs and started to leak tears.

Two songs in, maybe, it could have actually been the first one, I was sobbing.

Gut wrenching sobs.

Heart breaking open sobs.

And did I regret things?

No.

I actually wanted to feel some regret, but I knew that the feeling was bogus.

The choice to move to Paris, abandoning so many things, so many loved ones, lovers, and familiar places and faces to embark on a new journey into the unknown, carrying its own kind of romantic peril was totally the right decision.

It was.

My heart got peeled down to cordon and tendon.

I was not just wearing a heart on my sleeve, it was bleeding all over and it was a mass of sinew and song.

I won’t ever forget that night, it was ghastly romantic and it was all in my head.

It usually is.

The stories.

The story was already there.

It was just waiting to be lived.

The places I walked, the people I met, the kindness and sometimes unkindness of strangers, the Trocadero Bridge, seeing people come into visit that I had not really known very well and watch them become my friend and compatriot and supporter over night, all the museums and smells, the chocolate and boulangeries.

Oh.

My.

I have some material.

“Carmen, most writers would kill to have had the experiences you have had,” Alan Kaufman said to me once from his perch in the corner of his room up in the Tender Nob.

And that was seven years ago.

I have had a few more experiences to add to that.

I have a wealth of material to exploit and exploit I am.

“Write a book in a month?  Seriously?”  A friend who I poked to join the challenge e-mailed me back.

I could hear the incredulity in his voice.

Yup.

I did it when I took Kaufman’s class, and I do it every day, here, in this blog.

You think this isn’t some kind of book, The Book of Carmen (versus the Book of Dave, which I will also not compare myself, ever to Will Self, that is just retarded to think that), then you would be wrong.

This is a living memoir.

I am my own version of Anais Nin.

Sexy in my own way, courageous in my failings, leaping again, and again, into the arms of the unknown, fraught and full of angst, but also laughing like a fucking idiot when I do.

Because it is a kind of crazy love, this romance with the written.

I realized today when I was writing my morning pages that I did actually have time, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays between work and early evening commitments to sit down in a cafe, maybe Tart to Tart or the Beanery at 7th and Irving, and write a 1,000 words or more, and Thursdays.

Well, shit, Thursday is easy, I will write during my charges THREE  HOUR nap.

Friday I have currently booked as a half day, so I can get that kicked out then.

Saturday and Sunday, when I am not surfing, heh, I will also write.

I won’t tell you the rest of the story, but it’s there.

I have it.

I don’t know how it ends.

But I know how it starts.

And I know that I can do it.

Oh, yes I can.

Exhausting

February 23, 2013

I have gone through the entire Poets and Writers agent base and sent out a query to each and every agent that was accepting memoir submissions.

I am tired thinking about it.

Actually, there are still agents on the data base I could query, but it would be in bad taste, and not professional to query two agents in the same agency for the work.

That would pretty much cancel out my request to do that.

I started going to the next stack of agents that I can find.  I was given a data base that I have actually used before, and had lost the contacts to.

Opening up the agent base made me feel like crawling under the covers and skipping the whole damn thing.

Here is the database.

Basically everyone who is anyone in the literary world.

Of course, I still have to do research when using the date base.  I still have to go and look and see if the agent is first accepting queries, whether they accept e-mail queries, whether or not I have already queried them, which there are a few I have, what kind of material they are looking for.

I do not want to send a children’s book agent a memoir about smoking crack and being homeless.

Although that would be one darkly humourous children’s book, now wouldn’t it?

My god.

There’s an idea.

Children’s books.

I have had the thought before.

Writing children’s books, but I actually have no idea how to go about it.

Fuck, I have the barest of ideas how to go about what I am doing now.  I do not feel quite as blind as I did when I first started the process, but I am still in the hallway and I have no idea where the light switch is.

Just fumbling around here folks, don’t pay no attention to me.

Actually, please pay some attention.

Please.

I feel like I put all my eggs in this basket, this writing basket, and this going to Paris basket.

Occasionally I wonder, what the fuck am I doing, then I just keep whistling in the dark and trying to stay warm.  It is cold here.  Snowed again today, although nothing heavy.  Had there been more moisture in the air it would have been a good snowfall, it is definitely cold enough for it to stick to the streets.

I just keep showing up here, at my desk/kitchen table and writing my morning pages and writing my blog.

I have been finding it challenging to do more than that.

There, I said it, my dirty secret is out.

I have been having a challenging time doing more.

Once I get a query out I feel fizzled.

I know I want to be producing more work, but I feel like I am doing the best I can right now with just getting to the blog and the morning pages and the queries.

Then I think, what if this is all for naught?

Then I think so what?

What if it is?

At least I am trying.

If the writing thing does not work out, which it might not, let’s be honest, it may not.

Something else will.

I will write anyway.

I cannot see ever letting my blog go, I really feel connected to it and the forum and the way my fingers fly over the keyboard.  My day does not feel complete without writing the blog.  So too, the morning pages.  If I am having a challenging time doing more, than that is ok.

I can be easy on myself, three and a half months into the Paris experiment, I am making progress.  I am.  I also will acknowledge that I am doing other writing.  Other kinds of work, which is more important, ultimately, than this.

I cannot do the writing without doing the other work.

So, I wrote some letters today and some e-mails and took some steps toward amending my behaviours.  Not as many to write as there were in the past and nothing direct to do, which is nice, and I don’t owe any money to anyone.

It is freeing to have them out-of-the-way.

So, there, brain, I did do writing today that was beyond the scope of my blog and morning pages, blow me you little bastard.

I also cleaned, the room-mate is back tomorrow, and I re-arranged the living space so that we would have more communal space.  I tossed a lot of extraneous crap that other tenants have left and cleaned and re-arranged the closet that now has a lot of the unnecessary furniture that the apartment has an abundance of.  I did laundry too.

I tried to go to the pool for a swim this afternoon, but it was closed again.

I think there must be some sort of school holiday coming up.

I also know that I have writing coming my way.

The blog for my friend and the manuscripts that my room-mate picked up for me from San Francisco.  I will be able to go and work on those.  There really is no end to the writing.  I have to move out from this place of fear and just muddle through some more.

Things change.

I am changing.

Love is happening.

And it may be cold right now and I may not be getting the response I want, but things are in the works, I know it.  I am not about to throw in the towel yet, not yet, no.  I still have things to do here in Paris.

I still have words to write.

Even when I think I have exhausted my brain, I can see that there is still more to come and more that will be revealed.  I am blessed, especially when I get the fuck out of my own way.

Here, in Paris.


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