Posts Tagged ‘The Bastille’

I Didn’t Do Much

August 3, 2017

But I did a lot.

I mean.

I really did.

I didn’t even go to yoga.

No.

I slept in, I lounged in bed, I was dreamy and soft and it felt so nice to lie there and let my body be and not spring forward and charge off into my day.

Oh.

I had thoughts of going to yoga.

But they were dispelled for better things.

I took the morning easy.

I ate a lovely breakfast and made myself a latte.

I made some phone calls.

I talked to people I loved.

I got right with God.

I wrote.

I wrote a lot.

I mean.

I can fill a page, the words they stream endlessly out of my finger tips, scrawled across the page, margin to margin, all the thoughts and dreams and feelings there on the paper, my pens in a mug on my table at the ready.

I do go through my pens.

My cheap little guys that I buy at Walgreens.

I am particular.

I only like the Wexford black ink pen.

That’s the generic gel ink pen that Walgreens markets.

I love it.

I begged a friend, who asked me what I wanted from San Francisco, when I lived in Paris, to bring me back pens.

The gel ink is the smoothest and the pen is just the right grip for my hand.

Ask me sometime.

I’ll show you the place it sits on my fingers and the writer’s callous there.

Yes.

I have a callous on my middle right finger from writing.

I rather adore that callous.

I also have a distinct muscle in my forearm, again, my right side, I am right-handed, that is pretty developed solely from doing the writing I do every day.

I love words.

Can you tell?

I did more than write today, although I did not go far from my house.

I made it to the back and sat in the sun for a brief moment in the afternoon around 2:30pm when there was fleeting sun that came through the fog.

Mostly I stayed home.

I did work on the house.

I cleaned out my closet and got a bag of clothes and a couple of pairs of shoes to sell to Crossroads.

I also moved everything in my kitchen, and pulled up the rug that I’ve had for the last three and three-quarters year, it was just a simple rag rug, but it had gotten pretty worn out and a bit ragged and I’ve been wanting to replace it for sometime.

I ordered a replacement on Amazon and it was delivered yesterday.

So.

Everything got moved, and I pulled up the old one, shook it out super hard, I did not toss it, it still has a use for me–I’ll be taking it to Burning Man and lining my tent with it.

I also had a long conversation with a woman who was referred to me by a friend in the fellowship who is going to Burning Man for the first time and she had a lot of questions and I just let her pick my brain for nearly an hour and told her where I was going to be camped and all the fellowship and community that is out there and it felt really nice to share my experience, strength and hope with her.

After I finished our conversation I got serious about re-organizing my space and cleaning, everything got dusted, even all my books.

And I winnowed through my books.

I’ve been wanting to sell a bunch of them for sometime.

I only have so much space in my in-law and though the idea of having a big library and loads of bookshelves is super serious appealing.

MY GOD how I want that.

Someday.

A house with a big library, books upon books upon books, paper, ones I can pull down from the shelf, hardcovers, and read, and inhale and love on.

But.

I repeat.

My space is small and I have only so much room and the stacks of books were starting to collect too much dust and really I haven’t had much time for pleasure reading since I started grad school.

So.

I dusted them all off, sorted through the ones I was absolutely not going to part with.

Like.

My copy of Bastille, Issue #2.

The small press that published my short story in Paris, “The Button Boy.”

Poorly edited, there’s a typo and a misprint.

But.

Fuck.

My short story.

In print.

In a publication.

I can say with no small amount of writer’s pride that my first publication was in Paris.

Not selling that guy.

Then a few books that were given to me as gifts and hold far too much sentimental value to ever let go.

Ever.

And the funny thing is, whatever doesn’t sell, I will happily take back and keep.

There will be some that don’t.

But for the most part I am such a sucker for the printed word, I tend to buy hard covers or first runs, so when I do sell I tend to be able to sell most of what I have brought with me.

There was a little sadness packing up the books.

But.

It’s stuff.

And when I came home tonight from doing the deal up the street.

Fuck was it good tonight!

I was so happy to come into my super clean, super tidy little home.

Fresh and clean and dust free, with a new carpet in the kitchen.

And.

Ha.

A “new” book on my table.

I discovered a book I bought two years ago, right before the first semester of my first year of grad school.

I had never gotten to read it.

Two years later.

I started and I’m 37 pages in.

I have my hopes that I will finish it before my text books start arriving in the mail, because as soon as they do, that’s the end of my pleasure reading.

I assure you.

Sneaking in one more day of leisure before I go back to work on Friday.

Yoga, this time for sure, in the morning.

Shower, morning prayer, writing, breakfast, go sell the clothes, go sell the books.

And then a mani/pedi.

I have a client consult in the early evening.

And that’s it.

The days of leisure and pleasure reading will soon be over.

It’s been a sweet little bite of time off from my day job.

My house is clean.

I did a lot of cooking today too, all my meals for Burning Man are in the freezer as well as covering my first weekend of my first semester, so I don’t have to cook or deal with that.

Yes.

It’s a few weeks out.

But it’s nice to have it done and there won’t be down time soon like I have had.

Sigh.

I have no complaints though.

It’s been a good run.

I feel rested.

I feel rejuvenated.

I feel ready for the next chapters.

And I feel happy having taken care of my home.

My sweet little sanctuary by the sea.

It may be small.

But.

It’s all mine.

And.

I do love it so.

Yes.

Yes, I do.

 

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Made It

March 25, 2017

To the weekend.

And I’m just hella happy to be home writing my little blog and it’s not even 9p.m.

I’m already in my bunny slippers.

At least I have some good music on.

There is a dance party up in here, y’all.

I’m listening to Parov Stelar, Mama Talking.

So fucking good.

I’m not quite sure what to call it, Neo Swing,  Electro Jazz, maybe Electro Swing.

Whatever.

I fucking love it.

I definitely dance my ass off when it comes on and I’m quite happy to have discovered some new tunes.

Dancing makes me happy.

And I haven’t had very much chance to do it recently.

I don’t think I have been dancing since right after New Years Eve.

To be honest, I’ve been pretty bushed with the work, the school, the internship, the supervisors, the finding a therapist, the whole damn deal, it’s taken a bit out of me, but I’m grateful and I know it won’t be forever.

I do suspect that it’s going to be about a year or so of being pretty exhausted and trying to keep whatever equilibrium I can.

I also suspect that it will be exhilarating and exciting and overwhelming and sure, why not, I bet it will be fun too, it’s fun to be on the path, to be headed somewhere, to have a direct goal, a vision, I feel like I’m fighting the good fight and doing the work and I know that is its own reward.

Yeah.

I also look forward to a time when I’m actually taking real clients and making money, like real money, I’m just getting by at the moment, it’s not a bad getting by, but it’s a tight getting by for living in San Francisco.

Especially when I start to contemplate having to start to pay out-of-pocket $120 a week for therapy.

The money will be there though, I know it, I have faith, and I’ve a bit socked away for a rainy day.

In Paris.

Actually, I fucking hope that it will not be rainy in Paris when I get there, I will want to devour every last bit of the city and I am hoping for sunny days, warm nights, long walks through the markets, the Marais, where I will be staying, a lunch at a cafe by Place de Vosges, a visit or four to Les Rouge Enfant Marche, a trip out to see the Louis Vuitton Institute out in Parc de Butte Charmont, a walk through the Pompidou, a tattoo, I mean, hello, that’s what I do, at Abraxas, a shopping visit to Fleux, a hat from a vendor in the Bastille, an afternoon at the Jeu de Paume, the Orangerie and the D’Orsay, a walk along the Seine, a walk up to Sacre Couer, a dinner at Odette and Aime, maybe a visit to a Brocante, grab a book and some postcards from Le Merle Moquer, fuck, as long as I’m in that neighborhood I suppose I’ll have to hop to Pere Le Chaise for a stroll, oh the places I’ll go.

I’m allowing myself to use half of my travel savings when I go to Paris.

The rest will be used for Burning Man tickets, travel to and from, supplies, food, and camp gear and that infrastructure.

Of course.

I haven’t gotten the ticket to Burning Man yet.

I have, though, to Paris and I have a place to stay, so I’m allowing myself to spend some money a few nice things and experiences while I’m there.

Not extravagant by any stretch, but for me, decadence.

I’ll eating out, I’ll definitely be drinking cafe cremes in cafes, I’m for sure going back to Cantine, that was fabulous, plus, I know my friend whose place I am staying at in the Marais, will have all sorts of good recommendations for me.

I swear.

Paris dreaming is what is helping through this part of the school process.

I’m in the short stretch of the semester, I’ve got to write a paper this weekend, I remind myself, there’s only two weekends of class left.

I e-mailed my advisor regarding all my paperwork, the supervisor, the therapist, and the internship hours, all the things, and I will be going in next Thursday to get his signature and turn over all the forms to the practicum office and registrars office.

This is happening.

I’m pretty happy with this turn of events, it’s been, yes, a bit nerve-wracking, a bit anxiety inducing, my own doing, but, to be able to walk into my next weekend of classes, two weeks from today, and have my internship nailed down, my schedule of hours, my supervisor set up and scheduled and have started my therapy requirement for the Master’s program requirement, big fucking stuff for me.

I was hoping to have my Community Mental Health project done too, but I’ll be ok with what I just mentioned.

Plus.

I have been knocking back the reading for my classes.

I may try to finish up Couples Therapy this weekend on top of writing my paper for my Trauma class, I will be working next weekend, so I don’t think I’ll be writing any papers.

The kids are also on Spring Break and the family is not going anywhere.

The big yummy hours of reading time I had this week will evaporate the next week.

I’ll get as much prep done this weekend and really, I’ll be damn fine with what ever comes of it, I’ve really been kicking it out.

So.

NO.

I’m not at all sad that I am not out at some club tonight celebrating Friday.

I am happy to be here, at home, rocking the fuck out of some good music.

Besides.

I’ve got a yoga class in the morning.

And.

I will make sure I spend some time hanging out with people tomorrow.

Some fellowshipping and some socializing.

Now.

Excuse me.

I need to dance around my room a little more in my bunny slippers.

Happy Friday!

You Are The Embodiment Of The Poet

October 30, 2015

My heart burst reading that line.

I was in the upstairs bathroom at work wrangling monkeys, brushing teeth.

Brosse/brosse/brosse/

Les dents/

Brosse les tres souvents/

Tous les jours/

Tous les jours/

Tous les jours/

A les belle est dentes.

Brush/brush/brush

Your teeth/

Brush them every day/

Every day/

Every day/

Every day/

Ah.

The pretty teeth.

(sung to row, row, row your boat)

Yay!

“Spit,” I said, running the water.

I had to put down my phone, I could not finish reading the sweet e-mail I had received from my patron, my eyes kept tearing up reading it and I had to manage the two boys.

I’m just going to call him that, he’s my patron.

Anyone who sends me a check for $1,000 for some poems is my patron.

Anyway.

I had sent him an effusive e-mail thanking him for the check and how I was honored and seen and just over the moon.

That moon.

Did you see her tonight?

Sometimes in the waning I feel there is more power, more poesie, more haunting and longing.

The wandering back into the self, the darkening lunar landscape, the eery rise in the night sky and the glow as it rose over the trees in Golden Gate Park, the nipping wind chill on my neck and my arms, reminder to up the sweatshirt ante here soon.

The Indian summer is passing and the autumn cold is coming.

But that luscious moon.

Yes.

Over the moon.

He sent me back another sweet missive and the above quote amongst them.

To be the embodiment of the poet, that means so much.

The validation has been powerful.

It’s hard to acknowledge and yet, I know I absolutely have to, its false modesty to not acknowledge it and the sorrow for all the time I didn’t let myself create, the doubt, the fear, the negotiating my own way through the world, poetic voice or no poetic voice, being an artist, yet denying myself entrée into the club.

No.

Really.

I don’t belong here.

No.

That table couldn’t possibly be for me.

No.

I know you say I have a reservation to be here, but there’s been a mistake.

The maitre d leads me to the table and seats me despite my own fuss.

“When I heard you reciting them,” my person said to me in front of the Church St. Cafe as we sat and drank tea and caught up, “I thought to myself, oh these are lovely, who’s are they?”

He continued, looking at me with his sparkling blue eyes, that matched exactly the corn flower blue cashmere sweater wrapped over his shoulders, “I didn’t know you wrote them, it took me a minute to catch on!”

We talked about the story behind the poems and I told him how I got there to the creative process and how I did a nonce and what that was like and it was me running away at the mouth.

“Girl, I knew you could write, but I had no idea about this part of you,” he said and smiled, with his eyes and mouth and heart, and squeezed my hands.

“You are an artist and you are curious and you let yourself go there and you have experiences, this other artist saw that in you and you connected and you let yourself do that,” he smiled more.

My heart squeezed itself in my chest and tears rose in my eyes.

“I feel like I may have cheated myself a little though,” I told him.

“How so?” He asked, curious himself.

“Well, I cashed the check and immediately, like within minutes I had transferred the entire thing into my savings account, there was no celebration, there was just a straight transfer, I feel like I should be celebrating and doing something with it, although I am doing something with it, I’m going to get a Vespa, a new one, which is what I wanted to do all along before I got bamboozled last year with the knock off I bought.”

“Girl, you are celebrating, you are telling me the story of the poems,” he looked at me, “it’s good that you put that money right into your savings.”

He’s right.

I don’t have to go out and spend the money frivolously to prove some sort of point.

In fact.

I transferred the entire $1,000 and another $150 of my own into savings.

I really want to get a scooter.

And I really want a Vespa.

So.

Just a little closer to my new ride then I was the day before yesterday.

The acknowledgement, the accolades, the poems themselves, the being a poet, letting myself be seen, that is the celebration.

Plus.

All the love from my friends who have always seen this side of me and applauded it when I did not or was not able to.

Sitting here.

Doing my blog.

Being happy.

Knowing that I made another artist happy with my work.

That is celebration.

I revel in that.

I also revel in the almost weekend of it all and my staid Halloween plans.

Which include going to 7th and Irving to get right with God, meet my person at Tart to Tart, maybe get the nails done, then lunch with a friend, and afterward, borrowing said friends couch to sit and read all day long on and maybe, just maybe, let myself take a nap.

Yup.

Those are my mad, crazy Halloween plans.

That and sitting down tomorrow to write-up another sonnet.

I have an idea I want to submit to the Bastille and I need to get it out to them ASAP, the deadline is the 31st.

Plus.

I have decided that the compensation for the sonnet series being what it is I am not, cannot with any integrity, submit it for further publication or award.

I have been amply compensated.

That being said.

I am still submitting to the Nemerov Award.

I am going to send in a sonnet that was supposed to be part of the sequence, but I messed up the rhyme scheme and the principle was out-of-order, so I tossed it.

I tried to re-work it but, it just didn’t fit.

I let it go and wrote a fresh one that fit the schematic I had set up.

But I really liked the sonnet.

And.

This means, I have an extra sonnet with all the flavor of the sequence, that I did not submit to my collaborator and patron.

Thus.

I will rework it and tighten it up and send that off instead.

I love that I have ideas falling out of my head.

I still have lots of work to do for school.

Another paper to write for Human Development.

More reading to do.

Etc, etc, ad infinitum.

But I will find the balance with the poetry.

And move forward into the generous flow of language that is out there just waiting for me to cast my net upon it’s worded sea of stars and images.

I’ll push out my boat into that ether and gather wide the nets into my arms aching and full.

Heavy with the heavenly catch that lies awaiting me.

All the things.

All the love.

All the pretty.

Pretty.

Poetry.

Sunshine Day Dream

October 21, 2015

I woke up to daisies on my doorstep.

Not a bad way to rise and shine.

Happy.

That will be my principle today.

Not that I had any time,  not a single down moment or minute, to spare, to call my person and check in with her that my principle was such, but it was.

October is one of my favorite months in San Francisco.

It’s a gorgeous kind of Indian Summer that most out of towners are not aware of, the sun shines bright, there is a lick of cool in the wind if it’s windy, there’s not usually fog and there usually is sun and high, wide, blue, blue, robins egg blue, skies.

My kind of weather.

My outfit was inspired by the flowers.

I wore my bright yellow polka dot shirt and pig tails with a daisy, fake, but still, in my hair.

And gold on the eyelids.

I could have been a bumble bee if you had stuck some antennae on my head–I wore black tights as well–in fact, I had a moment when I thought, if I didn’t already have an idea for a costume for Halloween, I would go as a bumble bee.

It would be super easy.

Maybe for when I go trick or treating with the boys this year, they were in their police office costumes all day today and are definitely ready for the holiday.

Although, Halloween is on a Saturday this year, so I may not be trick or treating with the boys.

Still it’s nice to know I have a couple of costume ideas and options before the day sneaks up.

It always sneaks up.

And then it’s suddenly here and everyone is raiding Mission Community Thrift and Buffalo Exchange and all the stores in the Haight and no, really, I don’t want to spend money on an outfit, but I don’t also want to be left out.

I only have been invited to one Halloween event so far and I am not certain I want to head over to Berkeley on a Saturday night to play Halloween with the kids.

Maybe.

I also just checked and I do have another invite to the party at the Park Gym, that’s a possibility.

Although, I am not sure about heading into the Mission on a Saturday night Halloween.

The Mission on a Saturday night is enough of a horror show as it is.

I heard of another party in Glenn Park.

Who knows.

If I do go out

I will probably dress up like a pin-up girl.

I have all the stuff.

Polka dot dress with a flare out skirt and crinoline, high-heeled pumps, and I know how to draw on a pretty good cat eye.

What I would need, is someone to do my hair pin-up style.

I know a lady who does her’s in a victory roll and it’s hella cute, but I have never done one and I have neither a flat-iron or a curling iron and I can’t tell you when the last time was I owned hairspray.

Never?

But it would be fun.

I did have a couple of girl friends that wanted me to go to the Armory party, there’s great dance music going on there and there’s another good party at Public Works, but I am hesitating to commit to anything right now.

Committing the most now to getting as much reading done before school rolls around this weekend.

In fact, I set my alarm a little early for tomorrow so that I can get to the rest of it.

Halloween.

I may pass you by.

However.

I am interested in getting dressed up and going to the ARTumnal Burning Man event that rolls around in November.

I got word from the photographer/architect/artist that I am collaborating with for a project he wants to present there.

I would love to see my work out there in the public eye.

He was quite happy to receive them.

I was happy that he was happy.

I really quite adore them.

In fact.

I am thinking of submitting them to The Bastille–the publication in Paris that published one of my stories when I was living in Paris.

They reached out to me today and said they were looking for submissions.

It’s not paid, but it’s a chance to have my work in another publication and I would get a copy of the publication and an invitation, haha, to read from my work in Paris at Shakespeare and Company.

Not that they would pay to fly me over.

I was thrilled when they picked my story The Button Boy to publish and invited me to speak at the event and read the story at Shakespeare and Company.  But by the time the publication came out I was already living back in the states.

I do want to have a reading one day at Shakespeare and Company.

I mean.

Really.

What writer doesn’t?

So in lieu of going to Paris, not that I won’t hey, you want to go to Paris?

Let’s go!

I speak some French and know a few folks over there.

But realistically.

I think the ARTumnal is more likely for me to get into than Paris at this time.

I do want to go back to Paris, especially since one of my fellows in the program at CIIS is from Paris and it would be tres cool to hang out with her there–ma poulette across the Atlantic.

I will too.

I can tell.

I keep digressing on the Paris track.

Ah, the Bastille e-mail is doing it to me.

Anyway.

I would like to go to the ARTumnal.

The tickets are pretty steep.

But I am thinking that I want to be there.

I know I will see people I love and care about.

I know I will see some art and I might even see my own poems somewhere in the big mix of spectacle and carnival, music and mayhem.

If I don’t go out for Halloween, I definitely want to go and get dressed up for this.

Oh.

Shoot.

I just looked up my school syllabus.

I am in freaking class that weekend.

Damn it.

Ugh.

I don’t know that I can get out to it.

FROGS.

Oh well.

At least the poems are done.

And I am happy I wrote them.

They make me happy.

That’s what important anyhow.

Happiness.

Sunshine.

Daisies.

Love.

I got it all today.

Who needs more?

Submit A Story!

April 29, 2015

So I did.

And then I forgot that I had.

Then I got a nice little note saying, hey, we got your story and we’re interested, but so many projects!

But we like it.

We’ll keep in touch.

And what do you know.

He kept in touch.

I received the following missive this morning after I hopped off my bike and stretched out my legs before starting my very busy shift today at work (swimming lessons, t-ball practice, potty training, cooking–wild Alaskan Salmon anyone?) and let out a little whoop when I read it.

Hi Carmen. Your post is scheduled to go up a week from today on Tales From The Playa. Thanks again for writing.

)'(

Jon Mitchell | @ablaze

managing editor, Burning Man

So cool.

I’m going to be published on the Burning Man blog!

I’m excited.

I had sent the story in last June.

I was thinking about that and wondered, what the hell was I doing last June that out of nowhere I decided to send the Burning Man blog a story.

Oh.

Yeah.

Damn.

I had just had my severe ankle sprain.

The one that way laid me for weeks and still, yes still, hurts on the occasion.

Small aside.

I feel like I am rehabbing my entire body.

My knees hurt, my ankle hurts, my shoulder hurts, all injuries sustained while working or getting to and from work.

Even the spraining my ankle was in conjunction with work–I was anxious about having enough time to commute to work in the morning and I had a double scheduled that day and wanted to take my scooter in rather than ride my bicycle.

I decided to gas it up, feeling like since I was tight on time, might as well do it now before I need to worry about it in the morning and I got frustrated kick starting it, it was cold and didn’t want to start, and I went too fast (story of my life) and bam!

Sprained my ankle so severely that ten almost eleven months later, it’s still not completely healed.

I’ve been doing stretches, ankle strengthening exercises, hip strengthening exercises (damn they hurt), and rolling out my back and shoulder every night on the yoga roller when I get home from work.

My creaky old body needs a hot tub soak.

End aside.

I was laid up.

I was trying to keep busy.

I got a Jack Rabbit Speaks e-mail–the official newsletter of the Burning Man Organization–and I must have read one of the Tales from the Playa and I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to submit.

I think my exact thought was something like, I can write better than that!

And maybe I will.

And I put my money where my mouth was and submitted.

And then didn’t hear back until after the event sometime, mid-September of last year.

I had completely forgotten I had submitted.

Jon had sent me a very sweet message about how the story mattered to him and he wanted me to know that it was still in his bailiwick and forgive the tardiness in regards to it.

Sure thing!

Thanks for keeping me posted.

Then I forgot about it again.

I am sure the process of getting pieces in is far more arduous than I can imagine.

I am sure everyone has a great Burning Man story they just have to tell and then they decide to and well, maybe the story is great!

But.

Maybe, the writing, not so much.

I cannot imagine how many bad blog pieces the staff on the editorial team has to read.

I suspect it’s the same with every one who has anything to do with publishing.

There are few of them and many, many, many of us, with our stories and words and art and ideas, and hey, what about me?

Don’t you want to know about my story?

This one time at Burning Man.

I coasted a good bit of the day on the steam from the e-mail message.

It was really nice to think about.

I’m going to be published on a blog independent of mine.

I have a few other times and now I get to have another piece out there.

Then just as I got close to the end of my day at work, I did what I had been telling myself all day long not to do.

I started to read the submission.

“Oh shit!”

I thought.

This is ass.

Do I really swear that much?

Fuck.

Maybe I do.

Oh God.

I wrote what?

No.

That’s horrible.

ARGH.

Insert ego here.

Then smash it all to smithereens.

I put it out there and I let go of the results and when I actually got the results I wanted, to have a story on the website, I might have changed my tune.

Like.

Let me fine tune the sucker some more.

I had the same reaction when I got my first short story published in the Paris Journal of Spoken Word–The Bastille.

I was really happy about my submission.

Happier still when I found out they wanted it and they were going to publish it.

Not so happy when I finally read it in print.

Oh God.

I wrote that?

It sucks.

It is not good.

It could be so much better.

I am my own worst critic.

And yes, I stopped reading my story.

I just said, no.

I have better things to do than mentally masturbate about what I could have changed in the piece before submitting it.

I am not perfect.

Nor are my blogs or my stories or my poems or the books that I have written but not published.

Not a one of them holds up to my inner, fiercest, critic.

They all suck.

But.

I keep writing anyway.

I have to.

That’s just the way it goes.

“I’ve been an artist for the last 41 years,” he said to me last night as the cake was being passed around, small slivers of chocolate cake from Sweet Inspirations, I could smell how rich it was and had been a tiny bit nauseated when the cake was unveiled for the anniversary celebration.

He patted me arm.

“Good for you for doing what you’re doing with graduate school, you’re going to be a great therapist, but don’t forget your art, and don’t give up on it, it’ll happen when it’s suppose to happen.”

He smiled, gave me a hug, and walked out the door.

Who the hell was that?

I had never met him before and it was like God just sent a little angel to give me a hug.

Thanks man.

And then the e-mail today.

It was nice.

Affirming.

Lovely really.

And my defect of character–perfection–can just take a time out tonight.

The story is not the best, but it’s sweet and endearing, and true and I am grateful I get to share it.

Grateful it will be published.

Flaws and all.

Imperfectly.

Perfect.

Just like me.

What A Day

August 12, 2013

What a day.

What a fucking day.

Whew.

I am tired thinking about it, exhilarated, and don’t even know where the hell to begin.

In no particular order.

Went to Outside Lands courtesy of my employers with my friend Radha.

We saw Hall & Oates, A-trak, Willie Nelson and Family, Vampire Weekend, and someone else who I am entirely forgetting, New Orleans funk brass band with guest Aaron Neville.

We sat and had Blue Bottle coffees in the VIP area and marvelled at the crowds.

We walked a lot.

I danced my butt off at A-trak.

And we left early.

I did not stay to see the Chili Peppers, I just was done in by the day, the dancing, the walking, the emotional excitement–although I heard them as I rode my bike from my place back into town, I had left my bicycle there and Radha and I walked from the house to the festival.

Yup.

I put the deposit down on my studio in-law in the Sunset.

Yes, folks, I am moving back to, not really sunny, San Francisco.

I will be living in the fog belt but I don’t care, I have Trouble Coffee, Judalicious (where I had lunch raw vegan “tacos” on collard green leaves with avocado, cashew sauce, shredded red cabbage and carrots, sunflower seed “pate” and for dessert a nectarine from the local organic co-op market), Java Beach Cafe (I am envisioning some Sunday paper action on the patio in the sunshine–it’s not always foggy by the beach kids), Golden Gate Park, and lest I forget, the ocean.

I am not really living in the City by the Bay, but in the city by the Ocean.

It is just a bit different out there, it feels like it’s own little quaint beach community and I am excited to explore it.

By bicycle.

Home

Home

By foot.

By slow meandering walk to the beach.

By bonfire.

By moon light.

By hold my hand and walk with me in the surf.

Heh.

I move in after I get back from the thing in the desert where they burn that guy for like being the man, dontcha know.

I don’t have an exact date pinpointed when I am back from playa, but I know that I probably won’t move in until that weekend following the end of the event–I am projecting a September 7th or 8th move in date.

The studio is gorgeous.

My friend really has done it right.

The bathroom (which I christened, yes that’s right, I peed on my turf) is all lovely tile and tidy silver and chrome with a lovely medicine cabinet, well-lit, and clean and bright painted.

The walls are fresh painted.

The lighting fixtures all brand new, including a ceiling fan and domed lights.

The floors still are in the process of being finished.

My friend was going to put in carpet and changed her mind.

Yay!

Hardwoods.

Oh.

So.

Loverly.

The closet needs finishing and the kitchen is not complete yet, those details will all come together in the next week or two and frankly there is not a rush, it’ll be done and ready for me when I get back from the burn.

And eventually there will be a new deck out the back door and a new window so the studio will be even brighter.

I was actually surprised by how much light it did capture just from the little glassed in door in the back that leads to the yard and current patio.

I am going to have access to a yard!

I can hear the ocean from the back porch.

I can open the door and hear the ocean.

So much nicer than the gun shots I heard last night and the relentless drag racing and side shows that were going on last night.

Some folks got shot last night over here.

It was intense.

The news reported that a man was hospitalized for a gunshot, but no name, nothing said, a single line on ABC 7’s website.

I heard the shots last night.

And I heard the rumour mill at the BART station when I was headed into town.

Rumor was more than one person was shot.

I can believe that, there was a lot of return fire.

I am breathing so much easier just realizing that I am not going to hear that anymore as I drift off to sleep.

Ocean waves here I come.

I made it home tonight unscathed and in wonderment that I made it from 46th and Irving to Rainbow before they closed, and then to the Civic Center, onto BART, and back to the Gracelandia without incident.

The ride back, this time I did all on Lincoln and it was actually much more manageable than I thought, was foggy and chilly, and spooky and ethereal.

The entire city is bundled up in fog.

Then back to Graceland for the stack of mail to open and my groceries to put away.

And what’s that in the mail?

Ah.

Yes.

My student loan bill which has come out of forbearance and I have to make payment on before I leave for playa.

All the big money decisions whomp!

But I have it.

It’ll go in the mail tomorrow and I won’t have to worry about it while I am out dancing in the dust or getting my nanny on or doing my writing.

Of which there will be more as I also got something else in the mail.

The Bastille.

I am published.

Right.

There.

In.

Print.

My name, spelled correctly, thank you very much, and my story, The Button Boy.

It is so cool (even though there’s a typo in the last paragraph) to see my work, my name, my words, printed on paper stock.

I was also quite impressed by the journal.

It is a much higher quality print then I thought it was going to be.

 

****And here is where my internet went down last night at Graceland.  I tried again this morning to post and have now finally gotten some connection here at the nanny gig in North Oakland.

Sigh.

I hate when that happens.

Oh well.

So it goes, here’s the story from yesterday and hopefully there will be internet connectivity when I get home tonight, home, funny thought that.

Graceland for a little while longer.

 

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.

Juggling

June 12, 2013

I was sitting on the floor of the living room in the house on Cole Street juggling for the babies.

I was sitting on the floor of the living room in the house on Cole Street juggling in my mind.

I was juggling schedules, work, personal, friends, meet ups.

I was juggling ideas about writing.

Fuck me.

I keep forgetting.

Therefor I write it down here and now and do next, as soon as I finish juggling all the crap in my head I need to take a photograph of my signature and send it off to The Bastille in Paris.

They want an electronic jpeg of my signature to include with my short story they are publishing.

They also want me to read the piece at the launch of the magazine.

Of course, the last they knew I was living at 36 Rue Bellefond, not such a tough commute.

Now, well, now I certainly like the idea of popping over for the weekend to read my story at the launch party, but I don’t believe the budget will afford me the round trip ticket to Paris, nor accommodations.

Though I hazard a guess that I could find a place or two that would put me up for the weekend.

I still am working on getting myself situated financially here.

I still have to pay Barnaby back the money he loaned me for the flight home.

I don’t have a full roster of work week to week, but day-to-day it falls into place.

I was supposed to be house sitting tonight, but that fell through.

Not a huge deal as I was not about to get rich making $20 a night to watch their place.

I would normally charge more, but the fact that I asked for anything at all pleases me.

I work for them, it is the family that is leaving for vacation.

Now I knew they were aware of what their skinflint neighbors got for asking me to house sit for them, I am sure of it, but I was also bamboozled into taking care of a dog that needed constant attention and medications administered when I thought I was walking into a cat sitting job.

My bad.

I said yes before reading the fine print and let myself be trapped into doing the gig.

I still have no regrets around having done the gig, I learned that I need to ask for what I need.  In regards to this gig, the house sit is quite easy, the cats are pretty chill, and it’s not a huge inconvenience.  It’s a little inconvenient, I would rather not shift my things from one place to the other, but I am also being availed of a car.

This is a nice treat, I won’t take advantage of it, I don’t want to pay bridge tolls and gas, but I was able to secure an extra shift of work when I realized I could use the car to get from one nanny gig to the other on Thursday.

One extra day of juggling squeezed in.

I am allowing myself to say, “let me get back to you,” before I make quick decisions.

I was asked to pick up a shift on Thursday.

I already had a small gig to take care of.

Then I said the magic words, and then I wrote about it, then I asked myself, which one would you rather do?

Aha!

At first I was not sure.

Then I realized, well, I would rather do the one in Cole Valley.  I would get more hours and I would get a little more time to bond with the bunny there and as he will be my full-time charge at the event for three weeks I should log some more time in with him.

That being said I had already committed to helping out another family in the North Oakland ‘hood.

I texted without having attachments to the outcome and asked if the mom was flexible.

And what do you know, she was!

I took that flexibility with me the rest of the day.

When I got done earlier than I was expecting, not by much, just by a nose, I made a decision to go meet up with some fellows I don’t normally convene with, saving myself an hour of down time from my normal Tuesday night routine.

This was lovely.

I made it out of the spot and over to Rainbow before the dreaded last fifteen minute dash about that I do when I am shopping on Tuesdays.  I took my time, caught up with an old friend I unexpectedly bumped into in an aisle and made it to the bank to deposit my checks from today before the sun went down.

I actually rode home from BART pre-drag race and sideshow time.

It was sort of awesome.

Then I remembered when I taught myself how to juggle.

I was nineteen years old.

I had dropped out of college and was living with my sister, her boyfriend, and her best friend in a trailer of said best friends parents who were on vacation in Mexico, in Stoughton Wisconsin.

Juggling bouncing bad checks, manipulating the system, scrounging pennies to buy a pack of cigarettes at the local 7-Eleven store, lying to my mom about where I was and what I was doing, waiting for my student financial aid to come in, knowing full well that I was not going to be going back to school, but rather funneling all the money earmarked for my tuition to support the motley crew of family I had submersed myself in.

Juggling today, though oft-times a challenge, is so much more enjoyable.

Especially when I remember my history.

Oh, yeah and two adopted cats from the pound.

Let me not forget that either.

I watched the baby’s eyes go wide in wonder as I tossed the three soft balls high into the air and hummed the theme song to the circus under my breath.

A much more pleasant opportunity to entertain then the life of busking I had envisioned for myself if all else failed.

Much more pleasant.

“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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