Posts Tagged ‘The Iowa Waltz’

Hello Friday

August 12, 2017

My God.

You smell amazing.

There is nothing.

I mean.


Like coming home to a package from Chanel.


God damn.

And even thought I knew what it was, I still unboxed it like it was a surprise.

I was so giddy.

So happy.

The biggest smiles.


The most delicious of smells.


That’s right.

I am back to my scent.

I have adored wearing Rose Flash, it’s been a nice little thing to have and I get sweet compliments on it.


It is not Chanel.

It is not my scent.

My signature scent for decades has been Chanel Egoiste.

Pour Homme.

That’s for Man.


I wear a men’s cologne.

I never set out to wear a men’s cologne, it was a complete accident.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

It was meant to be, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I found it at a discount store in the mall, one of those stores that specializes in products that have been discontinued.

It wasn’t in a box.

It must have been a sample from the big department store that was closing across the way.

I don’t know.

I had only been in the big department store once, I can’t even remember what the name of it was it wasn’t one that I was familiar with, then again it was in a land I was also unfamiliar with.



For a very strange year when I was 20 years old, I lived and worked in Newton, Iowa.

The short version of the story was that I was there to help my sister raise her child while her husband waited to get out of prison.

Actually they weren’t married yet, that happened at the prison a few months after I moved there with her to help her with my niece.

I swear.

This is the short version.

The long version is the book I wrote, the second in my memoir trilogy (yes I wrote a trilogy, no, it’s not published), called The Iowa Waltz.


We had moved there, my sister and I, as her fiancée was caught breaking bail in Wisconsin and was extradited to Iowa to serve out his sentence at the minimum security prison outside of Newton.

I got a job waitressing at Palma’s, this crazy Greek restaurant where the owner insisted that all the “girls” wear heels when working.

And dresses.

I might have gone to that department store to buy a dress, I think, in fact, that was why I was in the mall at all.

I certainly did not have a lot of extra money to spare, my sister was getting food stamps and WIC.

And I lied my ass off to get the bartending job.

My first shift the woman training me rolled her eyes, “you have got to be kidding me, you don’t know how to make a margarita?!”

It was a margarita night.

It was on special.


It was strawberry.

I learned really fast.

And within a few weeks I was zipping around, tottering really, god how my feet hurt, the other bartenders and making pretty decent tips.

For Iowa, anyway.

The wife of the owner was the “bar manager” and she was a notorious Sambuca drinker and what is that Italian wine, god she drank it by the bottle and it was red and always chilled, Lambrusco?



She smoked.

I mean.

I smoked, probably a pack a day at the time, but she smoked rings around me.

We were allowed to, oh the good old days when you could smoke while you worked.


Voula!  That was her name.

Shit, that just popped right up in my brain, I have not thought about that crazy bitch in a while.

Voula smoked three packs a day, easy.

It wasn’t that she necessarily smoked that much, but she always, I mean, always, had a cigarette burning in an ashtray.

And not just one, but five, sometimes six or seven.

“Do not put out any of her cigarettes, do not dump them, don’t do it, doesn’t matter if the ashtray is full to overfull, do not dump it, you will get the wrath of Voula,” my trainer told me.

She also told me under no circumstances to flirt with Voula’s husband.



Why the fuck would I?

He was gross.

Balding, smoked just as much as she did, except he smoked cigars, and he had a big paunch and swinging jowls, I mean, not attractive.

“She will fire you if she thinks you’re flirting with him,” the head bartender told me, “she’s fired four girls in the last month.”


I won’t flirt, like I said, gross.


I had drawn his attention.

And he made it clear.

I don’t remember what he said or how but it translated to I needed to buy another dress for work, and there was no mention of a clothing allowance or a uniform stipend, the money had to come out of my own pocket.


The mall.

I must have found a dress.

And somehow I wandered into this strange little store next to the big department store, cheap trinkets, discounted stuff, old holiday decorations, odd toiletries and make up, junk basically.



On the shelf in the back right hand corner of the shop.

The bottle of Egoiste.

I do not know what compelled me to smell it.

I must have been registering it before I opened the lid and inhaled.


Holy Mother of God.

It was the most amazing thing I had ever smelled.

Warm and spicy, musky.


Vanilla, coriander, sandalwood, rosewood, subtle cinnamon.

Not that I could have told you that then.


I was nineteen.

It just smelled amazing.

It blew my mind.

It was $19.99.

I had twenty-five dollars in my wallet.

I did not hesitate.

I bought it.

One of the best decisions ever.

I got fired two nights later when the boss lady’s husband decided to keep the bar open late and play poker with his buddies and he wanted a personal bartender.


You guessed right.


I never once did a thing.


Didn’t matter.

I was fired when I came into work the next day.

“Get out of my bar,” she screamed at me, “you’re fired you fucking whore.”


And goodbye.

Funny thing.

I actually got my next bartending job because of her.

“Wait, what?  You worked for Voula for two months?” The woman interviewing me said, she was the owner of Boots and Spurs, why yes, I did work at Iowa’s largest country western night club, how did you guess?

I nodded, abashed, I had indeed gotten fired.

“You’re hired!” She exclaimed, nobody makes it two weeks with Voula, let alone two months.”

She laughed out loud, “hell, I only made it four days, she was one of my first employers, years and years ago now.”

“You must be amazing, when can you start?”

And so began my illustrious career in a country western nightclub.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Or you know, just read the book when I finally get it published, there’s plenty of stories there, believe you me.


I was hooked.

I fell in love in Iowa with a men’s cologne from Paris.

So many, many years ago.

And I got a bottle today in the mail.

Such an amazing gift.

I opened it and smiled and laughed and giggled and hopped up and down a little.

And then I opened it.


That smell.

So good.

So, very, very good.

And just for a moment.

I was transported back to that small town mall in Newton, Iowa (home of Maytag Washing Machines!) and my 19-year-old self.

My god.

How far I have come.

How very fucking far.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Best smelling one too.





In Today’s Top Stories

March 30, 2013

The going vegan debate has raised its head again.

I wrote five more pages in my new work, Mother.

I took the dog for a long walk.

I took a bath.

I read the first 100 pages of my manuscript The Iowa Waltz.

The last makes me the happiest.

It is good.

Not great, but much better than I had hoped for.  Much, much, much better.

I had not voiced the fear, but it was there, lurking around in the brain, sliding around the corners, obsequious and sneaky, “you don’t really want to read that do you?”

It’s going to suck and then where will you be?

Thanks, brain.

Thanks for sharing.

Fact is, it is good stuff.

I wrote the book on a white-hot streak after finishing the first draft to Baby Girl on Alan Kauffman’s recommendation that I continue moving forward with fresh work.  “Your pen is hot, just keep producing.”  He told me.  I did.  I wrote another entire manuscript in about a month.  Then another.  In 90 days I wrote three books into first draft.

Now that I have had some time and distance from the project I can see another thing that may change how I proceed with the works.  They are all of a piece.  Meaning that though they stand completely on their own, Baby Girl is 76,000 words, they could be all brought together into one piece.

JRR Tolkien originally wrote the Trilogy of the Rings as one work, his editors made him break it up because they did not believe that the reading public would be interested in reading so much at one time.

I am not Tolkien, nor will I ever strive to be.  I am just me and my words are just my words.  However, the works might stand together as one cohesive piece.  As I was reading through the first 100 I thought this could be a nice middle piece if I collated them all together. It’s just a thought for the moment.

As it stands, I still need to read the rest of the work, then take it into second draft.  What I am also ecstatic about is that it will not take nearly as much work to pull into second draft as Baby Girl did.

I had already been doing the practice of writing and I had the additional criticism from Alan and the rest of the writing group that I was meeting with on Thursday evenings after I got done with work at the veterinary hospital.  The second piece is cleaner, stronger, has a more coherent voice and a good synopsis.  In fact, when I read the synopsis today I just about fell out of the chair.  I had forgotten a good amount of the action.

I was also startled by how much I remembered when reading it.

I managed to capture the essence of the story, the environment, and the voices of myself and my sister, who is a major character in the work, are bright, strong, coherent.

I was thrilled.

I was also again transported.

This time to Iowa, where the majority of the work takes place.  I actually found myself emotionally responding to the characters.  Yes, the characters are real people, but to me, they feel like characters, two lost teenage girls doing the best they knew how with the extraordinary circumstances of living that they found themselves in.  A few times I teared up in wonderment that I ever got out of there alive.  I also laughed out loud more than once, I was a brassy girl, with a lot of opinions.

I still am.

This time here, out of the city, has been good for me.

Really good.

I wrote this morning that I am going back.  I gave up, gave in, and said, ok, I quit.  I knew this was going to come down to this and I need to start making plans to take action to move back.  There is no staying here that I can figure out.  Despite wanting to, despite beating myself up for not having figured it out, there is no getting around the situation.

I don’t regret it though, not a moment, not a minute, not every time I cried and wondered what the fuck I was doing.

I was discovering that I really am a writer and that I do have words, words that just seem to sweep out of my hands, as long as I sit down to let them spill forth.

It really is the sitting to the task that takes the most out of me, but once I am there, the words, they come, torrents of words.

I opened the four notebooks that I have been working through and laid them out on the table and took a photograph with my phone.

Look at all those words.

They buoy me up, the carry me along, through the days and nights of anxiety, through the wilderness of not knowing, my lifeboat.

I would like to make it as a writer. I would like to be fully self-supporting with the things that I write.  I don’t know if I will or not, and the fact is, as I have written time and again, I would write regardless.  The practice feels so good.  I love sitting here at the keyboard tapping away, watching the words pop onto the screen, reminding me of where I am in what point where in my life.

These books, journals, blogs, a history of myself and my life.

I have a great memory, and I tap into it when I write, never knowing what I will remember–just that the picture will be there for me to describe, sound of the people talking, the time of day, the clothes they are wearing; it is so much like watching a movie and just writing down what I see.

Or what experience will work its way in where.  I do know it is important for me to continue filling the image well.

I use this today to get out and take a longer walk with the dog on a different route, down a road I had not seen before, or say yes to experiences that many may not even think about doing.  I am saying yes right now.  I am saying yes to what is next.  No questions asked.

I was made an offer and as I walked along through the woods today, I thought, this person is crazy pants, what do they know about me, how could they offer that to me?  Then I thought, so what if it doesn’t work out, or the person should change their mind, how about I say yes the next time it is brought up and see what happens.

I have not been dropped on my ass and it would be another experience to write about, to spin a tale about, to look back on ten or twenty years down the road and say to myself, “remember when you moved from Paris to….”

As I read through the manuscript reliving the incidents from twenty years ago I marveled that I was here in France.

I had no clue when I got onto that Grey Hound bus in Madison, Wisconsin headed to Newton, Iowa where I was going to live or what job I was going to have, let alone imagine that I would ever actually live in France.  Or that I would write a book about a that year I lived in Iowa.

I feel finally at peace with letting go of Paris.

I am just off to another adventure.

Who the hell knows where I will land.

I don’t.

And for once, I don’t care.

Pandora’s Box

June 18, 2012

Has been opened.

Oh, good Lord, what have I done?

I got home from the evenings daily check my head with God and I was making a cup of tea and slicing up a nectarine, when it hit, time to get The Iowa Waltz out.


I don’t know that you want to do that, Carmen, wait, where are you going, why are you on your knees, with your head under the desk (which is better than under the covers, fyi), last time you did this you nailed your noggin good.


Too late.

I opened the box.

The box of DOOOOOOOM.

Ok, perhaps I exaggerate a touch, a tad, a smidgen.

But it was both fear inducing and adrenaline producing all the same.  Wait, let me open it again, I could get high from all the juice going through my blood.

Was that decaf I drank up in the Collingwood and 18th neighborhood?

I do not think so.

This is not a horrid thing, I have the day off tomorrow so if I’m up a little late, I won’t die.  My brain will just chatter at me like a little monkey with a set of cymbals, grinning and clapping as I toss and turn and think illicit thoughts, that also won’t help me to sleep.


Off track.

Ok, here it is:

The Box of Doom

Box of Doom/Pandora’s Cupboard

Whose voice was that anyhow?  Time to work on The Iowa Waltz.  Don’t you know I have “better things” to do?  I have, uh, I have to flirt on-line chat for a while.

Fuck, you are not going away are you?

Get outs my head voice.

Actually, this is a good voice and it does not come from me, or the crazy part of me, my brain, this was something else.  This was from the gut, from a spot just below and slightly to the left of my heart.

I knew the book was going to have to be addressed–Baby Girl–which I am in the last stages of formatting, but really, am I about to launch off into another?

I guess so.


Not a sigh of sadness or one of weary.

Not a sigh of resignation.

Truly, I am blessed, I have a hoard of things to weed through and material falling out of my ears and more ideas coming every other moment and the fact is, I just don’t want to work my job anymore and just do this, just write.

Now that my dirty “secret” is out, I just want to write and work on the writing and I don’t want to work no more.  I need a month of solid sorting through and arranging.

I am not going to get that any time soon.

Thus, one baby step at a time into the realm of next draft starts here.

What is the hurry?


I am not taking anything but me there.  I may ship my bike, I’ll throw my things in a roll on suitcase, grab my camera, take my computer, and fly off into the wild blue haze of a new adventure.

The books have to come with, on the computer, backed up on a hard drive, in my G-mail account, but the notebooks no, the manuscripts, no, I don’t need to take my notebooks and rough drafts with me.  I don’t know where I am going to store them yet, but let me just cross one bridge at a time here.

There’s more than just the box of doom, there is also the desktop of doom:

More Doom

Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks


The stack to the far right is The Iowa Waltz in rough draft.

The stack in the center is the rough draft for Fatherless Madison.

The stack on the left is my current writing projects, mainly my morning pages and some work that I am doing on other projects.  Personal growth things, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

This does not include the bin, a second box of doom, the same size as the one under my desk, that is at Robyn’s place in Bernal.  I don’t have enough space.  Mental or physical.

I have been reading a lot of Paul Auster lately and the last story in the New York Trilogy opens with the protagonist confronting the left behind works of his best friend from child hood.

If my best friend from child hood saw my boxes he would go vomit in his mouth and throw every thing in the burn barrel out behind his parents house in Arlington.

Then again, I won’t be giving Henry anything of mine to read, he’s not interested.  When I finished my third, I think it was my third draft, of Baby Girl, he asked that I read him a chapter.

He knew the story already.  He had already heard it.  Ultimately, he did give me one of the best compliments I have received around my writing, that the tone is conversational and true.  The writing sounds like my voice.

The writing sounds like I am telling you a story.

Henry said, “I could listen to you tell stories all night long.”

I have told him a few.  Sitting in the shadows of the kitchen, on the tile floor, back pressed against the wall.  Under a tree at Picnic Point, in the back office at The Angelic Brewing Company, after hours at the bar, in my living room with snow falling thick outside the window, while building a picnic table in my back yard on Gorham Street in Madison, at the End Up high, high, high on cocaine, in the car driving to the Lodi Fair, up on the tilt-a-whirl.

I have written those tales down and they comprise the follow-up works for Baby Girl.

There are times when I feel that perhaps the best thing to do would be to finish the trilogy in its entirety before trying to publish the first.  Tolkien intended the trilogy of the Ring as one book.

I am not comparing myself to Tolkien.

His publishers split up the work, they thought it would sell better in smaller chunks.

I am not that prolific either, in toto I believe I have about 800 pages of work, all three together.

Give or take a page.

John Ater suggested that I scan the manuscripts.  I may do that.  On top of the box of doom is a printer that has a scanning function.

The Universe smiles.

Two years ago when I went to Burning Man I sublet my studio in Nob Hill to a Berkeley grad who was visiting from Paris with her boyfriend.  They had met in Paris while she was doing graduate studies at the Sorbonne.  They were in the city to clear up her apartment, she was moving to Paris.

Aside from the sack of green apples she left in the kitchen, she left a miniature tool kit and this brand new printer/scanner in the box. It had been a gift for graduating, but she could not take it with her to Paris and it was not worth shipping over seas.

She left it in my hall closet.

Now, I am going to move to Paris.

Perhaps the person I pass the scanner to will eventually move there too.

I have a lot of work to do.  I am nervous.  The work does not scare me.  Let’s get that straight.  I know what I wrote, I know the gist of the stories, I know the arc of the storyline and the heroines name and the protagonist and the antagonist.

It is a classic Bildungsroman (coming of age work).  I know the beginning.  I know the ending.  I know the middle.  I was there.

But you do not and so I begin the disrobing, standing before the world clothed only in the words of my experiences, and perhaps a few flowers in my hair.

Pandora’s Box or not, I proceed forward, away from the fear, or better–truly does the fear ever leave–through it.

I Met My Old Lover In The Street

March 22, 2012

Last night.

I met my old lover in the aisle at Rainbow Foods tonight.

He startled me, he was not in the aisle he normally is in.

He works at Rainbow.

I used to avoid days that he worked there.  I was embarrassed for breaking it off with him.  Some times I flirt with the idea of hooking up with him again.  We had fun.  He was great in bed, a good dancer, we liked the same music, and he could kiss like a maniac.


You know there’s always a but…

It was not going anywhere and I decided I wanted children and marriage and all that implies.

How funny it is then to bump into some one and see that four years later you are not married and you don’t have children and he looks good.


It would end the same and I don’t need to play that song again.

When I run into some one like that I reflect on what is different in my life and where it has gone and how funny some things change and some things just do not.

I also have had many a moment of retrospection and internal reorganization of my self.

Most of this has to do with the writing and the blogging and the getting up early and working on submissions and where do I go next with this.  I have been working on a proposal for City Lights and I realized at one point that I should dig up the letter of recommendation that Alan Kaufman wrote for me.

I stumbled upon a chapter of my book Baby Girl that I ended up cutting from the book as superfluous to the story.  I still feel that the material in the chapter, “Challenges,” is fairly pertinent information to my life story.  To my life in general, and to the period of time that I got to have in a relationship with a significant player in my early romantic life.

John, John Morgan.  He was probably my first real love and my first real relationship.  I ended up breaking up with him to follow Elliot, his room-mate, out of Madison to South Florida, where most of the action for my memoir Baby Girl takes place.

I think about John once in a while and I wonder whatever happened to him.  I think I owe him an apology and then realize nope, my motives are ass.  I just would like to see him and there is the old played out story in there as well, he was the one.

No he wasn’t.  He was just who he was.  He was, however, the first compassionate and truly kind man I dated.  He was always a gentleman and he was always sweet.  He helped me out of a lot of scraps, more than a few involving my crazy sister, her baby daddy, and numerous other hooligans in my life, my mom, my dad, the crazy room-mates I lived with.

God, the first time John met my mom she got us all stoned and we played Monopoly.

Welcome to my family.

I actually do owe John an amends, now that I think about it, and funny, haha, now I am not so interested in getting back in touch with him.  I owe him $500 for convincing him to give my sister’s boyfriend, said baby daddy, bail money.  And then I left him holding the bag while the baby daddy and my sister bounced.

I knew they were going to bounce and so I bounced too.  I left poor John in a dormitory room on the eighth floor of Ogg Hall wondering what the hell happened and fled Madison with Elliot in his two door Datsun Z.

Ah, memory lane, you are such good fun.

Never the less, I am also remembering something that Kaufman told me when I read aloud a chapter to the next piece that I worked on for the class, and ultimately for the book that was to become my second major work, The Iowa Waltz.

He said, “Carmen,” shaking his head in complete astonishment, “there are writers who would kill, kill, to have the material that you have been given”.

I was not in the mood to hear that.  I was both flattered and annoyed.  And more than a little scared.  Kaufman spoke so glowingly about my writing and my abilities, it freaked me out.

Hell, it still freaks me out, but I can’t sit in it any more.  I am using his words as fuel for the submissions fire.  There are more recommendations that he wrote for me that I have filed away and have not used more than once, perhaps twice.

Alan and I had a falling out.  Then we had a quiet cooling off period, then, well, I won’t say we are buddies, I barely see him anymore.  But when I do, a hug, a smile, a quiet acknowledgement.

I owe him a lot.  I owe myself a lot as well.  I owe the woman he invested time and energy into encouraging a talent.

One of the best pieces of advice that he gave me was to the effect of this: “Stop with the creative writing crap, so you can write pretty stuff, who cares?  Action and dialogue, action and dialogue, and then this happened and then this happened.  Fill in the details later, action and dialogue”.

I took that advice and I ran hard with it.  The majority of the work that I did was all action and dialogue.  It feels like I am watching a movie when I read it now.  It feels like a movie when I write sometimes too.

Terese Taylor just came on my stereo shuffle play list.  A song from off Good Luck Investigationship.  The Universe smiles on my writing.

Terese was my writing partner.  It was such a privilege to work with her.  I have not seen her in years, but I know she is playing her guitar some where, breaking hearts and cracking open souls.

Always looking for a reason to cry, blink and smile, water damn your eyes, be sure and whisper the anwser when you die

Ah Terese, you were good to me.

All that time spent in cafes, all those old lovers, always looking for a reason to cry.

Dirty hands mine, you’ve gone and given me a reason to cry

I have memory.  I have a place to utilize my experiences.  I have fodder for my grist writing mill.

Tomorrow I will arise and write and submit again.

I will forget the old lovers, I will forget the old wounds, I will forget the reasons why, and I will just watch the film and dictate what I see as it flows across the screen of my mind.  I am lucky.  I am blessed.  I have a fortune of inexhaustible stories and experiences to write about.

And write I shall.

Now What?

October 14, 2011

Blush is out.  Nice facility.  But it is a private institution and thus cannot receive federal financial aid.  The cost of tuition-$8,600.  I don’t have that kind of cheddar.  Aveda appears to be out as well.  I cannot cover the costs of tuition without additional loan monies, which I don’t have.

If I did, I would probably be flying to Paris right now.

I don’t know what to do.

In the midst of this, I had an interview last night with a very small, very unique, very new business in the city that I believe I could really help.  I love the product, the location rocks, and the money is nada.

I would have to move out of my apartment.  I think I’m going to have to move out of my apartment anyhow.  Go back to living with room mates.  Live on shoe string.  But, I would be making a distinct difference in the company infrastructure and getting in on the ground floor of something that could really go places.

The person I interviewed with really wants me–it is nice to be wanted, it is nice to have my skill set acknowledged and sought after.  Now he’s pitching to the owner.  If I got the position I would start November 1st.  The day my contract with my current families ends.  I would only work 40 hours a week.  That in and of itself would be refreshing.  I have worked 50 hours a week for the last year and my previous nanny position was 45 hours weekly.

Though, truth be told, I don’t believe that there were many weeks where I actually was there for every hour of those 45 to 50.  However, the constraints of knowing that I was accountable for those hours made it feel like I worked every one of them.

And I had a quiet, sneaky, hey where did you come from thought as I was sitting in the upstairs office talking with the General Manager of the company, what if I took those extra ten hours and I wrote during them?

Shut, the fuck up.

Ah, excuse me, young lady, aren’t you trying to go to school for a make up career?

Yes, I am, and I appear to be getting blocked.

Remember bless it or block it?  Well, I am feeling totally blocked.  I got the denial letters in official forms today from Sallie Mae and Patelco stating the obvious due to my bankruptcy and various other nefarious things on my credit report (all of which have been cleared up, thank you very much) I am ineligible for any kind of financial assistance from them.

Unless I get a high interest rate credit card and pay for school that way, I don’t really have any options.  And frankly, that’s just not an option.

On the bright side, my credit rating is higher than I thought it was.


But, what if I, humor me now, change my mind, yet again, and help run this business and have fun at my job and just be a worker amongst workers and I write.  Not just my blog and not just my artist pages, but I also build in that additional hour to my craft.  I could work on the second draft to The Iowa Waltz.  I could perhaps land some free-lance work.  I could try being a writer.  I could get the formatting taken care of for Baby Girl and get it up on Smash Words.

Instead of talking about it and running away from it, I could actively do it.

John Ater has told me time and again that I don’t need a Masters to write.  Maybe the idea of going to make up school was put in my head to help me facilitate removing myself from being a nanny–remember it was my conversation with K’s family about going to school that gave them the go ahead to put her into pre-school a year early.

I mean, I got jobs nannying if I want them.  I have recommendations coming out the whoo ha.  I just don’t think I can do it anymore.

No, I know I can’t do it anymore.

What if I go small to go big?

I hate, hate, hate, hate this.  It feels so similar to everything else I have done–maybe I’ll be a veterinarian, a paralegal, a nanny, a make up artist, maybe, maybe, maybe, ad infinitum.  I see a pattern, do you?

What if I practise having faith that I’m supposed to publish and find ways to do this.  I hate eating humble pie as well–although it is the only pie I allow myself to eat anymore.

To be back again at square one and see the same thing staring me in the face: “psst, hey you, yeah, you, sitting at your keyboard with stacks of notebooks every where and pots of pens and piles of paper and manilla envelopes and stamps and fancy paper clips from Italy, you look an awful lot like a writer, you know”?

Maybe you it’s time you acknowledge and pursue.

I am a tool and I feel like I am being used like one.

John Ater sent me the proof for the photos we took.  There’s one that popped right out and I can see it’s the cover.  I can see the sadness and the anxiety and the fear in that photo–maybe I got to go through this week of absolute craziness to get to that photo–the photo that will be crafted into the cover for my first book.

Hey, what if this is the moment I have been waiting for all my life?

God damn it.

And all I really have is this at the end of the day, what is the next action in front of me?

Back to the simple. Go do the dishes because I don’t even know if I got this job.  I may be whistling in the dark.  But I took action and went and interviewed and I updated my resume and references and sent them to the General Manager as he requested, before I wrote my blog tonight, to make it pertinent to the job being applied to.  I took action, the results are not mine and they never have been.

I took action around school, too.  I explored, I researched, I interviewed, I toured, I applied.  I don’t have any answers or ideas left.  I have the ego of a tiny squashed gnat.

Anybody need a room-mate?


Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck.

And, yes, you can quote me on that.

Moving Forward

October 2, 2011

I had an awesome time today with Beth!  We went to the Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival in Golden Gate Park to see Hugh Laurie.

That’s right, House was in the house.  He was awesome–I adore his accent.  I do, however, wish he had gotten a longer set–he only got one hour.  Nevertheless I was thrilled to be there with Beth and to get to hang out in some sunshine with a couple other hundred thousand people.  Or however many crazy numbers it was today at the park.

There were a lot of people there.  I can’t remember the last time I was in a crowd that big.  Burning Man doesn’t count as it’s set up like a city, this was just masses of people pressed against one another.

Beth and I are also plotting other adventures.  I love girlfriend adventures.  All my friends, and I, let’s admit the truth when it’s standing right here next to me, are busy.  So, whenever I get the opportunity to hang out with one of the ladies it just feels like an enormous blessing.

Tomorrow I get to go bowling!  I am not super psyched on bowling, but I am super psyched on seeing Jackie.  This will make twice in one month–that is a big deal.  Hell, I live two blocks away from an old friend, another Jackie, who I’m doing the math in my head as I type, I have known for over eleven years.  Is that possible?

I guess that means I’m getting old(er).

And although we live two blocks apart our schedules are crazy pants and we barely get to see one another–it’s been a minute, that’s for sure.

Beth and I also talked about my book, Baby Girl.  She is one of the people who has read the whole thing! It’s posted here on my blog. And I am ever so grateful when I hear that, or when I bump into random people at Rainbow or in a coffee shop and they have read my blog–it just lights me up.  She told me about her favorite chapter and I was blown away when we talked about it as I started reliving it.  I forget how close it all is some times, although the experiences that I wrote about happen nearly 20 years ago, and some of them even earlier than that.  But I can be right there in a heart beat.

I can feel the coral rock and how sharp it was underneath my thin flip-flops.  I can smell it, the way the hotdogs smelled at the Circle K, the smell of ripe kiwi melting in my fingers, the sweaty smell of boy in a hooch.  I can hear it, the way it got crazy around nightfall, especially on weekends around the Lake, the hollering.  I can feel it–the water in the Lake, how cold it was near the drop off–which was very deep and very spooky; or the warm rain when it fell on my head while sitting on the hood of the Datsun and I can feel it, I really can, in the palms of my feet, how slick the fender was and re-assuring at the same time. And oh yes, I can taste it–which is disconcerting at times–the taste that comes back more often than not is the cold press of an aluminum can to my tongue. It is very much a part of me. Too crazy.

I suppose all pivotal points of our lives are like that.

I got to give Beth a little back story on the story.  And I got to tell her a little bit about the book that follows, The Iowa Waltz.

I have said it before, and I will re-iterate it here now, it’s time to move forward.  It’s time I worked on that book, The Iowa Waltz and then it’s follow up piece, which will end the trilogy of doom (I jest)(a little).  I have been trying for months now to co-ordinate a time to take some photos with my good friend Robert to do the cover design for the book, Baby Girl so that I can get it up on Smash Words and Amazon.  After again trying to get a hold of him yesterday, I suspect he’s traveling, he travels heaps for work, I made a decision.

I have to get this done.  So, I shot out an e-mail to a fantastic woman friend, Mrs. Fishkin, to see if she would be interested in helping me.  Arin is a graphic designer, and I realized after a minute, if that, of thought, that she really may be the perfect person to design the book cover. I like her aesthetic a lot.  And I think she would make some thing clean, simple, and compelling.

I rattle around in my head as far as what I would like it to look like.  I once took pictures of the palm trees at Mission and 24th as they reminded me of the palm trees in Florida, and oh, I don’t know, it’s not a bad place to score crack (although it seems like mostly heroin gets dealt from that venue–I do not know this from personal experience, fyi).  It’s easier to score crack at Mission and 16th.

That I do know from personal experience.  But that is not what this blog is about darling, you’ll have to ask me in person about that.

This blog is about getting my work out there.  It is about taking the next step forward.  I need a book cover.  I have the work ready to go and I want to publish on Smash Words and Amazon, yesterday.

Where you’ll be able to buy my book for something like, oh, I don’t know, $.99 for your e-reader, my dear.  I bet you’d drop a buck to read my book.  Maybe I can get it out for the holiday season!

Ha.  That would be some Christmas present, no?

And maybe, if I sell enough copies I can help finance my tuition costs through Aveda.  That would be pretty freaking awesome.  I have gotten one of the two letters of reference I need and await the second.  Once I get that, everything goes in the mail to the school’s admissions department and I take what ever steps necessary to move forward there as well.

I just paid rent yesterday and I realized that this month, October, will be the last month where I am working full-time.  November will be the last month that I know for sure that my rent is absolutely taken care of.  Then I get to work less and spend more.  I don’t know how that will happen.  School will be 30 hours a week and work will be somewhere between 25 and 30 hours.  School will also cost me $11,500.  Plus, my living expenses.

Yet, I have absolute faith that I will be taken care of, absolute.


Fuck if I know.

But, from past experience I don’t have to know how and I certainly don’t have to figure it out, thank God.  If I take directions and do the next indicated actions, things always do work out.  I mean, look, I have a beautiful home and two sweet as pie cats (even when they jump in my lap while I’m writing, Uni!!!! You got to commit cat, either jump or don’t jump, but my leg is NOT a good place to use your claws to get purchase), food in the fridge, and food in the belly, the bills be paid, and I got sunshine on my face today.

There were plenty of times in my life where I did not think that I would have this.  And I do.  Because I took suggestions and did the next action in front of me.

Action being the key word.  Getting my book out there is an action that I need to take, I can tell, the two, school and the book are entwined, I feel that in my gut.  Thus, the book must be a part of the plan, I can’t see the blue prints, but I can tell it’s in the works, therefor however I can get it out there, I’m going to.

And if Mrs. Fishkin isn’t able to do the cover, somebody else will.

I’m like a shark, I got to move or I sink.  I want to take The Iowa Waltz to its next draft  and eventually, sooner, rather than later, I want you to read it.

I think you’ll like it.

I really do.

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